More proof that tampering is rampant

One of the NFL’s dirty little secrets is that the injury report doesn’t provide equal access to injury information, and that an incentive remains for my one-eyebrowed countrymen from North Jersey to pursue, for example, during the 2008 season the reason for the sudden drop in Brett Favre’s performance.  (Hey, maybe Tony Soprano bumped into “Mangenius” at Vesuvio.  Again.)

Another of the NFL’s dirty little secrets is that tampering with other team’s players is as common as lying on injury reports.

On this week’s episode of Showtime’s Inside The NFL, former personnel executive Michael Lombardi, who worked most recently for the Broncos after multiple years with the Raiders, talked candidly about the rampant nature of tampering in the league.  And Lombardi admitted that, during his career, he tampered, too.

Trust me, I’ve been a
,” Lombardi said, per Tim Graham of  “I’ve been in the NFL for over 20 years, so I have tampered my
fair share of times.”

Lombardi’s broader point is that tampering is hard to prove, and he raised that reality in connection with the 49ers’ pending claim that the Jets tampered with unsigned rookie draft pick Michael Crabtree.

“They have to have specific evidence,” Lombardi said.  “If they do, they can convict the Jets.”

And that brings us back to the key player in this drama, the man who once played for the 49ers and who now works for the NFL — Deion Sanders.

The claims arises from the fact that Deion spouted off during a September 4 appearance on NFL Network, claiming that two teams are willing to pay Crabtree twice what the Niners have offered, and that Crabtree knows it.

This knowledge has necessarily emboldened Crabtree to continue to refuse to sign with the 49ers, and to wait for one of the teams who claim that they want him to make a play for him in the offseason or in the 2010 draft.

So the question remains is this:  Will the NFL require Deion to reveal what he knows and how he knows it?  Sanders technically isn’t a journalist, and there’s no law of which we’re aware that would keep a private employer from disciplining or discharging an employee who refuses to cooperate with an internal investigation.

So the “specific evidence” to which Lombardi refers probably rests with the man who inadvertently created this mess.  Whether the league finds out what Deion knows rest on whether the NFL has the will or the desire to put Deion on the spot.

42 responses to “More proof that tampering is rampant

  1. I said last week on this site that if Goodell doesn’t call Sanders in, he will lose any credibilty he ever had. If he wants to get to the bottom of this and not look like a hypocrite, Deion must be called in for a chat.

  2. I was TOTALLY going to take time out of my day to write something witty like “You suck Florio!”, but I see that ihateflorio has it covered.
    Curse you ihateflorio, you evil genius for stealing my hilarious idea.

  3. Nothing’s going to happen, Goodell will say there wasn’t enough evidence and dismiss the charges. Then all the happy little Jets fans will come out and demand punishment against the Niners for slandering the organization, and pounding their chests about how they can overcome any obstacle placed before them…am I forgetting anything?

  4. ihateflorio:
    You don’t need a law to stop him from posting, all you have to do is stop visiting the site if you really hate it so much, but you’re not going to do that are you? You’ll keep coming back posting your little silly comments.

  5. So…is it drivel a basketball?
    Intrigued…NFL needs a bigger rug before they start sweeping up this widening mess. That sound of nonchalant whistling belongs to head janitor Goodell.

  6. So it’s against the rules, but the NFL will not take a stand. Shocking. They let murderers play and cheating coaches get away. Why not let GM’s into the fold as well? At least they made another rule in the off-season to protect the quarterback. Silly league, trusted to a buffoon.

  7. @ihateflorio
    “i wish there was a law that kept you from posting this dribble!”
    Best. Fail. Ever.

  8. “nothing to see here. the NFL needs the JETS to do well finally”
    Your right. . . Since the Jets last Super Bowl . . . the NFL has gone in the dumps. Interest, Revenue, and TV Contracts have all gone down since Namath was in the Super Bowl. The NFL “needs” the Jets!
    Again . . . What?

  9. If Tampering is as rampant as you claim, I just don’t see how a competitive advantage would exist by any team in the NFL. If every team as a matter of practice participates in contacting agents, players, or takes indirect means towards communication with signed members of teams, a team like the Forty Niners probably shouldn’t put themselves in the hypocritical position of crying over spilled milk. The reality is everyone is guilty of the same thing.
    Michael Crabtree will get paid back next year when no team will sign him in the first round. This isn’t an issue of teams tampering, it is an issue of one player who wants to blackmail a team into signing him for much more than he is worth. The draft is like the economy supply and demand. When Crabtree refused to run a 40 at the combine and had surgery on his foot his value went down. Now his value didn’t get any better when missed training camp, pre-season, and now 2 games. What is he worth today that should be the real question?
    If Tampering was such a big deal there would be a ton of players holding out and re-entering the draft the following year that just doesn’t happen. Let’s not lose sight of the agents and players part in this drama. This is a player who wants double what market value says he is worth and hasn’t proved a thing in the NFL! Ok, one great catch to beat UT does not equal Randy Moss, TO, Ocho!
    Mike if you want your money rub some dirt on your bruised ego buddy and show us what you can do on the field! All joking aside when you prove what you can do no one will fault you for getting PAID! We pay for play at the NFL level and your not playing.
    In the words of Ocho Cinco …..”CHILD PLEASE” sign your contract!

  10. Deion would not be the “key player” in this grievance, since he is not involved in the negotiations either on behalf of the player’s agent, or on behalf of the 49ers. Anything he says will be 2nd or 3rd hand at best. If the requirement to prove tampering is very specific, then anything Deion says will only give the NFL information on who or what to investigate – it would not appear to meet any standard of evidence, whatever their evidenciary standards are for such an administrative investigation.

