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On Mendenhall, Ryan Clark says “social media is ruining the world”

2011 AFC Championship: New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall created a storm of controversy with a string of Twitter messages posted Monday.  His first teammate to publicly address the situation was safety Ryan Clark.

Clark joined Jason Horowitz and Steve Phillips of SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio on Wednesday to discuss the controversy.

Clark’s message?  “My first reaction to it really is that social media is ruining the world.”

He felt strongly enough about that statement to repeat it a while later.  “Social media is ruining the world,” Clark said.  “Facebook and Twitter are probably going to be responsible for more divorces than infidelity coming up here soon.”

At the risk of breaking out the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” bumper sticker, the reality is that social media is merely the conduit through which folks can say things that will get them in trouble.  As I stress to my son at least once a week, anything he says on Twitter or Facebook can come back to haunt him.  Though, in the grand scheme of things, Mendenhall isn’t much older than my son, Mendenhall is an adult — and adults should be expected to realize the practical consequences of making statements in places where they can be read by anyone and everyone.

That said, Clark stopped short of criticizing Mendenhall for his views.  “I guess he’s entitled to his opinion,” Clark said.  “He didn’t claim that those opinions were shared by anyone else but himself.  That was what he chose to put out there.  I knew he was going to catch a lot of flak for it, I knew there was going to be a lot of backlash toward those comments, but he’s entitled to put whatever he wants to put on his Twitter page.  The thing you have to know these days, though, if you do put those type of things out there, people are going to comment on them.  It’s going to make news.  It’s going to be a big deal when you do something that controversial.  A long as he can stand by his statements then he’s free to do whatever he wants.”

Clark also seems resigned to the possibility that Mendenhall’s career with the Steelers could be impacted in a negative way by his comments.

“We play a game where contracts really only have to be honored by the players signing them,” Clark said.  “The teams that you play for do not have to honor those contracts.  So it would be nothing that we could do.  We’d have to accept and respect the Rooneys’ thought process in that and their decision.  I would be extremely disappointed if that is the case.  I don’t see this as a legal issue.  Rashard Mendenhall wasn’t the guy on those planes.  Rashard Mendenhall was not wreaking havoc and terrorizing our American people.  Rashard Mendenhall made an unpopular comment.  Rashard Mendenhall had an opportunity to tweet something because of the way social media works that maybe wasn’t in the best interests of him or our organization.”

No matter how it all turns out, we hope other athletes learn from Mendenhall’s misadventures.

Then again, in light of the content that the controversy has provided during what otherwise would have been a very slow week, maybe we don’t.

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Six RFAs re-sign with clubs on Monday

Austin Davis AP

The restricted free agent market continues to thin.

Six restricted free agents re-signed with their clubs on Monday, per the NFL’s personnel notice, which announces transactions.

Three Rams RFAs signed their tenders: safety Rodney McLeod, quarterback Austin Davis and tight end Cory Harkey. McLeod has been a two-season starter in the secondary, while Davis started eight games in place of the injured Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford a season ago.

Other RFAs signing their tenders were Browns linebacker Craig Robertson, Browns defensive back Johnson Bademosi and Steelers fullback Will Johnson. Robertson started 11-of-16 games for Cleveland in 2014, notching 99 tackles.

Teams have until Friday to sign other clubs’ restricted free agents to offer sheets. Thirty-four players were tendered as RFAs earlier in the offseason, with the majority already re-signing with their clubs.

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Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair dies at 84

St. Clair AP

Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bob St. Clair, who spent 11 seasons with the 49ers from 1953 through 1963, has died after a brief illness.  He was 84.

A third-round draft pick (32nd overall) from Tulsa, St. Clair served for three years as a team captain and made it to five Pro Bowls.

He blocked for the team’s “Million Dollar Backfield.”  In 1956, St. Clair used his height to block a whopping 10 field goals.  Those efforts helped qualify him for the All-Decade team of the 1950s.

St. Clair also was once kicked in the face while trying to block a punt by Hall of Fame quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.  St. Clair made the play, but he lost five teeth.

“I went over to the sideline and they shoved cotton in my mouth and until it got so bad I had to take Novocain in my mouth, but I kept playing,” St. Clair said in 2010.

Via his biography at the Hall of Fame website, St. Clair was an unusual character, with habits that included eating raw meat.  Late in his playing career, St. Clair served as the mayor of Daly City, California.

The San Francisco native entered Canton in 1990, as part of the class that included Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Tom Landry, Ted Hendricks, Bob Griese, and Buck Buchanan.

The last line of St. Clair’s enshrinement speech often pops up in NFL Films productions with this simple message:  “I want to thank you very much for making my day in the sun so memorable.”

Condolences to the family and friends of Bob St. Clair, whose contributions to football at the dawn of the TV era helped make the game what it has become.

