Maddox is no whiner

The moment we all knew would come finally happened last week when Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox said he was unhappy the team had decided not to rework his contract during the offseason after giving backup Charlie Batch a deal that includes a $1-million base salary.

Considering Tommy Maddox's base salary this season will be $650,000, it's not hard to see why he might be a little upset. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a new contract and wish I would have signed a new contract," Maddox told reporters last week. "But in the same sense, I'm going to make a pretty good living this year. I can't complain too much."

Yet some in the media have said Maddox is whining about his contract, something that is preposterous.

There's a very good chance Maddox will be the lowest-paid starting quarterback on opening day in the NFL this season. His backup will earn about 33 percent more than he will this season. And he's not supposed to be a little upset that the Steelers won't give him at least a little raise?

OK, I realize that Maddox signed his new contract just last summer and he's got a deal for four more years. The Steelers are under no obligation to tear up his current contract and give him a new one.

In fact, they are being pretty smart by not giving Maddox a new deal based on one season of play. They gave former starter Kordell Stewart a new deal based on what he did in one season and were stuck with him and that monster of a deal for four more seasons.

But is it all that surprising that Maddox wouldn't at least be a little concerned that his backup, who was signed this offseason, will make more money than him?

It's not like he's threatening to hold out of training camp or anything of that nature.

"I've worked way too hard to get back to this point to walk out now," Maddox told reporters. "I've been away from the game for three years and knew how much I missed it. I'd drive myself and my family crazy if I tried to do something like that and I don't want to do that.

"I don't want to do anything that hurts this football team. I think people know me well enough to know that this is my first priority to help this football team win. I'm not going to mope around or wish this would have happened or that would have happened because that's out of my control."

Maddox has a right to be upset about the situation. The Steelers are right not to hand him a fresh new deal just yet - and besides, they can't afford to right now. And we in the media have an obligation to ask questions about the situation and report on it. But to say that Maddox is whining about his contract status as some have done in print radio and television, well that's just wrong.

Dale Lolley

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