ProFootballTalk: Greatest QB class ever?
In an effort to better the experience of attending an NFL game in Seattle, the Seahawks announced Tuesday they will be forming an advisory panel consisting of season tickets holders that will meet with team executives in an effort to get input directly from the fan base.
The group will consist of 12 Seahawks season ticket holders that will meet regularly with team president Peter McLoughlin.
“The Fan Advisory Council will play an important role in our efforts to maintain and enhance the Seahawks fan experience,” McLoughlin said in a statement. “We will hold quarterly meetings to discuss and focus on a variety of fan related issues including: in-stadium fan experience, game presentation and in-stadium technology.”
The Seahawks aren’t the only team that have looked to their fan base for input to improve the fan experience. The Cleveland Browns formed a similar panel in 2009 with 25 fans selected by the team to meet with members of the Browns front office.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent yet another surgery Tuesday as part of an offseason filled with procedures aimed at patching the New England Patriots star back together.
This surgery was to address a problematic back. The surgery was said to have gone well and now the surgeon who performed the procedure, Dr. Robert Watkins, has released a statement on the procedure.
“New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy surgery performed by Dr. Robert Watkins at Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles,” the statement said, via Christopher Price of WEEI.com. “The surgery went well. The timing of his return to football will depend on his progression through the rehabilitation program.”
A lumbar discectomy is geared toward addressing issues with a herniated disc in a person’s back.
Watkins performed the same surgery on New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul earlier this month. Pierre-Paul’s recovery time was pegged at 12 weeks. If the same time table holds for Gronkowski it will be very close whether he’ll be available to start the season. Twelve weeks from the day of the surgery would be two days after the Patriots season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
With all due respect to the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and others, Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo believes the Cleveland Browns could have the best defensive unit in the league this season.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mingo believes the Browns have the pieces in place to be among the league’s best.
“If everything is going well, I think this defense could be the best in the league,” Mingo said.
“We have a lot of players that can contribute and help this team win. We’ve got a lot of rushers. We’ve got corners on the back-end. We’ve got D-linemen that can hold those blocks and get off and make plays. We’ve got linebackers that can come up and tackle the run and get back in coverage as well. So we have a lot of tools that we can use.”
It would be a pretty significant climb from where the Browns finished in 2012. Cleveland was ranked 23rd in the league last season in total defense and 19th in points allowed.
The Browns do have some strong pieces on the defensive side of the ball and the potential to be especially strong in the front seven. Joe Haden has Pro Bowl potential at corner and the addition of defensive coordinator Ray Horton could help solidify the group as a whole.
Still, it seems a little premature for anyone, let alone a rookie, to claim the Browns belong in that conversation. The potential could be there, but they’ll have to prove they belong to be considered one of the league’s best defenses this fall.
According to the New Orleans Times Picayune, the guilty plea came on Friday in federal court. Geller was accused of spending roughly $500,000 in life insurance proceeds generated by the death of former Saints defensive lineman Frank Warren, who passed in 2002.
Geller was wiring diminished payments to Warren’s family, keeping the rest. Suspicions first arose in 2009.
Sentencing is set for September 12, at which time Geller faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The decision to accept responsibility absent a trial should help Geller receive a more favorable punishment.
In time, that revolutionary new stadium to be built in Minnesota will look downright boring.
NFL teams are realizing that one way to get fans to choose attending games over watching them at home will be to play the games in compelling structures that make fans want to be there, regardless of how good or bad the home team is.
The new Vikings stadium becomes the first to incorporate an Olympics-style ingenuity. The new Falcons stadium will take it to a new level.
On Tuesday, the Falcons announced that the “conceptual design” of the stadium has been “completed and approved.” And the “conceptual design” that has been selected has the look of a futuristic change purse.
A Falcons spokesman tells PFT that this isn’t the final design, but that there’s a “pretty good chance” the finished product will closely resemble the concept.
If the “Change Purse” comes to fruition, designers of future structures will have their work cut out for them, as the stadium arms race expands from giant HD video screens and high-speed Internet access to include stunning designs that will make the cars line up even deeper than they did for Kevin Costner’s corn field in Iowa.
