This morning, Denver Broncos Wide Receiver, Brandon Marshall was suspended by the team for conduct detrimental to the team. Basically, he showed up at practice yesterday, didn't run very hard, picked up a football and punted it across the practice facility and several times batted down balls during practice. If he was a punter or defensive back, these actions may not seem so bad. But he's the team's number 1 Wide Receiver. This is a problem. And it's not the first problem for Marshall, who was suspended for a game last season and has been arrested three times since 2004 for various indiscretions.
The Wide Receiver position in the NFL has become quite possibly the biggest prima-donna position in all of sports. Terrell Owens has left a trail of bad blood in each city he played in (don't believe me? Ask any fan of the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys what they think of him. Heck, ask a Ravens fan - and he never actually even played for the Ravens). He has burned enough bridges to light his way from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Randy Moss, who has admittedly cleaned up his act in New England, walked off a field during a game. He once sprayed a coach with a water bottle. And Moss is no stranger to run-ins with the law, either.
Plaxico Burress (rightly or wrongly) is serving two years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm in a New York nightclub. Donte' Stallworth killed a man while driving drunk (and allegedly high on Marijuana as well). And how can we possibly forget legendary Rae Carruth. This nut job will be in prison for the rest of his life (thank God) for killing his girlfriend and unborn child. And they say the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. Really???
Meanwhile, in the age of Prima-Donna Wide Receivers and ESPN cramming some guys named Vick and Favre down our throats just a little too much, Chad Ochocinco tends to get his share of negative press. And all I have to ask is, why? Is he a little over-the-top arrogant? Sure. Does he have his antics? Absolutely. But through it all, he is a fun-loving, do-my-job, but trash talk when I can Wide Receiver. He has fun when he is on the field. Maybe a little too much fun. But he is getting paid millions, and he is pretty darn good at his job. So, why shouldn't he be happy?
He has his very flamboyant, and pre-meditated touchdown celebrations. And he once made a list of every cornerback on the opposing teams that the Bengals would be playing one year so that he could put a check mark next to each one that he burned. But it's all in good fun. His latest antic was to be a kicker for a night. And you know what? He made the extra point he was asked to kick and he booted a kickoff almost 70 yards in the air. In a pre-season game. So what was the harm?
Ochocinco's most controversial move was to change his last name from Johnson to the Spanish version of his number. He hasn't shot anybody, or run anybody over while drunk driving, or ruined locker rooms and then left. To my knowledge, he has never walked off a field during a game or even punched another teammate during practice (hello Steve Smith). He just enjoys his job more than most. And that is a good thing. Laverneous Coles is considered to be a very nice fantasy sleeper this year. One of the big reasons is because he is playing opposite Ochocinco in the Cincinnati offense. Ochocinco also makes players around him better.
So, he's a good teammate. He's a good Wide Receiver. He doesn't have any off-field problems. So, his biggest drawback is his name? The fact that he celebrates a little too much? Cut the guy some slack. As a 49ers fan still waiting for our Wide Receiver to sign - you know, the rookie who's never played a down in the NFL, but is demanding more money - I would take Ochocinco's antics over Michael Crabtree's any day. And twice on Sundays.