Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rings or money...Let's be fair

Dominic Rhodes signing with Oakland brings up for me an important point that fans often overlook when it comes to pro athletes. Only the very top few are millionaries. Take for instance a guy like Dom. He's an undrafted free agent playing for the league minimum. He spends five well paid years with the Colts, but he's not exactly set for life. He's earning a few hundred thousand dollars a year, and that's great money (I'd take it!), but you can't exactly retire on it. Now, I'll assume that Dom is a smart guy, and he did go to college, so let's say he's employable upon retirement. Whatever he does for the rest of his life, he's probably not every again going to get the chance to earn multiple millions of dollars a year. This is his ONE shot to take care of his family.
Ask yoursef how much you would pay in real dollars to play for a team that could win a Super Bowl. Look at your children and ask yourself realistically how much. If Dom takes a pay cut to resigning with the Colts, that's real money that his family won't get paid. Unless you are really one of the super-wealthiest players and can afford the difference between a million dollars or not, any responsible man would have to do what's best for his family and future. How selfish would your kids think you were if you gave up a million dollars just to play for a ring? Now, for a first round pick like Edge was, a guy who is in some ways playing for a legacy and a possible HoF slot, you could argue that things are different. Dom Rhodes isn't that guy. I'm glad he made his money.
Having said that, as a football fan I'm glad too. Dom is a perfectly average back. For 16 games last year everyone in town was convinced that he was nothing special. We all saw how many drives he killed in the first quarter by taking huge losses that Addai would have turned into 2 yard gains. His fumble at Houston cost us that game. He's totally replaceable and we won't miss him.
I do hope that we come up with another solid back to spell Addai. This was the first postseason where we ran effectively. I loved Edge as much as anyone, but facts are that we ran the ball just as well without him in the regular season and our backs were fresh in January and ran down the opposition. I've seen us go from Bently (who was really underrated), to Dickerson, to Faulk, to James, to Addai/Rhodes in Indy. I've been saying for a long time that RBs are a dime a dozen (ask Denver). You pay qbs and to keep WRs (they take a long to develop...see Wayne, Reggie and hopefully Moorehead, Aaron), but it's a huge mistake to pay for running backs. If you can replace Marshal Freaking Faulk, you can replace ANYONE who carries the ball for a living.

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