New Orleans Saints Releasing Bobby McCray a Necessary Evil

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IJune 23, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 19:  Bobby McCray #93 of the New Orleans Saints moves off the field during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


That was the reaction of Bobby McCray upon hearing about his sudden release.

Fans and even media members that cover the team on a daily basis were caught off guard by the departure of the sack specialist who spent two seasons in New Orleans.

I use the term "sack specialist" only because that's how he was labeled when he came over from Jacksonville in 2008. To be honest, he was anything but special last year.

The man brought to New Orleans to terrorize the quarterback managed just 1.5 sacks in 2009.

McCray, for those of you who don't follow the Saints closely, is the guy who leveled Kurt Warner after playoff interception and put two more fierce hits on Brett Favre the following week in the NFC Championship Game.

McCray was subsequently fined $20,000 for his hits on Favre.

According to nola.com's Jeff Duncan, McCray was falling out of favor with the coaching staff because of being undisciplined with the penalties and missed assignments. He was pulled in the second half of the Super Bowl and replaced by reserve Jeff Charleston. Sean Payton had complained that McCray had a problem with being late to team activities.

McCray was due $2 million in base salary plus a $1.25 million roster bonus.

One reason that so many Super Bowl winners have trouble repeating is complacency. Many players in the NFL will do whatever it takes to get that elusive first ring. That was the case last year for the Saints, when a bunch of hungry players pulled together as a team, put aside their individual glory, fought through injuries, and won a championship.

Veteran players like Darren Sharper and Pierson Prioleau spoke about the excitement of coming to New Orleans last year because of the chance to win their first rings after over a decade in the league.

Now that almost every current Saints player has a ring, that same desire and selflessness won't be there for each and every player.

Surely, players like Drew Brees, Jonathan Vilma, Jahri Evans, and Pierre Thomas are going to give it their all no matter how many rings they have stashed in their safety deposit boxes, but I doubt that sentiment rings true for every player.

Once a player gets a ring, they are often more concerned about getting paid. Playing through pain and risking major injury isn't always conducive to getting a high-priced free agent contract.

Charles Grant and McCray performed well under the standards set by the team and Scott Fujita was slowing down and impeding the progress of the young linebackers on the roster.

Jammal Brown was shipped out to Washington for virtually nothing. He was not happy about having to compete for the starting left tackle spot he held for four seasons before Jermon Bushrod took over last year when Brown was placed on IR.

The Saints could not risk that his attitude would divide the locker room and bring down the team.

I applaud the Saints for bringing in new players and getting rid of others who may have held the Saints back from repeating. The road ahead will be even tougher this time around and you can't have players who don't pull their weight or are otherwise locker room cancers.


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