Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You Can Bet Rhett Isn't Thinking Straight

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You Can Bet Rhett Isn't Thinking Straight

Article excerpt

Errict Rhett once told me that discovering football was the

most important thing that ever happened to him. Without

football, he said, he wasn't sure what might have become of his

life. He steered clear of drugs, gangs and guns because he was

afraid such trouble might cost him his chance to play football.

"I love football," he said. "I'd play football 12 months a year

if they let me."

Then where was Errict Rhett yesterday? If football is so

important to him, why wasn't he in uniform when his Tampa Bay

Bucs came to town to practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars? If

he loves football so much, why has he abandoned a new coach who

is trying to save a teetering franchise?

It's not enough that Tony Dungy is taking over the NFL's

version of the Angolan basketball team. It's not enough that the

Bucs are uncertain where they'll be playing after this season.

It's not enough that the Bucs' struggling young quarterback of

the '90s, Trent Dilfer, is statistically worse than Vinny

Testaverde ever was when he was the Bucs' struggling young

quarterback of the '80s.

Now, unfortunately, Dungy finds himself in training camp

without the one offensive weapon he thought he could count on.

Rhett, the bullish back from the University of Florida, is

stubbornly holding out because the Bucs won't yield to his

ridiculous contract demands.

Dungy, one of the good guys of the coaching profession, came

about as close to bristling as he ever does when Rhett's name

was broached by a reporter at yesterday's practice session with

the Jaguars.

"We talk about the players who are here, not the ones who

aren't," he said. ". . . To get better and to be good, you have

to be here. The train's gotta roll, and we're gonna win with the

guys who are on the train."

Somebody needs to tell Rhett he isn't just hurting the team by

this inexplicable holdout, he's hurting himself. For the first

time in forever, public opinion in Tampa is actually in favor of


It might be different if Rhett were a free agent, but he

already has a contract -- albeit a bad one. …

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