SportsProf

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Eagles Won't Get Better with Cary Williams

Player wins Super Bowl.

Player wins Super Bowl despite not having the greatest year as a defensive back.  On the "glove to toast" continuum for defensive backs, he was closer to toast (as in, getting burned with some frequency).  Yet, he parlayed his Super Bowl success into a three-year, $17.5 million deal with the Eagles, $10.5 million of which is guaranteed.

That type of money suggested that the Birds were not only trying to solidify their defensive backfield, they were looking for a desperately needed leader on defense.

So what does the player do?

He bags OTAs for "family reasons."  Why?  Because they are voluntary.  And because he sacrifices so much family time during the season that he needed this time for the family.

Really?  Okay, so the season is busy, but it lasts for about six months.  Which would suggest that there is plenty of time to pick out sconces for a new house, which is what Williams did.  It's also not as though the rest of us who support the team -- through ticket and merchandise purchases, among other things -- don't have to make sacrifices, either.

Like not being home for dinner, like being gone so early in the morning as to not wish the rest of the family a good day, like being on the road for meetings, sometimes for over a week at a time.  Some of those are very important for the future of one's career and company, some can be re-scheduled, and some can be missed.  But every day, so many of us do so much that we make sacrifices too.

Allen Iverson got pilloried for saying, "Practice?  We're talking' about practice."  Pilloried.  Ridiculed.  Blasted.

What doesn't Cary Williams get the same treatment?  "OTAs?  OTAs?  We're talking' about voluntary?  We're talking about my family?"  Remember when Latrell Sprewell got blasted for turning down a big contract because he wanted more for his family?  Okay, so Sprewell's situation might have been a bit more extreme than Williams, who sounded earnest in his explanation, but Williams also sounded ill-advised and mis-guided.

OTAs are a great opportunity for a team to bond, for a team to establish new leaders, for a team to put in new schemes.  Miss OTAs, and you miss out on a chance to do all that.  Miss OTAs, and it's hard to establish yourself as anything but someone who cares about yourself more than anyone else.  Give that explanation, and it sounds like you'll be on a losing team or at least a part of one.  Give that explanation, and it sounds like you were not a reason why the Ravens won the Super Bowl, but a free rider on the leadership and hard work of others.

The Eagles and Cary Williams goofed big time here.  The Eagles goofed because on the face of it, they have spent big money on a goofball.  Everyone knows that OTAs aren't really voluntary.  Sure, you'll get a case every now and then of someone missing something for some reason, but the new leader?  Wow!  You would have thought that the Eagles and Williams would have gotten this one straight at the time they signed him.  As for Williams, it seems like the guaranteed money has removed his motivation other than to work enough to pick up a paycheck, but to do nothing more.   And, the last time Eagles' fans checked, the so-called dream team -- the big signings with the big contract -- turned out to be a dysfunctional unit that lacked cohesion and ambition.  The fans are entitled to a group that comes together better than the teams they watched at the end of the Andy Reid era.

Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Rosenman, Chip Kelly and Cary Williams all should be held accountable here.

What a disaster.

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