While the likes of Brock Berlin and Josh McCown will begin the 2008 NFL season as active members of somebody’s roster, former Vikes/Fins/Raiders QB Daunte Culpepper is SOOL. PFT’s Mike Florio considered the plight of the self-represented Culpepper and offered the 8 year veteran a chance to address the league directly. Culpepper’s “letter to the NFL community” could well start a trend amongst the jobless — does anyone have Jeff George’s email address?
I set out this free agency period with three categories that I wanted to explore.
1. Teams that were looking for a starter
2. Teams that were open for QB competition
3. Teams that needed a veteran back-up
With the help of the NFLPA, I researched what the market value was for each category. I contacted 14 teams that fell into these categories. Unfortunately, I did not receive any real interest from the teams I contacted. When the Packers finally offered for me to come to Green Bay to back-up Aaron Rodgers there were no real negotiations. They offered me a deal that was, according to my research, below market value. They said that they would get back to me after the draft.
When the beginning of training camp came and there was still no interest, I reached out to Commissioner Goodell to see if he had any suggestions. He asked Ray Anderson to check around the league and get back to me. Ray told me three things based on his discussions with teams. First of all he said that I should get an agent because teams were not comfortable dealing with me without one. The second thing he told me was that I should be ready to accept the vet minimum and start my career over. The third thing he said was that I would only have an opportunity if someone got hurt. This is why I went to Pittsburgh to work out for the team after Charlie got hurt, so I could see if what Ray Anderson said was true. After a great workout, I was offered the vet minimum with no negotiations. This is when I realized that there is something wrong.
For the sake of clarity, I never told anyone in Pittsburgh that I wanted to compete with Ben Rothlisberger for his job. This is an example of misrepresentation or misinformation.
Recently the Commissioner called to let me know that I was on the top of the list for a job if a key veteran got hurt. I really appreciate the Commissioner™s help, but I hate that I have to wait for a fellow QB to experience the misfortune of an injury in order for me to have an opportunity to continue my career. Why was I not given the chance to compete for a job? This is my question to the NFL. The answer seems to point to something that I choose not to embrace at this time. So instead, I will continue to believe for the best and prepare for the worst.