Thursday, October 16, 2008
I'm pretty sure you don't care, but Carolina Panthers WR Mushin Muhammad is in the middle of a very strange career - one that has angered, frustrated and annoyed fantasy owners for a solid decade. At the age of 35, Muhammad is on pace for 77 receptions and 1,136 yards. That, by itself, is not all that strange, as receivers can stay productive for a long time. But that usually applies to guys who were consistently good (or great) throughout their careers (like Cris Carter, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice)...that is not the case with Muhammad.
Muhammad was a second round pick in '96 and didn't have his first 1,000-yard season until his fourth year, when he also had 96 catches. The following year he led the league with 102 receptions, and at age 27, appeared to be entering his prime. Think again. Over the next three years Muhammad redefined average, never topping 850 yards in any one season. His name continued to carry some weight in fantasy leagues, but he was always dropped in week four, picked up by someone else in week six and left for dead by mid-season; 3 grabs and 47 yards a week just wasn't cutting it.
Then came 2004, when, at age 31 and thought to be past his prime, Muhammad threw up one of the better seasons I can remember...93 receptions, 1,405 yards, 16 TDs. Where had this dude been for the last three years? Nobody had an answer, but it wasn't a reach to call him one of the best WRs in the NFL.
Then, of course, he went to Chicago to catch passes from a young Kyle Orton and a fat-faced Rex Grossman. While it obviously didn't help his production, it didn't change the fact that he was once again just another guy with mediocre statistics. He didn't top 900 yards or 5 TDs in any of his three seasons with the Bears. Once again, he was a forgotten man.
Until, of course, his third rebirth.
I don't know a single mammal who drafted Muhammad this season, and while he hasn't been spectacular, he's certainly been well above league average, and worthy of a No. 3 WR spot on almost any fantasy roster.
Can you think of anyone, in any sport, who has had a career as odd as Muhammad's? Send an email my way if you can.
The one guy I think of is former Cards and Rockies pitcher Jose Jimenez. As a member of the '99 Cardinals he threw a no-hitter in the 15th start of his rookie season, outdueling Randy Johnson and the 100-win D'Backs, 1-0. Two starts later he threw a 2-hit shutout against the very same team. The rest of his rookie campaign was hit-and-miss. But mostly miss. Regardless, dude had talent.
He was traded to Colorado that offseason where he was converted into a reliever. And a pretty good one, actually. He became a full-time closer in 2002 and saved 41 games with a spectacular (for a guy pitching half his games in a humidore-less Coors Field) 1.18 WHIP.
Jimenez was out of baseball only two years later. Strange. He finished his career with a 24-44 record, and an ERA pushing 5.00. That, to me, sounds like an awful pitcher. But how many guys do you know with a no-hitter and a 40-save season on the back of their baseball card? I can only think of a few: Dennis Eckersley, Derek Lowe and Dave Righetti.
And Jose Jimenez.
-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)
Posted by Twin Killing dot Com at 8:46 AM