RIP Drew Sharp, 1960-2016
In 2007 I began to follow the NFL in more depth than just watching games on Sundays. I began scouting college players for the upcoming draft, and watching games on Sunday that I knew had impending free agents. I started listening to Detroit sports radio from the other half of the continent. Reading Detroit newspaper articles online I found something. Drew Sharp was the one voice that was putting my feelings, at the time, into words more eloquently than I believed myself capable.
By 2007 it was pretty clear that Matt Millen was never going to get better. His best draft picks in the first round, with one exception, were competent but not great players. Beyond that was a wasteland of missed opportunities. Most reporters were still selling hope to their readers. Most were saying that if the coaches would just give the young players a chance on the field we could see what they were capable of. They were saying the team might turn it around. They were looking for a solution to an incredibly simple problem, a solution that would not get their access limited were they to put it forth. The team was terrible, and there was nobody in the building that had any idea how to fix it.
Drew Sharp was not mincing words even then. He would openly question coaching decisions, management decisions, and player decisions as the team spiraled ever further downward. He was the often solitary voice in the darkness; and his questions led to questions of my own. He led me to look into the process of scouting. I formulated questions about schemes on both sides of the ball, and the business end of the NFL. He was the only one asking the questions I wanted answers for, he was the only one truly calling for blood.
I would likely never have learned the majority of what I know about the sport we all love, were it not for this man. For that I will owe him an eternal debt that can never be repaid. Drew Sharp gave me one of my favorite moments in the week. He gave me the moment when I sit down to watch a game with full knowledge of the final score. Drew Sharp gave me the moment I began the search for something to write about.
A few weeks ago I tweeted that I was having trouble finding anything to say about the Lions. I said that I did not want to rant about coaching continuously, that there was already a Drew Sharp. Well now there is not, and despite never having met the man I am saddened by his passing. Thank you Mr. Sharp.