2013 will be a critical season in the career of Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo. Repeated injuries to his pectoral muscle sidelined the Texas standout for the majority of the 2012 season. He is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season, as Washington has been cautious to sign him to a long term deal. But what Brian may lack in functional connective tissues in his chest, he more than makes up for with self-confidence. In an interview with USA Today‘s Jim Corbett, Orakpo asserted that he has some lofty (read: borderline crazy) individual goals for the upcoming season.
His top priority is to share the Comeback Player of the Year award with his teammate, Robert Griffin III. “If we can both get Comeback Player of the Year honors, that would be remarkable, that would mean we did something special as a team.” It would be particularly remarkable because the award has only been given to multiple recipients three times since the NFL/AFL merger. Also, who sets out to win the Comeback Player award? That’s an award that no one wants to win because it means you sat out a season with a major injury/incarceration/drug problem. This is not the trophy most elementary school students imagine hoisting on the blacktop at recess.
But that’s not the only award Orakpo has his eyes on: “Defensive Player of the Year is a goal of mine. I worked extremely hard this offseason and Defensive Player of the Year is very obtainable.” Now, one might be inclined to praise Orakpo for setting his goals high. However, mouthing off about the “obtainability” of being the best defensive player in the league is ridiculously self-aggrandizing. Forget about being the best defensive player in the league; Orakpo is not even the best outside linebacker on his own team. Here are some things that have not been obtainable for Orakpo in recent years:
- Playing more than two regular season games without tearing a muscle in 2012
- Recording double-digit sacks after his rookie season
- Reasonable goal-setting
I have no doubt that “Rak” has worked diligently to return to the field. However, when you sit out for a year due to multiple surgeries, a certain modicum of humility needs to be a part of your public statements. As a fan, nothing would bring me more joy than to see Orakpo claim the Defensive Player of the Year award. Realistically, I’ll take him playing an entire season without being placed on injured reserve.