We’ve all seen this before. A player with all the physical tools to succeed, and yet he consistently under performs, is upset that the team he is on is getting better players to play his position. Mike Jenkins is the latest version of this unfortunate side of professional sports.
Jenkins was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft. When he came to the Cowboys he had speed and coverage skills that obviously were good enough to place him in the lower half of the first round. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He was considered a “coverage” corner. He even made the pro bowl in 2009, in only his second season. Jenkins had potential and everyone knew it.
In 2010 Jenkins digressed from what he was in his first two seasons. In his defense, the whole defense digressed. It was a season to forget and we’ll just leave it at that.
Last season Jenkins showed guts and determination that I personally admired. The results weren’t there, and because of that I wouldn’t call his 2011 season a success by any means, but I would give him credit for sticking things out.
So because he was the good soldier, and he only had one year remaining on his contract, you would think the front office would reward him with an extension, wouldn’t you? Well obviously that’s not the case.
So what does Jenkins do? He throws a fit, for a lack of a better term. He decides that he doesn’t need to show up and work out with his teammates. He thinks that by making a spectacle of the situation that he is doing himself a favor. Well no one else with their head screwed on straight sees it that way.
Think about it. How many people right now are praising the guts and grit it took last year for Jenkins to continually push through the injuries and adversity? I have all but forgotten it. The only thing people are thinking is, “What are you thinking Mike Jenkins?” Right now is a perfect time to show your future employer what kind of teammate you are. Sure you’ve been shuffled down the depth chart when you felt like you should have received an extension. It’s understandable for you to be mad. But at the same time the competitive fire inside of you should ignite, and you should say, “I’m going to show these guys how valuable I really am, and if they don’t give me a big contract at the end of the season, someone else will.”
Cornerbacks are a commodity in the NFL these days. Pass rushers depend on the secondary to give them enough time to get in the backfield and cause chaos. By holding out and acting like a child, you are slowly making yourself expendable and in a sense the money you would have been able to get after a good season has now dwindled.
If we have learned anything from the NFL, and professional sports in general, it’s that there is always someone else waiting in the wings to take your spot. If Mike Jenkins doesn’t want to step up and play, and I hope he does, then someone else will take his spot. It’s the nature of the beast. I just hope things work themselves out sooner rather than later.