Chicago Sun-Times

Angelo: "The byproduct of the holdout for the player is bad"

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A case can be made that Michael Crabtree made $2 million for each of the first four games of the season he missed for the San Francisco 49ers.

The package the wide receiver received Wednesday when he finally ended an exhausting contract impasse with the organization was for $8 million more than the club had on the table. Now, Crabtree has to go about his business on the field and that's the big question, what can he accomplish as a rookie? The 49ers received a roster exemption from the NFL for this week, and he'll be able to make his debut Oct. 25 at Houston. The Bears travel to San Francisco shortly after that for a Nov. 12 game, which could be Crabtree's fourth game in uniform.

Can he be productive by then in offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye's conservative attack? Will the 10th pick in the draft be a difference maker.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo had some strong feelings on the issue--rookie holdouts--in general. Of course, he went through one four seasons ago when running back Cedric Benson showed up 36 days late after a holdout that involved Eugene Parker, the same man who represents Crabtree.


"When you look at holdouts, the byproduct of the holdout for the player is bad," Angelo said. "Everybody says it's bad for the game and it's bad for the team. It's first bad for the player, then it's bad for the team, then it's bad for the game. I feel so strongly about it because in every situation that I have been involved (in) with a holdout, we had a bad result.''

Check out more of what Angelo had to say right here.

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8 Comments

In any other major professional sports league (MLB, NBA, etc.), I would agree with Angelo.

The NFL is different.

NFL players' bodies absorb a huge amount of punishment. For that reason, I support most players decisions to hold out (but am no less frustrated when it happens).

Yes, I hate seeing rookies sit on their butts waiting to see who blinks first and, yes, it rarely seems to work out, but...

Isn't the average life expectancy of an NFL player 55 years, 52 for linemen?

Isn't the average career less than 4 years?

Isn't it likely that most linemen, whether they play defense or offense, will have some sort of "replacement" surgery (hip, knee, etc.) later in life.

Showing them the money seems only fair.

If they have to stage an individual mini-strike, that's part of the business.

As a fan, I can understand Angelo's gripe, but then again, he already has lived longer than your average NFL player.

If Crabtree's foot injury ends up being as detrimental to his career as David Terrell's foot "stress fracture" tendency, his career could be very short-lived. Hopefully the kid is healthy, both in body and mind, because as we read in Biggs' article on Terrell, both parts have to be dialed in and ready to play in the NFL. You can't get away with a 4 yard drag/stop route and catch the ball, and then overpower the little 180 lb. DBs in the NFL. He will have to run precise routes, be where he is supposed to be on time, and take the ball away from the defense, who will be all over him compared to what he saw at Texas Tech.

I don't know whether he is a good route runner, but there is no questioning his hands and strength. His speed? The stuff of legend (at least in his own mind). If he is the real deal, that give the 49ers a nice quadruplet of skill players in Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore.

I am on the same page with Jerry Angelo on this one. Holdouts hurt everyone involved. If Ced or Curtis Enis had been in camp on time, would their careers in Chicago have turned out differently? We'll never know, but it certainly would have softened the stance of the team on Ced, perhaps giving him the environment he needed to do what he is doing in Cincy this year.

I sincerely hope that the objectives of the owners and player's union involve a rookie salary structure like the NBA has. All of this goes away with the salary pre-determined for all players entering the league. Then you will start seeing more veterans staying with the teams that draft them, because there will be more money available to proven players on any given team.

We have been very lucky in that Cliff Stein is all over contracts and has them done pretty well by the time camp opens. We continually are ahead of the curve in getting players under contract, which makes it a lot easier to set our camp rosters, and prepare for the season.

Shoot I already knew that. Most NFL junkies probably knew that. How is it that Eugene Parker can't figure it out?

To answer my own question, Eugene Parker is probably the only one at the table who will ultimately make more money and come out ahead as a result of this holdout.

I agree with Angelo, its bad for the NFL. Draft contracts should be regulated. Spare me the whole they put their bodies on the line crap. Soldiers, Firefighters, and Police Officers put their damn lives on the line everyday, damn truck drivers have a shorter life expectancy then NFL offensive linemen and a much higher accidental death rate, and they don't make millions. Its a weak argument, if its a true argument then how come it only applies to first round picks? How much is that fourth round pick making? You notice its always the first round picks holding out. Somehow the other players learn to deal with it while getting a lot less money. But those top 10 picks are to special to deal with it. Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Ki-Jana Carter, Jamal Renolds, boy did they earn their money. "Oh gosh what if I get hurt will 30 million really be enough to live on?" Everyone else finds a way to make it, I am sure that 10 million over 3 years isn't going to hurt a number 1 overall picks life. Sorry you don't get to have a Bentley for everyday of the week until you have shown you can play.

I have never seen or heard anyone complain like NFL players do about money and injuries. Join the Corps. and then get back to me about how much 10 million is worth and how hard it is playing a football game 16 weeks a year.

I am totally disappointed in the 49ers, they are doing fine without him and they should have let him sit out the season.

I'd have to say that holding out never helps a player's career. It helps his wallet while he's grabbing early but hurt him in the long run. Don't forget Salaam did it too. The only RBs we ever drafted who came in and contributed did so by not holding out. Forte and A-Train contibuted right off the back. Those other guys were flops who didn't see the tail end of those rookie contracts they held out for. Just crashed. I'm all for rookie caps and sliding scales for picks and what positions they play.

I'm beyond sick of these grossly overpaid rookies. I really hope the owners don't cave and insist on a rookie salary cap. Rookie pay has gotten totally out of hand, and paying them exorbitant salaries takes that money away from the veterans who deserve it.

Seedy,

It's obvious that NFL players' bodies absorb a lot of punishment and that their careers are short. However, these guys get to play a game for a living, and they make a fortune for doing it. The owners AND the players are a bunch of greedheads, it's the fans who should get the sympathy. Even the lowest paid players make far more than most fans, and fans have to do actual work for a living. There should be a cap on owners' profits, on salaries of all team employees from the front office to the janitors, and on players' salaries, all so that ticket prices are reduced to a level where a person making an average salary can afford to go to a game. (Capping player salaries is also good for the game if we're stuck with free agency, which is harmful to the game. Player salary caps keep teams from buying championships, which is what the 49ers did in the '80s and '90s.) And while we're at it, let's get rid of the disgusting commercial timeouts, which some of us have been complaining about since the late '60s and which have gotten totally out of hand.

i know it's off topic but singeltary has the niners playing with his heart and determination like i have'nt seen since 85. for the first time in years they scare me.. they sure stockpiled enough high first round talent.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 8, 2009 1:13 PM.

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