Cowboys Fans Should Support Mike Jenkins Upon Return
By Brad Austin
MY NEW CONTRACT
I’ve easily outplayed Scandrick (who I beat out for my starting spot) and Sensabaugh, and both of those guys were rewarded with long, hefty contracts. Just last year, Orlando signed a 5 yr / $27 mil extension and Gerald inked a 6 yr / $25 mil extension.
I’m on my last year of a 5 yr/ $9.725 mil deal and will have a low 2012 cap hit of $1.672 mil. There has been no offer of extension like those inferior players received, and now I’ve been demoted to 4th corner while they remain on the field. What is wrong with this picture?
It’s clear that Dallas doesn’t value my game enough to pursue the type of high-dollar extension I will certainly request and deserve after my upcoming solid year. But more damaging than that, how in the world am I going to show other teams I’m an elite corner in this league while playing 4th cornerback and on the field 50% or less of the snaps?
No matter how great I play, I’ll still just be shutting down marginally talented players, what does that prove to warrant a mega-deal? It’s now become iffy at best and this may be my one big shot, the most important season of my career.
I want to stay a starting corner in this league. I AM a starting corner in this league, and I have proven that on the field. I’d like to be in Dallas’ long-term plans but it’s painfully obvious I’m not even valued enough to be in their immediate plans as a starter.
I can’t do anything about this on the practice field, as I won’t be allowed to win back my starting spot when camp begins. Only injury or atrocious performance by one of the new guys could get me there. But no matter how great I play, without one of those above, it won’t happen.
So my agent Drew Rosenhaus and I agree the best career decision I can make is to immediately ask for a trade. I want to remain a starter just as I have been the last several years, or at least be able to compete for it.
There are several teams out there right now that would be ecstatic to gain me as their starter. I’d also like to be with a team again that desires me with them in the long-term. Dallas has shown by actions and words that I’m not what they want.
Being a classy player who never publicly criticizes my teammates or organization, I decided my agent Drew needs to be the private and public channel for my trade request. Drew has instructions he must do this without blasting my team or anyone involved. Just simply inform them I’d like to remain a starter and be traded to a team who desires this from me.
I’ve been made aware the media will label my request as a ‘demand’ and blast me as a selfish, bad guy. That comes with the job and the lack of ethics in the media. I won’t be speaking directly to them about anything to add fuel to their fire, nor will I blast my team or anyone associated through any channel.
REQUEST DENIED / MOVING FORWARD
Okay, so no trade is going to happen, at least at the moment. We have voluntary OTA’s opening in Dallas now. These are still ‘voluntary’ right? Yes. Since I have a choice, I’ve decided its best I remain home in Florida and get everything back together.
I’m injured and wouldn’t be able to compete at all physically. I’m still emotionally confused and hurting from my team basically throwing me under a bus publicly when I thought I was their best guy in the entire secondary.
The right call here is to stay home and get my mind and shoulder right during these ‘voluntary’ sessions. My recent game plan and mindset have been sternly challenged and permanently altered without a clue of warning.
I need time to digest and decide how I’m going to maximize the production of my upcoming season given the position I’ll be relegated to. I must find a way to come to terms with being the most talented, accomplished 4th cornerback (while still in my prime) in the history of the NFL.
…IT’S SHOW ‘BUSINESS’
Just as the weasel sports agent Bob Sugar so aptly said in the movie Jerry Maguire, “It’s not show ‘friends’, it’s show ‘business’.” I like my teammates, I’ve enjoyed my time as a Dallas Cowboy, and I’ll be playing for likely the largest contract of my life this season. As of now, I’m still a Dallas Cowboy where I’ve always wanted to be since arriving here.
I’m going to rehab my shoulder and get as ready as I can here at home with family and friends who love and support me. They will help me come to terms with my new role and direction in my life moving forward.
Since the media and some fans are really starting to pound my name for being selfish, which is the exact opposite of how I have handled this mammoth, unforeseen setback…I’ll have Drew release a statement to the team and media assuring them I’ll be in Dallas from day one when workouts become mandatory.
BOTH SIDES JUSTIFIED
Now let’s step back out of Mike Jenkins shoes. Mike really did nothing wrong here. He handled this entire (personally and publicly) damaging ordeal with class and dignity. 90+% of NFL players would not even come close to displaying such self control.
He didn’t blast the Cowboys or Jerry Jones in the media. He passed up voluntary workouts to work on his mindset and rehab his injury in Florida, surrounded by people who truly care for and support him. And he has now publicly stated his firm intention to be present when mandatory workouts begin.
In my opinion, the Dallas Cowboys made excellent moves to maximize the present and future concerns of the cornerback position. Mike Jenkins also took the appropriate actions with class and dignity to protect his own current and future best interests.
Dallas stated publicly that Jenkins was still very valuable to the team and they were not beyond extending his contract. Mike let his agent handle his requests and never badmouthed anyone publicly, regardless of the extreme internal pain this would cause any proud person.
The team and its fans should extend Mike Jenkins the courtesy of their full support to make the best of this difficult situation when mandatory workouts begin. The guy gave his all even with his body almost literally falling apart on the field last year, and was still Dallas’ best secondary performer when healthy.
As an accomplished player he absorbed a vicious setback to his status and monetary potential, being demoted while still very capable. He is handling his business about as well as anyone could expect from a player in this compromising position.
Bottom line is he shouldn’t be rewarded nor criticized for anything that has happened to him, just merely provided the positive opportunity to be the best Dallas Cowboys player and teammate he can be this upcoming season.