The curse of number ten

What happened? Two Mondays in a row I woke up to crazy trades. It wasn’t a surprise that McNabb was traded. It was surprising to find out who was the other team in the deal. The Redskins? Really? This isn’t going to potentially bite the Eagles in the butt how? Other than the Redskins having no offensive line, a stable of past their prime running backs and highly suspect wide receivers, that is.

The Steelers traded Santonio Holmes this morning. That they traded him would not surprise Steeler fans. That they traded him for a fifth-rounder in this year’s draft AND NOTHING ELSE was the headline. The trade started to make sense when we found out that Holmes has been suspended four games for violating the substance-abuse policy.

It’s still a fifth round pick for a guy who caught the game-winning TD in the Super Bowl. Fantasy owners masquerading as sports fans ask how a deal like this could work out. It’s complicated and simple. Holmes is a wide receiver. On the best of days a wideout will touch the ball ten times. That’s not a lot for a player who often thinks of himself as supremely talented. Thus, there’s some friction and the occasional shot at ownership. Holmes was entering the last year of his rookie contact. Friction was due to occur.

The Steelers were ready for this. OK, you are never ready to say good-bye to a receiver who had Pro Bowl talent, caught nearly 80 balls and had good timing with another Good Samaritan in Ben Roethlisberger. They drafted Limas Sweed two years ago. That has not panned out well. Not to be deterred, they drafted Mike Wallace last year. This is a move that’s worked out. Hines Ward may be nearing the end of his career, although 2009’s 95 catches says otherwise. I thought the Steelers were loading up a bit when they picked up Antwaan Randle-El and Arnaz Battle. That’s right; the Steelers could put four guys on the field who played quarterback in college. Randle El and Battle seem like slot guys at best but they’re both veterans and will contribute. Heath Miller even bumped up his production with 28 more catches in 2009.

Besides, isn’t number ten cursed for the Steelers? My mom still owns a Kordell Stewart jersey. I know that Holmes wanted to be his own man, but selecting that number was just asking for it. I bet he changes it in Jersey.

This trade highlights one truth about the league that we like to forget. NFL really stands for not for long. If a city’s in love with a player, it’s not going to last. Make one bad decision, or a series of bad decisions, and it’s just like you dropped the game-winning pass. Holmes caught the big one, but he forgot that in addition to no guaranteed contracts, the love of the locals tends to expire as well.

I like how the Jets are making moves this offseason like a drunk guy on a roll at the blackjack table. He’s hitting on 15s when the dealer’s showing a six all night and it’s working. Pick up as many has-beens and troubled players. We’re going to the Super Bowl! Just ignore that the only reason why they made such a deep playoff run is that the Colts quit in Week 16. Don’t let that deter you in the least.

The Haynesworth rumors proved to be fruitless. Let me speak for all Titan fans when I say “whew!” I’m going to sweat enough thinking about Chris Johnson taking a knee at the one-yard line to protest his lack of a contract extension. Next year, Chris, next year.

I don’t like hearing how most highly drafted defensive ends fail to pan out. Jevon Kearse was transcendent as a rookie but that’s rare. Then I remember that the Titans rarely draft the way that the experts expect. The team has cornered the market on backup cornerbacks. They need a starter. Can a rookie start opposite Finnegan and succeed? He’ll be fantasy gold in IDP leagues since the pass rush will be as underwhelming as last year.

And how could I forget the latest thrilling offseason signing. Chris Simms is back. America’s favorite clipboard holder is living large in Nashville! Patrick Ramsey has to be so pissed. Simms reminds us that if you look like an NFL quarterback and play like Ryan Leaf, but lack Leaf’s attitude, you can be a backup for a long time.

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