It’s a 50-50 shot Dez Bryant will be done for the remainder of the season with a finger injury. The PFT guys discuss his health and the effect his absence will have on the Cowboys’ playoff chances.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Dez done for year?
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered serious hand injuries while setting off fireworks over Fourth of July weekend, 10 weeks before the season opener. And it’s looking like those injuries might take more than 10 weeks to heal.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, there’s concern that Pierre-Paul could miss the start of the regular season. At this point the team is still awaiting more medical information, but his availability for Week One against the Cowboys is in doubt.
If Pierre-Paul’s injury keeps him off the field, the Giants can put him on the non-football injury list and decline to pay him for any games he misses. Pierre-Paul is currently not under contract, and the Giants have placed the $14.8 million franchise tag on him. If he plays the 2015 season under the franchise tag but misses some games because of the fireworks injury, each game he misses will cost him more than $870,000 in lost salary.
Pierre-Paul led the Giants with 12.5 sacks last season and was expected to be their top pass rusher this year as well. He’ll be hard to replace, but it’s looking likely that the Giants will have to replace him, at least at the start of the season.
Michael Irvin is one of the greatest players in the history of the University of Miami football program before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.
His son is going to try to follow in his father’s early footsteps. Michael Irvin Jr. announced on Monday that he will attend his father’s alma mater after finishing high school next year.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Irvin Jr. said, via 247Sports.com. “I like the coaches. They told me I would play all over for them. In the backfield, at tight end and at receiver. [My father] was proud of me when I told him of my decision and he thinks it will work out for me just like it did for him going there.”
Irvin Sr. is the Hurricanes’ all-time leader in touchdown catches and finished his career as their all-time leader in catches and receiving yards, although Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss later topped Irvin’s numbers in those categories.
Irvin Jr. is ranked as the No. 80 wideout in his class by Rivals.com and the No. 27 tight end prospect by 247Sports.
That new Russell Wilson interview, nearly a full hour in all, contains plenty of interesting things. Along with multiple examples of Wilson hearing the voice of God, directly and audibly.
The one that will get the most media attention undoubtedly comes from Wilson’s claim that God told Wilson not to have premarital relations with his new girlfriend, Ciara.
“The play happens, and they pick the ball off. And I take three steps,” Wilson said. “And on the third step God says to me, ‘I’m using you. . . . I want to see how you respond. But most importantly I want them to see how you respond.”
Plenty of athletes and non-athletes over the years have claimed to have a direct pipeline to God. For those of us who believe in God but haven’t heard Him speak in an audible voice but have felt His nudge at a more vague and visceral level, a claim that He uses actual words with others can be both confusing and a bit off-putting. For those who believe that God doesn’t care about the outcome of sporting events, a claim that He is preparing an athlete for similar situations in the future can be both confusing and off-putting.
Regardless, Wilson seems to be saying that, above the din and the chaos of the moment, he heard God say, “I want to see how you respond. But most importantly I want them to see how you respond.”
I’m not sure I want to see how some of you will respond in the comments.
Former Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad’s story seemed like it was something out of a movie, which is why a lot of people thought it would be one.
But Konrad told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald he had turned down a movie offer and several book deals, refusing to cash in on the tale of his 27-mile swim to safety after he fell off his boat six months ago.
“There were some big name folks involved,” Konrad said. “But I made the decision I wasn’t going to go that route. It’s nothing I want to capitalize on. I don’t have the time and desire. I’m running three [financial] companies in Florida and one in Chicago.”
Konrad said he’s writing a long “memo” to detail the incident, since he wants his children and grandchildren to read about it. But he said his plan right now is to not turn it into a book.
And even though being adrift at sea for 16 hours would be enough to make most people move to Oklahoma, Konrad said last week he was taking his boat to Cape Cod for the Fourth of July weekend.
“I’ve been on a boat a bunch since then,” he said. “My wife has made me upgrade the technology and promise to always bring someone with me.”
And if he’s in the Atlantic right now, hopefully he takes the shark repellent as well.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson continues to do a lot of talking, and he’s talking more and more about baseball.
Following last week’s admission to Jimmy Kimmel that Wilson would consider playing football and baseball at the same time if his baseball rights were traded to the Seattle Mariners, Wilson spent the better part of an hour at The Rock Church in the San Diego area on Sunday, and he once again talked about playing baseball.
