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Prosecutor presumes Britt won’t face jail time

Kenny Britt AP

Kenny Britt was arrested for the sixth time in two years this week, and for the sixth time it’s for a relatively minor offense. Hudson County (New Jersey) prosecutor Edward DeFazio points out Britt is unlikely to receive jail time for his latest offense.

“If he were to be convicted he could get probation, and technically he could be subject to jail time,’’ DeFazio told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “But as a practical matter, since he has no criminal convictions, there is a presumption that he would not be incarcerated.”

Britt will be a tricky case for the league’s personal conduct policy when the lockout ends.  He keeps getting arrested, but they have been for the kind of misdemeanor cases that often get ignored.

“I don’t like to say this, but these things in the overall scheme of things are not the most serious matters we have to deal with,’’ said DeFazio, who earlier this week dealt with Britt pleading guilty to careless driving. “But he just can’t seem to avoid people and places that present problems. This incident, on the face of it, is not very serious.”

Britt is accused of resisting arrest and tampering with evidence by destroying a blunt when some plainclothes cops approached him.

Titans coach Mike Munchak sounded concerned, but he’s not allowed to talk to Britt.

“Any time any of our players have issues it is concerning, no matter what the issue is. We want the best for them. This is a tough time because we don’t know,” Munchak said.

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Mark Tauscher unsure if he’ll continue playing football

Packers' Tauscher holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy and his son Maxwell after the Packers defeated the Steelers in the NFL's Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington AP

Mark Tauscher, who has played all eleven of his NFL seasons in Green Bay, says he’s not sure if he will continue to play football in 2011.

He’s under contract for $4.1 million next year, but it seems next to impossible that the Packers will pay that number.  Perhaps the Packers would give Tauscher a chance to make the team with a reduced contract, but the longtime right tackle doesn’t sound like he was sure he would even try to play.

“You know, I haven’t really figured out what I’m going to do yet,” Tauscher told Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Friday at a charity golf event run by Greg Jennings.

Tauscher will just focus on getting healthy for now.

“Honestly I’m just rehabbing my shoulder and trying to play some golf,” Tauscher said. “When the lockout ends I’m sure I’ll get things figured out, one way or another, and see where we’re at.”

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PFT Live: Blaine Gabbert and NFLCA Executive Director Larry Kennan

Blaine Gabbert AP

The week in PFT Live closes strong this Friday with two newsmakers.

Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert joins the show to talk about being the quarterback of the future in Jacksonville, and what the present has been like following the team’s player-only workouts this week.

NFL Coaches Associate Executive Director Larry Kennan also will call in to talk about the controversy surrounding the brief his organization filed in favor of ending the lockout, which many coaching staffs have said they were unaware of.

Tune in live at noon.

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Ndamukong Suh still talking about Lions going 16-0

Chad Henne, Ndamukong Suh AP

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said in March that Detroit can go 16-0. Three months later, he’s not backing down.

“Like I said before, we can go 16-0,” Suh told the Detroit News today. “One of the reasons I’m saying this is because we should shoot for the top. And if you don’t want to be a Super Bowl team, what are you playing for? If you are satisfied with winning games and just making the playoffs, I think you should expect more. There is more to just playing and trying to win games. That is my mentality and that is my approach. We should come in with the attitude of the sky is the limit and we want to be the best.”

To Detroit fans, Suh’s prediction may bring back some uncomfortable memories of former Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who insisted before the 2007 season that the Lions would win at least 10 games. After the Lions went 7-9 that season, Kitna emphatically stated that they’d win more than 10 games in 2008. And then the Lions went 0-16.

Granted, there are more objective reasons for optimism about the Lions now than there were three years ago. And Suh isn’t saying the Lions will go 16-0, just that they can go 16-0.

But on the Lions, who haven’t had a winning record since 2000 (the year before Matt Millen was hired as team president), it sounds a little ridiculous to talk about 16-0, when even 8-8 would represent significant progress.

