The NFL Network program Total Access trained its sights on the Eagles today as part of its “32 Teams in 32 Days” segment, and head coach Andy Reid made a brief appearance via satellite to discuss the Kolb rumors, possible rule changes, the lockout, and – of course – Plaxico Burress.
In response to a pointed question by show host Rich Eisen, which recounted Burress’s departure from prison wearing a Philadelphia Phillies cap, Reid responded: “We have a great pitching staff this year, and a really good shot at making it to the World Series.”
After the laughter died down, Reid went on to say that Burress was a good player and a good person who had made some mistakes and was looking to turn things around. “I wish the best for him whatever happens,” he said. “I think he’s, as they would say, paid the fiddler and deserves a second chance. Wherever it happens, it happens. He has paid a price and now he has an opportunity to come back and still has years to play. I wish him the best, no matter where he ends up.”
For fans looking to make an inference from Reid comments – to decode whether or not it seems the big guy is looking into acquiring the 6’5″ former Giant when NFL operations resume – I’d would recommend taking notice of what he didn’t say.
Usually, when Reid, Roseman, or Banner discuss the possible acquisition of a player – especially one they have a particular interest in – they break out their traditional boilerplate comment: “We’re always interested in improving the team any way we can. If that means trading, drafting, or going after a free agent, we’ll always pursue every possible outlet to find quality players and improve our roster.” I’ve read and heard this answer so many times throughout the past ten years I can recite it from memory, can predict exactly at what point during an interview it’s going to come out. When we acquire Michael Vick, when we traded for Tapp, when we brought in Stacy Andrews, the list goes on and on and on.
After Eisen posed the Burress question, I would have bet my life savings the next words out of Reid’s mouth would have been “We’re always interested” or “We’re always looking”. And I would have lost.
Instead, Reid responded with phrases like “wherever it happens” and “no matter where he ends up”, seeming more concerned with expressing his admiration for the player and wishing him well than addressing the possibility of his becoming an Eagle. From my perspective, I view this as a pretty clear indication that the Birds have no plans to pursue or sign Burress anytime this offseason. If they were interested, I’m pretty sure you would have heard the boilerplate at some point, a calculated opening of the door for that possibility in the future. Instead, it seemed that Reid was trying to say they weren’t interested without disparaging Burress’s character, the way a potential employer will tell you he’s “not interested, but he’s sure you’re going to be hired somewhere” and that he “wishes you the best wherever you end up.”
Of course, his comments can – and will – be taken a hundred different ways, depending on whether or not you want to see Burress suit up in Eagle green in 2011. That is, after all, what the comment section is for.