This week we’re drafting a player that you wish had never left your favorite team. We’re opening it up beyond football to other major team sports. This player might have left via free agency, trade, or basically any other means besides retirement. It’s a two round snake-style draft, so there were obviously a lot of players that we never mentioned. Please grade our shitty picks and make your selections in the comments below.
1. Eric Sollenberger selects – Sean Taylor
The dude was the best football player I’ve ever seen. One time I saw him hit Lorenzo Neal so hard he made Ladanian Tomlinson fumble. I give people shit all the time for caring too much about the Redskins, but when he was shot I felt real sadness for a guy that I had never met. No matter how bad the Redskins were, it was always worth watching a game to see Taylor out-jump Randy Moss 1-on-1 or clothesline a running back.
2. PFT Commenter selects – Rush Limbaugh
Im more of a fan of NFL football in gernral,, I cant commit to one team for always but Im always a fan of one thing in particalar= NFL pregame shows.
Rush Limbaugh was a breathe of fresh air in a enviroment that was becoming a echo chamber at ESPN. Whether it was saying Black QBs are overrated or insinuiting that the NFL is being phased out by liberals he was allways right on the money. Every week I ask my self “What would Rush do?” no not play stupid music in dumb time sigatures- he would give STRONG TAKES folks.
Miss you Rush.
3. Tim Schavitz selects – LeBron James
I liked him in Cleveland. I rooted for Cleveland, if anything to shut up the Celtics love fest when Boston was winning championships in every league. He looked hungry, played angry. Despite what that Decision mess was, he plays on cruise control until he needs to put up a big game. He has a nice setup in Miami to join the Greatest of All Time conversation, but I think there’d be a lot more respect if he brought any Cleveland team a championship.
4. Trevor Risk selects – Nick Lowery
I dunno. I was a weird kid. This was his final exit from the game too:
5. Old James selects – Bo Jackson
Anyway, sticking with the KC theme, I’m going with Bo Jackson. Best athlete of our, or maybe any, generation, and in appropriate fashion Royals fans were forced to watch in horror as his promising baseball career got ruined thanks to an injury he suffered playing for the fucking Raiders. Watching him struggle to regain his form in a White Sox uni still hurts to think about.
6. StuScottBooyahs selects – Champ Bailey
Years ago, back before Mike Shanahan was dicking over the Redskins by ruining RGIII, Shanahan dicked over the Redskins by talking Dan Snyder into parting with Champ Bailey in exchange for Clinton Portis. The former would go on to be one of the greatest cornerbacks so far this century, the latter would give the Redskins seven seasons before hanging it up, and was only healthy for four of them.
7. RobotsFightingDinosaurs selects – Shaq
Shaq has always been my favorite basketball player, and no matter how unfunny he is on NBA on TNT, or on any of his TruTV shows, he always will be. I grew up watching him play on the Magic alongside Penny Hardaway, and immediately decided they were my favorites because their names were cool. Yes, Shaq had more success on the Lakers, and Kobe/Shaq was amazing, especially because they couldn’t stand each other. But when Shaq left the Magic, when he hung up #32 and the pinstripes for #34 and Laker yellow, it was completely out of the blue, and I had to decide between following Shaq to the hell pit that is the Laker fandom, or to stick with Penny in Orlando. At the end of the day, I followed him, but it hurt when he left. Maybe it’s because that was the first time I had ever felt that kind of betrayal you feel when your favorite player leaves a team you like. That stuck with me.
8. Sarah Sprague selects – Jaromir Jagr
Mostly because over the years I don’t think there has been a player who I have been so upset when he left, angry at him once he was with the Caps, even madder when he went to Rangers, sad again when he went to Russia, crushed — absolutely gutted — when he came back and played for the Flyers, so on and so on. Was even sad when I tried to track down his sports bar in Prague just to find it had closed for good not long before.
I’d be lying to say that at the trade deadline today I wasn’t hoping a Devil’s team hungry for picks and would send him home to Pittsburgh for one last run. He’s going to retire soon and never be a Penguin again, and that just makes me sad.
