The man plays defense in the NFL. The man cannot tackle. The man cannot press a wide receiver. The man is getting paid $5.9 million this year and $8.4 million next year. And the man is still complaining. If you couldn’t guess who the man is by the hints in the beginning, we are talking about Eagles’ cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel is unhappy about the recent trade rumors and everyone else is unhappy with Samuel.
There are many grateful former Eagles. Brian Dawkins comes to mind. Brian Westbrook comes to mind. If you think hard, A.J. Feeley might have been the most grateful because he made a ton of money thanks to the Eagles drafting him then trading him to Miami. There are many more Eagles who are grateful to the organization but I think the most grateful is former Eagles running back Jerome Harrison.
You might remember Harrison from last year. Harrison played in eight games for the Eagles with 40 carries and 239 yards and a touchdown. I remember him running 50 yards down the field for his only touchdown with the Eagles against the Redskins on Monday Night Football in route to the Eagles 59-28 victory. This offseason the Eagles let Harrison walk and he signed with the Lions as a free agent. The Eagles responded by signing former Pro Bowl running back Ronnie Brown.
Well, things did not go as planned (like Ronnie Brown throwing the ball backwards into a crowd of 49ers on the goal line for a fumble) and the Eagles decided they wanted their ex-RB back. The Eagles completed a deal with Detroit in which the Lions would get Brown and the Eagles would receive Harrison and a seventh round draft pick (which Reid would use on a LB and then start him at MLB and tell us there is nothing to worry about). The deal was pending a physical and thank God for physicals.
Harrison failed his physical and was sent back to Detroit along with the draft pick. Brown was returned to the Eagles. End of story, right? Wrong. This trade could have saved Jerome Harrison’s life. Harrison failed a physical because, after an MRI, Eagles team doctors discovered a brain tumor. Harrison is out for the rest of the year but, because it was detected early, Harrison is believed to be alright moving forward after getting treatment.
Many times in sports we, as fans, forget that these guys that we watch are people too. They are guys with families and friends. Many of us take sports to heart and are emotionally invested in the outcome of the game as if it is life and death. The good news is, win or lose, the games are not life and death. When something happens like the death of an athlete (i.e. Dan Wheldon) we all get brought back to reality and remember that it is just a game and that life goes on. It often takes a tragedy to remind us that it is just a game and to cherish life outside of sports but, luckily for Harrison, it did not take a tragedy to reminder us how fragile life really is. This story, as scary as it is, is a reminder that it isn’t life or death on the field/court/ice.
But, with that being said, it is still normal to be emotionally attached to teams. Look at the four of us here at Whiz Wit Sports. Our moods are determined by the outcomes of games our teams play (i.e. Flyers v. Capitals tonight at 7:00pm). We just try not to lose sight of the fact that they are just games and there is more to life than just sports.
To clear the record, I am not one to harp on some of the obvious things Philadelphia fans harp on. I was not one to rip on Donovan McNabb until he left and started making more excuses then I had enough. I finally have worn down and have started to rip Andy Reid. But now I have turned to the potential public enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia, Ryan Howard. Listen, I was there for Game 6 last year when Howard went down looking. I watched as Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum celebrated on our home field. I had the long walk back to the car trying to talk to people who had a better view of the called third strike and if what I just witnessed was real life. But, in the end, I chalked it up as a mistake, Howard should have at least fouled it off, and he will adjust and learn from it. I am still not a Howard hater but I can no longer make excuses for the big man.