Jackie MacMullan, ESPN:
“ Even as I talk to you now, I'm probably not saying all that I feel. It's just the way I am, I guess. I'm not going to say something I shouldn't. In that way, I was probably the perfect guy to play in New England. ” -- Buccaneers lineman Logan Mankins

A demoralizing 2-14 campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that came to an underwhelming end amid charges of the team tanking in the final game, in which the Bucs pulled many of their starters in the second half of a 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. That defeat assured Tampa Bay the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The playoffs started last weekend, and the usual teams were home watching. Following the shocking August 26 trade from New England to Tampa for TE Tim Wright and a fourth round draft pick, Logan Mankins had plenty of time on his hands to watch all the playoff games. Tampa players have consistently been home with their families following the 16 game regular season.

The United States Air Force operates in similar fashion to the New England Patriots. "It is strictly all about business." Playing with a torn ACL for the entire 2010 season didn't generate enough points with the boss for tenure for G Logan Mankins. There is a proven history of other fine players like: Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel being moved following disagreements with upper management. The landing spots were less than ideal.

The polar opposite of Hickam Air Force Base in Oahu, HI would be Ladd Field in Fairbanks, AK.
The major use of Ladd Field was primarily cold-weather testing of aircraft and equipment. Only Interior Alaska offered the consistently cold temperatures needed. Fairbanks' climate is classified as subarctic.

76 degrees and sunny in Pearl Harbor to minus 58 without the wind chill is quite a similar situation in NFL terms for those players traded away from New England in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.

The Fairbanks Icepocalypse is generally January 1-28.

Jason Licht, General Manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has stated that Logan Mankins will remain with the team for 2015. He called the left guard "one of the solutions."

For Logan Mankins, it has to feel strange to be home flipping burgers watching the NFL playoffs. Leaving a perennial Super Bowl contender due to a pay cut refusal seems harsh treatment for a dedicated, professional employee. It's not easy going from "the best guard I've ever coached" per Bill Belichick to "tanking" Tampa. It may be warmer than Fairbanks, but it is just as far from the NFL playoffs as one can imagine.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 1/06/2015 02:39:00 PM Edit

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