Pollack welcomes competition
8/17/2005 - 8-17-05, 4:30 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
In the end, the numbers pretty much fit into the slot like they had for the last few days. The only difference is that David Pollack was sitting next to the head coach he calls, “my significant other.” His new wife, Lindsey, who helped him study his Bengals’ playbook with flash cards during the 19-day holdout, stood in the back of Paul Brown Stadium news conference announcing the five-year deal that can make Pollack as much as $13 million.
After a week of tractor pulling on such matters as percentage of guaranteed money and contract, language, Marvin Lewis finally had the man he sees as a latter-day version of versatile sack artist Peter Boulware. No, Pollack said, he hadn’t read how Lewis questioned his selflessness barely 48 hours before, and he knows his public opinion polls are low.
“That’s going to be a perception of anybody,” Pollack said after he met the media. “I think how you handle yourself is more important. It doesn’t matter if people say that. It really doesn’t. I don’t know if it should or not. I know when I get here, I’m going to be a good teammate and I’m going to be busting my butt.”
Pollack, who had 36 career sacks as an All-American defensive end at Georgia, is already trying to talk his way onto the field in Washington Friday for the second pre-season game despite missing all 24 sessions of training camp in his bid to move into the strong-side linebacker spot. His debut most likely comes a week from Friday in Philadelphia.
But Pollack wants to play now. In Washingtion. “Hopefully for a couple of series. Get in for at least a few snaps. Get some live football,” he said.
Pollack, who admits he can’t sit still, rocked back and forth in his chair on the podium as he talked abut how he did “back flips,” off the side of his new home in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason during the stalemate.
Later, when Pollack retreated to his suburban Atlanta home, he played racquet ball in the morning, complete with a weight vest, as well as playing tennis at night.
And, except for one morning he thought the deal was done, he attended the University of Georgia’s “Punishment Camp,” at 5 a.m.
“It’s the first time. I never got punished,” said Pollack of a running regimen that included sprints, hills, and up-and-downs.
Pollack doesn’t take his demotion on the depth chart behind Landon Johnson as punishment.
“Football is about competition, and I’m not afraid of some competition,” Pollack said. “I’ve met Landon, he’s an awesome guy. We’re going to be in the battle for a starting job. That’s not a problem.”
No matter how you calculate the guaranteed money (in the $7 million range) or guaranteed money plus money that is essentially guaranteed because of an easy incentive (about $7.6 million), Pollack looks to be in the slot supplied by No. 16 Travis Johnson and No. 18 Erasmus James. Although Pollack’s agents apparently raised concerns about what the Bengals consider standard provisions _ signing bonus penalties for violations of the Carl Pickens don’t-rip-your-team publicly clause and the 100-percent off-season attendance clause _ they were accepted.
“There are certain things all of our players have bought into and there’s no question that David has bought into all those things as well,” Lewis said. “There are no problems that way.”
Pollack said his only concern on the off-season clause was getting fined “what a lot of people make in a year,” if he had to get back home because of a family emergency. He seemed satisfied with Lewis’ flexible policies on that score.
“We left it in place. We didn’t touch any of that stuff,” Pollack said. “I’m not planning on missing anything.”
Which is why they drafted him No. 1
“Both sides have things they want to try and do and are important to both sides,” said Lewis, who used the forum to lobby for a rookie wage scale. “At some point, you have to give David credit for getting it done and being persistent about it. We drafted the right guy. A guy that’s got a conviction on things. I think that’s important. When he makes up his mind, he doesn’t waver.”
Lewis paused and smiled.
“That was good or bad here,” he said.