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Vikings remain intent on keeping Peterson, unless blown away by an offer

Peterson Getty Images

When it comes to running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have three options:  (1) keep him and try to make him happy; (2) keep him regardless of whether he’s happy; or (3) trade him.

The Vikings have adopted the position that they’ll keep Peterson regardless of whether he’s happy, and it doesn’t appear to be a ruse aimed at coaxing a greater offer via trade.  The Vikings want Peterson, and they’re confident that the passage of time will smooth over any ruffled feathers.

That said, it’s possible that someone will make them a trade offer that gets Minnesota’s attention — under the same theory pursuant to which any player on any team is, in theory, available via trade. If another team puts enough picks and/or players on the pile, even an untouchable player will be asked to pack his bags.

In this case, that’s not expected to happen.  A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that a recent report that they’d want a first-round pick and a starting cornerback isn’t accurate, which suggests it would take even more than that to even begin to get the Vikings to consider making the deal.

And for good reason.  Absent a package that will have the same impact on the Vikings that Peterson could have in 2015, given an improving defense and a young franchise quarterback distributing the ball to a respectable complement of receivers, the Vikings have no reason to make a deal.

Look for plenty of noise and agitation about a possible trade over the next 10 days, with the possibility that someone will decide to put together a modern-day Herschel Walker-type package.  Absent that, the Vikings likely will keep Peterson’s rights and hope that he eventually realizes that his best move will be to honor his contract, accept $13 million, and resume his chase for the all-time rushing record, which remains 8,165 yards away.

Which requires five seasons of, on average, 1,633 yards per year.  That’s a total Peterson has surpassed only twice in his career.

Based on how he performed in 2012 after tearing an ACL on Christmas Eve of 2011, it wouldn’t be wise to ever bet against Peterson.  But if he plans to prove the doubters wrong and if the Vikings plan to keep him for the next three seasons, Peterson’s best bet will be to stay put and to play hard.

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Former Bears LB Doug Buffone passes away at age 70

Doug Buffone, Walter Payton, AP

Doug Buffone, a Bears linebacker for 14 seasons, died Monday at age 70, the club said.

Buffone passed away due to natural causes, police said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Buffone played 186 games from 1966 through 1979, intercepting 24 passes. Early in his career, he was a part of a Chicago linebacking corps that included Dick Butkus.

After retirement, Buffone worked in media, perhaps most notably for Chicago sports radio station WSCR, for which he handled postgame coverage with fellow former Bear Ed O’ Bradovich.

“He will always be celebrated as one of the Bears greats for his contributions to his team and the fans who loved him,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said of Buffone in a statement on the club’s website. “There was no one tougher on Sundays than Doug Buffone.”

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DeAndre Hopkins has no interest in talking about Andre Johnson

Johnson Getty Images

For the first time since 2003, receiver Andre Johnson plays for a team other than the Texans.  And the receiver who arrived in Houston via round one a decade after Johnson isn’t inclined to talk about his one-time mentor.

Asked by reporters on the first day of the offseason program to discuss what it’s like not having Johnson on the team, DeAndre Hopkins said, “No comment.”

Asked later about being the No. 1 receiver with Johnson now gone, Hopkins said, “No comment.”

When the question didn’t include Johnson’s name, Hopkins said plenty.  For example, when asked to explain how it feels to be a leader of the receivers this year, Hopkins said, “It feels great.  My motto is I’m going to go out and work every day no matter who is here.  It’s a mentality that I always play with since I’ve been playing football.”

Later, when asked about helping new receivers learn the ropes, Hopkins managed to avoid saying Johnson’s name, referring to him only by number.

“I told those guys they could come to me,” Hopkins said.  “Coaches are going to help them transition into this offense, but a lot of wide receivers in there look up to me because we don’t have 80 here anymore.  I like that chip on my shoulder.”

The phrase “chip on my shoulder” doesn’t really apply in this specific context, but given Hopkins’ reluctance to answer questions mentioning Johnson and Hopkins’ decision to not even refer to Johnson by name hints at some possible tension between the former face of the franchise and the first-round pick who eventually supplanted him.

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Pierre-Paul to skip offseason program

Pierre-Paul Getty Images

With all 32 offseason programs now open, the players most likely to make news are the players who aren’t there.  For players who have received the franchise tag and who have not yet accepted it, their absence isn’t surprising.  But it’s still worth mentioning.

In New York, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed the franchise tag, so he’s not under contract and won’t be participating in the offseason program, as noted by Jordan Ranaan of

Pierre-Paul, per Ranaan, will continue to work out on his own.  Which entails some risk; if he suffers a serious injury while doing his own thing, the Giants would immediately rescind the tag, and JPP would be SOL.  If he signs the tender and shows up for offseason workouts, that same fluke injury would result in his full salary of $14.8 million being paid.

