The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Pay him and play him


While Darrelle Revis's holdout may be insulting to all who feel he should stop this money grab and honor his original contract, we have to remember professional football hardly resembles real life when it comes to labor agreements.

While a teacher, for instance, probably would be dismissed for refusing to report to work in violation of his or her contract, NFL players do it all the time, generally without serious repercussion. It's just how the league operates, and owners, general managers and players all realize there's a game within the game.

I don't begrudge Revis trying to get all the money he can, even if it means holding out of camp for an extended period. Football players on average don't have long in their line of work, so who are we to judge if they want to collect as much now as possible.

But once Revis gets his, part of the bargain is he must live up to his new contract that -- if his demands are met -- would make him the highest paid cornerback in league history. He has to prove he's better than Rod Woodson, Darrell Green and Deion Sanders, just to name a few. If he's just good instead of transcendent, then he has not fulfilled his side of the deal.

This whole standoff reminds me of when Emmitt Smith held out to start the 1993 season. Dallas lost its first two games without him, and it took Charles Haley slamming his helmet into the locker room wall to get owner Jerry Jones to award Smith the contract he was seeking.

Smith went on to have one of the most dominant seasons in NFL history, leading the league in rushing, winning the regular season MVP and then the Super Bowl XXVIII MVP in the Cowboys' 30-13 victory over Buffalo.

If Revis can approach that type of season after signing a new deal and continue as the top corner in the league over most of the the next decade, this holdout will be long forgotten by the time his name comes up for consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where Smith was enshrined this past weekend.

By Gene Wang  |  August 11, 2010; 11:36 PM ET  | Category:  Gene Wang , NFL , New York Jets Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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