Brett Keisel (and his beard) joins PFT to relate his Super Bowl experience and announce the next time he’ll shave his face. Keisel played with Jerome Bettis when he announced Super Bowl XL will be his last game, and Keisel says that extra motivation is all a team needs to perform at the highest possible level.
ProFootballTalk: Keisel relates Lewis to Bettis
It turned out not to be all that long a wait. Johnson was on the field with the rest of the Bills at Tuesday’s practice after getting the green light to return to work. Johnson didn’t sound like he was quite 100 percent but was pleased to have progressed faster than initially expected.
“It definitely feels good to just be out there on the field, even through the little pains I have,” Johnson said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “It’s getting better every week. They gave me a six-to-eight-week thing to even get on the field, and it’s only been about three, so I feel good.”
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was also pleased that Johnson got the go-ahead to work because it will help him manage the “growing pains” of playing in a new system. Hackett also credited Johnson for giving a hand to less experienced teammates as they also learn the scheme the team’s installing this offseason. The Bills will likely take it easy with Johnson as long as he’s still having “little pains” as all the knowledge of the scheme won’t help much if the team’s best players aren’t available to run it.
Lost in the question of whether the Seahawks face fines for future player suspensions is the reality that, based on the policy created by the NFL in 2008, they likely paid more than $60,000 for suspensions that happened in 2012.
The NFL has declined comment on the question of whether and to what extent the Seahawks have been fined for past suspensions, explaining that this information isn’t disclosed for any team. But the league office has confirmed that the formula developed in 2008 still applies, and it’s public knowledge that three Seahawks were suspended during the 2012 season: offensive lineman Allen Barbre, safety Winston Guy, and cornerback Brandon Browner.
Barbre came first, suspended the first four games of the season under the performance-enhancing drugs policy. He was cut after the suspension ended in October.
Under the league’s policy, the Seahawks faced fines for the second suspension (Guy) and the third (Browner). Based on their salaries for 2012, Guy lost $97,500 in salary during his four-week suspension. The policy converts 25 percent of that into a fine, which equates to $24,375.
Next up was Browner, who served a four-game suspension and forfeited $109,411 in base salary. Since Browner’s suspension was the third of the year, one third of his lost salary became a fine. That’s $36,470.
The total of the two fines is $60,845.
This year, the Seahawks will be fined if there’s another suspension under the substance-abuse policy, the policy regarding steroids and related substances, or the personal-conduct policy, given that defensive end Bruce Irvin already will miss the first four games of the year after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
It’s unclear whether fines will make teams more careful about acquiring players who carry the red flag of a possible violations. Former Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli said on Tuesday’s PFT Live that the league has discussed the possibility of stripping draft picks as an alternative to fines.
That could be the best way to handle the situation. Team’s view fines as a cost of doing business; losing draft picks impacts competitive interests, and thus are more likely to get the franchise’s attention.
The lawyer representing Jets running back Mike Goodson said his client would plead not guilty to the five gun and drug charges against him.
And according to Seth Walder of the New York Daily News, Goodson told the Jets that the gun in the car wasn’t his.
“Mike’s charged with possession of that gun, but we’re confident we’re going to be able to show (the gun wasn’t his),” attorney Tony Fusco said.
Both Goodson’s lawyer and the lawyer for the driver of the vehicle Goodson was in said that their clients could escape jail time, because a second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun would be hard to make stick.
Joe Afflito, the attorney for Garant Evans (the driver of the car), said the second degree charge requires “proof that you had a weapon and that you were going to use it to harm a person or property.”
“This gun was found in the car so I don’t know where that comes from,” Afflito said. “According to the newspaper reports, they were picked up on the side of the highway unconscious.”
A third-degree charge comes with a suggested sentence involving jail time, but that’s not a certainty.
While avoiding prison can only be considered a positive, Goodson’s far from in the clear. The Jets haven’t said much about his situation, and are wise to wait to find out more.
When the NFL says “I’m gonna turn this car around and go home,” they apparently mean it.
South Florida hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 2010, and the drought will last at least eight years. On Tuesday, Miami lost in not one but two attempts to bring Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI back to Sun Life Stadium.
Losing Super Bowl L to San Franciscoclara was expected. The head-to-head contest with Houston was regarded as a tougher call, since Miami provides a better overall experience in the days leading up to the game.
But the NFL sent a message that the Super Bowl won’t return to Florida without an upgraded stadium. To give that threat/promise teeth, owners had to follow through on it. And they did.
