Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Real Issue With Ryan Tucker

Ryan Tucker has decided to attempt to explain how he ended up violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. According to Tucker, he didn't do it to enhance his performance, but for legitimate medical reasons. Fine, whatever. The situation is what it is, and I guess the reasons don't matter all that much from the team's perspective. The bottom line is that Tucker's out for four weeks, and the offensive line's been dealt a bit of a blow.

This whole situation seems to have been a big surprise to the Browns, and I think that's very disturbing, because Tucker seems to have been well aware of his problems with the NFL long before he decided to share them with the Browns. The team made its plans and set its priorities assuming that Tucker was going to be back in the mix from day one. That wasn't the case, and Tucker knew it at the start of training camp. In fact, according to this story from The Orange and Brown Report, he knew about it quite some time before that. Yet Tucker seems to have opted to keep his mouth shut instead of letting the Browns know about his situation.

By choosing to do that, he put the entire organization in a tough spot at a particularly inopportune time. After a disastrous 2006 training camp, the improved offensive line was supposed to be the biggest positive story coming out of the Browns camp, and one of the key building blocks for the team's future. It may still turn out that way, but no thanks to Tucker, who blindsided the Browns and created exactly the kind of distraction that a 4-12 team doesn't need as it tries to regroup for a new campaign.

Incredibly, nobody seems to have asked Tucker why he decided to keep the team in the dark about the possibility of a failed drug test. To me, that's the real issue with Ryan Tucker. I really don't care about why he earned his suspension, but I'm real interested to hear why he decided to repay the compassion that the team showed to him during his illness by keeping his mouth shut about his situation until the NFL dropped this little bombshell on the Browns.

I've got a feeling that this is an explanation we're going to have to wait a very long time to hear.

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