"Rogers will get 'extensive' time in final exhibition".
That was the headline in yesterdays Detroit News. Apparently they meant extensive time riding the exercise bike, or extensive time chatting to Mike Williams 10 yards away from the rest of the team on the sideline. As I am writing this there is 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and Charles Rogers was on the field for one series catching one hitch pass for a total of 3 yards. Apparently this was enough for the completely incompetent Lions organization to make a decisive decision about the future of the former Number 2 overall pick who is scheduled to make millions of dollars this year, or, in the more likely event that he is released Saturday, eat up millions more in salary cap space over the next three years. Meanwhile Glenn Martinez gets a ton of playing time and drops about 25 passes and will more then likely make the team because he practices hard. It doesn't matter that he sucks, has no real upside, and that him playing at 110% is slightly worse then Charlie Rogers at 50%, at least he practices hard and even though that doesn't translate into any wins on Sunday it's the attitude we need........for whatever the hell thats worth.
In the effort of full disclosure I have to say that I've been a Chuck Rogers fan since high school. I grew up in Clio, which is about 25 miles south of Saginaw and 10 miles north of Flint. The two cities schools play each other in the Saginaw Valley Conference, and whenever you have an all-world athlete come out of the area he's usually rabidlly covered by the local media, namely the Flint Journal. This was the case with Cleaves, MoPete, Jason Richardson, Lamar Woodley and scores of others. But I would argue that none of the aforementioned athletes over the past 15 years were as highly touted as Charles Rogers. I remember when it was front page news when the mother of one of his 19 children (all with variations of his name, I think one of them was name Charmander) stabbed him in the lung with a fork at a party and put his status for the upcoming week into question. I followed him to State and was in the stands with my friend Mike when the wildly overmatched Jeremy LeSuerer gave up trying to defend him by halftime and racked up about 5 pass interference/personal fouls over the course State's last second victory. I was estatic when the Lions took him second overall to help out Joey Harrington, a move which the Sporting News referred to as the new Manning/Harrison combo that would dominate the NFL for the next decade. And it all seemed true in that first game against the Arizona Cardinals where I had a goal line seat to the first two touchdown catches of what was sure to be a Hall of Fame worthy career.
And it was all downhill from there, with the injury to close out his rookie season, followed by his second season being wiped out after one series with the same broken collarbone, which the Lions had replaced with adamantium. Then he came in the next year on the second team, a demotion he received only for being injured, before he fucked up and got suspended four games for smoking weed non-stop. This year he came into camp fighting to maintain a roster spot he never got a chance to keep, playing only 14 of 48 possible games before the Lions thought he was worthless. A decision they reached in a much quicker time then the 50 games it took the Lions brass to finally realize that Joey Jo-Jo sucked. I don't think I'm alone in believing as I think Rogers has become a sympathetic character to many Lions fans, who are frustrated over an organization that gave Joey every opportunity to succeed and watch him fall flat on his face over and over again for four years, while Rogers got a handful of starts and 36 catches before getting cut loose. As a matter of fact I think that Lions fans could do a better job making decisions for the team then the people in charge. If you hooked up those Americas Funniest Home Videos voting devices and let Lions fans chose plays they might win 10 games this season instead of the 3-13 record they are destined for.
As the game progressed I was finding myself becoming increasingly irate over the idea that Rogers couldn't get on the field for a fair evaluation in a COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS pre-season game, so I called my sister to complain, a conversation that started something like this.
Me: "Lions-doodly, Rogers-diddly, no chance-a-diddly-doodly, Lions hate, go hell!"
Sister: "You're acting crazy, calm down, it'll be better if he leaves this incompetent organization, gets a fresh start somewhere else, flourishes and makes the Lions look like idiots.......again. And you just have to stop caring about them."
Me: "You're right."
Sister: "That you're crazy?"
Me (flinging whiskey bottle against wall): "About Everything Dammit!!!!!"
O.K. so it wasn't that dramatic, that dialogue read like a Tennessee Williams play rewritten by 4th graders, but she raises a couple of good points. 1: I just have to stop caring about the Lions, as long as Millen is in charge and hiring functionally retarded coaches. Just Stop Caring. I'll follow the NFL by rooting for the players on my fantasy team and just expect the Lions to win five games a year......if they are lucky. 2: I do hope Rogers gets released. Sure it will end his days as a Lion the team I foolishly choose to follow, although he'll still be my No.1 receiver on my Madden Lions, a team which I follow closer then the real franchise anyway. And I don't think he'll be out of work long. I'm sure a team desperate for a receiver will pick him up, hopefully Minnesota, where he'll practice, Brad Childress will turn to his staff and go "Why did the Lions let him go?" and his assistant will say "Because Matt Millen's retarded sir." And they'll high five. Rogers will come into Ford Field and torch the Lions twice a year and I'll be sitting in my seat by the goal line, smiling, and wearing my Chuck Rogers Viking jersey. God I hate the Lions.