Philadelphia Eagles’ undrafted rookie linebacker Jake Knott was suspended for the first four games of the regular season by the NFL Friday due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, most likely some form of performance enhancing drug. While the news of Knott’s suspension most likely won’t diverge the constant media coverage of a player that no longer has a locker within team facilities, it serves to effectively, efficiently, and effervescently prove that life in the NFL must go on. Fringe players such as Jake Knott are not allowed the leniency that a player of former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson‘s caliber is given, however it is possible for a man like Jake Knott, devoid of any other context making up that man (i.e. race), to earn respect and a roster spot in a locker room based solely on the contribution brought to the overall betterment of that team.
Jake Knott is not a household name, so I won’t pretend for one minute that he is anything but a fringe player, but a season ago the undrafted rookie free agent helped the Eagles in their victory week one against the Washington Redskins by recovering the onside kick that finally iced the game. While this may amount to nothing in comparison to the on-field contributions of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, perhaps it’s not too extreme of an argument to believe that each and every player on an NFL roster contribute towards victory and defeat. Knott is a former first-team Big 12 player that surely has the physical abilities to be in the NFL regardless of career longevity, but the most exposing trait about his career is that he is easily expendable. This is where many, including myself, often find themselves asking, “What have you done for me lately?”. It’s difficult to find a legitimate manner in which one could argue that the contributions of Jake Knott surpass those of DeSean Jackson, however it’s also impossible for anyone outside of the Eagles to fully comprehend which players build the cohesiveness of a locker room or are a detriment to team chemistry. And while race continues to be a media focal point (for whatever reason) for the discipline imposed by this football team, shrewd business moves are made daily in the NFL as former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson learned yesterday. We as fans of the NFL only get to see 960 minutes of Philadelphia Eagles football during the course of a regular season. That is equivalent to saying that you get to see players in their work environment for 120 eight hour shifts. I believe I speak for many people when I say that a third of the calendar year does not begin to accurately encompass the full year of working with fellow employees, nor does the limited exposure to the public’s eye clearly demonstrate what’s going on behind closed doors.