Jets receiver Eric Decker skipped a voluntary practice to attend a country music awards show with his wife, singer Jessie James Decker. Apparently, this was a big deal to some people.
Decker returned to OTAs on Tuesday and couldn't believe he even had to answer for his decision. ESPN.com wrote about Decker returning to practice and defending himself to critics who didn't agree with him missing those oh-so-important OTA days. Decker and his wife were presenters at the CMT awards last week.
“A marriage is give and take, any relationship is give and take,” Decker told ESPN.com. “It’s funny how this became a story.”
It shouldn't be a story. It draws attention to two things: That the "voluntary" part of "voluntary OTAs" is universally accepted as a joke, and some people take football way too seriously.
None of the criticism seemed to come from within the Jets. Coach Rex Ryan, who went to see his son play at Clemson on cutdown day last year, said he had no issue with it.
"There’s things that come up in family -- anytime someone has something come up dealing with family they’ll always be excused. ... Not that he needed my blessing but he had it," Ryan said, according to ESPN.com.
Jets teammates didn't seem to mind.
“People got to realize it’s a game in the end,” defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said, according to ESPN.com. “Family comes first. The sooner they understand that the sooner they understand why guys make the decisions that they make.”
Decker said that he cleared the trip with the Jets before he went.
The question is, who exactly would have a problem with this? Decker missing a couple of OTA practices doesn't matter in the long-term. Decker is known as a hard worker. He's a productive player. Even though he's in his first season with the Jets after signing with them this offseason, there's nothing to worry about with him.
Also, it's football in June. Yes, OTAs help. They're not of the utmost importance, however. Some people believe that NFL players should not dream of doing anything other than football, even on their own time. Look at the hoopla over Johnny Manziel. That's not a realistic expectation.
“When your wife gives birth and goes through nine months of tough days to give you a child, you respect the woman a lot more,” Decker said, according to ESPN.com. “And it’s important to me and her career is important to me.“
It must be remarkably annoying to Decker that he even has to answer questions about supporting his wife. If you actually have a problem with anything Decker did (and, to be fair, it has to be a very small amount of critics), then you probably need to reassess your own priorities.
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