Lito blasts the Eagles
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Lito blasts the Eagles
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Lito Sheppard is happy to be getting a new start with the New York Jets, but that hasn't stopped him from ripping his former team, the Eagles, in an interview with Bob Glauber of Newsday.
Sheppard said the Eagles purposely limited his playing time last season to send a message and to justify the signing of free agent Asante Samuel.
"After my second Pro Bowl season [in 2006], it started going downhill when I addressed the fact that I felt like I wanted a new deal," he said.
"I truly believe that if they paid me and they paid Asante at the same time, and if I had a pretty good year, then people would have asked, 'Then why would you bring in Asante?' They had to keep me at a minimum in terms of play time."
Sheppard's friend and ex-teammate, Sheldon Brown, has of course voiced his displeasure with his own contract this offseason.
And Lito expects his buddy to experience a similar cut in playing time.
"I talked to him and told him it's the same thing I was going through," Sheppard said. "I already know what the outcome is going to be.
"He ultimately won't even be playing before the end of the season. It's a known fact. I hope they prove me wrong."
I've heard this argument before, and frankly, I think it's ridiculous.
Can you really imagine Andy Reid or Jim Johnson playing an inferior player just to send a message about a guy's contract? What if it cost the team a game?
Their job is to win, and in my opinion, they make personnel decisions with that always being the primary focus.
Obviously, Sheppard feels differently.
"I wish the league would do something," he said. "[In my situation], you feel like you're doing everything right, perfect teammate, working hard, doing everything you're supposed to do, but it doesn't work out in the end. There should be some rules of guidelines. You shouldn't be able to devalue an employee like that."
Of course, Lito did not say that players should give money back if they don't play up to their contract.
"It's like injuries," he said. "You can't cut a guy when he's hurt, so how can you sit a guy without probable cause? Whenever a guy feels like he needs a new deal, if he addresses that, don't make it like, 'You don't tell us what to do. We have to show you who's boss.' That's dead wrong."
So what do you think? Does Lito have a point?