After last season’s PR debacle with Kellen Winslow and his mystery injury that eventually led to rumor and speculation that K2 had an STD, subsequently got suspended for debunking that rumor with staph stories, then got unsuspended, I think we were all hoping for something different. Now, it appears that we might be getting more of the same. The drama has officially begun in Browns town. There is a different band on stage, but as they are now playing the opening bars, it is sounding eerily similar to the same tune that we just finished booing off the stage.
Adam Schefter and Cleveland.com are reporting that even before a practice, walkthrough or film session has occurred that Eric Mangini has some fences to mend with his inherited star defensive tackle, Shaun Rogers. According to these two sources, Rogers is peeved at Mangini for slighting him by not saying hello in the Browns’ training facility and also not sharing any pleasantries at the banquet for the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
First of all, Eric Mangini was supposed to have learned something from his first head coaching experience in the NFL. While holding the hands of the players isn’t in the job description, if you wanted people to run through a wall for you on a Sunday, or partake in your stricter training camps, maybe, just maybe you should get to know the guys a little bit. I am sure Eric Mangini missed a couple of opportunities to make friends so far. He certainly must improve upon that.
As for Shaun Rogers, welcome to Romper Room, people. Shaun Rogers is upset that Eric Mangini didn’t see him in the Magic Mirror. The big bad mother of a defensive tackle wants out because he didn’t have the new guy say hello to him yet. Really? Is that what this is all about? Hey Shaun, Lighten Up Francis.
Don’t think I am absolving Eric Mangini for not doing his diligence in making inroads with his players. Given his reputation, I am certainly not going to doubt he has missed opportunities to reach out to his players. At the same time, I am not just going to jump on the bandwagon of Mangini criticism over this one because poor lil Shaun Rogers got his feelings hurt. Yes, we know he has a history of quitting on teams. Yes, we know he was willing to run through a wall for Romeo Crennel. Still, just because we know this about a guy doesn’t mean that we should be babying him all the time. If these two “slights” either perceived or real are what is driving him to want out of Cleveland then his agent needs to have a conversation with him.
Speaking of his agent, could that be Adam Schefter’s source for this tidbit of info? Could this agent really be looking for any way to get Rogers out of his contract so that he can cash in on some of that Albert Haynesworth money? John Clayton is already reporting that the asking price for Haynesworth’s services could be $12 million per year. To put that in perspective, imagine having someone hand you $1000 in cash 12,000 times per year. That means every day, someone would hand you $1k in cash 33 times. That person would have to be camped out in your driveway and follow you around constantly so as not to miss a payment. Elementary, I know. But the point is that is a lot of money.
Rogers is on a 6-year deal that pays him $42 million ($20 mil guaranteed) that runs through 2013. After a dominant year like he had last year, who wouldn’t want a chance to renegotiate, especially in a year where the free agency pool is a bit smallish and you can play second fiddle to Albert Haynesworth who is looking to break into Fort Knox with his negotiations?
Anyway, I am most disappointed that the drama has already begun. I am hoping that this says more about Rogers looking for more money and less about Mangini dropping the ball on reaching out to his new personnel. Hopefully this is an early lesson in how NOT to transition into the job. Hopefully Mangini finds a way to mend this fence and get Rogers back motivated to play the way he did this past year for the Browns.
The only silver lining is this. If the Browns are unable to get this situation under control and it becomes clear that Rogers is going to force his way out, the Browns will at least have a player on their hands who they can trade for real value. Sure, their bargaining power might be reduced a bit if other teams know Rogers is unhappy, but the Browns will still be in the driver’s seat with that contract that runs through 2013.
(Update: Cleveland Frowns thinks “Money, Money, Money“)