Jets receiver Plaxico Burress is in Indy, signing autographs. He’s likely not finishing with a flourish that includes “Jets 2012.”
As Brian Costello of the New York Post writes, Plaxico was less than gushing in his praise of quarterback Mark Sanchez, or in other comments about the team.
Basically, Plax followed the “it is what it is” approach to answering the questions.
Asked about the team’s quarterback, Burress: “Mark Sanchez is Mark Sanchez.”
How did the season go? “It went as it went.”
On whether the Jets used Burress to the best of his abilities, Burress said, “They used me the way they wanted to use me.”
OK, last try. What’s your impression of the Jets locker room? “The Jets locker room is the Jets locker room.”
And so it sounds like Burress won’t be back. Though he didn’t expressly agree with Brandon Jacobs’ assessment from Tuesday that Plaxico wishes he’d signed with the Giants instead of the Jets, it’s safe to say that his decision was what his decision was, and that his next move will be his next move.
Every member of the Giants practiced Wednesday. Even the starting running back that usually sits out the midweek session.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin told NFC pool reporter Peter King that Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) told trainer Ronnie Barnes that he wanted to be part of the first practice of Super Bowl week with his teammates.
“I just hope he’s okay tomorrow,’’ said Coughlin.
Injuries don’t seem to be a problem. King said every player looked close to full speed. He described a spirited practice full of “exuberant” players enjoying their time back on the field.
“I saw that,’’ said Coughlin. “They’ve been excited about getting back to work for the first time in a few days.’’
Mike Florio broke the news a week ago that Chuck Pagano would be the Colts’ next head coach. FOXSports.com’s Alex Marvez has the scoop on several of Pagano’s assistants.
Marvez, citing a source, reports that the Colts have tabbed Marwan Maalouf as special teams coordinator, Roy Anderson as safeties coach, and Alfredo Roberts to coach tight ends. Marvez also reports that Pagano is retaining running backs coach David Walker from Jim Caldwell’s old staff.
Maalouf and Anderson worked with Pagano in Baltimore. Roberts comes over from Tampa Bay, where he coached up rookie Luke Stocker and veteran Kellen Winslow this past season.
Former Vikings, Redskins, and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb drew little to no interest after Minnesota waived him on December 1. During a Wednesday interview on NFL Network’s Super Bowl Live, however, McNabb indicated that he intends to keep playing football.
“I see three teams in the NFL, right now, that I feel like I can add a little bit of flavor to it from what they have,” McNabb said. “I won’t mention those teams. But, if the phone rings, there will be a lot of decisions to make on that.”
McNabb’s “if the phone rings” statement confirms that the phone hasn’t rung. He’s going to have to be open to a backup job as a 2012 free agent, likely for the NFL’s minimum salary.
McNabb did say he’d be satisfied if his career were over at age 35.
“A lot of people take a lot of things from this game,” he said. “They take away a Super Bowl ring, they take away an opportunity to play with Hall of Fame players. When I walk away from the game, I take a little bit of everything.”
(Except a ring.)
Eli Manning is gunning for his second Super Bowl title on Sunday. According to his former teammate Amani Toomer, Manning might not have won his first title if Jeremy Shockey was healthy in the 2007 season.
Appearing on NBC SportsTalk Wednesday with Florio, Toomer said Shockey “tried to take advantage” of Eli by pressuring him for the ball. Toomer said there was “no question” Eli improved his play after he didn’t have the distraction of Shockey in the huddle.
Shockey didn’t exactly have the greatest reputation as a reliable player in New Orleans either. Perhaps the Panthers should consider that before possibly bringing him back for another season with Cam Newton in Carolina.
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Cliff Avril has the potential to be one of the top free agent pass rushers on the open market this spring. He knows it, and he wants to capitalize.
Speaking to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday, Avril said he does not want the Lions to franchise tag him. He either wants a long-term commitment, or he wants to test free agency.
“I definitely don’t want to be franchised,” said Avril, who recorded 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2011. “I mean, I’ve been in Detroit for four years, and I wouldn’t mind being there for another couple more years or whatnot. The franchise tag kind of makes it a yearly thing, and you want security.”
Avril did express optimism that he and the Lions can reach a long-term accord.
“(I’m) kind of getting positive vibes as far as for me being there again next year,” he said. “Hopefully, we can meet in the middle and make it happen, because I’d definitely love to be there.”
Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson has a long period of rehabilitation ahead of him after suffering serious injuries in a house fire, but he is beginning the road to recovery.
