Sometimes you think you've heard it all, but that's never really the case.
As long as there are agents representing professional athletes, there will always be room for absurd comments. You'd think they would be content raking in money off another person's skills, but some of them can't keep their mouths shut.
Jerome Stanley, the agent representing Browns third-year receiver Syndric Steptoe, reportedly didn't like the way coach Eric Mangini conducted a practice last Saturday. It was a practice that resulted in the end of the season for Steptoe, who tore a labrum on a diving attempt to catch a pass.
Stanley was told that the practice was supposed to be not much more than a walk-through in preparation for a scrimmage the next day. Instead, Mangini conducted a normal session, which meant receivers had to run routes against defensive backs and then try to catch the ball.
The last time I checked, that's what football practices are all about. Unfortunately, injuries occasionally happen during practice. They could be the result of a full-contact hit, or, as is usually the case, they're the result of a simple wrong turn of an ankle.
Mangini said the practice was conducted exactly as intended. He pointed out that Steptoe's injury wasn't due to the physical contact of an aggressive-paced practice.
Stanley has undoubtedly read about how physical Mangini's practices are compared to the laid-back approach of former coach Romeo Crennel. In Stanley's thinking, that's the reason his client is done for the season.
Last year there were complaints about Crennel's style. How could players go into the first preseason game without having faced full contact in practice? When several players suffered injuries against the New York Giants in the second preseason game - including Derek Anderson, Joshua Cribbs and Jamal Lewis - the blame went straight to Crennel's practice style.
Mangini is now being criticized in some corners for going the opposite direction. Which is it? Too easy or too tough? Vince Lombardi has to be rolling over in his grave.
Injuries are often the result of a freak occurrence. Tim Couch suffered an injury to a finger on his throwing hand when it slammed into the helmet of a blitzing linebacker in a 2000 practice. Braylon Edwards missed much of training camp last year after Donte Stallworth cut open a foot by accidentally stepping on it while running "after" a practice. Why Edwards wasn't wearing shoes isn't known.
If Stanley wants to point fingers in the right direction, why not single out the quarterback that threw the pass. If the ball had reached Steptoe while he was in stride, he wouldn't have stretched out his body and he'd be practicing today. Those darn quarterbacks can't do anything right.
Stanley needs to stay behind a desk and make phone calls and close deals and do all the things that agents do. When he does venture outside, maybe he can take in a Browns' practice. Seriously, Jerome, Mangini isn't re-enacting the Bataan Death March every day.
The fact is that Steptoe was an odd man out in the hunt for roster spots among receivers. The Browns used two second-round picks on Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi, and they signed dependable veterans Mike Furrey and David Patten. Add in Edwards, and you have what will probably be the receiving corps to start the season.
The injury allows Steptoe to stay for the season on injured-reserve and receive his pay, unless an injury settlement is reached. If he hadn't been injured, he probably would have been waived without receiving a penny of his 2009 salary.
In that case, he could have signed with another team, assuming the coach didn't make him practice too hard.