So which does he prefer? “Both,” Wilson said.
Will he ever play both?
“I have no idea,” Wilson said. “I believe if anybody could do it, I could. And I believe God’s put me — gave me the ability to do it. I’ve done it my whole life.”
Wilson also pointed out that he turned down the opportunity to make a million dollars when first drafted to play baseball, opting to play football and baseball at the same time in college. Given that things worked out fairly well with that million-dollar gamble, perhaps Wilson will be even more inclined to make a $1.5 million gamble this year, turning down whatever the Seahawks offer him before the season, realizing that if he plays for $1.5 million this year, he’ll make a lot more on the back end.
And for those of you who ask why we keep writing about Wilson’s situation, here’s the answer: Unlike the vast majority of quarterbacks in similar situations, Wilson keeps talking about it.
This time around, the discussion about baseball came fairly early in the interview. So there may be more to come from this one.
As noted earlier today regarding the lingering lack of interest in running back Ray Rice, we all know what an assault looks like. But when we can see it, that changes everything.
For Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who in theory could have become the next NFL quarterback groomed for success by coach Jimbo Fisher (joining the likes of first-rounders JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel, and Jameis Winston), Johnson’s chances of ever making it to the NFL have decreased dramatically now that visual evidence has surfaced of the violent blow he delivered to the head of a woman at a bar in Tallahassee last month.
The Tallahassee Democrat has obtained surveillance video showing Johnson punching the female (fast forward to roughly 1:50 to see the full exchange), who apparently was trying to buy a drink and past whom Johnson was trying to push.
Local authorities had come under fire for releasing the victim’s name but redacting Johnson’s name from the police report that was made available to the public.
“[W]e had to release the victim’s name because she did not fall into an exemption, and we’re not allowed to just take their names out,” Tallahassee Police Department spokesman David Northway told the Democrat on Friday. “And we had to — we had — to redact the suspect’s name in the case because it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Regardless of what Florida State does with Johnson, whatever he accomplishes on a football field at FSU or elsewhere, or however the prosecution is resolved, the NFL likely will have to shun Johnson, simply because anyone can see what we already knew he did.
The AFC North has generally been a strong defensive division over the years, but 2015 saw things go the other way.
None of the four teams ranked higher than 18th in total defense and the Steelers won the division thanks to their potent offense putting up enough points to overcome a lagging defense. Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be tasked with trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again this season and it’s a task that he believes will be difficult.
One of the lead reasons why is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who Guenther thinks became even more effective last season. Roethlisberger was sacked less frequently in 2014 than in any other year of his career, leaving him able to take full advantage of the weapons at his disposal.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Guenther said, via ESPN.com. “He’s taken a lot of shots and keeps getting up … He was getting hit a lot in the past while trying to throw some stuff downfield. The ball’s coming out a little faster, particularly on third downs. That’s probably part of it. He’s not running as much and he has enough pocket presence where he keeps a play alive. You’re talking about tight ends and wide receivers and running backs and an improved offensive line, that’s a pretty good combination. They’ve gotten better up front and run the ball effectively, which helps them. The ability for them to run the ball, mix it up and keep teams honest probably got him more looks.”
The Steelers beat the Bengals twice last season, including a Week 17 win that clinched the division for Pittsburgh and left the Bengals as a Wild Card visitor to Indianapolis. The Steelers gained 889 yards in those games, 667 of them through the air, and Guenther will need to come up with a better answer this time around to keep Cincinnati ahead of their rivals.
Colts offensive lineman Todd Herremans is listed at 321 pounds. Anthony Castonzo is listed at 311. And Jack Mewhort is listed at 308. But unlike most 300-pounders, they have athletic bodies that they’re happy to show off.
The three linemen appear together, naked, in the ESPN Magazine Body Issue, saying they jumped at the chance because they want the world to see that offensive linemen are athletes, not just fat guys.
“I think the view of offensive linemen from the public is that we are all just fat slobs,” Herremans said. “Which is what it used to be, kind of. But now the game has evolved into more fit, athletic offensive linemen. So I would say that Anthony is probably the leanest out of all of us, and I’m probably the chubbiest. Jack is somewhere in the middle.”
