NFL draft holdouts

Scott Jagow Jul 28, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Most of the NFL training camps start today and quite a few of this year’s first round draft picks still haven’t signed with their teams. Like the No. 2 pick, Reggie Bush, the running back from USC. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Bush and the other holdouts can’t join camp until they sign. Joining us now, our business of sports commentator Diana Nyad.

NYAD: Scott how are ya?

JAGOW: Good. Why does this happen every year in the NFL?

NYAD: It’s a dance that has escalated. I mean if we look back some 10 years ago, it wasn’t the vast majority of these guys that from the draft, you know months go by, and there’s plenty of time to do the negotiating, jockey for position for your money and get ready for this very crucial month of August when you’ve got to be in two-a-days at training camp, get to know that thick playbook. You ever seen the playbook of the NFL?

JAGOW: They are huge.

NYAD: I mean they can be 1,000 pages long. And that playbook represents very detailed, hey on third down against the Bears we never do slot-SL-42. We’ve gotta go to play slot-SL-34. And if the running back is off that play and has run just a couple yards on a different route, all of a sudden, you’re not making the playoffs and the Super Bowl by the end of the year. So they have to learn that playbook. And also to get those two-a-day contact practices and get ready to be in game shape not just in shape.

JAGOW: Yeah I would think if you don’t get into camp, there’s a better chance of you getting injured right?

NYAD: Absolutely. Cedric Bensen of the Bears is the greatest example. Last year, No. 4 overall pick in the draft. He’s with the Bears, he just can’t sign. He wants more money, he holds out. He holds out the entire month of August. He misses all the preseason games, he misses all those two-a-day practices. He doesn’t have his playbook, he’s not studying, he comes in, he doesn’t know what the heck’s going on so they demote him to No. 2 running back, which he shouldn’t have been and then his body, game-shapewise wasn’t ready, he gets injured immediately, he’s out six weeks with a knee. So even though you think, ‘Oh good well they won’t be here in August, they’ll get rested, we’ll just use him come September,’ it doesn’t work that way. They have to get game-shape ready.

JAGOW: So with those things being true, why are these guys holding out every year?

NYAD: You know, there’s gotten to be this pecking order. OK, so if you’re the No. 3 guy this year in the first round, you know that you have to wind up just a little bit behind the No. 2 guy from this year in money and just a little bit ahead of the No. 4 guy. So you take Reggie Bush, he’s probably the biggest name in this year’s draft, drafted No. 2. He’s held out because he believes he should have been No. 1 and he wants that money that Mario Williams has already signed for. He wants equal or more than that money. He also wants to make sure he’s got more money than the No. 3 Vince Young. So they wait. And the agents tell them, ‘Wait we don’t want to be embarrassed. We want to get the money we deserve in the pecking order.’

JAGOW: So there’s no proposal out there right now to fix this?

NYAD: No proposal. Here we go. The dance continues.

JAGOW: Alright Diana, thanks a lot.

NYAD: Thank you Scott.

JAGOW: Diana Nyad is the Marketplace Business of Sports Commentator. In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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