Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess was a no-show again Friday at the Oakland Raiders training camp held in Napa, Calif.
This current holdout signals the end, some say, of his career in Oakland, as the one-time NFL-leading sack specialist has yet to make an appearance for any Raiders' offseason activities. It has been well documented from various sources that Burgess has been unhappy in Oakland, due to the coaching change and the fact that the team had not offered him a contract renewal in line with deals signed by other players at his position around the league.
Instead of focusing on the negative tone this could bring to the teams renovations currently under way, head coach Tom Cable and staff have got on with the job. The Raiders recently signed free agent Greg Ellis (Dallas Cowboys) to man the spot at left defensive end.
This brings some much-needed maturity to the defensive end position and complements the existing rotation of players in camp, which includes Jay Richardson, Trevor Scott, Matt Shaughnessy, and other young, largely unproven talents.
The signing of Ellis should send a clear message to Mr. Burgess that the team is prepared to move on, with or without him. Being a contract year for Burgess, this is a case of embarrassingly poor planning on behalf of the player and his agent.
Not only are fines being levied against Burgess for each day of camp missed, the contract he has with Oakland currently includes a payout of as much as $3.5 million (info), a sum that many teams will not be willing to match.
My impressions of Burgess' play paint the picture of a malcontent who is not giving 100 percent every snap, something many teams aren't willing to pay a premium for.
The last interest in the player's services came from the New England Patriots, which didn't go anywhere. Trade talks stalled during the 2009 draft, when the Patriots declined to offer the picks and compensation requested by the Raiders to complete the deal.
Instead of hitting the grid-iron as a force and playing to the full extent of his ability to show his true worth to the Raiders—or any other NFL team that may be watching—Burgess may find himself on the bubble to be released from camp.
Worse, he may be held in limbo by the team's administration, and squabbles over money with managing general partner Al Davis rarely end well for the player.
As reported, neither Burgess or his agent, Jimmy Sexton, were available for comment.
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The author would like to thank Steve Corkran of insidebayarea.com for facts supporting this opinion piece.