Bob Kravitz has spent decades covering the Indianapolis Colts, so he has been front and center over the course of the past two years while former Detroit Lions first-round pick Eric Ebron had been there. Signed in free agency in 2018, he put up big numbers that year, including 13 touchdowns, but the 2019 season was much more disappointing—and without Andrew Luck.
While Kravitz was complimentary of what Ebron can bring to the field, he told The Fan that there are some other issues that go along with the talented receiving tight end. At least, that is the perspective from the Colts.
“The reason the Colts let him go is because they felt he quit on them this season”, he said, referring to an ankle injury that he elected to have surgery on, missing the final five games of the season. “The team was not even aware [that it] was an issue and then all of the sudden he said, ‘that’s it, I’m shutting it down’”, he wrote.
“I remember asking Chris Ballard the GM, ‘what are you going to do with Eric Ebron?’, and he looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘yeah, we’re done with him. We’re moving on’. So, if you get him in the right frame of mind, he’s a very productive guy. But he’s a little bit mercurial I guess is the word I would use”.
Frankly, I’m skeptical of how this is framed. If a player is injured, then he is injured, regardless of whether or not he had been playing through an injury. Look at the situation with Kelechi Osemele and the New York Jets last year. He had to go behind their backs to have a surgery his doctor felt was necessary, and they released him. The Cincinnati Bengals and Cordy Glenn had an extreme difference of opinion last year as to whether or not they were prematurely rushing him back from a concussion.
Ebron had surgery and was placed on injured reserve. A doctor isn’t going to perform ankle surgery on somebody just because they wanted to have ankle surgery so that they would have an excuse to fall back on to explain why their numbers suffered in the previous season.
How would you like your employer telling you that you’re healthy when you don’t feel that you are? I’m sure many of you, depending upon your line of work, do deal with this situation, though not perhaps with significant bodily injuries suffered through your line of duty.
Is Ebron a ‘mercurial’ guy, who perhaps might have some maturity issues? There has been that narrative about him. We don’t really know him yet in Pittsburgh. Did he ‘quit’ on the Colts? At best, that is a matter of perspective, but to me sounds like sour grapes from his previous employer, because I know I wouldn’t want my employer to pressure me into delaying surgery at the expense of my own health. That’s a decision for myself and my independent doctor to make, not the person benefitting from my labor.