Earlier this week, the San Francisco 49ers signed Eric Wright to a one year deal after voiding a trade for the same player just one month ago. Wright failed the 49ers physical and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up releasing him after the failed trade.
Wright’s on and off the field issues have been well documented and include a 4-game suspension last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and a DUI arrest last month. It appeared that the 49ers realized what they were getting themselves into and and quickly aborted.
Then Chris Culliver tore his ACL.
The nickelback of arguably the best defense in the entire league suddenly went down and it was then that Wright was healthy enough to pass the physical and join the team. It also saved the 49ers a late round pick (that would’ve been traded to the bucs).
Vince Lombardi famously said “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” and in the NFL, the premiere sporting league in the country, that sentiment is a driving force. Jim Harbaugh preaches about having high character guys in the locker room but this signing proves that if you are talented enough and can help a team win in any sport, you will be given two, three, sometimes even four chances. At the same time guys like Lowell Rose (who was cut to make room for Wright) who plays his heart out, does everything he’s asked and stays out of trouble might have just seen his shot at the NFL disappear before it even started.
It’s been a horrible offseason for the NFL, with 31 arrests ranging from DUI to murder. There are some repeat offenders like Titus Young who will eventually get back into the league and cost another Lowell Rose his job but in this league it is apparent that talent always beats character.
Wright still has to work hard to make this team and even if he does he still a long shot to make the final cut. One hopes that he doesn’t waste this opportunity like he has wasted his previous three or four. Having said all this, I’ll still be the first one to cheer if he breaks up a pass or gets a pick. After all, winning heals all right?