Mike Florio breaks down trending topics around the NFL. Alfonzo Dennard will almost certainly miss some of the 2013 season after being convicted of assault, more evidence surfaces that Mike Wallace could be headed to Miami, and Lauren Silberman is set to be the first female ever to compete at the scouting combine.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Patriots’ gamble ultimately doesn’t pay off
Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a potential Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, is facing scrutiny from the NCAA about his contact with agents.
Tunsil was arrested last week and accused of punching his stepfather. Now his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, has com forward to say that the fight between them started when Miller warned him to stay away from agents.
Miller told the Clarion-Ledger that he is aware of NCAA violations and has met with the NCAA. Tunsil is permitted to meet with agents, but Miller says their contact has gone beyond just meeting and includes gifts in violation of NCAA rules.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been supportive of Tunsil, both regarding the NCAA investigation and regarding the arrest for the altercation with his stepfather.
“We are aware that Laremy and his family have met with potential agents, which is within his NCAA rights as a student-athlete,” Freeze said in a statement. “Regarding the altercation, we will continue to gather facts and cooperate with the proper authorities.”
Tunsil is only two years out of high school, so he would not have been eligible for this year’s regular draft, or the supplemental draft. If the NCAA rules that he can’t play for Ole Miss, he won’t be playing football at all until he gets to the NFL next year.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has threatened to miss regular-season games if he doesn’t get the contract he wants by July 15, the deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to a multi-year deal. It was obvious from the moment owner Jerry Jones said he’s confident Bryant will be leading the charge in Week One against the Giants that the Cowboys don’t buy it.
And so the latest report that the Cowboys don’t buy it wasn’t a surprise. Neither was the report that the Cowboys believe Bryant needs the money; as Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, the Cowboys have known all about Bryant’s total financial condition for years, since the team has been helping him manage it.
To get the Cowboys to take his threat seriously, Bryant will have to something surprising, to the point of shocking. He’ll need to publicly declare that he will not show up for the regular-season opener if he doesn’t have a new contract before July 15. And he’ll need to be prepared to reiterate that vow after July 15, if he doesn’t get a new contract.
Meanwhile, there are indications that a new contract is possible before July 15. Earlier this week, some in Dallas believed a deal was imminent. (A source with knowledge of the situation told PFT that nothing would be happening soon.)
With 12 days to go until the window closes on a long-term deal, time is running short. And in a deadline-driven business like the NFL, the time is getting ripe to work something out.
Ultimately, the question is whether an intersection can be found between what Bryant wants and what the Cowboys will pay. It’s easy to protect the team against potential off-field issues. The more significant challenge will be to come up with a structure and a total payout that gives Bryant what he deserves, especially since he could make more than $28 million under the tag over the next two years before hitting the market in 2018.
The city of San Diego has been able to hang onto one of its civic institutions, and apparently, it’s the more important one.
According to U-T San Diego, the city has signed a two-year extension to its deal to host Comic-Con, keeping the pop-culture convention there through 2018.
The eye-opening part is that people there may prefer that to the Chargers, by a pretty large margin.
In a poll on the newspapers website, a one-or-the-other choice between a comic book convention and NFL football has the guys in tights with a 17-point edge. (That’s as of the moment this was published, with 887 of the 1511 votes cast going against the Chargers, or 58 percent.)
Granted, this is far from scientific, or an apples-to-apples choice. While the convention sells out plenty of hotel rooms and pumps money into the local economy, it’s a one-shot deal compared to 10 games and storylines that fill the calendar.
But it may also signal the civic ambivalence that has kept San Diego from getting a stadium built, which has the team looking for greener pastures in Los Angeles.
In 2003, Rush Limbaugh resigned from a shortly held job on ESPN after his opinion that the media overpraised Donovan McNabb because it was “very desirous” to see an African-American quarterback do well in the NFL was met with much criticism.
More than 10 years later, Limbaugh finds the media singing a different tune when it comes to another African-American quarterback. On his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh was discussing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s recent address to the United Nations about protecting the oceans. Limbaugh wasn’t crazy about that message — “we couldn’t destroy the ocean if we tried” — but also found something to criticize about the media’s coverage of Griffin.
