Is Plaxico Burress' Suspension Further Proof That Wide Receivers Are Spoiled Brats?
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress recently served a two-week suspension for missing a Sept. 22 team meetings. Burress expressed no regrets over the suspension, even after it had been publicly revealed that the Giants wideout has been fined by his team between 40 and 50 times in the last four seasons.
"I didn't lose any sleep over it," he said in a 17-minute conference call with reporters. "I got me some rest. I was able to get away for a little while, chill out and relax. Things like that happen."
Some are suggesting that such things happen all too often to wide receivers. Along with Burress, Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys has caused a stir after publicly demanding to have more passes thrown his way. Bengals receiver Chad Ocho Cinco has been in the spotlight for legally changing his name from Chad Johnson as well as incessant trash talking. Then there's Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers who, like Burress, recently served a two-game suspension for disciplinary problems.
Some are openly wondering if there is something about the nature of the wide receiver position that breeds egomaniacs.
Wide receivers and their petulant, irresponsible behavior and attitude pose the greatest threat to the NFL's popularity and a coach's job security, and it's all because the rules provide them more protection than any other position except kicker/punter.
Receivers are free to act like idiots because, for the most part, they can avoid the play-to-play beating that most other players experience. And, yes, I saw the hit Anquan Boldin absorbed.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Bill Simmons believes that wide receivers aren't too protected, but actually play a high-risk, high-profile position that can affect a person's self-image.
They're risking their lives -- literally, unquestionably -- every time they cross the middle for a floating spiral. And no matter how gifted any one of them is, his success depends universally on two people: an offensive coordinator (who calls every play) and a quarterback (who throws him the ball). If either slips at his respective job or fails to involve him, then he's simply running wind sprints in front of 70,000 people.
Me me me me me. That's how you have to think. Two of the most successful modern receivers, Keyshawn and TO, are also two of the savviest. They know which buttons to push, how to keep their names in the limelight, how to make sure the Kornheisers and Wilbons will always be arguing about them and, most of all, how to keep footballs coming their way. With Owens, at least, it's definitely an act. Behind the scenes, he's soft-spoken, even a little shy. I met him while working on Jimmy Kimmel's show and couldn't believe he was the same guy who once played part of a game with a Sharpie embedded in his sock.
Longtime football writer Michael Silver suggests that petulant behaviour by wideout is nothing new. Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice was known to have the occasional temper tantrum. What has changed is the media scrutiny they receive.
Whether the offensive coordinator was Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan or Marc Trestman, Rice felt free to rip away. It made for some decent, one-day copy in the era before Internet omnipotence, and it might have caused a bit of tension in the meeting room or on the practice field.
Mostly, however, players and coaches shrugged it off, because they knew that part of what made Rice the greatest was the psychotic competitive drive that fueled his sporadic outbursts.