Making sense of Staley's holdout

After holding out of voluntary team minicamps as well as the first week of training camp, Duce Staley has finally spoken out to his teammates and fans regarding his absence from team activities. From his personal website, Staley painted a portrait of ignorance by the team, and his heartfelt wish to be with them at Lehigh. While his words may incline fans to feel sympathetic towards him, Staley's actions clearly speak louder then words.

Coming off of the best year of his career, and entering the final season of his contract, Duce Staley began a holdout. When his teammates reported to voluntary minicamps on time, Staley was MIA. Once training camp rolled around, Staley also missed the obligatory report date and the first team meeting of 2003. Duce has yet to make an appearance at the team's training camp in Bethlehem PA, and people close to the situation doubt that he will even arrive before the season begins.

Staley's teammates, coaches and fans have been outraged by his actions, and the Eagles front office has yet to even comment on the circumstances. This negotiation tactic has hit a sore nerve with head coach Andy Reid, and he will not be calmed by Staley's comments. It even appears that Hugh Douglas may be missed more then Staley during this pre-season. Entering the second week of his training camp holdout, Staley had some interesting things to say; "It's been exactly one week since the start of Eagles training camp, and no one is more upset about my absence at Lehigh than me. There's nothing I want more than to be back on the field with my teammates and friends on the Philadelphia Eagles. I've played my heart out for the Eagles the past six years." Said Staley from his official site. He continued "There's no other team in the NFL I would rather play for, this season and in the future, than the Eagles. It's very important to me that my team, my coaches, and Eagles fans understand this." What is hard to comprehend is why Staley would virtually forgo the final year of his contract in order to seek an extension that may no longer be offered by the team.

In Staley's defense, he has watched several key players either received long-term extensions while still under contract, as well as other players treated unfairly and left out to dry during their free agent period. It appears that all Staley wishes for is reassurance, something the Eagles have been reluctant to give him. "That's why my decision to not attend training camp has been very difficult. I just completed the best year of my career and I am heading into the final year of my contract with the team. I was just interested to know how I fit into the team's plans in the future, including an extension that would have me finishing my career with the Eagles." Explained Staley. He added "Unfortunately, not one person in the Eagles front office has given me any idea of what the future holds for me as a player for the Eagles beyond this season. This has come as a real shock to me. After a while, you start to wonder what's going on. Why haven't the Eagles front office even tried to talk to me and see what my thoughts are on the subject of my future? The reality is that they have not asked what my goals are and what I am trying to accomplish as a key player for the Eagles." If indeed Staley hopes to finish his career as an Eagle, he may not be going about achieving that goal in the most efficient manner.

Holdouts in the NFL are not always looked upon kindly. Take Barry Sanders for instance. When the Lions' star decided to sit out and negotiate a new contract, owners from other teams stayed away when Sanders contemplated a comeback a few years later. The best possible scenario for both Staley and the Eagles is for him to play out the final year of his contract and negotiate an extension at the completion of this season. But if Duce chooses to continue his holdout, he just may wear out his welcome in Philadelphia before he even arrives this season.


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