Friday, September 22, 2006

Time For Lions To Put Up Or Shut Up With Mike Williams

"Play me or trade me."

It's been a caveat issued by player after player, in sport after sport, going back to the days when most ballplayers wore full beards and the years began with 18.

The reasoning is simple, even if the resolution isn't. Player wants to get out there and show his stuff. Team is reluctant to give him that opportunity. Player gets tired of sitting and wants to be traded to a club that'll show him some love. And way more trade requests are made than the ones actually reported.

Lions receiver Mike Williams is probably thinking of a new motto: Dress me or trade me.

If you think it's hard to get onto the football field buried on the depth chart, try it wearing slacks, sneakers, and a sweatshirt.

I don't know what transgressions Williams, the first round pick out of USC in 2005, has committed, beyond the well-documented weight violations. The words used to describe why he has been held out of the first two games, and why he was mostly persona non grata in the exhibition season, have been mysterious and cryptic.

PLAY him, already!

Nobody seems to want to come out and just SAY why Mike Williams is not considered a viable option at wide receiver. Nobody wants to lay it on the line. We are left to wonder.

Williams finally exploded -- though maybe with a poof rather than a boom -- after the 34-7 catastrophe in Chicago last Sunday. And you can hardly blame him.

"There has to be a poster boy in the (Rod) Marinelli era," Williams said in the lockerroom. "So I guess I'm the poster boy."

Williams went on to speak with dripping sarcasm about the way he was joined at the hip, by the media and the coaching staff, with the jettisoned Charles Rogers. If Williams is the poster boy, then Rogers is the cautionary tale.

Regardless, I'm getting tired of the games the Lions are playing with Williams. Put him on the field, let him do his thing, and let the chips fall where they may. If he plays well at 233 pounds, then so be it. Maybe his size can be an asset. Quit treating him like a bag of contaminated spinach. What could he possibly have done that's so aggregious that he doesn't even merit a uniform on game day?

Whatever point the Lions have hoped to make with Mike Williams, I can't imagine that it hasn't yet been made. The biggest points are always made on the field, anyway.

It's time to stop this head game nonsense, this war of mental attrition, and suit the kid up and throw some balls in his direction.


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