Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Good news, bad news

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Steelers have notified the agents of linebackers Kendrell Bell and James Farrior that they will open contract negotiations sometime next month. Both players are in the last years of their contract -- just like wide recevier Plaxico Burress. The only difference is that Bell and Farrior are in Pittsburgh working out with the team while Burress is at home in Miami playing XBox.

The article also reports that:
"Privately, Steelers officials have said they have no plan to negotiate a contract extension with Burress...A source close to Burress indicated he is acting on his own, that his agents did not advise him to stay away from minicamp or the other workouts."
If that's the case then Burress really is a dope. I could understand (at least on some level) if he had an agent chirping in his ear about how good he is and the Steelers are disrespecting him by not renegotiating his contract ASAP. But for him to do this on his own is ludicrous.

Apparently, some NFL personnel people realize that Burress has yet to live up to his potential and he's doing nothing to change that perception by sitting out. The story goes on to say:
"Steelers officials, players and various agents believe it is a strange tactic by Burress if it is over his contract. He has one year to play and will become an unrestricted free agent. Presumably, the more productive he is in 2004, the more money he will get in a new contract."
Given what's transpired over the last few weeks, that seems too logical for Burress to consider. I'm not sure what he hope to accomplish by sitting out, but doing this basically alienates him from the coaches, his teammates, the media and the fans.

When he comes back, his every move will be scutinized. And the first in-game mistake he makes will be accompanied by boos and jeers that even he's not used to hearing. If Burress just showed up to camp, practiced hard and went out and had a good year, the contract would take care of itself. Now, he's all but guaranteed he won't be back in Pittsburgh in 2005, and if he has another below-average season, he could be out of football in a few years. At which point I'm sure he'll wonder why the hell he was so stubborn in the spring of 2004.