During the Summer of 2009, it was highly publicized that Jets Running Back/Kick Returner Leon Washington wanted more money and a new contract.
The Jets, according to several reports, offered Washington a very lucrative contract last summer, and Washington refused to take it. Sure enough, Washington's decision to not sign that contract came back to bite him in the rear, er, the leg.
Washington broke his leg in a game against the Oakland Raiders, ending his 2009 season, and bringing up questions about whether he still has the ability to be a gamebreaker.
This off-season, Washington became a restricted free agent, and the Jets gave Washington a second-round tender. He hasn't signed his tender with the Jets yet, and clearly still wants the big money.
But making the situation even worse, is that Washington has refused to work out with the Jets or rehab his broken leg with the Jets in the offseason. This decision has angered Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan, who is saying that Washington is "making a mistake" by not reporting to the Jets.
In my opinion, Coach Ryan could not be any more correct when he says Leon is "making a mistake."
First of all, Washington is demanding a big contract, even though he's coming off of a very serious leg injury. I understand that Washington wants some long-term security in his career, but he's coming off of a major injury, and any team would be insane to give Washington the type of contract he's demanding.
Nobody knows if he'll be the same player anymore, and I think him making these contract demands is just plain dumb.
Even without the injury, Leon Washington is not a starting running back in the NFL. He's merely a change-of-pace, 3rd down back, and a stellar kick returner.
The Jets already have Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson, which is going to limit Washington's role as a member of the Jets. The injury doesn't help Washington's situation either.
Next, if you're a player coming off of a career-threatening injury, why on earth would you not want to work out with the team and work out with the team's trainers?
To me, Washington is simply being a baby if he thinks that not reporting to the Jets is a good way of expressing his frustration. It isn't the Jets fault that he broke his leg last year. Washington needs to be a little bit humble here, and realize that his NFL career can go downhill very fast.
It is not a very smart move on his part to ignore the Jets' great training facility, and refuse rehabbing the injury with team doctors. If he wants to show he deserves the money he wants, he needs to show up and show a little bit of dedication.
No team is just going to give Washington money because he was once a game-breaking player. They need to see that he's willing to work, be a good soldier, and commit himself to the team.
Right now, Washington is coming off as a whining and crying football player. You can sit back and wait for something to happen, or do something about the situation. Leon can do something about the situation by reporting to the Jets, and working out with team doctors.
Because if he isn't working out with the team, how can he possibly demand more money if they can't see that he is 100%?