EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was honored as a hero in the New York area at an event Tuesday night, but missed the team's workout session Wednesday, which was erroneously reported by Yahoo! Sports as a form of protest for contractual reasons.
A team source, who had previously suggested to Y! Sports that Nicks may have been unhappy with his contract situation, clarified Thursday morning that he didn't know exactly why Nicks was gone and was making what he felt was an educated guess.
"We've all talked about our contracts and the things we've been through, like what's going on with [wide receiver Victor] Cruz," the source said, referring to Cruz's refusal to sign a one-year restricted free agent tender for $2.879 million. "When you talk about money and what you think the team is doing right or wrong, sometimes feelings get really hard."
Nicks, the team's first-round draft pick in 2009, is going into the final season of his five-year contract.
Y! Sports regrets the error.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As if the New York Giants and Victor Cruz weren't involved in enough of a stare down, fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sent the team a little message by not showing up for practice Wednesday.
Pay day is coming soon for Nicks, too.
That was the unstated goal of Nicks' not attending the Giants' organized team activity practice, a team source indicated Wednesday. However, Nicks' agent Peter Schaffer strongly denied that the wide receiver missed the practice because of contractual reasons. Schaffer said only he and Nicks were fully aware of the reason for the player's absence and was unwilling to further discuss.
Strictly speaking, Nicks didn't violate any rules. OTAs are, after all, voluntary. However, in the lexicon of NFL, voluntary is a synonym for mandatory.
Even if that's an oxymoron.
Manning handled that situation well. He expressed only the mildest disappointment with Nicks' and Cruz's absence, saying this was an important time of year to work on timing.
NFL.com on top five receivers under the age of 25:
BOSTON – The NFL calendar is in such flux right now that you're almost better off noting events in pencil instead of pen.
On Tuesday, the NFL awarded Super Bowls L and LI to San Francisco and Houston, respectively. What the league didn't do is attach an exact date to either one of those games. Both cities are preparing for the game to be on one of the first three Sundays in February in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Likewise, commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL draft will be held either May 8-10 or May 15-17 next year and indicated the event will stay in May for the foreseeable future, assuming it stays at Radio City Music Hall or New York, generally.
The NFL scouting combine may also move, along with the start of free agency each year, the structure of the playoffs, the regular season and the preseason. Be it the expansion of the playoffs, the possibility of an 18-game schedule or changes to the Pro Bowl, the NFL is entertaining any and all ideas.
Or as Goodell put it at one point, "All options are on the table."
The game is scheduled for February 2016 at the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara. Levi's Stadium will officially open in 2014 and reportedly is nearing the halfway point in its construction. The stadium is adjacent to the team's training complex. It is also next to Great America amusement park and across from the Santa Clara Convention Center.
"It's an awesome, awesome thing that they've allowed us to host one of the biggest games; the golden anniversary in the Golden State," 49ers CEO Jed York said. "We're just really, really excited."
The last time San Francisco hosted the Super Bowl was January 1985, when the game was played at Stanford Stadium between the 49ers and Miami Dolphins. The 49ers won that game, the second of the team's five Super Bowl titles.
In addition, Miami came up short in its bid for Super Bowl LI, which was awarded to Houston.
[Related: Survival guide for Super Bowl L]
As the Houston Texans are left to wonder what they were or weren't told by safety Ed Reed about a hip injury that required surgery earlier this offseason, the NFL is taking a huge step toward eliminating such questions.
Eight teams, including the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers, are participating in the first stage of what the league calls "electronic medical records" reporting starting this offseason. EMR will be a comprehensive database for information on player injuries that a league source said will help eliminate troubling disclosures after an acquisition such as the one brought up in the Reed case.
All 32 teams are expected to use the database by 2014.
"What you should have in this system is a way for any team interested in signing a player – with player permission – a chance to access his records so there aren't disclosure issues," the league source said.
However, there are those on the player side who believe this will only cause athletes to be less trustful of teams' medical evaluation systems and less likely to report injuries in the first place.
The NFL Players Association has declined to discuss the EMR system.
