Over the last week or so, it’s been great to be a Bronco fan. The fact that our free-agency losses were relatively small, we managed to hang onto all of our major contributors, and we had an amazing draft! Not only did we manage to get one of the premier Quarterbacks of the draft class (a minor miracle for a team that played in the AFC Championship game last year), we also landed Green Bay Wide Receiver Javon Walker – one of the most talented young wide receivers out there (and one that I was hoping the Broncos could snag). Pretty sweet!
Then this weekend the Broncos came back to earth and the drama has since resumed.
Enter Ashley Lelie, our (former) #2 Wide Receiver, who has a lot of potential, but still has consistently failed to live up to most of it. Lelie is fast, strong and is an awesome deep threat – but plagued by inconsistency, he never catches the ball! For every play that Lelie makes, there were at least 3-4 dropped catches earlier in the game.
Putting my "Fantasy Geek" hat on, I had Lelie on my team at the beginning of the year, buying into all of the hype around him. After five weeks of his constant let-down I couldn’t get rid of Lelie fast enough. One of my buddies picked him up immediately, and Lelie surprised us by having an awesome game. In the following weeks, Lelie was back to his old ways – lots of potential, never lived up to it.
After season’s end, I wasn’t surprised that the Broncos were looking to do that to the real Lelie – or at least get some more help in the Wide Receiver position. I cringed when they talked about getting T.O., but I couldn’t deny that we needed a solid #2 receiver. Rod Smith is money, and hands-down one of the finest Receivers to ever wear a Broncos uniform, but he’s aging and needs some help. When we got Javon Walker I rejoiced, but I knew this was going to end badly for Lelie (who is also in the last year of his contract).
Rather than take this as a challenge, Lelie has decided to go the lesser route by crying to the media. In an interview he did on Denver’s CBS 4, he whined about the way he has been treated. He talked about how he knows he should be a #1 receiver because he knows he’s one of the best receivers in the league. He said that while the Broncos talk about competition in the WR depth chart, that their actions speak louder than words and they they don’t want Lelie to succeed as a receiver. All through the interview he was crying as if he’s some sort of victim, being treated wrongly.
There was so much whining during that interview, I’m surprised that they weren’t doing it from a crib, ending with Vic Lombardi giving Lelie a bottle and rocking him to sleep. "They secured Javon in with a big contract (and a) long deal and it’s hard for me to go in there and compete with that no matter what they say."
Oh boo-freakin-hoo! Here’s an idea: instead of crying about how the Broncos hate you, you go out and actually live up to your potential. In the interview Lelie complains about being judged by his stats – he’s just lucky that "dropped catches" isn’t a measurable stat, or his value would be lower. The Broncos tried to market Lelie, and anyone who’s casually seen tape of this guy won’t touch him. I don’t blame them, Lelie stunk last year.
I can understand that not being a starter can be a blow to your ego, but being on a Super Bowl-contending team isn’t such a bad thing. Can you imagine what kind of opportunities Lelie could get when you have people covering Walker and Smith? Lelie would have some amazing "deep" opportunities! Instead of going out in a contract year, giving it your all and proving the Broncos wrong, you’ve decided to put on your bonnet and cry about it. Thanks for nothing Lelie. You say that actions speak louder than words, your act on the field is reason enough to cut you lose. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.