Tim Tebow needs to feel welcomed in Jacksonville before he becomes a Jaguar. Mike Florio thinks that will happen. Florio also talks about Charles Tillman’s potential absence on Sunday and Jerry Jones’ role with the Cowboys.
PFT Live: Is Tebow welcome in Jacksonville?
But he at least feels bad for the skipping.
Nicks told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post that he had promised coach Tom Coughlin he’d attend, and said he apologized to Coughlin for not following through when he arrived at mandatory minicamp.
“I told him I would be there, but some things just took place and I had to take care of what I had to take care of,” Nicks said. “As soon as I got back, we sat down and talked and got things squared away. I apologized, and everybody knew where I was coming from. . . .
“Me and coach Coughlin have a great relationship. Like I’ve said, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve been around. I like our relationship, and I don’t think it could ever be soured.”
He was less clear if that held true for the Giants as a whole, hedging when asked if he wanted to retire there.
“I really can’t speak for my whole career,” Nicks said. “I enjoy being a Giant right now. I’m going to take care of what I can take care of as long as I’m a Giant, but I do understand the business side of football, too.”
By not talking about the business, it seems obvious it’s about the lack of a long-term contract. And it’s well within Nicks’ rights to skip the voluntary workouts.
But by putting his admiration for Coughlin next to more nothingness about the organization, it also seems clear what he’s getting at.
Consider that problem solved.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers signed Smith to a two-year contract extension today, which locks him up through the 2015 season.
According to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, Smith recently split his agents with CAA. He’s not listed with another agent on the NFLPA database, which suggests there’s either a lag in the paperwork or he did the deal himself.
Either way, it keeps a valuable member of their defense in the fold for a few more years. The 49ers looked like a different team when he was out with an injury last year, with Aldon Smith in particular disappearing without his bodyguard.
He was scheduled to make $7.5 million in base salary this year, the final year of his contract, so the move likely created some salary cap room for the 49ers as well.
In fact, Stevie Johnson’s personal trainer, Travelle Gaines, says that their offseason workouts are designed to make Stevie a bigger, stronger more physically imposing receiver, along the lines of Megatron.
“Stevie came to me and said, ‘I want to be considered a Top 5 wide receiver in the NFL. I want that Calvin Johnson type frame, that Calvin Johnson type of intimidation,’” Gaines said on NFL AM. “So he really hit the weights hard. He’s in the best shape of his life.”
The reality, of course, is that no amount of time in the gym is going to create a body like Megatron’s. That body was built by God, when He decided that He wanted to create the perfect wide receiver specimen. But Gaines says that Stevie Johnson (who is three inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than Calvin Johnson) is taking his workouts very seriously in an effort to build the best body he can.
“I think with Stevie’s personality, people think he’s just a jokester and a clown. But when he’s ready to go, he goes, and he’s 100 percent focused when he’s in the weight room,” Gaines said.
And perhaps he can put up a Megatron poster in the weight room to remind him what he’s working toward.
The Mt. Rushmore series heads to South Florida on Wednesday and PFT Live will be previewing the afternoon reveal of the four faces of the Dolphins franchise.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald will join Mike Florio to talk about the 12 finalists for inclusion, many of whom played for the team during the franchise’s salad days in the 1970s. We’ll see if Salguero thinks the accomplishments of Mark Clayton and Jason Taylor were enough to bump some of those undefeated Dolphins from their lofty perch in the organization or if Dan Marino is the only more recent Dolphin to dent the team’s firmament.
Former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck will also be on hand to share his thoughts about the Titans Mt. Rushmore, which was revealed on Tuesday, and his feelings about who should be representing the Dolphins. As always, Florio will also catch you up on the biggest stories from around the league during over the course of the hour.
You can watch it all live at noon ET.
There are varying degrees of voluntary when it comes to voluntary offseason workouts.
And 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh even passed out perfect attendance certificates and T-shirts to the 31 of his 90 players who made every workout this spring to help underscore the difference, and recognize the people who treated them as mandatory.
“It’s a neat thing,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “You think back to when you were in school, and on the last day of school you get a perfect attendance certificate. And that’s what this is. It says something nice about you. You go put it up at home, put it in a little frame. Put it on the wall.”
Most of the players who earned the recognition were the guys who can’t afford to take a day off — the rookies, the fringe players. But 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis was in the middle of it as well. That’s a good sign for the 49ers, as one of their best players is also recognized as one of their hardest workers. And the work is doubtless hard.
“It’s a high criteria,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a very cruel, very relentless criteria. It’s perfection. It’s every practice, every meeting, every weight workout with no excuse. You could have a great excuse. But if you weren’t there — perfect — then you don’t get a certificate and a T-shirt.”
Harbaugh has doled out symbolic clothing in the past, such as blue-collared work shirts.
It’s a tangible reminder, but the best news for Harbaugh was that one of his best players bought in, which pushes everyone along.
As a small army of news organizations chases the Aaron Hernandez story, there will be conflicting and, necessarily, incorrect reports.
Our goal will in part be to sift through those reports, making sure you know what the various outlets have uncovered.
