Mike Florio breaks down the biggest headlines around the NFL and starts with the reported one-year deal the Patriots have offered restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders. While the signing might put to rest any talk of collusion, Florio isn’t ready to put the topic to bed. Richard Sherman is back in the headlines after the Seahawks CB is quoted as saying “half the league takes Adderall,” and Florio runs down his All-Unemployed Team.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Sanders to Patriots smells fishy
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has heard the comparisons between himself and Barry Sanders. But McCoy doesn’t particularly agree with those comparisons.
McCoy says it’s flattering that his elusive running style is sometimes compared to the former Lion and Hall of Famer, but McCoy also acknowledges that his own body of work is nowhere close to what Sanders accomplished in the NFL.
“I don’t really see it as a comparison,” McCoy said, via Philly.com. “I think Barry is probably the best running back to ever play this game. They compare us probably because of the cutbacks, but there is still a big gap between us two.”
McCoy is right: Although McCoy makes some great highlight-reel runs, there’s really no one like Sanders. And McCoy hasn’t been anywhere near the workhorse back that Sanders was. Sanders led the league in rushing four times, was second in the NFL in rushing three times, was third once, fourth once and fifth once. McCoy, who is currently second in the league in rushing, has never led the league and has only been in the Top 10 once before.
So while McCoy is a very good running back, he hasn’t earned the comparisons to Sanders. It’s classy of him to acknowledge that.
It’s a Saturday morning in December. Which according to PFT bylaws means that it’s time to provide an update regarding a former NFL quarterback whose lingering relevance to the game comes in other ways.
It required a coin flip between an offer recently made by the Milan Seamen and the exploits of Oak Grove High School.
In the ensuing battle of five-letter quarterbacks, the older guy won.
According to the Hattiesburg American, Brett Favre won his second football championship via a retirement gig as offensive coordinator at the high school where he worked out during his various retirements. The Oak Grove Warriors beat Tupelo, 14-7, for the school’s first Mississippi high school state championship.
“I can’t say it’s like a Super Bowl, but it’s pretty close,” Favre said, via the Associated Press. “It really is. It’s a different type of feeling, but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The decisive points came not from Favre’s playbook, but from a fake field goal.
“That was all the special teams’ coach,” Favre said. “I don’t call trick plays.”
Tune in next Saturday for the latest news on the former five-letter quarterback with the demeanor of Buddy the Elf.
Texans owner Bob McNair apparently isn’t looking for the next Chip Kelly.
McNair said after firing head coach Gary Kubiak that his successor will be someone who has experience in the NFL. That would rule out hiring someone like Kelly, who jumped from Oregon to the Eagles last year having no NFL experience at all.
“We would like someone who has had head coaching experience, but has also had NFL experience,” McNair said. “It’s a combination of those two things would be the ideal situation and there are people who meet those conditions.”
Art Briles of Baylor and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M have both been mentioned as coaches who might interest McNair, but the fact that neither of them has any NFL experience (not to mention that both of them signed contract extensions last month) would seem to rule them out for the Texans job. McNair also indicated that he’s looking for someone with prior head-coaching experience, not an experienced assistant coach (which is what Kubiak was when McNair hired him).
“Well, experience shows that those people who were selected to be a head coach in the NFL, met with more success if they had had head-coaching experience,” McNair said. “And if you take someone who has been a coordinator, you’re basically moving them from a lower level of management, let’s say, to a higher level of management that they’ve never been in before. So, there’s a question mark as to whether they can elevate their performance to be able to handle those additional responsibilities, and some people can’t.”
Some candidates who fit McNair’s criteria include Lovie Smith, Jack Del Rio, Jon Gruden, Ken Whisenhunt and the Texans’ current interim head coach, Wade Phillips.
Earlier, we shared (and characterized) a report regarding the NFLPA’s “runner rule.” Per the initial Twitter report from FOX Sports, the NFLPA “tweaked” the runner rule, allowing non-certified employees who work with NFLPA agents to sit in on meetings.
PFT has since obtained a copy of the memo sent Friday to all NFLPA-certified agents.
Based on the memo, the runner rule hasn’t been tweaked or changed or revised. The NFLPA has interpreted the rule to allow a non-certified employee to meet once — and only once — with a potential client. The meeting must occur at the certified agent’s place of business, and the certified agent must be present.
More importantly, no other contact may occur between the non-certified employee and the certified agent. Specifically, there can be no phone calls, text messages, emails, social media contacts, or in-person meetings.
The rule permits only one meeting at the certified agent’s office. At the meeting, the non-certified employee can’t act as a closer. Instead, the meeting may happen “in order to introduce that player to the range of services and capabilities offered by” the certified agent’s firm.
It’s unclear how this interpretation has resulted in the reported decision by the NFLPA to clear Kim Miale, the certified agent who works for Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency, of violating the rule. Unless Jay Z (who is not certified by the NFLPA to represent players) attended only one meeting with the goal of introducing Jets quarterback Geno Smith to the services and capabilities of the firm with no other contact of any kind, a violation still occurred.
