Hello football fans!

First, by way of introduction, my name is Greg Campbell.  I am a BIG (Buffalo) Bills fan.  (Don’t hold that against me… they used to be good!)  ;-)  I am the guy whom—if you have been a long-time listener to the Rants & Raves show—you may have heard referenced as, “Greg, from the Buffalo Bills Review.”  Alas, due to many other endeavors in life—not the least of which is the growing brood of children in my home—I decided to hang up my sports talk show “cleats” at the end of the 2008 season.  But, as I am still a fan of the NFL (and, of course, my Buffalo Bills) I do still follow what is going on in the league, and have a thought or two (as all of we NFL fans are prone to do) on all the goings on, whether pre-, post-, off-, or regular season.

The good folks of the Rants and Raves Network have seen fit to grant me a “key” to the ol’ blog here, and asked that I post content when I can … and so, without further ado … thus begins my RandR writing career:

(Perhaps “career” would be too presumptuous in this instance?)  :-)

On Whether Or Not Players Should Be Scrutinized For Not Attending Optional Offseason Workouts

Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills RBIn our region, amongst the fans of the Buffalo Bills, there has been and continues to be chatter regarding our “beloved” Marshawn Lynch.  You see, he has failed to attend any of the voluntary offseason workouts, organized team activities (OTAs), or even really to chat with his head coach, Chan Gailey.

Now, Gailey sloughs it off well, in as much as these workouts are truly not required.  (In fact, the teams are required to not make them “required”.)  But for whatever reason, the fans, and moreover, the press, can not drop this topic.  Lynch’s absence is proof-positive that he (1) does not care enough to be with his teammates, learning the new offensive system, and (2) that he certainly then doesn’t belong with the team (cut, or trade him now!) and it is possibly even evidence that he’s not NFL material at all.

But… I thought they were optionalnot required?

Yeah.  Here’s the thing, people:  I agree with you.  I think it is rather damning evidence that Lynch—who is quite incredibly physically talented—does not have the “work ethic” to achieve greatness at the NFL level.  While most of his teammates have been around nearly all of the offseason, getting to know their coaches, the system, and each other as much as they possibly can, Lynch has been barely noticeable to his team.  (At least, from all public appearances.)  He may be exceptionally gifted, but no gift is enough unless coupled with the relentless pursuit of excellence in using that gift or talent.  Practice really does make perfect.

BUT (and of course, you knew there would be a big but…)

If these workouts really are “optional” then we need to let them be that, and stop all the crazy speculations and labeling.  (Myself included.)  NFL.com was reporting that Rex Ryan is not bothered that his star DB Darrelle Revis has not been in attendance at his team’s OTAs.  The Bills have also not seen DE Aaron Schobel at their OTAs.  And the list goes on.

Are some of these guys disgruntled with their teams?  Sure.  Are some of them slackers who deserve the chastisement of the fans and the press?  Sure.  Are all of them?  No way.  There are some guys who prefer to work out on their own, and will come for all of the mandatory camps, and probably some of the optional ones, too.

Lynch is in Buffalo.  He’s reconnected with his teammates a bit this week.  He’ll be at the mandatory mini camp today when their time comes.*  There is still great speculation as to whether he’ll suit up in Buffalo red, white, and blue this fall, but all indications from One Bills Drive are that he will.

Even if he doesn’t have perfect attendance at all the extra-curricular activities.

* – Lynch was in fact NOT at the practice today, which makes me question whether indeed it was mandatory or not. Apparently not.