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I posted a little bit about Daryl Gardener's comments over on the Fin Forum. His comments really got to me. Then, I read Dan Le Batard's article. That really got to me. The more I thought about them, the more I wanted to write an article for my column about it.
First, Let me restate what I said on the message board.
"Did you see Daryl Gardener's comments? Here are some of them...
"If Dave was a people person, we wouldn't be sitting around here having these problems. … Dave has to be in control. When it came to me, Dave couldn't be in control. If you pay me this much money, you are not going to make me a robot......If Zach would lie to me about such an issue, please forget about feeling sorry for me. I truly feel bad for my 50 ex-teammates who have to be in the same locker room."
Hmm....I guess all those friendly good-byes from Gardener last week must have been for show. Anyway, let's look at some of his statements.
"If Dave was a people person, we wouldn't be sitting around here having these problems. … Dave has to be in control."
--Ya Daryl, he is the HEAD COACH! Seems to me that he gets paid to be in control.
"When it came to me, Dave couldn't be in control. If you pay me this much money, you are not going to make me a robot."
--What??!? You get a $49 million contract and don't want to be told what to do??!? You could offer me half of that and I'd be offering to wash Dave Wannstedt's car and clean his windows while I'm at it. Hey Dave, need your grass mowed? Let me scrub down that helicopter for you Mr. Huizenga....
I was a huge Gardener fan. Now I'm glad he's gone. GOOD RIDDANCE!!!"
For the last few years, Gardener was my favorite player. I had actually planned to get a #92 Dolphin jersey this year. Immediately after he was cut, Daryl said that he was to blame for his release. He visited the team to clean out his locker, and said his good-byes. He was pleasant according to the articles I read, and I began to wonder if the Dolphin had made a mistake by releasing him. Surely he couldn't be that bad a problem. Then he issued a THREE PAGE statement to the press bashing the Dolphins, Dave Wannstedt, and among others, Zach Thomas.
So much for making a mistake.
I read Mr. Le Batard's article in the Miami Herald, and about fell off my chair. His statement, "The moment Gardener was hurt last season, that allegedly mighty Miami defense went swirling right down the toilet." caught me off-guard. He thinks that it was Daryl `s injury that caused our defense to collapse? It wasn't that Sam Madison and Zach Thomas missed games due to injury. It wasn't that Tim Bowens and Jermaine Haley were playing hurt. It was all Daryl Gardner. Hmm….
Still, I wonder if he read Todd Archer's article from the Palm Beach Post, and I quote
"... look a little closer at the run defense in the 14 games Gardener missed and the 18 games he played the previous two seasons, and the difference is 7 yards per game. With Gardener, the Dolphins allowed 106.3 yards on the ground per game. When he was out with back injuries, they allowed 113.2 rushing yards per game."
7 less yards per game against the run. A $49 million contract for 7 less yards a game against the run. A potential time bomb in the locker run for 7 less yards a game against the run. I hate the fact that we lose a player with Gardener's talent. No one wanted to see him line up at DE where he wouldn't face constant double teams more than I did. But now, when I ask myself, "Was Gardener worth it?", my opening title says it all as far as I'm concerned.