Why Does Antonio Bryant “Need Somebody?”January 14th, 2009
We all love the Antonio Bryant story. It’s pretty simple - bad seed wide receiver spends 2007 on his couch and turns into a superstar for the Bucs in 2008.
But if we can trust Bucs personnel executive Doug Williams, a Super Bowl winning QB, then the Antonio Bryant resurrection may have a few ugly chapters we’ve yet to read.
Here’s Williams quote about Bryant from the St. Pete Times. It’s a story about Williams’ contract expiring soon, and he’s talking about his impact on the current roster.
Antonio Bryant and I talk all the time because he’s a guy who needs somebody — between (receivers coach) Richard Mann and myself, we’re the two people he’s going to talk to when things don’t go right.”
This quote disturbed Joe the minute he read it the other day.
What could Antonio Bryant possibly need? Chucky gave him a shot to return to the NFL. He gave him playing time. He showed him lots of love. He made him his No. 1 receiver. And the guy wowed the world on Monday Night Football, caught 83 balls and set himself for a massive payday this offseason.
Is he that much of a head case that he needs two coaches to work on keeping his head together?
Joe knows Bryant is an emotional guy. You don’t see it much on TV, but Bryant flaps his arms and shows his emotion when Jeff Garcia doesn’t find him downfield. Bryant was the last guy to take off his uniform in the locker room following the Chargers loss. (He first sat on a chair with his head in his hands for about 20 minutes.) He was kneeling devastated on the field after the Bucs choked away the season to the Raiders.
And Bryant has his up moments. He’s probably the best interview on the Bucs – let’s hope he gets a radio show next season – and he’s got a good sense of humor.
But Doug Williams’ quote makes Joe wonder whether Bryant might be a real wack job. Therefore, Joe would like to see the Bucs put the franchise tag on Bryant. That will cost the Bucs more money up front than if they sign him to a long term deal - probably about $9 million for 2009. But that would give Bryant only a one-year contract and motivate him to control his behavior for another season.
Bryant might need major help in that area. Especially, to quote Williams, “when things don’t go right.”