Some strange things are happening in the NFL these days. Players who seemingly want out of their current situations are going to some pretty drastic measures in order to get out and on the other side are teams waiting for them with open arms.
On Tuesday, wide receiver Braylon Edwards pleaded not guilty to assault charges stemming from that pesky little incident back in October where he was involved in a brawl at a popular Ohio nightclub. Interesting enough, the day following that incident, news broke that Edwards had been traded to the New York Jets in a deal that shipped him out of Cleveland, which if you recall was exactly what he wanted all along. Since 2007, Braylon hasn't been shy in voicing his displeasure with the Browns organization and his desire to be released from his contract that was set to expire at the end of the 2009 season. But after a 1-4 start and much of the same it seems that incident proved beneficial to him as he signed with a team ready for the future, only needing a number one receiver to complete the deal. It should however be noted that since Edwards' Monday night performance against the Miami Dolphins, the Jets are 1-4 and the team has not looked as good since having the spotlight taken off of their new acquisition.
The award however, for best performance of getting kicked off a sorry team has to go former Kansas Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, whose actions affected both the NFL and parts of the gay and lesbian community. In the category of "Go hard or go home" Johnson showed the kind of determination his new team can only hope he backs up on the football field. On October 26th following another loss with new head coach Todd Haley, Johnson took to his twitter page and blasted his coach and threw venom towards fans challenging his actions. And just for good measure he went on to reiterate those same sentiments in a press conference that all but signed his pink slip out of Kansas City. In the end, the 7-2 Cincinnati Bengals called up Johnson and offered him a one year deal to help in their quest at greatest this season. The Bengals are playing some of their best football as a franchise and just signed a player who could easily help aid them in going the distance this season. Not bad for a guy who calls out his coach and participates in bullying fans.
I mean is this what we've become accustomed to in the NFL? Players who act out, instead of suffering the consequences of their actions, are awarded to teams with much better chances of success? I'm not knocking it, but I do find it interesting. Particularly since none of this is new in the NFL. Players constantly use the media to voice their frustrations and air grievances, but the outcomes have changed a bit recently.
Controversial players like wide receiver Chad Ochocinco took to calling out his team, the Cincinnati Bengals, for close to two years and the team never came close to releasing him from his contract. His cries fell on deaf ears and he was forced to play out the terms of his contract, what an injustice, right? Ironically since that time, the team showed their faith in his abilities as their number one receiver by letting then free agent TJ Houzmenadeh go to the Seattle Seahawks during the off season. Whether the source of Chad's displeasure stemmed from his desire to be the guy in Cincinnati will remain a mystery, but it's his team now and the Bengals are in position this season to be a special team and Chad is a happy man.
Everyone doesn't always win in these situations and some times while the player may get what he wants there always an exception when things "go as planned". Such is the case with former Denver Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler. Shortly after head coach Josh McDaniels joined the team, rumors began to swirl of a possible trade of Cutler, which sent the media and Jay into a tailspin. In the end no deal was ever reached, but the damaged had been done as Cutler refused to let the incident go and demanded his way out of Denver. In what appeared to be a steal, the Chicago Bears stepped forward and traded away their starting quarterback Kyle Orton for the coveted franchise quarterback that all teams desire. The marriage however, has been a disaster since I do as Cutler has been a total bust thus far and Chicago was not the team he thought they were. (but they are who Dennis Green thought there were) For Orton, over in Denver, he started the season 6-0 and although the team has taken a three game skid, right now he and the Broncos are the only winners in this deal. I should note that it was not Cutler's fault he was originally dangled out there in the trade market but, he wanted out and now I'm sure he'd give anything to have Brandon Marshall to throw to instead of Devin Hester (no offense).
For Edwards and Johnson, only time will tell how their careers will play out in their new digs but they look a lot brighter on teams with winning records and players to build success around. So is this the new way to remedy a bad situation for players in the NFL? Does character and behavioral issues get thrown out of the window when it comes to winning football games? And if the grass isn't always greener is it worth the risk?