Samuel Takes On Philly Media
By Lance Epstein
Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel has heard the criticism and read multiple articles published by the Philadelphia media about his lack of tackling skills or willingness to avoid contact at all cost. He is also apparently very unhappy about it as well.
According to Jordan Raanan of CsnPhilly.com and Tom Curran of CSN New England reported that Samuel decided to take action at this weekend's minicamp. During the practice Samuel yelled out loud for every teammate, media member and person that could hear him, "Nobody talk to him. He's a weasel!"
Who was that man that Samuel was referring to? According to ProFootballTalk.com, it was not other than Philadelphia Daily News reporter Paul Domowitch. While Domowitch is usually pessimistic about the team, he actually nailed it on the article Samuel got upset about.
Last week [two days before minicamp], Domowitch wrote an article where he was commenting on fourth-round draft pick Trevard Lindley and the Eagles not “tackling” their cornerback concerns. In that same article, he made a statement saying Samuel was "allergic to tackling and playing press coverage."
"I see a free-lancing cornerback on one side -- Asante Samuel -- who has a terrific knack for intercepting passes, but is allergic to tackling and playing press coverage, and frequently got his lunch eaten on bubble screens last season as teams started noticing he was lining up in another zip code," said Domowitch who blasted the Pro Bowl cornerback.
Apparently, Samuel did not stop at just calling him as “weasel,” he twice voiced and confronted his displeasure with Domowitch during the team’s minicamp.
Still all offseason, Samuel has been at the forefront of confrontation. Head coach Andy Reid called out his stating cornerback at the annual owner’s meetings and said he must to improve heading into next year. One of things he specifically mentioned was his tackling.
Like what Samuel did with Domowitch, he called out the front office and said they needed to get better as well via text to CsnPhilly.com's Derrick Gunn.
"The whole team needs to improve from the front office to the head coach to the players," reported Gunn on the text message he received.
If that was not bad enough, a report surfaced during the Donovan McNabb sweepstakes that the Eagles would not mind unloading him and Sheldon Brown.
On top of that, in a interview last week, he did not sound as if he knew what he could improve upon during this offseason. In fact, he seemed to be taking a shot at the fans and media for saying he had any weaknesses.
"I am just trying to get better at every aspect of my game like always," Samuel said. "Whatever was my weak point last year to make it better this year.
"I don’t know. That is for you guys to figure out [media/fans]. Maybe I dropped too many interceptions or something."
All in all it has been a wild ride this offseason for the Eagles star corner. Without a doubt, this season could become a very volatile situation for him in Philly if he does not learn to make a tackle. If he thinks the Philly media is bad about his shoddy tackling skills, the fans will be 10-times worse. They have never been shy about letting players have for poor efforts and running players out of town.
On the other hand, he might be trying to play his way out of Philadelphia. Considering he is owed upwards of $9 million in 2011 and is going to be 30, he might see the writing on the wall. Certainly, he may also feel that the team as too young to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender and are a couple of seasons away. Since he is getting up in age, he may yearn to go to a team that will not have growing pains and can win now.
Still for an Eagles team that is desperately searching for leadership in the locker room, he is not exactly showcasing that quality. Moreover, this could be one of the many reasons why the Patriots just let him walk away as a free agent. Ultimately, this season might be the end of the line for Samuel with the birds.
Although since he is going to be here for the 2010 season, he might want to consider learning the art of tackling. It could save him from being picked on and prevent his feelings from being hurt by the boo-birds. More importantly, it helps his teammates get off the field and in a better position to win.