Photo by Jonathan Bachman
Anyone who attended the Saints-Raiders game at the Dome last week and looked at the Saints sideline could see that the Saints' biggest cheerleader was then-injured tight end Jeremy Shockey. Then, after today's game at Carolina in which he caught five passes for 50 yards but also lost a fumble, Shockey shouldered a lot of the burden:
"I had a fumble that hurt the team. I missed a backside cutoff block," Shockey said. "That's on me, 14 points I felt like I gave up today, not because of effort, but just because physically I'm not healthy."
For whatever reason, though, the Associated Press decided the best headline to describe Shockey's post game comments was "After struggling in return, Shockey rips Saints."
The quote in question:
"I'm worried that this thing could have been taken care of in camp, like it should have been," said Shockey, who the Saints acquired from the New York Giants in July for two draft picks. "If it wasn't misdiagnosed in camp like it was there'd have been no problems. ... Next time I know. When I get hurt I'll get three or four opinions besides just the team's."
Does that sound like a player "ripping" his team? It seems to me that his is a player that is frustrated with the fact that he hasn't been healthy dating back to when he broke his leg with the Giants last season and, in the few occasions he has seen some action, hasn't played up go expectations. And now, with his injury flaring up again, Shockey seems justifiably frustrated with a training staff that cleared him to play.
Regardless, it would be foolish for Saints fans (and the media, for that matter) to pursue this storyline as some sort sign that the Shockey trade was a mistake and now he's tearing the locker room apart. No one wants Shockey to play well more than he does and, considering how quickly he was embraced by the organization, I'd be surprised if Shockey really holds any ill will.
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