Former NFL official Jim Daopoulos breaks down some questionable calls from Week 15 of the NFL season. Did the refs get a big pass interference call from the 49ers-Patriots game correct?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Week 15 questionable calls
When the concussion settlement was first announced in August 2013, the parties agreed that any retired players as of the date on which the deal received preliminary court approval would be part of the class of former players who would be eligible for benefits. Although Judge Anita Brody gave preliminary approval three weeks ago, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the NFL likely would not fight the addition of players like receiver Sidney Rice, who retired last week due to his history of concussions.
For other players currently considering whether to walk away from football, the closing window (assuming it isn’t already closed) for participating in the concussion settlement should be a significant factor in the final analysis. For now, any players who choose to retire land in a gray area. As the date for final approval of the settlement approaches, at some point it will be too late.
And while players who retire after it’s too late to join the concussion settlement could file their own concussion lawsuits, the person who brokered the deal explained that future claims likely will fail.
“For a variety of reasons, the underlying theory of this lawsuit about what took place in the past would be difficult to replicate in the future,” Judge Layn Phillips said in a document explaining the settlement. “Everyone now has a much deeper and more substantial understanding about concussions, and how to prevent and manage them, than they did 20 or even 10 years ago, and the information conveyed to players reflects that greater understanding. In addition, the labor law defenses asserted by the NFL would represent a very substantial barrier to asserting these kinds of claims going forward. The combination of advances in medical research, improved equipment, rules changes, greater understanding of concussion management, and enhanced benefits should, and hopefully will, prevent similar lawsuits in the future.”
It means that, if a player has concerns about a history of concussions, whether known to his team or kept secret, and is considering retiring for other reasons, potential participation in the concussion settlement could be a factor.
So the man called Shady threw some shade in the direction of the artist formerly known as CJ2K.
“That’s Mike for you,” McCoy said, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. “Ask him who the best back is, he’ll tell you me.”
While few would argue that McCoy is the better back at the moment, the insecurity is a bit troubling. And Vick might not want to dump on his new teammate just to spare the feelings of a former, slower one.
Yes, the Cowboys were close to drafting Johnny Manziel. How close?
“I want you to know that almost as I was handing in the card, it was that close to putting that Manziel card in. It was that close,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Sunday on NFL Network, via Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I looked over to my son, Stephen . . . and I said, ‘I took the right pick. [Zack Martin] was the top player by three players on our board at the time that we were sitting there looking at [Manziel]. . . . The question was, ‘Could we make it work with Tony Romo during the period of time that we are going to have Tony?’ And by the way, my expectations are that Tony will be our quarterback several years to come as we move along.”
It’s easy for Jones to say that now. In fact, it’s necessary, given that the Cowboys didn’t pick Manziel. But if Manziel had been the pick, how many years could the Cowboys have parked him on the bench behind Romo? And how relentless would the questions have been regarding Manziel’s elevation to starter?
“Manziel is special,” Jones said. “I know him personally. I know that he is going to be a success in the National Football League, and it was a hard decision. And it is one that I will probably have for the rest of my career think about.”
Jones won’t have to personally confront the decision until 2016, when the Cowboys are due to visit Cleveland. If Romo’s back problems have forced him to retire by then and if Manziel has become a quality starter, Jones will be thinking about it a lot.
Rainey, the running back and return man who appeared to be ready to compete for a big role in the offense after the injury to Vick Ballard, has instead been released. The Colts announced the move in a brief statement today.
No reason for Rainey’s release was given, but the timing is odd, both because the Ballard injury has the Colts thin at running back and because just days ago coach Chuck Pagano spoke glowingly about Rainey in practice.
Rainey was drafted by the Steelers in 2012 and had just 26 carries for 102 yards as a rookie, and the Steelers cut him when he was arrested shortly after his rookie year ended. Rainey signed with the Colts late last season and played only sparingly as a return man in two games. Now he’ll be placed on waivers, and we’ll see whether any other team wants to put in a claim for a player who says he can do “anything and everything” with the ball in his hands.
The Giants are looking forward to first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham having a big impact this year.
But so far, they haven’t seen him do much, and that has Giants coach Tom Coughlin moving beyond simple disappointment.
“It’s more than that,” Coughlin said, via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. “Sure it is. You’re trying to put a team together. We saw too much of that in the spring.”
The “that” Coughlin was referring to was the hamstring strain that kept him out of minicamp, and came back the first day of camp. Beckham was in full pads like everybody else Sunday, but he was limited, catching punts but not running with them.
“It would be nice to get him back practicing,” Coughlin said. “He actually looks pretty good out there. He’s moving around, catching the ball, he doesn’t favor anything. I’m just hoping it’s a real short amount of time. . . .
