Death of a Trade and Jeff Otah: Lack of Heart or Discipline?

Charles EdwardsContributor IJuly 31, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 23   Offensive lineman Jeff Otah #79 of the Carolina Panthers gets off the line of scrimmage to make a block during the NFL preseason game against the Washington Redskins at Bank of America Stadium on August, 23, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Jeff Otah will be returning to the Carolina Panthers after the trade with the New York Jets was voided when he failed his physical, according to Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News. The Jets will move on with who they already have on the line and the Panthers will have a front office decision to make in the very near future.

Otah has shown his talent to be a force on the offensive line when he is healthy, but in recent years could not keep in shape and stay on the field. Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was initially seen as a draft day genius when he traded back into the first round of the 2008 draft to select the right tackle out of Pittsburgh. However, Otah could not keep himself in shape and was having numerous problems with his knee. His selection in the draft could possibly rank among Carolina's all-time draft day busts.

So, why has a promising and talented lineman allowed himself to end up this way? 

It seems as though he is lacking heart and the desire to play at his full potential. When fellow teammates Jon Beason and Thomas Davis went down with injuries, both were very vocal about their commitment to return to the game and help their team win. Otah has been silent. It seems as though he reported for his first season, played a few games and then let injuries become a setback for him.  Battling injuries has been synonymous with Otah throughout his career. Looking at this man, one can almost see the lack of fire in his eyes. 

Otah definitely lacks discipline, as evidenced by his failing physical. He had an entire offseason, plus a 2011 season that saw him on the injured reserve, to work his way back and compete for his spot at right tackle. Carolina seemed decided on trading him when he reported to camp with the rookies, so perhaps they felt it was time to cut their losses. It is unknown if they felt he would not pass his physical, but one cannot blame Hurney for trying to get something for him in return.

Now it seems as though there is no return for a man who played well when he started games. Carolina will need to decide where to go from here, and despite the fact that Otah is returning to his old team, it's doubtful anyone will even bother dusting off his pads.