Training camp is well underway in the NFL as players shake off any rust they may have accumulated during the off-season to get back into prime condition. While it would seem fair that any teams that didn’t even get into the playoffs last season should report in early, this is not the case, which means that the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks start practice at around the same time.
It’s always exciting to see what kind of shape players are in when reporting to training camp. Even if it’s JaMarcus Russell coming in as a 300 pound quarterback or Albert Haynesworth coming in as Albert Haynesworth, it’s interesting to see how long it takes a player to get back into game mode, or if they never left that frame of mind.
Then there are the players that don’t even show up to training camp. Some don’t show up due to contract issues, mainly money. Others don’t show up because they hate training camp. Then there are the players that don’t show up because they aren’t on an NFL team at the moment. These are their stories.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
For a player who doesn’t like speaking to the media, Marshawn Lynch sure seems to like making waves that the media wants to speak to him about.
It’s not that Lynch is at the extreme end of NFL conduct situations. He just has his own way of going about things, like not speaking to the press in 2013 until a few brief Super Bowl press conferences, causing a media uproar by not visiting the White House with the rest of his team because he ironically didn’t want to be in that kind of national spotlight, and eating skittles on the sideline. All of this spotlight side-stepping just pushes him further into the spotlight. Maybe he does it to purposefully get the spotlight in order to shun it, kind of like what happened to punk rock in the 90s.
The latest event is Lynch holding out of training camp for a pay bump, which could be a legitimate contract issue, Lynch giving his legs a few extra days instead of jumping into the grind of training camp, or Lynch making more waves by rolling up after everyone else. Reggie Wayne was on the news for coming to the Colts training camp in an Indy car. Lynch will get that coverage if he shows up in a taxi next week.
Alex Boone, San Francisco 49ers
I’ll admit, offensive linemen aren’t the flashiest players. They’re the kind of players who probably wouldn’t bother holding out, or we just wouldn’t even bother reporting on it. Alex Boone is a special case, and not just because all of the other potential holdouts like Andre Johnson and Vernon Davis arrived on schedule.
As an offensive guard, Boone is part of a line-intensive offense with the San Francisco 49ers due to the strengths of running back Frank Gore and quarterback scrambler Colin Kaepernick. If the offensive line fails, those two players fail and the entire team follows. Like all offensive linemen, Boone is protective of his quarterback both on and off the field. This was particularly evident when Boone said that he would “probably just punch him in the face” when asked what sort of fine he would give Clay Matthews III for a sideline hit on Kaepernick.
Chad Johnson, Montreal Alouettes
Technically, Chad Johnson did not show up to an NFL team training camp this past week, but he did show up to training camp in June.
The training camp in question was for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, where the receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco has shown more heart for the game than Tim Tebow by joining the CFL to show he still has skills, with the hopes of coming back to the NFL eventually.
Chad has also shown that he loves kissing the French Canadian girls and walking away since he doesn’t understand French, and was obsessed with seeing orcas when he traveled to Vancouver. At least that’s how his Twitter feed reads these days.
Santonio Holmes, Free Agent
Santonio Holmes is still homeless in terms of football after being released by the New York Jets back in March as part of their locker room spring cleaning. Without a team to report to it’s obviously hard to actually report to training camp.
There are plenty of reasons why Holmes is still a free agent such as age, injury concerns and attitude that some have labeled “cancerous,” but his YAC ability and general talent could entice a few teams to grab him on the cheap and play him until he gets hurt again. Those teams could include the Raiders, Browns and Titans, who are all lacking in wide receivers and locker room harmony.
Fred Davis, Free Agent
The path to training camp for tight end Fred Davis had become tougher and tougher as the NFL off-season dragged on. First, Davis was allowed to test the free agent market due to the Washington Redskins failing to re-sign him. This due to the emergence of Jordan Reed in the 2013 season and Logan Paulsen overshadowing Davis when Reed suffered a concussion.
As he was about to test the free agent market, Davis was hit with an indefinite suspension due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the second of his career. To celebrate this suspension, Davis was charged with a DUI in Virginia the next day. Now Davis has been arrested in an assault case from June when he allegedly threw dirt and flowers at an ex-girlfriend. With this legal maelstrom, Josh Gordon may have a better chance at playing a game this season than Fred Davis.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.