“RGIII, the quarterback — don’t know for how long — of the Washington Redskins, came into the league amidst great fanfare,” Limbaugh said, via CBS DC. “First-round draft choice. Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, traded up to get RGIII, and he’s had some injuries and he just hasn’t maxed his potential. Well, some people think he’s bombed. And the media, it’s kind of strange, because here we have an African-American quarterback and yet the media has been kind of mean to RGIII. And one of the reasons is that it’s suspected that RGIII is a Republican.”
There’s one notable bit of Griffin criticism that involves his presumed political leanings — Limbaugh’s fellow former ESPNer Rob Parker’s stance that Griffin isn’t authentically African-American named his support for Republicans as one of the reasons — but the majority of the criticism of Griffin has been directly related to his play over the last two seasons. Just as it has been for Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, JaMarcus Russell and several other African-American quarterbacks (including McNabb) who have come under fire in the media regardless of their political opinions.
The opposite has been true for Peyton Manning, whose donations to GOP candidates hasn’t led to much of a backlash from a media that’s named him the NFL’s MVP five times.
Mike Tice is in his fourth different stop as an NFL offensive line coach this season with the Raiders, and he thinks he now has his most physically imposing group yet.
“I’m pretty excited about the group I have to work with. First of all, it’s the biggest – I was telling my wife and some friends the other day – it’s the biggest, most athletic group of guys I’ve worked with before,” Tice said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Tice singled out Gabe Jackson, a 2014 third-round pick who started 12 games for the Raiders as a rookie.
“I think the guys on the offensive side are very impressive. We have a good blend of older and middle-aged and some younger guys that are going be to rising stars in the league,” he said. “I think a guy that’s had the best offseason of everybody, and that’s Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State. [I’ve] had some familiarity with him in the Senior Bowl two years ago, when we coached the Senior Bowl when I was in Atlanta, he was on the opposing team and I got to spend some time with him. Gabe is a big, athletic, strong — great football background. His dad was a high school football coach. I think he’s a rising star. I think he has a chance to be a really good one.”
The Raiders think they have their franchise quarterback in place in Derek Carr. If Tice is right about the talent he inherited, they’ve also got a line in place to keep Carr healthy at the helm for years to come.
The Broncos re-signed a free agent tight end this offseason, but it wasn’t their biggest name at the position.
Julius Thomas is now in Jacksonville while Virgil Green has remained in Denver for a fifth season. Green’s first four seasons have seen him spend a lot of time as a blocker, which has resulted in just 23 catches. Even with Owen Daniels on board, that number is expected to go up in 2015 with head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense frequently targeting tight ends. Green likes those expectations.
“I believe I can do what’s needed of me,” Green said, via ESPN.com. “They didn’t need me to catch a lot of passes, but I think that’s part of my game where I can still make things happen. I love to block, I take pride in moving somebody against their will in those situations, but I take pride in receiving and I think I can do it. I want those expectations. I’ve always believed in my abilities and what I can do. It’s all about opportunity and I think there will be more opportunity now.”
The Broncos Offense is going to look different this season after all of the changes since we last saw them in their playoff loss to the Colts. If Green is able to meet the expanded expectations for his contributions, the chances that different will mean less productive will be a little slimmer.
OK, so I had a couple of weeks of vacation last month. And, yeah, I’ve got more vacation coming up.
But today is a holiday for plenty of people, but I’ll be manning the Mr. Microphone at PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Primarily since it’s really not any different than having a really long telephone conversation about America’s favorite sport.
Today’s really long conversation about America’s favorite sport will include regular contributions from producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera, along with visits from Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego.
Through the really long conversation about America’s favorite sport, we’ll be keeping an eye on the possibility for another bad-news dump.
Which could be good news when it comes to the effort of trying to fill that really long conversation about America’s favorite sport.
The conversation begins at 12:00 p.m. ET, and it ends at 3:00 p.m. ET. You can listen on Sirius 213, XM 202, ProFootballTalk.com, and NBCSportsRadio.com.
Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and head coach Chip Kelly go back a long way.
Day played quarterback when Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire and then joined the coaching staff, which gave him a close view of Kelly’s evolution as an offensive coach. Day says Kelly would “go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer” as he formed his offensive viewpoint.
The experimentation hasn’t stopped in the NFL and it now extends to personnel moves like the trade for quarterback Sam Bradford this offseason. Day says it is “an exciting opportunity” to work with a “really, really talented” quarterback who hasn’t gotten a chance to show off his full skill set as a pro because he’s been hurt so often.
