An NFL Veteran Under Anonymity...............

Discussion in 'The National Football League' started by CloakNNNdagger, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. CloakNNNdagger

    CloakNNNdagger Site Contributor

    Apr 30, 2004
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    ............takes a very candid look at the consequences of player holdout.

    NFL veteran examines the rights and wrongs of players like Jets CB Darrelle Revis holding out

    Our Anonymous Athlete is an NFL veteran who has played on a handful of teams in both conferences. He'll periodically share pro football's deepest secrets with the Daily News.

    Darrelle Revis. Elvis Dumervil. Chris Johnson.

    Every summer, I see guys like this. All stud players, some of the best in the business. And all are embroiled in contract issues that could cause them to hold out.

    Thing is, they're all likely to miss more time due to injuries than to the holdout process, even though they have legit reasons for holding out.

    On the field, holdouts hurt themselves and the team. Guys feel like the best players should be around the team. When a guy holds out, another guy plays, and coaches pretend like the team is fine without the top dog. But once the "star" gets back from his holdout, he's starting.

    The thing about minicamps and OTAs is this: Players don't necessarily feel that the training from the team is the best - we actually think it's tedious and not beneficial.

    But big-name guys and benchwarmers alike benefit from one thing: the controlled environment. Players have to use it because we'd be sitting around partying and playing video games without it.

    A holdout isn't doing a fraction of what he needs to be doing to perform as well as he did the previous year, when he probably was around for the offseason program. When holdouts finally do hit camp, I've seen them out of shape, overweight, out of condition and just not ready to compete.

    Holdouts often train by themselves, but it rarely works well. For a guy to be in L.A., Miami or Arizona, training by himself, there are no workout bonuses, contract incentives or plain old ridicule from coaches to keep him motivated. Skipping workouts is inevitable, and it hurts. There's a level of conditioning we need in order to play, and summer workouts give us confidence and help us train our muscles and joints in a position-specific way to make moves during the season. Missing that is a recipe for injury - and that's coming from a player.

    Unfortunately, some holdouts are necessary, because showing up is a tricky proposition. Coaches prey on our competitive nature when we show up; they want us to come to meetings and practices, knowing that our nature will compel us to go out there and practice. That's what happened with the Revis sideshow.

    Revis came prepared to practice, which he shouldn't have done. He should have come with the sole intent of continuing to make a statement - and he should have stayed away from the field and away from competitive drills.

    Every player should learn from Dumervil, the Broncos' pass rusher. He was basically forced to sign a one-year deal, but he's putting the organization on blast by showing up to everything, just not practicing. He signed, and he shows up so he can't get fined. He's with the team so guys can see he's in playing shape. He just doesn't do anything. He's taking a stance and sticking with it.

    Just keep in mind one thing. Players aren't always wrong for holding out. It's an NFL issue as much as a player issue. The NFL feels we need them more than they need us. They're taking advantage of the collective bargaining agreement, and they're taking advantage of the fact that they're threatening to lock us out next season, and we're all watching our wallets.

    That's why the holdouts this year may take so long, because the teams aren't going to budge. They're like, "Look, you need money. You have to play."

    But I have an easy way to settle things. I'd like to see the NFL allow teams to compensate players with some kind of "max performance" bonus. If a player plays above his original contract, such as Johnson has for the Titans, save him the trouble of renegotiating the deal. Give him $5 million or $6 million as a cash bonus that doesn't affect the salary cap. Then he can play out his one-year tender or the last year of his contract, and after the season let him renegotiate or become a free agent.

    Because that max performance bonus is what players want most anyway: up-front money.
    JB likes this.
  2. JB

    JB Old Curmudgeon

    Jan 23, 2009
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    Wherever I was, I was more than likely drunk
    Great find Doc! Thanks, that was a good read. And he makes some good points.
  3. Lucky

    Lucky Moderator

    May 1, 2004
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    I assume the writer is referring to the optional organized team activities (OTAs), rather than the mandatory mini camps. Because refusing to practice at a mandatory camp would be insubordination and a finable offense.

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