In his first game as an NFL head coach, Mike Singletary did what other coaches long to do but usually don't. Singletary sent a ``me-first'' underachiever to the locker room while the game was still going on.
In his 213th game as an NFL head coach, Tom Coughlin repeated what he's done what seems like 213 times: Coughlin sat down Plaxico Burress for nearly 20 minutes after he failed to show up at a physical therapy appointment.
And in that same Giants-Steelers game, the Pittsburgh owner and coach, Dan Rooney and Mike Tomlin, deactivated Santonio Holmes after marijuana-filled cigars were removed from his car following a traffic stop.
Maybe those developments Sunday will have an effect on some of the NFL's showboats and miscreants. So might the two-game benching by Chiefs coach Herman Edwards of star running back Larry Johnson, who was charged Monday with simple assault for spitting a drink in a woman's face and faces suspension by the NFL.
Most likely not.
o earn their living catching the ball. Despite commissioner Roger Goodell's crackdown on the likes of Pacman Jones and the actions of Singletary, Rooney, Tomlin and Coughlin, some players never get it. Every week, someone else goes over the line.
Still, Singletary's dismissal of tight end Vernon Davis and the coach's postgame rant on the subject - making public what coaches usually say in private - has already made it to YouTube, where a lot of players will undoubtedly see it.
Davis, the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft, is not a ``Chad'' or a T.O or even a Jeremy Shockey, in part because he hasn't achieved enough to attract the notoriety they get. He's simply an underachiever who speaks to the fraud called the Scouting Combine, where he wowed a number of team in tests with speed, strength and agility rare in a 6-foot-3, 250 pounder.
But tests often don't translate to on-field accomplishment.
Davis, who has 88 catches and seven touchdowns in 32 career games, has been hurt a lot and has played on a bad team with a succession of mediocre quarterbacks - Singletary benched the latest, J.T. O'Sullivan, after a half on Sunday. This year, Davis has 16 receptions in eight games, no TDs and one signature ``look at me'' moment: a 19-yard reception late in a 31-17 loss in New Orleans last month that led him to pound his chest and yell as loudly as if he had just made a Super Bowl-winning catch.
t off Singletary was a stupid penalty: Davis slapping the head of Seattle's Brian Russell after a 7-yard reception in the third quarter of San Francisco's fifth straight loss, a 34-13 drubbing by the Seahawks. Singletary immediately pulled Davis off the field and later sent him to the locker room.
``I will not tolerate players that think it's about them when it's about the team,'' Singletary said. ``We cannot make decisions that cost the team, and then come off the sideline and it's nonchalant. No. ... I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold on being a part of this team.''
Burress, who unlike Davis did catch a Super Bowl-winning pass, is a different story because when he plays, he plays hard and well.
Off the field, he disdains rules - by one account, he's been fined 40 or 50 times for a variety of infractions. Last month, he was suspended for a game for failing to show up or call in during the first day of the Giants' bye week. And last week he was fined $45,000 by the NFL: $20,000 for a comment to an official after a call went against him; $20,000 for criticizing the officiating after the game; and $5,000 more for throwing a ball into the stands after catching a touchdown pass.
or medical treatment on his neck and shoulder.
``I thought I was in the clear,'' Burress said after the Giants' 21-14 win, in which he caught three passes for 15 yards. ``I guess I was supposed to go back in and get treatment. I don't know, man. I'm just trying to get on the same page, so to speak. The only thing I can do is treat it like a grain of sand and brush it off.''
But how many grains of sand can Coughlin and the Giants take? Apparently more than they could take with Shockey, who was openly defiant off the field, criticizing his coaches regularly. On it, he would wave his arms to show he was open, then come back to the huddle and berate Eli Manning for not throwing to him.
The Giants didn't miss Burress in the game when they suspended him, routing Seattle 44-6. But despite depth at wideout, they would miss him against more worthy opponents. He's the team's most dangerous receiver and attracts double teams that get other guys open. Burress is not someone to be dumped casually by a team with aspirations for a second straight NFL title.
Moreover, he is not a slacker. He played all of last season on an injured ankle that caused him to miss practices; he had 11 catches in the NFC championship game in frigid Green Bay, and the winning TD at the Super Bowl came on a play on which Manning finally found him with single coverage.
On to Holmes.
continue to play until his case is adjudicated and/or he is suspended by the NFL. Until the Goodell era the NFL usually did not take action against a player until his case had been through the courts, and even now only acts before then with repeat offenders like Jones, Chris Henry or Odell Thurman.
But the Steelers deactivated Holmes, their second-leading receiver behind Hines Ward with 22 catches, after he was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. ``His situation has created somewhat of a distraction and we want to minimize that as much as we can and remain focused,'' Tomlin said.
Rooney also was involved. He is closer to Goodell than any owner, even though he was fined two years ago by the commissioner for criticizing officials.
The deactivation might have cost Pittsburgh. Holmes' replacement, rookie Limas Sweed, looked lost in a couple of clutch situations in the loss to the Giants, in which Pittsburgh was just 1-for-10 on third downs and 0-for-4 on fourth downs. But Rooney and Tomlin, like Singletary, have bigger things in mind than one game.
Burress seems to shrug off every suspension, fine and benching. He just signed a two-year contract extension that puts his salary into the $7 million range over the next five years, so he presumably can afford the money.
Holmes seems contrite, apologizing Monday in a statement released by the team.
coach. He's like me. He wants to win,'' he said of his new coach.
Based on Sunday's action, if Singletary can turn the 49ers into a winner, Davis might not be around to see it.
Whatever his words, his actions are those of a loser.

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