'The NFL Beat': Lomas Brown's Fraternity
The accolades and distinctions that come after, those are better examples of fraternal, mutual respect and admiration amongst peers. The Hall of Fame, for example. It's easier to adhere to the friendly, noble standards set forth when you're old and rich.
NFL players are nothing more than co-workers. The only way in which these players are "united" is through a union with a necessarily bloated self image.
It's like saying that you are united with the people at your workplace because you can talk about your various systems, and execute tasks together. You can use unique lingo given your shared experiences within these situations to establish points quickly and effectively.
I can walk into a room with any random group of musicians in the world and make music. All it is is communication, calling the key out, and then the intervals. If language barriers existed given, I would just hold up the number of fingers for the interval. Everyone would just know what that meant.
This does not mean that I'm anything more than a stranger to any given musician I encounter. It merely means that when placed in a controlled environment with these individuals, and given direction, a musical performance would be legitimately orchestrated.
The same way work gets done within any business.
Is the IT guy from work in your life's "fraternity"? Think about some other guy that works in the same industry as you, the same niche. Your competition. If you have the opportunity to land a big account that you know he's working, do you? Do you take food away from his family to put it on the table for yours?
Of course you do.
That guy is your fraternity brother. If the NFL is a fraternity, that guy is in your fraternity.
Any time I talk about individuals who I would not want in my personal fraternity, I always think of one person. Scott Mitchell, of course.
Mitchell had one really good season in 1995. I was a very happy 15-year-old fantasy owner of the Lions QB as I clipped out box scores from the newspaper on Mondays.
Mitchell's flaws as a quarterback were slowly exposed however, and in much the same way we have seen with Mark Sanchez, Mitchell became demoralized to a point of no return. He regressed horribly as a passer and is generally thought back on as one of the worst free-agent signings in NFL history.
He wasn't exactly a locker room guy, either. After backing up Dan Marino for three years in Miami, Mitchell was a hot commodity on the free agent market following the 1993 season. Mitchell came in in relief of Marino following his season-ending Achilles tendon injury, and looked every bit of the part at 6 foot, 6 inch and 230 pounds. Prior to the 1994 season, Mitchell (very obviously) followed the money to Detroit and led the Lions to a mediocre 4-5 start.
Then Detroit traveled to Green Bay in Week 10. I'll let the guy blocking for him tell the story here. Not only a member of his NFL "family" but an actual teammate.
Lomas Brown, a current NFL analyst for ESPN and longtime NFL offensive tackle best known for his time in Detroit, told the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio Friday:
"We were playing Green Bay in Milwaukee. We were getting beat, 24-3, at that time and [Mitchell] just stunk up the place. He's throwing interceptions, just everything. So I looked at Kevin Glover, our All-Pro center and I said, 'Glove, that is it.' I said, 'I'm getting him out the game.' ... So I got the gator arms on the guy at the last minute, he got around me, he hit Scott Mitchell, he did something to his finger, don't know which finger it was - but he came out the game. Dave Krieg came in the game. We ended up losing that game, 27-24."
First, it wasn't his finger, it was his wrist. And Brown did not just get Mitchell out of the game, he got him out of the season. Dave Krieg finished out the 1994 campaign in Detroit, and did so looking like what most thought thought was a better QB, causing an outcry when Krieg was let go to free agency in 1995 while Mitchell was retained.
Lomas Brown willingly sabotaged the very career of his teammate, his quarterback. The player who his primary objective is to protect. I don't know whether it is the idiocy of Skip Bayless and Rob Parker on First Take that is rubbing off on him, but what has gotten into someone when they admit this sort of wrongdoing?
What's more; in a laughing, joking fashion on the radio. Like a little quip, "Hey, I remember one day I basically set a guy's career completely off track because I was selfish! Wanna hear, everyone?"
Lomas Brown was thought of as one of the good guys. His always-smiling demeanor and his seemingly caring, jovial eyes have fooled us. Now we know better. We now know he is no better than anyone accused of bounties, dirty hits or Suh-stomps. And if Brown is no better, then honestly, who is?
These are professionals. Brown called out the key and the interval to Kevin Glover who had apparently played that number before.
[Alex Dunlap is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and founder of RosterWatch.]