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Plaxico Burress says he’s a better pass catcher after prison

Plaxico Burress AP

The way Plaxico Burress figures it, he’s a better receiver now than he was before he went to prison. After all, the degree of difficulty catching passes behind bars was higher.

“There weren’t a lot of guys throwing perfect spirals in there. I had to work to catch those balls,” Burress said with a laugh to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the Wall St. Journal in his first post-prison interview.

Burress doesn’t break a lot of new ground in the conversation, saying that he’s listening to Michael Vick’s advice to focus on his family first now that he’s a free man.  Vick and Burress spoke during the week, but it sounds like Burress has spent most of his time trying to corral his 18-month old daughter Giovanna, who was born while Burress was in prison.

Asked about his future, Burress said “you never know” whether he could return to New York.  He just wants to get a playbook from some team and get back to work soon.

“I know what I’m capable of,” the soon-to-be 34-year-old said. “All I need to say to teams is ‘don’t judge my future by my past.’ Just let me come out and play football.”

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Answering questions on the future of Plaxico, Santana Moss

Some storms in West Virginia made Thursday’s PFT Live a little more challenging than usual, but the show went on with your help.

Florio answered questions regarding the futures of Plaxico Burress and Santana Moss in the segment below, along with the latest on the Vikings possibly moving to Los Angeles.

There is another segment with viewer calls about the lockout from Thursday if you missed it. You can also subscribe to the show via iTunes.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
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Team checklist: New Orleans Saints

Mickey Loomis AP

The Saints have already added some big pieces this offseason in Shaun Rogers to go with first round picks Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. So what else does G.M. Mikey Loomis need to do when the lockout ends?

1. Set a reasonable price for Reggie Bush and stick to it.

Coach Sean Payton says he wants to keep Bush and we believe him. Bush was Payton’s first pick in New Orleans and no one believes in him more. Bush needs to take pay cut reflective of his status as an injury-prone role player, especially because the Saints already have Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory.

We’re not sure if Bush really wants to stay. If he wants more than $4-$5 million a year, let him walk.  We’d be surprised if the Saints come up with a new deal before they have to cut him.

2. Bring back Roman Harper.

Despite his struggles in coverage in the playoffs, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams knows how important Harper is to the defense. We’d make Harper a bigger priority than Bush.  This should be a no brainer.

Continue reading »

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Woodley: Ravens won’t make Super Bowl in “this lifetime”

NFL Super Bowl Football AP

If the football season starts on time, the Week One tilt between the Ravens and Steelers looks like the best game on the board following the season opening matchup between the Packers and Saints.

And just in case the game wasn’t going to get hyped enough, Steelers linebacker Lamarr Woodley is here to help.

Asked on NFL Network if Joe Flacco would ever lead the Ravens to a championship, Woodley responded just how we would expect him.

“No, not at all because they have to go through one team — that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers in that AFC championship. So in order for them to get to the Super Bowl, they have to beat us, and we’re not gonna let that happen once we get that close. So that’s not gonna happen in this lifetime,” Woodley said as transcribed by Sean Leahy of USA Today.

For a while last year, it looked like the Ravens would get past the Steelers.  But a 21-7 halftime lead in Pittsburgh imploded with three third quarter turnovers.

It’s the greatest rivalry in the NFL.  It’s also one more reason we all hope the lockout is resolved before any games are missed.

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Not-so-secret talks expected to resume next week

DeMaurice Smith AP

There were a lot of good signs to take from the latest round of not-so-secret talks between the NFL and the NFLPA* this week, which were capped off by a Manhattan dinner between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith.

(Let’s hope Goodell didn’t chose to eat at La Familigia.)

An even better sign is that the two sides plan to continue talking.  Gary Myers of the New York Daily News writes that there will be “more talks to come next week.”

“This is the first time since the meetings started last year that both sides are motivated at the same time to get a deal done,” Myers writes.

