Sat May 18 10:53am EDT
According to reports, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick showed up to the first practices under new head coach Chip Kelly 'noticeably bigger' and very enthused about Kelly's high-tempo offensive system. Apparently, Vick also arrived with a point to prove, and a burr in his saddle when it comes to the criticisms levied against him regarding the sandlot nature of his game. On Wednesday, Vick went on Philly radio station 97.5 The Fanatic and laid it out to those who wonder if he'll ever play consistently and with the right kind of mechanics, as opposed to winging it and letting his athleticism rule the day.
“I’m really tempted right now to just say no comment to that because like I said a second ago, you don’t last 12 years in the NFL not being able to read the defense,” Vick told the station, via Sheil Kapadia of Phillymag.com. “Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football. Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”
But there are those who do watch tape, and are fairly informed on the subject, who believe that Vick holds on to the ball too long, fails to read defenses completely, doesn't correctly anticipate pressure, and runs himself into sacks that shouldn't happen. It's why Vick has started all 16 games in a season just once in his career, and it's why Vick was so turnover-prone in 2012, giving the ball up 11 times on fumbles. Vick led the NFL in fumbles in 2004 and 2010, but he doesn't want to hear the talk about the holes in his game.
“It’s incorrect. Without getting sensitive about it, it’s incorrect. So I’d rather not talk about it.”
Well, that's not entirely true.
Sat May 18 08:40am EDT
As first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, former Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney has agreed to a two-year deal with the San Diego Chargers.
Freeney had a two-day meeting (Wednesday and Thursday) with the Chargers, who were in the market for pass-rush help after losing Shaun Phillips to free agency and Melvin Ingram to a torn ACL. Phillips led the Chargers with 9.5 sacks last season and his departure, to AFC West rival Denver Broncos, was expected to be cushioned by a larger role for Ingram, a 2012 first-round pick who suffered what will likely be a season-ending knee injury during the team's second day of OTA practices.
The 33-year-old Freeney spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, earning seven trips to the Pro Bowl while becoming that franchise's all-time leader in sacks with 107.5. Most of Freeney's production came during his first ten seasons as a defensive end in a 4-3 system. Last season, the Colts hired Chuck Pagano as head coach and, in a new 3-4 system, Freeney was moved to outside linebacker. Freeney posted just five sacks, his lowest total since notching 3.5 sacks in an injury-shortened 2007 season.
Fri May 17 04:35pm EDT
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin has been suspended for the first four games of the 2013 regular season after violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Irvin, who is eligible to participate in training camp and the preseason, will miss games against the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans before he is reinstated on Monday, Sept. 30. The four-game suspension will cost the 2012 first-round pick out of West Virginia $191,681 in base salary and could potentially void the guarantees on the $3,717,870 that remains on his four-year, $9.342 million rookie contract. The Seahawks could also seek to recoup a prorated portion ($307,902) of Irvin's signing bonus.
According to Dave "Softy" Mahler of 950-KJR in Seattle, Irvin's suspension is due to unauthorized use of Adderall, a substance that led to 2012 suspensions of Seahawks cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. Browner served his four-game ban, but Sherman challenged his suspension, which was overturned.
"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption," Irvin said in a statement. "I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return."
Fri May 17 03:52pm EDT
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo a fourth surgery on his left forearm next week, but that is not the only medical issue that the two-time Pro Bowler is facing this offseason.
According to Mike Garafolo of the USA Today, Gronkowski recently underwent an MRI on his back and will visit with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins to determine if surgery is required to repair a disc issue that has been bothering the 24-year-old since last season.
While at the University of Arizona, Gronkowski missed the 2009 season after having a disc shaved down and there were whispers prior to the 2010 NFL draft that Gronkowski had spinal stenosis, which both Gronkowski and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, vehemently denied. The back surgery kept Gronkowski out of the 2010 combine and would be enough to drop Gronkowski out of the first-round in the 2010 draft as the Patriots selected him with the No. 42 overall pick.