“I think it really has been [injury],” Day said, via Birds 24/7. “When you’ve had the season-ending injuries he’s had, it’s hard to kinda put the foot on the pedal and roll. So I think sky’s the limit for him that way.”
Bradford’s not the only big gamble that Kelly took after assuming control of personnel this offseason, but he may wind up being the one that has the most to say about how close the Eagles can get to 16-0 during the 2015 season.
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz isn’t spouting cliches about taking it one game at a time when asked what he expects from the coming season.
Asked on NFL Network about his goals for 2015, Ertz said that he and his teammates are looking to win every game.
“We want to win each and every game we go out there, and that’s the goal, 16-0 for us right now,” Ertz said.
That goal might be slightly unrealistic, but we wouldn’t exactly expect Ertz to say his goal is to go 4-12. Unfortunately, the track record for players talking about going 16-0 isn’t great: Ndamukong Suh said the Lions could go 16-0 before a season when they went 10-6, and Roddy White said the Falcons could go 16-0 just before they lost their first game of the season in 2012.
And, of course, the only team that has gone 16-0 ended up losing the Super Bowl. If Ertz is going to look ahead and set his sights high, winning the Super Bowl would be a better goal.
The holiday weekend is getting underway, but we’ll still have three hours of PFT Live on Friday to get you up to date on all you need to know about the NFL before the fireworks go off on Saturday night.
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will join Mike Florio on the show to discuss the latest on wide receiver Dez Bryant’s push for a new contract. We’ll see if Hill thinks Bryant is bluffing about missing time in the regular season and whether the Cowboys will be moved to offer him more to avoid finding out.
Hill will also talk about linebacker Rolando McClain’s four-game suspension, which was one of four bans handed down on Thursday. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was also on that list and Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego will update us on the team’s plans for life without him early in the season.
We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.
The apparent desire of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to become the newest highest-paid player in the NFL conflicts with the “Go ‘Hawks!” mentality Wilson regularly projects. As Wilson’s unsettled status beyond 2015 continues to linger, that disconnect could be starting to take a toll on Wilson’s reputation in Seattle.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that “Wilson’s image is absorbing some serious puncture wounds” amid the increasing focus on his contractual expectations.
“I’ve heard and read more Wilson backlash in the past three weeks than in the previous three years combined,” Stone writes. “When it came to throwing an interception on the decisive play of the Super Bowl, Wilson largely got away blame-free. But when a story leaked last week that he wanted to become the highest-paid player in the NFL, well, the notion of a greedy Wilson began to be put forth on talk shows and comment threads.”
The problem isn’t whether Wilson wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL, because the bar remains at a mere $22 million per year. The problem is whether Wilson wants to clear the current high-water mark by $3 million or more per year.
That’s where “Go ‘Hawks!” gives way to “pay me.” Most fans believe Wilson can’t be both a pom-pom waving team-first system quarterback and a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman. (And there’s nothing wrong with being a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman; that’s what pretty much every NFL owner is.)
Compounding the problem is that Wilson has been readily available to the media, doing radio interviews and speaking at his various passing camps and sitting down with ESPN and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. Although Wilson continues to avoid saying he wants to be paid more than anyone else in the game, the fact that he’s not saying he doesn’t is reinforcing the perception that he does.
Especially when he blurted out $25 million as a possible alternative to his $1.5 million salary for 2015.
As training camp, the preseason, and the regular season approach, Wilson will continue to be asked questions about his contract. At this point, the only way to keep the situation from becoming a major distraction for the 2015 season will be to do the best deal he can with the Seahawks or shut down all negotiations until February.
Given that healthy franchise quarterbacks always work out long-term contracts, it’s odd that the story has gotten so big so long before the 2016 offseason. Some would blame Wilson for that. Others would blame his agent, Mark Rodgers. Others would blame the team for not paying Wilson what he’s worth. Others would blame the media for making Mt. Rainier out of a raisin.
Maybe the blame should on one or more or all of those parties. Regardless, the current size of the story and the potential that it will become dramatically bigger once the time comes to play games that count necessarily becomes a factor Wilson must consider when assessing the offer the Seahawks put on the table before Week One.
Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion should maybe consider just avoiding his home state from now on.
