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.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Keisel relates Lewis to Bettis
The Titans and first-round draft pick Marcus Mariota haven’t come to terms because they haven’t agreed on whether his rookie contract will include offset language. Which is an odd issue to become a stumbling block, because history says it will almost certainly be a non-issue.
Offsets only come into play if a player gets cut by the team that drafts him and then signs on with a new team. Although first-round picks’ contracts are guaranteed, if there are offsets in his contract, the team that drafted the player can deduct whatever he makes with his new team from the money the team that drafted him has to pay. In other words, if Mariota’s rookie contract calls for him to make a base salary of $615,000 in 2017, he’s guaranteed to get paid that money even if the Titans cut him after the 2016 season. But if some other team signs Mariota and pays him $615,000 in 2017, the Titans don’t have to pay it to him. If there are no offsets in the contract, Mariota can “double dip” and collect $615,000 from both the Titans and his new team.
Here’s why it doesn’t matter: Mariota would have to be so bad that the Titans cut him in the next four years, but not so bad that some other team wouldn’t sign him. and that almost never happens. In the 21st Century, only one quarterback has been drafted in the first round, cut in his first four years, and then signed with another team. That quarterback was Brandon Weeden, who lasted two years in Cleveland and then signed in Dallas after the Browns cut him.
Other first-round quarterbacks have been cut in the first four years but not signed anywhere else (JaMarcus Russell), or been traded away by the teams that drafted them (Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow). But only Weeden has been cut and then signed elsewhere, which means Weeden is the only first-round quarterback for whom offsets have been an issue.
The Browns did convince Weeden to agree to offsets in his rookie contract, which meant they were allowed to deduct the league-minimum salary he earned from the Cowboys last year from the amount Cleveland still owed him on his rookie deal. The Titans want Mariota to agree to offsets so that if they cut him and he’s playing for some other team in 2017, they can also deduct his salary with his new team from the amount he gets paid by Tennessee.
But if Mariota is as bad for the Titans as Weeden was for the Browns, the Titans will have bigger problems than saving a few hundred thousand dollars.
In college at Auburn, Onterio McCalebb played running back, becoming one of only two players in SEC history with more than 2,000 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving, and 1,000 yard returning kickoffs.
And he wasn’t drafted.
The Bengals signed him, with an eye toward making the 4.34-in-the-40 speedster into a cornerback. While he’s still listed as a cornerback after spending most of the last two years on the practice squad (he has appeared in one career regular-season game), McCalebb is getting a new opportunity in Cincinnati.
During last month’s mandatory minicamp, the Bengals switched McCalebb from cornerback to receiver. And that’s apparently where he will be when training camp opens.
“The transition to corner maybe was not as smooth as we had hoped,” Bengals receivers coach James Urban told Bengals.com, via Mark Inabinett of AL.com. “But he’s a great kid who can run, and it’s obvious he’s natural with the ball in his hands since he’s played offense his whole life. Let’s see what he does at training camp when everybody is starting from square one.”
McCalebb is far from square one in his NFL career. Eventually, he’ll run out of practice-squad eligibility, which means that, at some point, it’s up or out for McCalebb.
With Pierre Thomas on his way out and Mark Ingram headed for free agency, Saints running back Khiry Robinson may have had moments early this offseason when he saw himself playing a prominent role in the Saints backfield in 2015.
He’d performed well when given opportunities late in 2013 and early in 2014, although an arm injury last year kept him from building on that early success. Assuming he was healthy, it looked like Robinson would get that chance this year.
Ingram re-signed, however, and the Saints added C.J. Spiller as a free agent after parting ways with Thomas, which presents a different scenario for the third-year running back. Robinson isn’t complaining about how things played out, however. He says he’s “all good” with the current pecking order in New Orleans.
“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said, via ESPN.com. “I just gotta keep working. It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”
Robinson may be third on the depth chart, but that doesn’t rule him out of the mix for playing time. The Saints have played three or more backs throughout Sean Payton’s tenure as head coach and all the talk this offseason in New Orleans has been about maximizing the output of all the team’s skill position players along with a renewed focus on running the ball. That philosophy and Robinson’s attitude about the situation should bode well for the back once the team starts getting serious about divvying up playing time later this summer.
