Thank you, Brad Meester.
Unfortunately, I’m like a lot sports fans who think of professional athletes as selfish meatheads who hip hop through their careers acting like their poop doesn’t stink. My bad, too, for being one of those media guys who spends most of his time writing and talking about the overpaid jerks who seem to enjoy bad behavior and making stupid comments.
Sadly, there are way too many of those kinds of pro athletes, but thankfully there are pro athletes such as you. Truth be known, there probably are more guys like you than there are meatheads, but they grab most of the attention. We do love train wrecks; bad news sells, good news is ignored.
Why am I thanking you now, Brad? Because when you signed a contract the other day to play a 14th season with the Jaguars you made the most boring, honest and sincerest comments. Instead of whining about a paycut, you pointed out how making $1.5 million for one season was far more than the average Joe would ever make and a lot more than you could making doing anything else. You actually said you were grateful the Jaguars still wanted you.
I am, too.
I honestly don’t know how well you can still play. Your teammate Maurice-Jones-Drew said last season you were at the top of your game. But then Pro Football Focus said you were one of the worst centers in the league.
I’ll admit I don’t watch centers in the NFL very much, but you obviously have talent. You’ve played more seasons (13), more games (193) and had more starts (193) than any Jaguar in history. You were a 2nd round draft pick out of Northern Iowa in 2000 and there are only three position players taken that year still playing in the NFL: Tom Brady, a superstar quarterback, and wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who missed a couple of years as a guest of the New York Prison System.
I also realize signing that one-year contract doesn’t guarantee you play another season. The Jaguars are a bad team that earned its 2-14 record last year. Owner Shad Khan has cleaned house, bringing in a new regime that’s making the team younger and faster. No one thinks of you as young and fast. Competition to make the team will, I hope, be tough.
But some veteran leadership is always needed and you provide that in abundance.
In fact, your comments after signing the new deal illustrated your leadership. You didn’t moan about the 50 percent paycut because you “have to feed your family” – which is no small task considering you and your wife have five daughters and a sixth on the way. Instead you made it clear what a privilege it is to play in the NFL and how fortunate you were. I also was impressed how you’ve prepared yourself for the day when your playing career is over. I can’t imagine you ever being one of those athletes who goes broke shortly after his career ends and the millions of dollars stop pouring in.
I hope your teammates heard your comments. More importantly, I hope they took them to heart. If so, they should be thanking you, too.
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