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The Arizona Cardinals deserve a participation trophy

New York Jets running back Chris Johnson trades jerseys with Tennessee Titans players, after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The Jets won 16-11. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Would you be bothered if I suggested the Cardinals deserved a participation trophy for signing Chris Johnson?

If so it’s certainly understandable. Thanks to James Harrison’s social media rant, the Participation Trophy has become more despised than Roger Goodell at a screening of Good Will Hunting.

After seeing his boys receive such trophies the former Steelers linebacker ranted:

“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best….”

Kurt Warner, who shares some responsibility for the greatest singular football moment in Harrison’s career, agreed:

Once upon a time even Yoda chimed in on it. “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

And yet, here I sit applauding the Cardinals for, well, trying.

How else can you describe the signing of Johnson? It’s a one-year, low-risk deal. The running back position has been fraught with injury since camp opened. David Johnson, who was expected to compliment Andre Ellington, just suited up yesterday. It’s fairly obvious that Chris’s signing has quite a bit to do with the other Johnson’s lack of “participation.”

More to the point, this is what Steve Keim does. Like Liam Neeson, he has a particular set of skills and one of them is finding players on one-year deals. Keim has proven to be a master of identifying those players and getting maximum value out of them.

You know the list, but just in case in the past it’s been guys like Eric Winston, Karlos Dansby, Larry Foote and Antonio Cromartie. This year it’s been Jermaine Gresham, Lyle Sendlein and now Johnson.

Keim is constantly — again going to use the word here — trying. For all I know Chris might have nothing left in the tank and gets cut. But at least Keim gave it a shot. Better that than passively waiting for things to get better. Waiting and seeing isn’t much of an option for the 2015 Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals are “entitled to something just because they tried their best” and if that’s a participation trophy then so be it.

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