Have Boots, Will Travel; Just a Call Away...

Todd Clever, Former Eagles Captain

Todd Clever, Former Eagles Captain

He has his boots, will travel and is just a call away. We are taking about the status of Todd Clever. 

Look we will be the first to say we don’t know what actually happened that caused the fallout between USA Eagles Coach Mike Tolkin and the former USA Eagles Captain Todd Clever. We don’t know if it’s been an on-going issue that boiled over or if it was a recent falling out.

Mums the word on this, as not Clever, Tolkin, USA Rugby nor any of the Eagles have commented. Now that is a credit to them all for not really getting into it out of either respect or distraction, but it does leave us fans to wonder what happened?  It does leave us with a lot of questions.

There are a few things that continue to bug us on what well call the Todd Clever Question.  We wanted to talk about this after the USA World Cup roster was named and Clever was unfortunately left off (and we understand the Eagles do have a deep pool). However, they made a late change with a serious injury to a key member Scott LaValla having to be pulled from the roster/trip as he suffered a fractured elbow (ouch) and Clever was left out again.

Tolkin named Matt Trouville as a replacement, and we have nothing against Trouville so this isn’t about him. Now this was a surprise because in the opinion (yes everyone has one) of most, Clever was still one of the top loose forwards available in the pool who could have been selected to replace LaValla. 

When we saw the announcement of LaValla’s injury and subsequent replacement with Trouville, we tweeted back “What? @ToddClever wasn’t available?” To which the former Eagles Captain made his only comment since his dismissal from the team in San Jose during the PNC which he tweeted “I’m available, phone is on!”

None of us outside that circle know what happened, maybe his peers didn’t want him, we don’t know and don’t want to distract the current efforts of what we think is the best Eagles side in a long time, but the Clever question still remains. 

Clever has always; and we believe this soundly, always represented the game and the Eagles as true ambassador and professional. He’s carried the mantel of USA rugby for a number of years, has worked year round to always be ready and has been a critical part of the Eagles qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup next week.

He’s always in game shape (hell he was just playing with the Barbarians in England). Its not that he hasn’t been a part of the team for over the past decade playing and contributing to the Eagles in 15s and 7s. The biggest thing is he hasn’t even been out there talking that “woe is me” attitude. Instead he is just playing rugby (whether at his old club OMBAC or with the Barbarians). He’s a rugby player!  He just wants to play.

His commitment, workouts and training are legendary (you can go see them on YouTube, etc). He’s well respected by fans and players around the globe, which makes us have ask WTF happened?

I don’t think we could make a case for too many other players in this situation, other than Todd Clever who has earned a shot to be at one more World Cup and taking him will not be a token gesture as Clever can play and help your side.

We were so happy to see that just this week Todd secured a contact with play for the Newcastle Falcons in the English Premiership this season. It’s great to see yet another American player making it in the professional ranks in top competition.  It also means he’s right there in England should there be some reason to call up a player.

Todd Clever was for years the face of USA Rugby and USA Rugby used that to help promote the team and rugby which was great. He was always the one to do the press, the promos, etc. He was the only USA Rugby player we are aware of invited to the ESPYs, or to be featured in the ESPN Magazine Body issue (all exposure for USA Rugby). 

That’s not what really chaps our hide, as again we don’t know what happened. What really was disheartening was to see USA Rugby and Nigel Melville tweet and call on Tim Tebow after he was cut from the NFL (again) to come play 7s with the USA side and get on the team for Rio 2016. Really! You want to call and court a guy who isn’t a rugby player, never done anything for/with rugby to just come play 7s and we’ll send you to the Olympics. WTF? How about Todd Clever a seasoned top level rugby player, who has played both 7s and 15s, who has been the face of the sport in the USA, who has earned a shot to try for Rio? With him being left off the RWC squad the only big thing left is maybe Rio, but no. No mention! We are not saying to just put Clever on the squad for Rio, but at least give him some consideration. Nope none, but lets court Tebow instead (and this isn’t about Tebow either if you like/dislike him as a player/person, etc.)?

It’s a matter of respect and loyalty. Things we as ruggers value. We also believe that respect should be earned not given. Todd Clever has earned over the past decade the respect of us all; just wish USA Rugby would at least extend him that level of respect with stuff like the 7s for tossing him aside and being giddy over Tebow.

We leave this option piece with this... A) we don’t know what was the true reason for the dismissal. B) We think Clever has earned and that is the key earned a shot to be on the roster or at least be considered now for Rio, and C) please know we fully support every player in the Eagles Pool and World Cup Roster. #FlyEaglesFly!

Todd Clever  vs the All Blacks. [Photo by Barry Markowitz] 

Todd Clever  vs the All Blacks. [Photo by Barry Markowitz] 

If an opening comes up for a loose forward and an opportunity for Todd Clever to be there at the World Cup as an member of the Eagles we ask the USA Eagles and Coach Tolkin to Make The Call. He’s there in England, his phone is on. #MakeTheCall!

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