DeSean Jackson is back with his coaches and teammates, putting an end to the (not so) mini-freakout.
Today's question: How much do you actually care and why?
As always, I will kick it off and suggest that when your team sucks out loud, hard work during the offseason is one of the best methods to employ to get better. The best teams in the league typically turn out the top guys to these programs at close to a 100% rate. It bears mentioning that this particular player has at least suffered a little bit in the perception department over the years. Regardless of what you believe, headlines about Jackson missing team events while courtside at NBA events will always play poorly.
We all know the kind of player DeSean Jackson is on Sundays--an ELITE player. The question I have is, in what way can an elite player contribute to making his team elite? DeSean is going to get his catches, yards, and touchdowns on Sundays. Is it possible for his presence during the summer workouts to make other players better? Is it possible that his attendance--or dedication to attend--raises the bar for all the other players on the team?
On the flip side, are there players you simply don't want around your younger players? I am not suggesting that DeSean Jackson is one of those guys, but it has been suggested by football people (Chip Kelly, for instance).
I will leave you with this thought: just because you hear that his absence was excused, and that he informed his coaches and teammates of his whereabouts does not mean that it is as hunky-dory as it all sounds. We all remember last year when DeSean left the team hanging on their draft party when he hopped a plane to California. Anyone who wants to beat up on me for bringing up his history should at least try and remember that players of his caliber are rarely fired the way he was. My surprise in all of this stems from a simple assumption that a player might want to prove haters and doubters and former employers wrong. DJax didn't even join his quarterback and fellow receivers for workouts in Florida earlier this spring. We can agree that all of this is voluntary, but I think of it as voluntarily wanting to get better and help make the team better, while others would stick closer to the literal meaning of "voluntary attendance." That's fair.
Is it as simple as saying, "You don't have to care, but maybe you don't have to be so blatant and public about not caring?"
Is it as simple as saying, "He's a veteran that doesn't need to be running routes in late May/early June?"
In the old days, players had actual, real jobs in the offseason. They needed them to pay the bills. Today, the players have "lives" in the offseason that keep them from working at the thing that pays the bills. It is foreign to me, but that doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it something that is worthy of some vigorous master debating!