It mentions the Cowboys so it belongs in this forum.
Running back Eddie George has asked for his release, and the Tennessee Titans are wondering what to do next. I have a suggestion.
Let the man go.
Classy Eddie George has served the Titans well.(AP)
It's not only good for George, it's good for the Titans, too.
Let's face it, the Titans can't afford what George is scheduled to earn this season -- $4.25 million -- and George isn't interested in what the Titans want to pay, which is approximately $1.5 million.
The Titans need the cap room to sign their 13 draft picks. George wants the money he was promised. And nobody has come up with a way to solve this problem other than George, who this week asked to be released immediately.
Tennessee should do it.
It's not that Eddie George isn't worth keeping; it's that he's not worth keeping at $4.25 million.
Sure, I know about everything the guy's done for Tennessee, the 137 consecutive starts and what a class act he is on and off the field. But I also know he's about to turn 31, has taken a million hits and is getting squeezed by Chris Brown.
Brown is the backup to George, and while he may never be what Eddie George is ... or was ... he has a whole lot of upside where George has none. Brown is the future; George is the past. And if Tennessee is to move forward it must make tough decisions.
Releasing George is one of them.
"Eddie George has a much higher opinion of himself than almost all of the 32 clubs in this league," said one AFC personnel director. "His opinion of his skills is what he was four years ago. He doesn't have the power he once did, and he doesn't have that great first step anymore. That being said, if he can humble himself to take something above the minimum ($750,000) -- and by that I mean something like $1 million to $1.3 million a year, plus incentives -- he can still be a factor with a team."
Can you say ... Philadelphia?
The Eagles would be as perfect for George as George would be for the Eagles. He grew up around Philadelphia, attending Abington High School before transferring to Fort Union (Va.) Military Academy after his sophomore year, and was a crowd favorite when he returned there in 2000 to dissect the Eagles for 101 yards in his only Philadelphia appearance.
So there's a comfort zone there for George. But there's one for the Eagles, too, who could use George to replace Duce Staley.
Staley was the first-down back who yielded to Brian Westbrook or Correll Buckhalter, depending on the down, distance or time of the game, and the plan worked beautifully a season ago: Philadelphia's average of 4.8 yards a carry was second only to Green Bay in the NFL, and their 26 rushing TDs were second only to Kansas City ... OK, Priest Holmes.
"George would be perfect for the Eagles," said one scout, "because they can't go through the season relying on Westbrook. He'll get hurt again. And Buckhalter is little more than adequate."
Now I know what you're thinking: Why would Eddie George succeed there when he struggled in Tennessee, with a 3.3-yards-per-carry average that last year tied for last among the league's top 50 backs? I'll give you three reasons:
* The Eagles' offensive line is more physical;
* The Eagles have a decent lead blocker in fullback Jon Ritchie;
* The Eagles can lean on other weapons than just Steve McNair, with Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens the most notable.
Sure, George is winding down. You would, too, if you were called on to run 2,733 times in eight years -- or an average ... an average ... of 342 times per season. You know how many backs had more carries last year? I do. Five. Which is why Philadelphia makes even more sense. Split the carries among George, Westbrook and Buckhalter, and they all benefit.
Some people mention Dallas as another possible destination, and George is one of them. But why would the Cowboys be interested in hiring Eddie George now when they weren't interested in keeping Emmitt Smith a year ago? It doesn't make sense. At least it doesn't make as much sense as Philadelphia.
The Eagles have the money. They have the cap room. And they're loading up for another run at the NFC Championship, so why not hire someone who never missed a game and rushed for 1,000 yards in all but one of his eight seasons?
"He fits perfectly," said an AFC defensive coordinator used to facing George. "The Eagles need the type of leadership he brings, plus he knows (former Titan) Jevon Kearse. And that's a real positive. Jevon listens to Eddie, and he respects him. If they want to do something to help themselves they'll sign Eddie."
First, of course, Tennessee must let go. The Titans know it. They're just having trouble doing it.
Hey, Dallas parted with the NFL's career rushing leader. It parted with Troy Aikman, too. San Francisco released Jerry Rice, the league's greatest wide receiver. These things happen, and they happen for the right reasons.
"I think what happened to Eddie George is that he had people trying to change his game," said one AFC assistant, "and they tried to teach him to try to make people miss rather than doing what he does best -- which is to run them over with power. Now, he's lost a step and he's not the same, but he has all those intangibles you look for: He's a great 'team' guy, and nobody works harder on Tennessee -- on or off the field.
"But the bottom line is that if you watch film of him last year, he had chances to break runs for touchdowns, and he got caught. Eddie George doesn't hit the hole as he once did, and in (offensive coordinator Mike) Heimerdinger's offense, they need someone with a quick first step, a Clinton Portis-type back."
That might be Chris Brown. Then again, it might not. All I know is that it's time Tennessee finds out. It's time the Titans let Eddie George go.