Myers thinks a deal could get done by early-to-mid July.

“Right people, right format, right time,” one source told Myers. “It’s the optimum moment for reasonable people to find reasonable solutions to problems that are not insolvable.”

At times during the lockout the two sides have seemed anything but reasonable. That finally seems to be changing.

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AEG has spoken with five teams about purchase, relocation

Press Conference Held To Annouce Name Of NFL Stadium In LA Getty Images

As Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times recently said during an episode of PFT Live, the biggest threat to the push for a new stadium in L.A. comes from a slowing of the momentum toward a deal.

The momentum train received a hot salsa enema on Thursday night, when AEG president Tim Leiweke said that his boss, Philip Anschutz, is prepared to purchase majority interest in a team — and that AEG has spoken to five franchises about this possibility.

According to the Orange County Register (via SportsBusiness Daily), the teams are the Vikings, Chargers, Rams, Raiders, and Jaguars.

“St. Louis, Jacksonville, not extensively, certainly Oakland, San Diego, Minnesota are still in the mix,” Leiweke said.  “We’re not packing any [moving] vans right now.”

Leiweke also said that AEG is prepared to pay any fees associated with a team getting out of its current lease.  “Just as an example, if it’s San Diego, they would have to pay $24 million under their agreement to get out of the lease,” Leiweke said.  “We would pay that.”

In our view, that helps make the Vikings the top candidate, given that after the 2011 season the cost of getting out of the lease at the Metrodome will be zero dollars, and zero cents.

Leiweke undoubtedly made the disclosure in order to build momentum toward the finalization of a “memorandum of understanding” with the Los Angeles City Council.  Leiweke has said that the so-called “MOU” must be finalized by July 31 in order to keep the project on track.

“If it [the council] goes away for the summer without the MOU we’ve got to rekindle this again in mid-September and we’re not going to make 2016,” Leiweke said.  “If we get the MOU by July 31st, what it proves to the NFL is that we could in fact get a deal done here.”

Meanwhile, anyone in Minnesota who hopes to keep the Vikings from going the way of the Lakers should realize that, if they don’t get a deal done for a new stadium in Minnesota soon, the time for packing the moving vans could be coming.

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Terrelle Pryor’s next set of problems could come from the IRS

107873230-250x200 Getty Images

Setting aside all personal feelings regarding whether colleges should give their football players fair compensation above and beyond the far-less-than-retail cost of a free education (I think they should) and whether players who aren’t getting paid whenever everyone else connected to the process is getting paid should take whatever they can get (again, I think they should), there’s one important point to keep in mind when it comes to putting that hand out whenever someone wants to put something of value in it.

The tax man eventually will want his cut.  Or, even worse, the tax man will want to know after the fact precisely why he didn’t get his cut.

Perhaps that’s the best reason for the NCAA potentially revising its rules to reflect reality, and setting up (for example) an Olympics-style system that allows “amateur” players to make money via sponsors or autographs, and that ensures all associated taxes are paid.  The current system, in which the NCAA keeps its head in the sand or a far less sanitary personal orifice until someone in the media generates evidence that players are indeed getting paid, easily could result in proof that the players who have gotten paid have failed to pay their fair share to the IRS and/or the state-level taxing authority.

In the case of Terrelle Pryor, his decision to leave Ohio State possibly was influenced in part by his desire to cut off the NCAA’s effort to generate the kind of evidence that would possibly attract the attention of any Columbus-area IRS agents who now possibly hold a grudge against Pryor for contributing to the possible demise of possibly the best football program in the state, including the two NFL teams that reside there.  Indeed, Pryor’s lawyer made it crystal clear during a Thursday appearance on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio that, with Pryor leaving an NCAA-covered institution, Pryor no longer will cooperate with any NCAA investigation.

“As to going forward with the NCAA, he’s done,” lawyer Larry James said.