With some uncertainty still surrounding their middle linebacker position, the Minnesota Vikings are bringing in recently released linebacker Desmond Bishop for a visit on Wednesday.
The Vikings have planned on shifting Erin Henderson inside this offseason to serve as their starter after primarily serving on the outside during his time in Minnesota. But Henderson doesn’t feel there should be any uncertainty whatsoever. He has no doubts he will be the Vikings starting middle linebacker.
“I’m playing the Mike,” Henderson said, via Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
It’s just another possible replacement for Henderson that has cropped up this offseason. Manti Te’o, Brian Urlacher and now Bishop have all been considered as options to fill the Vikings middle linebacker role. It’s actually angered Henderson to have to continually hear about guys who will be taking a job he firmly sees as being his.
Henderson isn’t opposed to the Vikings signing Bishop if he can add to the talent at the position. He just had no intentions of letting Bishop, or anyone else, take his starting job.
“I have a chance to play Mike now, I don’t see why I would let it slip out of my hands or let it go any other way,” Henderson said. “So, that’s what my mindset is and that’s what I’m thinking.”
Jets. Four letters. Four heads on Mt. Rushmore.
None will be wearing the headgear of a firefighter.
But 12 finalists other than Fireman Ed have been identified. Vote for up to four from the list of finalists appearing below.
The winners will be announced on Thursday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, the same day the Patriots’ Mt. Rushmore will be announced.
Coincidentally, the butt fumble happened on a Thursday.
If the NFL plans to make the process of cutting players more “humane,” that dose of humanity won’t come from a kinder, gentler Hard Knocks.
The executive producer of the show has told SiriusXM NFL Radio that scenes of players being cut won’t be cut from the upcoming season.
“How we’re going to handle it is show exactly how they handle it,” Ross Ketover told Jim Miller and Alex Marvez. “If it’s kind, we’re going to show it. If it’s harsh, we’re going to show that, too.”
This could mean that the league office will suggest that the Bengals use a softer approach. Softer, say, than the scene from the last time the Bengals were the subject of the series, when former Bengals director of football operations Jim Lippincott dumped fullback J.D. Runnels in a manner that Ketover admits was “pretty harsh.”
Still, there’s only so much that can be done to change the way teams reduce from up to 90 players down to 53.
“There is no easy way to release players,” coach Marvin Lewis told Marvez via text message. “It’s always easier early in the morning so they don’t have to face their peers. Generally, this is done around the breakfast hour. Otherwise, it’s more awkward.
“It is the end to a chapter here but hopefully not to their career.”
Though every meeting with every player who is cut includes some sort of encouragement or advice suggesting that the glass is half full, plenty of these guys just don’t have what it takes to make it at the NFL level. At some point, the most humane approach entails telling them that it’s time to find something else to do.
After the cameras are off, of course.
The vast bulk of the pro football apparel of my childhood has long been discarded or boxed away, but what NFL fans and personnel wear still continues to interest me.
It’s nostalgia, I suppose. I associate the team apparel of the 1980s and 1990s with my formative years watching and learning the game.
I remember getting a Seahawks rain poncho ordered out of the Sears catalog as a gift, buying an Los Angeles Rams Starter snapback cap at a little mall sports store long gone. When I watch NFL Films highlights, I note the fashion of the day, how the uniforms have changed, what brand of jackets the coaches wore on the sidelines.
The Boston Globe published an interesting feature Tuesday about the current state of NFL merchandising. As you might imagine, the business of team apparel is big business.
Of particular note: league-approved vendors are already readying merchandise for 2014.
“The sports apparel industry has become exponentially more strategic and sophisticated,” Marty Brochstein, senior vice president for industry relations and information for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, told the Globe.
Another tidbit that intrigued me: per the Globe, the NFL requires Nike to have enough blank jerseys on hand to meet demand in the event a player becomes especially popular. As the Globe noted, Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey is one that quickly became a big-seller.
So who emerges to become a jersey-selling star this year?
I’m very intrigued by the Jets’ Geno Smith. Here’s why: if he wins the starting job and the Jets start well, his replica jerseys are going to sell very, very well in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area.
After all, it’s not as if the Tim Tebow green replicas are in style these days.
The 49ers waived Brandon Carswell with an injury designation on Tuesday, the NFL disclosed in its transaction log.
