Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saints Nation: Kevin Houser released by Saints in shocking move

While I did write THIS ARTICLE suggesting long snapper Kevin Houser's job might be in jeopardy, the news today that he was released was nothing short of a shock for me. You have got to be kidding me. In the first linked article I was quoted as saying "the Saints would be making a mistake letting him go", and I believe that to be true. This is a huge mistake for many reasons. Of course we were slapped with the age old adage of "the NFL is a business". Not the first time I've heard that one. Surprisingly the release was not to give the job to youngster Rob Ninkovich, but to sign a 37 year old veteran for approximately $130,000 more in Jason Kyle. Mickey Loomis claims the move is a "upgrade to the kicking game". Please. Kevin Houser has played 9 years with the Saints and has never fudged a snap. Not once. If Kyle, or Ninkovich, botched one snap during the regular season I will go ballistic.

This is the stupidest move the Saints have made all season, and it rivals the move they made letting John Carney go for Olindo Mare years ago. You're telling me some 37 year old is so much better than Houser (who is 30) that he's worth releasing the guy who's NEVER made a mistake? I'm sorry, I don't buy it. And how long can this guy possibly play? 2 more seasons? 3? I'm not really sure how the Saints benefit from this move at all from a professional standpoint.

Coming back to the "NFL is a business" standpoint, I'm getting pretty sick of teams hiding behind that excuse. I was a big fan of Deuce, Mike McKenzie, Hollis Thomas and Brian Young. I also understand why they were released. They are all veterans with good tenures that played well for the Saints but were too banged up to continue making a difference. What's more, their cap figures and salary were so elevated the Saints couldn't afford to keep them around with their injury limitations. That's all understandable, and that's the part of losing players you grow attached to as a fan I can live with. What I can't live with is cutting a guy in his prime who's been performant, consistently healthy, a pillar in the locker room, and pillar in the community and an all around good person. You know what? I don't even care if Jason Kyle is that much better (which I don't think he is). I'd rather have the "weaker" player based on what he's done for us and how much NFL life he still has in him. It makes me sad that the right thing to do makes no difference here. It's not like the Saints are putting themselves at risk by keeping Houser, he does have an impeccable 9 season track record. Where is the loyalty? And before you tell me the "NFL is a business" again, consider that we've cut Houser for a guy we don't know that's 7 years older (close to retiring) for $130,000 more. 7 years his senior for 100k more? How is that a "business" decision? I could have lived with a promising rookie long snapper taking his job, or even Ninkovich, but this I feel awful about. I'll say it again: if there is one botched snap during the regular season I will go ballistic.