Skip to content

NFL morning after: Appreciating Adrian Peterson

adrianpeterson AP

Do we all appreciate how good Adrian Peterson is?

Yes, yes, we all know he’s good. But do we take the time to really examine how good he is? Peterson, who willed the Vikings to victory on Sunday with a 35-carry, 211-yard game against the Bears, has now topped 10,000 yards in his career, and that seems like a natural benchmark to reflect on just how extraordinary Peterson’s career has been.

Peterson now leads the league with 1,208 rushing yards, and if he holds on to keep the league lead for the rest of the season, it will be the third time in his career that he led the NFL in rushing. The list of players who led the league in rushing at least three times is pretty much the same as the list of the best running backs in NFL history: Jim Brown, Steve Van Buren, O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Earl Campbell.

And Peterson joined an even more exclusive group on Sunday: Players with more than 10,000 career rushing yards and an average of 5.0 yards a carry. That group consists of Peterson, Jim Brown and Barry Sanders.

Sunday was also the fifth 200-yard game of Peterson’s career; only Simpson has more.

Peterson, of course, is joining this elite company in NFL history with lots of football left to play. The 28-year-old Peterson likely has at least a couple more seasons of playing at an elite level, and even as he begins the inevitable decline that every running back experiences after crossing over to the wrong side of age 30, he can probably be counted on to have some solid if not spectacular seasons into his early- to mid-30s. Five thousand more yards seems readily attainable, and if Peterson does that, he’ll join Smith, Walter Payton and Sanders as the only players in NFL history with 15,000 rushing yards.

One of the impressive things about Peterson is that he doesn’t seem impressed with himself. When asked about reaching the 10,000-yard mark, Peterson was quick to credit the offensive linemen he’s played with.

“A lot of guys over the years have contributed to it,” Peterson said. “Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Bryant McKinnie, the guys from this year, my fullbacks through the years. Just to be in that elite group, it’s truly a blessing. God has really blessed me to be surrounded by some great guys to get to that goal. So I sit here and I’m just humbled.”

That’s a nice sentiment, but the reality is that Peterson hasn’t had great teammates through his career: Unlike Smith, who racked up his yardage while playing most of his career on a team that had a dominant offensive line and Hall of Famers at quarterback and wide receiver, Peterson has often had to be a one-man gang. Peterson has consistently been the best player on his team and the best player on the field, and he’s one of the best running backs ever to play in the NFL.

Peterson was the player who impressed me most on Sunday. Here are my other thoughts:

Robbie Gould picked a bad time to miss. When Gould, the Bears’ kicker, made his second field goal of the day on Sunday, it moved him ahead of Mike Vanderjagt as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Unfortunately, Gould then missed two field goals: One, a ridiculously long 66-yard attempt, came up short at the end of the fourth quarter. And another, a very makable 47-yard attempt, missed in overtime and gave the Vikings new life. Gould is one of the best kickers in NFL history — unlike Vanderjagt, who played his home games indoors, Gould has to kick at Windy Soldier Field — but that overtime miss may come back to haunt the Bears.

Josh Gordon is the second-best receiver in the NFL. There’s only one Calvin Johnson, but Gordon is doing amazing things while playing in an otherwise dreadful Cleveland passing game. On Sunday, Gordon had 261 receiving yards and became the first player in NFL history to have two consecutive 200-yard receiving games, and he’s now second only to Johnson in receiving yards in the NFL this season. If he hadn’t been suspended for the first two games of the season, Gordon would be challenging Calvin Johnson for the league lead in passing yards. In fact, Gordon is averaging 124.9 yards a game, which is not only better than Megatron’s average yards per game this year, but it’s even better than Megatron’s average yards per game last year, when he set the all-time NFL record for receiving yards in a season.

Did Chip Kelly forget he has Michael Vick? In the second quarter on Sunday, with the Eagles in a goal-to-go situation against the Cardinals, Kelly put wide receiver Brad Smith in to take a shotgun snap — which Smith fumbled. I don’t have a problem with Kelly wanting to try a play with a mobile quarterback in a goal-line offense, but why not put Vick in? Vick is as quick as Smith, and unlike Smith (who signed with the Eagles three weeks ago), Vick actually knows the Eagles’ offense. Nick Foles is the undisputed starter in Philadelphia, but putting Vick in as an occasional change of pace would make sense. Throwing Smith out there made no sense.