9. Big Sandy selects – Mark McGwire
Ed. note: Sandy tried to preemptively select Drew Brees for when he eventually leaves the Saints which is not allowed under draft rules, but I am mentioning because it’s a great representation of how big of a crush the city of New Orleans has on him.
When the A’s lost Mark McGwire to the Cardinals, that was a bummer as I had grown up watching him since minor league baseball. Also, he was traded to the Cardinals, the arch-rival of my Cubs and therefore the enemy. Not that it really mattered because after he and Sosa “saved” baseball in 1998, it all came crashing down but I guess he’s not here to talk about the past.
10. Christmas Ape selects – Santonio Holmes
A little more than a year after winning Super Bowl MVP and making one of the most important catches in franchise history, Santonio Holmes was traded by the Steelers to the Jets to a fifth-round pick. It was less than what Holmes was worth at the time, though given what he’s done (or hasn’t done) with the Jets, hardly a huge rip-off in retrospect. But it was more the timing of the thing. The Ben Roethlisberger Milledgeville case had just surfaced about a month prior. The Steelers were standing by their superstar quarterback, but they needed another player to crack down on so as not to look like they aren’t the CLASSY CLASSY DOIN’ THE RIGHT WAY Steelers. So there was Santonio, recently accused of a throwing a glass at a woman in a nightclub, so that motherfucker had to go with the quickness. Franchise quarterback? Can’t crack down on him. Glory-boy receiver? GTFO. Granted, Santonio is kind of an idiot and I have little sentimental attachment to him beyond the SB XLIII catch. Still, seeing your favorite team be that transparently hypocritical is never fun. Ultimately, the Steelers went to the Super Bowl the following year, thanks in no small part to Mike Wallace, a receiver they had drafted the year before, so the trade didn’t damage the team too severely on the field. Nevertheless, still sucks to remember.
11. Christmas Ape selects – Keenan Lewis
Again, no real personal attachment. He’s just a really good, young cornerback that the Steelers stupidly let walk in free agency after the 2012 season because they had all their cap space tied up in past-their-prime veterans. The dramatic improvement in the Saints defense last year wasn’t all Rob Ryan wolfman howling on the sidelines. Adding a reliably solid cornerback will usually help quite a bit. So now Pittsburgh, just starting to emerge from cap hell, is left to either cut Ike Taylor, who despite being old and getting burned a lot, remains the team’s best corner by a not insignificant margin. Or they can possibly keep Ike, who will 34 by the time next season, and overpay him rather than facing the reality of William Gay and Cortez Allen as their two starting CBs of the immediate future. Not sure what’s more depressing.
12. Big Sandy selects – Chris Paul
I was front and center for the first years of the New Orleans Hornets and was lucky enough to watch CP3 play his first professional seasons with the team. Of course, those first two years I only got to see him live a handful of times thanks to the team splitting time in Oklahoma City post-Katrina and that’s what made him such a key player to latch on to; he gave a city in need of something a player to root for. He was comparable to Drew Brees in that way. New Orleans loves its sports and while attendance figures were never the best, the fans still loved Paul and he was always a great player for the team and the city. The team had their best season since the relocation once they came back to NOLA full-time for the 07-08 season and Paul led them to the playoffs 3 times in 4 seasons after the OKC split. What made the December 2011 trade to the Clippers more excruciating than it already was was the fact fans knew it was coming and had to experience the loss of Paul twice after the NBA stopped an original deal that would have sent him to the Lakers. Just a little salt in the wound. The Hornets/Pelicans haven’t sniffed a winning season since Paul was traded away and the Clippers are now one of the league’s elite teams. So it goes.
13. Sarah Sprague selects – Rod Woodson
The only player I’ve ever owned a jersey for, a victim of the Rooney family (in a move they would finally admit years later was a mistake) letting go of a veteran player they thought was going to be in decline sooner rather than later due to cap issues. Woodson was the Steelers in the early ’90s, the team that stood in the shadow of the dominate Penguins and yes, winning Pirates, in the city. The pride everyone felt when he was named to 75th Anniversary Team was real, one of the best players to ever play this position and he’s here with the Steelers. (I think Jerry Rice may have been the only other active player given the same honor.) And somewhere in a deep dark place I don’t like to visit, I’m happy he won a Super Bowl, just wish it had been with any other team but the Baltimore Ravens.
