by Robert Ferringo - 08/23/2005
So, did you hear about Terrell Owens?
I hope I speak for everyone when I say, "Enough already!!" The mainstream media continues to supersaturate the airwaves with talk of the disgruntled, petulant child and the fit that he threw at the training camp of the Philadelphia Eagles. The story is two weeks old, and it's made me sick to see so much coverage of something so amazingly trivial.
- It wasn't Terrell Owens doing sit-ups in his driveway that had me cracking up. It was watching media morons interviewing his abs. It was the highest of high comedy to watch their microphones following his abs' ever move.
- Mike Greenberg interviewing Dick Vitale on ESPN radio. Having to listen to a 10-minute rant from a college basketball analyst who probably can't go 15 minutes without having to go to the bathroom was just hilarious.
- On NFL Live last Wednesday the "analysts" wasted five minutes talking about how much they've been talking about Owens. They all said that they were sick of hearing about it - but they couldn't stop talking about it!
Cedric Benson, RB, Chicago Bears - The Bears top draft pick is entering the Land of Enis. That's Curtis Enis, the Penn State prodigy who held out for 25 days after he was picked fifth in 1998. Benson's holdout has spanned 30 days, and it doesn't appear that he'll be in the Navy and Orange any time soon. In fact, the Bears made their final offer to the No. 4 overall pick on Thursday, and haven't had any contact with the disgruntled ex-Longhorn.
Benson and his agent, Eugene Parker, contest that he should be awarded with a contract closer to that of No. 3 pick Braylon Edwards (five years, $40 million, $18.5 million guaranteed) rather than that of No. 5 pick Cadillac Williams (five, $31 mil. $15 mil.) or No. 2 pick Ronnie Brown (five, $34 mil. $20 mil.). Further complicating the matter is the fact that last year Philip Rivers was the fourth overall pick, and after a 25-day holdout his $40.5 million contract inflated the value of that slot.
Benson is the only first-round pick still unsigned. With Rex Grossman down for the count, the Bears are going to need big seasons out of Benson and starting RB Thomas Jones. Ultimatums are never good, but hopefully Benson realized that a few hundred thousand dollars (relatively speaking) isn't worth the damage that he's doing to his reputation and his career.
Corey Simon, DT, Philadelphia - Oh yeah, the Eagles have other problems. Their talented defensive tackle is still holding out. A deal was all but done this offseason sending Simon to Baltimore, but he wouldn't agree to the $12 million bonus. There have been rumors about a trade to Green Bay for wide receiver Robert Ferguson, or possibly sending the disgruntled tackle to Buffalo. Regardless, the odds are against Simon suiting up for the Eagles. Defensive tackle is probably the position at which they have the most depth.
Stephen Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers - Davis has been hurt for all of the offseason, but made his return to practice on Monday. He won't play this weekend, but is hoping to log a few carries in Carolina's final exhibition game. He is recovering from microfracture knee surgery and is still a huge question mark. Unsure of what they're going to get out of a gimpy Davis, Carolina will be looking to oft-injured Deshaun Forster to key the running game. Third-stringer Nick Goings had a solid second half of 2004 but I don't know if he's a Super Bowl back.
John Abraham, DE, New York Jets - The Jets let Jason Ferguson, the All-Pro defensive tackle and undisputed leader of the D-line, get away to Dallas in free agency. But they kept Abraham, who is a head case. Good call. Abraham, who threatened to sit out the playoffs last year due in part because of his contract situation, is refusing to budge on his request for a long-term extension. He has already rejected a one-year franchise tender at $6.7 million. Abraham has stated that he is content to sit out as long as it takes, and at this point probably won't be ready for Week One.
Duce Staley, RB, Pittsburgh - Staley has been damaged goods since he left Philly in 2003. For some reason he waited until now to have knee surgery, and will be on the shelf for at least the first three games of the season. The Steelers will be fine with Jerome Bettis toting the load, but The Bus won't hold up for the entire season. Much like Carolina with Stephen Davis, Pittsburgh has a legit shot to win its conference, and the Super Bowl for that matter. But their success is predicated on their powerful running game, and they'll need at least one healthy back.
Matt Birk, C, Minnesota Vikings - Birk has been a question mark all summer due to three surgeries for sports-related hernias. He has been cleared to play, but as of Tuesday was seeking a second opinion to make sure that he's good to go. Birk missed five games in 2004, and also underwent hip surgery within the last 14 months. This Pro Bowl center is one of the keys to the Vikings high-powered offense. The center is responsible for coordinating blocking assignments and blitz pickups, so if he isn't able to play out the whole season it could have an impact on the Minnesota offense.
Tra Thomas, LT, Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are sans a left tackle at the moment. Thomas remains on the non-football Injury List with a severe blood clot on his leg. The injury's origin is unknown, but he's been suffering from the clot for several months. Todd Herremans, a mammoth rookie out of Saginaw Valley State, has been getting most of the reps on McNabb's blindside. Left guard Artis Hicks also could slide out there if he needs to. However, with right tackle Jon Runyan in the final year of his contract and with right guard Shawn Andrews still untested the Eagles line is shaky.
Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers Nation let out a large sigh of relief last Monday when Ward showed up to Pittsburgh's exhibition game against the Eagles. Hines has been looking forward to renegotiating his contract to get it up to snuff with his Pro Bowl skills. Ward, who is also represented by Eugene Parker, will most assuredly be signed to a lucrative long-term deal within a week. But how many times have you seen it where a guy sits out the preseason and then gets injured early on in the regular season. Hopefully this won't befall one of the classiest guys in the sport.
Bubba Franks, TE, Green Bay Packers - OK, so this holdout isn't that big of a deal. But as bad as the Packers defense is, their going to need all of the offensive options that they can get. Franks was originally offered a multiyear deal that would have paid him $2.5 million per. Rejected it. The Packers then extended him a one-year offer for $2.1 million. Rejected it. Like Gates, Franks is looking for around $4 million a year. No chance he gets anything close to that.
If you enjoyed Doc's NFL holdouts and injruies article, check back throughout the week for more college football and NFL previews.
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