Not only is the state of Florida still holding the truck and the $190,028.81 in cash he was carrying with him when he was arrested with a big bag of weed, but now there’s an individual trying to get in his pocket as well.
According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Guion is facing a civil suit over a 2013 altercation, for which no charges were ever filed.
The suit was filed in Bradford County, Florida by Martius Holland, who Guion’s agent Seth Katz said is the boyfriend of Krystal Troutman, the mother of Guion’s child.
The report said Guion allegedly struck Holland in the head during an altercation, causing “physical pain, suffering and mental and emotional anguish.” Guion was also accused of sending threats of physical violence to Holland.
“We’re aware of the suit and is suspect nature,” Katz said. “We’re aware that Mr. Holland and Ms. Troutman are attempting to enrich themselves. Troy’s attorneys are aggressively defending it. There’s no basis for it.”
No matter what happens with the suit, it’s one more entanglement for Guion, whose arrest probably cost him a multi-year contract this offseason.
The latest reminder from the Titans that the team still isn’t for sale came not only from interim CEO/president Steve Underwood but also from Kenneth Adams IV. As noted by David Climer of the Tennessean, some see that as the first step in the emergence of the grandson of team founder Bud Adams as the face of the franchise’s ownership.
The problem, as Climer notes, is that the 31-year-old Adams owns only 11 percent of the team. His brother, Barclay, and mother, Susan Lewis, also own 11 percent — which came from the 33 percent of the team that was earmarked for the late Kenneth Adams III, son of Bud Adams.
Amy Adams Strunk and Susie Adams Smith, the daughters of Bud Adams, also own 33 percent each.
The end result is the absence of one clear voice to run the team. Which creates the perception that the organization isn’t stable. Which invites speculation that, for the right offer, the various members of the Adams family would opt to cash out in lieu of having one of them figure out how to buy the others out.
The truth could be that none of them individually have the resources to emerge as the clear owner. Which means that it makes plenty of sense, if they really aren’t selling, to find someone who would play the role of owner — even if he doesn’t personally own enough of the team to actually be the owner.
Regardless, the situation likely isn’t sustainable over the long haul, especially as the 33-percent shares held by Strunk and Smith pass to their children and become further diluted. Which could be the main reason for the lingering rumors of a sale of the team and the ongoing efforts of the five owners to dispel those rumors.
Even if current ownership is simply trying to prevent someone from thinking that the team could be purchased cheaply, a long-term solution that consolidates equity and power in one person is needed, sooner than later.
For most teams, the Collective Bargaining Agreement makes negotiating rookie contracts a breeze. But the Titans are not like most teams.
With Marcus Mariota still unsigned, the Titans are the only team in the NFL without its first-round pick under contract. Just like they were last year, when tackle Taylor Lewan was the last first-round pick to sign his contract. And just like they were two years ago, when guard Chance Warmack was the last first-round pick to sign his contract.
Warmack’s negotiations lasted so long that he missed the first four practices of training camp. The year before that, Titans first-round receiver Kendall Wright missed the first three practices of training camp during contract negotiations. The Titans (who are still negotiating offset language on Mariota’s contract) are willing to wait for their first-round picks to sign a team-friendly contract, even if that takes a while.
But while it’s one thing for offensive linemen and wide receivers to miss the first few days of training camp, it’s quite another for the starting quarterback not to be there. If Mariota isn’t there at the beginning of camp, it will slow down his own development, and it will delay the process of getting his timing down with the rest of the Titans’ offense.
So it would be good for both Mariota and the Titans to get this deal done before camp opens. Unfortunately, it’s possible that neither side is willing to budge.
As Independence Day approaches, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp should savor his American freedoms. Because they’re in jeopardy. At least for a little while.
The domestic violence charges filed against Sapp arising from an April incident with his long-time girlfriend in Las Vegas have resulted in the reopening of Sapp’s other 2015 legal entanglement — the claim that he assaulted a pair of prostitutes in Arizona.
According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Sapp has been required to return to court in Arizona on July 31 for allegedly violating the terms of the probation agreement entered in the Arizona case.
Absent another plea deal, Sapp will face up to 30 days in jail and two years of probation on the charge of assaulting two prostitutes. (The solicitation charge against Sapp was dismissed and won’t be reopened.)
Sapp separately faced up to 18 months behind bars on the April assault charges. He’s due in court in Nevada on July 23 for that case.