Felton Huggins was having a solid training camp. He seemingly came out of nowhere to be #2 on the depth chart at Lee Evans’ WR position. Huggins suffered an injury that ended his run with the Bills and left him on the waived/injured list. This is why in football, like no other sport, players need to take care of their business as soon as they can.
Some fans never seem to appreciate the situation of the pro football player. These guys are paid millions for playing a game, fans will say. They don’t appreciate anything, they are selfish, and don’t care enough about doing what is for the good of the team are all familiar refrains. Here is what I would say to those fans, I very rarely, if ever, blame an NFL player for holding out.
Darrelle Revis is currently holding out for the New York Jets, and some fans, and coaches, are starting to turn on him. Rex Ryan, who touted Revis as an MVP candidate just a season ago, has come out and said that his system makes Revis a luxury and not a necessity. Perhaps Revis watched Leon Washington get injured a year ago and miss his opportunity just a year ago to cash in on a big contract. I haven’t heard too much outcry from fans to try and sign Washington to a big extension now.
These players do make a lot of money and are playing a game, I realize that. However, the salaries in football are the result of the money the sport generates due to the fans’ interest and willingness to pay for tickets, merchandise, concessions, etc. These players are trying to make enough money to support themselves for the rest of their lives in a violent game. While an average person could obviously live on a couple million dollars for their entire lives, these players are not normal people. They’re in a multi-million dollar industry, and deserve fair compensation for that.
I very rarely see the owners’ side in a dispute when it comes to the NFL. These are the same people who profit more than anyone from the success of their sport. They are also the same men who will cut a player and terminate his contract as soon as his production dips. So why shouldn’t they have to pay more when a player exceeds his contract?
If you want to have guaranteed contracts, then I could understand people not agreeing with a player’s holdout. I feel that in the NFL, with non-guaranteed contracts, the owners have it pretty good. A player has the right to make what he can, while he can, before he is injured or past his prime. While I don’t want to see or think about a strike from football next season, I’m hoping the owners of the league don’t get greedy and try to undercut the players again. Without players, there is no league. Remember that the next time you think about begrudging a player for trying to maximize his earnings. These owners have no trouble paying their bills.