There’s a middle ground that a player can utilize.  An unsigned player subject to the franchise tag may attend the offseason program, subject to the understanding that he’d receive his full pay if he suffers a season-ending injury.  Most franchise players, however, choose to withhold services by staying away.

That typically results in the franchise-tagged player missing the entire offseason program and then signing (or not signing) a long-term deal just before the July 15 deadline for inking a multi-year contract.  At the latest, the franchise-tagged player shows up for Week One, since no one wants to miss those gigantic game checks, which for Pierre-Paul will be $870,588.

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Eric Weddle not present for first day of voluntary workouts

Eric Weddle AP

The Chargers’ top defensive back was a no-show for the first day of the team’s voluntary workouts Monday.

Safety Eric Weddle, a three-time Pro Bowler, is seeking a new contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Kevin Acee, Weddle expressed unhappiness with the Chargers’ unwillingness, at least at this point, to come to the table with a new deal. Weddle is the final year of his contract and set to make $7.5 million in 2015.

“I feel highly, highly disrespected,” Weddle told the Union-Tribune in a story published Monday.

Weddle, 30, told the Union-Tribune he wanted to stay in San Diego for the remainder of his career, but he also felt a need to show the Chargers that he was “not very happy” regarding the lack of progress in negotiations.

The matter of how to pay Weddle in the next deal could be tricky for San Diego. By the 2016 postseason, he will be 32 years old. However, he has not missed a game since 2009.

Weddle notched 119 tackles and intercepted one pass a season ago for San Diego, for which he’s been a starter the last seven seasons.

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Greg Hardy asks for expungement of his criminal case

Greg Hardy AP

In February, criminal charges against Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy were dismissed on the first day of trial, after his accuser failed to show up in court — which happened after Hardy reportedly reached a settlement with her.  Hardy now wants the State of North Carolina to pretend that none of it ever happened.

Per multiple reports, Hardy has filed a request that all records regarding the case be expunged.

“He’s been found guilty of absolutely nothing and he’s entitled to have a record of that charge eliminated,” attorney Tony Scheer said, via WSOC-TV.

If granted, everything related to the case would be removed from the Mecklenburg County court system — from Hardy’s mugshot to the conviction issued by a judge at the conclusion of a bench trial last year.  Given the intense coverage of the case and the long memory of the Internet, it’s a meaningless gesture; the accusations against Hardy will live a much longer and more noticeable life beyond the walls of the Mecklenburg County courthouse.

Most importantly, they’ll live long enough at 345 Park Avenue to result in a potential suspension of Hardy for the outset of the 2015 regular season.

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Dion Jordan does not attend first day of Dolphins’ workouts

Dion Jordan AP

Dion Jordan wasn’t there when the Dolphins reported to offseason workouts today.

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that Jordan wasn’t there, although it wasn’t immediately clear why.

It could simply be that Jordan chose not to attend the voluntary workouts. That’s his right, although it would be a disappointment to the Dolphins, who are considering giving him more work at linebacker this offseason in the hopes that he can be a better contributor there once the season starts. Jordan has played primarily at defensive end in his first two NFL seasons, and has been a disappointment.

The Dolphins packaged both their first-round pick and their second-round pick in 2013 to move up and draft Jordan third overall, and in his first two seasons Jordan has only started one game and recorded three sacks. They’re counting on getting more from him this year, but this year is not off to a good start.

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Chris Harris says new defense will put corners on an island more

Harris Getty Images

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has the kind of confidence that only comes from making it in the NFL despite being an undrafted, five-foot, ten-inch defensive back.  That confidence will serve him well in the team’s new defense under coordinator Wade Phillips.

“We’re going to be out there on an island a lot, so there is a lot of responsibility on us to be able to shut our guys down,” Harris told reporters on Monday.  “Jack [Del Rio] put us on an island too, so it’s something that if you play corner you’re going to have to be on an island. In this defense, we’re just so aggressive that we’re going to be on an island even more.”

Harris still wishes he’d been on an island against T.Y. Hilton when the Broncos lost to the Colts in the playoffs.

“You always want to cover a guy like him,” Harris said.  “He’s small and shifty.  That’s what God put me on this earth for — for guys like him.  I was definitely irritated, but it’s a new year.  We’re going to play them again.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be on him this year.”

If Harris and Talib can both stay healthy and perform at a high level and cover their men with little or no help, the other nine members of the defense will be able to do other things aimed at keeping opposing offenses from scoring points.  Which will take pressure off the offense, and make it easier for the Broncos to make good on what multiple members of the team insist is a “Super Bowl or bust” season.

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Amid trade talk, Rivers gets to work with the Chargers

Philip Rivers AP

Despite talk that he could be traded before next week’s draft, Philip Rivers is at work in San Diego.

