Remember that story out of Cincinnati about Isaiah Pead being miserable and spending most of his rookie seasonwith the St. Louis Rams throwing a tennis ball against the wall? Yeah, well, it turns out that was a little exaggerated, according to Isaiah Pead.
From a profile last week at SI.com:
"kind of exaggerated. As a competitor, you want to play. That's the bottom line. You want to be out there contributing, and that wasn't happening for me. It was just a down feeling, not necessarily the whole year. [The reporter] kind of told me to describe last year in a word, and I couldn't find another word [than miserable]."
I get that. It's a very reasonable point Pead makes here.
However, there's something worth pointing out to the second-year running back: If you don't want to see it in print, DON'T SAY IT.
To his credit, Pead does a solid job of explaining his situation, albeit a few months too late.
"When football is your life, and football is your job, and football's not going right, your life's not going to go right, feeling-wise. My life's great. I have a great family, a loving family at home [Ohio], a nice house [in St. Louis] with a great neighborhood, great people. It's just that the football aspect wasn't going as planned."
Again, this is exactly what Pead should have said the first time around. And nobody being interviewed is under any obligation to sum up an experience as diverse as your rookie season in the NFL in JUST ONE WORD. Think about it.
That way we don't have to listen to deejays say stupid things like "put him out of his misery."
Lesson No. 2 for Pead, and anyone else who makes this mistake: Take your lumps. Don't complain about being misquoted or having a quote taken out of context.
This is press relations 101. Coaches and GMs, most of them, understand that, and it's why most press conferences are a dull exercise in recital. (Not every team has its message so dutifully carried by a local press corps either). Spagnuolo said the same thing every time the Rams lost. Fisher has the smarts and experience to make his talking points sound like they mean something, even when they don't.
Let's take an example from Fisher, something he said about Pead.
"When he carried in games, he was very impressive," Fisher said. "He stayed 'up and alive' and was ready to play here and there in games in different packages."
So impressive, in fact, that the Rams only used him for 10 carries all season. You see the cognitive dissonance here.
Then again, there's no doubting that Fisher's words are sincere to some extent. Being "impressive" can still mean he wasn't as "impressive" as the other Rams running backs at that point in time.
And really, what's a coach supposed to say? The Rams invested a second-round pick in Pead; they need him to contribute. Which brings us to another coach speak trope:
"At this point, just keep doing what he's been doing," Fisher said. "He's had a great offseason program so far. He's working hard, he's in really good shape, he's continuing to battle. But there's great competition, he also understands."
There you go. Fisher sets up his player with more encouraging words without guaranteeing anything, pointing to a stiff competition for carries in this offense.
Lesson learned ... hopefully.