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Marvin Lewis came pretty darn close to admitting collusion

On Wednesday, MDS pointed out some interesting comments from Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.  The coach of one of the cheapest teams in all of sports isn’t happy that the Bucs lured receiver Dez Briscoe to the Tampa practice squad by paying him more than the practice-squad minimum.

We’ve stumbled across a take from Bucstats.com, a feisty and fiery blog that has much more fire and feist (I know “feist” isn’t a word) than the team is covers.  The author of the item, known merely as “Scott,” spots the potential problem with Marvin’s message.

And while Scott apologizes for “going all Florio” on his audience, Scott points out that Lewis essentially is grumbling because the Buccaneers aren’t following the unwritten rules that potentially amount to illegal collusion.

That’s how collusion works.  There’s no secret covenant locked in some old guy’s safe with a combination based on hieroglyphics and retinal scans.  Nothing is ever written or said that would constitute an agreement.  But when someone doesn’t comply with the understanding that every team is supposed to honor, the team that steps out of formation takes grief for it.

Why do you think so few teams sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, and why no offers sheets ever contain the poison pill that the Vikings and Seahawks used on a tit-for-tat basis in 2006?  When the team officials get together for annual meetings in March, the teams who violate the unwritten rules get the cold shoulder and/or a finger wagging from one or more of their peers.

In this case, Lewis erred by saying publicly something that ordinarily is handled privately.  And we’d bet one of Briscoe’s paychecks that Lewis has gotten a call from the league office reminding him that he should never use words publicly that tend to peel back the curtain and expose to the union circumstantial evidence of the league’s unspoken arrangements and/our courtesies that limit the amount of money a member of the NFLPA will make.

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26 Responses to “Marvin Lewis came pretty darn close to admitting collusion”
  1. Hauschild says: Oct 7, 2010 1:27 PM

    Just thinking about how the Seahawks got completely reemed on their retorting “tat” …ouch!!!

  2. TheDPR says: Oct 7, 2010 1:30 PM

    Scott the blogger can thank the PFT commenters for his ideas. A lot of his viewpoints were the same as comments on MDS’s original story.

  3. Kaz says: Oct 7, 2010 1:33 PM

    Huh? That went completely over my head. F.Y.I If the Bengals were that cheap we wouldn’t have cut Bryant. Just sayin. But I have no idea what else you were rambling about.

  4. BIG BLUE in tx says: Oct 7, 2010 1:44 PM

    The players are getting together to stick it to the league, why can’t the owners do it to the players? Show them whose boss, they still wanna whine then they can get real jobs.

  5. Deb says: Oct 7, 2010 1:45 PM

    The NFLPA knows how the system works. The league just doesn’t want Marv to say anything publicly the union could use in a courtroom. And since Marv appears to be on shaky ground with Brown, he’d be wise not to tick off owners during CBA negotiations.
    The more interesting question is why the Bucs were willing to cough up extra $ to sign Briscoe? These are the guys who wouldn’t pay 34 cents on the dollar to avoid a blackout when their Bucs were 3-0 (if you believe some tickets went unsold). So why would the tight-fisted Glazers suddenly break the unwritten code and create enmity with another team just to sign Briscoe to the practice squad?

  6. Tony A says: Oct 7, 2010 1:50 PM

    Too bad we have to wait for someone to admit it to stop it…

  7. SmurfJuice says: Oct 7, 2010 2:02 PM

    Interesting view of the comments. And it happens a lot.
    And that Seattle/Minnesota fiasco was the beginning of the end for the Seahawks. Burleson and Branch set that franchise back at least five years, at a helluva financial cost too.

  8. nfl says: Oct 7, 2010 2:09 PM

    The only collusion is one of stupidity by Florio and PFT crew. Give it a rest.
    Until you are able to fork over the $ to fund a league, stick to something you know instead of spouting nonsense.

  9. nfl says: Oct 7, 2010 2:12 PM

    On second thought, hope the owners collude till league extinction. We need to spend our time in a better way and PFT needs to stop making money off of poeple they deride all the time. Just sayin..

  10. The Agency says: Oct 7, 2010 2:13 PM

    Briscoe’s agent did a great job for his client…. and the union.
    Just another small piece of a larger collusion puzzle the NFLPA is no doubt assembling… in a large underground safe accessible only by D Smith and his trusted advisors (and soon any politician willing to take a looksy) which, upon entry, requires retinal scans of the late great Reggie White and the plaintiffs of the American Needle case.

  11. benh999 says: Oct 7, 2010 2:16 PM

    Collusion requires an explicit agreement, not an implicit one. Many companies in the same industry, without an explicit agreement, keep prices high and choose not to compete with eachother. They will also drop their prices to rock-bottom to crush any new competitor who tries to undercut them.
    Again, this begs the question, are/were you really a lawyer?

  12. Kryten says: Oct 7, 2010 2:38 PM

    Just for the record, the Vikes screwed Seattle out of the best OG in the league, and gave zero in compensation. Seahawks didn’t even get a comp pick from the rip-off.
    When Seattle retaliated by making a similar offer to/for Nate Burleson, the Vikes simply chose not to match and got Seattle’s THIRD round pick! There was no rip off at all. Seahawks paid a high price to “get even”.
    No intelligent person should think Seattle “got even” by any stretch of the imagination. They lost Hutchinson and a 3rd for Burleson.
    And the Vikes think the league hates them!

  13. VaBthang4 says: Oct 7, 2010 2:38 PM

    So you’re saying Marvin Lewis didnt admit collusion? Got it. Next nonstory.

