Have you ever had certain expectations about something only to be let down because they failed to be met? Such is the definition of the term disappointment. Many times expectations are raised due to other people giving something a lot of hype.
It could be a movie, restaurant, vacation destination, or even something as mundane as a particular model lawn mower. How many times have you ever heard several people say how great something was only to be disappointed when you actually tried it?
The same can go for NFL players and teams. I’m sure all Eagles fans experience disappointment every year when they fail to reach the Super Bowl. You can only experience disappointment if you have a certain level of expectation.
The Eagles have been very successful during the Andy Reid era and because of that, expectations have become raised. This, of course, is why Eagles fans can experience disappointment. If your expectations are minimal or if you have none at all, you will not feel disappointed.
With that said, who can we say have been the most disappointing players during the Andy Reid era?
10. DE Darren Howard: He was the Eagles’ big free agent acquisition in 2006. He signed a six-year, $30 million contract with $10.5 million guaranteed. He had built a good reputation with the Saints and was expected to bolster the defensive line here in Philadelphia. Andy Reid and Jeff Lurie did a good job painting him as the answer to the Eagles’ pass rush woes.
Although overall he was an okay player, Howard never really lived up to such lofty expectations after he joined the Eagles. In his four seasons with the team, he recorded 22.5 sacks, 10 of which came in his only good season in 2008.
He never became the left end he was supposed to be for the Eagles and was used primarily as a pass rusher from the defensive tackle position on passing downs. He was largely ineffective when you weigh the expectations from him, his contract, and his actual production.
9. LB Ernie Sims: The Eagles acquired him in a three-way trade last year with the Lions and Broncos. They only gave up a 5th round pick for the former #9 overall selection in the 2006 draft.
However, the front office and particularly defensive coordinator Sean McDermott made Sims out to be an excellent addition and our future star weak-side linebacker. Remember the whole “there’s a shark in the water” quote by McDermott?
He might have been a shark alright, albeit one that liked to hunt but could never catch his prey therefore starving to death. Sims routinely over-ran plays and displayed a severe lack of instinct (something a real shark would have). He certainly did not live up to expectations and is not expected to resign with a team that has a perpetual hole at his position.
8. WR Reggie Brown: He was drafted with the 35th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He set an Eagles rookie record with 43 receptions in his first year and showed good enough progression in his second year that the Eagles signed him to a five-year, $27 million extension with $10 million guaranteed. He had a decent third year but then quickly spiraled downward.
After such a promising start to his career and signing a nice extension, he disappeared into oblivion. Everyone, including myself, felt that Andy Reid finally drafted a good receiver and one that would be around for years. After lackluster fourth and fifth seasons the Eagles finally cut ties with him.
7. WR Freddie Mitchell: The 25th overall pick in the 2001 draft is remembered more for his outlandish yet comical behavior more-so than his on-field production. He was a heralded receiver coming out of UCLA and many Eagles fans saw him as a good pairing with second year man Todd Pinkston. Boy, were we wrong.
In four mouthy seasons with the Eagles, the “People’s Champ” (or “Fred-Ex”) had 90 receptions for 1,263 yards and 5 touchdowns. If the expectations of him weren’t high enough because he was a first round pick, he would increase them with all of his self-promotion as such a great receiver. He was so good that after leaving the Eagles in the prime of his career, he couldn’t find another job in the NFL.
6. WR Terrell Owens: He was acquired in 2004 in one of the more bizarre ways I can ever remember. Technically, it ended up being a trade and the Eagles gave up DE Brandon Whiting and a 5th round pick.
Owens then signed a seven-year, $49 million contract but his guaranteed amount was less than any receiver in the top 10 of the NFL. That fact is what ultimately led to fiasco in 2005, highlighted by Owens doing sit-ups in his driveway after being suspended.
The disappointment with Owens wasn’t about his production on the field, he was stellar in that area. For me it was the expectations for the 2005 season. After witnessing just how good the Eagles could be with Owens and McNabb and seeing them “just miss” in the Super Bowl, I felt that the Eagles were almost a shoe-in for another Super Bowl.
But alas, Owens had to be his controversial self and completely screw up a golden opportunity for a championship.
5. DE Jevon Kearse: As part of the glorious 2004 offseason, Kearse was signed to an eight-year, $66 million contract with $16 million guaranteed and a total of $24 million in the first three years. He became the highest paid defensive end in the history of the NFL at that time. Expectations were enormous and the fan base was ecstatic.
In four years he accumulated only 22 sacks and never more than 7.5 in a single season. He was also constantly running off the field for minor injuries he would sustain during the course of a game. Though he wasn’t completely horrible and did help fuel the 2004 Super Bowl run, his overall production never came close to what was expected of him.
I probably could have ranked him higher on my list.
4. DE Jerome McDougle: He often makes many Eagles “draft bust” lists and while he certainly was, he was also a major disappointment. The Eagles traded up in the first round to slot 15 in the 2003 draft, giving up a second round pick to do so.
His career was plagued by injuries (ankle, knee, hip), medical conditions (irregular heartbeat), and the mugging incident in which he was shot in the abdomen.
The Eagles were patient with him as they waited to see if their investment would ever come to fruition. But after four years, 29 tackles, and three sacks their patience ran out. The Eagles were in dire need of a defensive end at the time they drafted him so it was frustrating to never see him on the field.
<- Damn he has big head!
3. Stacy Andrews: Even though he was coming off of a torn ACL, the Eagles still signed him to a six-year, $38.9 million contract in 2009. He was touted as being a great right tackle and was supposed to replace big Jon Runyan. He was also the brother of Eagles guard Shawn Andrews and together they were going to form the “Andrews Wall”.
Everyone also claimed he would be ready to start from day one and that his injured knee would be 100%. Well, the Eagles released him after only 10 poorly played games in 2009 and a contract restructure in early 2010. Was it the knee or was he that bad? In retrospect I feel the biggest reason we ever signed him in the first place was to comfort his flaky brother Shawn.
2. TE L.J. Smith: The second round draft pick in 2003 was immediately proclaimed for greatness due to his size, speed, and athleticism. For six years Eagles fans kept waiting to see Smith display his immense talents in a consistent manner but it just never quite happened.
Between numerous nagging injuries, countless dropped passes and too many fumbles, Smith could just never put it all together for an entire season. One week he would look like a bonafide stud and the next week completely disappear.
But all the while Andy Reid and company kept telling us how good he was. His flashes of stud-like ability but consistent inconsistency is what made him extremely frustrating and ultimately disappointing.
1. OT Shawn Andrews: The Eagles traded up to the 16th slot in the 2004 draft for Andrews. He was a top tackle in the draft class and became an immediate starter on the offensive line. He was injured in the beginning of his rookie year and missed the rest of the season with a broken leg.
But he followed that up by making the pro bowl as a right guard the next two years and was considered one of the best, if not the best, right guard in the NFL.
However, Andrews decided to jump on Ozzy Ozbourne’s Crazy Train in 2008. He went back and forth with what was ultimately described as depression (though some were never really convinced this was the case) and a disc problem in his back for a period of two years.
Andy Reid and the Eagles did everything in their power to accommodate and cuddle him.
From signing his brother Stacy to paying him more money and moving him to right tackle, the Eagles showed as much patience and understanding as one could expect. They finally decided to cut him in 2010 once it appeared he would never make his way back. If he would have kept his head on straight, he could have had a Hall of Fame type career.
Easily the biggest disappointment of the Andy Reid era.