I also cannot help but think the reason we’re seeing the Steelers work so hard to keep Troy Polamalu with the team is the ghost of Woodson still haunts them, and their superstar deserved better even in the heartless, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL.
(Edit – I think Ronnie Lott was also on the 75th Anniversary Team.)
14. RobotsFightingDinosaurs selects – Devin Hester
It’s recent, and he’s not even one of my top 3 favorite players on the Bears, but seeing him go after the Bears failed to take advantage of his athleticism in any position other than kick returning will be a damn shame. He’s consistently the most dangerous returner in the league, and it seems like every time Jim Nantz or whoever mentions it, he busts through for a TD or a huge return. The Bears aren’t just losing a weapon in Hester if they let him walk, they’re losing one of the most exciting players on the team– if not the most exciting.
Tim said he’ll make a great receiver on the Bucs. And though I’ll hate to see him in another uniform, and I’ll REALLY hate to see whoever the Bears sign now that they’ve cut Adam Podlesh punt to him, I’m sure he’s right. Dammit.
Tim: DAMN YOU SAM. Also, got a new theory on Hester:
Hester gets picked up by Lovie in Tampa, becomes #1 receiver. Vincent Jackson gets traded to Redskins for Grossman and a ton of picks. ’06 Bears rebuilding in progress.
Old James: It’d be interesting to see if the NFL allows Rex to have number 80085 in those new Bucs unis.
Sarah: Let’s take a minute to pause and reflect on the fact we’re still talking about Grossman in 2014.
15. StuScottBooyahs selects – Peter Bondra
After spending 14 years with the Caps, the team’s greatest scorer (before Ovechkin) got shipped out towards the end of his career along with Jaromir Jagr as the Capitals blew up the team a year before Ovechkin came to town. He cried at the press conference announcing his departure to Ottawa, and ended up finishing his career with Chicago before hanging it up for good in 2007. Tough to watch a guy who was the face of your franchise and scored 472 times in a Caps sweater head out of town forever.
16. Old James selects – Tony Gonzalez
In a just world, the best ever at his position wins a Super Bowl or two playing for the team he started his career — then made his name — with. We don’t live in a just world. #88 left for Atlanta right before the Todd Haley regime, outplayed his age for several productive seasons, made the playoffs a couple times, then ended his career as one of the few bright spots on a pathetically underachieving team. Chiefs fans wanted him back for one final run, but it wouldn’t come to be. We’ll always have the memories, I guess.
17. Trevor Risk selects – Ray Bourque
Bourque would consistently re-sign with Boston without any lengthy negotiations and actually pissed off the NHLPA because they were trying to drive up wages and he straight up refused to set the watermark for defensemen salaries. He lead the team to two Stanley Cup appearances, getting annihilated by the Oilers both times, so in the twilight of his career the Bruins shipped his heroic ass to Colorado at his request, where he took home the cup while both fans in Boston and Quebec City took a moment to unclench their fists of rage to applaud the guy.
18. Tim Schavitz selects – Eli Manning
Eli essentially demanded a trade from San Diego before he was even drafted. This pick is about the “What If” level of impact on the NFL. Would the Patriots gone undefeated and shushed the ’72 Dolphins? How entertaining would Philip Rivers and Coughlin arguing on the sidelines be in NY? Would there be more or less Manning coverage? Eli took that all from us because he didn’t wanna play in San Diego.
19. PFT Commenter selects – John Rocker
it just wadnt right seeing John Rocker playing for the Indians and even worse when he kep asking why come Chief Wahoo didnt have a dot on his forehead smh
20. Eric Sollenberger selects – Lavar Arrington
Arrington and Chris Samuels were taken with the 2nd and 3rd overall picks in the 2000 draft. They were going to be the building blocks that turned the Redskins franchise around, but we’ve heard that before many, many times. Arrington was a force in his first several seasons, making the kind of highlight reel plays that got him picked so high out of Penn State. But after changes in the defensive scheme and a couple of injuries, and a bizarre contract dispute between his agent and Dan Snyder, Arrington went up the road to the Giants. It was always weird seeing him as number 55 in Giants blue, but at least he wasn’t very good for them.