The top-shelf free agents in the NFL, the big names who sell tickets, are flown into town, swept off their feet, wined, dined and fawned over by everyone in the organization. Linebacker Philip Wheeler was not one of those guys.
So he didn't get those things. You know what he did get, though? Love from Raiders fans on Twitter. And for him, that was enough. He's now a Raider.
"It was cool, that kind of helped me and my decision, because it showed me how big of a football city (Oakland) is. I mean, Indianapolis was a pretty good football city, but they didn't get involved in the media or show us how much they care about the game. I've always wanted to play in a football city for a legendary team."
That's gotta be hard to swallow, Colts fans. Philgood50 says you don't care enough about the game. Or if you do, you don't vocalize it on Twitter. And I guess in 2012, that's part of being a football fan. Pestering free agents on Twitter.
Wheeler says he picked up 2,000 followers in the free agent process, which makes me wonder when we'll take the next logical step in this process ‒ a free agent declaring that he'll sign with the team whose fans give him the most follows on Twitter or likes on Facebook.
It doesn't seem like a crazy notion. Check that ‒ it does seem crazy, but it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
Anyway, Wheeler, the 27-year-old linebacker with 24 career starts, is expected to fill the hole created when the Raiders released Kamerion Wimbley. He's a run-stopping specialist, though he may get more of a chance to rush the passer for the Raiders. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Colts in 2008.