A select few National Football League players have much to think about lately. 1st & goal or 4th & long? What will it be for some troubled players? Will they get take control of their personal troubles and get on with their careers? Or will teams simply give up on signing talents filled with off field distractions? Some players just can't seem to take positive advantage of many second chances offered. Here's a few making negative news lately as the 2010 season quickly approaches.
Terrell Owens is flapping his gums again. Pointing fingers is nothing new for the outspoken T.O. This time taking aim at ESPN. "A lot of people have listened to a lot of the commentaries throughout a lot of the media outlets, mainly ESPN, that has my character in question as far as things that have happened in the past," Owens said. "And I think even though I may do 99 good things right and if I do one thing wrong, ESPN and the people on there is gonna make it out to be the worst thing ever." Let's be clear. Owens has never been known as a team player. He disrupts team chemistry everywhere he plays. There's always a blame game from trash talking head coaches, quarterbacks, offensive coordinators and teammates. It's been this way throughout his NFL career from San Francisco to Philadelphia to Dallas to Buffalo. Now, blaming the media for lack of a contract. At this stage, and price tag, why would any team want his services? As of now, none do. There's only one person to blame but T.O. rarely engages in self analysis. Owens' career is in the 4th and long stage.
Former Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell's fame will be remembered as one of the biggest draft busts. The former LSU college star was Oakland's #1 pick in 2007. It's doubtful Russell will ever suit up for another NFL team. 7 career wins in 25 starts accompanied by a "myriad" of off field problems. The latest was a recent arrest for possession of a controlled substance (codeine syrup). UFL might come calling. NFL teams will not.
There's a new substance spreading across NFL locker rooms. NFL drug testing policies make it difficult for players to find a new high. But, those who want to find a way now turn to "purple drank" (liquid codeine). Purple drank is a slang term for a recreational drug popular in the hip hop community in the southern United States and now seems to be catching on in NFL circles. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine. Cough syrup is typically mixed with soft drinks or pieces of Jolly Rancher candy. The purplish hue of purple drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup. Look out NFL, there's a new drug in town which seems to slip past current testing policies. No one knows for sure how wide spread this has become. Rest assured teams and local law enforcement will be hot on the trail.
How long before Michael Vick distances himself from trouble? He was one of the NFL's most exciting players before getting busted in a dog fighting ring. Philadelphia went so far as trading star QB Donavan McNabb to division rival Washington opening the door for Vick compete for the job of Eagles top signal caller. This ex-con continues to defy logic. Vick was out celebrating his 30th birthday recently. The celebration soon turned to gunshots placing Vick front and center of a police investigation. "I want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that incident," Vick said in a statement released to the press almost a week after the June 25 shooting. "I left the restaurant prior to it occurring and did not witness what happened." Vick's lawyer told The Associated Press the victim was Quanis Phillips, a high school teammate and co-defendant in Vick's infamous dog fighting case for which Vick served 21 months in federal prison. Doesn't sound like Vick has successfully distanced himself from questionable friends. Will Philadelphia soon jettison Vick? Unconfirmed rumors suggest he's being shopped around the NFL. Maybe he'll finally get a grip after this latest incident. More will follow after a full police investigation.
Has Jacksonville had enough of the Jaguars? Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com calls this the "save the whale" juncture in team history. Apparently intra-squad scrimmages will only be for season ticket holders. Jacksonville's fan base is diminishing rapidly. Team play has not been good in recent years. Florida has the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Bucs. The Jags are in jeopardy of home game television blackouts and team officials are sounding alarm bells. 2010 might be their last year in Jacksonville. Their official website is quoted as saying... (Vic Ketchman) "At this time, I would like to speak to everyone from my heart. I ask that you, please, read my words carefully and embrace them. Here goes: Folks, this is it. This is save the whale. Forget, for the moment, about kids and growing the fan base for the future. We’ve been doing that since 1995. Back then, it was about the future. In 2010, it’s about the present. The decision to limit the scrimmage to season-ticket holders was made for the purpose of adding value to a season ticket. It was carefully considered and the decision was made, not for the purpose of punishing those who don’t have tickets, but to reward those who do have tickets because adding value to a season ticket might help sell more of them. That’s all it is. The focus has become that sharp because ticket sales, not the futures of David Garrard and Jack Del Rio, is the number one issue confronting this team, and it’s not about next year’s ticket sales or growing the fan base for 2020, it’s about selling tickets for this year. This is it. This is save the whale and, from my perch on the beach, the whale is struggling to live. I think everyone would do well to understand that the radical nature of this decision underscores the team’s desperation to sell tickets. The team knew this decision would be harshly criticized, yet, it went forward with it. Why do you think it did? If your answer is that we have reached the tipping point, then you are a logical person." It's safe to guess professional football in northern Florida will soon end.