“They’re not going to let him go if he’s in danger of hurting himself. That’s all there is to it. I can stand there all I want, but it’s not going to happen. When they think he can go and not risk recurring injury, they’ll let him go.”
You can practically see Coughlin steaming as he says it, wishing Beckham could rub some dirt on it and get back out there, but helpless against the forces of modern medicine.
Cobb says his heart is in Green Bay and that he’d like to stay with the team, but that he isn’t aware of any contract talks between the team and his agent at the moment. That suits Cobb, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, just fine as he says he’s content to focus on doing enough on the field this season to earn an extended deal.
“I don’t believe I’ve done enough and I think that’s on me,” Cobb said, via ESPN.com.
Cobb broke his leg last season, missing 10 games and it would be harder to say that there was still more to do in order to be worthy of an extension. Cobb caught 80 passes for 954 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012 and was on pace for even bigger numbers when he got hurt. Should Cobb and Aaron Rodgers both remain healthy this season, the wideout’s numbers probably won’t leave much doubt about his value to the offense or whether he’s earned an extension.
Lost in last week’s news of the Ray Rice suspension was the news of the Lane Johnson suspension. The fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft will miss twice as many games for Rice because, according to the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, he took a prescription medication that he didn’t realize appears on the NFL’s list of banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Based on those facts — accidentally taking a prescription medication versus knocking out a female in a casino elevator — it seems like an unfair result. But Johnson can say whatever he wants about how the violation arose, and there’s nothing the league can do about it under the current drug policies.
“As a professional, you’re supposed to be aware of what you put in your body and take precautions,” Johnson said upon arriving at camp, via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia News. “That’s something I didn’t do, and now I pay the price.”
The league’s strict-liability, no-questions-asked PED policy creates an environment in which innocent, unintended violations trigger automatic suspensions. Which has created a P.R. safe harbor for cheaters. Apparently, the policy never actually ensnares a deliberate cheat; everyone popped for a four-game ban has an excuse that looks good on the surface — especially if the players refuses to go beneath the surface with his explanation.
In Johnson’s case, he declined to discuss the prescription medication he took, or the condition for which it was prescribed. Which causes some to think there wasn’t one.
Regardless, coach Chip Kelly has moved Johnson to the second team for the start of training camp, since the team has to prepare Allen Barbre to handle the job while Johnson is away.
“We still have to develop Lane,” Kelly told reporters on Saturday. “So he’ll get reps, but they won’t be with the first team right now.”
Some of that may be punitive, based on Kelly’s views regarding the manner in which the violation arose.
“There’s also some individual responsibility that goes with the player,” Kelly said regarding the question of whether the Eagles failed to properly oversee Johnson’s activities. “So, you know, if the answer is, I didn’t know. They know. They get tested at the Combine. They get tested anywhere. Any one of these guys that comes from an NCAA institution knows they get tested. They’re also their own men. It’s no different than if you got pulled over for a DUI, you’re going to turn around and tell your employers, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that. They’re adults. They’re going to make mistakes. They’re going to pay a hefty price for those mistakes. They’re going to miss four games, four game checks. Hopefully that works.”
For Johnson, who coincidentally (or not) gained nine pounds in the offseason, the message apparently has been sent from the league. If Barbre plays well during Johnson’s four game absence, Kelly may decide to keep sending the message beyond Week Four to the guy who started 16 games as a rookie.
Some Ravens veterans got Sunday off from practice.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien wasn’t singling out anyone positively or negatively after practice this weekend.
Sunday brought a few scuffles to Jaguars camp.
The Vikings would like a physical presence at fullback.
Catching up with some long shots for the Rams roster.
Do the 49ers have reason to worry about their backup cornerbacks?
Dropped passes were prevalent at Sunday’s Seahawks practice.
Asked if he thinks the Lions can keep Suh long term, Caldwell said he believes they can, noting that the team views Suh as a building block and saying that Suh showed up to training camp in phenomenal shape.
“Absolutely,” Caldwell said, via the Detroit News. “I’m always optimistic . . . and I think without question [Lions management and Suh’s agent] are working at it. And I think something will be done at the appropriate time.”
Suh’s enormous cap number of $22.4 million this year — and the fact that franchising him next year would cost a whopping $26.9 million — makes it easy to see why the Lions would love to work out a long-term deal that provides them with some immediate cap relief. But it also makes it easy to see why Suh is tempted to simply play out his deal. The Lions probably wouldn’t franchise him because they wouldn’t want to eat that cap hit, which means Suh would hit the open market after this season.
