OPINION: What's next for Charles Rogers?

So the question really becomes, does Rogers have what it takes - the guts to fight his way to success or is he a spoiled prima donna who can't handle it when the going gets tough?

DETROIT - As the last fifteen seconds ticked off the clock at Ford Field on August 31, 2006, Charles Rogers stripped off his #80 Detroit jersey and walked out onto the playing field for the last time as a Lion.

After a few handshakes with the opposition, he headed toward the tunnel, but then stopped to take one last look into the stands at the few remaining fans who had cheered loudly when he caught his only pass of the night for just three yards.

Rogers walked toward a young fan clad ironically in a #3 Harrington Detroit jersey. He handed him his #80. He then headed up the tunnel, commented briefly to reporters and headed into the darkness outside.

The youngster sat there somewhat bewildered; was a game worn jersey from an NFL player a cherished keepsake for life or something to put up on ebay as quickly as possible?

The page turns.

For Charles Rogers, it is the most unlikely of endings. He's healthy, he worked hard in practice, he relished a chance at a fresh start in Detroit, but instead, the ending was a public humilation by the team who drafted him 3rd overall in the 2002 NFL draft.

Rogers had been promised substantial playing time heading into the Lions final preseason game, but instead, got in only ten plays and was used mostly as a decoy.

His frustration bubbled over as he talked about "not being able to see myself here" and "his days being numbered."

He was released along with three other Lions draft picks by new coach Rod Marinelli and has yet to be picked up by any team.

While the disfunctional Detroit organization played a large role in Rogers' demise, if the Saginaw standout wants a shot at redemption, he needs to take a long look in the mirror.

Rogers prized status as a bonus baby, second overall draft choice is all but gone. Sure it'll garner him a few looks, but that's about all.

It's up to him now to prove that he can be a Terry Glenn and not a Koren Robinson.

It'll be up to him to show that he can reclaim the playing status that made him the top collegiate receiver in the nation while beating the substance abuse that is causing NFL teams to look at him like a juicy T-bone steak with flies hovering all over it.

There's no doubting Rogers has talent. Much of that talent was on display throughout the Lions training camp, but at some point, the MSU star hit a wall, a wall he couldn't go through.

Some point to the presence of Roy Williams, the former University of Texas standout and his emergence as the featured receiver in the Lions offense as a barrier Rogers couldn't accept. Rogers had stated, "there's going to be a competition" when he believed that he was on equal footing with Williams in the coaching staff's mind.

But dealing with the demanding Mike Martz, proved to be too much for Rogers, just as it did for former Lions signal caller Joey Harrington. Ironically, both could be reunited in South Florida.

Rogers old head coach Nick Saban has not ruled out giving his former star receiver a workout according to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also worked out the former second overall pick in the 2002 draft, but he left there without receiving a contract from coach Jon Gruden. The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals all sniffed, but didn't bite.

Rogers has never faced this kind of competition for a spot on the football field or for that matter in life. He's basically showed up, his talent flashed and coaches went ga-ga. But after two consecutive season ending injuries and a failed drug test, he starts from scratch.

So the question really becomes, does Rogers have what it takes - the guts to fight his way to success or is he a spoiled prima donna who can't handle it when the going gets tough?

Does he have what it takes to actually work his way onto an NFL roster? The 'proof is in the pudding' as they sometimes say.

The penthouse or the scrap heap, Charles?

The choice is yours.

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