Lions receiver Golden Tate has finally beaten his donut habit.
After a career season in 2014, Tate (whose rookie season in Seattle included the alleged theft of Top Pot donuts) has focused on taking better care of his body.
“I’ve been doing some yoga, trying to work on my flexibility,” Tate said recently, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Eating healthier than I ever have and just really trying to build my endurance up, trying to build my body as much as I can because, as you know, the season will break it down.”
The yoga has a specific purpose for the player who’ll soon by 27.
“I’m just trying to loosen up my [hamstrings] and my hips, my groin, just so I can get a longer stride,” Tate said. “Just trying to set myself up to get better this year. The older I get, the more people want to say, ‘He’s losing a step.’ In my case, I want, ‘The older I get, the better he’s getting.'”
He was better than ever in 2014, with 99 catches, 1,331 yards, and his first-ever trip to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
What can the Patriots learn from their last Super Bowl repeat?
Breaking down the competition for playing time at defensive tackle with the Ravens.
Looking back at the last five Bengals drafts.
Comparing the Browns secondary with the rest of the units in the league.
What might a Super Bowl hosted by the Steelers look like?
Are there more roster moves coming before the Colts start camp?
The Jaguars have made a smooth transition on offense this offseason.
Vegas doesn’t have much love for the Titans.
Longtime Chiefs executive Jack Steadman died at 86.
Remembering the Raiders’ role in the “Golden Age” of Bay Area sports.
T Isaiah Battle could be a fit for the Eagles in the supplemental draft.
Donny Anderson and Jim Grabowski remain connected to the Packers long after their playing days.
A lot of people are waiting to see if the Vikings move their headquarters.
Saints players were among those cheering on the U.S. soccer team on Sunday night.
The Buccaneers find comparisons from the past for their current players.
Three suggested additions to the Cardinals Ring of Honor.
Some things the 49ers won’t miss about former coach Jim Harbaugh.
Maybe it’s just because he’s on vacation and back home in Wisconsin, but Tony Romo doesn’t seem worried.
Asked at his football camp back home about the Cowboys’ ongoing negotiations with wide receiver Dez Bryant, Romo expressed confidence a deal would get done.
“The NFL is a business, it really is, ” Romo said, via Mike Ramczyk of MyRacineCounty.com You’ll see that side sometimes, with DeMarco [Murray] leaving and Dez not being part of the offseason.
Asked about the way the business side of the game affects the locker room, Romo took an equally que sera, sera approach.
“Once you play in the NFL, you recognize there’s turnover,” he said. “One of the big flaws for a football team will be if you have a little bit of success, you think you’re just going to pick up where you left off. You have to start over every year. Your team will be different each year.
“You’re not worried about much more than improvement on an individual basis. Collectively, you don’t worry about people that aren’t there. Over time, everyone will get better if you take that certain approach.”
If Bryant had stayed away in a huff all offseason, it would be easy enough to stretch that comment into a dig at the star wideout. But because Bryant’s been hanging around, joking with Romo on the sidelines during minicamp, it’s easy to see where the quarterback’s confidence comes from.
But while he has plenty of doctors visits in his future, it appears he may have escaped the worst of the damage.
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, some of the flesh on the Giants defensive ends’ hand was burned off his palm and fingers, but his fingers are intact. (Sorry if you were eating breakfast while reading this.)
While there was some speculation on the internet that he might have lost fingers or part of his hand, a Giants source told the Post those were “overblown.” We can only imagine what that same source said when Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last night that the injury wasn’t career-threatening, and colleague Chris Mortensen followed that up by saying it “may not be game or season threatening either.”
Of course, massive burns, the kind that would result from an explosive device going off in one’s hand, are obviously still a serious issue. And that will likely have the Giants reviewing all their options with Pierre-Paul, who had yet to sign his $14.8 million franchise tender.
Former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland has been widely supported for his decision to walk away from the NFL after a year because of long-term health concerns.
