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Brees shouldn’t be gone with the wind

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/02/27/sports/scholfield/22606184015.txt">North County Times</a>

    By STEVE SCHOLFIELD

    <img width="204" height="214" align="left" alt="Drew Brees" id="image1985" title="Drew Brees" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/brees.jpg" />LA COSTA -- While golfers and fans say goodbye to the last Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort and Spa, I couldn't help but feel San Diego County is going to lose another sports entity in the future, the Chargers.

    Sunday was the final match play event at the storied old La Costa course. The tournament is moving to the Tucson, Ariz., next year.

    As I watched the golf, my thoughts were with the Chargers and their quest to get a new stadium before their lease allows them to move after the 2008 season.

    Is the La Costa theme going to be played again with San Diego's most popular sports franchise? I'm not trying to be melodramatic here, but the way the Chargers are treating quarterback Drew Brees' contract negotiations they will, like the match play tournament, move on to greener pastures.

    Let me connect the dots.

    The Chargers want a new stadium and if no movement is made in the near future -- such as a stadium ballot referendum -- they can move.

    And what is the best way to keep interest in the team up and thus create enthusiasm for new stadium? By winning, by going deep into the playoffs.

    Many times I have heard club president Dean Spanos remark, "All we have to do is win; that will take care of many of the problems."

    Which brings us back to Brees, the fifth-year pro out of Purdue who has won 20 of the past 31 regular-season games he started. Brees gives the Chargers the best chance to win now.

    He is a more polished quarterback than his backup, the talented Philip Rivers.

    So why is general manager A.J. Smith playing hardball with Brees, the team's best quarterback since Stan Humphries led them to the Super Bowl? According to reports, the contract offered Brees does not contain a signing bonus and is back-loaded with incentives over five years.

    It is not the kind of offer one would expect to give Brees, who has 51 touchdown passes in two seasons, the most since Dan Fouts had 63 TD tosses during the 1980-81 seasons.

    Is it strictly negotiating tactics or does Smith really want Brees out so Rivers has his chance? Smith must be thinking that Brees will not be ready after tearing his labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder in the final game of the year. Besides, he drafted Rivers.

    Head coach Marty Schottenheimer has tried to be politically correct when comparing quarterbacks, but I know he wants Brees to stay.

    Brees, a regular on Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith's morning radio show, said during a guest spot Wednesday: "When I picture my future and my career, I picture holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy with my Charger uniform on and not another one. Now, if I get shipped out of here, so be it, I'll go win a championship somewhere else."

    This is not a money issue, either. The Chargers are $20 million under the salary cap and guaranteed money for Brees, the recognized team leader, is in the $10 million range. That still leaves enough to go shopping on the free-agent market.

    If the team is worried about Brees' health, take out a long-term insurance policy on him to protect the investment.

    To let Brees leave tells me the Chargers are not interested in winning. To let him leave without getting something for him tells me that egos and stubbornness are outweighing the team's greater good.

    Smith is always talking about getting good players, so his stance on Brees is baffling.

    If Smith is going to be this hardheaded on a player from within the organization, what does that tell you about his ability to bring in quality free agents? Athletes at all levels want to be appreciated and not treated like inventory on the shelf.

    Brees deserves better and the Chargers should understand that.

    It will be up to Spanos to firm up this sagging house of cards. He needs to tell Smith and Schottenheimer to get on the same page or they'll be history, just like that golf tournament at La Costa.
     

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