While the media busts a collective load waiting for Brett Favre to report to camp or get traded or do some other asshole thing, there's an offseason issue ESPN and the like have been ignoring but Eagles fans should be paying attention to: the holdout of The Big Kid.
It's a week past reporting time, and two-time Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews is nowhere to be found. The circumstances of his absence are a complete mystery. There has been no word from Andrews, no word from the Eagles and no word from his teammates other than it is not contract related and he'll be here, we're not worried.
Well, that was the line you heard from everyone until John Runyan spoke up, from the Inquirer:
"It's not helping us and it's not helping him [that he's] sitting out," said Andrews' linemate, right tackle Jon Runyan. "The longer he holds out, the longer it'll be before he gets in there. So it's going to be a tough situation. If you keep giving reps to the guy who's backing you up, at some point he's going to pass you."
And Runyan is exactly right. This situation is not helping Andrews or the Eagles. Now, I understand Orlando Pace has made it regular practice to hold out to miss training camp, and that's all well and good. On a talent level, Andrews is every bit as good at his position as Pace has been at his; after all, Andrews is regarded as one of the, if not the, best guards in football. But the mystery surrounding his no-show has opened a huge can of worms.
Andrews is a notorious drama queen. In training camp last year, he got all teary-eyed when he was injured, and the injury turned out to be nothing serious. Andrews has been described as emotional to a fault. And with the bizarre silence from all parties involved, people like Les Bowen and G. Cobb were speculating, to a small degree, that Andrews could be suffering depression on Daily News Live. The longer he stays away and the longer no one says why, the rumors will be flying.
Clearly, by Runyan's statements, it's beginning to affect the team, however slightly. Offensive linemen rely on each other and must have a strong level of communication. Now, Andrews has played with Runyan, Tra Thomas, Todd Herremans and Jamal Jackson long enough where that may not be an issue. However, Andrews has, if you all recall, has had some pretty big issues with his weight and health when he was drafted and had to bust his ass to get in shape for his sophomore year. Over the last two years, Shawn has certainly reported in good shape, but weight issues never truly go away. His best chance of being in top shape is to get to camp.
All of this may be irrelevant. For all I know, Andrews is in great shape and will be ready to go. His mental state could be fine, and everything may be all right. But the silence, especially on his end, is proof that his nickname is no mistake. Right now, Shawn Andrews is acting like a Big Kid. And right now, that's not a good thing.