  14. HandsofSweed says: Oct 7, 2010 2:45 PM

    The Bucs were only 2-0, Deb. Unless you’ve got them beating our boys by a 38-13 score. But otherwise, you’re spot on.

  15. Abshire22 says: Oct 7, 2010 2:52 PM

    It’s not collusion, it’s professional courtesy. Teams do not want their practice squads raided so they do not overpay to raid other teams practice squads. Tampa should not be suprised to lose more than one player from their practice squad and if that happens, they brought it on themselves.

  16. WhoDeySood5 says: Oct 7, 2010 2:52 PM

    Sounds like the NFL wants Marvin to shut up and enjoy being “___tt f___ed” b/c he has a crappy Owner…..someone please figure out a way to get Mike Brown in trouble for this and thrown in jail forever so someone w/half a brain can run our Franchise

  17. ttommytom says: Oct 7, 2010 2:56 PM

    It IS collusion.
    Anyone saying it isn’t didn’t even bother to look up the two defined variations of collusion.
    Look it up. Period.

  18. Whodey08 says: Oct 7, 2010 3:04 PM

    Deb you make some good points but I disagree @ Marvin being on shaky ground w/ Mikey.
    Marvin has been offered an extention and turned it down. ( he wants a practice bubble, Mikey won’t pay for one)
    In a twisted sort of way I’d like to see Marvin finish out his contract this year and tell Mikey “thanks for the opportunity, I’m out of here”
    My guess is Marvin would have a new job within a week.

  19. graphx says: Oct 7, 2010 3:12 PM

    Are you saying Marvin almost accidentally admitted collusion? . . . perhaps he did it on purpose.

  20. steveinohio says: Oct 7, 2010 3:36 PM

    I don’t know what the big deal is. If Marvin needs him for his 53 man, he can activate him off the Tampa’s practise squad. The bucks couldn’t do a damn thing about it, unless they sign him first. The only thing they would lose is time in the system.

  21. BengalsDouche2 says: Oct 7, 2010 3:50 PM

    Whodey08 says:
    October 7, 2010 3:04 PM
    Deb you make some good points but I disagree @ Marvin being on shaky ground w/ Mikey.
    Marvin has been offered an extention and turned it down. ( he wants a practice bubble, Mikey won’t pay for one)
    In a twisted sort of way I’d like to see Marvin finish out his contract this year and tell Mikey “thanks for the opportunity, I’m out of here”
    My guess is Marvin would have a new job within a week.
    ————————————————-
    While I definitely agree with everything you’ve said here, I do believe there’s more to it than a practice bubble. I can guarantee Marvin is talking about a GM (if he’s not asking to be the GM), talking about beefing up scouting and possibly talking about improving the medical staff. Marvin is no idiot. Unfortunately he has to work with what he has. And he doesn’t bite the hand that feeds him by dogging Mike Brown (directly) so he’s not going to come out and say “yeah our medical staff sucks”. He’s going to defend it to show loyalty to his employer (if only his employer would do the same now?). So yeah, 98% chance Marvin is asking for more than a practice bubble to stay in town.

  22. Deb says: Oct 7, 2010 5:01 PM

    @HandsofSweed …
    Oops :)
    @Whodey08 …
    Actually, that’s just an impression I’ve picked up from Bengal fans speculating that Brown wants to dump Marv and promote Zimmer. Some also say Brown overrides Marv in player-personnel decisions. Marv is a fine head coach and Zimmer a fine DC–don’t know what kind of HC he’d be. So you think the Bengals want to re-sign him but that he might choose to leave? That’s hard to imagine unless he wants to take a couple of years off like Cowher. Just can’t see Marv volunteering to leave Cincy. BengalsDouche2 is saying he wants a GM–is Brown an interferring owner like Snyder? Think he’ll hire a GM?

  23. jrhsd says: Oct 7, 2010 5:19 PM

    now my comment pointing to the fact I drew the line to collusion immediately has been deleted. probably because I said the word s$$t in it. wah.
    But my point was that it isn’t collusion exactly because the bucs signed him. the exception to the rule has been broken and nfl teams now have another avenue to compete against each other, which I expect them to fully use as necessary.
    any team signing the player off the practice squad still has to pay a bigger salary so the incentives are still there.
    Having said that, it was still wrong for Marvin to imply collusion because to the extent there is collusion, he isn’t the one who could make it happen.

  24. palewook says: Oct 7, 2010 6:37 PM

    floria as usual you got your facts WRONG when it comes to the bengals. you never do let those little things get in the way when assuming things on the way to your preordained conclusion.
    1) call the bengals cheap if you want, but keep in mind which team is spending less on payroll this year, the bucs or the bengals? it aint the bengals.
    2) marvin lewis doesn’t make the personal decisions in cincy. mike brown stamps those, nothing gets done unless mike wants it.
    3) the practice squad price was locked until this season.
    so your conspiracy collusion theory claims a cheaper team is the higher roller while a guy not in charge of that decision, made it. and lastly, a long standing policy of collusion is supported by an event which just become possible in the past month.
    fail.

  25. CincyAllDaWay says: Oct 8, 2010 2:13 PM

    It’s becoming more and more obvious why Foolio couldn’t cut it as a lawyer! What a maroon!!!

  26. csloan99 says: Oct 9, 2010 12:06 PM

    I’m pretty sure THIS poster (i.e., ME) was the first to spot the “potential problem with Marvin’s message” way before this Scott dude picked up on it (probably based on my comments):
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/10/06/marvin-lewis-unhappy-that-bucs-got-dezmon-briscoe-from-bengals/#comment-1509500

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