Robert Mathis for defensive player of the year. Mathis, the 11-year veteran Colts pass rusher, is having his best season yet. Mathis was already leading the league in sacks heading into Sunday’s game, and Mathis’s strip-sack of Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday was a major turning point in the Colts’ win. With 15.5 sacks this season, Mathis is a huge part of the reason the Colts have all but locked up the AFC South.

The Texans lead the way for the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Of the four teams that entered Sunday with only two wins, three of them — the Jaguars, Falcons and Vikings — won. Only the Texans lost, which means now the Texans have a commanding lead in the race for the first overall pick in the draft. Case Keenum is actually playing pretty well at quarterback, but probably not well enough to keep the Texans from using the first overall pick on a quarterback who will push him aside for the starting job next year. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota are the favorites to be the first player taken, with South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney the likely top pick if a quarterback doesn’t go first. (It’s fun to think about how a defensive front with Clowney and J.J. Watt playing together would look.)

Cam Newton plays the quarterback position like no one else, ever. After leading the Panthers to another win on Sunday, Newton is on pace for 3,488 yards passing and 596 yards rushing this season. That’s actually par for the course for Newton (he topped both of those totals in both of his previous two seasons in the NFL), but it’s almost unheard of for any other NFL quarterback. Do you know how many times in NFL history a player has had at least 3,488 passing yards and at least 596 rushing yards in a season? Four: Randall Cunningham in 1988, Daunte Culpepper in 2002, Cam Newton in 2011 and Cam Newton in 2012. Newton’s ability to beat teams with his arm and his legs is something we just haven’t seen before. Like Adrian Peterson, Newton is a player all football fans should appreciate.

Permalink 82 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Minnesota Vikings, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Luck just the latest from QB class of 2012 to cash in

Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, AP

Andrew Luck became the NFL’s highest-paid player on Wednesday, but the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 wasn’t the first quarterback from his draft class to really cash in.

Luck’s mega-extension seemed a good occasion to revisit the 2012 draft’s quarterbacks, their contract situations and current places of employment. Though the on-field results have been mixed and at least a couple members of that class are basically starting over, many of them have done very well from a financial standpoint.

The full list…

Pick No. 2, Robert Griffin III: Griffin got off to a good start with the Redskins before he got hurt and things went south. Griffin is now on a short-term, prove-it deal with the Browns. He hasn’t played in a game since 2014.

Pick No. 8, Ryan Tannehill: The Dolphins gave Tannehill a big-money extension last year, but he’s yet to post a winning season. Tannehill got an $11.5 million signing bonus and his 2016 base salary is more than $9 million.

Pick No. 22, Brandon Weeden: Weeden started immediately for the Browns but was cut after two seasons. After a stint as a backup with the Cowboys, he’s now a backup with the Texans.

Pick No. 57, Brock Osweiler: Got his first real action subbing for Peyton Manning last year. Though Osweiler was eventually benched in the regular-season finale as the Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl, he cashed in with the Texans in March and has high expectations surrounding his first chance to be a true starter.

Pick No. 75, Russell Wilson: Immediately won the starting job in Seattle and hasn’t been bad for a third-round pick. He won a Super Bowl and got rewarded for it last year with a contract that’s in the neighborhood of Luck’s with a $31 million signing bonus. Wilson has thrown 106 career touchdown passes vs. 34 interceptions.

Pick No. 88, Nick Foles: Currently awaiting a trade or his release from the Rams, Foles went to the Pro Bowl with the Eagles in 2013 but got hurt the next year, then traded to the Rams. He struggled last season and will be a backup wherever he lands next.

Pick No. 102, Kirk Cousins: Started as Griffin’s backup and played in nine games over his first three seasons. Won the starting job last season and threw 29 touchdown passes, helping the Redskins to the playoffs. For now, he’s set to play 2016 under the franchise tag — and make almost $20 million doing it — and could play his way into a long-term deal from someone next March.

Pick No. 185, Ryan Lindley: After almost three seasons and some emergency duty with the Cardinals, Lindley was signed by the Colts late last season and played in one game. He’s made 10 career appearances and six starts with limited success.