  11. Al Davis’ line about Lombardi is classic:
    “He’s been fired from every job he’s ever had.”
    It’s the truth too. His last job was in Denver. He worked for free for a year, and he still managed to get fired. Pathetic.
    Its like the time Kramer showed up at an office pretending he worked there (he showed up for work everyday in a suit and with a briefcase full of ritz crackers). When he got fired for doing lousy work his response was , “I dont even work here…”
    Classic…. That’s Lombardi!

  12. Attention players. Most if not all franchise owners made their money before the NFL. The few that didn’t founded what you have today. They have every right to make alot of money off their NFL investment.
    Crabtree, you are an idiot. Take the money that hundreds of millions of people would die for.
    Guys like this are the reason the NFL faces a death sentence.

  13. Sanders and Eugene Parker are completely evil, corroded by cash, greed and ego. Isn;t Deion a “reborn” Christian or something too after that elicit bass fishing fiasco? Shame on Crabs for buying into their BS and getting duped. There is no way Crabtree gets a bigger deal than the one originally offered by the Niners

  14. luigiboy says:
    September 23, 2009 9:39 PM
    So…is it drivel a basketball?
    I was wondering the same thing.

  15. Florio is the Brett Favre of Journalism *cough *cough blogging. Everybody loves to hate him.
    When I hate on people I try and avoid them which can only mean that there are several people out there with guns pointed at their temples making them post on here.

  16. We’re week 3 and who gives one brown tread mark for Crabtree? He’s young, dumb and turning his back on a few million today and millions later.

  17. “I just don’t see how a competitive advantage”
    The Niners lost a draft pick for tampering, some teams are punished others aren’t thats an advantage. Furthermore you said that Crabtree will get paid bak next year when he doesn’t get paid. But what about the Niners? They don’t get that pick back, so what ever team that tampered cost the Niners a 1st round pick.

  18. Rampant? Sure.
    Just like Jimmy Johnson, Parcells and Shannahan stating all teams were taping/stealing signals. The Jets even admitted the Pats caught them doing it. But the league didn’t follow any of that up.
    If something comes to light, they throw a band-aid on it and cover it up.
    Who cares, none of this stuff amounts to squat anyway.

  19. It’s actually very simple. The Jets, or anyone else, might be willing to run the risk of a tampering penalty because they believe that next year will be an uncapped year. That gives them, in theory, some leeway to target and offer enormous contracts/incentives to 2010 draft choices like, say, Crabtree.
    I could very well be wrong about how the uncapped year and so on works, but it seems to fit.

  20. “Sanders technically isn’t a journalist, and there’s no law of which we’re aware that would keep a private employer from disciplining or discharging an employee who refuses to cooperate with an internal investigation.”
    Anything to get that jackass off the air. Makes me miss Emmitt. At least he was good for a few laughs.

  21. Isn’t the NFLN owned by the NFL? Isn’t Deion an employee of the NFLN? Shouldn’t be that complicated to call him in and make him spill the beans, journalist or not.

  22. Well – tampering may be rampant but the 49ers are one of the only teams busted for it by the league, so they know exactly what kind of evidence is needed to convict. Even the hypocrital, Napoloen-complex-having, career-beauracrat Goodell will find it difficult to explain to the 49ers why the Jets won’t get penalized for doing much worse than the 49ers.

  23. EaglesFan35
    The 49ers were punished for tampering, if the Jets are tampering and don’t get punished then that is an advantage. Furthermore Crabtree may be punished if he doesn’t get the money he wants next year either but that doesn’t help the Niners. The Niners still lose a pick as a result of tampering. Albert Haynesworth had a contract signed less than an hour after free agency, of course there is tampering.

  24. I don’t see why a team would tamper with Crabtree. Nobody knows how the draft will fall next year, they don’t know where they are going to be picking and they don’t know which teams will be in front of them. So unless the Jets plan on having the first pick it doesn’t make much sence to talk to Crabtree. And why would any of these teams give twice what the 49ers are offering. That might be more than next years 1st pick will get. I think Deion is just blowing smoke to try and get the 49ers to increase the deal for Crabtree, we know that Deion was working with Crabtree prior to the draft.

  25. My guess is that Deion pulled a Joe McCarthy. What agent would tell one of his clients all about the business of one of his other clients? Particularly when it involves something against the rules and one of the parties works on TV.

  26. It would be sweet if the NFL asked Sanders for the names, proof, etc. If he refuses, threaten to fire him. And it would be even sweeter if he stood up for his “integrity” and quit. Would love to never see his cheesy arse on NFLN. Send him to ESPN, a chanel I don’t watch. 🙂

  27. xscottx says:
    September 23, 2009 9:08 PM
    nothing to see here. the NFL needs the JETS to do well finally
    The NFL has grown and prospered for decades while the Jets have sucked ass. I think they will do just fine. The Giants and Yankees win the titles in NY, while the Jets and Mets choke.

  28. BP– you are missing a major point here.
    the jets may have been caught & other ex-personel may admit to it, and a lot of it happened more than anyone wants to believe…..
    …..but bottom-line is Goodell said “ok, enough is enough, no more or i’m bringin’ the thunder”
    after that everyone said, “ok no more” and the pats said “just try & stop us, we’ll blow the whole story up & get your anti-trust legislation removed” then goodell bent over, burned the evidence and said “mr kraft we have to do something to look like we’ve punished you” and kraft said “dont worry we’ll make a trade w/like the bengals/raiders/49ers and just replace whatever you take, sound good Rog?”….. and the rest, my friends, is history

  29. I’m willing to bet that, even if a team WANTED him, they won’t do anything to get him, and won’t draft him next year either, simply as to not set a precedent for a high profile player to attempt to pick and choose what franchise he plays for. This would be TERRIBLE for the league if you had 6 or 7 1st round picks every year not wanting to play for mediocre teams and just sitting out.

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