Last year was a tough one for Isaiah Pead. The St. Louis Rams second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft tumbled down the depth chart. For the first time in a long time, he was not a featured part of his football team, and it made rookie season that much more difficult.
Pead shared his struggles with the official web site of his former college, the Cincinnati Bearcats, where he broke records. His star turn in college propelled him into the NFL with big expectations and high hopes. Reality presented a few more hurdles than imagined. Pead got a late start on the offseason because of the NFL's arcane rules about graduation dates at a player's school. The Rams had a veteran running back who just happened to be one of the game's all-time greatest and a seventh-round pick, Daryl Richardson, seized the opportunity to grab the backup job.
Check out what he told the Cincinnati reporter:
"Honestly, I would call it miserable. Miserable life. Miserable four-five months.
"I took off and I didn't come back until it was time to. I just wanted to stay out of this area, I came back for a couple days to pack up then all the memories and walking back into my house by myself, had a couple days by myself, I just needed to get out of that area."
Unfortunately for Pead, the local radio talkers picked up on his comments, which were probably a little too honest to a fault. Sports radio's own version of NPR, 101 ESPN's Fast Lane, was in a heated round of armchair general managing when they brought up "the Pead thing."
This is what Chris Duncan said on the show:
"If Pead says he's miserable in St. Louis, you gotta do something about it. Put him out of his misery."
All this was in the conversation about trading down from No. 22 to get a running back. Set that aside for a moment.
I understand where Pead's coming from. You've been in a new job before, and maybe one in a strange place where you didn't know anyone. It's pretty miserable. Add in the fact that Pead did not get to come to the rookie minicamp or the spring OTAs until June where most of the new players already had the chance to get acquainted.
Chris Duncan played baseball for a team where his father was the pitching coach.
Pead's situation isn't uncommon among NFL rookies. No matter how easy it is for armchair shrinks to write it off on the radio, part of the adjustment from college to the pros is going from stardom to something closer to anonymity.
Read the whole profile on Pead, to the very end. The kid's on a journey, an existential one. Jackson is gone and he has a whole new opportunity. Not surprisingly, Pead is ready to seize that opening.
"I'm not going to sit and linger on something, but I am one to not forget about a situation," Pead said. "I am moving on from last year, last year is last year, but I have not forgot about last year. I wouldn't call it revenge, but the chip that I put on my shoulder is just a little bigger."
The second-year running back still has to earn his playing time. Outwardly, Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have expressed confidence in what he can do. St. Louis probably will be drafting another running back, meaning more competition for Pead. He's not guaranteed anything.
The former Bearcat has to earn his playing time, and there is the possibility that someone else will make a better case for those snaps. At that point, he may well want out of St. Louis. For now, let's hold off on "putting him out of his misery.