News never stops or wavers in the NFL. As the headlines keep rolling, here are some takeaways to consider.
Cam Newton injury only cloud Carolina offensive issues further
While not so much doubt, it’s fair to say there’s been some misgivings about the potential ceiling of the Carolina Panthers offense in 2014. Despite the addition of 1st round pick Kelvin Benjamin, the team doesn’t look much better at the position on paper. This on top of the fact they lost their Pro Bowl left tackle to retirement and have a backfield overcome with age and injury concerns. Now throw in the cloudy health status of quarterback Cam Newton, who is recovering from a left ankle injury, and the optimism is stretched to the breaking point for an NFL team expected to improve upon their 12-4 season in 2013.
Richard Sherman continuing to make enemies
Being the world champions affords a team and its players to say what they like regarding why they are the best. Richard Sherman has done nothing but that since he joined the Seattle Seahawks. It’s part of his DNA, but for all his success the cornerback just can’t seem to stop himself from creating more and more enemies both on and off the field. That includes players from his own offense, as a recent scuffle at practiced pointed out. It will be brushed off as part of the everyday life during off-season workouts but at some point Sherman is going to have to answer for his actions, much like Isaiah Thomas did for those “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons teams back in the 1980s. How he handles it may be what ultimately determines his legacy, not his play on the field, which is a shame.
Chicago Bears refuse to value family over performance
It all started when Brian Urlacher, the face of the franchise for over a decade was let go. He was upset, fans were upset and more than a few teammates were upset. At the same time, the message was clear. The Chicago Bears are no longer paying for past performance. As much as the family-owned franchise values the familial spirit, their new brass won’t let that lead them into awarding roster spots to players who no longer deserve it. That was hammered home yet again when Israel Idonije, a one-time starting defensive end and team leader for the Bears, was cut before the start of training camp. Though he is a fan favorite, his lack of impact in practice was what concerned coaches the most. The Bears have been all about embracing former players, but have not shrunk from their stance that no amount of glorious history matters in the present of winning games.
Johnathan Franklin made the right call to retire
There are few things harder to watch in the NFL than a young player coming to grips with having to retire. It just has that feel of a dream being crushed, something that goes against the very fiber of the “American spirit.” That reality came home for running back Johnathan Franklin, who chose to hang up the cleats after just one season with the Green Bay Packers due to a neck injury that remains a real concern. He might not feel it at the moment, and it’s understandable, but years down the road Franklin will realize he made the right decision. Despite the glamour and allure of football with its camaraderie and money, it can’t compensate for being paralyzed the rest of ones life. To a man it’s likely that any player would say he’d rather have the use of his body in old age over lots of money and piece of jewelry.