The Chargers opened their offseason program today, and Rivers was in attendance. Although there’s been speculation that Rivers could be traded to the Titans for the No. 2 overall pick, and that the Chargers could then use that pick on quarterback Marcus Mariota, everyone in San Diego seemed to believe that’s nothing more than talk.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego quoted multiple Chargers players as saying Rivers is their leader.

“That’s our quarterback. That’s our quarterback,” left tackle King Dunlap said.

Running back Danny Woodhead told reporters he hasn’t followed the Rivers rumors.

“No offense, I’m not too much into media. I’m sure you guys are great writers and stuff,” Woodhead said.

New arrival Jacoby Jones has already started working out with Rivers and likes what he sees.

“I’ve never seen a quarterback work like he does in the offseason,” Jones said.

If the Chargers are thinking about trading Rivers, they’ve done a good job of concealing that fact from their players. Because everyone in the locker room seems to think Rivers will remain their teammate.

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Russell Wilson continues to lead the NFL in merchandising

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

How much he’s paid in relation to other quarterbacks will be determined at some point in the future.  How much fans are paying for his merchandise in relation to other quarterbacks has been determined:  Russell Wilson is the king of the NFL.

For the second straight year, Wilson leads all players in merchandise sales, according to figures released by NFL Players, Inc. for the period of March 1, 2014 through February 28, 2015.

Quarterbacks dominated the top five, with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers following Wilson.  The next five were Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, and Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Via Darren Rovell of, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III fell from No. 4 to No. 25.  Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson each fell 14 spots.

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Arrest video from Warren Sapp’s prostitution charges emerges

Warren Sapp AP

We hate to do this to you so close to the dinner hour on the East Coast, but the news breaks when the news breaks.

There’s video of Warren Sapp, regarding his Phoenix prostitution arrest, where he refers to getting naked.

Thankfully for all of us, the video obtained by TMZ is of his interview with Phoenix cops, and everyone is fully clothed.

Sapp was arrested during Super Bowl week after allegedly agreeing to terms with a pair of prostitutes. (There must have been a breakdown over the bonus language — or something.)

In the police video, Sapp told the cops: “I put the $600 dollars on the table, everybody got naked.”

(This is where we really need a disposable bag sponsor, or perhaps a good disinfectant.)

Sapp, ever the romantic, also said that he told one of the prostitutes to stop talking, saying: “Why don’t you use your mouth on me, instead of using it?”

At a later stage in the video, Sapp gets emotional, likely around the time he realized he was going to get arrested and lose his job. At that point, he cackled wildly to himself and pulled his shirt up over his head, exposing his belly.

Thankfully, that’s all we saw. And with that, we leave you to your appetizer course.

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Andy Reid on Justin Houston: It will all work out

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers AP

The Chiefs and linebacker Justin Houston haven’t been talking about a long-term contract since the Chiefs used the franchise tag to keep Houston from becoming an unrestricted free agent last month, but that’s not causing coach Andy Reid to lose his optimism about having Houston on hand to help the team in 2015.

The Chiefs have pledged patience since the beginning of the process and that was the message Reid sent on Monday as well. The coach spoke to the media as Chiefs players other than Houston arrived at the team’s facility for the start of offseason workouts and said that he thinks a deal that keeps Houston in town remains the likeliest outcome.

“We want him here, that’s been stated before. He’s a good person and a good player…sometimes these things take time,” Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “He knows this is a good place for him. We know this is a good place for him. They’ll get it all worked out.”

Houston’s unhappiness with the tag was reported even before he officially got it and there’s been talk about soliciting an offer sheet from other teams, although the two first-round picks another club would have to hand over to K.C. makes that an unlikely turn of events. Houston could hold out into training camp and the regular season before signing the tag, something that we haven’t seen happen often but it isn’t every year that a player hits free agency after a 22-sack season.

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Eagles officially announce signing of Tim Tebow


Tim Tebow is officially a Philadelphia Eagle.

The Eagles announced the signing today, bringing Tebow back to the NFL after a lengthy absence. Tebow was last on a team in the 2013 preseason when he played for the Patriots. He last played in a regular-season game in 2012 with the Jets.

Tebow’s contract is a one-year deal. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but it is presumably a league-minimum salary.

The 27-year-old Tebow faces an uphill battle just to make the Eagles’ roster. At the moment, Sam Bradford appears to be the favorite to start for the Eagles and Mark Sanchez looks like Bradford’s backup. Tebow will have to compete with Matt Barkley and GJ Kinne for the No. 3 quarterback spot.

The Eagles begin offseason work today with a roster that has been radically overhauled by coach Chip Kelly. The signing of Tebow isn’t the most important move for the Eagles this offseason, but it may be the one that garners the most attention.

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