Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Letters to a Signal Caller: Letter #40083 - Daunte Culpepper

Dear Pep:

How's retirement treating you? Good, I hope. I also hope you've stayed away from mysterious-looking "pleasure cruises" in your newly gained free time. But I can see through the politically correctness of you stepping away from the game. You're hurt that the teams in desperate need of an upgrade at quarterback haven't even sent you a text message requesting your services. You see the likes of Tyler Thigpen and Tavaris Jackson Gus Frerotte starting in the league, while you're watching them from home (undoubtedly in spectacular HD).

Your situation is sort of a complex one. From your perspective, you feel like your abilities have been disrespected by the NFL. From the way you see it, Carson Palmer and Tom Brady have had similarly devastating knee injuries you suffered in 2005. They were allowed to continue their careers, but you were rudely cut and had to attempt to revive your career in the East and West Coast Oblivions that are the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. That certainly isn't fair, especially considering the teams that would be greatly improved if they had a halfway decent quarterback. You're still only 31, which is the same age as fellow 1999 first-round pick Donovan F. McNabb. Of that infamous first-round class, you two are the only surviving quarterbacks; so it's obvious that you can still play. Your side of the argument is a valid one, Pep.

Let's examine the other side of this, Daunte. Yes, Brady and others have shredded their knee ligaments like you did three seasons ago. But let's be real: Carson Palmer, Donovan F., and Tom Brady are significantly better than you. They're potential Hall of Famers, while you'll end up as a good quarterback of legend like Jeff Hoestetler. Your talent seemed to drastically decline once your buddy Randy Moss left Minnesota. After Moss, you appeared to lose the ability to read defenses and was a marginal player at best. I'm not saying there's a direct correlation, but it sure seems that way. The NFL is a, "what have you done for me lately" league; and based on your recent performances, you couldn't help any team on the cusp make a deep run into the postseason. Maybe that isn't true, and maybe you can lead a team like Minnesota to the playoffs, but you didn't show that capability during your brief tenure with the Raiders. The other side of the argument has valid points as well; and believes that your time has come and gone.

Daunte, I don't fault you for only wanting to be a starter in the NFL, especially at only being 31 and having had previous success when fully healthy. However, listen to this hypothetical situation. Let's say you sign with the Vikings as the backup. Tavaris Jackson proves to be average, and is benched in your favor. You come in, play well, and lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship game while also helping Jackson develop as a quarterback from a small school. In the end, you're a hero and have secured a place in the league for the rest of your career. Does that sound familiar? Well, it's what Randall Cunningham did for you when you were a young quarterback in Minnesota. My, how life has a funny way of playing itself out sometimes. Think about it, Pep, because this is the lasting image of your days in the NFL...

Peace.

3 comments:

thekickisgood said...

Very nice article...it still sucks to see him retire at such a young age. But its all good; somethings telling me he's gonna come back

Darryl said...

It's really sad to see that DC can't get signed by anybody...especially since guys like Brock Berlin, Andrew Walter, and Dennis Dixon (c'mon Daunte's better than these guys at least!)have spots as backups on NFL teams...hell, Joey Harrington just got picked up again...

hermedwardsisabum said...

This is Jeff. But Daunte Culpepper would be nothing more than an overpriced Damon Huard. I'm happy he retired, having to watch him at those two places made him look very bad. I mean, he looked OK at best in MIN after Randy Moss left. He bad at the next two stops. I just said that he's not that good. Plus that knee injury has really limited his ability. Although that injury was 4 years, it has had a major affect on his psyche and his mobility. So I think that was the right call.