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Cunningham's remarks cross the tampering line

We declared the tampering season open earlier today.

On cue, Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has dipped a toe into the tampering pool.

As Rosenthal pointed out, the former Chiefs defensive coordinator recently said, “[Kansas City] keeps wanting to dump their players.  I would like to be there to catch a lot of them, because I know a couple of those guys.”

Though Cunningham mentioned no specific players, we believe that he has committed a textbook violation of the tampering rules by expressing general interest in multiple players under contract with another team.

If, for example, current Browns G.M. and former Eagles G.M. Tom Heckert were to say, “The Eagles will be dumping one of their quarterbacks and I would like to be there to catch one of them,” the Browns would quickly have one or more fewer draft picks come April 22.  (Of course, Heckert has not said this.  And no matter how many times we say that he didn’t say it there will be readers who believe that he did.)

As one league source explained it in response to Cunningham’s comments, agents for Chiefs players who are eligible for free agency or are being squeezed to take a pay cut will now use those words from Cunningham as leverage.

“We’ll just go to Detroit,” an agent might say.  “Cunningham has said he wants some of his old guys.”

We’ll probably ask the league for comment on whether Cunningham’s comments will be reviewed.  But we’ve chased enough of these tampering cases to accept the fact that an explanation will be offered that will keep the Lions from being declared public cheaters. 

Our prediction?  “Cunningham didn’t name any specific players, so it’s not a violation.”

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33 Responses to “Cunningham's remarks cross the tampering line”
  1. barking mad says: Feb 14, 2010 10:09 PM

    Why would heckert say that? What an idiot

  2. FireJerryJones says: Feb 14, 2010 10:09 PM

    How can you fine a guy for shopping at the Chiefs reject store? Signing these players is punishment enough. Haven’t Lions fans suffered enough?

  3. snakeman40 says: Feb 14, 2010 10:11 PM

    HECKERT DIDN’T SAY THAT! LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!!

  4. goodjuan says: Feb 14, 2010 10:18 PM

    or on cue, Detroit will be the one team they hammer.

  5. vesselsk says: Feb 14, 2010 10:36 PM

    A Lions coach are making news two weeks after the Super Bowl? Maybe Gunther was the right hire.

  6. IAVikefan says: Feb 14, 2010 10:40 PM

    Even if Detroit and KC switched half or more of their players, would it really make any difference? Will either team win more than 3 games next year?

  7. BwB says: Feb 14, 2010 10:43 PM

    “If, for example, current Browns G.M. and former Eagles G.M. Tom Heckert were to say, “The Eagles will be dumping one of their quarterbacks and I would like to be there to catch one of them,” the Browns would quickly have one or more fewer draft picks come April 22. (Of course, Heckert has not said this. And no matter how many times we say that he didn’t say it there will be readers who believe that he did.)”
    That is NOTHING along the lines of what Cunningham said. IF he listed specific position players and said on behalf of the CHIEFS they dont want (insert player name here) and we would love to have them, then yes, that would be tampering.
    Quit reaching

  8. Jackazimuth says: Feb 14, 2010 10:46 PM

    I can’t believe Heckert would say that. Looks like tampering to me. Better call the office ;)

  9. DirtMcGirt24 says: Feb 14, 2010 10:50 PM

    The Browns are really screwed now. Good job Heckert, you clown.

  10. shukey11 says: Feb 14, 2010 10:57 PM

    I like Cheese

  11. tatum32 says: Feb 14, 2010 11:01 PM

    No big deal. Detroit is going to magically come back with Chief Players? (10-30 record over the past 2 seasons?)

  12. deymond says: Feb 14, 2010 11:01 PM

    Mike, you know the NFL isn’t going to consider it a violation. So why are you writing about it? Nobody cares that you think it’s tampering. You think everything is tampering, because it gives you an excuse to pretend that we value your opinion.

  13. PatsRPerfection says: Feb 14, 2010 11:11 PM

    Yawn… The only thing better than the post Super Bowl, pre-free agency NFL news is the June/July lull before the season starts.
    We’ll go from discussing potential tampering charges and who might get the franchise tag to predicting incorrectly who will win the divisions and ultimately win the Super Bowl.
    My prediction for Florio’s Super Bowl XLV prediction is Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay. Then both teams will fail to qualify for the post season.

  14. Legend says: Feb 14, 2010 11:20 PM

    this comment is a very small mole hill, not a mountain.

  15. Badge says: Feb 14, 2010 11:41 PM

    Pretty sure that was “late last season” as in November or early December. Does it still count as “right on cue” if it happened three months prior to you prophecizing it?

  16. kccj12 says: Feb 15, 2010 12:36 AM

    A couple of posters should probably reread the article above. He did not say that Heckert said that; he said “IF, for example”. As in hypothetically.