As a source with knowledge of the NFLPA’s rules explained it to PFT, it’s possible the union’s Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline simply decided to cut Miale a break because she is relatively inexperienced and the rule is relatively new.
The Jaguars have become a juggernaut, winning four of five games after an 0-8 start that exclusively featured double-digit losses.
As they try to stretch their streak to five wins in six games, the Jags apparently will have their star running back in the lineup. Maurice Jones-Drew, appearing on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, said that he’ll play next weekend notwithstanding a hamstring injury suffered on Thursday night against the Texans.
“Definitely,” Jones-Drew said. “Definitely. That’s always been the plan. Right now, I mean, I just want to make sure everything is on track. And then we’ll see how it goes next week but I expect to be out there playing with my teammates.”
In other words, Friday’s MRI went well.
“It’s what we, I think, what we figured out was just a strained hamstring,” Jones-Drew said. “I’ve played with those before so it’s not that big of a deal. You just have to get the necessary treatments and things done so you can get back and get on the field for Sunday.”
For Jones-Drew, the added importance of playing comes from an expiring contract. Even if he were under contract for 2014, the Jags are starting to do something special under coach Gus Bradley. To turn things around so dramatically at a time when the season was essentially over reflects well on Bradley, the players, and the organization.
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, Browner has rejected an offer that would have suspended him until early October 2014. That arrangement would have blocked Browner’s opportunity to hit the free-agent market in March.
It’s possible that further negotiations will result in a compromise.
Per Garafolo, Browner disputes not only his placement in Stage Three of the substance-abuse program upon his return to the NFL in 2011 but also the test that triggered the current violation. Browner claims that the “urine collector used a damaged cup and then poured his urine from that cup into another one,” according to Garafolo, and that Browner’s request to compel testimony from the urine collector at the appeal hearing was denied.
The league’s Medical Review Officer testified at the hearing that he had spoken with the urine collector, who disputed Browner’s contentions.
It’s possible that the league regarded Browner’s allegation as dubious, given that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman successfully used precisely same argument last year to beat a four-game suspension for violation of the performance-enhancing substances policy. For Browner, who knew he was in Stage Three at the time he provided the sample that tested positive, the high stakes created to a natural temptation to embellish.
The appeal hearing concluded nine days ago. The substance-abuse policy requires that a decision be issued within a reasonable time.
The $100,000 fine imposed on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for his sideline side-step carries with it another potential sanction. The league has said that “modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined.”
Peter King of TheMMQB.com said on Friday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN that further sanctions are highly unlikely.
Per King, the Steelers would lose a draft pick only if the Ravens fail to make it to the playoffs based on the absence of the four extra points that would have been scored if receiver Jacoby Jones had managed to make it to the end zone on the kickoff return with which Tomlin interfered. (The drive ended in one of Justin Tucker’s five field goals on the night.)
Net points in common game is the eighth tiebreaker among two potential wild-card teams and the ninth tiebreaker for all other ties. As a result, the chances of those lost four points keeping the Ravens out of the playoffs are slim.
If they do, then the Steelers will face some sort of draft-pick penalty.
Apparently the league office didn’t find anything funny about it.
Although Levy tried to get his helmet to the side and lead with his shoulder as Taylor caught the ball, Levy did make contact with Taylor’s helmet. The bottom line in the NFL these days is if you make contact with a defenseless receiver’s helmet, you should expect a 15-yard penalty and a deduction in your paycheck.
Every time a new report surfaces connecting Jon Gruden to a coaching job, the company line at ESPN is that Gruden is committed to remaining in the Monday Night Football booth. And so far, every time the company line has been right.
But the latest report to link Gruden to a coaching vacancy appeared on ESPN, where John Clayton reported today that Gruden could be one of the candidates in Houston. An on-screen graphic accompanying Clayton’s report put Gruden atop a list of candidates that also includes Lovie Smith, Mike Shanahan, Ken Whisenhunt, and Tom Cable.
That’s an interesting list. Smith’s presence on it isn’t exactly news, considering that Texans owner Bob McNair specifically mentioned that he plans to interview Smith for the job. Whisenhunt’s presence isn’t surprising, either, as Whisenhunt had some success during his tenure as head coach of the Cardinals and is having a good first year as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator.
The other two names are a little more surprising. Shanahan already has a job in Washington, so if Clayton thinks McNair will be interviewing Shanahan, he also must think Dan Snyder will be firing Shanahan. And Cable had an uninspiring tenure as head coach in Oakland, although his work as the offensive line coach in Seattle the last three years may have rehabilitated his image enough that some team will give him a second chance.
But Gruden’s name is the one that will raise eyebrows. Perhaps Gruden can address his colleague’s report on Monday Night Football.
Six nights after the Saints heard 137.6 decibels of noise at an open-air stadium they were visiting, they could hear nearly as much at home.