“Completely done?” host Jason Horowitz asked.  “He was no responsibility in terms of talking to them, in terms of their investigation with Ohio State?”

“None,” James said.

“Why is that?”

“Well he’s no longer subject to the NCAA rules since he’s no longer a student-athlete,” James explained.

“And he still doesn’t have to answer questions?  He doesn’t feel an obligation to answer questions as to what went on with his role?”

“Well, you know I think that he’s already answered the questions more than a couple times,” James said, “but these new things that are coming out of the blue, no he will not.”

And if Pryor doesn’t talk about “these new things that are coming out of the blue,” the chances of the IRS getting involved will be minimized, since no evidence of any green flowing from the things coming out of the blue would be documented.

Then again, it may be too late for that.  Even though Pryor is now beyond the jurisdiction of the NCAA, he’s not beyond the long arm of Uncle Sam.  That’s why Larry James should be advising Pryor to strongly consider determining the precise amount of any and all income generated during three years at Ohio State, and to get those taxes and any associated interest or penalties paid, ASAFP.

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Friday morning one-liners

Philadelphia Eagles vs  New York Giants Getty Images

A look at the 10 coldest games in Bills history.

According to Dolphins WR Brian Hartline, Jim Tressel was the victim of a flawed system.

Patriots S Bret Lockett is linking himself to reality TV stalwart Kim Kardashian.

Vic Carucci of thinks Jets QB Mark Sanchez doesn’t get enough credit for the team’s success.

The Ravens need to start looking for a new trainer.

Bengals CB Adam Jones thinks everyone’s being too hard on former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor.

Pete Prisco of thinks Steelers S Troy Polamalu is an overrated player.

Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar broke down some techniques for the team’s website.

Colts DE Dwight Freeney talks about how he’s keeping busy during the lockout.

The Jaguars don’t seem to be lacking in motivation.

Titans G Leroy Harris thinks QB Jake Locker will be ready to start this season.

The Broncos need Eddie Royal to be a contributor as both a receiver and returner.

Former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer talked about his decision to move to the UFL.

Whether he leaves the Raiders or not, G Robert Gallery will likely cash in when free agency opens.

Will the Chargers get more from RB Ryan Mathews in his second season?

The Cowboys should resume their workouts pretty soon, according to WR Manny Johnson.

Thanks to DeSean Jackson, the Giants found themselves on the wrong end of the NFL Network’s best game of 2010.

Adam Schein of doesn’t think Mike Kafka is ready to be the Eagles’ backup quarterback.

One of WR Niles Paul’s college coaches thinks the Redskins got a steal in the draft.

Lions OL Dominic Raiola thinks it is sad that the NFL is contemplating an eight-game schedule.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw out the first pitch at Thursday’s Brewers game.

Coach Leslie Frazier promised the Vikings will be ready once the lockout ends.

Falcons QB Chris Redman said he and his teammates remain behind the union.

Panthers C Ryan Kalil hinted about “Hard Knocks” coming to town.

Don Banks of thinks the Saints are the kind of team that might take a late-round chance on QB Terrelle Pryor.

Much of the taxpayer money ticketed for renovations at the Buccaneers’ home field will go toward luxury boxes.

The Cardinals wide receiver depth chart is wide open behind Larry Fitzgerald.

Rams RB Steven Jackson is going to be inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.

Were the Seahawks really the second best pass protection team last season?

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Aaron Rodgers will talk with teammates about getting together for workouts

A. Rodgerspitch AP

Even though we think Tedy Bruschi may want to switch to decaf before the next time he criticizes the Packers for not practicing this offseason, perhaps the increased chatter has made an impact.

Aaron Rodgers said Thursday during a Milwaukee Brewers broadcast that he’s going to talk to other team leaders about getting together.

“At some point, if this lockout persists, then there is no doubt we’re going to get together,” Rodgers said via Jason Wilde of “Guys have gotten in some great work individually, and some in groups of two or three. There’s a lot of guys in the same area working out, but at some point we’ll have to get together.

