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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Short Bits O’ Football

Firstly, no. Just no. Brett, what the hell are you doing?

Secondly, yes, Brandon Marshall deserves better. He’s been playing for a small, mid-draft contract while putting up the numbers of a high, first-round pick. I understand the questions about both his health and his off-field problems, but he’s unlikely to pull the kind of compensation that he’s worth in any kind of a trade and he really can be a big contributor on a team that needs him. There are a number of players on the defensive side of the ball that were rewarded with giant contracts and signing bonuses and who never managed to make any impact at all on the field (I’m talking to you, Moss, and to you, too, Crowder). Marshall, in contrast, contributed big, played out a few years of a highly underpaid contract, and just recently voiced his first bit of disgruntlement. My guess is that he finally realized that NFL players have short careers and that if he wanted to make the kind of money that will take care of him for the rest of his life, he needs to get a good contract before a career-ending injury robs him of the ability to make cuts or push upfield with the same strength that he has now.

While Marshall will make about $2.2 million this years, most of that money comes in the form of incentives. His base salary is closer to half a million while other top wide receivers earn significantly more and Marshall was a top 10 receiver in almost every category last year, easily outpacing TO and Randy Moss, both of whom have much larger contracts. There is little reason to believe he couldn’t hit something like 100 catches and 1300 yards again this season, and that’s the kind of guy who Orton (or Simms) will appreciate down the stretch. That’s no knock against Stokley or Royal, but just an acknowledgement that Marshall’s size, speed, talent, and competitive nature.

Yes, he needs to clean up his private life, but he’s not a lost cause. Give him another chance, give him a better contract, and get one of the most talented young receivers back on the field for the Broncos.

Speaking of second chances, I’m happy as hell that Michael Vick landed with a team and a quarterback who could give him the ultimate second chance. I was a big fan when he came out of college, a bit disappointed the further he got into his career, and mad as hell when he was found to be hip-deep in a dog fighting scandal. But I do believe in second chances and I trust Tony Dungy’s judgement when it comes to players. The man served his time in prison and now has an opportunity to fix the things that he did wrong; how he comports himself from now on will define just how deserving he is of that second chance.

The belief in the potential for redemption--on just about every level of a life--is deeply ingrained in Western, Judeo-Christian culture which is one of the reasons that there most definitely are second acts in American lives. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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