NFL: The Selfish And The Heartless
The NFL is crazy. One day you’re in and the next day you’re out. In the past few days Jason Campbell, Colt McCoy, Taylor Mays and Brady Quinn have found themselves on both sides of this equation.
At its core, much of the NFL offseason looks downright cruel. Trusted veterans who have poured their whole careers into a team–cut. High draft picks with promise–traded.
Some of these moves are selfish, some are warranted, others are just plain heartless. This soap opera is in full-effect this offseason with the moves concerning Campbell, McCoy, Mays and Quinn.
Some moves are good and some are bad. Some are smart and some are stupid. This week on “The Selfish and The Heartless…”
Sent to a Barren Wasteland
The Redskins’ new coach, Mike Shanahan, traded Jason Campbell to the Raiders for a 4th rounder in 2012. On the surface this seems pretty cold.
My gut reaction was, “That poor kid. Here we go again.” The Redskins just sent him to a barren wasteland to live in a football graveyard.
As I considered the trade and watched the closing of the draft, I started to reconsider my initial thoughts. This might be just what Jason Campbell needs.
We could say that it is heartless of Shanahan to send a fragile Campbell to Oakland–a place where the Head Coach broke an assistant’s jaw and threatened to kill the said assistant. However, maybe Campbell is the right man for the job.
Maybe Shanahan said to Raiders’ owner Al Davis, “Listen, you hate me, but this Campbell kid is perfect in an unstable environment. He doesn’t know anything else.”
If you think about it for just a moment you’ll realize that Jason Campbell is uniquely qualified to be the Quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. He’s had heaven only knows how many Offensive Coordinators since he was in college. The Redskins never “got off the ground” under him, and they brought in Donovan McNabb to replace him.
Sending Campbell to Oakland seems like a slap in the face, but it might actually be an act of mercy. Campbell doesn’t want to sit behind McNabb, and he just might flourish in Oakland.
Every guy always says the right thing and claims, “It’s a business.” Now Jason Campbell can say, “It’s the business of second-chances.”
Shanahan didn’t send this poor kid to graveyard, he sent him to a new beginning, to play for a team that might finally be turning a corner. That’s not cold or selfish–that’s merciful.
The Redskins only got a 4th rounder in return for a QB they spent a 1st Round pick on just a couple years ago. As bad as it looks on the surface, Campbell got a good deal and Washington did not.
That’s unselfishness for you.
Turning Brown with Envy
Colt McCoy was expected to be a 1st round pick this year until his arm fell “dead” in the BCS National Title Game. After he rehabbed his arm, everyone thought he might sneak into the late first or early second round.
Well, he sat and sat until the 3rd round when Cleveland popped up and took him. If you will recall, Cleveland made a similar pick in 2007 with Brady Quinn.
He was sitting all alone in the green room with his girlfriend–and looking pitiful. They made a trade to move back into the 1st round–after having taken an Offensive Lineman–and took Quinn with the “pity pick.”
They felt sorry for him. They sort of needed a Quarterback, so they made the move to take him. That “pity pick” set back the Browns a couple seasons.
Brady Quinn is in Denver as “trade bait” while Tim Tebow is being groomed to be “John Elway, Jr.” The expectations were too much for Quinn and the Browns just had to unload him.
With McCoy they have saved his psyche and–potentially–his career. There will no expectations attached to McCoy. He won’t have to live up to anybody or anything.
The moment he hits the field and starts playing well, he’ll be hailed as a marvel. Everyone–including me–will laud him for rising from 3rd rounder to superstar. Quinn becomes the pariah and McCoy becomes the prophet.
Taylor “Mays” Have Been Led On
Taylor Mays–standout Safety from USC–was supposed to go in the first round to a team that could use a DB. His former coach at USC, Pete Carroll, seemed primed for the pick in Seattle at #6 or #14.
Eric Berry–Safety from Tennessee–had just been taken at #5 by the Chiefs. So, it made sense that another good Safety like Mays would go soon.
Caroll passed on Mays at #6 for an Offensive Tackle and again at #14 for Earl Thomas–Safety from Texas. It seems odd that Carroll would pass up one of his own guys. Then…
Mays fell all the way to the 2nd round and was grabbed by the 49ers. A first round talent had fallen into the second round, but Mays had an explanation.
Mays claims that what Pete Carroll told him about preparing for the draft and what happened were drastically different. I think this scenario–and I believe Mays–speaks to Pete Carroll’s character.
Mays told the Associated Press that Carroll told him his game was “ok,” and not to worry. Mays, believing his coach, thought he would end up in Seattle. He was wrong.
Mays even claimed that he went up to Seattle–his hometown–for a pre-draft visit with Carroll and was rebuffed. Apparently, Carroll scheduled the meeting after the deadline for pre-draft visits, resulting in him having to ask Taylor to leave the building.
I know there are alot of slimy people out there, but Pete Carroll takes the cake. He led on one of his own recruits at USC and then messed with his mind concerning his draft status, and to what end?
What did Pete Carroll gain by messing with Taylor Mays? Nothing. The only explanation that comes to mind is the obvious “ego boost.”
I was thinking that Seattle might flourish under Carroll. However, given his lack of character I’d say the Puget Sound will swallow up the Space Needle before the Seahawks can win again.
It’s Just Sad
Pete Carroll wasn’t required to take Taylor Mays, but he was required by good-common-human-decency to be honest with Mays. Carroll’s actions qualify as selfish–and cold.
As you can see there are so many levels of maturity in the NFL. We have the Redskins doing Jason Campbell a favor; the Browns “anti-pitying” Colt McCoy; and Pete Carroll leading on his own recruit.
I can’t express how sad it is that a grown man has to play mindgames with a college kid, or that the Redskins will be lampooned for trading Jason Campbell to the Raiders. I think we’ve got some of our thinking twisted, but drama can do that to you.
We have Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren to thank for acting responsibly with their players, but as the football turns and ice water runs through veins, so too are the days of, “The Selfish and The Heartless.”