Sunday, September 02, 2007

Jeremy Bloom: Cut from the Eagles and from Our Hearts

Two years ago, the Eagles used--okay, wasted--a late-round draft pick on the spindly Jeremy Bloom. There was a lot of ballyhoo about Bloom at the time, because he hadn't played football in two years. An Olympic freestyle, he took endorsements from snowsport sponsors and, consequently, was suspended from his position as a Colorado wide receiver for no longer qualifying as an amateur athlete. Controversy ensued and actually propelled him on draft day.

Philadelphia saw potential in his return skills and snatched him up, but he tore his ACL in a preseason game and spent all of last year on the disabled list. While preparing for his first healthy year as a return man and fourth wide receiver, he was cut yesterday to make room on the Eagles regular season roster.

Andy Reid: "Say click-clack one more goddamn time! Say it!"

Who cares?

I do, in large part because Jeremy Bloom, for no apparent reason, has his extreme grill on a forty-foot billboard a few blocks from my street. Despite never playing a down of regular season NFL ball, he is one of the key spokesmen for Rip-It Energy drinks, and Rip-It Energy Drinks thinks the corner of 44th and Walnut is a blooming spot for energy drinkers.

The billboard looks kind of like this but bigger and worse. Prime Time or Bo Jackson is to Jeremy Bloom as Rakim is to MC Skat Kat.

In addition to the Rip-It and Under Armour endorsements (hey, he's good at something), Bloom has a website that is way too self-exalting for this dude no one even knows about. I mean, his site has broadband internet connection, 1024 x 768 screen resolution, and 1.2 GHz CPU recommendations. Good thing I have that. God forbid I don't experience Jeremy Bloom's About Me under the perfect conditions.

In a way, the fact that this dude, still in his mid-twenties and washed up in two sports, is famous enough to have nationwide endorsement deals, is hilarious. In another way, it's sad. And, in the way I choose to view it, the events of the past few days are empowering and inspiring.

I got this picture of Jables on by the way. My pop-ups went from weird to very weird in the course of one visit.

The NFL has quite a few faults, but the best facet of its business model is non-guaranteed contracts. While it sometimes screws injured players or people caught low in the depth chart, it ensures that teams are taking the most logical steps toward winning. I guarantee that many no-name players made the Eagles' cut of fifty-three players, while Jeremy Bloom, this cat with endorsements, this Olympian, did not for one reason: he didn't give the team as much of a chance to win.

Even in the case of Byron Leftwich, who was the seventh overall pick, a team can just release a player at any given point in time and not be responsible for his contract. Despite Jack Del Rio's repeated insistence that Leftwich was the Jaguars' quarterback, he lost the position battle in training camp and had to go. The elements of the NBA that have soured people--young kids with no fundamentals making millions out of high school for sitting on the bench--are not necessarily true in the NFL. The highest paid players are the best players, and if they don't perform at the expected level, they get paced. It's incredibly simple, and it might be just what the other leagues need to do to stay honest.

Friday, with the same lack of warning Jeremy got from the Eagles, the billboard near my street was replaced.

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