Eagles Should Part Ways With "Me-First" Asante Samuel

Written By Bob Cunningham On Thursday, June 10, 2010

"I won't tackle! Not now, not EVERRRRRRRRRRR!"



When the Eagles went out and signed Asante Samuel before the 2008 season, I was completely on board because of his play-making abilities. The Eagles were dead last with only 11 interceptions in 2007, and bringing in Samuel would certainly help that.

Samuel, according to some, was a system player fit for a soft zone coverage and not Jim Johnson's man-on-man press style of defense, but the numbers were too much to ignore.

But now, only two seasons into a six-year deal, I'm ready to see Samuel out of Philadelphia.

His lack of tackling and bigger-than-the-team attitude is exactly what the Eagles, and every other team in the league, does not need. He's a guy who has let his individual accolades get to his head, and he's now a detriment to the team.

Case in point:

"I don't care about [my critics]," Samuel said. "I know I go out there and do my job and make it to the Pro Bowl. If you got to say something about a guy that got nine picks and makes it to the Pro Bowl, obviously somebody's not on the right page. Why would I need to argue that?"

If that statement isn't enough to make your head explode, you're not a true football fan.

But if I could speak directly to Mr. Samuel for a moment, here's why we, your critics and the people you don't care about, get on your case:

You don't tackle. You don't stick to the coverage called. You freelance even when it makes absolutely no sense. You don't tackle. You think you're better than the team. You're more worried about playing in the Pro Bowl than seeing your team succeed in January. You're a punk.

Oh, and you don't tackle.

The picks are great. I jump up and down every time I see him step in front of a pass, but after the play I'm usually left scratching my head watching the replay wondering why in the hell he was out of position and even in the area to have a chance at the pick.

But then, of course, there's the Deion defense.

Deion Sanders was notably quoted once as saying not tackling for him was a "business decision" because if he got hurt making a tackle, he couldn't do what earned him the big money, which was coming away with the interceptions.

He made it no secret that he wasn't willing to tackle, but he also had the added benefit of being one of the greatest athletes the NFL had ever seen and was twice the corner Samuel is.

While I certainly recall Deion doing everything he could to avoid a tackle, I certainly don't remember him being so far out of position that it got his team beat. I don't remember Deion looking like an idiot at least once per game as a ball sailed over his head into the endzone.

And I also recall Deion looking back on his arrogant style of play and saying that he regrets not being a complete corner.

But as if Samuel's arrogant and idiotic attitude toward the situation wasn't bad enough, Andy Reid has apparently decided he's going to jump in with the half-assed Deion defense.

"I don't think too many people got on Deion [Sanders] for not tackling," Reid said. "Deion just came out and said, 'Hey, I get paid to intercept the ball.' He was very open with that. I don't worry too much about that."

Well, Andy, you're going to worry when that quarterback you traded within the division is tossing bombs to his receivers in the endzone while Samuel stands around the 30-yard line looking like an idiot, or while teams are running sweeps and screens to Samuel's side every play and putting up 50 points because he's afraid to tackle.

Add in the fact that Samuel doesn't even stick around to work out with his team or participate in a lot of minicamp and you have a player who is turning into nothing but a nuisance.

Look, Asante, this is football. You don't get to pick and choose which aspect of the game you're going to do and which you're not. Tackling is fairly important to the process and if you're not going to do it, then Philly sure as hell doesn't want you.

I've stuck by Samuel thinking the tackling was a bit overblown, but his most recent statements have convinced me he's nothing but a selfish player who is focused more on winding up in Canton one day rather than wearing a Super Bowl ring.

He could turn it all around and become the very best corner in the game if he would simply be willing to tackle and play within the defense, but that's not ever going to happen and it's time to move on.

Perhaps the Browns would swap corners with us and we'll just keep Sheldon Brown this time.


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