And I say all of that because the latest report will raise some eyebrows and/or drop some jaws. According to Karen Anderson of WBZ-TV in Boston, Hernandez has not been ruled out as a suspect in the death of an “associate” found roughly a mile from his North Attleboro home. Anderson also reports that Hernandez currently is not cooperating with authorities. (There had been conflicting reports as to whether Hernandez was initially uncooperative.)
Anderson cites a single unnamed law-enforcement source for both pieces of information. Without knowing who the source is, how the source knows what the source knows, and whether the source has an agenda, it’s impossible to assess the accuracy of the report.
WBZ-TV also reports that the victim is Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorcester. Odin played semi-pro football with the Boston Bandits.
His body was found by a jogger, who told WBZ-TV that when police arrived they said it appeared Odin had been shot somewhere else and dumped in the industrial park roughly a mile from Hernandez’s home.
Veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes, who has been a free agent since the Chargers cut him in March, would like to play this season. But he’s in no hurry to sign with a new team.
Spikes said on NFL AM that at age 36, he doesn’t get excited about the idea of sweating through a hot summer practice, and he doesn’t think he needs it. So he’d prefer to sign with some team toward the end of the preseason.
“Do I want to be on a team at the start of training camp? Not really,” Spikes said. “After 15 years of playing in the league, they’re not making anything new up. The only thing new you have to understand is terminology, and I would like to think I’ve been around long enough to understand that.”
Spikes compares this offseason to his offseason five years ago: He was cut by the Eagles in March, then waited until mid-August to sign with the 49ers
“I went through this in 2008 before I signed with the San Francisco 49ers, and who knows, maybe it can happen again,” Spikes said.
Spikes is healthy, has started all 16 games three straight years, and still has something he can contribute. Some team will probably come calling in the next few weeks. And Spikes is interested — but he may take his time answering that call.
Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks opted to treat the team’s voluntary OTAs as voluntary. Even though, as a practical matter, they aren’t.
But Nicks still hasn’t supplied a clear explanation for his decision to stay away from the involuntary voluntary sessions. Via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Nicks again denied that the absence was related to his contract during an appearance on NFL Network.
It’s a tomato-tomahto proposition. While Nicks didn’t stay away in an effort to force the Giants to give him a new contract, he opted to reduce the number of times he’d be exposed to serious injury while he continues to bear the financial risks associated with tearing an ACL or popping an Achilles tendon in the final year of his rookie deal.
Nicks will likely never admit it, and he doesn’t have to. It’s obvious that Nicks chose protecting himself (and, in turn, his future earnings) over OTAs. It was the right decision.
And if the Giants wanted Nicks to be at OTAs, they should have worked out a long-term deal that would have shifted the injury risk from the player to the team.
The Buccaneers have added another player to the mix at cornerback.
He doesn’t come with the expectations of Darrelle Revis or the promise of second-round pick Johnthan Banks, but Michael Adams will be heading to training camp with the team all the same. The Buccaneers announced Wednesday that they have signed the six-year veteran and waived guard Jeremy Lewis.
Adams has spent all six of those years with the Cardinals, playing in 74 games and starting seven times before playing a limited role on defense in Arizona last season. Adams has three interceptions over the course of his career.
With Revis, Banks and Eric Wright on hand, the Bucs won’t be looking for Adams to do too much for them on defense in the coming season. His experience is a nice thing to have should Banks or other young corners struggle to show they’re ready for roles on the defense, but that experience isn’t going to buy him more than a fighting chance to wind up on the 53-man roster come the end of the summer.
PFT has confirmed that the Buccaneers newcomer at cornerback has indeed forked over $50,000 for the rights to No. 24, the number he wore with the Jets. The figure was first reported by Uni-Watch.com.
Revis wore No. 25 at Pitt, but he is far better known for the NFL number he was assigned upon joining the Jets in 2007.
Barron, a top-1o pick in 2012, had no extensive attachment to No. 24. At Alabama, Barron wore No. 4. He has since switched to No. 23.
It’s unclear whether anyone had to pay Nike for the change in Barron’s number. In multiple past circumstances, a player who wanted to change his jersey number faced the reality of an invoice from Reebok for the inventory of jerseys bearing his current number.
In this specific case, Nike likely will make a lot more in the long run from Revis-24 jerseys than Nike will lose from the pre-existing stock of Barron-24.
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week, an operation that is keeping him on the sideline during this week’s minicamp.
The minicamp marks the end of the Vikings’ offseason schedule and the team will be off until the start of training camp after Thursday’s practice. Greenway couldn’t give a 100 percent guarantee that he’d be on the field for the first practice of training camp, but he did say that any absence will have nothing to do with surgery he had in June to avoid the possibility of his meniscus causing him more problems when the regular season is right around the corner.
“There will be no doubt in my mind unless I get in a car accident or something. From the knee perspective, it’ll be 100 percent, good to go,” Greenway said, via 1500ESPN.com. “I didn’t want to be that guy in training camp or Week 1 saying, ‘Oh, I’ve got to miss two.’ That’s not my mentality. I’d rather, unfortunately, miss these practices in order to get ready for the season. Just kind of felt like it was the right thing to do.”
