I reserve the right to change my mind on this (again)
I think I'm gaining a newfound respect for Reno Mahe.
Don't get me wrong -- I still firmly believe he isn't a NFL-level player. But I respect the fact that he seems to recognize his limitations (i.e., his athletic ability in general) and is just happy to do whatever he can to be on the team.
To illustrate, an article in the Inky this weekend by Ashley Fox began with the following:
When Reno Mahe arrived in Philadelphia for the first time as a rookie free agent in 2003, Andy Reid's son, Garrett, a fellow Brigham Young student, picked Mahe up at the airport.
A wide receiver in college, Mahe asked Garrett for the lowdown on the Eagles' wideouts, to which Garrett replied, "You are playing running back here."
Mahe was stunned but didn't miss a beat. "Oh, really," he replied. "That's great. I'll clean laundry here if I can stay."Her point was that unlike headcases like Maurice Clarett, Reno gets it -- he knows that being in the NFL is a huge privilege that should never be taken for granted. I respect the hell out of that. From the very beginning of his association with the team, he seemed to recognize how lucky he was to even get a try out (or perhaps more accurately, how lucky he was to have gone to Brigham Young -- Reid's feeder system).
In an earlier Ashley Fox article right before the Browns game, she quoted Reno as saying: "The reality is," Mahe said, "I'm a bubble player. I never know what's going to happen to me." He also seems to have a sense of humor about his role too. I remember he once described himself as "a smaller, slower Westbrook." Hell, that might even describe me (with the understanding that I'm much, much, much slower and smaller).
So I imagine it does help to have a guy like that on the team. Obviously not for his ability, but to have a guy who really knows the offense inside and out, who tries extremely hard, and who is eager to do anything he can. Sort of like a less inspiring (and less talented) Rudy.
I am still not psyched that he's taking up a spot that should be used for a RB with real size and talent, but I am starting to understand -- and even accept -- his role.
That doesn't mean he should return kickoffs. Ever. But now I really am starting to believe that he does have a real place on the team. And not just to clean laundry.