Neither B.J. Coleman (pick No. 243) nor Chandler Harnish (pick No. 253) ever played in a game.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Packers president: 17-game season could facilitate more international play

LKK AP

Although it was a much-discussed proposal a couple years ago, NFL executives have recently stayed relatively quiet about the possibility of lengthening the regular season. But Packers President Mark Murphy had something to say about the topic recently.

Asked about playing more games overseas, Murphy said one way to facilitate that could be expanding the regular season to 17 games, with each team playing eight games at home, eight on the road and one outside the United States.

“As you look ahead, if we’re going to have more and more international games, something’s got to give at some point,” Murphy said, via ESPN. “One thought that’s been discussed is to go to 17 [regular-season games] and three [preseason] and then everybody would have an international game. So nobody would have to give up a home game then.”

As we’ve noted when this proposal has come up before, NFL players have largely opposed the possibility of making the regular season longer, and the owners can’t expand the regular season without the approval of the NFL Players Association. With the NFL’s insistence that player safety is its top priority, it might be hard to justify exposing players to more hits and potentially more injuries.

However, if the NFL can convince the players that those international games are going to make a lot of money — an influx of money that will result in a higher salary cap and more money in the players’ pockets — it’s possible that the players could buy into Murphy’s proposal.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jim Irsay: No “out of whack” cap numbers in Luck deal

Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton AP

The Colts locked up their rights to quarterback Andrew Luck through the 2021 season on Wednesday, which means he’ll be 32 when he’s next scheduled to become a free agent.

Owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday that was something the team considered when putting together the six-year, $140 million pact. Irsay said, via Kevin Bowen of the team’s website, that the team factored in the rising salary cap and that they feel there are no “out of whack” cap numbers over the life of Luck’s deal.

That includes 2021, when Luck will be due an $11 million base salary and a $10 million roster bonus should the current deal remain in place. Irsay said that was designed to make using the franchise tag a possibility should the team need to go that route.

“It works with the cap,” Irsay said. “It works with tagging in the last year. I think both sides accomplished everything we wanted to do.”

The current CBA runs through 2020, so there may be changes to the franchise tag system by the time Luck’s status becomes an issue. Of more urgency will be the question of what the Colts do with the space provided by a deal they consider cap-friendly and whether it is enough to get Luck to the Super Bowl while he’s being paid at the top of the ladder for quarterbacks.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Doug Baldwin gets $12 million fully guaranteed at signing

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Former Stanford players have been cashing in this week.

One day before former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck signed his six-year, $139.125 million contract, former Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin inked a five-year, $47.5 million deal in Seattle. PFT has obtained Baldwin’s contract, and the full details appear below.

He receives a signing bonus of $7 million, but the cash isn’t due until April 1, 2017.

Baldwin also earns a $4 million roster bonus on Monday, July 4, 2016, half of which will be paid by July 11, 2016 and the other half of which will be paid by August 15, 2016.

Baldwin has a fully-guaranteed $1 million salary for 2016, and a $7.75 million base salary in 2017. The 2017 salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, and it becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period.

Baldwin will earn a salary of $8.25 million for 2018, $4.5 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing. The $4.5 million becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 waiver period.

Baldwin has a non-guaranteed base salary of $9.25 million in 2018, and a non-guaranteed base salary of $10.25 million in 2019.

He also can earn per-game roster bonuses totaling $500,000 in 2016, $500,000 in 2017, $750,000 in 2018, and $750,000 in 2019. In all, $2.5 million is tied to his ability to suit up and play.

It adds up to a base five-year value of $47.5 million ($9.5 million average). Up to $50 million is available when considering per-game roster bonuses. With Baldwin already due to make $4.8 million in 2016 under his prior deal, he has a new-money average of $10.675 million per year on the base amount.

Also, $12 million is fully guaranteed, as a practical matter, at signing. Another $12.25 million is guaranteed for injury only at signing.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

The full Andrew Luck contract

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 02:   Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts yells to his team during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 2, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck would have made $16.155 million in 2016, the last year of his rookie deal. He traded it in for a six-year, $140 million contract.

