Apparently rumors turn into fact pretty quickly in the desert as we learned that Edgerrin James did ask the Arizona Cardinals to release him. The request came just days after the St. Louis Rams' game when not only did Edge not start but he also didn't step on the field for a single snap. As you might expect Edge's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made the request and has done most of the talking since saying:
"Edge is not looking to create a distraction or impact team chemistry,"
Rosenhaus said. "But this is a difficult situation for him. It's a very confusing decision, not just to not be starting but to not be contributing. He's in the prime of his career and he wants to contribute."
The Cardinals of course denied the request but to his credit, Edge's demeanor hasn't changed in the locker room and he's still working hard every day, according to General Manager, Rod Graves:
"Edgerrin's attitude has been good," Graves said. "He hasn't come in to Ken (coach Ken Whisenhunt) or myself to demand or suggest he wants to be released. He's continued to work and right now everybody is focusing on trying to beat the Giants."
Why wouldn't the Cardinals just let him go?: That questions has several answers and they're all pretty clear. First, they've already paid him most of his salary, including bonuses, for this season and they wouldn't be able to recoup any of than money. In fact, because he's a veteran and been on the roster the entire year, they'd have to pay him the remainder of this year as a severance. Second, if they did release him they'd be down to just two running backs, Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington. They'd have either bring up Steve Baylark, who's never even been on the roster for an NFL game much less played in one, from the practice squad or sign a guy off of the streets. If either Hightower or Arrington got injured, they'd be seriously undermanned at running back. And finally, why would they put a guy on the streets who knows their entire play book and offensive philosophy like the back of his hand? Upcoming teams on the schedule, like the Patriots for example, or even potential playoff opponents could pick up Edge and use him for information.
It's pretty clear that the Cardinals have not intentions of letting Edge go this year, but as many of us already thought he'll be gone once the season is over. My main question to Edge would be, what did he gain by requesting his release? It proves, at least in my mind, that's he's a "me-first" player and that he cares nothing about the team that he spent the past two and a half years with. The Cardinals are in the midst of their greatest season in the past three decades but instead of being concerned with how he can help this team, even if it's in the smallest of ways, he's more concerned with how many yards he can gain over the next seven games. How do you feel about Edge's request? And what team would sign him to be their starting running back right now if the Cardinals did release him?