Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz made national headlines with a one-liner during his Wednesday meeting with reporters, saying that receiver Titus Young will most likely have surgery on his knee "unless he doesn't show up for it." The shot left no doubt about Schwartz's exasperation with a player he has essentially dismissed from the team.
On the other hand, reporters were left wondering about the meaning of some cryptic statements from Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who chose his words carefully when discussing the condition of receiver Percy Harvin. It has now been a month since Harvin sprained his left ankle, and still he has not returned to practice. ESPN1500.com reported that the injury was a full ligament tear, but Harvin's well-earned reputation of erratic behavior prompted a number of direct questions Wednesday that Frazier clearly did not want to answer.
You can watch the entire news conference on the Vikings' website. It's full of vague descriptions and non-answers.
For starters, Frazier said that Harvin has "pretty much" done what the team's athletic trainers have asked him to do during rehabilitation.
This spring, Harvin requested a trade for reasons he never fully explained. Asked Wednesday if there were any issues with Harvin other than his ankle, Frazier said: "You know, I know that he wants to win like we do, and I'm sure he's going to do everything he has to do to help our football team and we'll see where it goes."
If the answer were "no," I don't see why Frazier wouldn't have said so.
Asked if Harvin will play again this season, Frazier said: "Hard to say. It's hard to say."
Asked if anything has changed with Harvin's physical condition, Frazier said: "Not a whole lot."
Finally, asked to explain the situation, Frazier said: "There's some things … got to see what's going to happen with."
Is there a disagreement on the severity of Harvin's injury? Is he passively protesting the fact that he did not receive a contract extension after an MVP-caliber start to the season? Does he have issues with the Vikings' offensive scheme? Remember, Harvin lashed out at Frazier on the sideline during that Week 9 game against the Seattle Seahawks, shortly before suffering the injury.
Or does Harvin simply have an unpredictable injury that has frustrated all involved?
I don't know the answers to those questions. But I'm relatively certain that Frazier would have taken steps to squash such speculation if appropriate. His answers indicated that, as is often the case with Harvin, things are more complicated than they appear. We'll see where it takes us.