Friday, February 15, 2008

Spygate II: More NFL Espionage?

There was an interesting article this morning in the Star Ledger (Newark, NJ) about the pre-combine training regimen of Rutgers record-setting running back Ray Rice at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, NJ.

Who is the guy cracking the whip on Rice, and honning his skills that will be under the microscope at the pre-draft workout? Earnest Byner, "the former NFL star."

Until 2 days ago, Byner was the Redskins' running backs coach before being replaced, not unexpectedly, by Stump Mitchell.

We are big Rice fans and want to see him do well at the next level, and by all means improve his draft status. The red flag that jumps in front of our face is the possible impropriety of having an NFL coach (who, while currently jobless, is likely to be picked up by another team) as your hands-on instructor. The article notes that Parisi has 20 players working out in advance of the Combine.

Hey, we don't fault the guy for making a living, but it just seems a little shady.

The article makes no mention of how long Byner's been involved with the Parisi Speed School, but a glance at the Redskins 2007 Media Guide indicates that he isn't the only one with connections to the school.

In strength and conditioning coach Harrison Benstein's profile is the following note: "After a couple of years, he pursued his passion for teaching athletes and became Assistant Managing Director for the Parisi Speed School in northern New Jersey."

To us, this looks like the Redskins, as well as possibly other teams, have an unfair advantage in not just evaluating, but more specifically, developing potential NFL talent.

While Belichick is rightfully vilified, St. Joe Gibbs and how many countless other coaches were/are using spy-like tactics to secure a competitive advantage?

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