I hoped that I could have moved on from talking about Antonio Bryant by now, especially after he signed a 4 year $28 million dollar deal with the Bengals. That contract almost by itself refutes all the bullshit the Bucs have put out about the guy, and at the same time makes it even more infuriating that they didn't at least keep the door open to matching any offer in an effort to bring him back. But here we are a couple of days later and I am still hearing radio pundits smearing the guy in an effort, I guess, to give cover to the Bucs for not resigning him. What's pissing me off the most is that some of the arguments now don't even match up with previous smears against the guy. Why can't they just wish him well and keep his name out their mouths and instead focus on the question of why we still have Michael Clayton on our roster who couldn't catch a cold ass naked in the North Pole?
There is one argument in particular that almost made me pull over on the side of the road because it had me just that annoyed. All of a sudden the story is that Antonio Bryant is a quitter, that he "quit" on the team at some magical point last season that nobody can really point to.
Calling an NFL player a quitter is maybe the worst knock you can put against a guy. Nobody who works their ass off to try to win wants a quitter on their team. And any guy who gets labeled a quitter is going to have to work overtime to win his new teammates over in trying to convince them that he's not one. And whats most disgusting about the smear is that you almost can't disprove it which means rightly or wrongly you might have to go the rest of your career trying to live that criticism down even if its total bullshit.
See if any of the radio hosts who are now repeating this line of crap over and over again about Bryant ever took two minutes to think this through logically, they would realize that it conflicts with an earlier "anonymous" Bucs justification for not resigning AB. That being that his knee was soooooo bad that he would never regain the form he once had.
Concerns over Bryant's knee and a commitment to build through the draft led to the decision not to offer him a contract. Bryant, who has played with four teams in his seven-year career, earned $9.88 million as the franchise player in 2009.
Now explain to me how a guy who has a knee as bad as the Bucs wanted us to believe AB's is could then ALSO be a quitter after he goes out and play on that same knee for 13 out of the 16 games last year? And STILL ends up being the team leader in receptions and receiving yardage at the wide receiver position?
See, this smear, and yes its definitely a smear, doesn't make any logical sense at all when you put it together with the old smear about his knee not holding up.
So then why would some anonymous official from the Bucs feed this kind garbage to these water carrying radio hosts? Well its probably because that while AB did play most of the year, he didn't play the two games after the Bucs' golden child, Josh Freeman, was named a starter. Remember that last year the Bucs did everything they could to insure that Freeman would have every advantage possible to succeed. They decided against allowing him to start while Jeff Faine was out for fear of getting him killed (a concern they evidently have for Josh Johnson). They also decided against allowing him to start the game in London against a very good Patriots defense. And finally they decided that giving him the start after the off week would give him the greatest chance to go out and make all of them look good.
But there was one small glitch. See the team's best receiver, AB, DID play in London and unfortunately the game combined with the long flights over and back really did a number on his knee. So unfortunately he wasn't able to play in either of those first two games of Freeman's reign.
Now do you think the Bucs officials who had so much riding on Freeman last season were happy about Bryant having to sit out those games? Hell I can tell you from experience that they weren't and they probably put as much pressure as possible on him to play anyway. And yet when he DID play through the pain to try to help the team what did he end up getting for his trouble after the season?
Another anonymous Buccaneers jack ass claiming that he didn't run "crisp" routes and "freelanced" too much.
In closing, can the radio hosts I'm talking about, and if you read this I am sure you will know if I'm talking about you, stop being fucking sock puppets for the Buccaneer brass, especially when it comes to bashing former Buccaneers? At the very least try to think through whatever bullshit they are feeding you and try to discern if it even makes any sense. It doesn't really help you at all to keep reporting lies as fact about players, instead it makes you look like major league tools. If the Bucs are going to keep using you to fight their battles, at the least tell them to leave some money on the night stand before they leave.
It is what it is.