Linebacker Rolando McClain, 23, has gotten married, been arrested twice, been cut by the lowly Oakland Raiders, then signed by the champion Baltimore Ravens and has now retired.
That's a busy life for most people. McClain has managed to do all of that since the beginning of January.
On Wednesday, one of the more bizarre careers in NFL history ended, at least for now, with McClain telling Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that he was done.
"Rolando let me know that he plans to retire from the NFL," Newsome said in a release from the Ravens.
Earlier this year, McClain spoke with the Madison (Ala.) Weekly News about his career, indicating that he was training for the upcoming season. At the same time, McClain talked about having changed his life, particularly after marrying college girlfriend Capri Knox in January.
"I am who I am. I'll have to change my surroundings. I love my friends and my city and I won't turn my back on them. I just need to make better decisions in my life. I won't be making as many visits to Decatur."
Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young pleaded not guilty in an Orange County, Calif., court Tuesday to three felony charges and five misdemeanor charges, a spokesperson for the district attorney's office told Yahoo! Sports. He was still being held on a $25,000 bail as of Tuesday evening. Six of the eight charges stemmed from an incident last Friday in which Young allegedly broke into a home in San Clemente and then fought with police as they apprehended him.
However, two felony charges were added as a result of Young allegedly later being caught on video stealing water, candy and cigars from a gas station convenience store in Laguna Hills on May 4, according to the court filings. The Laguna Hills incident was earlier reported by The Detroit News.
After Young was cut by Detroit, the St. Louis Rams claimed him on waivers. However, the Rams cut him only 10 days later. Team sources have indicated that Young's behavior continued to be erratic.
Editor's note: This is the second installment of Jason Cole's two-part conversation with Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, who resumed his NFL career in 2009 after spending two seasons out of the league following a federal conviction and prison time on charges connected to dogfighting. Part 1 of the conversation appeared Monday.
Jason Cole: You say it was a mental challenge last year. But you also knew along the way that some people on the coaching staff during the season wanted to play rookie quarterback Nick Foles. You knew that and just dealt with it quietly. I imagine that the 22-year-old Michael Vick wouldn't have handled that the same way.
Cole: If you could go back in time and look at 20-year-old Michael Vick …
Vick: Yeah, I know that Michael Vick. It's ingrained. I lived it.
Cole: What would you tell him?
Cole: I heard this story one time that when you were 15 or 16 years old, there were guys in your neighborhood who wanted to hurt you.
Cole: So it's a really tough thing to do.
Cole: Did that become harder for you?
Editor's note: This is Part 1 of a two-part conversation with Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, who resumed his NFL career in 2009 after spending two seasons out of the league following a federal conviction and prison time on charges connected to dogfighting. Part 2 of the conversation appeared Tuesday, May 14.
PHILADELPHIA – Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is at a crossroads. At 32, he's the oldest player on his team, he's essentially on a one-year contract, and he's trying to return to his career-best 2010 level, all while playing for a first-year head coach (Chip Kelly) with no NFL background.
There's still plenty of confidence, too. It accents his hope that he can still turn his considerable talent into a championship, even if some people wonder if he can simply hold on to his job. Vick sat down with Yahoo! Sports for 30 minutes last week to talk about where he is at this point in his career.
Cole: He called you out, right? He kept calling you "Old Man."
Cole: Full court?
PHILADELPHIA – The simplistic view of the NFL's coaching and management symposium is that it was meant to help train mostly minority candidates for head coach and general manager positions.
But the most important color on display was neither black nor white.
It was green.
Or as one owner put it during a session, "I want to know how you're going to handle the money."
For many men who derive their passion from arranging X's and O's and then teaching players how to execute those arrangements, the three-day session at the prestigious Wharton School was about anything but that part of football. This was about business. This was the button-down, tie-adorned side of the game that has become nearly as important as the other side.
"You have to want to do that. I know from my experience doing it, I want to do it again. I thought I was prepared the first time. But it's like anything you do – you think you're ready, but you're not. I have a much greater sense of the challenge now."
Zimmer smiled wearily at that joke.