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By: Jamie Samuelsen
When we next heard from Lions wide receiver Titus Young, we were hoping for contrition, explanation and resolution to be better. Clearly, we were being ridiculous to expect even that.
Instead Titus took to Twitter over the past twelve hours and delivered some absolute gems that dig his already deep hole even deeper. Here are some of the things that @TitusDYoungSr had to say. These tweets appear in their exact form so you can truly appreciate his feelings.
“Like I said I never been selfish but if I’m not going to get the football i don’t want to play anymore”
“Never have I ran the wrong route, just put my self where the ball was going”
So it’s rather clear. Young is disputing the notion that he purposely sabotaged the team in the Lions’ 24-20 loss to Green Bay on November 18. He also states for the world that if he’s not going to get the football, he’s not going to play the game anymore.
I think I speak for all Lions fans when I say, “Do you promise???”
The time for the Lions to cut Young was two months ago as the season was falling apart. He’s not the biggest reason the Lions lost eight straight games to end the season. But he’s a perfect example of why they did. The Lions simply put to much faith in too many players who have proven too little in the NFL.
What has Young done? He came on a bit at the end of 2012. He had the breakout game against the Seahawks where he replaced Nate Burleson and caught two touchdowns as part of a 100-yard day. And? And?
In any professional sport, there will be players who break the law or break team rules. For every Calvin Johnson or Matthew Stafford who does everything by the book, there will be an Ndamukong Suh or a Miguel Cabrera who requires a little bit of maintenance along the way. As long as the player is good enough and important enough to the cause, teams are more than willing to put up with the negative to ensure the positive on-field result.
But where is that result for Young? We’ve heard how good he is, and how fast he is. We just haven’t seen it. He was billed coming out of Boise State as a poor man’s DeSean Jackson, but he hasn’t played that way. Sure he had the nice game against the Seahawks, but he also dropped touchdown passes, first down passes and easy passes. When he was banished from the Lions, he was tied for 83rd in the league with 33 catches. And he was 84th with 383 yards.
So for the sake of this argument, let’s say that he’s the 83rd best receiver in the NFL (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and giving him his highest ranking. I’m a pretty generous guy.) There are 32 teams in the NFL, so by the law of averages, every team has at least two receivers on their roster that produce more than Young does. Not too impressive. But it’s even less impressive when you consider that Young played with one of the top passing quarterbacks in the league (statistically speaking, Stafford did finish with 4967 yards). And even less impressive when you consider that Young played alongside the best receiver in the league in Calvin. In other words, shouldn’t Young have better numbers almost by default? Given all the advantages he’s given being a receiver in this offense with this quarterback and these teammates, he should rank better than the 83rd best receiver in the NFL.
His defenders can say that he’s still young. And that he’s misunderstood. And that Stafford’s struggles were another reason why his numbers weren’t better. And perhaps some of that is true (although not all of it.)
But it still comes down to this – is Young worth the hassle? And the answer is no, he’s not. If he were the next DeSean Jackson, he would be. If he were a clear #2 receiver on this team, he would be. If he were much better than the 83rd best receiver in the league, he would be. But he’s none of those things. He’s an overhyped, under-performing headache.
Suh might cause problems, but he also causes problems for opposing teams. Young merely causes problems for his own team. There’s little benefit, only cost. He’s misbehaved and he clearly hasn’t learned any lessons from his punishment. The Lions should move on from Young immediately. If he goes on to burn them with another team, so be it. But the odds are much better that he’ll end up burning the team he lands on.