Byron Chamberlain was a popular player with his teammates, but not as big a peep as coach Mike Tice. For all his talent, Tice felt his inadequate workout regimen was a problem he, as a former tight end, couldn't tolerate.
So it came as no great shock when Chamberlain tested positive for ephedra -- a weight-loss suplement banned by the NFL following the death of Viking Korey Stringer. Tice had called Chamberlain out in 2002 for his ballooning weight -- 20 pounds more than when he initially was signed by Denny Green in 2001.
When he was released after returning from his suspension, Chamberlain declined comment to VU about his release. However, it didn't diminish his value to a team looking for a playmaking tight end.
Monday the Redskins signed Chamberlain to a two-year, $2 million deal -- a clear indication that more than two teams were negotiating for Chamberlain's rights. The Redskins are looking for more downfield production from the TE spot and believe Chamberlain can be the answer to what is lacking.
VU respects the decision Tice made to release Chamberlain. Guys like Sean Berton or Charles Stackhouse, who broke their butts to remain in the NFL, would have needed to be released to make room for Chamberlain. Tice was unwilling to do that, perhaps motivated by the team's 4-0 start when Chamberlain returned.
Chamberlain's locker room presence will be missed. He was a favorite of many players. But this is a business and Tice is likely going to ask for a significant raise if the team continues to perform at this level. Tice needed to make a statement and he did.
All of us at VU wish Chamberlain the best with the Skins. He's a classy guy. But, his time with the Vikings was over perhaps before the positive test came through. There is no ill will on the Vikings side toward him and it looks like he doesn't hold a grudge against the Vikes.
In case you need reminding, it's not show friends, it's show business. And football is one of the most ruthless businesses of all. Fortunately, sometimes good can come from the cut-throat nature of the business. God speed, Byron. Make the fans in D.C. love you.
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