But those broad numbers never tell the whole story, unless and until a contract like that is fully guaranteed.  PFT has obtained a copy of the Luck’s entire contract, and here’s the breakdown:

1. Signing bonus of $32 million, with $18 million paid in the next 10 days and the remaining $14 million paid on March 31, 2017;

2. Base salary of $12 million in 2016, fully guaranteed at signing;

3. $3 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2017 league year and paid on March 20, 2017, which is guaranteed for skill and injury, and conditionally guaranteed for salary cap;

4. $3 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2017 league year and paid on September 18, 2017, which is guaranteed for injury only at signing;

5. $7 million base salary for 2017, guaranteed for injury only at signing and fully guaranteed as of the fifth day of the 2017 league year;

6. $3 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2018 league year and paid on March 20, 2018, which is guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed as of the fifth day of the 2017 league year;

7. $3 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2018 league year and paid on September 18, 2018, which is guaranteed for injury only at signing;

8. $12 million base salary for 2018, which is guaranteed for injury only at signing but which becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year;

9. $6 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2019 league year and paid on March 18, 2019, which is guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed as of the fifth day of the 2018 league year;

10. $6 million roster bonus earned on the fifth day of the 2019 league year and paid on September 17, 2019, which is guaranteed for injury at signing;

11. $9.125 million base salary for 2019, non-guaranteed;

12. $11 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2020 league year, with half paid on September 15, 2020 and the other half paid on December 15, 2020;

13. $11 million base salary for 2020, non-guaranteed;

14. $10 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2021 league year, with half paid on September 14, 2021 and the other half paid on December 14, 2020; and

15. $11 million base salary for 2021, non-guaranteed.

That’s a total of six years, $139.125 million, with $44 million fully guaranteed at signing. Another $16 million becomes fully guaranteed, as a practical matter, as of the fifth day of the 2017 league year.

At signing, $87 million is guaranteed for injury.

The cash flow breaks down like this: $44 million in 2017; $57 million through 2018; $75 million through 2018; $96.125 million through 2019; $118.125 million through 2020; $139.125 million through 2021.

It’s an average value of $23.1875 million per year, with $24.594 million per year in so-called “new money.”

The cap numbers are: (1) $18.4 million in 2016; (2) $19.4 million in 2017; (3) $24.4 million in 2018; (4) $27.525 million in 2019; (5) $28.4 million in 2020; and (6) $21 million in 2021.

Permalink 36 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Luck gets $44 million fully guaranteed at signing

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 27:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on September 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

It was a matter of when, not if, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck would get a really big contract.

That day was Wednesday.

Per a source, Luck got a $32 million signing bonus on the extension that keeps him with the Colts through 2021. With his 2016 base salary set to be $12 million, Luck gets $44 million fully guaranteed at signing.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay announced the deal at $140 million over six years. That means Luck will be the league’s highest-paid player and will make an average of about $23.3 million per year over the duration of the contract.

Luck said in a team statement he was “thrilled and excited” to get the deal done.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

With Andrew Luck deal, Colts have their offensive core for long haul

Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants Getty Images

The Colts had already pledged their future to Andrew Luck, by virtue of moves they made well before today’s mega-deal for their quarterback.

But now that he’s taken care of, the bulk of their key offensive personnel is under contract for years to come.

As noted by Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, with Luck signed through 2021, the Colts have five key starters on offense locked up through at least the 2019 season.

With wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (five years, $65 million) and left tackle Antony Castonzo (four years, $42 million) taken care of last fall, tight end Dwayne Allen (four years, $29.4 million) getting his in March and drafting center Ryan Kelly in the first round this year (giving them the option for 2020 on his deal), the Colts have what could be the guts of a very good offense for years to come.

They also have the 2019 option for 2015 first-round wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in their pockets, though it’s unclear if they’ll want to use that, since Dorsett hasn’t proven himself quite yet. But he has time, because everything else is in place.

It’s not unlike the plan former Colts General Manager Bill Polian used with Peyton Manning there, going all-in on one side of the ball to protect the rare commodity at quarterback.

Of course, there are still plenty of issues for the Colts, specifically on defense, and finding three other offensive linemen to keep Luck upright and throwing.

