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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cedric, You Fool

Cedric Benson is doing his best Curtis Enis impression, holding out for more cash than he's presently worth, or than any of his fellow draftmates are signing for. We all know what happened to Enis (he held out for more money in 1998, got a little bit more, and then got injured and never really played above third-string level again), so what do you think the chances the once-bitten Chicago Bears will bend and pay off Cedric? Well, here's the quote from Bears GM Jerry Angelo (released Aug. 18th):
After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson. No dollars are left on the bargaining table, and at this point the only contract discussions that will be entertained will be reflective of the considerable loss of value to the club created by the player's extended absence.

We will not provide details regarding contract negotiations, however, in an effort to move forward and focus solely on preparing for a winning football season, we believe it is important for everyone to know our position on Benson's contract situation as his holdout enters Day 26 and now is the NFL's only unsigned first-round draft choice.

The Chicago Bears have always placed a premium on having our players in camp on time, and recent history reflects our excellent track record. Our last four number one draft picks have been signed on time for the opening of training camp. Two of those picks, Rex Grossman and Tommie Harris, were also represented by Benson's agent, Eugene Parker.

The failure to reach an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract has been a huge disappointment. We look forward to having Cedric end his holdout and join his coaches and teammates as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Wow. Looks like he has two choices. Sit out for a year and re-enter the draft next year (yeah, other NFL teams ought to really jump at that chance) or check his ego at the door and take the honest money the Bears are offering him and get his butt into camp.

I mean, he was the fourth pick in the draft, the third signed for $19 million (Braylon Edwards with Cleveland), the fifth draft pick signed for $15 million (Carnell "Cadillac" Williams with Tampa Bay), and Benson was offered $17 million. What's the problem rookie? It takes a lot of kolaches to not only raise yourself above the other draft picks, but to also do so without playing one NFL game or even attending one NFL practice.

I know this is somewhat self-defeating, but I hope they Bears front office really doesn't budge. If he doesn't want the cash, screw him. See you later. Like the other Bears, who are actually practicing, want to deal with this guy now anyway.

I wish the best of luck to Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson as the Bears starting backfield if Cedric indeed doesn't sign (even if he does now, he'd most likely not start for a few games). But, man, without Rex Grossman already, and now that three more Bears got hurt on Sunday and are out for the season (backup safties Bobby Gray and Cameron Worrell and reserve linebacker Marcus Reese), the upcoming season for the Bears looks fairly bleak. As in, .500 would be an amazing accomplishment. Wonderful.

This brings up another concern, why do they play four preseason games? How many players have to get hurt before they reduce these meaningless games to a reasonable two or possibly three? Is the cash at the gate and from the TV viewership that important? Ask Michael Vick his opinion on that (or Rex for that matter).


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