The Steelers released a statement today updating his condition.
“Mr. Wilson remains in serious condition in the Trauma Burn Center at UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh,” the statement said. “His status is stable, and he has started his physical rehabilitation. The Wilson family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support.”
Wilson suffered burns on 45 percent of his body and also suffered from smoke inhalation after his house caught fire while he was sleeping on January 6.
Myron Rolle, the Florida State Seminoles safety turned Rhodes Scholar who’s trying to make it in the NFL, has signed with the Steelers.
Rolle, who revealed the signing on Twitter, would have to be viewed as a long shot to make the roster after twice trying and failing to make the Titans’ 53-man roster. But signing with the Steelers now gives him a chance to go through a full offseason conditioning program, learn the team’s defense and at least give himself a chance of making the team in training camp.
If Rolle doesn’t make it with the Steelers, there’s little doubt that he’s going to find success in life. He has a degree in medical anthropology and has said he’d like to become a doctor. But he’s going to give the NFL everything he has before moving on.
Despite receiving interest from multiple teams, former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder sat out the 2011 season to let his body heal up.
Appearing on Super Bowl’s Radio Row on Wednesday, the 28-year-old Crowder announced that he will make a comeback attempt. But it definitely won’t be with his former team.
“I wouldn’t go on a team with [Dolphins G.M.] Jeff Ireland,” said Crowder in an interview with NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus. “I’m not very confident in him. He doesn’t know what he’s doing in my opinion. He’s real disrespectful. He doesn’t know how to deal with people.”
The more he spoke, the more Crowder seemed to get into blasting Ireland.
“He’s not a good person,” Crowder said. “He has no class and I wouldn’t choose to go back and play there. And I would have to say it’s the only team I don’t want to play for.”
The Patriots released their official practice participation report for Wednesday and, as expected, tight end Rob Gronkowski didn’t take part.
Gronkowski has not been wearing the walking boot to protect his sprained left ankle that he was sporting last week, but the injury is still too much for him to take part in practice. There are two more practices this week and Gronkowski’s status for those sessions is unknown. The team is investigating a special cleat for him to wear on Sunday, but all indications remain that he will be on the field.
Tackle Matt Light, who missed Tuesday’s media day with an illness, was a full participant. Tackle Sebastian Vollmer was limited with the rarely seen flu/back/foot combo. Wide receiver Wes Welker, linebacker Brandon Spikes and guard Logan Mankins highlighted a list of nine other limited Patriots, but they and Vollmer are also expected to suit up come Sunday.
On the Giants side, nobody missed practice. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, cornerback Corey Webster and linebacker Jacquian Williams were all limited. Like the limited Patriots, all are expected to play.
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Speaking at a Wednesday press conference alongside G.M. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti adamantly confirmed that the team plans to keep quarterback Joe Flacco and free agent running back Ray Rice for the long term.
“Ray and Joe Flacco will be a part of this football team next year, period,” Bisciotti said.
Added Newsome, “We would like to have a deal done with Ray before before we have to put the (franchise) tag on him.”
The Ravens will be eligible to tag Rice beginning on February 20, but it sounds like they won’t do it immediately. The priority is to get Rice locked up long term.
Flacco’s future has been more of a question mark. The Ravens scaled back their offense in 2012, going more run-heavy down the stretch. Flacco has not yet led Baltimore to a Super Bowl, and he is entering a contract year.
“He’s trending up,” Bisciotti said of Flacco. “This is the sweet spot for him, years five through ten. … We’re just going to sit down and start grinding out contract terms. … I think he’s going to be extremely successful. I think he’s going to have rings.”
The idea that the Packers could use their franchise tag on quarterback Matt Flynn and then trade him has been floated from time to time, but the financial realities of doing so will be difficult.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel crunched the numbers using the rumored $120 million salary cap for next season and found that the Packers are currently around $7 million under the cap. Franchising Flynn would cost in the neighborhood of $14 million, requiring them to release players to get under the cap. It would also limit their ability to sign tight end Jermichael Finley to a long-term deal before other teams had a chance to sign him as a free agent.
Per Silverstein, it is more likely that they franchise Finley and then get to work on signing center Scott Wells and/or cornerback Jarrett Bush. There would still be cap pruning required to bring back all three players, with wide receiver Donald Driver and tackle Chad Clifton at the top of the list of those likely to get the axe.
It is possible that the team could make those moves and a few others to retain their right to trade Flynn, but it seems like a less prudent decision if their ultimate desire is to keep key players from the core of a 15-1 team together for another run at a championship.
