OVERSHADOWED by the 24/7 coverage of the Jay Cutler saga is an interesting trend at the NFL's diva position, wide receiver: Teams have stopped sucking up to them, making excuses for them, treating them like Britney Spears. The Giants, unable to get Plaxico Burress (left) to accept a renegotiated contract after a self-inflicted gunshot wound ended his 2008 season in November, released him last Friday. The Cowboys cut Terrell Owens, leaving the desperate Bills to take a one-year flier on Owens. Underachieving (but overly opinionated) Braylon Edwards, Cleveland's tarnished franchise receiver, can be had for the right price. (Edwards isn't the only problem among Browns wideouts. Last week Donte' Stallworth, right, was charged with DUI manslaughter after killing a pedestrian in Miami last month. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.) The weary Bengals are ignoring another boycotting of off-season workouts by the terminally unhappy Chad Johnson, but a source close to the team says he wouldn't be surprised if Cincinnati finally eighty-sixes Ocho Cinco and trades him. Jacksonville whacked Matt Jones after he violated probation for a drug-related offense by drinking beer at a golf tournament.
The common thread? As Giants coach Tom Coughlin said—not referring to Burress specifically—in March, "Whatever you do for any player, you've got to be sure it doesn't affect what you do for the rest of the players on the team." That is, be careful who you coddle. Coughlin could have been speaking for all NFL coaches. This off-season might be the dying days for divas.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (STALLWORTH)
AL TIELEMANS (BURRESS)