Gronkowski answered questions about his durability by appearing in all 36 regular and post-season games in his first two seasons in the league. Over that stretch, Gronkowski emerged as one of the top tight ends in the NFL and last year signed a six-year, $54 million contract extension that included over $18 million in guaranteed money. Gronkowski missed five regular season games and one playoff game in 2012 after breaking his left forearm on two separate occasions.
Fri May 17 01:11pm EDT
Free agent quarterback Vince Young is still looking for a team that will allow him to continue his NFL career, but the No. 3 overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft has crossed a major life achievement off his to-do list as he has graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in education.
Young places the achievement ahead of leading the Longhorns to a national championship win in 2005, Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com reports.
"This will rank No. 1 because it is what I came to school for," Young said. "I came here to get an education, and to win a national championship. And now, I get to put that smile on my mom's face."
Young was a two-year starter for the Longhorns before declaring for the NFL draft following the 2005 season. In 60 games with the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles, Young passed for 8,964 yards with 46 touchdowns and 51 interceptions, adding 1,459 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Young last appeared in a regular season game with the Eagles in 2011 and went to training camp last year with the Buffalo Bills, but failed to make the team's 53-man roster.
"I'm about to be the first in my family to graduate," he said. "Just finishing what I started. That's why I'm trying to get back in the NFL. To finish what I started. That is the type of guy I am. I do work hard -- even when the times are good or bad. That's just how I was raised.
"My mom used to be strung out on drugs. The one thing she used to always be able to do, was be in the house to go to work the next morning. I don't know how she got up after she was doing the things she was doing, but she used to be right there making sure we were getting ready for school and she was going to work. I saw that."
Young, who turns 30 on Saturday, worked out for NFL talent evaluators at Texas' pro day in March, has yet to receive an offer, but remains hopeful that his phone will ring. If that doesn't happen, however, Young has taken a major step towards preparing for life after football.
Fri May 17 11:38am EDT
New York Jets running back Mike Goodson was arrested on drug and weapons charges early on Friday morning, reports News 12 in New Jersey.
According to the report, Goodson and another man, identified as Garrett Evans, were found intoxicated in a parked SUV along Route 80 in Denville, New Jersey, which is about 15 miles northwest of the Jets' headquarters in Florham Park. A loaded .45-caliber handgun was found in the SUV and when the 25-year-old running back was transported to a hospital for evaluation, marijuana was discovered in his possession.
Both Goodson and Evans were released from the hospital and into the custody of State Police who transported the two men to the unit's Netcong's barracks. Mike Garafolo of the USA Today reports that Goodson was the passenger in the vehicle and that Evans has been charged with a DUI.
Goodson played his college ball at Texas A&M and was selected in the fourth-round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. Goodson spent three seasons with the Panthers before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders last offseason. In 40 career games, Goodson has rushed for 722 yards and three touchdowns with 59 receptions for 524 yards and one touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield.
Fri May 17 11:22am EDT
Former West Virginia and current St. Louis Rams receiver Tavon Austin recently said that he can't believe how many people are crawling out of the woodwork asking for money now that he's set up as the eighth-selected player in the 2013 NFL draft. "Everybody wants to be around you," Austin told the Rams' official website. "My phone doesn’t stop ringing now. It feels like they’re counting my bank account now. So that’s probably the hardest thing for me."
If Austin wants to know how tough it can really get, he should talk to Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith, who was selected with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft out of USC. Smith signed a four-year, $12.5 million deal and went about becoming one of the best young blockers in the game. Considering what he was going through, it's amazing that Smith would be able to get his head together enough to find the field at all. As he recently told the Dallas Morning News, Smith agreed to pay his stepfather, Roy Pinkney, and his mother, Frankie Pinkney, a substantial sum of money in four installments to insure that they would want for nothing. But that wasn't good enough for the Pinkneys, or some of Smith's own siblings.
“There was a certain amount I agreed to give them, but it went way beyond that and I was just like, ‘I’m done,’” Smith said. “I feel like I shouldn’t have given them so much. There was nothing wrong with helping them out and making sure they were taken care of, but not something to where they live the same lifestyle as you.”
