This is that time of year when every player is preparing themselves for the harsh reality of the business side of professional football. This is that point in their career for many to suddenly realize that it doesn't matter what they did for an organization because when it's over, it's over. It doesn't matter how many times they played in pain, or how many times they practiced when they were sick. It doesn't matter what you did to help them win or how much blood you lost, or how many bones you broke or how many times you volunteered your time ringing a bell. When an organization says you are no longer needed all of a sudden they pack your stuff up and they say so long and all that other stuff really doesn't matter.
I know it's a two way street and organizations and the players both use each other. The team wants certain things and in return the player gets paid. They both are happy and that's true until that player all of a sudden can't get it done. Or at least can't get it done the way that team wants him to, or the until the team can find cheaper labor regardless of what might be promised.
In the last couple of years that has happened to two of the most beloved Packers in Bubba Franks and William Henderson. They were kicked to the curb like they had nothing to do with the Packers' recent success. That's the part of the game that I hate. Loyalty is nothing but a thing of the past.
Just think about how many days of their lives Bubba Franks and William Henderson spent going to 1265 Lombardi Avenue to play a game that they once loved. Then all of a sudden, right in front of their eyes, that game turned into a business. Trust me, everyone that plays the game understands that there will come a time when it's all over and the crowd will stop cheering and you hope that the memory that they have is that of a good one.
Not many get the option of deciding whether they will come back even though they can still play once their price tag gets to high and their guaranteed money doesn't affect the salary cap as much there gone. Is it right? I guess that's a matter of opinion. What I do know is that the tight end position might be a position of concern and that Bubba Franks is gone, and this organization is willing to put a tag on Corey Williams and pay him big money even though he is unproven. Williams hasn't done anything yet worthy of the big contract waiting for him and yet they get rid of Bubba because he was due a small bonus in today's market.
Do I think Bubba can still play? Yes, I do, especially if he is given the opportunity which I don't think he was used right by McCarthy. I'm sure that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have their reasons that they didn't want Bubba back and, to be honest with you, this article isn't about Bubba Franks. It's about all those athletes that gave everything to their organizations and how teams just say, ‘Bye, we don't want you anymore, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.'
I once said that there isn't any more loyalty in professional football and I once thought that the Green Bay Packers were different, but are they really? Free agency is great for building up franchises because any team can go get that one player that takes them over the hump, but unfortunately there is always a cost and someone wins and someone loses and I guess that's the price of doing business.
Sadly with all the talk about players and contracts or drafts and free agency, and winning or losing, something is always left out. What seems to be left out of the equation are the fans. I feel sorry for many fans because they start to identify with a player and follow his career and, before you know it, he's just simply gone.
As I think about Bubba Franks, who went from a first rounder and a Pro Bowler to someone that slipped out the back door and was gone, I'm reminded that it's not a game anymore. There was no fan fair, no applause, no thanks for all the effort, no press conferences. Just a simple clip in the newspaper saying that he was released because the Packers didn't want to pay a roster bonus due in March.
I understand that the NFL also stands for Not For Long, but I thought that players such as Bubba Franks or William Henderson would get more respect for their services because they were Packer People, weren't they? I guess it bothers me when good guys are FORGOTTEN THAT QUICKLY!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at email@example.com.