“I’m going to talk to Charles [Woodson] tomorrow at the event I’m going to for Greg Jennings‘ charity, and we’re going to put something together. Because it looks like it’s going to go on for a little bit longer, so it’s going to be important for us to get together.”

Rodgers later expressed reservations to Wilde via text message about whether the workouts’ risks (injuries) outweigh the rewards.  The team also gets together next week to collect their Super Bowl rings.

We get the feeling that some teams around the league are only getting together out of peer pressure to look good. If Rodgers and the Packers don’t think it will help them, they shouldn’t bother just to please the public and Tedy Bruschi.

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Massachusetts newspaper sticks by its “lockout almost over” report


From time to time over the years, a reporter has issued a grossly premature report.  Faced with evidence that the report is grossly premature, the reporter has dug in, bought time, hoped for the report to finally come to fruition, and then claimed he/she was right all along.

That’s precisely how Bill Burt of the Eagle-Tribune, the pride of North Andover, Massachusetts, seems to be playing his “lockout almost over” report.

Faced with widespread debunking of his grossly premature report that the lockout is “almost over” — including direct denials from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah — Burt has massaged the language of his report, without acknowledging the many voices that have strongly contradicted Burt’s story.

For example, the original first line of the report was as simple and clear as it could have been:  “The National Football League’s lockout is over.”  Now, the first line says, “A deal to end the National Football League’s lockout is almost complete, according to an NFL source.”

Burt then adds this, for good measure:  “According to the source, owners and players were close to an agreement today to end the lockout, which entered its 86th day today.”

And so Burt can now sit back and wait for a deal to be done, which could happen before the end of the month, and then he can claim that he was right all along.

So why did Burt pick Thursday for his report that the lockout is “over” and/or “almost over”?  Given that plenty of media types out there rely on this site and other sites as the starting point for their own reporting (often without attribution), we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Burt took a little bit too literally this recent observation:  “[Patriots owner Robert] Kraft said earlier this year that, if the lawyers were pushed away from the table, a deal could be reached in a week.  With three days of talks last week and one this week, maybe we’ll have some unexpected good news in time for the weekend.”

Whenever that good news come, look for Bill Burt to claim that he had the scoop all along.

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Charlie Batch gets to keep most of his assets in bankruptcy

Players Report To Work Out After Judge Issues Injunction Ending Lockout Getty Images

Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch is making out pretty well after going to bankruptcy court this week.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Batch had many of his debts discharged, meaning creditors can’t come after him. His Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows him to keep most of his assets, including his house and his Super Bowl rings. Previous reports indicated that Batch could lose his Super Bowl rings in bankruptcy.

Batch listed $2.3 million in assets and $8.3 million in debts, mostly involving various failed business ventures. Batch has played 13 NFL seasons and likely made well over $20 million, including the $13 million signing bonus he received from the Lions in 2000.

As an active member of the NFLPA*, Batch should speak at the upcoming rookie symposium. Young players could learn a thing or two from a player who made enough money to last several lifetimes, but had to declare bankruptcy before his career ended.

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Erik Ainge suffers torn rotator cuff


Erik Ainge, the New York Jets quarterback who missed the entire 2010 season after entering drug rehab, is apparently going to miss all of 2011 as well.

Ainge wrote on his verified Twitter account that he suffered a serious injury to his throwing shoulder.

“Found out i have a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder today, no fun, o well, could always be worse, im sober and loved, all that matters,” Ainge tweeted.

A torn rotator cuff in the throwing shoulder almost certainly means that Ainge is out for the entire 2011 season. A 2008 fifth-round pick out of Tennessee, Ainge has still never played in a regular-season game.

Ainge revealed this spring that he had been using heroin and cocaine and that he was “under the influence pretty much every day, every practice.” If he’s sober now, he’s overcome something far more serious than a torn rotator cuff.

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