From Haynesworth to Ocho Cinco and Terrell Owens, Sometimes the NFL Just…

As you may know already, training camp for almost every team in NFL has been going on for about a week now. There have been all sorts of undercurrents and side stories, but perhaps the most interesting (for very different reasons) are the Albert Haynesworth (Redskins) situation, the Batman and Robin (Bengals) malarkey, and the Revis Island (Jets) shut down.

Let’s start with Haynesworth.

Picture it, the Redskins owner known for overspending on washed up talent goes out and spends $100 million dollars on a guy who already had a reputation for not being the best teammate, not being concerned with staying in shape and an otherwise bad person off the field. Now fast forward a couple of (mediocre) seasons to this year’s camp, where the new head coach has decided he wants to utilize Haynesworth differently, basically having him switch from Defensive Tackle to either Defensive End or Nose Tackle. On the surface, it seems like nothing right? They make a lot of money, why not just change it up right? Problem is, it’s kind of like starting out the school year as an English teacher, showing up one day and being asked to teach German. Sure, it’s all Germanic language, but if it’s not the language you know—so is it really a good idea? Even if that is the way the school is going permanently?

So fast forward past all this and there has been quite a bit of fuss made about how Haynesworth couldn’t even pass his physical to participate in training camp. Clearly they are trying to send a message and ESPN’s Mike Golic is on tape taking and passing what we are to believe is the same test.

It’s pretty embarrassing, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t say much to me. Is Golic also going to go out and hit someone to prove he’s in better shape than a 300+ lbs man? Is this “test” somehow going to make us better able to spend the remainder of the money in Haynesworth’s contract? Is Washington going to cut him? Of course that would destroy their cap, but don’t think for a second someone else wouldn’t pick him up almost immediately as is.

The whole situation bothers me. Personality aside, I’m kind of tired of the “blame the rich black guy” mentality that seems to be running through this whole story. Why not blame the guy who signed him and signed the checks to make him rich? Or the guy who hasn’t won in 12 years trying to make an example out of someone and install a defense he doesn’t exactly have the personnel for? Too easy? I thought so too.

That’s not the only emerging story this summer though, 36-year-old wide receiver Terrell Owens joined the Bengals and pal Chad Johnson in what has turned into the great NFL love fest of 2010.

These two profess to be great friends with 10+ years behind them, proving that they’ll be great teammates. The Bengals do have a pretty damn good QB in Carson Palmer, and four years ago, this would have been any fantasy owner’s wet dream. Instead, what it has turned into is a shit-talking, stomach-turning pseudo relationship, that is being played out on Twitter oddly enough, for shits and giggles.

It’s sickening. They seem like two infatuated schoolgirls who can’t stay away from each other, but can’t figure out the “why.” I hope for their sakes it works out as well as they claim and they can at least make the playoffs. If they don’t, it’s pretty safe to say the jokes will continue to write themselves, only they won’t be so funny to those two.

And of course, the storyline closest to my heart, Darrelle Revis holding out of Jets training camp because after two great seasons, he wants to be the highest paid corner in the NFL. Um ok. What bothers me about this is the level of capitulation that players have been able to get away with in the past as far as having contracts restructured. Even after spending time in an NFL front office, I don’t get why it’s okay to rip up a contract before it’s up and setting out a new one.

Why sign in the first place?

I get that teams want to lock up good players for the long term and rookies aren’t always going to command the highest salaries, but where is the balance? Whatever happened to playing your contract out? Or insuring yourself the way the team does so if something does go wrong, you are still set for life?
Of course, in the press, Revis will be made out to be the bad guy for holding out of camp and demanding a new contract. He’s lucky I’m not the GM. I’d make him play out the whole thing and franchise him until his body went. Of course I wouldn’t last long with that mind set, and I understand these guys go through hell for what they earn. I just have a real problem with the way it’s being handled, especially since there is no real way to give him what he wants from the team’s standpoint.

So he will end up missing camp and probably won’t be on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” much because of it. He’ll also probably get a shiny new contract for a lot more than the $30 million over six years that he signed for in 2007. God bless him.

And even with all of this, I’m still so glad camp has started. Viva la football!!

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