Like many Texans fans, I was disappointed to see Mike Mohamed placed on Injured Reserve yesterday. I reasoned that Mohamed's injury must have been severe enough, or his return distant enough in the future, to warrant the Texans deciding to shut one of their starting linebackers (and widely considered to be their best coverage linebacker) down for the year. That conclusion appears to have been off base, as Mike Mohamed is now publicly expressing his frustration with the team's decision to end his season. He's angry enough that he's even talking about trying to reach an injury settlement with the Texans so he's free to sign and play elsewhere this season. Aaron Wilson has the story, which features this from Mohamed and general manager Rick Smith:
"I want to play this season," Mohamed said. "It won’t be here, but I want to play somewhere and get back on the field. I’m almost back from the injury, so it’s kind of frustrating to go on injured reserve, but I understand that they didn’t feel like they could wait."
"I just want to play football this year," Mohamed said. "I’m almost ready to go."
Texans general manager Rick Smith said the team is open to negotiating a settlement with Mohamed.
"It was unfortunate that we had to move Mike to injured reserve," Smith said. "We tried to hold the roster spot for him and give him a chance to come back. We just weren’t able to do that, but what we will try to do is execute an injury settlement for him to preserve our opportunity to bring him back later in the season.
"The rules state that when you execute an injury settlement, you’re ineligible to bring the guy back or not able to bring him back six weeks, plus whatever you settle for. So, if we settle with him for say, two weeks, then the earliest he could return is eight weeks from now."
Interesting to see that Smith openly says the team wants to try to reach an injury settlement with Mohamed, only to allow him to return to the team later. But once that settlement is reached, what's to keep Mohamed from signing elsewhere? If Mohamed really feels like the Texans mishandled him, why would he want to come back if he can find a job with another team? I suppose you could argue that he's better equipped to get on the field quickly here by virtue of his knowledge of the scheme and track record, but that may not trump any hard feelings he has at the moment.
Regardless, as Wilson notes in the article, Mohamed would have been a free agent at the end of this season anyway. If he has suitors on the open market--and it stands to reason that he will, whether it's in the middle of this season or afterward--the chance of him choosing to return to Houston strikes me as low. Of course, that's assuming that Bill O'Brien & Co. would want him back in the fold after he went public with his displeasure.
This is a curious case. Work through your reaction in the Comments below.
UPDATE: The team did in fact reach an injury settlement with Mohamed, leaving him free to sign with another team (or to re-sign with Houston, theoretically).
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