- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Prison will always define Michael Vick. But in a very tangible way, he's almost shed one of the heaviest burdens of his days behind bars: an $18 million debt.
Vick's career out of prison, six seasons, is now as long as his career before it. But as ESPN's Darren Rovell notes, much of the second half of Vick's career, which is now in low gear in New York, has been spent paying off a $17.8 million debt to creditors. Vick declared bankruptcy while in prison on federal dogfighting charges in July 2008.
Vick has spent the last five years on a budget in an effort to pay back creditors. Vick had to pay back the Atlanta Falcons $6.5 million in salary, among many others.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
A few things happened in Week 15 that caused us to reshuffle our playoff projections.
Here's how the playoff field looks right now entering Week 16 of the NFL season, with the Arizona Cardinals still sitting atop the NFC field with home-field advantage and the Super Bowl being played on their home turf.
However, with the Cardinals' shaky quarterback situation (and injuries elsewhere), we're projecting a new team landing the coveted top seed — the Seattle Seahawks — in advance of their meeting with the Cards this weekend.
Losses by the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles and victories by the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints also tilted those respective divisional races and the wildcard picture. One double-digit team will miss the field entirely, and right now it's the Eagles on the outside looking in.
With that in mind, here's how the first-round matchups could end up looking if our projections are accurate.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
The Chicago Bears have become a joke. Football teams that have become jokes illicit jokes from the people who watch them.
But there's a line of taste and standards, too, and one Chicago broadcaster certainly crossed it.
After the Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, deeping their nightmare of a season, WLS-TV sports anchor Mark Giangreco spoke over while a sixth-grade pun of a chyron headline — "Cut him or cut your wrists" — ran next to a picture of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who has drawn the continued ire of Bears fans after another slew of turnovers in the loss.
Suicide-prevention advocates likely didn't see the gallows humor in the caption.
After a strong negative response to it, Giangreco issued an apology, via mediabistro.com.
“My remarks were inappropriate, and I deeply regret and apologize for this incident. I will be issuing an on-air apology in [Wednesday] evening’s newscast,” Giancreco said.Mon, Dec 15New Orleans31 - 15ChicagoGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
Well, well, look who made an appearance at football practice on Wednesday.
A mere eight days after he was in a frightening car accident, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton participated in practice in advance of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, according to Black and Blue Review's Bill Voth.
(The video of some of what Newton did Wednesday is above.)
Is it possible that Newton could play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns?
Pump the breaks there — part of this is the Panthers seeing where Newton is with his transverse process injury he suffered in the crash. But it has to be tremendously encouraging that Newton is even in a place where he can go through basic practice movements, which would give the Panthers a lift as they remain in the thick of the NFC South race.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was in the news earlier this season for an alleged domestic violence incident for which he ultimately wasn't charged, is being investigated for alleged sexual assault.
And the 49ers have had enough of those headlines. The team released McDonald, general manager Trent Baalke announced.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, Baalke said the team released him because of a pattern of poor decision-making. McDonald, in his eighth NFL season, had started all 14 games for the 49ers this season.
"This is a team decision, not a league decision," Baalke said, according to the 49ers' Twitter feed.
The San Jose Police Department said it received a call at about 10:43 p.m. on Tuesday from an area hospital regarding a possible sexual assault victim, CSN Bay Area reported. The SJPD said no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. The alleged victim is not McDonald's fiancee, CSN Bay Area said.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Nobody should question Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray's toughness again.
Two days after undergoing surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, Murray was back on the field, wearing a pad on his injured hand. He caught passes, too, in the warm-up period open to the media before practice. While there are still a few days to go before the Cowboys play the Indianapolis Colts, it would seem he's got a great chance of playing given that he appeared at Wednesday's practice.
UPDATE: Although Murray was suited out for practice and participated in the warm-up period open to the media, the Cowboys' official listing for him was "did not participate" in Wednesday's practice, according ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon. That technically means he was not a part of any team drills in practice.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Social media was supposed to be great for athletes, a way for them to get their message directly to fans.
Here’s the rub: People then have unlimited access to complain to those athletes. And with the anonymity of the Internet, they could blast away. If you want to criticize the media for being overly cynical and critical, that's fine, but go and check a prominent athlete's mentions on Twitter sometime. It can be brutal. If an athlete screwed up and it cost a fantasy victory, plenty of fans will let him know in 140 characters.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
The key questions remaining in the Ray Rice spousal abuse investigation remain: What did the NFL know and when did it know it?
An investigation into those questions is digging deep into NFL personnel's correspondence.
In July, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell served Rice with a two-game suspension for striking his then-fianceé in an Atlantic City elevator in February. However, when a videotape of the incident became public in September, Goodell increased that suspension to indefinite. Rice appealed that decision, saying the league office had knowledge of and access to the incriminating videotape at the time of the initial punishment. Rice won that appeal and is currently available to be signed by any team.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
The NFL's concussion era has raised the moral question of what the league can do to protect players who don't appear to want to protect themselves.
"I'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not play in the NFL and have a long life," Chris Conte said Monday on WBBM Radio (via Chicago Tribune, h/t PFT).
"I don't really look toward my life after football. I'll figure things out when I get there. As long as I outlive my parents."
Conte, who turns 26 in February, has been beset by injuries throughout his short career, and especially this season: back (which kept him out Monday against the New Orleans Saints), shoulder and eye ailments, and, maybe worst of all, mutliple concussions. Of the 12 games Conte has played this season, he has been unable to finish seven of them.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
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The San Diego Chargers will stay put. For another season, at least.
The franchise could have opted out of its lease at Qualcomm Stadium but has decided to extend the agreement at least through the 2015 NFL season, with the hope of getting a long-term agreement on a new, publicly funded stadium.
From the Chargers' website:
"On February 1st of every year since 2007, the Chargers have been eligible to terminate the team’s lease for Qualcomm Stadium," said Mark Fabiani, the Chargers' special counsel to team president Dean Spanos, in a prepared statement. "And each year since 2007, the Chargers have announced that the team will not exercise the termination clause and instead continue to work toward a permanent stadium solution in San Diego.