Even Captain Delusional conceded the third-round tender placed upon him by the Raiders stung a little bit.
“It’s hard to really kind of fathom it,” Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison said on an episode of ESPN’s “Jim Rome is Burning” to guest host Marcellus Wiley. “You understand that, OK, here I am, putting in this hard work, feeling like I was very deserving of being put on a higher pedestal, but the organization didn’t see it that way.
“I don’t get mad about it. I don’t get frustrated about it. My thing is to go out and work hard this offeason, be a more productive linebacker next year. Be better.”
“Captain Delusional” is the nickname used good-naturedly by some Bay Area media with regard to Morrison because of his ability to paint even the most dire situation in a positive light. Give up 200 yards rushing? No worries. Just a couple of big plays or trick plays. A one-sided loss? A springboard to togetherness and better days ahead.
We know, of course, Morrison may be thinking other things. But he’s a team-first guy who won’t start fires in the media, from whom never is heard a discouraging word.
Morrison has led the Raiders in tackles for each of the last five seasons, but was given a third-round tender while Stanford Routt was given a first- and third. Thomas Howard was given a second. Ricky Brown was given a second. Even Hiram Eugene got a second.
The message seems clear enough _ the Raiders were inviting teams to make an offer and would take the draft pick in return. Short of that, with the restricted free agent market as slow as molasses, Morrison could be part of a trade as the draft approaches.
“I understand it’s a business and I want to make sure I go ou tthere and whatever happens in this free agency thing, whatever team I play for, whether it be the Raiders or whoever else, that I go out there and give 110 percent and move forward.”
And although the Raiders will ultimately determine where Morrison plays, the Captain’s public stance is that he’s in control of his destiny.
“I’m excited for the situation I’m in right now because I do have the opportunity to explore my options, figure out what’s best for Kirk Morrison,” Morrison said. “A lot of teams, they want to do what’s best for them. I have the opportunity now to see what’s best for Kirk Morrison and where his career can go.”
Morrison said there has been interest from other teams which he declined to name but promised “Over the next couple of weeks there’s going to be a lot of action going on because of the draft, trades, different things. I’m just kind of sitting back, waiting around.”
Morrison talked in diplomatic terms of the Donovan McNabb trade from Philadelphia to Washington, painting it as a good deal for both teams and lauding his skills as a quarterback, and gave the company line “open competition” answer when queried about JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski and their battle to be the Raiders quarterback.