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New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan doesn't necessarily like that he's earned a label as a problem child. Who would? But he's accepted it as a fact, a reminder floating in the back of his brain that perceptions are ...

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Old 11-13-2014, 09:19 PM   #1
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New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan doesn't necessarily like that he's earned a label as a problem child. Who would?

But he's accepted it as a fact, a reminder floating in the back of his brain that perceptions are not everything. Perceptions can be changed.

He knows that could take a while.

Character issues. That phase has followed him throughout his career, beginning with a dismissal from Illinois in 2008 for disciplinary reasons.

It's right there on his NFL draft profile: "Lack of effort run blocking and mental lapses could signal character issues."

It was there when Morgan was arrested on DWI charges in 2013.

And it's still lingering again following his return for a two-week suspension, the reason for which is undisclosed.

"Being suspended sucks," Morgan said. "I mean, especially when you don't know what comes out of it. The learning experience I can take from it is just don't take things for granted and handle things in a different way."

With all those issues listed, only Morgan knows whether the label is fair or not. He admits he's brought it upon himself.

"I mean, I do (these) things to myself," he said. "If you get labeled as a character issue guy, that's something that you've done to get that label. So everything that I've done to this point, I'm accountable for."

Morgan is somewhat of a surprise candidate to earn that label. In every team photo he has taken, he is sporting a wide grin on his face. He is described as a "likeable person" by quarterback Drew Brees, unassuming but polite with the media, acknowledging his struggles while never publicly complaining about them.

On Twitter, many of Morgan's posts are about spending time with his two young daughters. For two years straight, Morgan has hosted a children's toy drive for Christmas. At training camp, Morgan often outlasts everyone on the field, signing autographs with a Sharpie until the last fan has left.

Mistakes do not necessarily define who is person is, he said.

"The thing I'm doing is trying to show everybody that that's not who I am," Morgan said. "I'm not that person. I'm not a character issue guy. I mean, I've made mistakes like any other person. But I'm doing all the things I can to make myself better, to separate myself from what people think of me."

In many situations, a team would have no problem cutting ties with a fringe player known for character issues. It happens all over the league. In the Saints' own locker room, rookie Khairi Fortt was cut following an apparent absence at team meetings.

In terms of in-game contributions this season, Fortt's stat line and Morgan's are the same--they both have none. Fortt, who was on short-term injured reserve, was cut before he ever played in a game. Morgan has played in only one game this season and has been a healthy scratch since Week 4.

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Morgan has only caught 10 passes in his four seasons with the Saints, albeit with 379 receiving yards and three touchdowns to show for it. He has not caught a pass in a regular season game since 2012. So Saints' loyalty to Morgan certainly doesn't boil down to wins and losses.

Yet, the team has stood by him for four years, despite two seasons on IR (2011, 2013), and a torn ACL that put his career in jeopardy in a contract year.

The knee injury was the self-described low point of his still fledgling career. When he went down following a routine tackle in training camp, Morgan became like most IR players--someone who saw the walls of the training room but not much else.

"I had expectations and for everything to be taken away the third play of the Black and Gold scrimmage, that's something," he said. "Here I am in a contract year, I'm hurt, and everything was out of my control. ... And it wasn't like a regular injury, it was a career threatening injury."

Compared to that, a two-week suspension was relatively easy. The light at the end of the tunnel for Morgan this time around was the knowledge that his career would go on when he returned.

Saints coach Sean Payton declined to give any details about the nature of Morgan's suspension. But when asked about feeling strongly enough on the basis of Morgan's character to let him back on the team, he didn't hesitate.

"Absolutely," he said.

Morgan has often said his teammates feel like family to him. They chided him like big brothers following his arrest last year, but supported him through the legal battle that followed.

When Morgan was about to go into surgery to repair his ACL, Brees made sure to give him words of encouragement.

But Morgan still had to admit that felt nervous upon his return to the team on Monday, as if he were the new kid in school all over again.

"When I came here Monday for a team run, it was weird," he said."It just felt weird, like the first day of school and 'Where's my locker?'"

That feeling had faded by Tuesday as he settled back into his routine.

"I guess it's not about loyalty. It's about believing in somebody," Morgan said. "And this team is like a family system. And sometimes with family, things happen in your family, but you're never gonna disown your own family, or you hope you don't disown your family. So that's the way I take it here, they've stuck by me and I'm gonna do everything I can to stick by the team."

Morgan could get another opportunity as soon as this week with Robert Meachem nursing an ankle injury. What he does with the opportunity is likely up to him.

New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him | NOLA.com








"We'll see how all of this plays out," Brees said. "I can't tell you when Joe is going to get his opportunity but when he does I know he'll be ready."

"A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including my life."
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:59 AM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

If he gets a role in this offense...we can be on to something really good.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

It's time for some of the reward that can come with signing a problem child and sticking with them.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

Until he starts performing on the field he is defined by off field issues.

10 recptions in his pro career
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:45 PM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

Originally Posted by lee909 View Post
Until he starts performing on the field he is defined by off field issues.

10 recptions in his pro career
Just a measly 37.9 yards per catch average...
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Morgan says character issue label doesn't define him

He's done nothing for nearly 3 years

He played great in 2012, but until he shows up on the field, he will continually be defined by his off the field issues
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