16 Nov

Kelechi Osemele shows why players wonder if teams care about their welfare

first_imgShare on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Given a chance to show leadership and accountability on the Osemele matter, Gase cowered. “I haven’t seen him,” Gase said. Shouldn’t you see him, he was asked. “He’s injured. I’m trying to get ready for the next opponent.” Osemele was released less than 24 hours later. His agents told Schefter that Osemele and the NFL Players’ Association will take legal action against the Jets’ team doctors for violations of state medical board regulations. “What do I do?” Osemele told the New York Daily News last week. “Take Vicodin? Where’s the line? How much should a player play through pain? What is the limit? Is there a limit? Toradol every day? Does my health matter?”Osemele expressed the apprehension many players have when it comes to the independence of team doctors. Are they thinking about the health and safety of the player long-term? Or is the goal to get the player back on the field for the next snap and the one after that and the one after that, long-term issues be damned?That’s one of the central tensions at the heart of a locker-room: how much does this team really care about me? And when a team is bad, everything is amplified. And the Jets are really bad.This, right here, is why bad teams stay bad. It’s not just the Jets. For example, an ongoing squabble between Cordy Glenn and the Bengals over how the team dealt with a head injury resulted in the left tackle receiving a one-game suspension. Every team has had its share of iffy medical situations, where a player’s health hasn’t seemed like the first and only priority. Only the Jets could look malicious and inept.Central to this story is Jets head coach Adam Gase. Gase made the mother of all power plays last offseason when, kicked out of the head coach’s office in Miami, he arrived in New York and demanded absolute power. The Jets, stunningly, sided with a coach whose top credential remains access to Peyton Manning’s phone number.Gase is the caricature of a football coach. Words like “toughness” and “togetherness” and “leadership” tumble from his mouth because he knows that’s what is expected. But he delivers it with all the sincerity of a hard-up used car salesman. Gase is a man steeped in football-ology, a philosophy that sees players less as individuals and more as pawns of the oh-so-wise coach. Get out of the way, stay quiet, do what I say, and we will be successful.There’s an issue, though. Gase is a loser. He has coached 56 games in his NFL career. His teams have been more likely to lose by double digits (25) than to win (24). He is the man who presided over a staff in Miami where one of its high-ranking employees – an offensive-line coach – felt comfortable snorting white substances at his desk before a team meeting. … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Jets Videos (@snyjets)Adam Gase responds to a question about why he hasn’t spoken to Kelechi Osemele in the past few weeks – “He hasn’t asked to speak to me” pic.twitter.com/UI6MAfqos0October 24, 2019 Reuse this content Etan Thomas Since you’re here… features NFL Gase’s handling of the situation has been a disgrace. It’s easy to ask for all the power in an organization when you want to run the draft. But the job is hard when it comes to negotiating issues with players or dealing with outside forces – agents, the media, doctors. In such disputes, there’s no front-office bogeyman you can throw under the bus. You’re the guy. The player, media and staff want answers.Gase isn’t just unqualified, he is delusional. It has cost the Jets in the short-term – they are 1-6 this season – and it will continue to do so into the future. “If I’m still an agent,” former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry wrote this week, “I wouldn’t recommend signing with the Jets.” Gase was supposed to exorcise some of the stench of a team that has one winning season in the last eight. From his introductory press conference, to the team’s record, to his handling of players, he has only served to plunge them to fresh depths.The Osemele situation will do lasting damage to the Jets’ reputation around the league. Players will still sign there, of course: the Jets will never fail to hand out inflated contracts to has-beens, because that’s the company motto. And there are only 32 teams and a finite number of jobs across the league. But if a player has a choice, the prospect of working with a team who have shown such callousness towards a respected veteran will leave them with only one option – anyone but the Jets. Topics Chicago Bears are a masterclass in how to waste a great defensecenter_img The Jets’ treatment of Kelechi Osemele was as shameful as it is was predictable, its cruelty matched only by its stupidity.To recap: Osemele, an All-Pro guard who was acquired by the Jets as a free agent last offseason, sustained a torn labrum earlier in the season. Osemele wanted surgery on the injury, which would have likely kept him out for much if not all of the 2019 season. The Jets denied the request. They asked Osemele to take painkilling injections and carry on playing. Osemele decided to have the surgery anyway, without the blessing (but with the knowledge, an important distinction) of the Jets, after he received a third opinion. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that Osemele’s surgery was successful, but that the damage to his shoulder “was more extensive than anticipated.” Rather than place Osemele on injured reserve, a designation that frees up a roster spot for the team but means the player is still paid, the Jets released Osemele, voiding his contract. The 30-year-old was due to make $9.1m this year. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Kevin Durant shouldn’t have been playing, period. Athletes need their own doctors US sports Read more Share via Email Support The Guardian Share on WhatsApp New York Jets Share on Messenger Read morelast_img read more