But when he talks to people, he hears a common refrain, wondering how he could step away from NFL paychecks.
“That has been the biggest surprise for me,” Borland said, via Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “People can’t get over the money.
“That’s all they think about. But your health is a little more important.”
Borland volunteered to hand back three-fourths of his signing bonus, or $463,077 from the $2.3 million deal he signed.
“I think people were surprised,” he said. “But I signed a contract. I was living by the contract.”
Borland suffered a concussion during his rookie training camp with the 49ers but didn’t report it, but as time went on, that began to weigh on him.
“Just a combination of my own experience, along with a lot of data that is out there regarding long-term health effects of head injuries,” he said of leaving. “And I play a position and a style of play where I was susceptible to the worst of it.
“I played a physical brand of football and played through some things where it makes sense for me.”
Borland said he’s still exploring “a few pretty decent options,” but wasn’t in a hurry to begin his next career. As with other calls, he seems willing to wait to make the right one at the right time.
With Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffering injuries from a fireworks mishap that reportedly aren’t career-threatening, the Giants now must address a more important question regarding his career: Will they rescind his franchise tender?
They can; under Article 10, Section 2(d), the franchise tender can be withdrawn at any time. It would instantly create $14.8 million in cash and cap space, but it also would make Pierre-Paul an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team, with no compensation for the Giants if Pierre-Paul signs with a new team.
But if Pierre-Paul signs the contract, he’s entitled to $14.8 million, fully guaranteed. Article 10, Section 2(c) contains a procedure for terminating a franchise player’s contract for failure “to establish or maintain his excellent physical condition,” which would allow the Giants to pull the plug on the contract if, for example, the Giants realize after he signs the tender that his injuries will keep him from playing.
But that likewise would make Pierre-Paul a free agent. There’s one approach that wouldn’t. The Giants could determine that Pierre-Paul won’t be able to play due to a non-football injury, they can place him on the non-football injury list, and they can elect to not pay him. He would be able to file a grievance challenging the designation, but if the medical evidence due to the fireworks-related injuries is clear, he’ll have a hard time prevailing.
Regardless of how it plays out, the Giants have picked up some leverage. Whether by rescinding the tender or terminating the contract or placing him on NFI, they can drop Pierre-Paul’s compensation for 2015 from $14.8 million to whatever another team would pay a guy with an injured hand to, if they choose the NFI route, nothing. This dynamic could push Pierre-Paul’s expectations on a long-term deal toward a range that Giants are willing to satisfy.
At a minimum, the injury could result in a structure that pays Pierre-Paul based in part on his ability to play, primarily through the use of per-game roster bonuses. Since Pierre-Paul is responsible for the injuries that have now created real questions about his ability to play, he should be amenable to a contract that protects the Giants in the event that he can’t.
Either way, the clock continues to tick. The Giants and Pierre-Paul have 10 days to work out a long-term deal, or the only option will be a one-year contract.
Pierre-Paul’s injury is not believed to be career threatening, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
As we in the United States celebrate our nation’s birthday, fireworks are, for millions of Americans, part of the fun. But they’re not without their risks. The fifth of July is always a day full of news stories about injuries in fireworks accidents, and yesterday at least one man died while setting off fireworks.
Pierre-Paul easily could have lost his hand, or worse. If he survived this accident with his career intact, he can count himself as lucky.
As the U.S. national women’s soccer team prepares to face Japan in the final match of the World Cup, the Raiders have issued something far more significant than the perfunctory tweet in support of the effort.
Via the Sunday Night Football twitter page, the Raiders took out a full page ad in the Vancouver Sun, with a photo of star player Alex Morgan and beneath it the slogan “Just Win Baby,” along with the Raiders logo.
The match starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. The U.S. women’s team last won the World Cup in 1999.
The ad appeared in Saturday’s edition, which was the 86th anniversary of the birth of former owner Al Davis.
For many of us, last night was a chance to blow off some steam, if not some fingers.
But Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul might have gotten a little too close to the action.
According to Andy Slater of WINZ in Miami, Pierre-Paul “severely injured” his hand in a fireworks accident last night.
