Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees alludes to the media the only way to stop the Patriots will be means other than hard play on the football field. Are his comments all fun and games, or something more serious? Mike Florio also talks about the Cardinals hiring Bruce Arians and if Jerry Jones is secretly looking for a new coach in Dallas.
PFT Live: Jones pushing Garrett out of Dallas?
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was the victim of a burglary this weekend as his Maryland home was broken into and several things were taken from the residence.
According the Associated Press, Rice had $2,000 and a pair of guns stolen from his home Friday night. Rice was out-of-town but a friend was staying at the house and notified police of the incident. Police say the burglar entered through a rear window and ransacked Rice’s home.
Surveillance video caught the burglar on tape.
Apparently even winning a Super Bowl just four months ago isn’t enough to earn Rice a reprieve from being a crime victim. At least he wasn’t home when the robbery happened.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington has pleaded not guilty to his arrest earlier this month on assault charges stemming from an incident with his ex-girlfriend.
According to the Associated Press, Washington entered the plea Monday.
Per Phoenix police, Washington’s former girlfriend and mother of his baby claims he grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground during an altercation at her apartment. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and criminal trespass and released on bond.
Washington has been able to practice with the Cardinals during offseason workouts. He has been getting second-team reps with a four-game suspension and possible further discipline from the league from this arrest looming in the future. Karlos Dansby instead saw action with the Cardinals’ first-team defense.
It’s essentially a Te’obargo, and the Chargers now admit they won’t be making their second-round pick available to the media at all until the middle of June.
So why are they not letting Te’o talk? Chargers director of public relations Bill Johnston addressed the situation today on XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego.
“Right now, anything that he does . . . makes news,” Johnston said. “Right now, the news that people are talking about with him is really not the news that we want him to be talking about. Really, he’s a rookie, he’s a second-round draft pick, yet everybody wants to talk to him. Well, why? Well, it all goes back to that stuff that happened back in the winter, and back when he was at Notre Dame.
“To us, that’s not what we want him talking about. We want him focused on becoming a Charger, on becoming a better player. Learning our system. Getting comfortable here. We want him talking football, talking Chargers, and that’s all we want him focused on right now. So we’re doing what we think is in his best interests to stay focused and become the best player he can.”
That really doesn’t make much sense, frankly. Media availability inherently is a distraction, regardless of the topics addressed. Any time spent talking to the media takes away from Te’o's effort to become a better player and learn the system.
Moreover, the furor regarding the Lennay Kukua nonsense largely has subsided. It wasn’t, for example, much of an issue during the first session between Te’o and the media on May 10, in connection with the team’s rookie minicamp.
Of course, the controversy can remain relevant if Te’o does things to keep it relevant. For example, he chose to attend the Maxim party honoring a list of women that included the non-existent Kukua. Under the circumstances, it’s fair game to ask him why he did it.
It’s not fair game for the Chargers to protect him, or anyone other player simply because the team wants him to talk about certain subjects and not others. Watch the video from the May 10 session; the kid can handle himself well. Besides, they picked him knowing what having him on the team would entail. It’s short-sighted to treat him differently than every other player.
Think of the message that sends this to the locker room, at a time when he’d love nothing more than to simply be one of the guys. He’s necessarily not one of the guys, because the team is giving him different treatment than the rest of his teammates.
Meanwhile, the team is making the issue even bigger than it should be, giving Te’o yet another topic to address when he finally talks to the media and making it harder for him to lay the foundation for a positive relationship with the folks who buy ink by the truckload.
While it’s hard for any organization to reverse a decision that has been made and implemented, the best move for the Chargers would be to treat Te’o no differently than any other player — and to hope that the media eventually will do the same thing.
The Seattle Seahawks spent the offseason adding to an already talented roster in hopes of making a Super Bowl run this fall. But on the first day of OTAs Monday, Pete Carroll had to address off-field issues for his team instead of the additions to it.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin was handed a four-game suspension Friday for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Irvin is the sixth member of the Seahawks active roster to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in the last three seasons. Backup quarterback Josh Portis was also arrested earlier this month on suspicion of DUI and joins running back Marshawn Lynch as Seahawks with pending DUI cases.
It’s not the focus Carroll was hoping would be on his football team.
“Unfortunately if you go wrong, you get popped and that’s how this thing works, and I’m really disappointed that we have to deal with anything like this. But there are going to be other issues too, and we have to deal with them,” Carroll said.
Carroll stressed the team takes the issue of players getting in trouble seriously and they continue to focus on improving how they handle the situations when they arrive. He said the team employs people specifically to help players in these situations.