But they now have a certainty on offense, and that should keep them competitive in what is becoming an improved division for the foreseeable future.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Browns ink Nassib, finish draft class signings

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 31:  Carl Nassib #95 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with Garrett Sickels #90 after a sack in the second half during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 31, 2015 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns announced Wednesday that third-round defensive end Carl Nassib has signed his rookie contract.

The Browns have now signed all 14 of their 2016 draft picks.

Nassib started his Penn State career as a walk-on and was just a one-year starter, but he was good enough in that one season last fall to win the Lombardi Award, Hendricks Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Nassib led the NCAA last season with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

The Browns selected Nassib with pick No. 65 in April. His brother, Ryan, is a backup quarterback for the Giants.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Irsay: Luck’s deal worth $140 million over six years

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwezztvkmtjjyzq0nja0zta2odvlmdljztuwnjlmzjji AP

The Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck managed to conceal from the media Luck’s new deal until it was announced by owner Jim Irsay. They won’t be able to conceal every dollar and cent paid to Luck.

Inevitably, the contract will be filed with the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and the details will be leaked not by the Colts or Luck’s camp but by someone with routine access to all player contract.

The key factors to assess will be the signing bonus, the full guarantee at signing, and the cash flow over the first three years.

For now, the total value has been announced, also by Irsay: Six years, $140 million. That’s an average in total value of $23.3 million and a “new money” average of $24.7 million.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that $87 million is guaranteed, but it’s highly, highly, highly (did I say highly?) unlikely that $87 million is fully guaranteed at signing. At best, Luck has $87 million guaranteed for injury.

The deal is solid, but hardly the “shocking” transaction Irsay once promised. The only real surprise is that Luck didn’t get to $25 million per year in total value, which given cap growth over the past few years is where the top value for quarterback deals should be.

Luck also wasn’t able to tie his salary in the out years to cap growth (it’s unclear if his agents even tried), meaning that at some point over the next six years, if the cap keeps spiking, the deal won’t look nearly as good as it does now.

Bottom line? Luck didn’t push for every penny he could have gotten, trading six years and $140 million for the $114 million or so he could have made by going year to year under the franchise tag through 2019.

For now, the biggest question is when, as a practical matter, he’ll be a year-to-year deal with the Colts — and how much he’ll pocket before he gets to that point.

Permalink 39 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Andrew Luck “thankful” for trust Colts have shown him

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptzlowq1nwiynwi3ntezzgu0ztyxzmjiyjfmnmi1zdy1 AP

The full financial details of the extension that quarterback Andrew Luck signed with the Colts on Wednesday haven’t come to light yet, but it appears to be as big a deal as expected.

According to multiple reports, Luck is now the highest-paid player in the entire league with Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reporting that he stands to make $75 million over the first three years of a deal that will run through the 2021 season. That’s a pretty good payday and one that left Luck feeling grateful to owner Jim Irsay and the rest of the organization for the commitment they made to him.

“I am thrilled and excited to continue with this great organization,” Luck said, via the team. “I am thankful to the Irsay family and Mr. Irsay for providing me with this great opportunity and the trust that they’ve shown in me. I can’t wait for this season to start.”

Luck and the Colts hope that this season will play out in a better way than 2015, when Luck missed nine games because of injury and the Colts missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Colts get Luck signed through 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 08:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The first news of an Andrew Luck contract extension comes from someone who would figure to know.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “Andrew has signed through 2021.”

Irsay spoke earlier this year about ideally getting an extension for the team’s franchise quarterback finished before July 4, and both sides can now celebrate accordingly.

There are no numbers attached to early reports regarding the deal, but the deal was likely to make Luck the league’s highest-paid quarterback.

Luck was limited to seven games last season by injury but in each of his first three seasons led the Colts to records of and the playoffs.

The No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, Luck has thrown 101 career touchdown passes and has twice posted seasons of more than 4,300 passing yards.

Permalink 50 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Buddy Ryan’s philosophy: Quarterbacks must be punished

25 AUG 1994:  ARIZONA CARDINALS HEAD COACH BUDDY RYAN GIVES ORDERS FROM THE SIDELINES DURING THE CARDINALS 30-21 LOSS TO THE DENVER BRONCOS AT MILE HIGH STADIUM IN DENVER, COLORADO. Mandatory Credit: Tim Defrisco/ALLSPORT Getty Images

Buddy Ryan coached in the NFL at a different time, a time when coaches who put bounties on opposing players were labeled tough guys, not banished from the NFL. A quote from Ryan’s defensive playbook encapsulates that well.

