NFL Nation: Brad Blank
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
David Givens says the Titans encouraged him to play despite a knee condition that could not withstand NFL competition, according to a $25 million lawsuit he has filed against the team.
Here's the link to News Channel 5's story and here’s the link to The Tennessean's piece.
The newspaper report includes this from Brad Blank, who represented Givens when he played:
I am saddened to learn that Givens is still having a hard time. I got to know him only a little bit at the start of his short time with the team.
"The issue is not about money.
"It's emotional and physical, and the idea that his career was cut short. ... The issue is what could have been done better and was there some kind of malpractice or negligence.
"His knee looks awful. Emotionally, in terms of his upbeat nature. … He is also not the happy-go-lucky, affable guy I used to know."
In attempts to check in on him after the injury and subsequent surgeries, we always heard that he was not in a good frame of mind, having a difficult time with things, withdrawn, downcast. Initially, those reports also said he was determined to resurface in the league, though all indications were that his knee simply wouldn’t allow it.
It’s a terribly unfortunate element of the league, the way a serious injury takes a guy from life as a star playing in front of 60,000 every week to a patient rehabilitating around a handful of people.
The end of football is hard on players -- the divorce rates, the financial troubles and the lifestyle adjustment have been well documented. Put a serious injury and a sudden ending into the formula and the change is drastic, the potential for emotional difficulties heightened.
The Titans haven’t commented on the case. But the accusations from Givens pertaining to an examination by Dr. Tomas Byrd, “an independent orthopedic surgeon who checked [Givens] before he signed a five-year contract in March 2006,” are disturbing.
The suit claims that after Byrd examined Givens, he forwarded the results to the Titans and their training staff. It further alleges that after the pathological defect in the structure of his left knee was discovered, Givens was not made aware of the problem as he should have been.So the first question that needs to be answered from the team’s side of things is why would they have given a receiver with a knee defect a five-year, $24 million contract that included $8 million in bonuses in the first two years?
It says that he learned of the condition only after reviewing his medical file for the first time in February 2009. He got the file as part of a still-unsettled arbitration with the Titans through the NFL Players Association collective bargaining agreement.
Nick Beres, the Nashville TV reporter who broke the story, said on The Wake Up Zone in Nashville Wednesday morning that the timing of the physical is unclear and that it could have come after Givens was already under contract.
(Standard disclosure: I'm a part of that radio show three times a week.)
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
"You play with fire sometimes," Blank said Sunday night, "and sometimes you get burned. I needed the Redskins. They pay people, and they pay people quick. It didn't work out with them, and I know I'll be second-guessed, but I did what I thought I had to do to get the biggest contract I could. You can't ignore the team you think is going to pay you the most money. But isn't it amazing? The last team on my list the other night is the team he ends up with. That's what happens in this business."
Vinny Cerrato was on the phone with Blank six seconds after midnight Friday morning. What do you think Canty would've earned from the Redskins? Something tells me he would've ended up in the $20 million guaranteed range, which is about $3 million more than the Giants gave him. In the end, though, Canty has a better chance at winning a Super Bowl with the Giants.
When things looked bleak for Canty on Friday, I'm a little surprised the Cowboys didn't try to pounce. Blank admitted that he thought about having to go back to Dallas on a two-year contract. Maybe the Cowboys really are scared about this DeMarcus Ware contract. Jerry Jones is trying to pay for a new stadium -- and he may have to cough up a $40 million guarantee.
We here in the Black and Blue didn't have the kind of blockbuster free agent weekend that a few other divisions enjoyed. That could change a bit if receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh agrees to terms with Minnesota, possibly as early as Monday, but otherwise the NFC North took a secondary position in the initial stages of the NFL's offseason player scramble.
But with a nod toward AFC North colleague James Walker's 7-step drop, and in recognition of my own absence over the weekend, let's touch on a few pertinent points before moving forward this week:
- Chicago's acquisition of offensive lineman Frank Omiyale gives the Bears extra flexibility but doesn't necessarily answer the question of who will replace retired right tackle John Tait. Omiyale's $5 million in guarantees suggests he will start somewhere, but he has experience across the line and likely will focus on guard, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. This means the Bears likely will have three new starters on their line in 2009: Chris Williams at left tackle, Omiyale -- possibly at left guard -- and whoever replaces Tait. You would have to assume that current free agent John St. Clair remains the favorite for that job.
- I can only hope Green Bay wasn't too serious about signing free agent defensive end Chris Canty, who agreed to terms with the New York Giants on Sunday evening. This quote from Canty's agent, Brad Blank, spoke volumes: "They acted like the Packers always do. They said, 'Good luck with [the Giants], and if it doesn't work out, we're interested.'" (Check out Pete Dougherty's full story in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.) Assuming Blank provided an accurate portrayal of the Packers' message, then it's the stance of a team that considered Canty a secondary target at best. If the Packers had serious designs on signing Canty -- and it's not as if they are overloaded with 3-4 defensive ends -- then they needed a much more aggressive approach.
- This is just me talking, but what I liked the best about Detroit's weekend is that the Lions got something in return for quarterback Jon Kitna, who under no circumstances was going to be back with the team in 2009. I don't know whether cornerback Anthony Henry, whom the Lions acquired from Dallas in return for Kitna, is going to have a huge impact this season. But most teams simply would have released Kitna and went about their business. The trade sends the appropriate message that new general managerMartin Mayhew is going to leave no stone unturned and will try to capitalize on every asset possible to improve the roster. It's also a sign of Mayhew's negotiating skill that he was able to get a return on a player near the end of his career who had no future with the team.
- I continue to be amazed at the way Minnesota is willing to throw money around at darn near every position except quarterback. The Vikings' latest target, Houshmandzadeh, figures to get a deal from someone worth around $6 million per season. Over the weekend, backup tight end Jim Kleinsasser signed a new three-year, $9 million deal. That's only slightly more than the Vikings will pay quarterback Sage Rosenfels, whom they acquired Friday to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for their starting job. (Rosenfels signed a two-year, $9 million contract.)
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