The failure of the bids gives owner Stephen Ross ammunition to continue to try to shake public money out of the taxpayer pockets in order to renovate the stadium. The politicians and, ultimately, the people will have to decide whether getting another Super Bowl justifies partially paying for the project.
The Browns announced the signing of rookie safety Jamoris Slaughter, their sixth-round pick, on Tuesday.
A 19-game starter at Notre Dame, Slaughter (6-0, 195) missed most of the 2012 campaign after tearing his Achilles tendon. If healthy, he could have a reasonable shot at making the roster, as the Browns have made some changes at safety in the offseason.
Among the Browns’ changes at safety is the departure of Eric Hagg, which the Browns confirmed Tuesday. The club also confirmed the re-signing of running back Brandon Jackson, news of which PFT reported last week.
In other roster moves, the Browns re-signed wide receiver Michael Edwards and signed defensive back Kenronte Walker, both undrafted free agents. Also, the club waived veteran linebacker Ryan Rau and rookie running back Robbie Rouse.
Less than four months after the Bay Area’s football team returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in a generation, the Super Bowl is returning to the Bay Area.
The league has announced that Super Bowl L will be played at the 49ers’ to-be-opened home in Santa Clara, which will be named Levi’s Stadium. Technically, the host city is San Francisco, since all associated events will be conducted there. (We’ll call the location San Franciscoclara, at least until we get bored with that. Maybe a little longer.)
The game will be played in February 2016, capping the second season of play at the new venue.
The vote means that Miami lost in the head-to-head bid against San Francisco, just like the Dolphins did against the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX, played at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto.
It also means that Miami will now take on Houston for the ability to host Super Bowl LI.
The Patriots are without their two best-known tight ends during drills at this week’s set of organized team activities, but they do have one long-absent member of the position group back at work.
Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that Jake Ballard was on the field with his teammates during Tuesday’s practice, the first time he’s been on the practice field with media in attendance since the Patriots claimed him off of waivers from the Giants last June. Ballard tore his ACL and suffered extensive other damage to his knee in the second half of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Pats.
Per Yates, Ballard spent some time doing resistance running with a strength coach but was able to “participate in the majority of practice reps” during the session. The Patriots expect Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez back for training camp and the season, but Ballard will give them good insurance should one or both miss time.
Ballard isn’t likely to replicate their numbers, but he became a frequent and reliable target for Eli Manning on the way to that Super Bowl title. He caught 38 passes for 604 yards while also doing his part as a run blocker. Should he be back to full health, Ballard has a chance to be a useful piece for the Patriots offense even if everyone’s healthy.
The 23-year-old Hagg appeared in 12 games for Cleveland in 2012, starting three games at free safety and one at strong safety. A Nebraska product, Hagg was a seventh-round pick of Cleveland in 2011.
The reported departure of Hagg continues the Browns’ reworking of their safety corps. Earlier in the offseason, the club released Usama Young, who started 10 games at free safety and one at strong safety in 2012.
In the NFL, if you’re going to screw up, you better have value.
Cutting a third-string quarterback should have zero tangible impact on the Seahawks’ chances this year, or any year.
That makes him a convenient example to make, to give other players the appearance of taking such things seriously — for a team which leads the league in PED suspensions since 2010, and still employs all but one of the suspended.
In New York, the player who wins the starting quarterback job in 2013 arguably will be the first guy to possibly lose it. If so, his window for losing it could open weeks before Week One.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets could declare a starter before the start of training camp.
“We don’t care what the prevailing thought is,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told Mehta regarding the view that the fight won’t be resolved before the start of camp. “We only care about our competition here.”
Well, if they care about competition, the competition will continue into the more inherently competitive portions of the calendar. For now, practices occur without pads and limited contact. In training camp, it’s closer to real football. In preseason games, it’s considerably closer.
This approach suggests that the Jets would like to go with Geno Smith, and that they prefer to spend July and August getting him ready in lieu of making him fight for a job he’s already destined to have.
“When you [compete in training camp],” Mornhinweg said, “you give up some reps individually for the possible starter if you don’t select him quite as quickly.”
Either way, Mornhinweg hasn’t made a commitment to how and when the competition will be resolved. Essentially, they’ll know it when they see it.
“Once a man separates himself, then we’ll think about making those choices, but I want a man to separate himself,” Mornhinweg said. “If not, we’ll keep the competition grinding. That’s important. That’s important in this situation.”
What’s ultimately important is finding the best guy to win games, because it’s believed that another bad year from the Jets will get the entire coaching staff fired.
