Saying Goodbye in the NFLMay 1, 2012
Chad Clifton and Nick Collins gave a good portion of their lives to the Green Bay Packers. They helped them win a Super Bowl. I’m not blaming any one person or the Packers but both players deserved a more dignified send-off last week.
I realize that each situation is unique. I also know I’m not smart enough to have all of the answers. But I do think there needs to be a way to get better at saying goodbye to longtime players. I want to be clear that this is not just a Packers or NFL problem. All professional teams struggle at times with how to say goodbye.
Mark Tauscher’s departure last year from the Packers was awkward and got many of us thinking about this topic. Here was a true Wisconsin guy who just left quietly by the back door. I know there was a chance he’d return to the Packers or some other NFL team but it still felt like there should have been more. Not every player deserves or wants a tearful new conference like Brett Favre (how did that one turn out?), but there should be some way that the team and fans can salute a longtime player and allow the player to thank the team for paying him well and the fans for supporting him.
Clifton and Collins may play elsewhere and the Collins neck injury complicates things. But would it have been wrong for the Packers to have a news conference to thank them for their service? The genuine emotion is there. Thompson choked up when I asked him at the draft about those two and what they meant to the franchise.
They weren’t the two biggest stars in franchise history. But they provided a professionalism on the field and in the locker room. Life in the NFL is about constant change and a revolving door of players. But can’t we take a few minutes to say goodbye and thanks to those who have worked hard and well for years?