What We Learned This Week in the NFL Offseason:
- New Orleans Saints sign Devon Walker
- Seahawks Marshawn Lynch to start in biographical movie
- Michael Sam reality show postponed
- Panthers Greg Hardy facing assault charges
- Steelers rookie camp aims to prepare for playing time
The New Orleans Saints have signed a new safety to their roster, but this isn’t an ordinary signing. The team signed former Tulane University safety Devon Walker, who was paralyzed from the neck down after colliding with a teammate in a September 2012 game. Walker participated in graduation ceremonies at Tulane and then was brought to the Saints headquarters for a surprise signing.
“For me, this is one of my dreams come true. I’ve been a Saint since before I was walking. Just to be a part of the team and be around the players is more than I could have hoped for.” – Devon Walker
Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch doesn’t like talking to the media. He’s rather notorious for ducking the media obligations around the league. Apparently that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t like the spotlight because he’s now going to start in a biographical film about his life and journey into the NFL. I wonder if the film will just feature him at different ages being “just about that action, boss.” If that doesn’t have Oscar gold written all over it, I don’t know what does.
The Michael Sam docuseries produced by the Oprah network is on hold. Seems as though the league, Rams, and Sam all agreed that having cameras follow Sam through his journey of trying to not just be the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL but also the first openly gay player to make the roster and actually play a game in the NFL might distract him from the ultimate goal. It did seem to me a little silly to risk the distraction, especially given Sam’s own assertion that he was going to be completely “focused on football,” to have cameras showcase a journey that wasn’t necessarily guaranteed to end well. It does far better good to let Sam actually fully concentrate on the tall task of being a 7th-round draft pick to try to make the 53-man roster and then document his historic journey from there on out.
Another week in the NFL, another player arrested on domestic violence charges. This time it’s Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy, who was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor communicating threats, or what it will be referred to later on after the Panthers and the NFL collectively fail to acknowledge or punish it as “off the field issues”. Good thing he wasn’t smoking weed though, or he’d be in some real trouble. If he just goes the Ray Rice route, he’ll marry his victim and be A-OK.
If there is a central theme surrounding the Steelers’ 2014 draft class it’s the overwhelming assertion that these guys are going to be seeing the field a lot sooner than rookies of the past have. Looking around at coverage of the Steelers Rookie Minicamp that wrapped up on Sunday, it’s evident from Steelers Digest to the Trib that the impression coming from the Steelers coaches in regards to the draft picks are that these guys are going to be groomed for game action, not handed a playbook and told to watch the veterans in front of them for a few years. That’s probably because in many cases around the roster, there aren’t any more veterans standing in the way of these draft picks’ chance to see the field immediately. How that will work out, on the other hand, is still up in the air. It is only rookie minicamp so far after all.