Michael Floyd of Notre Dame is widely considered a top-three receiver prospect for the 2012 draft. He missed last week’s Senior Bowl for previously undisclosed reasons, but revealed in a Wednesday interview with the Chicago Tribune that a rib injury prevented him from participating in Mobile.
Speaking to the Tribune‘s Vaughn McClure, Floyd disclosed that the injury occurred during Notre Dame’s Champs Sports Bowl loss to Florida State. (Floyd did not finish that game because of the injured rib.) Floyd said he does plan to participate in February’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Floyd also revealed that he recently measured 6-foot-3 1/2 and 220 pounds at the Gatorade Institute in Indianapolis, where Floyd is training before the draft. Floyd has shed nearly ten pounds since last spring, when he was measured at 6-foot-3, even, and 229 pounds. Even after slimming down, Floyd has a size advantage on fellow top draft-eligible receivers Kendall Wright of Baylor and Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State.
Asked by McClure whether he’d like to play for the Bears, Floyd replied, “Chicago would be great. But you never know how things go.”
Floyd is a projected top-20 pick in April’s draft. The Bears are scheduled to pick 19th.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has talked about changing jersey numbers, but he revealed today that he decided not to when he found out how much that would cost him.
Peterson said he wanted to switch from wearing 28 to 23, which he thought he could do at the time that Nike takes over the NFL’s jersey license from Reebok. But Peterson has been informed that he’d have to buy back any unsold 28 jerseys that have already been printed, and that could cost $1 million.
“So here is the deal with the number change!” Peterson wrote on Twitter. “So I received a call and I was informed that I would’ve to buy all jerseys that’s been produced Thus far! N the total amount that I would have to pay blew my mind!!!!! Why? Ok so I see maybe ten thousand dollars of my total jersey sales! That’s it!!! In I know I’ve mostly likely been in the top ten When it comes to top sales ! Why in the hell do I have to pay a Million dollars to change my number! I don’t even get paid a million Dollars by my sponsors a year! Wow!!!”
Peterson, who last year compared playing in the NFL to “modern-day slavery,” said he thinks players are getting a raw deal on jersey sales.
“So people may not understand some of the things I say from MY POINT OF VEIW!” Peterson wrote. “But this situation says a lot! #1 I’m in the top jersey sales! # 2 I see maybe 10,000 from those sales #3 I get paid under 1million a year #4 but I oder to change MY numberI have to pay a Million Bucks! Somebody’s winning in that situation & ITs not me! So clearly with that said I won’t be changing my number This years! Pay a mill to change number or keep the mill n continue to wear 28?! That’s a easy one… Hell 28 it is!!! Lol Someone just hit me saying stop crying! Lol I’m sharing my thoughts! I thought that’s what twitter was all about. Anyway I won’t be changing My number for the reason you have in front of you! So someone said! You got it just pay it! You must be smoking something to thing I’ll Waste that type of money just to change a number on my work uniform!”
And so the fans who have bought Peterson No. 28 jerseys can breathe a sigh of relief: Those jerseys won’t become obsolete.
All of the attention paid to Peyton Manning has made it easy to forget there are other Colts veterans whose futures with the club are up in the air.
One such veteran is Reggie Wayne. The wide receiver is set to become a free agent and all of the upheaval in Indy makes his future with the franchise quite uncertain. Wayne is open to returning to the team, though, and isn’t thrown off by the fact that it could be a rebuilding situation nor by new coach Chuck Pagano, who he knows from the University of Miami.
“This is what I have, this is all I know,” Wayne said to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “So I wouldn’t mind being part of a rebuilding process. They need some old heads, too, you know? It would be an honor to still be part of this organization even with a rebuilding phase. I know there are going to be some guys on the team that I still know, I know the head coach, Chuck Pagano, pretty good, I’d just look at it as my rookie year all over again.”
Wayne’s status will probably have something to do with what winds up happening with Manning. If he stays in Indy, the chances of Wayne sticking around would likely increase as the team would likely feel like they are able to contend for a playoff spot. Of course, they might also feel Andrew Luck’s transition to the NFL would be easier if he had Wayne alongside Pierre Garcon at wide receiver so there’s a chance he could stick around either way.
All of that has nothing to do with finances or the desire of other teams to add an experienced hand to their passing game. As you’d expect, Wayne’s numbers dipped without Manning in the lineup, although not to the point where you would question his ability to do the job. At 33, Wayne is nearing the end of the line but he likely has a few productive years left for the Colts or for someone else.