A lot is happening around the NFL as training camps open up. Here are some takeaways from the latest headlines.
Marshawn Lynch holdout likely more about camp than money
One of the kneejerk reactions regarding the recent NFL holdout of star running back Marshawn Lynch is that it’s a money issue. Though he is already ranked in the top five of his position money-wise, Lynch feels after a fourth Pro Bowl and Super Bowl title he deserves to get like the best. When the Seattle Seahawks refused to comply, he threatened a holdout. That time has come.
At the same time, the truth of the decision may not be entirely about money. Lynch’s style of play, the aggressive, relentless way he runs can take a toll on the body after awhile. Though he’s only 28-years old, that is a pretty high age for a running back. At this stage of his career Lynch may not want to deal with the rigors of training camp and so is deciding to skip it. Some might remember that defensive end Michael Strahan did the same thing back in 2007. Money might be a factor, but this holdout by “Beast Mode” feels more like a decision to choose extra rest over camp preparation.
Trent Richardson debate about to reach final hour
The Indianapolis Colts continue to have unwavering support in running back Trent Richardson. They feel he can become a major contributor in 2014, finally realizing the potential of his high draft status and the first round pick they gave up to get him. He better. Now more than ever the spotlight is on Richardson after the news hit that key reserve runner Vick Ballard will miss the season with a torn Achilles. That leaves only veteran Ahmad Bradshaw as a reliable backup. If he wants to keep his job, Richardson will need to do better than 3.0 yards per carry.
Cleveland Browns need context on Manziel
It was a red flag even before he was drafted and remains one as his career begins in the NFL. Johnny Manziel is often criticized for his party boy behavior off the field, often being caught in social media doing something considered counterproductive. The Cleveland Browns have expressed concern at the antics of their rookie quarterback, but it’s also important to understand him in the broad picture. Manziel is by no means the first quarterback in league history to have a “night life.” Joe Namath was notorious for his back in the 1960s and Ken “the Snake” Stabler rarely got any sleep during his excursions for the Oakland Raiders.
Nothing stopped those two from leading their teams to Super Bowl titles. The point is that not every player is rendered completely useless by partying, clubbing and going hard and fast off the field. Some guys can handle it better than others. Johnny Manziel proved that at Texas A&M even before he became a pro. Perhaps its time for the Browns and the league to accept him for who he is and let him destroy his own life if that is indeed what he’s doing.