Mewhort says his body moves much more fluidly than you’d expect for a guy his size.
“I’m pretty good at yoga, actually,” he said. “I’ve been getting into it recently. Anthony got me into it. I did a back bend the other day. I had some assistance from the instructor, but I still thought it was pretty cool.”
It’s pretty cool that these three big guys are willing to show off their physiques. They may not have washboard abs, but they have bodies to be proud of.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was among the people impressed by the way that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wound down his rookie season in Minnesota.
Turner said Bridgewater was “much more decisive” in his final six starts last season and complimented the rookie for making gains while playing behind a shifting offensive line and without running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson’s return from suspension, guard Brandon Fusco’s return from injury, the presence of a healthy Kyle Rudolph at tight end and the arrival of rookie T.J. Clemmings join the acquisition of wide receiver Mike Wallace as reasons for optimism that Bridgewater will continue on an upward trajectory this season.
Bridgewater said in early June that he was excited about the team’s offseason, but cautioned that it was too soon to talk about them as a contender. The final practices of the offseason didn’t do anything to make him change his mind about avoiding overly rosy projections well before the season gets underway.
“I have high expectations for myself, and this team has high expectations also,” Bridgewater said, via USA Today. “Right now, we’re not as good as what we think. We know that the ceiling is very high and the expectation level is very high — not only for the players, but from a coaching staff also. We know what’s being asked of us, but we have a long way to go.”
It’s not the kind of pom-pom waving we often see when the regular season is still somewhere over the horizon, but that’s not a bad thing for a Vikings team that has posted losing records four of the last five years. The Vikings have to prove they’re good before they can talk about being good, even though the need to toot their own horns won’t be too great if their on-field work lives up to expectations.
Albert Haynesworth was happy to take the money. But in hindsight, he wouldn’t have taken it from Dan Snyder.
The former defensive tackle, who was known as differently motivated during his playing career, wrote a first-person letter to his younger self for The Players Tribune in which he admits regrets over taking the $100 million contract Washington offered in 2009, saying: “You will lose your passion for football in Washington, and it will be impossible to get back.”
“If nothing else, listen to me on this, Albert: Do not leave the Tennessee Titans,” he wrote (such that players write for themselves there). “Your defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is a mastermind. No matter how much I tell you this, you’ll probably never realize it until your career is over, but it’s true. You’re like a system quarterback. You thrive in a very specific scheme.”
Haynesworth also said the Buccaneers offered him a $135 million deal, but called the contract a “huge burden,” saying: “Take less and stay in Tennessee where you belong.”
Haynesworth suggests that he was dismayed when then-coach Mike Shanahan asked him to clog up the middle of the field rather than rush the passer as he had done with the Titans.
“You’re going to look at this famous NFL head coach in total disbelief and say, “You want to pay me $100 million to grab the center?” the letter read. “And he’s going to say, with a straight face, “Albert, if you have more than one sack this season, I’m going to be pissed.”
“The last thing you’ll say before walking out of the office is, “Can’t you just pay someone $300,000 a year to do that?”
The piece also mentions the fact that much of that money was gone, blaming an unscrupulous financial advisor. But it also portrays a player who now realizes the grass isn’t always greener, years after he took all the green.
With Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul still hospitalized two days after a fireworks accident, the Giants have commenced the process of protecting the franchise from its current franchise player.
Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Giants have removed the pending offer on a long-term deal for Pierre-Paul.
And so the $60 million deal is gone; whether a five-year or four-year package, Pierre-Paul wasn’t going to accept it, not with $14.8 million for 2015 and $17.76 million for 2016 as a starting point. That’s $32.56 million over two years on the franchise tag, and quarterback money or $25.5 million for 2017. Which equates to nearly $60 million in only three years.
The question now becomes whether the Giants will make another run at signing Pierre-Paul to a contract that takes the uncertainty regarding his health into account, or whether he’ll sign the franchise tender and play for $14.8 million this year and, if they tag him again, 20 percent more than that in 2016.
The possibility that the Giants could place Pierre-Paul on NFI and not pay him a single penny for the 2015 season could prompt Pierre-Paul to stay away until he gets a clean bill of health, missing regular-season games not as a leverage play against the Giants but to ensure that, when team doctors examine his fingers, they’ll give him a thumb’s up.
