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Cashing in: Addison move not surprising

By Bill Contz

For the Mirror

Much to the chagrin of college football purists who still have their heads buried in the sand, 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison has entered the transfer portal to explore existing opportunities including a supposedly very lucrative NIL deal from USC.

While this blatant insurrection understandably irritates Pitt fans, it’s a move that, given the chance, every single one of us would do the same.

Try putting yourself in Addison’s shoes for a minute.

Hmm, decisions, decisions. Do I take advantage of that free lease offer from Bowser Pontiac or head on over to southern California and its fabulous year-round weather, showcase my many talents on a bigger stage and pocket seven figures?

Should I consider torching opponent secondaries in the LA Coliseum or maybe even brand-spanking-new SoFi Stadium versus usually half-empty Heinz Field?

Do I want to become the primary deep threat in what will likely be the highest-octane offense west of the Rockies or should just assume that the guys who fill Kenny Pickett and Mark Whipple’s shoes will help me duplicate the 100 catches and 1,600 yards I posted in 2021?

My question is: What took him so long?

I find this rather intriguing in that it sets a precedent by assigning a value to a recognized collegiate award. Addison is essentially monetizing the hardware they handed him at the ESPYs. Hell, if the Biletnikoff translates to a cool million, then what would the Heisman or Lombardi Award fetch if another underclassman happens to walk away with it?

I’m old enough to recall Olympians Mary Lou Retton and Mark Spitz winning multiple gold medals but not banking any real endorsement money until their faces appeared on a Wheaties box.

Don’t forget the marketing angle here. Think a school might see a spike in ticket sales if they could secure the services of one of these award winners?

It wouldn’t be hard to envision a slight uptick in interest when “Heisman winner headed our way!” hits the front page of the alumni newsletter.

Not surprisingly, head coach Pat Narduzzi is crying foul and will probably do everything humanly possible to prevent this move.

You would think he’d encourage any of his players to line their pockets when the opportunity presents itself. However, it appears Narduzzi has his own best interests in mind as opposed to those of his student-athletes.

Missing out on such a prime opportunity to cash in would be a true tragedy.

Further, I find it rather hypocritical to hear a coach bemoan one of his players for reaching out and grabbing that brass ring a mere six weeks after inking a long-term extension to further secure his own financial future despite dropping four of five bowl appearances and producing exactly one 10-win season during his otherwise fine seven-year Panther tenure.

You would think Narduzzi would instead be supportive of any of his players choosing to leave for greener pastures.

For the foreseeable future and until the NCAA alters the current NIL rules of engagement, the world is your oyster if you happen to win national acclaim while still having eligibility left.

Here’s hoping that Jordan Addison takes USC to the proverbial cleaners, has an even better year in 2022 and goes on to reap untold zillions in the NFL.

Contz was a starting offensive tackle on Penn State’s first national championship team in 1982 and played six NFL seasons with New Orleans and Cleveland. He published a book in 2017, “When the Lions Roared: Joe Paterno and One of College Football’s Greatest Teams.” He resides in Pittsburgh.

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