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NFL Loyalty Goes Both Ways

In an era where a player will easily bolt a team who drafted him for another who offers a bigger pay day, NFL players get a rap for being greedy.  Money hungry.  Disloyal.

Tomlinsons Days in San Diego Could Be Numbered

Tomlinson's Days in San Diego Could Be Numbered

But loyalty is a two way street.  The way I see it, NFL teams are just as disloyal–if not more–than the players themselves.  The adage amongst NFL players is true–get the money while you can.  Because when you begin to break down, an NFL team will cut you loose.   And it doesn’t mattter how many years you put in.  How many consecutive games you played.  How great you are with the fans and in the community.  At the end of the day, this is all a business.  And teams will do what’s necessary to keep their business afloat.

Look no further than LaDainian Tomlinson.  An incredible running back who was instrumental in helping to lift the San Diego Chargers out of the muck of mediocrity, is now being strongly considered as trade bait.  This is the same Tomlinson who, just a few years ago, was consistently re-writing the record books.  This is the same LT who has been nothing but the consummate professional–a player teams wish they could consistently draft year in and year out.

It’s not that Tomlinson–or anyone–is above the team or league.  At the end of the day, teams must do what’s in their best interest.  And we all know that legends such as Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, and many others have been traded or released after cementing a hall of fame career with a particular team.  But recently, Chargers general manager A.J Smith had this to say about Tomlinson’s future:

“We need to discuss a number of things,” Smith said this week. “There are four options out there. Does he stay? Does he not stay? Is there a trade? Is there a reduction of contract? All of those things must be discussed.”

If you’re Tomlinson, that cannot feel good to hear.  And while injuries may have slowed his production, these were injuries he received while gutting it out on the gridiron for the Chargers.

Again, a team must do what’s in their best interest–not the player.  But loyalty goes both ways.  The next time a draft pick holds out of training camp or a marquee player threatens to sit out the season, as a fan, don’t get upset.  They are doing what’s in THEIR best interest.  Because in the NFL, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what legacy you have created.

In the end, the hammer will fall on you, and it won’t be pretty.

January 23, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , | Leave a comment