Joe Thomas' decision to forego the glitz of the NFL draft weekend in New York for a fishing trip with his father has raised a curious, unexpected stink. Actually, maybe it's not so unexpected, as I get the feeling the draft is more about getting the chance to judge people and less about getting better. It's like church, in that regard.
Some people think it's a sign of character that Thomas chose family over the bloated decadence of the draft. Others think it's a sign of rebelliousness that could cause problems down the road. Me? I think it's pretty great. NFL teams want that down-home humility, they're now finally looking at backbone and integrity as much as 40-times and bench presses. Here's a guy that is a legitimate blue chip prospect, an independent thinker, and an overall good guy, and you want to criticize him? Is there ever any winning here? (Another example: Amobi Okoye showed the maturity and drive to graduate from a major university at 19. Inexplicably, people think this is a bad thing.)
Anyway, Thomas will not completely out-of-sight this weekend -- the NFL Network will mount a camera in his boat to get his reaction upon being drafted.
"We'll be the only one with him in the middle of the lake," Weinberger said. "I hope he gets cellphone reception" — so the onboard camera can catch Thomas hearing from the team picking him.
This is apparently a compromise with the NFL, who, like the pretty girl, were mad that Thomas declined their invitation to the dance. It's only one of a few progressive bells and whistles the league's house network is planning for the big weekend. So is the NFL Network usurping ESPN's archaic coverage? It seems that way. The NFL Network is thinking progressively here, something the WWL hasn't done in forever. Still, until I'm able to watch the NFL Network in the biggest media market in America, I'll still consider it glorified public access.