In this slow time of the off-season, it seems like Brian Orakpo is the only player garnering headlines lately. One mention of his name sends Redskins nation into a tizzy and forces everyone to take sides. He is certainly a lightning rod for conversation. At Brian's Leukemia Golf Classic yesterday, Orakpo made the controversial comment that "he had nothing to prove to anyone." I don't know what point he was ACTUALLY trying to make but whatever it was, he missed the mark.
I was taken back when I first read the comments and they struck me as odd. The more I thought about the comments, the more they aggravated me. While Orakpo currently believes he has "nothing to prove," he fails to realize that the NFL is a prove-it league. Every day you need to prove you belong. In training camp, you need to prove it. In the preseason, you need to prove it. During the season, you need to prove it. In crunch time, you need to prove it. The BEST players in this league understand this concept. When you stop believing you need to prove you're one of the best, that's the moment your career will start its downward arch.
How many players have proven they belong and get that big deal? How many players get that big deal, stop proving they earned it, and get cut before that deal finishes? Albert Haynesworth stopped proving that he was the most dominant DT in the league as the ink from his $100 million dollar contract was drying. On the other hand, Michael Jordan was already known as the best player in the NBA and made sure he went out on that court every night and proved it. While those are two extreme examples, you'd still like Orakpo's attitude to be a little closer to the latter.
While I like Orakpo, these comments rubbed me the wrong way and I'm sure I'm not the only one. You can't act entitled in a business where everyone is hungry and there are only a few spots to eat. The fact of the matter is, the Redskins are visiting with early round pass rushers and you are playing on a franchise tag. That tells me that you have something to prove to somebody, Mr. Orakpo.