  17. Zaggs says: Feb 15, 2010 12:45 AM

    “”We’ll just go to Detroit,” an agent might say. “Cunningham has said he wants some of his old guys.””
    So without Cunningham’s words the agents would say “Ok we’ll take your low ball offer. There are certainly not 31 other teams out there.”? Yeah somehow I doubt it. Hell by your definition then any time a coach or coordinator who has coached for more then one team says “I want guys familiar with my system”, they’re tampering.
    What Cunningham said does not create leverage for Chiefs players. There is nothing there that says the Lions would pay more. If the Chiefs are going to release a player, a threat to go to a poor team in the other conference isn’t going to sway their minds.

  18. emyoufive says: Feb 15, 2010 12:51 AM

    So let me get this straight, if a coach were to say “boy, those Saints have a lot of talent, I’d love to have some of those talented players.” That’s tampering?! I know news is slow Florio, but enough with these stupid tampering stories, nothing ever comes of them and probably for good reason (none took place).

  19. achain says: Feb 15, 2010 12:59 AM

    Thank goodness for the whistle-blowers here at PFT.

  20. nerd says: Feb 15, 2010 1:34 AM

    Goddamn, Florio. You sound like my ex girlfriend. Bitch!

  21. this class sucks says: Feb 15, 2010 3:09 AM

    I agree with ‘goodjuan.’ Detroit isn’t a great team so Roger Goodell will probably make an example of them while letting the Pats, Cowboys, Jets and other such teams go on with their tampering.

  22. thunderdog says: Feb 15, 2010 5:42 AM

    You can’t gauge how little people care about this. Nobody, I mean nobody, on the planet cares about Florio’s interpretation of tampering, not one bit.
    As a reminder, the tampering nonsense soon will be replaced by the ongoing “scandal” of contact in minicamp. Again, nobody cares.
    The NFL has the longest offseason of all of the major pro sports. This drivel just serves to make it longer.

  23. braindead says: Feb 15, 2010 6:45 AM

    Amen thunderdog! I’m waiting for the draft. After all, I’m a Browns fan, and the draft is the only thing we have to look forward to every year. 11 picks this year. Man, it’s gonna be tough to screw this up, but hey baby, this is Cleveland! If there’s a way to screw it up, we WILL find it! The Cavs look like a lock for a ring this year, especially if they land Stod. from the Suns, but like I said, This is Cleveland! I would bet anybody a case of beer it don’t happen (the ring, that is)

  24. ispysomething7 says: Feb 15, 2010 6:59 AM

    You’re a lawyer, you figure it out.

  25. Larry says: Feb 15, 2010 8:21 AM

    Mike, will you please let this lie ??? You have an obsession with tampering that borders on the ridiculous. What Cunningham said is, in no way, tampering. You seem to think there is a conspiracy behind every remark made by every coach/player/trainer/GM/owner and fan for that matter… You need to take a deep breath and relax…try yoga or something, but let these petty fixations you have on YOUR perception of the NFL rules go…you’ll live longer and be happier…

  26. Gern Blanston says: Feb 15, 2010 8:38 AM

    I can’t believe Heckert said that! Isn’t that tampering? Somebody needs to do something here.
    (;

  27. slipkid says: Feb 15, 2010 9:22 AM

    it’s detroit. it’s not like anyone cares.

  28. HarrisonHits says: Feb 15, 2010 9:40 AM

    LOL regarding Hecket, do any of you people actually understand what you read ?
    “If, for example,” means that if somebody were to do this. He did not state that Heckert said that.

  29. Brewster says: Feb 15, 2010 10:20 AM

    Florio, this article and the viewer responses to it are proof that you need to screen people for minimal intelligence levels before allowing them on the site.
    4 out of (the first) 26 responders (15%) to your article either cannot read or have low to no comprehension of the English language. As evidenced by their response to the Heckert comment even though you clearly inserted a proper disclaimer.
    Perhaps you could post symbols, like little light bulbs, next to posters names indicating their level of intelligence. 5 light bulbs with none of them illuminated would be indicative of a really stupid person. I can think of a few by name, but will spare naming them here.
    Or since it’s a football website how about a Wonderlic test, so some of the fools on here can see how they stack up against some NFL players with low scores?

  30. Florio-is-a-tool says: Feb 15, 2010 10:46 AM

    I thought Heckert was smarter than that.

  31. Pockets Straight says: Feb 15, 2010 11:17 AM

    This is ridiculous. The Browns already have two Pro-Bowl Caliber QBs in Anderson and Quinn… Why does Heckert want to pick up the Eagle’s rejects? I mean Vick would be a good addition to the Dog Pound for the wild-car, but I just don’t like the idea of Heckert announcing this publicly.
    Heckert should not be driving this team. Let Holmgren make all the public statements about the team. Heckert needs to get back into his office and prepare for the draft, not telling the world the browns are interested in players who are not as good as our current staff.

  32. sullijo says: Feb 15, 2010 11:18 AM

    Does KC still have an NFL franchise??

  33. The Rural Juror says: Feb 15, 2010 11:50 AM

    Detroit is stirring the news in Baltimore too…
    LT Jared Gaither
    RB Willis McGahee
    3rd rd draft pick
    for
    WR Calvin Johnson

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