Game Time: Best-Case NFL Draft Scenario For HBO's Hard Knocks Fans

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In the end, I guess someone had to go. If you're the front office of a proud franchise like the Steelers, you can only have so many impromptu press conferences, district attorney explanations, and women screaming foul before a message needs to get sent. You're not going to move the star quarterback, even if he did show up at today's "See, I Told You I Didn't Do It" press availibility sporting a greased-back mullet and a three-day-old beard (the only thing missing from the "Yeah, I Probably Did Rape Her, So What?" ensemble was some "fuck you" sunglasses). It's a quarterback's league, you've built your entire offense around him, acquiesced to his whims for the coaching staff, and -- oh yeah -- his backup is Charlie Batch.

It's always easier to move the wide receiver who allegedly throws glass containers at women in bars, especially when you consider that his backup Mike Wallace made huge strides as a rookie, receivers are easier to replace, and -- oh yeah -- he's facing a four-game suspension for substance abuse. So you get on the phone and you move swiftly, sending the wide receiver to a fellow AFC contender (the term "fellow" presumes that the Steelers are still a contender) for a song. You tell Big Ben he better get his shit together or he's next and you move forward.

The Santonio Holmes trade is kind of what you choose to make it. Addition by subtraction? An attempt to show Ben Roethlisberger that the team has no problem with a little self-mutilation if it means ridding themselves of an ugly wart? Dumping a stock for something before you were going to tear it up and throw it away anyway? Yes, yes, and yes. Those are all conscious reasons that the Steelers dumped Holmes for a fifth-round pick in next week's NFL draft.

Reasons are reasons, in the end I'm more enthralled with the post-trade fallout, and while draft experts break down what this means to both teams' draft boards, while fantasy players salivate over the middle of the field now opening up for Jets tight end Dustin Keller, I think the thing that has me most excited is that Holmes-to-the-Jets is just one more step toward the construction of the most watchable Hard Knocks season in the history of the series.

Admittedly, when the Texans were in the mix as a possibility for HBO's fantastic weekly training-camp spotlight, I was pretty excited mainly because they are our hometown team, and there was an outside chance that my co-worker Raheel Ramzanali would finally have his buffoonery noticed on a bigger stage than our station's YouTube account....


...dare to dream.

The fact of the matter is, other than the intrigue of a Houston team on the show and the possibility of wide receiver David Anderson becoming the breakout television star of the summer, putting the Jets on Hard Knocks instead of the Texans (or any other team, for that matter) was a no-brainer. There's not a single team in the league that can match up with the Jets' fire power:

-- Head Coach Rex Ryan, fresh off lap-band surgery this off-season
-- Quarterback Mark Sanchez, fresh off banging a Brazilian supermodel this off-season
-- Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, a malcontent pretty much his whole career
-- Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who needed a $500,000 advance on his salary just to stay current on child support for his seven kids with six women in five states (true story)
-- Future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson joining this circus
-- A defense whose alpha dogs are some of the best at their position (Revis, Scott, Jenkins)
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