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Albert Haynesworth - Sideline MVP

In recent years, I have become surprisingly sympathetic for athletes and their fight for more money. As a sports star you have a relatively short amount of time to make your money — there is little loyalty in the sports business (ask Bernie Williams) and if you get hurt your career can be over in an instant.

So I am fine with players asking for big contracts — just not when they already have a contract.

I truly don’t understand the precedent set in the NFL of holding out for a bigger deal. If you’ve signed a contract, you have no right to ask for more money. You think you deserve more than you’re being paid? Fine. As soon as that contract is up, make your case. Better yet, let the fact that you feel you are underpaid motivate you to work even harder. But until you’re a free agent, I don’t want to hear about your contract demands. There is someone out there who will pay for much less than you are already making. I want my drama on the field, not off of it.

Holding out is ridiculous, too. You think hockey players hold out? Hoops stars? Baseball players? The other players wouldn’t have it. You’d be a pariah by the end of holdout day one.

What brought this to my attention was Texan’s all-world wideout Andre Johnson asking for a new deal and sitting out practice. There is no questioning Johnson’s attributes, he is a top five receiver in the league.

But no one forced him to sign his current deal. None of these players are forced, for that matter. They put their name on the dotted line. They are agreeing to that deal. They have no one to blame but themselves the predicament. If the players are so adamantly against the deal, don’t sign it! Or better yet, if they don’t want to “outplay” the contract, then don’t. Stop putting in the effort. Pull an Albert Haynesworth or JaMarcus Russell: Get fat and stop caring.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised. Not that I think that Andre Johnson is going to stop making cornerbacks look silly, and I don’t think he’ll stop putting in the effort. I’m just blown away by how some athletes are just in sports for the big payday and nothing else. I’m sure there are these types of players in every league, but the NFL sticks out in this regard. Haynesworth has spent more time complaining about his contract than he has on the field, not caring about pass rushing since he got the biggest deal for a defensive player in NFL history (while still having the audacity to throw a hissy fit about the 3-4 switch). Russell apparently cared so little about football after getting his payday that team officials would find him wandering the halls of the Raiders’ facilities when he was supposed to be in meetings like a kid in middle school trying to cut class.

It’s a joke. While some players restructure their deals so the team can go after more players, others are so focused on getting theirs that they don’t care what they do to the team in the process.

You never see it in baseball, and I can’t remember seeing it in basketball or hockey.

You signed the deal, you made the decision. If you have a problem with the contract, don’t blame the GM or the coach or the media.

Point the blame at yourself.

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Sorry we haven’t posted much lately. Finals are around the corner and driving us crazy. But I felt I needed to post this story on Ben Roethlisberger that SI did. Check it out. Really eye-opening.

Will have some reaction/response to it later in the week. Until then, read it.

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All right, I get it: We’ve done a bunch of posts on the NFL Draft and that might be annoying. But there was one thing I forgot to mention in my last update that I really want to put out there.

The anticipation and tension of waiting for picks to be announced is one of the best aspects of the draft. Roger Goodell has you hanging on his every word until he finally proclaims who your team has taken. But this simple joy is being ruined.

During coverage of the draft, ESPN cuts to shots of players on the phone smiling, crying which gives away the next pick. I’m sure some like this because you find out the pick before you would otherwise, but I hate it. I much rather hear Goodell say it. What’s happening now is anticlimactic and boring, and frankly, ruins some of the fun of the draft.

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So the three-day primetime event known as the NFL Draft is over. As the Giants’ picks grew fewer and fewer, I got the same feeling that I remember having as a kid when I realized my Christmas presents under the tree were running out. But even if the Giants didn’t come out of the weekend with their middle linebacker of the future, I throughly enjoyed the weekend. Not so much because of the Giants picks, but because of the event’s new three-day format.

In terms of the picks, I don’t have many thoughts — you can read my musings on Jason Pierre-Paul a few posts ago. But contrary to what Mel Kiper and Todd McShay will tell you, it is impossible to grade the draft this early. There is a reason neither of them are NFL GM’s. Yes, based on your big board and your mock draft, picking so-and-so at a certain point is a major mistake.  First of all, I trust NFL coaches and executives a lot more than I trust these talking heads. Also, no one has hit the field yet — thus we have no idea how good any of these picks are. So that ranking, but it an A an F, it’s essentially awarded based on name value.

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I don’t think Rolando McClain will be Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis — but the former ‘Bama star was far and away the best linebacker in this draft and it certainly wasn’t a bad pick for the Raiders at 8.

I just wish he had went to the Giants.

New York needs linebacker help, and badly. But once McClain was off the board there wasn’t really a linebacker worth the No. 15 selection.

Instead the Giants went defensive end, drafting Jason Pierre-Paul from South Florida. I had read many places that the Giants were high on JPP. Once he was still there at 15, I was pretty confident he would be the pick — though I thought Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan might have been another option.

I’m happy with the pick, but not enthralled like I would have been with McClain.

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NFL Draft 1st Round Review

Alright boys and girls…let me start by saying I spent roughly ten minutes typing this exact post before Firefox decided to spit in my face and say get off the computer it’s 1:27 in the morning.  But, I will not be intimidated!  It’s 1 in the morning and I’m going strong.  Now all of you are going to have to trust me on this…the post I had written but lost to the Firefox catacombs was the most exquisite piece of writing to have ever been feverishly typed across a monitor.  It’s a shame nobody will ever get to read it.  Well anyway, I remember that I ended this pointless initial paragraph by saying here is my esteemed and critically-acclaimed initial reaction to the 1st round of the 2010 NFL draft coming at you NOW…

Note: I did do a mock draft…kind of.  I worked on one during Tuesday’s PLSC1oo lecture (sorry mom but the lecture notes are online) and so all references to my projections can be documented through that notebook.  See Ronnie Barnes or Joe Shea for verification.

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2010 NFL Mock Draft


I said I wasn’t sure if I would do this, but I have a few minutes before class and I feel like doing it. Here’s my mock draft, but let me say right now: After the first 5 picks or so, I have little if any faith in my picks. I’m pretty much guessing, and I haven’t talked to any teams or agents as professionals like Peter King have. So take everything with a grain, or a whole salt shaker, of salt.

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