Sunday, September 6, 2009

Frank "The Tank" Summers update - Final pre-season update

Life isn't fair. We knew this already, yes?

Consider the case of Isaac Redman, unsigned rookie running back in the Pittsburgh Steelers' camp. In the pre-season, Redman was one of the best running backs in the league, with 145 yards on 37 carries. More than that, Redman scored on three rushing touchdowns, which tied for the most of any running back during the four games played before the games that count begin.

The operative term in that sentence being "games that count".

The Steelers announced yesterday the cuts that brought their roster to 53 players for the start of the season, and Isaac Redman isn't on the list.

If he clears waivers, he may be included in the practice squad which can get activated during the season if there are injuries.

Frank Summers did not have a good pre-season. He carried the ball three times for a total of seven yards, including a four yard run in the last game. But Frank is officially a Steeler, as he did make the cut this weekend and will suit up for the Steelers' first game Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.

Clearly, something other than the stats on paper were more important to the Steelers' brain trust. It might be noted that on two of Redman's TDs, Frank was the lead blocker. He could become the team's "go to guy" in short yardage situations.

It's common to think that being a pro athlete is a great job to have, making millions and having sex with the supermodels, that sort of thing. But there's a heck of a lot more pro athletes in the situation of Frank Summers and Isaac Redman than there are living the life of Tom Brady or Tony Romo. As a fifth round draft pick, Frank got a contract this year for a salary under $200,000, and it really isn't guaranteed. If he gets injured or cut, the team doesn't have to pay. If he does well and plays more than one year, he has a chance to make much better money, but the average running back's career is very short, and there's always somebody gunning for your job, just as Frank is trying to advance himself in the organization.

Thomas Hobbes, famously cheerful English mofo, wrote that the life of man was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." The career of a pro team athlete may not be poor or solitary, but there's plenty of nasty, brutish and short to go around.

Congrats to Frank the Tank and best wishes to Isaac Redman, who did everything that was asked of him and still got the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

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