Breda Report: Honor Among Thieves?

Fed up with many an anti-altruistic modern-day pro athlete, Todd Breda calls out his latest pet peeve. Players who place their selfish desires above the good of the team is at the heart of the latest Breda Report.

“If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.” - Bud Wilkinson

I really just don’t get it.

Apparently, somehow the Ghost of Bob Whitsitt still haunts the halls of Kirkland.

Darrell Jackson’s decision to not show up to these “voluntary” mini-camps is allegedly tied to some kind of agreement between the wide receiver and the former team president before said team president was shown the door.

An NFL source told Seahawks.NET that indeed Jackson’s “principle” for holding out of these camps - that are called voluntary for nobody other than the fools who truly believe that they are just that – is tied to the contract he signed last March. It’s likely that some type of verbal agreement was made between Jackson and Whitsitt may be at the heart of his absence.

You know what I think?

So what, Darrell? Get your butt into camp.

I’m seriously fed up with these multi-millionaire pro athletes who are more concerned about collecting even more millions on top of their existing pile of millions than they are about holding onto the football, and being there for their team when it counts the most.

This modern era of pro sports is unquestionably defined by the very epitome of selfishness. The days when most players played the game with honor and love for their teammates and the game itself seem to be gone.

The NFL is big business. Everyone gets that. The average life expectancy of an NFL career is something like 3 years. I understand the drive to maximize your worth and make as much as you can before time – or injury – takes it all away.

But to what end, I ask? It’s difficult for me, as a diehard supporter and fan of this schizophrenic team for which I’ve never wavered in my loyalty over 30 years now, to endure these prima donnas who don’t take pride in the logo they adorn on game day. “Heck, strap on a pink helmet with a Daffodil as the logo, baby…As long as I’m gettin’ paid!”

“Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.” - Vince Lombardi

Coach Mike Holmgren has reported this past week that he has been actively talking with Jackson over the phone trying to coerce him into camp. Apparently these “chats” are as successful as the ones he shares with running back Shaun Alexander.

All these prima donnas, and one very troubled former wide receiver (Koren Robinson), are quite literally breaking our coach’s heart. As painful as it is for us fans to stand by and watch the drama that recklessly toys with our very chance for success, I can only imagine the sleepless nights Mike Holmgren has had. It’s even more profound when the man considers himself not only a coach but a teacher.

How many students have been failing his course since he arrived six years ago?

“Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.” - Unknown

So far, new team president Tim Ruskell seems to be a man of his word when it comes to his recipe for team success. He has said that no one player should ever place himself above the goals and vision of the team. This formula for success has been achieved in extraordinary fashion by the New England Patriots of recent seasons.

Darrell Jackson, as capable of a wide receiver as he has been, doesn’t seem to be made up of the stuff that values the concept of team over player. Just last year, before his team faced the powerhouse Patriots in New England, Jackson decided that the recipe for motivation was to say in the press that he just didn’t think the Patriots were “that good of a team.”

As the Patriots notched another victory under their belts the following Sunday thanks to Jackson’s Seahawks, it begged the question, “What does Jackson know about what makes a good team anyway?”

Here’s a hint: It starts with showing up to all the camps, Darrell. Yes, even the “voluntary” ones.

“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Not to drudge up the past (oh, what the hell - we’re Seahawks fans, it’s what we do) but I still cringe when I think that the Seahawks first NFC West division title last season was clouded thanks to Shaun Alexander’s infamous remarks following the game.

No hugs, no smiles, high-fives or Gatorade showers. Just one frustrated and selfish player with a message to his coach;

“I was stabbed in the back”.

I won’t pretend that when you are 1yard shy of the NFL rushing title and the coach calls a QB sneak instead of making sure you get the call at all costs, it may rub you the wrong way a touch. However, thinking that the Head Coach is merely thinking of personal records for his players in a game – in that moment - of profound importance to the team is the epitome of arrogance.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” - Henry Ford

Shaun Alexander and Darrell Jackson both can bring a lot to their team. Both seem to be genuinely “good guys” with ready smiles. But somewhere deep down inside them and other players in the NFL like them, lies the beating heart of selfishness. The roar of the fans after a touchdown may drown out the beats, but only temporarily.

In the end, it is the fan that is left to wonder what could have been. For every hold-out from the team camps. For every player who has placed their priority in the signed contract instead of the performance on the field and what’s best for the team as a whole…

The only ones being stabbed in the back are the fans.

“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity.” - Vince Lombardi

Todd Breda is the Owner and Creative Director of Seahawks.Net. If you would like to e-mail Todd, send any and all love letters, hate mail, whimsical musings or your personal dealings with little green men to: todd@seahawks.net.


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