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Houshmandzadeh was offered a deal; Stacy Andrews declined $15 million; steroids in sports

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+ When players manipulate you. Usually when unrestricted free agents are asked about whether or not they're going back to their team, some complain that they're not wanted back. Case in point, Houshmandzadeh said, "I can't speak for them but I haven't heard from them which would lead me to assume that I'm out of there."

Right. Players presume, when contact has supposedly not been made, that they don't want the player. In truth, we don't know if this is Houshmandzadeh's way of manipulating public support avoiding the classification that the player is ditching town for greener pastures. However, if he says that talks haven't been attempted, then he's not being accurate. Early in 2008, the team and Houshmandzadeh have attempted negotiations when talks broke off because the value for the team's best wide receiver was vastly different. Of course, the player thinks he's valued more, the team believes that everyone is valued less. When negotiations broke, Mike Brown decided to wait until this off-season to resume talks. However, it was likely decided 13 months ago that Houshmandzadeh wasn't worth his asking price from the genius front office minds.

Houshmandzadeh, in our opinion, would be better served to keep talking about wanting to go to a winner. Fans accept that reasoning, and Bengals fans specifically, feel sorry for players like Houshmandzadeh that begin hitting the back-end of their careers with a renewed championship drive. See how well it worked for Takeo Spikes? In one sense, we don't blame Houshmandzadeh for wanting to leave -- on the other hand, if he wants to leave then good bye; which would essentially cease my interest of his successes. I'm a fan of the Bengals, not players of other NFL teams. Seems a bit cold, doesn't it? We have more things to worry about as fans than a player's preferences; especially if said player has given no indication that he's going to stick around with us.

During last week's radio tour, Houshmandzadeh, who will likely sign with the highest bidder, said he liked Philadelphia and wouldn't mind Chicago (how's that for going to a winner?). Seattle and San Francisco are looking hard at Houshmandzadeh and Miami and Tennessee are possible suitors.

To conclude today's Houshmandzadeh's chat, John Thornton writes one interesting theory, saying maybe the Bengals "are just waiting to tell him, or they are letting TJ and his agent generate interest with other teams, hoping that a team or two fall in love with him enough that they would make a trade and give the Bengals a 1st or 2nd round pick in return" after they use the franchise tag on him.

+ Just because it's old news doesn't make it less of an issue. Steroids in baseball is old news. But that shouldn't degrade the issue of human growth hormones in sports. Some have claimed that they should just let it happen because there's just no way to combat the issue. Whereas there's new testing technologies and methods of discovery, there's a newer generation of methods to hide them. So, those people ask, why not let it happen. All of the obvious arguments aside (morally wrong, for the children, etc), the issue becomes disastrously unfair. If ten players choose to take HGH, but one doesn't because the blue collar hard work ethic, then those ten players artificially build themselves and directly manipulate the market so the blue collar worker has a terrible disadvantage -- all because people decided that this was the era and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Football often gets a free pass on the issue because it's perceived that they are proactive regarding the fight against the issue. In 2007, the union and the NFL upgraded their policy to include new banned substances, additional financial penalties and the disqualification for post-season awards. Each week from the preseason to the post-season, ten players on each team are randomly tested which actually starts as early as February. Players found to have tested positive, are given more tests once their suspensions have expired.

In truth, baseball is blamed as the antagonist of the steroid era; primarily because several players have broken revered records in the sport. Football's version of this came to knowledge 30 years too late when one quarterback admitted to its use during a Super Bowl run. I acknowledge that HGH is in our sports these days, and couldn't be more disappointed. But that doesn't mean we should brush it off as old news simply because it exists.

+ While feeling bad for Andrews, remember something else. Some felt bad for Stacy Andrews when he got hurt, dissolving the coveted payday contract that many NFL players receive at least once. The argument is when a player takes the franchise tag, he runs the risk of getting hurt and losing out. It's the same argument for great college players sticking around for their senior season.

However, it's also lost on people that Stacy Andrews was actually offered a long-term extension in which guaranteed Andrews $15 million. He declined it thinking he'd get more after his franchise season. So with that bit of knowledge, should you feel sorry for Andrews after getting hurt, or should you just say, "tisk, tisk." The reality is that Andrews is working to getting back into NFL form, rehabilitating his knee in which could keep him out of the NFL next season. His best best is to sign with the Bengals for a one-year minimum contract to stay in the NFL, and eventually supplant one of the starters when he gets the chance. The problem now is if Andrews can't take over one of the line's starting positions, then 31 other NFL teams see no value in Andrews.

Still, one has to wonder if Andrews is sitting back knocking himself in the head for not taking the initial extension. Knowing the uphill battle he has, perhaps it was a good thing for the Bengals that he didn't.

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