Tuesday, May 29, 2007


On Memorial Day Weekend, like thousands of other Marylanders, I was in Ocean City, Maryland. We jet skied, played a little football on the beach, had a few adult beverages, dined at The Blue Ox and of course we made our way to Fish Tales and to Seacrets. No trip to O.C. could be deemed complete without such an “obligatory” indulgence of the senses.

Everyone needs a little down time…even a website whose moniker includes the street vernacular, “24x7.” And thanks to Dev, Shan and Aaron, we were able to live up to the title during the holiday weekend.

The NFL is nearly 24x7. The league owned network continually reminds us that they are “Football24.7.”

(By the way in case you are keeping score, we beat them to the punch with the 24x7 thing. They just happen to have a little more money than us.)

But back to the concept of down time – we all need it. It helps us to recharge the battery. It acts as an incentive for us all to do the best we can so that we can one day afford even more down time.

Down time replenishes and it makes your focus a bit sharper. It works for you, it works for me and it works for most players in the NFL that aren’t members of the Cincinnati Bengals. And that is why I have absolutely no problem with Ravens’ veterans who choose not to attend the non-mandatory organized team activities (“OTA’s”).

Most fans see these OTA’s as the equivalent of another day at the office for the players. But what value is there in running Ed Reed around in the secondary against a receiver whose livelihood depends upon making an impression today? Why should Terrell Suggs or Trevor Pryce report? Are they going to rush the quarterback? Stuff the run? Will J.O. benefit from repetitive hand punching and footwork drills?

Nearly all of the no shows live outside of Baltimore in the offseason. Every day they spend at non-mandatory activities is another day away from their families. Every day they spend on a practice field competing against athletes fighting for their futures puts them at risk. If Ray Lewis blew out an ACL in a passing camp, you can bet those that are criticizing the vets for not being at all the OTA’s will be the first to ask, "Why did Ray put himself in harm's way during a meaningless practice?"

Some might say that their presence is important to the younger players. Sure it is, but there will be plenty of time for that. Let the youngsters take the reps and let them become more familiar with the terminology so that they have to think less and can play at full speed more when summer camp arrives. Besides, isn’t that what the coaches are for? To teach, instruct, encourage, and to criticize constructively?

Football is just about 24x7 for the players. Even when they aren’t in camp they train to be ready for camp because if they don’t, they will lose. Who among the missing vets has ever arrived not ready for camp when health or bereavement wasn’t an issue?

Players like Willis McGahee have posted because he’s driven to be the best he can be in ’07 and the only way that will happen is if he learns the offense. Steve McNair wants to build upon that which he learned in ’06. Bart Scott claimed he has no life and lives in Baltimore anyway so what else is he going to do? (His words not mine.)

The players aren’t robots and like you and me, they can suffer from a bit of burnout. Why risk the onslaught of burnout too early in the season?

Just let them enjoy their families, their lives and workout on their own. That way when summer camp rolls up, the players will arrive in Westminster with a clear mind and conscience as they prepare for the grind of another long, physically and mentally challenging season.

That will begin their Football24.7.

Meanwhile, I think I'll have another Pain in de Ass!


No. 57 Is Not Ketchup said...

Good points TL. Some fans can be a pain in the ass. I'd rather drink one at Seacrets than be one in Baltimore.

By the way, how's that boat bar and the rock bar these days?

Tony Lombardi said...

The boat bar was closed...all deck hands were missing...I think they are working on it a bit...

The rock bar is larger, more like a boulder bar now.

I have been to more pubs, bars and tiki bars than I care to admit...but in my sometimes not so humble opinion, Seacrets is the best bar on the planet.

And not that size matters, but Seacrets' numbers are staggering from what I'm told. They gross more on cover charges alone than 95% of the other bars and clubs in Ocean City gross in total!

Now there is a man who started small and grew his business exponentially by maintaining and executing a vision.

And that is no pain in de ass!

Every ting Irie mon!

Dawan Song said...

Stop making excuses for these guys. By doing so you enable them. It's their job to practice. Show up for work!

I bet they show up for their paycheck right?

Is that mandatory?

Tony Lombardi said...

Dawan Song, looks like Romeo Crennel agrees with you. Check out the 5/31 edition of The Grapevine.

PurpleRulz said...

Poor response, Dawan. You obviously do not know what VOLUNTARY means. And your paycheck analogy is piss poor as well. Of course it is MANDATORY that they get paid, because it is a part of an agreement called a contract. Ever heard of a contract?

I have days on my work schedule that are optional/voluntary for my attendance and on those days I do NOT show up.

The day these guys do not show up for MANDATORY camps, is when you can whine and cry about it.

I think some of you Baltimore fans are not happy unless you are miserable about something.