Andy Reid joins PFT to discuss what attracted him to Kansas City, how he’d grade his tenure in Philadelphia, who the Chiefs’ first pick could be, and more.
ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with Andy Reid
The two-year contract extension that defensive end Justin Smith signed with the 49ers is likely to be the final contract that the 33-year-old signs in the NFL.
“Justin’s All-Pro contributions on the field, as well as his leadership on and off the field, are integral to our success as a team,” 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement from the team. “Justin consistently sets a standard of excellence, serving as an example for everyone within our organization. This contract allows Justin to finish his career as a 49er!”
Smith said Wednesday that the fact that the 49ers shared his desire to continue their relationship made negotiations on the extension easy. Smith, who served as his own agent during talks with the team, is excited that things have worked out so that he’ll be able to finish his career with San Francisco.
Smith went further on the topic of going out on his own terms, saying that he wasn’t going to be the kind of player who hangs around to play something less than a lead role on the defensive line.
“That’s not going to happen,” Smith said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “I’ve said that, I meant that — I won’t be the guy that’s around for 10 snaps, 20 snaps. It’s either,I’m going or I’m not going. If I get my ass out here, I’m going.”
The NFL has shown in recent years a willingness to aggressively enforce the personal-conduct policy. Typically, the NFL will allow a first-time incident to make its way through the legal system before taking action.
The league gets more interested when a player has had two or more incidents.
That becomes problematic for Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who currently is involved in an investigation regarding an “associate” (reportedly Odin Lloyd) whose body was found roughly a mile from Hernandez’s home, in the vicinity of a rental car tied to Hernandez. Per TMZ, Hernandez also was sued last week in Florida for allegedly shooting a man in the face.
Even if Hernandez is never arrested, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t, either. And Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) after being sued for sexual assault in Nevada and later accused (but not charged) of sexual assault in Georgia.
So what will the league do about Hernandez? Not surprisingly, the league isn’t saying.
“We have no comment,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT by email.
Based on past situations, it’s safe to assume that NFL Security will conduct an investigation of its own regarding both incidents, coming to a conclusion as to whether Hernandez violated the terms of the league’s personal-conduct policy either in the shooting incident in Florida or the situation in Massachusetts. Discipline can be imposed even if he’s not formally accused of or charged with any crime.
The Bears added a layer of technological know-how to their football staff, hiring Mitchell Tanney as the team’s director of analytics.
Tanney, who has been the manager of football products for STATS LLC in recent years, will work with the front office and coaches on “player evaluation concepts and game situation principles,” according to a release sent out by the team.
Tanney, a former college quarterback at Monmouth, played in a variety of minor, indoor and international leagues.
The Bears are one of the league’s most traditional franchises, but have shown an ability to look at different perspectives. Adding a computerized data/scouting eye is another.
While General Manager Phil Emery had the obligatory old school scout background, head coach Marc Trestman was anything but a conventional hire. Adding someone to use numbers to add to the analysis brings a different perspective to the decision-making process, which can only help.
Wednesday appears to be the day that the 49ers are taking care of all family business.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the team has extended the contract of offensive coordinator Greg Roman for two years, which means he’s locked up through the 2015 season. The news comes on the heels of word that the 49ers have agreed to a two-year contract extension for defensive end Justin Smith as well.
Roman came to the 49ers from Stanford with head coach Jim Harbaugh before the 2011 season. He helped quarterback Alex Smith to his best pro season as the team advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2011 and then managed the move from Smith to Colin Kaepernick last season on the way to the Super Bowl. Harbaugh isn’t going anywhere, so it makes sense that the Niners would act to keep Roman around as well.
Another year of success may make that difficult, however. Roman was passed over this year, even with college roommate David Caldwell doing the hiring for the Jaguars, but his name will likely start popping up in head coaching searches if the 49ers continue to play well offensively.
There are worse problems to have, of course, but Roman would seem to have a good shot at coaching somewhere else before this extension runs its course.
June is a slow month for football. It hasn’t been a slow month for a certain football player’s lawyers.
The lawsuit, filed by Alexander S. Bradley, claims that Hernandez shot Bradley on February 13, 2013 while the two men were riding in a car. Bradley allegedly lost his right eye as a result of the incident, along with other injuries.
Per TMZ, the case was dismissed only four days after it was filed. Since it’s highly unlikely that any action was taken on the case that quickly, there’s a chance the case was settled.
Hernandez would have been much smarter to settle the case before it was filed. Between the lawsuit and the investigation in Massachusetts, Hernandez is now more likely to attract the attention of the league office, which is more apt to apply the enforce the personal-conduct policy when a player is involved in multiple off-field incidents.
Dave Jennings, a four-time Pro Bowl punter who played for the Giants and Jets and became a broadcaster for both teams after his playing career ended, has died at the age of 61.
Jennings, who had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 1996, died at his home this morning, the Giants have announced.
“Dave Jennings was one of the all-time great Giants,” Giants owner John Mara said. “He was a valued member of the Giants family for more than 30 years as a player and a broadcaster, and we were thrilled to include him in our Ring of Honor. More importantly, he was an outstanding person who battled his illness with rare courage and dignity. We will miss him dearly.”
Jennings didn’t play high school football and went to St. Lawrence University as a basketball player, but he had a naturally strong leg and decided to walk on as a punter. He ended up being a three-time all-conference football player, and the Giants invited him to training camp in 1974. He spent 11 seasons as the Giants’ punter and then punted for three more years for the Jets, and he was a Pro Bowler in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982. After retiring as a player he worked both Jets games and Giants games as a radio announcer.
Broncos coach John Fox said last week that the target date for getting his offensive line back together was near the start of training camp.
That target’s not going to be hit.
According to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post, center J.D. Walton had to have an additional surgery on his ankle this week which could mean he’ll miss the entire season. Broncos officials were holding out hope that if his recovery went smoothly, Walton might return for the second half of the year.
Walton missed most of last season with a broken ankle, and his absence will force the Broncos to adjust again up front.
Coupled with guard Chris Kuper’s recovery and the contract-related absence of franchise-tagged left tackle Ryan Clady, the Broncos already had plenty of question marks in front of quarterback Peyton Manning.
Now they have a bigger one.
As police investigation the circumstances surrounding the death of an “associate” of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, the case includes whether the incident involved drugs.
According to the Boston Globe (which has temporarily lifted its pay wall for the story, meaning that more than five people will read it), two unnamed law-enforcement officials said detectives are trying to determine whether the apparent murder is drug related.
Hernandez failed multiple drug tests at the University of Florida, greasing the skids for a slide to round four of the draft.
As previously mentioned, WBZ-TV has identified the victim as 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. Per Tom Curran of CSN New England, a spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney has called the situation “fluid and ongoing,” and has declined to confirm the identification of the deceased.
Lloyd’s uncle told the Globe that Lloyd “possibly” is the person whose body was found near an industrial park roughly a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleboro home. WBZ-TV reports that Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.
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 the protection it provides. 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.