Don’t look now, but the Washington Redskins have a contender for the crown, a challenger for the title of NFL’s most dysfunctional organization.
Have you considered the New York Jets? Their fans must see Washington as an also-ran when it comes to incompetent management. (Yes, the Jets have five seasons with 10 or more wins since 2000, compared to only a couple for Washington, but let’s play along anyway.)
Owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen have created a unique strain of suffering among the fan base, but they’ve been one-upped by Jets’ administrators recently. Hard to believe, but New York has done some things even Washington might not pull off.
For instance, we know left tackle Trent Williams has trust issues with Washington’s medical staff. His lack of faith and confidence in their ability reportedly was part of the reason he held out this season. At least one player suggested that Williams isn’t alone in his feelings toward the medical staff.
Jets management looked at that situation and said, “hold our beer.”
Former Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele, who sustained a torn labrum earlier this season, told New York the pain was unbearable and he needed surgery right away. But the Jets deemed the injury tolerable, something he could play through with the help of pain killers and delay surgery until the offseason. The team began issuing weekly fines equal to his game check ($579,000) because he wasn’t practicing, labeling his unavailability as “conduct detrimental to the team.”
On Friday, after informing the Jets of his intentions but not receiving their blessing, Osemele flew to Boston and underwent the operation. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the surgery was successful and the damage to Osemele’s shoulder was “more extensive than anticipated.”
On Saturday, the Jets released him.
The Associated Press, citing a person with direct knowledge of the situation, said Osemele was cut for an “unexcused absence” and having unauthorized surgery.
So much for caring about their players, huh?
“Obviously not an ideal situation for either party,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas told reporters Tuesday in his first public remarks since the transaction. “We felt we did what was best for the team. The one thing I will clarify: The safety and well-being of all of our players is paramount.”
That comment should’ve been followed by a rim shot and laugh track.
The Jets’ paramount concern was keeping Osemele on the field, not making sure he was healthy. The player told reporters he received treatment and anti-inflammatory drugs early in the season, but the effectiveness had worn off and he struggled to raise his arm.
“A lot of guys play through injuries,” he said last week before his surgery. “But once it stops working and it doesn’t do anything for you anymore, then you’re at the point of, ‘What do I do now?’ Do I take Vicodin? Where is the line? How much should a player play through pain? Am I just supposed to be in pain and miserable every day?”
To which the Jets would counter, “Suck it up.”
Williams’ ordeal with Washington is just another reason prospective free agents might think twice about relocating to Ashburn. I imagine New York’s treatment of Osemele is even more off-putting. The Jets — already a low-rent brand before this debacle — look worse than ever to NFL players contemplating career moves.
After all, what organization lets a general manager run the draft and spend more than $125 million on free agents, only to fire him prior to the season and replace him with a new general manager, the fourth in eight years?
J-E-T-S, Mess, Mess, Mess!
Still don’t think they’re worthy contenders to Washington’s throne?
Osemele told reporters last week that Douglas admitted sending doctors blank MRIs of the injured player’s shoulder, with the GM calling the mishap “an honest mistake.” That same day, Adam Gase confirmed that he hadn’t talked to Osemele in weeks. “He hasn’t asked to speak to me,” the coach said.
That’s some first-rate dysfunction right there, even by Washington’s high standards.
Osemele’s agents and the NFL Players Association are considering legal action against the Jets’ team doctors for violation state medical board regulations. The player also has filed a grievance against the team.
“They owe him the balance of his contract both under the standard injury guarantee provision of the player contract and under termination pay,” agent Andrew Kessler said in a statement. “We will pursue through that and all fines to be rescinded through grievances.”
It would be great if fans could file grievances, too. Folks in this area can’t always tell from here, but they’re not alone.
They have green-and-white company at the bottom.
• Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays.