Thursday, January 13, 2011

The DJ Question

The danger comes from liking people.

See, I've got a dangerous level of fondness for one DeSean Jackson, the teleportational speed wideout and big play specialist for my Philadelphia Eagles. And for the record, my fandom is fairly pure; in six possible DJ years in two different fantasy leagues, I have had him once, as a late round rookie in a non-keeper league. I have rooted for DJ simply because he wears my team's laundry, and he wears it well.

Now that he has reached a certain age, with performance standards and a style of play that hasn't been seen in town since Tommy McDonald a half a century ago (in that Tommy was fast, small and also beloved), he's also looking to get paid. And there are reasons, gulp, not to do it.

In two playoff games, both losses, DJ has been fairly invisible. He is murder on a weak corner, dangerous on an average one, and invisible against the best. His best days may already be behind him, given the concussion issues and the less than hale and hearty way in which he performed against the Packers. Most weeks in fantasy, you are better off with running mate Jeremy Maclin, the Stallworth to his Swann. And you have to think, being who and what he is, that DJ's knows all of this, and has to be thinking more about money than anything else right now.

And really, can you blame him? The man has spent the last six years, first at Cal-Berkeley and now here, knowing that he was special and fragile, and that he was the wrong play away from being ordinary. He's seen any number of teammates and friends got lost in the sluice, all while making nice with QBs (Cal has pro guys, Aaron Rodgers among them) who have looked much, much better for having him around. They got paid; Donovan McNabb' salary in DC was pretty much all DJ's doing, and Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb have both made more in a year than DJ ever will. Despite the special teams hijinks and the media attention, with no big money endorsement deals coming his way (yet?). No wonder the man tries to get noticed at the goal line.

I want to see the team lock him up because, hey, it"s not my money. And if I have to watch him with any other team, particularly if he gets better? Heartbreaking. And since Drew "Next Question" Rosenhaus has been his agent, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he would be gone. They might be saving their cash for Maclin, or Nmendi Asomugha, or for Lockout Purposes. No way to know until later.

Which, of course, brings us back to the problem of liking guys, especially football players. They just aren't here for very long. No matter what happens, you will remember DJ for his speed.

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