The Arizona Cardinals didn’t need this.
Not the same week that they stuck out their neck and drafted Tyrann Mathieu, who didn’t play football at LSU last year because his off-the-field, substance abuse problems forced coach Les Miles to dismiss him from the team.
Not the same week that they said they have the kind of team culture that would provide an atmosphere for the “Honey Badger” to control his problems and thrive as an NFL defender.
Not a few months after cutting Adrian Wilson — a move that made sense given his skills had diminished with time, but whose leadership skills in the locker room and on field were unquestioned and must be replaced.
They didn’t need police booking photo of linebacker Darryl Washington, already suspended for the first four games of the season due to violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, splashed across every newspaper and television station in town.
Domestic violence is a serious situation and what exactly happened is a matter for the police to investigate. They didn’t need their Pro Bowl linebacker and one of the projected team leaders — one of those expected to provide an example to follow — in the news for all the wrong reasons twice within a month.
I agree with the decision to draft Mathieu, a unique and exciting football player despite his past. I applaud the Cardinals for deftly maneuvering in the draft to add extra draft pick with the idea of drafting him later. But enough eyes were going to be on the Honey Badger to begin with before the Washington situation came to light, and now there will be added pressure to make sure Mathieu’s citizenship is exemplary.
So the New York Jets decided to get rid of one of the six quarterbacks — well, at least guys who have the initials “QB” next to their names — and Tim Tebow was the first one to go this week.
Right away, Tebow fans cried foul, complaining that their boy never got a chance to play in New York and was being unfairly persecuted for his Christian beliefs.
Never mind that the Jets would have let anyone — and I mean, anyone — step in for Mark Sanchez and avert last year’s train wreck of a season. Never mind that they had a training camp and 16 weeks of practice to watch Tebow throw the ball, run an offense and lead a team only to come to this conclusion: “Well, we sure can’t put him out there.”
There isn’t a team in the NFL that will touch Tebow as a quarterback. He can’t start and, as we’ve already seen, having Tebow as your backup is a three-ring circus with casual football fans and less screaming for him to play. He probably has NFL-caliber talent as a fullback or slot receiver, but Tebow has made it clear – and this is ironic from a guy who claims to be all about winning – that he’s only interested in being a quarterback.
The Canadian Football League doesn’t make much sense. The longer and wider field does nothing more than exacerbate his shortcomings as a passer. There is always the Arena Football League I guess, but that’s not going to prove his value to the NFL, and would you rather be a fullback for the Cardinals or a quarterback for the Arizona Rattlers?
Warriors, Come Out and Play
If there was one obvious upset in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Golden State over Denver was the pick. Not only do the Warriors have the best homecourt advantage in the NBA and offer plenty of tough matchups, the Nuggets were ripe for the picking even after Golden State lost David Lee, and even after he surprisingly returned to action in Thursday’s Game 6.
George Karl is a great regular season coach, but some of the biggest first-round playoff upsets have come at his team’s expense (remember Dikembe Mutombo lying on the court clutching the ball in ecstasy after the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets bounced Karl’s No. 1 Seattle Sonics in 1994?). Karl has never had a superstar that wasn’t flawed (Shawn Kemp, Carmelo Anthony) but first-round exits with more talented squads are about a lack of adjustments.
Alas, this is the end of the road for the Warriors. Even if they win all their home games against the Spurs, they still have to win one in San Antonio, where they’ve lost an incredible 29 consecutive games dating back to Valentine’s Day of 1997.
Who were you dating back then?
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.