“We have people on staff that are here specifically to work with our individual guys because I really see this as an individual challenge. We try to bring each kid as far along as we possibly can to make them available for the opportunity that they have,” Carroll said.
He said the team goes beyond the punishment set in place by the league to make sure players understand the seriousness of the incidents. However, with players still finding trouble, the team may need to explore other avenues of getting the message across.
“We have to figure this out and try to help through education and through all of the ways we can, and we’ll always compete to find more creative ways to make the message clear,” Carroll said.
The Seattle Seahawks continue to deal with issues that will potentially affect the availability of their players on the field.
According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Portis was arrested and charged with a gross misdemeanor on May 5 after being pulled over on a freeway just outside of Seattle. The officer noted a “strong odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle” and Portis registered reading of .092 and .078 in tests following the stop. Washington’s legal limit is .08.
Portis was released from the Seahawks practice squad last November before being re-signed by the team in April. Portis has not played in a regular season since signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
Portis was on the practice field and participated in the team’s first OTA workout on Monday. He faces a battle with Brady Quinn and recently signed Jerrod Johnson for possibly one or two roster spots at the quarterback position. Seattle only kept two quarterbacks on the roster last season.
In some respects, the concussion lawsuits arise from a desire to get fair compensation for former players who suffered real injury as a result of the NFL’s alleged negligence. In other respects, the concussion lawsuits arise from a desire on the part of the lawyers to get paid.
There’s no other way to explain the fact that lawyers have been contacting former players like Packers CEO Mark Murphy and NFL senior V.P. of player engagement Troy Vincent. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the efforts to recruit Murphy and Vincent to sue have occurred repeatedly.
It’s no surprise, given the efforts that came to light last year to get more and more former players on board. “There is strength in numbers!” former NFL player and broadcaster Sean Salisbury wrote last year in an email encouraging players with any lingering concussion symptoms to join the litigation.
The lawyers have a clear financial motivation to add as many former players as possible. The cost of adding names to a list of thousands is relatively minimal; the potential fee (at 33 percent, typically, of anything recovered) can go up exponentially if enough players join the parade.
While persons with real injuries resulting from real liability have the right to pursue relief, the lawsuit industry results in warped motivations and blurred ethical lines, and I continue to be reminded in situations like this that I don’t miss practicing law, at all.
For all the optimism about the condition of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, the reality is that it’s too soon to know how his reconstructed knee will be when the season starts.
And during a tour of the Redskins’ still-being-built training camp facility in Richmond, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen admitted as much.
“It’s great to hear the building is on schedule, ahead of schedule, and I’ve heard all those same phrases for our quarterback,” Allen said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “It’s too early to tell right now. He is doing everything that the doctors want him to do. He’s a great worker. I think that’s why there’s so much optimism that he’ll be ready at the beginning.
“But it’s really too premature to speculate on where his medical condition is until we give him a physical when training camp starts July 25.”
Griffin had surgery in January, and has apparently been working diligently, but Allen wasn’t prepared to say what his quarterback might be doing when OTAs are opened to reporters Thursday.
“You’ll get to see when you all come out there on Thursday,” Allen said. “He’s been doing a lot of drill work on his own with the other injured players. He has to just follow the doctors’ and the trainers’ advice on a daily basis.”
After the early flurry of optimism, it certainly sounds like the Redskins are adopting more of a wait-and-see approach, which is the only reasonable way to approach an injury such as RG3’s.
Peyton Manning would like to play with the man who beat him out for the 1997 Heisman Trophy.
Manning said free agent cornerback Charles Woodson, who visited the Broncos last week, would be a good fit in Denver, on the field and in the locker room.
“We’re always looking to add great players,” Manning said. “That has been pretty evident since the time I’ve been here that management is always looking to add excellent football players through the draft or via free agency. I had a chance to visit with Charles when he was here last week and certainly, that’d be a great addition to our team. I know there is the business side of it that comes into play, but there’s no question that any time you can add good football players at any position, I think that’s always a good thing.”
In 1997, Manning entered his senior season at Tennessee as the clear favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but Woodson led Michigan to a national championship and became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman. Seated next to Manning at the award ceremony was Ryan Leaf, who finished third in Heisman voting, and seated next to Woodson was fourth-place finisher Randy Moss.
NFL rules changes are so often harshly criticized by NFL players that it seems noteworthy any time any player comes forward to say he likes a new rule. Of course, when it’s Brian Cushing speaking out in favor of the new rule against low blocks from behind, he’s speaking from first-hand experience.