Ryan, who died on Tuesday at the age of 85, wrote in his playbook that hitting the other team’s quarterback and hitting him hard was a fundamental part of playing defense.

“A quarterback has never completed a pass when he was flat on his back,” Ryan wrote, via Chris B. Brown. “We must hit the QB hard and often. QBs are overpaid, overrated, pompous bastards and must be punished. Great pass coverage is a direct result of a great pass rush, and a great pass rush is simply a relentless desire to get to the QB. Never miss an opportunity to punish the opponent. We must dominate and intimidate the enemy. If the opponent is worried about you, he is not thinking about carrying out his offensive assignment. If you play aggressive, physical, and smart–you cannot be beaten.”

That’s not the kind of football the NFL likes to promote in 2016. But it’s the kind of football that Buddy Ryan coached in the NFL for three decades.

Permalink 34 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cardell Hayes’ lawyer argues Will Smith’s killing shouldn’t be tried during NFL season

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 28:   Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints dances after a big play against the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 28, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Giants 49 to 24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

A trial date of September 20 has been set in New Orleans to determine the fate of Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith earlier this year.

John Fuller, one of Hayes’ lawyers, would like to see the start date for that trial changed. Fuller argued in an Orleans Parish court on Wednesday that “it’s only fair” to avoid trying his client during football season because the timing could bias a jury against Hayes.

District Judge Camille Buras denied the request, although she said she would consider a continuance for other reasons.

“I do not mind continuances when it’s based on reasons, either for complexity reasons or forensic issues that are outstanding,” Buras said, via the New Orleans Advocate. “I cannot in good conscience say I’m going to continue the case because it’s football season.”

Hayes shot Smith and Smith’s wife — he faces an attempted murder charge as well — after an argument resulted from Hayes’ car bumping theirs from behind on April 9. Hayes has argued self-defense and his attorneys have tried unsuccessfully to get video footage from bars and restaurants the Smiths visited before the shooting after toxicology reports found Smith’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Johnny Manziel plans to go “completely sober” — Friday

johnny_manziel.vadapt.664.high.52 Getty Images

Maybe Johnny Manziel is taking seriously all the good advice people keep giving him to clean up his act.

At least he says he plans to, after this one sweet kegger he’s throwing in Mexico.

Manziel told TMZ that he’s “going completely sober starting July 1st.”

Of course, that gives him between now and Friday to get it all out of his system, and it seems like plenty of people with him aren’t taking the same pledge. TMZ has photos of a woman holding what appears to be an illicit substance, but Manziel said the drugs weren’t his and he didn’t know who the woman was.

That’s a perfect recipe for sobriety, of course. Just like giving yourself time for one last big blowout before becoming an adult.

And while he can promise to eat right, give up drinking and start “training like crazy,” Manziel’s actions have gotten us to the point where no one should put much stock in his words. The fact he was willing to taunt his father in one of his latest social media posts should tell us all we need to know.

Permalink 134 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jim Caldwell is skeptical of going for two more often

Jim Caldwell, Chip Kelly AP

As teams around the NFL discuss the possibility of going for two more often, Lions coach Jim Caldwell sounds unconvinced.

Caldwell said he’s aware that quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees have said they want to go for two as the default after every touchdown, but Caldwell said that’s more a matter of quarterbacks getting their competitive juices flowing than thinking about it rationally.

There’s not a quarterback in the league that doesn’t want to go for two,” Caldwell said.

Some of us think it makes sense to make going for two the default, while others think coaches should base it on the game situation. Caldwell leans closer to the latter option.

“It just depends on the situation, I think. We’re certainly prepared to go for [two points] every time. We’re certainly prepared to kick it as well,” Caldwell said. “Sometimes you’re going to have to adjust to teams that decide to go after it. I think we discussed that when the rule was first changed. You have to match [the strategy], just in terms of point differential.”

Caldwell’s skepticism may stem from his own team’s lack of success: The Lions are 1-for-6 on two-point conversions in Caldwell’s two seasons as head coach.

Permalink 24 Comments Feed for comments Back to top