The Things I Think: Is DeSean Jackson Turning Into a Punk?

Plus: Some thoughts on the "beer-sipping" toddler, Glenn Beck, and whether Chase Utley is gonna be a dad

Professional football is a 12-month a year job.

It’s not like being a teacher, where you get the summers off and if you’re young enough get to share a ratty house at the Shore with a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings and get ripped at the Princeton every night.

Professional football includes training every day after the season and staying in good enough shape so when you report to training camp in August, you don’t have to throw up at the first of the two-a-day workouts. And it also includes these organized training activity thingees, or, the scientific name they go by — OTA’s. You see, when you play professional football, or any professional sport for that matter, you don’t have any other life. You don’t have the luxury to live like the regular Joe, because professional sports are so specialized and you have a very short shelf life to participate in the profession. [SIGNUP]

Which brings us to DeSean Jackson.

Technically, the current OTA that Jackson is skipping is voluntary. But we all know it’s not really voluntary. The head coach of every football team in the NFL say it’s voluntary because, by league rules, they have to say that. But it’s really a test of all players on the team, and what the coach really wants to know is this: Are you truly dedicated to your team? You see the same thing during a long season of whatever professional sport you follow. A team goes on a slight losing streak. The coach holds a “voluntary” practice. Those who don’t show get a red “X” put next to their name, like a junior high teacher might do with a troublemaker who threw a spit ball at the blackboard. Allen Iverson cornered the market on this kind of behavior in Philadelphia and now D-Jack is following in his footsteps.

Make no mistake about it, DeSean Jackson is a burgeoning star in the NFL. He’s had two wonderful years in the league, averaging 62.5 catches, remarkable for a man of his diminutive size. He had 1,167 yards receiving last year, 9 touchdowns, and had an average of 18.5 yards per catch. He might be the most dangerous return man in the league.

But he’s not enough of a star yet where he can blow off a mini-camp, even though he’s doing it to make a statement that he’s not satisfied with his current contract — he wants and probably deserves to be paid more — especially not now when the Eagles are in a transition mode and need leadership and with Donovan McNabb gone, Jackson might be the face of the franchise.

Here’s my worry about DeSean Jackson: at the very least, he’s already a diva after only two years in the league and at the very most, he’s turning into a punk. When you become a star, you can walk into a restaurant in this town in a Speedo. I couldn’t care less. But that’s when you become a star, D-Jack. And it’s even more offensive to me that you were the guy who made all these brash statements slighting McNabb and about how the team was prepared to move without him. How about you lead the way for that?

The Things I Think…

* The Jim Joyce umpire mistake has been beaten to death by now, but here’s another angle. I was on the record saying that Bud Selig could have made life easier for everybody by simply using his “best interests of the game” commissioner powers and overrule Joyce’s errant “safe” call, thereby preserving baseball history and getting Joyce off the hook for a call that will torment him forever. People say to me, but Mike, what about “precedent?” Precedent? There’s a very small precedent here: baseball history. The next time an umpire makes an errant call that prevents baseball history is the only precedent that Selig would need to follow. Anything short of that, he simply says no. What’s so hard about that? Besides, any precedent Selig would have set would have been overpowered by the fact that after the Joyce gaffe, Major League Baseball is going to soup-up their replay system anyway.

* Got an interesting call from a woman caller the other day. Her theory was that Chase Utley being incredibly tepid last few weeks are the result of his wife being pregnant. Now, no news of the sort has surfaced. But the woman said that during her pregnancy, she put her husband through a living hell. And that the stress if this is the case could be wearing Utley out. That’s as good a theory as any because the second baseman doesn’t look like near the same player he’s been.

* I’m so tired of this boring, lazy-journalism perspective from the national press of Philadelphia fans I could spit. put the toddler videoed sucking on a beer bottle as one of their top stories of the day. Are you kidding me? Of all the things that may have transpired there — the bottle could have been empty, the bottle could have had some remnants of beer in the bottom and the kid may have liked the taste (remember grandpa trying to get you to take a taste of Miller High Life?) — does anybody really think the toddler was chugging? Come on folks.

* The Phillies took a local left-handed pitcher named Jesse Biddle with their first-round selection in the MLB draft, who immediately told me that he will forego his college scholarship offer at the University of Oregon and sign with the Phillies for the “slotted amount” that anybody picked at pick No. 27 would get. Love that baseball to the kid right now is apparently more important than the money. But don’t think for a second that “sign ability” wasn’t a factor in the Phils taking him there.

* What is it about this country that a narrow-minded nincompoop like Glen Beck can have followers? Beck’s latest criticism of President Barack Obama was by proxy, mocking Obama’s 11-year-old daughter (complete with little girl voice imitation), who asked, “Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?” That make you feel like a big man, Beck? Glenn Beck is the type of guy whom the jocks would give a wedgie in gym class and some ill-advised program director, long ago, created for him an electronic medium whereby he can compensate for insecurities he’s carried around his whole life like a back pack filled with bricks. And it wouldn’t be so bad except that Glenn Beck actually believes his own bullshit.