Cushing’s 2012 season was cut short by a torn ACL suffered when he got hit in the knee from behind by the Jets’ Matt Slauson, and Cushing said today in an interview with Trey Wingo on NFL Live that the NFL’s decision to ban low blocks from behind was wise.
“It makes me feel better. Obviously it was not a good situation for me, but if it prevents further injuries in the future, then it’s a good thing,” Cushing said.
Frankly, it’s surprising that it took the NFL this long to implement this rule. Paul Zimmerman started championing the cause of banning cut blocks from behind in the 1980s, when Don Shula and Tex Schramm were running the Competition Committee, and scores of defensive players have complained through the years that offensive players were able to take legal cheap shots at their knees. It shouldn’t have taken until Cushing’s high-profile injury in 2012 for the rule, finally, to be changed in 2013, but Cushing is right: This change is a good thing.
The Rams have signed tight end Zach Potter, according to the NFL’s Monday transaction report.
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Potter appeared in all 16 games for the Jaguars in 2012, catching two passes for six yards. Potter played 199 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus data.
Potter will likely be vying for a spot behind Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks on the Rams’ tight end depth chart. Potter’s blocking would figure to be one of the keys to whether he sticks on the final roster.
Potter, 27, is entering his fifth NFL season. A defensive end at Nebraska, Potter originally signed with the Jets after the 2009 draft before joining Jacksonville.
Now that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has undergone a fourth arm surgery, which initially is being regarded as a success, attention soon will turn to his lingering back issue.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Gronkowski is expected to travel to California in three or four weeks for an evaluation by Dr. Robert Watkins. (The trip presumably will not include a layover in Las Vegas.) Watkins will make a recommendation as to whether Gronkowski requires back surgery.
We reported last week that back surgery currently is considered to be probable for Gronkowski.
The New England Patriots have developed an affinity for Rutgers players. On Monday, they signed another former member of the program.
Scarlet Knights receiver Mark Harrison has joined the Patriots, the team announced earlier in the day. Undrafted last month, Harrison is one of the two players who stayed in the hotel room that reportedly was trashed at the Scouting Combine.
Harrison and receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a first-round pick of the Texans, denied responsibility for the incident, which reportedly included fecal matter ending up in places where fecal matter shouldn’t be, absent extreme alcohol consumption. Or perhaps demonic possession.
The Pats likely were drawn to Harrison at least in part due to observations made by Steve Belichick, the son of New England coach Bill Belichick, during the younger Belichick’s time working for the Rutgers program.
The Patriots now have seven former Rutgers players on the roster.
The Patriots also signed former Notre Dame kicker David Ruffer, who transferred to South Bend not from Rutgers but from William & Mary. He converted on his first 23 field goals for the Irish, but he finished his career missing 11 of 21.
It’s that kind of poor aim that may have contributed to the unsavory problem mentioned earlier in this blurb.
The dates are trickling in, illustrating specific changes to the offseason schedule that would happen if the NFL and NFLPA strike a deal to tweak the things that happen from February through May.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, next year’s draft would start on May 15, three weeks after this year’s draft. The timetable for the Scouting Combine and the league year would not change in 2014.
In 2015, the draft would happen a little bit earlier in May, the league year would begin in early March, and the Scouting Combine would slide to the middle of March.
We can’t overstate the impact of moving the Combine after the start of the league year. (But we’ll try.) With 10-14 days of free agency in the books before the teams flock to Indy, there will be a much better sense of what teams need, and don’t need, in the draft before checking out the prospects up close at the Combine.
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs’ new pistol consultant, Chris Ault, to get busy.
The former Nevada coach helped popularize the short shotgun formation and became famous with the success of his pupil Colin Kaepernick. Now, he’s helping Alex Smith try to learn it.
According to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs ran a “handful of plays” from the formation in OTAs last week.
Smith was an effective runner in college at Utah, rushing 135 times for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2004.
But perhaps the biggest beneficiary could be Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who should have more open space with which to work if Smith’s on the move. Coupled with what could be a very good offensive line, the Chiefs have a chance to make it work.
Surgery to install a plate in the broken left arm of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been completed, PFT’s Mike Florio has learned.
What’s more, the infection in the arm has cleared, PFT has learned.
PFT reported last week that the infection appeared to be going away. Now, it’s officially gone, good news for the 24-year-old star tight end in his quest to finally completely recover from the arm injury, which he first sustained in November 2012. He re-injured the arm in January.
Gronkowski is also expected to have back surgery during the offseason. PFT has learned a consultation on surgery will occur in 3-4 weeks.
A vital part of the Patriots’ offense, Gronkowski has hauled in 38 touchdown passes in just three NFL seasons.