Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 hrs ago
PHOENIX – It's not the big conspiracy theory that everyone is talking about. There are no footballs, equipment managers or surveillance tape. But it's still a question that New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount can't answer with a straight face.
Did Blount engineer his release from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this season because he knew the Patriots wanted him back? Did someone tell him he had a job waiting for him? Is this Super Bowl a reward for a twisted scheme?
On Tuesday, Blount repeatedly reacted to those questions with little more than Cheshire grins and half-hearted denials. One exchange in particular:
"Did you know you had a job with New England before you left Pittsburgh?"
Long pause. Big smile. No answer.
"Why would you leave if you didn't know in the back of your mind that they were waiting to call you?"
Big smile. Subtle laugh.
"I didn't know nothin'," Blount said.
One more laugh.
"They supported me through everything that I've been through."
And when Ridley went down with a season-ending knee injury in mid-October, rendering the Patriots with a hole at running back?
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
CHANDLER, Ariz. – Until Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks had the pole position to Super Bowl perfection. Softball questions … focused practices … and only mild curiosity from the national media. In every possible way, this was coaching bliss.
No drama. No controversy. Nowhere near the New England Patriots' mess.
Enter the Godfather of Gab, cornerback Richard Sherman, and his Trash Talking Consigliere, wideout Doug Baldwin. Two guys who had no reason to climb into someone else's fight, but did it anyway. And not by taking a shot at Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the accepted mark for deflate-gate – or even quarterback Tom Brady, whose mouthy history makes him fair game.
Kraft is the paper billionaire. The guy who got his Super Bowl ring jacked by Russian president Vladimir Putin and said let it slide. A celebrated philanthropist who spent 48 years with his wife Myra, then pressed his fraternity of billionaire owners to donate to cancer research when she passed away from the disease.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
Over the years someone would see Landon Cohen in the newspaper, or maybe even on television, and think, "That guy … wait … is that the valet?"
Yes, sometimes Landon Cohen parks cars. And sometimes he plays in the NFL.
Cohen, amazingly, did both this month. And now he's one win from parallel parking a Super Bowl ring between his knuckles.
As most fantasies go, Cohen's January has been the definition of awesome. Four weeks ago, he and two lifelong friends were running their valet service in Spartanburg, S.C. One workout and a few phone calls later, the journeyman defensive tackle landed with the Seattle Seahawks, despite not having been on an NFL roster the entire regular season.
Seahawks tackle Jordan Hill went down with a knee injury on Jan. 4, and Cohen got a sleepy, midnight call from Seattle the next day.
"Landon was a very active player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after bringing Cohen aboard. "We had our eye on him."
"It's been a nice little ride," Cohen said with a chuckle this week.
"Some cars I can't even fit in," Cohen said with a laugh.
Run fast on Sunday. Drive slow on Monday.
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Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
MOBILE, Ala. – It's the final days of Senior Bowl week. So, just follow the Pittsburgh Steelers and take notes.
If history has taught us anything about this week, that is the lesson. The Steelers, more than any team in NFL history, have figured out a way to cull talent from this event. Whether it's Hall of Famers, consistent Pro Bowlers, solid starters or niche performers who slide perfectly into a system, a large portion of the Steelers' storied history has taken part in this week's game.
Among the take? Eight Hall of Famers: defensive tackle Joe Greene, quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Len Dawson, running back Franco Harris, wideouts Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, and centers Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson. When wideout Hines Ward becomes Hall of Fame eligible later this decade, that number could swell to nine.
And all played in the Senior Bowl.
How about linebackers Joey Porter, LaMarr Woodley, Larry Foote and Kendrell Bell? All were in the Senior Bowl. Defensive back Carnell Lake? Yep. Solid Super Bowl building blocks like Antwaan Randle-El and Max Starks? Absolutely.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago
SEATTLE – The game had been over for a few moments, and Doug Baldwin was heat-seeking, headed straight for his audience. A small throng of media had clotted in the halls of CenturyLink Field, and the Seahawks wideout hit the brakes and wheeled around with a derogatory pitch.
"You ready? Y'all ready for it?" Baldwin said in blended anger and excitement, as eyeballs honed in.
"Three-and-three! Remember the beginning of the season when we were 3-3?!"
Baldwin moved closer.
No matter who Baldwin is blaming, his mantra is hardly new. Long before Seattle clawed back on Sunday, championship-caliber teams have bathed playoff runs in faux-disrespect. This is a necessary component to accomplish a rare feat in today's NFL: winning it all and then pulling it together and getting back to a Super Bowl one year later.
