We should probably be more concerned with the next 24 years of Daryl Worley’s life than with the last 24 hours.
Worley, 23, was arrested Sunday morning. Police found Worley at 6 a.m. asleep inside a vehicle that was blocking part of Broad Street, near the Eagles’ practice facility, where the offseason conditioning program begins Monday.
Worley allegedly was combative with police to the degree that police used a Taser to subdue him. A gun was found in the vehicle. He now faces gun, DUI and disorderly conduct charges.
Less than 12 hours later, the Eagles released him from the team.
Michael Bennett remains.
Worley’s story seemed so pleasant. The Super Bowl champions last month traded overpaid receiver Torrey Smith to the Panthers for Worley, a North Philly native who followed Matt Ryan at Penn Charter High, then played so well at West Virginia that he warranted a third-round pick two drafts ago. Worley then made 14 starts for a team that made the playoffs last season.
Are we now seeing why the Panthers were willing to trade a low-cost corner with decent coverage skills and plenty of potential in exchange for a $5 million fading speedster?
Or did the Panthers, still suffering regret for letting Ted Ginn Jr. walk in 2017, simply think Smith was more valuable than a corner who, just two seasons into his career, already is typecast as a zone specialist?
If it’s the former – if the Panthers saw disturbing character fissures in their two seasons with Worley – should this incident have been enough to abandon the kid?
Worley apparently reacted poorly when authorities arrived. We don’t know why, or what was in his bloodstream, or how the cops handled the situation.
In any case, getting arrested – even getting tased – shouldn’t have been enough to forsake him. Maybe he needs help: maybe with his temper; maybe with his habits. He’s 23, for goodness sake. There’s a lot of life in front of him.
Maybe Worley is a problem player. Or, maybe the Eagles pulled the trigger so quickly on Worley because they couldn’t very well do so in the case of Bennett. You might recall that, three weeks after the Eagles traded with the Seahawks for Bennett on March 7, Bennett was indicted by a grand jury in Houston on the felony charge of injury to the elderly in relation to him allegedly hurting a security guard while entering the field after Super Bowl LI. Bennett’s superior pedigree, perhaps combined with the specious nature of the case, made the release of Bennett unthinkable.
Similarly, in 2016, his first year with the Eagles, Nigel Bradham was arrested for allegedly breaking the nose of a cabana boy at a Miami hotel Miami in July, then was arrested at Miami International Airport for trying to sneak a loaded handgun past TSA in October. Bradham was cleared of the assault charges. Bradham said he’d forgotten he had the gun in his backpack. Bradham remained on the team, had a career year in 2017, helped win the Lombardi Trophy and, grateful for the club’s faith in him, signed a team-friendly extension.
If you’re important enough, the Eagles can forgive and forget.
This incident with Worley seems more troubling than a guy with a temper and a bad memory, or a bully trying to get onto the field at a Super Bowl. This smells like a young man with a problem. Where better to resolve a problem than with his hometown team?
The Eagles owe Worley nothing, but perhaps they owed themselves. Perhaps they could have turned him around. It’s April. What harm could he have done between now and September?
As patient as they were with Bradham, the Eagles can just as be unforgiving. In early November 2016, they quickly released receiver and kick returner Josh Huff after he was pulled over in New Jersey for speeding on the Walt Whitman Bridge and found to possess marijuana, a handgun for which he had no valid permit, and hollow-point bullets.
But that was in the middle of a season. Team sources told us in 2016 that Huff was on Eagles property with the pot, guns and bullets, and that he lied to the team.
This isn’t the middle of anything. It’s April. They haven’t had an OTA session yet.
So far, we know nothing about the legality of Worley’s gun possession. We have no idea why he was unconscious in his car at sunup. We do know, however, that this is aberrant behavior. It’s a pretty good bet that Worley wasn’t passed out in the middle of the street because he’d worked out extra hard late Saturday night.
And there’s a history. There usually is, in cases like these.
While in college in 2014, 3½ years ago, Worley was involved in a conflict with a woman outside a bar in Morgantown, W.Va.. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault, which earned him a 6-month suspended sentence. This appeared to be an aberration. Maybe it isn’t.
It usually isn’t. That doesn’t mean Daryl Worley should be disposable. Athletes get second chances all the time.
In 2016, Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd, who had a history of driving under the influence dating back to his Notre Dame days, was found asleep in his car early in the morning in Scottsdale, Ariz., was arrested for extreme DUI and was released by the Cardinals. The Patriots picked him up on waivers and kept him through the Super Bowl, after which he served 24 days in an Arizona jail, then 96 more on house arrest, and was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of 2017 with his hometown Vikings. The 13th overall pick in the 2012 draft, he had 10 catches in 11 games last season and now is a free agent.
About a year ago, Tiger Woods was found asleep at the wheel of a running car with flat tires on the side of a Florida road at 2 a.m. A few weeks later, after completing a rehabilitation program for his continuing problems with painkillers, he resumed his journey back to the PGA Tour. Since mid-February, Woods has vaulted from 544th in the world to 88th.
For the moment, Worley’s issues are less clear. Maybe his past does influence his present. Maybe not.
For the kid’s sake, maybe we should have taken some time and found out.