Which will serve only to put more pressure on whoever the quarterback is.
While there seems to be a general feeling of optimism regarding Victor Cruz and a long-term deal with the Giants — which has been the case for some time — there’s still nothing to put on paper between the Giants and their wide receiver.
But I suppose optimism beats the alternative.
Giants chairman Steve Tisch was the latest to express confidence a deal will be signed, but didn’t have much more than that.
“We’re talking,” Tisch said, via Mike Garafolo of USA Today. “Tom Condon [Cruz's agent] is talking to [Giants General Manager] Jerry [Reese] and I’m personally confident that Victor wants to be a Giant, will be a Giant.
Now, as tempting as it might be to take “will be a Giant,” and turn it into more than it is, it would also be inaccurate. Tisch is saying what everyone else seems to say, that eventually something will get done.
We’ve reached the “do or do not,” phase of this story, and the negotiations seem to have slowed. And until somebody starts throwing money around, or the Giants replace Cruz’s restricted free agent tender of $2.879 million with a $594,000 offer (which would be antagonistic in a transaction that seems quite civil), the words don’t matter that much.
Simon (6-2, 260) earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior at Ohio State in 2012, recording nine sacks. The Ravens selected him toward the end of the fourth round (No. 129 overall).
Simon, who was a defensive end in college, is likely to be a backup in his first NFL season at outside linebacker.
The Ravens have now agreed to deals with all seven of their rookies selected on the draft’s final day.
In addition to players and head coaches, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has a catchall “contributor” category that allows people to be enshrined in Canton for what they did away from the field. But not many contributors actually ge elected.
Of the last 40 people enshrined in the Hall, only two of them — Bills owner Ralph Wilson and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol — were from the contributor category. Joe Horrigan, the Hall’s vice president of communications and exhibits, says the Hall would like to change the way it does business to make a clearer path for contributors.
“I can’t tell you we’re real close to a solution, but as we do every year, we do discuss the possibility,” Horrigan told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We don’t want to have second-tier Hall of Famers in the sense someone snuck in the back door. That’s kind of the issue always. We continue to address it. Eventually, I think we’ll probably come up with some sort of a modification.”
Whatever the Hall of Fame does, it would be wise to separate contributors from players. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is currently faced with the thankless task of comparing people like Steve Sabol of NFL Films or former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue with former players. And really, how do you determine whether Sabol is more deserving than an offensive lineman? Voting on contributors separately would make a lot of sense.
The 32 NFL team owners voted today to lend the Falcons $200 million for their new stadium in Atlanta.
“Today’s approval by the NFL team owners is an important milestone in moving the new stadium project forward,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “We are pleased with the outcome of today’s vote, and we look forward to continued progress in designing and constructing the new multi-purpose stadium over the next four years. We, along with our City of Atlanta and State of Georgia partners, are excited to participate in a project that will benefit the city and state for many years to come.”
Taxpayers will pick up $200 million of the cost of the stadium, and Blank will foot the bill for the rest. The total cost is expected to come in at around $1 billion.
The Falcons currently play in the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992. Plans call for the Georgia Dome to be demolished and the new stadium to be ready to go by 2017.
As the NFL continues to try to make the Pro Bowl worth watching, the league is considering some ideas inspired by TV game shows.
Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the league is considering elements that would make the game more like a game show, such as
having incentives paid out during the game. Breer said the league would like to “make it so every single minute of the game has some sort of thing that’s going to keep fans interested and engaged.”
Breer added that the NFL doesn’t “feel the need to keep the integrity of what a normal football game is.”
Personally, I think a good football game is more fun to watch than any game show, and I don’t think adding game show gimmicks to a football game makes the game more fun to watch. The problem I see with the Pro Bowl is that the players don’t take it seriously, and adding “game show” elements seems likely to compound that problem. I don’t have a problem with the NFL’s idea of naming two team captains and letting them pick the teams, but I don’t think we need to have Monty Hall telling Peyton Manning to pick a receiver behind one of two doors, only to find out that Calvin Johnson is behind Door No. 1 and Titus Young is behind Door No. 2.
If the NFL really wants to make the players play hard, the best “game show” element to incorporate would be large cash prizes for the winners. Currently, players on the winning Pro Bowl team make $50,000 and players on the losing team make $25,000. The difference between getting paid $25,000 and $50,000 is a lot to most of us, but it’s peanuts to most Pro Bowlers. Until that changes, don’t expect the players’ effort to change.