A woman who said she was his neighbor tweeted out a photo of a “truck load of fireworks,” showing large boxes in a van.
Details at this point are few, but this could potentially have a huge impact on him and the Giants, as he hasn’t signed his franchise tender worth $14.8 million, and they’d have a tremendous lack of pass rush without him if he missed an extended amount of time.
As the Chargers prepare to break up with San Diego, San Diego seems to be preparing to tell the Chargers, “I. Am Breaking up with you.”
Beyond the unscientific U-T San Diego poll that shows a preference to keep Comic-Con over keeping the Chargers, a new column from Dan McSwain of U-T San Diego argued that the town may be better off without the team.
McSwain calls a new stadium “a bad business deal for the public,” with hidden costs beyond up-front taxpayer expenses driving the contribution much higher. Then there’s the question of whether having an NFL team in town actually generates significant revenue.
As a practical matter, the column gives those not inclined to subsidize a new NFL stadium more ammunition for arguments with those who do. And if gives those who are on the fence about the issue ammunition for coming to a conclusion that having the Chargers move 90 miles up the road may not be such a bad thing.
Ultimately, it gives San Diego a way to fire a middle finger back at the franchise that currently is displaying both of them in the direction of the city.
Soon, Ron Wolf will enter the Hall of Fame in Canton. Just up the road resides a team with which he has multiple connections.
In addition to a short stint with the Browns in 2004 that ended quickly because then-coach Butch Davis “got a bee up wherever one gets a bee up,” Wolf had a key role in recommending the hire of Mike Holmgren as CEO by former owner Randy Lerner.
So what went wrong in Cleveland for the guy who coached the Packers team Wolf built to a Super Bowl win?
“It didn’t work,” Wolf tells the Canton Repository. “I don’t know the reason why it didn’t.”
And then Wolf touched on the potential reason..
“They tried to bring a quarterback in,” Wolf said. “They brought [Colt] McCoy in, and it didn’t work. They brought [Brandon] Weeden in, and it didn’t work.”
The decision to use a first-round pick on Weeden confused Wolf.
“I was shocked when they brought Weeden in only because, from being around Mike, his first thing about a quarterback was feet,” Wolf said. “It was the first thing Mike talked about . . . feet. That guy had no feet. . . .
“To me, the No. 1 tenet in the game is, you’ve got to have a quarterback. If you don’t have a quarterback, then you can’t play. They didn’t get that guy.”
The Browns are still looking for that guy, an admission that 2014 first-rounder Johnny Manziel likely won’t become that guy and an acknowledgement that veteran Josh McCown is merely the dog-paddle option while they keep searching for that guy.
As long as there are NFL teams looking for that guy, plenty of guys who already are that guy with another team will be paid plenty of dollars to keep that guy from becoming that guy with another team.
There’s no clearer sign that running back Trent Richardson’s career has not gone as planned than the fact that he’s starting his fourth NFL season on his third team after being the third overall pick by the Browns in the 2012 draft.
If there’s an optimistic spin to put on Richardson signing with the Raiders after an ineffective pair of years in Indianapolis following a trade with Cleveland for a first-round pick, it’s that Richardson will get a fresh start with a new coaching staff. While discussing all of the team’s options at running back, offensive line coach Mike Tice said that the Alabama product has made a good early impression in Oakland.
“Each one has their own style,” Tice said on Sirius XM NFL Radio, via the Raiders website. “I like the [Latavius] Murray kid. He really came on in that veteran mini-camp. He got his legs under him and showed some quickness, some good finish. I thought the young man out of Alabama came on. He lost some weight, his quickness came around.”
Richardson hasn’t gotten high marks on quickness in his first two stops, making Tice’s observation a step in the right direction for a player who hasn’t taken enough of them in the last three years.
The Raiders also have Roy Helu, whose “nice hands” got a compliment from Tice as well, so there’s plenty of competition for playing time in Oakland this season. Murray is at the top of that list, but Richardson may work himself into another chance if he can keep doing things that the coaching staff likes once camp gets underway.