The Saints have announced that the Superdome faithful will be making a run on Sunday night at the record for the loudest roar at an indoor sports stadium. The Saints host the Panthers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
“We, as an organization, take tremendous pride in the great home field advantage that our fans provide for us each and every home game,” Saints owner Tom Benson said. “This is a unique opportunity to enter the Guinness Book of Records and we’re confident that our fans will help us achieve the goal. It’s a testament to their passion that we’re hosting a representative from Guinness Book of Records and it speaks to the anticipation that they have for how loud our crowd will be. We were part of history last week in Seattle and we are confident that our fans can make history, too.”
The record, set last month in Sacramento for a Kings game (really?), is a mere 126 decibels.
It’s the latest in a stream of noise records pursued by sports teams. Which is great news for the folks who maintain the Guinness Book of World Records, which many (including me) forgot existed.
The NFL has confirmed that Rams safety T.J. McDonald was not fined for the way he grabbed Davis while tackling him on Sunday. So the league evidently has no problem with the way McDonald grabbed Davis.
Davis, however, did have a problem with it: He took to Twitter to lobby for a rule “saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis.” Davis described it as “the most painful thing ever!”
It may have been painful, but it wasn’t illegal. Even though it should be.
When Jay Z decided to open a sports agency without actual certification from the NFL Players Association to actually represent NFL players, an obvious problem arose.
Since the NFLPA’s “runner rule” prevents persons without NFLPA certification from being involved in the recruitment of clients, Jay Z technically could not have been involved in the recruitment of Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
But Jay Z was, luring Smith to Roc Nation and hiring little-known agent Kim Miale to be the NFLPA-certified agent officially listed on the contract. The NFLPA understandably investigated the situation, given the obvious evidence pointing to Jay Z being involved in recruiting Geno.
Faced with the challenge of whacking Miale for allowing her employer to be involved in the recruitment of Geno Smith, the NFLPA found a different way out of the corn maze.
They changed the rule.
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the union “tweaked” the otherwise bright line to allow persons who work with certified NFLPA agents to sit in on meetings with prospective clients.
Which means that certified NFLPA agents can now hire “closers” like former players, celebrities, actors, musicians, etc. to help deliver clients.
Plenty of agents will be satisfied with that outcome. They simply wanted guidance regarding what the rule did — and didn’t — prohibit. The current message is that, if you want to hire a non-agent to help close deals, have at it.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t the only one the Packers are waiting patiently to get better.
But wide receiver Randall Cobb is running low on patience himself.
Cobb told Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com that he still hopes to play this year, but hasn’t been cleared to run yet since breaking his right leg on Oct. 13.
“I thought I was going to be cleared to run two weeks ago, and I still haven’t been,” Cobb said.
Cobb was then placed on injured reserve/designated for return, and he’d be eligible to play next week at Dallas. He said he was initially told it was a six- to eight-week recovery.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Cobb will be tested again Tuesday.
“Obviously, he’s not ready this week, and Tuesday will be a big day because that’s kind of the week we’ve always looked at for his availability,” McCarthy said. “So we’ll see how that sorts out on Tuesday.”
When told McCarthy said that, Cobb replied: “Did he? You broke some news to me.”
“I feel pretty good, but until I’m able to run and able to test out, I won’t know exactly where I’m at. It’s kind of hard to tell where I’m at without running,” Cobb said. “I talked to the doctor this morning, and after the scan that I had right before Thanksgiving, from what that scan showed, he still wasn’t ready to let me run yet.
“So until he gives the OK, I just continue to do the things I’ve been told I can do.”
At the moment, that doesn’t include running, which isn’t a good sign for his availability.
Friday’s finally here, which means we’re just two days away from another Sunday filled with football.
And this Sunday is jammed. There are no more byes and no Thanksgiving to take teams out of the mix, which means that 28 of the league’s 32 teams will be in action on Sunday.
That’s a lot to keep track of, but there’s no need to worry. Pro Football Talk on NBCSN is here to bring you everything you need to know about Week 14′s slate of games. We’ll preview all of the biggest storylines for this weekend’s games, update you on all the important injuries and run down the playoff scenarios as the regular season draws closer to completion.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The Seahawks have played a good chunk of this season without cornerback Brandon Browner and almost all of it without wide receiver Percy Harvin, which should leave them well prepared to play without them on Sunday against the 49ers.
Coach Pete Carroll said Friday that both players have been ruled out for Week 14. It’s not a particularly surprising turn of events for Harvin, who didn’t practice at all this week and had a cortisone injection last week in hopes of alleviating soreness in his surgically repaired hip. Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Carroll said he hopes Harvin can play next week.
Browner was able to practice on Wednesday, but Carroll said his groin injury didn’t hold up well in the return to work. Browner’s still waiting to hear a ruling on his appeal of a suspension under the league’s substance abuse policy. If it is successful, Browner could still return to help the team this season but he’s likely played his final game with the team if the suspension stands.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin, who missed practice with a thigh injury, is expected to be in the lineup.