The 24-year-old Carswell suffered an ACL tear last Wednesday, the same day he signed with the club.
Carswell, who played collegiately at Southern Cal, had a brief stint on the Raiders’ practice squad a season ago.
The 49ers now have 11 wide receivers on their roster, including Michael Crabtree, who figures to miss at least a portion of the 2013 campaign after tearing his Achilles in May.
Fantasy football players continue to be fascinated with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. But when if comes to figuring out the most important contributors to the franchise, Jones-Drew must yield to his predecessor, Fred Taylor.
It’s Taylor, who retired at No. 15 on the all-time rushing list, who trumps Jones-Drew as the most accomplished running back in franchise history.
Joining Taylor on the team’s Mt. Rushmore are quarterback Mark Brunell, receiver Jimmy Smith, and coach Tom Coughlin.
PFT Planet replaced Coughlin with left tackle Tony Boselli.
See the Boselli-Coughlin debate and the outcome of the voting by watching the segment from Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.
The Aaron Hernandez situation remains fluid and confusing. Both SI.com and ABC now report that police are searching Hernandez’s North Attleboro home.
The investigation was sparked by the discovery of the body of a Hernandez “associate” in the vicinity of a car rented to Hernandez, roughly a mile from his residence.
According to ABC, a pair of Hernandez’s friends tried to leave the home during the search, but were stopped by police at the end of the driveway leading to the structure. Per SI.com, both were taken away by police, but not handcuffed.
The Patriots, who don’t usually say much of anything, have remained true to form.
“I am aware of the reports, but I do not anticipate that we will be commenting publicly during an ongoing police investigation,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James said in a statement forward to PFT.
Hernandez repeatedly has been described as not a suspect, but it’s unusual to say the least that the home of someone who isn’t suspected of committing a crime would be searched — especially in light of the Constitutional protection against unreasonable police searches.
That’s the key fact here. Even though there currently is no reason to believe Hernandez committed a crime, the authorities were able to persuade a judge that the house potentially contains something that would help find the killer.
As MDS mentioned earlier in the hour, Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez finds himself in the middle of an investigation regarding the death of a man described as a Hernandez “associate.”
The situation, which is extremely fluid, already has spawned inconsistent accounts. For example, SI reports that Hernandez has been questioned, while ABC reports that investigators plan to interview him. Likewise, SI reports that police may seek to search Hernandez’s home; ABC reports that police are indeed seeking a search warrant.
Per ABC, Hernandez has been “uncooperative.”
Reporters in Boston have been buzzing all afternoon regarding the situation. The team has not responded to a PFT email seeking comment, and folks close to Hernandez are saying nothing, given the gravity of the situation.
There’s still no evidence that Hernandez is or will be a suspect. Given that the the body was found in the vicinity of a car that, per SI, was rented in Hernandez’s name, a level of stupidity on par with Jesse Pinkman would be necessary to result in Hernandez actually being involved.
Then again, even Jesse Pinkman would know that it’s a good idea to be cooperative with police when there’s no reason to not be.
The Colts’ 2013 training camp practices will begin on Sunday, July 28, owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday on Twitter.
Colts camp will be held at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. Anderson is a little more than 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Per the CBA between owners and players, the earliest the Colts’ veteran players can report to camp is Saturday, July 27, or 15 days before the Colts’ preseason opener against Buffalo on Monday, August 11. Rookies, injured players and quarterbacks are allowed to report sooner.
The Colts are holding training camp in Anderson for the fourth consecutive summer.
Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has reportedly been questioned in a homicide investigation, although he is not considered a suspect.
Sports Illustrated reports that Hernandez was questioned by police investigating a possible homicide in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. The report says police talked to Hernandez on Monday and may seek to search his home as well. But the report adds that “Hernandez is not believed to be a murder suspect.”
The Sun Chronicle, a local newspaper in North Attleboro, reports that a 27-year-old Boston man’s body was found on Monday afternoon and may have been there for more than a day. That report said police found a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban registered to Enterprise car rental, and that police believe the car is connected to the homicide. The Sports Illustrated report indicates that the car was rented in Hernandez’s name.
Hernandez, his agents and his lawyer have all declined to comment publicly on the case.