I told you that Darrius Heyward-Bey would likely be the next big thing in sports marketing, and thanks to Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders, I’m going to be proven more than right. At a minimum, people in California are going to be in love with this kid, for more than just his speed alone.
First, the DC-Metro native will be spotted at the NBA Finals checking out the Los Angeles Lakers. He’ll likely be sitting with some hot young actress, getting the Hollywood romance angle jumping off only to deflect the attention with a mature “I’m enjoying myself out here, but I’m thinking about training camp and getting ready to help this team back to the playoffs.”
Then he gets into camp and blows everyone away with his speed - getting everyone amped about the return of the vertical passing game to Oakland. By this time, his agent will have worked out a few local deals for Heyward-Bey to be a spokesperson, and suits will soon be taking notice of his quiet confidence and intelligence. Money in the bank for the kid, and a suitable entry into possible national pitch deals and maybe even some acting.
Finally, he’ll look that much better when Michael Crabtree talks his way into his first controversy by November. The two receivers will always draw comparisons - not only to each other, but to the legendary receivers they most resemble. Tim Brown for Heyward-Bey, and Terrell Owens for Michael Crabtree.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, if he stays healthy and scores early for the Oakland Raiders, can’t possibly miss in Year One of his NFL experience. If the Raiders improve to 7-9; a reasonable goal with an improved defense and a maturing JaMarcus Russell, and if any of it can be attributed to Heyward-Bey’s performance, the Oakland Raiders look like the geniuses of the draft.
And the scary part is, this is just Year One.