"I can't wait until next year," he said to Carroll.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
It was a maligned offseason of re-engineering. Best-laid plans that went very wrong cost the Green Bay Packers dearly against the Seattle Seahawks and ended in a quick scuttling.
In Green Bay, it's the debacle known as the "Quad" 4-3 alignment. To the rest of the NFL world, it's not really known at all. That's because the Packers orphaned the scheme in October, after watching the designs fail miserably. And it wasn't just orphaned. It was seemingly razed, buried and erased from film. That much was evident to Seattle coach Pete Carroll this week as he digested Green Bay film snippets from the second half of the season.
The "Quad" will go down as one of the staples in 2014 when the Packers got worse. Ditching it and sticking with more historically successful 3-4 alignments, that is where Carroll and the Seahawks saw the Packers improve. And not just better, but downright dominant against the run.
"We thought this is the team we'd be playing," Carroll said of the season opener. "Like [they're playing] right now."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago
Charles Woodson in 2006. Deion Sanders in 1994 (and 1995). Reggie White in 1993. This is the territory that awaits the Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh – who is poised to become one of the most talented defensive free-agent signings in league history. And in the midst of his prime, no less.
Suitors? They will be plentiful, according to three league sources familiar with teams seeking defensive line tuneups this offseason.
The sources told Yahoo Sports there could be as many as 10 teams interested in making titanic pitches to Suh. That number includes Suh’s current team, the Lions, which still has the option of restructuring some contracts and retaining the four-time All-Pro via the franchise tag. At a price of $26.7 million for 2015, the weight of that one-year contract would be potentially crippling to the franchise, but the three sources said Detroit is keeping the option on the table. Head coach Jim Caldwell nearly admitted as much Monday, emphasizing that retaining Suh was a top priority for the franchise.
Asked to outline the primary issues governing who will land Suh, the sources overlapped on three main factors:
2. Behavior discussion
3. Motor discussion
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 23 days ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – There won't be any getting around the infamy. Not for Detroit Lions fans, anyway. Not in a city where this latest cold, dead postseason failure will be planted 6 feet under – next to the Oakland Raiders' "Tuck Game;" adjacent to the Green Bay Packers' "Fail Mary" and not far from the San Diego Chargers' "Immaculate Deception."
There is a hole somewhere in there, waiting for Detroit's 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Another postseason opportunity squashed, adding to a gruesome 1-11 postseason record since 1957. But this one might be one of the most painful, thwarted by a phantom flag – a fourth-quarter pass interference call against Dallas that was inexplicably (and as video evidence later showed, incorrectly) reversed.
A moment and a loss that brought even the hardest of hearts – like Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh – to crack.
Suh excused himself a few seconds later, breaking down as he exited to a hallway.
Much like every other Lions postseason that fans have known.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago
Say yes. Schmooze. Engage the media. Play office politics. Don't be overly independent. Be flexible with compensation. Do all of this, and you might be the proper head-coaching fit for the San Francisco 49ers.
But read your history before signing on. It's ugly. And it repeats itself.
Jim Harbaugh is out, and it seems the chief requirement for this franchise will be: Just don't be Jim Harbaugh. If there is some way to be the complete opposite of Jim Harbaugh, do that. All the time , if possible. Appease the power structure first, win second.
Forget Camelot and all the championships, when Bill Walsh micromanaged his roster on a molecular level. A new 49ers program has been coded. And you don't skip commands.
Harbaugh had to win and slap backs, and make everyone feel good in the process. Maybe things would be different if he had won a Super Bowl early, like Bill Belichick did in New England. But he didn't, so he got the same sendoff Belichick got in Cleveland, except with a whole lot more winning on his résumé.
And finally …
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo emerged from the locker room Sunday with a little of that Texas swagger on his chest.
Not figuratively. His choice was something more literal following the 42-7 face-stomp of the Indianapolis Colts. Slipping through a doorway afterward, the T-shirt worn by the Dallas Cowboys quarterback flaunted block letters:
"COWBOYS RUN THE EAST".
That's a fact. The New York Giants tripped at the starting line; the Washington Redskins devoured themselves from within and the Philadelphia Eagles fell into a tailspin. The playoff-bound Cowboys don't just run the NFC East this season. They own it.
For this franchise, it's a significant step forward. The Cowboys look as complete as they ever have, drawing forth memories of the 1990s: stout offensive line, bell-cow running back, opportunistic and speedy defense. Team owner Jerry Jones is smiling. Seemingly everyone is in line for contract extensions this offseason.