When DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles and then later signed by the Washington Redskins, he became the latest of a special breed: players who are tolerated only for a short time by their current head coach, or just not tolerated at all.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, today there were more reports that Jackson was petulant in the Eagles locker room and not liked by his teammates. The dislike became so strong that despite still contributing at a high level, his disruptive attitude was too much to bear.
It’s an act we’ve seen before, and we’ll see it again. Stud player does stud stuff, then says or does stupid things, and bye. Here are four more examples of players best served in small doses. Note the position of choice for all but one.
Randy Moss felt the wrath of Belichick
Randy Moss was always the sort of character who cared so very little about his public perception. The only opinion he cared about is what Randy Moss thought of Randy Moss, and he always gave himself the highest grades.
Moss sulked and did little in Oakland because being motivated there was a real challenge. Over two seasons as a Raider when he was still in his prime, Moss accumulated only 1,558 receiving yards. So between that and his lack of care-giving he became a cancer, and he quickly needed to be jettison when new head coach Lane Kiffin came aboard in 2007. That led to Moss being traded to New England for a fourth-round pick.
Seriously, there was a time in our lives when Randy Moss was worth only a fourth-round pick in a trade, because much like Jackson his attitude was toxic and an unmotivated Moss was useless anyway. So what did he do the next season? Oh you know, just set the single-season record for touchdowns with 23, a mark that still stands. He was a crucial piece of an undefeated Patriots team before they lost in the Super Bowl.
For a marginal fee he remained that key cog over three seasons when the Pats won 37 games. Then when he started to fade in 2010 his jerk ways became less tolerable, and the wrath of Belichick was lowered. Moss played for three teams in 2010, finishing with the Titans after insulting some well-meaning caterers in Minnesota.
His final moments in New England pretty much went as follows…
Annnnd a few weeks later, this was his last sizzling hot take in Minnesota…
Albert Haynesworth was little more than lazy
Looking back on Albert Haynesworth re-defining free agency bust in Washington, it should occur to us all that maybe he was the smart one. If we are to believe former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, Haynesworth didn’t care about earning all of the $100 million contract he signed as the marquee free agent in 2009. No, his attitude went something like this: “I’m going to take all that sweet guaranteed cash ($41 million in total), sit on my hind region, and then walk away from football with a still young and perfectly healthy body”.
And that’s what he did. Haynesworth is now 32 years old, and he hasn’t played since 2011. His trying ended in 2008 after he was beastly in Tennessee with 8.5 sacks that season, and if we add in the previous season he totaled 14.5 over a two-year period. But that was a time when he was also a complete nut job, stomping on an opposing lineman’s forehead.
In hindsight then, it should have been pretty easy to realize Haynesworth is not a normal, clear headed individual who enjoys trying.
Chad Ochocinco, or Johnson, or whatever
Long known for his charisma that doubled as weirdness and later became annoying as his skills faded, Chad Johnson was signed by the Dolphins after being released from New England following one year of nothingness with only 15 catches. He likely wasn’t going to make the final Miami roster out of training camp anyway, but a domestic abuse charge and arrest following an incident with his now former wife expedited Johnson’s exit.
Hard Knocks was quite pleased, because ratings.
Terrell Owens also cared mostly just about Terrell Owens
The tale of Terrell Owens in Philadelphia reads similar to that of Moss above, but this time the good times reached an even higher level of absurdity, as did the bad times. And the end came that much sooner.
When he was signed as a free agent in 2004, Owens began his time as an Eagle with 12 touchdowns over his first nine games, a stretch that also included six 100-yard games. But then in Week 14 — a glorious time when the Eagles were 13-1 and Owens already had 1,200 receiving yards — he suffered a severely sprained ankle and fractured tibia after a Roy Williams horse collar tackle. Then as only he could Owens made a promise: if we make the Super Bowl, I’m playing.
And that he did, defying all laws of medical science. During a tight 24-21 Super Bowl loss to New England now infamous for Donovan McNabb’s projectile vomit, Owens more than did his part with 122 yards on nine catches, all while gimping on a mangled ankle.
The glee associated with his performance despite the loss was short-lived, though, as he then followed a familiar career path after he had worked to negate a trade between the 49ers and Ravens just to land in Philly to begin with. After that sparkling 2004 season Owens wanted more damn money now. It was an understandable feeling since his paycheck was scheduled to decline from $9 million in 2004 to $4.5 million in 2005, and that two-year total pay didn’t place him among the top 10 at his position.
Looking back on it now, Owens had every reason to demand a renegotiated contract as he did, and threaten to hold out from training camp because of his ridiculously back-end loaded deal at the time. But the way in which he went about it — playing summer basketball, and publicly insulting both McNabb and the Eagles organization — was all wrong. But nothing less should have been expected from a guy who openly questioned Jeff Garcia’s sexuality in San Francisco (“Like my boy tells me: ‘If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat.’ “).
When he was benched by the Eagles not even halfway through the 2005 season and chaos ensued, we were all granted this everlasting (and grainy) gift.