Sore reminder of loyalty, or lack there of

By Nick Pitts
March 19, 2009

My worst nightmare has come true.

Brian Dawkins is gone. The heart and soul of Philadelphia is gone.

And the region is so painfully reminded once again, that sporting events are solely about money and how the superstars will be paid.

Dirty, green money.

It wasn’t enough that they took Pat Burrell away from us, and it wasn’t enough that Danny Briere’s return cost three gritty players.

When the 2009 season kicks off, Dawkins will no longer be wearing midnight green, as he has traded it in for Bronco orange.

Or that’s what Eagles president Joe Banner will tell you, mister defender of his own personal standing in what went down in the incredibly unpopular move.

Banner went on 610 WIP and spoke with Howard Eskin about how Dawkins never gave the Eagles a second chance to match or better Denver’s deal.

Eagles safety, or former Eagles safety rather, Brian Dawkins, understood that the Eagles were not willing to better the deal that they had already laid on the table, a measly one year contract.

Banner believes Banner’s claim and so may team owner Jeffrie Lurie.

The rest of Eagle nation seems to side with Dawkins and that he got stiffed from the team he gave 13 years of his life to.

Dawkins was looking for a multiple year deal, something that would allow him to play until he knew he was finished and retire in the city of Brotherly Love.

But the Eagles, the organization with one of the least expensive payrolls, would rather rely on the unproven future draft picks and sign a free agent that’s a few years younger.

Perhaps they’ll give the rest of the excess money they saved by not resigning Correll Buckhalter, John Runyan, Lito Sheppard and Tra Thomas, to Donovan “super five” McNabb himself.

With Brian Dawkins gone, so too, is the well overused cliche that it is all “for the love of the game.”

What a load of crap.

Then there is the curious case of Pat Burrell, former Phillie, former future star, forever a fan favorite.

There was no shock when Burrell signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, as he simply made too much money to remain in Phillies red. There was no way the Phillies could have kept him, having one of the highest payrolls in the big leagues.

But it still hurts.

The day a guy like Pat the Bat leaves town, people start to wonder if anyone is safe.

Glenn Metropolit, Ossie Vaananen and poor Scottie Upshall sure weren’t safe.

Of the three recently departed Flyers, two were placed on waivers when rumors of the latest underachieving, overpaid superstar Daniel Briere was returning from the infirmary, because the Flyers were above the salary cap.

Paul Holmgren said that he hoped they would clear waivers and remain in the system, but I’m fairly sure before the end of this season is over, he will admit that he messed up.

Metropolit and Vaananen, in orange and black for a very short time, will probably not be remembered, despite having done nothing but play their hearts out.

But Scott Upshall, the third line ball-of-energy winger, was yet another fan favorite. This guy forechecked hard even if the team was down big. That is probably why he was traded for a fourth line brawler whom the Flyers already have two of.

Let me be the first to say that Danny Briere will certainly be the flyers next Eric Lindros. Overpaid, fragile and signed for a bajillion years. He will play several years past his prime on Broad St., gritty, lesser known players will continue to be traded due to the salary cap, and when his contract becomes more reasonable for another team to pick up, Briere will be traded around eight times and then finally retire, having never brought Philly what everyone thought he would. Hope.

Three different teams, three of the same cases.

There is no such thing as loyalty.

The only thing I’ve learned from my lifelong devotion to this forsaken town, is not to buy a jersey with a name on the back of it. That is, unless its Dave Shultz or Mike Schmidt.

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Nick Pitts

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