Gridiron Notes: Tillman, Clarett, and Manning

I will digress to talk football here for a moment.

First, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday. Pat turned down a rather large contract with the Cardinals to join the Army after September 11. It was quite a noble thing to do. From the reports I am reading he was quite an interesting fellow who will be missed.

Second, I am sorry that Maurice Clarrett has been denied the option to play in the NFL, though I do not disagree with the court. What bugs me about this whole affair is how commentators have been grandstanding about how young kids are not ready for the NFL. What a bunch of bull. If Clarett is not ready then why does the NFL have to bar him from the draft? No team would take him if he is not ready. This is about the NFL protecting its state-subsidized and protected monopsony minor league known as NCAA football. I support all legislation to remove public support of the NCAA. This charade that the NCAA is about something other than extracting wealth from young talented atheletes is absurd.

Would you like some evidence that Eli Manning should be concerned about playing for the San Diego Chargers? How about the fact that GM AJ Smith was stupid enough to leak this information to the media before the draft! The first pick in the draft is as valuable as the expected production of the best player available. Even if you are not going to select the best player available, no one else has to know that. Now teams that are willing to trade for Manning know that SD bears a considerable amount of risk by drafting Manning. The suitors may now attempt a deal with teams that follow, or they may offer the Chargers less compensation for the pick. Regardless of what happens I am glad Manning is smart enough to know that SD is not a good place to be.

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