The NFL is coming to the end of what they call their dead period. It is the one time of year the league tries to stay out of the media spot light.
Players and coaches enjoy a little over a month off following the conclusion of OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) and Mini Camps. For players, they often enjoy a family vacation, golfing with friends, or all too often, the understanding no one is around to tell them what to do and when to do it. Coaches can also enjoy family time, but can never escape the worry of what some of their players are up to.
On most NFL teams, there are going to be any where from a half dozen to a dozen knuckleheads who make their coaches wonder things like, “How has this guy managed to stay out of prison all his life,” or “How fat and out of shape will this guy be when he reports back?”
Some teams go so far as to hire private detectives and body guards just to keep tabs on some of their more athletically gifted yet mentally challenged players just to make sure they stay out of trouble (Think Dez Bryant of the Cowboys).
Coaches, general managers, and even team owners will call or text players to make sure their investment is staying out of trouble. They will assign some of their more responsible players to check in periodically on teammates who just don’t get it. Despite all of these efforts, they just cannot stop some players from self destructing and in the process, cause a huge headache for their team.
One of the better examples of this was former New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg while sitting in a night club, something he managed to pull off during the season otherwise he might have shot himself in the head. This incident did not just end his season, it managed to land him in prison. Seems it is against the law to discharge a firearm in a public place, even if it is into your own thigh and done out of sheer stupidity.
Since acts like this do not result in a player’s death, they do not qualify for a Darwin Award. However, they now qualify for what I call a Burress Award.
This year, the NFL has two worthy candidates. Both reflect their stupidity over the 4th of July weekend and both are the result of a self-inflicted fireworks explosion.
C.J. Wilson, a seldom-used cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, somehow managed to lose two fingers as a result of “playing with fire works.” Anyone want to guess how much alcohol might have been involved in this stunt? For all we know, C.J. lost his tongue in the accident as well because he has managed to remain silent throughout all of this, but then again, give a guy with two missing fingers enough pain killers and he is sure to keep his mouth shut.
As I said before, C.J. Is a seldom used player who has played in all of four games during his four seasons in the NFL. Given he was not drafted out of college and has yet to shine with ten fingers, do not be surprised if Tampa Bay finds someone who isn’t missing any digits, physical or mental, to replace him this year. A word to the wise; when you have little to no room for error just to keep your spot on an NFL roster, play with sparklers.
Fortunately for C.J., he has been beaten out for this year’s Burress Award. This year’s winner is also a member of the New York Giants, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Even though he only managed to blow off one of his fingers to C.J.’s two, Jason lost much more.
Jason Pierre-Paul has been one of the better and more consistent players at his position over the last few years and his name is well known throughout the league. Unlike C.J., Jason is actually a star who can make life for an opposing quarterback a living hell. If, or when, he practices again, he will not only have to put up with trash talk from his teammates, but also from opposing players, that is if he was not left with any hearing damage.
It also does not help he plays in New York, the media capital of the world (Just ask Alex Rodriguez what that is like), and on the same team Plaxico Burress played for. You’d think he would know better.
But that is not why he is this year’s winner. You see, Jason Pierre-Paul was offered $6o million dollars to re-sign with the Giants this off-season. They actually thought enough of him to reward him with a nice fortune, one that would allow him to buy all the fireworks he could set off in a lifetime of post football retirement. Only one thing; Jason refused to sign the deal because he felt he was worth more than what the Giants offered.
But now that he is damaged goods, and since he refused to allow the Giants team doctors to examine him while in the hospital, the Giants have pulled their offer. Jason Pierre-Paul is not only a man without a finger, he is a man who blew $60 million dollars without ever spending a penny (Not even Mike Tyson can make that claim).
Still, I am hoping both C.J Wilson and Jason Pierre-Paul get back to playing football again. I want nothing more than to see them make a spectacular play just so I can see their teammates give them a high four or three while fans from the opposing team give them the finger.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.