We’d agree with that assessment. Greenway’s a vital part of the Vikings defense and the minicamp time is relatively insignificant to a player who hasn’t missed a game in the last six seasons.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has insisted throughout that he knew nothing about the fraud being committed at his chain of truck stops.
But the list of his employees who admit to it continues to grow.
According to Michael Sangiacomo of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, three more employees of Pilot Flying J pleaded guilty to federal charges Tuesday of cheating trucking compannies out of fuel discounts.
One of the Tuesday pleas, from regional sales manager Kevin Clark, includes an agreement to cooperate with the investigation. Two other employees pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy charges, and promised to cooperate as well.
A spokesman for Haslam continued to portray it as an isolated problem.
“We are disappointed in the actions of these employees towards our customers,” spokesman Tom Ingram said. “We assure our customers that our five-step plan to correct any wrongdoing and to make certain these actions do not happen again is ongoing, and that our customers’ confidence in the vast majority of our 23,000 team members nationwide remains well-placed.”
The investigation continues, and with more employees (of sufficiently high positions) offering information to prosecutors, it seems inevitable that that majority will continue to shrink.
When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted that the replacement for Michael Crabtree (Achilles) would come from the current roster, it was presumed that the replacement would be a receiver.
As it turns out, the Niners could be thinking about using tight end Vernon Davis as a wideout while Crabtree recovers.
According to Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Davis participated “exclusively” as a receiver during the team’s recent mandatory minicamp.
While plenty of tight ends line up in the slot these days, Davis could actually be lining up wide — especially since Anquan Boldin is expected to be San Fran’s primary inside receiver.
Davis, a top-10 draft pick in 2006, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the Scouting Combine. So he definitely has the speed to play on the outside. He also has the size to fight off press coverage, and to manhandle most cornerbacks who would try to get to the ball before him.
In 2009, Jason Smith was the second player chosen in the NFL Draft.
This year, his latest coach is talking about him the way you’d talk about an undrafted rookie.
As MDS mentioned in the one-liners, offensive tackle Jason Smith is trying to shake the draft bust label that was rightly applied to him with the Saints, and they seem receptive.
“I think oftentimes, you take a peek at a player that was selected as high as he was and graded out as high as he was,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, via Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He is a tremendous worker and has athletic ability.
“So it’s another opportunity, and it’s oftentimes you are able to get a player maybe his second time around or third time around that can come in and find a niche.”
Smith never justified the pick the Rams invested in him, and the Jets let him walk after he was sent there in a swap of bad ideas.
Smith was reflective when asked about his journey, talking about religion and making his plight seem more dramatic than perhaps it is.
“Upon the moment I received salvation, I understood that my calling is now to suffer, just like Christ did. That’s who I am,” Smith said. “So therefore, what I went through, my experiences, whether it be football or life, it brought me to a point of patience. So with patience I have experience, and with experience I have hope. And hope makes me not ashamed of what I went through.
“So everything I went through has made me who I am as a person. As far as the football stuff, it’s still a day-to-day deal. As far as my life, it’s a day-to-day deal. So I desire to know God’s heart. That’s what my focus is.”
The Rams didn’t need him to save the souls of the world, they just needed him to block. The Saints are offering him another chance to do just that.
The NFL undoubtedly hears plenty of complaints from plenty of teams on plenty of issues. Most of those complaints are communicated privately to the league office.
The Bills have opted to take one specific gripe public, via the team’s official website.
The concern arises from one of the apparently unavoidable scheduling quirks — the number of games a given team plays against opponents who have had extra rest, whether from a full-blown bye week or the mini-bye that comes from playing on a Thursday.
As Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com points out, the Bills in 2012 faced four opponents in a five-week span who had extra time to prepare. Buffalo lost three of the four games.
This year, according to an analysis performed by BuffaloBills.com, the Bills lead the league with five games coming against opponents who will have extra rest. It happens twice against the Jets, once against the Dolphins, and against the Bengals and Jaguars.
Brown also points out that the Buffalo bye week has been “compromised” by the fact that the Bills return to play the Falcons, who will be operating on 10 days rest after playing on a Thursday night.
“Compromised” may not be the right word here. The purpose of the bye isn’t to give every team a crack at playing another team that has had only one week to get ready. It’s to give each team one week of extra rest. (Actually, some would say it’s to give the networks one more week of regular-season programming.)
The Bills also have broken down the number of games every other team plays against opponents who receive extra rest. Fourteen teams only have one game against an opponent who gets extra rest. Three, including the Patriots, have zero.
“It’s very difficult to call the NFL a league of parity when there’s one team with half of their division games against clubs with extra time to rest and prepare, while another in the same division has none,” Brown writes. “The league simply has to do better.”
We doubt that doing better is doable, given the various other balls Howard Katz juggles when trying to lay out a plan for 256 regular-season games over a 17-week period. But we’re nevertheless intrigued by the decision of one of the 32 franchises to use its website as the platform for shooting an arrow at the NFL scheduling process.