Last month’s campaign announcement from presidential hopeful Donald Trump made plenty of waves for his remarks about Mexico. He also said something about China. And the New England Patriots.
Via Boston.com, Trump favorably compared the Patriots to China.
“People say, ‘Oh, you don’t like China.’ No, I love them,” Trump said, via Steve Silva of Boston.com. “But their leaders are much smarter than our leaders, and we can’t sustain ourself with that. There’s too much — it’s like — it’s like, take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That’s the difference between China’s leaders and our leaders.”
It’s an odd comparison for Trump to make, and the fact that it went largely unnoticed for so long underscores the controversial nature of his remarks about Mexico.
It remains to be seen whether Trump is a truly serious candidate, and if so whether he has a chance to win. If he wins, no one should be surprised if he runs the U.S. like China. Or the Patriots. Or both.
Whatever the extent of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s injuries following a Saturday fireworks mishap, they’re bad enough to keep him in the hospital.
Via Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com, Pierre-Paul remains hospitalized in Miami, two days after burning his hands on the Fourth of July.
Mixed reports have emerged since news of the mishap first broke, which isn’t surprising. Apart from medical privacy, Pierre-Paul has $14.8 million riding on his ability to play this year.
Even if the Giants don’t withdraw the franchise tender (and they likely won’t), the Giants can deem Pierre-Paul unfit to play due to the burns, placing him on the non-football injury list and opting not to pay him a penny for the 2015 season.
While that would seem like a harsh outcome, the extent to which the Giants and anyone else will have sympathy for Pierre-Paul depends on the details of the accident. If he failed to follow the “light fuse and get away” mandate that applies to anything more potent than sparklers, the Giants may be more inclined to opt for NFI and no salary.
None of that will matter if Pierre-Paul is fully healed sooner than later. For now, though, the fact that he’s still in a hospital underscores the reality that this was a major incident.
Connecticut tight end Sean McQuillan has already earned his degree, and might have been a team captain if he had returned for his final year of eligibility.
But an arrest this spring following a fight with his roommate cost him his entrance into school, leaving him no choice but this week’s supplemental draft, which he’s confident he’ll be chosen in.
“Well, first of all, I’m going to make it, and second of all, there isn’t a backup plan,” McQuillan said, via Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant. “I’m confident I’m going to be able to do this thing. I’m prepared for this. I’m going to show them I’m athletic, I’m versatile, I can do a bunch of different things. I’m confident and I’m ready for this next step, so I haven’t thought about anything else.”
Of course, he has other things on his plate, namely a July 17 appearance in court for his second degree assault and disorderly conduct. But he’s hoping that his workout Wednesday will convince some team to take a chance on him.
“I want people to know I’m strong and I’m going to get through this,” McQuillan said. “Perseverance is the word. Bad things are going to happen sometimes. When you get knocked down it’s about how you respond and I’m going to respond, recreate my brand, get that respect back from everybody which is very important to me because I love Connecticut and I love the people here.
“I want to be someone people for years and years are looking up to, not based on a couple things that happened in college. I want them to look at me and say he’s a great person. He persevered through some tough times to get where he wanted to be. At the end of all this, it’s how I want to be seen and I know I can get there. I’m not going to get outworked. If things don’t go my way I’m just going to keep chugging along until I get it right.”
McQuillan has some basketball background as well, though not much in the way of stats in football. He caught 16 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown last season, though he did score the only touchdown in UConn’s spring game this year.
That might not be enough to make a team draft him, but without a backup plan, it’s what he has to work with at the moment.
We’re kicking off the week of PFT Live with a guest host, but you’ll still get your dose of Mike Florio.
Paul Burmeister will be sitting in for Florio as host, which frees PFT’s founder to join the show as a guest early in the program. They’ll talk about the latest news from around the league before moving on to more specific looks at several teams.
Former Titans tight end and current radio analyst Frank Wycheck will fill us in on the team’s attempt to finish up Marcus Mariota’s contract and Mike Klis of NBC 9 in Denver will bring updates on the Broncos as we close in on the deadline to sign wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a long-term contract. Rich Tandler of CSN Washington and Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press Gazette will also be on hand during the show.
We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.