Sydney Speaks! Where's the loyalty?

As free agency and the draft draw closer, former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney questions the true loyalty among NFL teams and players. Will loyalty play a factor in Green Bay's decision to keep some of its players scheduled to be free agents, or are due big signing bonuses or salaries next season? Will some longtime Packers remain loyal to Green Bay rather than bolt for greener pastures?

It's that time of year that many fans just take for granted and just think about what their teams are going to do in the draft, or what free agents their team will go after. And some of the real football fans question what their teams are doing with their own players. But who's talking about loyalty?

During the months and weeks leading up to training camp all we hear from some fans are ‘This guy's a bum,' or ‘He stinks for holding out.' Remember the Javon "Walkbumaga" and how everyone thought he was selfish and not ethical for wanting more when he signed his contract because he knew what he was doing when he and his agent put their names on the dotted line. And, yes, we all are still living with the T.O. soap opera wanting out of San Francisco and getting out, then bringing a great organization like the Eagles down to their knees because of his lack of loyalty and his attempted character assassinations of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb's careers. As fans we hated what they stood for. We thought that what they stood for was nothing more than spoiled little brats that wanted the world to believe that they deserved and earned every red cent of their contract and should be paid more. We cursed them and guys like them that didn't honor their contracts. Everyone thought that anyone that didn't honor their contracts or lived up to their word showed a lack of character. SO WHAT ABOUT THE MIGHTY ORGANIZATIONS OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE?

This past week how many clubs cut players, good players, just because they didn't want to pay them the money that they had agreed on in the contracts. I hear, ‘Oh they are just salary cap casualties.' Talk about speaking out of both sides of the mouth. The last time I heard the definition of loyalty, it was a two-way street. Why aren't the players supposed to be loyal and live up to their contract and accept possible career-ending injuries as well as sacrificing their heart and soul? Because in reality it was what both parties agreed on, but the organization can just say, ‘Sorry, the amount we both agreed on is too much now. So what you did for us was just business and we have to let you go.'

Let's look at someone like Kerry Collins who is supposed to get a roster bonus of $2.5 million next month from the Raiders. Once he is released, that money goes bye-bye. What about someone like Warrick Dunn, who plays for the Atlanta Falcons? He's due $8.5 million next year and now the Falcons aren't sure they want to pay him that much. All he does is play his butt off, and if you have heard about his charity work you would realize how many lives he changes with that money. Just to name a few there will and already have been a lot of salary cap causalities. Guys like Ty Law, Julian Peterson of the 49ers, even Drew Brees will be a victim of the same fate. They do everything to win for that organization, and then they are shown the door. Talk about loyalty. Exactly what does that mean in professional sports, especially this game that I love?

But now the Green Bay Packers, as an organization, and some of the players that are free agents have an opportunity to change the path laid down by so many other teams and players. For example, Ryan Longwell doesn't have to demand the moon and he should give the Packers the opportunity to keep him in the Green and Gold. The Packers don't have to disrespect him, either. If the Packers aren't going to pay big money for a kicker, I understand. But if they are going to it might as well be on Longwell! I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes everything doesn't have to be about money, especially when there is mutual respect. What I mean about being fair is don't insult Longwell. The Green Bay Packers should look at what he has done and ask themselves: ‘Who's really out there that can do better for the cost that you'll have to pay to replace him?' It's not just what Ryan has done on the field, but look at what he has done off the field. He's a SOLID REPRESENTATION of a Green Bay Packer. And Longwell must understand the grass isn't always greener just because the money might be thicker. Why go somewhere else and start all over when everything he might want is right under his nose? I know he might one day play golf for a living, but that's what off-season homes are for. I'm not only talking about Ryan Longwell. William Henderson and Ahman Green have done nothing but show loyalty to the Green Bay Packers and I really hope that the Packers show them loyalty back.

We as fans must remember when it was a game and our favorite players played their entire career right in front of our eyes. Except for a few, those days are gone. The players and the organizations are both selfish and do what's best for themselves and that's the bottom line because it's now a business. WHERE'S THE LOYALTY? Hopefully the answer is right here with the Green Bay Packers. For me, that would be nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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