Caldwell may have reasons to be optimistic about getting a deal done with Suh, but Suh has even more reasons to be optimistic that he’s going to get paid a fortune over the coming years, from the Lions or some other team.
The good news for 49ers running back LaMichael James is that he is expected to be ready to go by Week One after suffering a practice injury on Sunday. The bad news is that the inexperienced James won’t benefit from any preseason experience.
James suffered a dislocated left elbow that will take about a month to heal, meaning he’s likely out for the entire preseason, ESPN reports. The 24-year-old James has just 39 carries for 184 yards so far in his NFL career, and the 49ers would have liked to see him get more action in the preseason, especially after they already lost running back Kendall Hunter for the entire season when he suffered a torn ACL on Friday.
The 49ers suddenly find themselves thin at running back, a position where they expected to be deep. In addition to the Hunter and James injuries, 2013 fourth-round pick Marcus Lattimore is still not practicing because he’s still not 100 percent recovered from the serious knee injury he suffered at South Carolina in 2012.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has a new five-year extension, announced tonight by the team and reportedly carrying a base value of $36.5 million. A source with knowledge of the terms has shared some additional details with PFT.
Rudolph gets a $6.5 million signing bonus. Along with a technically non-guaranteed but as a practical matter fully guaranteed base salary of $956,343 for 2014, Rudolph definitely will earn $7.456 million in the next five months.
Per the source, the deal has another $12 million in injury-only guarantees that eventually convert to full guarantees on the third day of a given league year. (The number of years over which the guaranteed money is spread isn’t currently known. Until the relevant dates pass and the money becomes fully guaranteed, it’s not actually or practically guaranteed.)
On the back end, Rudolph earns an extra $750,000 for each year in which he catches 80 passes, and $500,000 for each year he makes it to the Pro Bowl. Over five years, that’s a total of $6.25 million in available incentives, but the total he can earn through these accomplishments is capped at a total of $3.5 million.
The base new-money value of $7.3 million puts him behind only Jimmy Graham ($10 million in new money), Rob Gronkowski ($9 million), Jason Witten ($7.4 million), and Vernon Davis ($7.35 million). A single 80-catch season will throw another $0.25 million on the annual average, vaulting Rudolph ahead of Witten and Davis.
Eighty catches won’t be a breeze, but in Norv Turner’s offense it’s a distinct possibility.
The Vikings have signed one of their core offensive players to a contract extension.
According to FOX’s Jay Glazer — who first reported news of the extension — Rudolph received a five-year, $36.5 million contract from Minnesota.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports the new deal makes Rudolph the game’s fifth highest-paid tight end.
Rudolph has hauled in 109 passes for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in three NFL seasons, all with Minnesota. The Vikings selected Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played collegiately at Notre Dame.
“I’m extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings,” Rudolph said in a statement issued by the club Sunday night. “I’ve said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I’m excited about where this team is going. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal.”
As the Marshawn Lynch holdout lingers, his leverage spikes if/when any of the team’s alternatives at tailback gets injured.
If became when on Sunday, when second-year running back Christine Michael left practice with a shoulder injury.
“He just banged his shoulder a little bit,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after practice. “They think he will be ready to go on Tuesday.”
The injury serves as a reminder that Plan B can quickly becomes Plan C and so on, unless and until Lynch returns to the fold. There’s been no progress along those lines, with Lynch wanting a new contract and the Seahawks refusing to rip up the last two seasons of a four-year, $30 million deal.
The Panthers waived defensive back De’Quan Menzie on Saturday.
And now, it appears the third-year pro could be electing to end his career.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera indicated Sunday that the 24-year-old Menzie was retiring.
Menzie’s verified Twitter account had the following post Sunday: “Officially done….”
An Alabama product, Menzie (5-11, 200) was a fifth-round selection of Kansas City in 2012. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve (hip flexor). After being waived by Kansas City in May 2013, Menzie had a brief stint with Detroit before being waived in August 2013. The Panthers signed Menzie to a futures contract in January 2014.
Another day, another injured tailback in San Francisco.
James, who has appeared in only 14 regular-season games in two NFL seasons, has a chance to show that he can contribute to the base offense following the season-ending ACL injury suffered on Friday by Kendall Hunter. While the specific nature and severity of the injury isn’t known, guys usually don’t get carted off with arm/wrist injuries.
Before practice, coach Jim Harbaugh said that the team has “complete and total confidence” in James, who along with Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde will be counted on to make an impact, especially with Hunter done for the year.
In two seasons, James has only 39 regular-season rushing attempts for 184 yards. He has caught five passes for 45 yards. His primary contributions have come as a kickoff and punt returner, with 49 total returns in two season.