There Is No Loyalty In the NFL

Yesterday the Oakland Raiders released defensive end Stryker Sulak, a player they drafted in the sixth-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. While not unusual to release a sixth-round draft choice, what is unusual is that the Raiders released him before they even signed him to a contract. Now that is something even I have never seen before in all my years in the front office of the NFL.

It is not uncommon for an NFL club to release a sixth-round draft choice upon final roster cuts at the end of training camp. These players are usually re-signed back to the eight-man practice squad a couple of days later. However, releasing a player that was drafted before he is signed is quite perplexing. When an organization drafts a player and then subsequently releases him before the final cuts, there is usually not enough room on the active 53-man roster for him at that time. This should not show as a direct inclination that the scouting/personnel department did not do its homework on a particular player and the player is no good. There are many other reasons the player will not help the club at that moment that are completely warranted and justified. But there is no excuse or lack of blame on the scouting/personnel and coaching departments for misevaluating a drafted player and releasing him before mini-camp.

The only reason it would make any conceptual sense of releasing a drafted player before training camp would be that the player was involved in some off-field situation that has been handled internally by the Oakland Raiders and thus wanted to go ahead and get rid of a potential growing problem. I can only hope that was the case, and not the former, but this is the Oakland Raiders and there is no telling what the great AL Davis is doing behind closed doors.

This goes to show how the N.F.L. acronym (Not For Long) makes a lot of sense when jesting about the National Football League. I only hope that Sulak did not have numerous lines of credit, cars, and had already signed the lease on his apartment, because his days in Oakland may never come for him as a player. There is a slim chance he could be asked to re-sign with the Raiders in the future, but that is not likely. 

“Putting the cart before the horse” is a common mistake drafted players make, because they think they have already made the team, and this here is an all-too-common example of how there is no loyalty in the NFL.


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