According to the Morning News story (and as we recalled on Shutdown Corner at the time), things got a lot worse when Smith tried to set some boundaries.
Last October, John Schorsch — Smith’s Dallas-based attorney at the time — said Smith’s “mom and/or the stepdad threatened the physical well-being of Tyron and the life of his girlfriend.” Smith filed a protective order against his parents last summer to keep them from having any contact with him. The order also prohibits contact from Smith’s parents through his siblings. During training camp last year in Oxnard, Calif., one of Smith’s brothers whom he said he hadn’t talked to “in a long time” showed up and had to be removed from the facility.
Six months ago, his attorney said, Smith discovered that his family had taken more than $1 million from him. “There was money missing, but I just don’t know where it went,” Smith said in the report. “There were times I would check my statements and it wouldn’t make sense and I hadn’t authorized it at all. I just felt betrayed and I was like, ‘Who can I trust?’”
Smith had been using a financial advisor recommended by his parents.
Fri May 17 10:06am EDT
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will have surgery next week to replace a plate in his left forearm, Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network report.
Gronkowsk broke his forearm while blocking on a fourth-quarter extra point attempt in a 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18. Gronkowski underwent surgery to repair that break and would miss five regular season games. Gronkowski broke the same forearm again during a divisional playoff win over the Houston Texans and had surgery in mid-January.
A third procedure took place in February after Gronkowski developed an infection following the second surgery. A fourth procedure to replace the plate in Gronkowski's forearm has been delayed by that infection, which has been treated with a round of antibiotics.
According to report, Gronkowski's forearm will be examined on Monday to determine if the infection has cleared. If it has, Dr. Jesse Jupiter will perform the operation sometime next week at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Gronkowski appears to be in good hands as Dr. Jupiter's bio at the Mass General website states that he "specializes in the care of traumatic and reconstructive problems of the upper limb. These include arthritis, fracture healing and failure to heal, nerve compression and injury, and both pediatric and adult injuries to the upper limb".
Thu May 16 08:41pm EDT
Late last month, New York Jets second-round quarterback Geno Smith fired his agents after falling out of Round 1 in the 2013 NFL draft. Smith is expected to announce a decision on a new agent soon — the favorite is Jay-Z's "Roc Nation" sports agency — but he won't be the only Jets draft pick to change agents after being selected slightly later than expected.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Jets first-round pick Dee Milliner has fired Impact Sports after he was not selected with one of the first five picks in the 2013 NFL draft. Milliner "tumbled" all the way to the ninth overall pick in the draft.
Milliner was expected to be a first round pick, but there were no iron-clad guarantees that he would be selected in the top five, or even the top ten. In our pre-draft, "Shutdown 50" series, Milliner was ranked ninth by editor Doug Farrar, who had Milliner going to the Cleveland Browns with the sixth overall pick in his mock draft. Greg Cosell had Milliner going to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 17 pick in his mock draft.
Milliner was represented by Tony Fleming and Mitch Frankel, who were set to negotiate Milliner's four-year rookie contract which would be worth around $12.66 million, all of which would be fully guaranteed, including a $7,588,072 signing bonus. Based on the contract signed by Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah on May 10, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Milliner would have received a four-year contract worth $18,594,502 in fully guaranteed money.
"I know that everything was done to ensure that Mr. Milliner would be drafted as high as possible," Fleming told Rapoport. "Dee was the first cornerback selected, and he was drafted ninth overall to the New York Jets. This is a tremendous accomplishment. I wish Mr. Milliner future success in his professional career."
Per NFLPA rules, Milliner has to wait five days before he can officially hire a new agent.
Thu May 16 07:51pm EDT
As we and many others reported yesterday, the New England Patriots released defensive tackle Kyle Love this week in the wake of the news that he has Type-2 diabetes. And for those who were wondering whether Love's release might have been for other reasons, there's a lot of evidence that there were no other reasons. First, there was the fact that New England released Love, who started 25 games for the team over the last two seasons, with a non-football injury designation. And, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Pats gave Love two options: Either retire for a year, in which case the team would not move to recover any part of the $500,000 signing bonus he received as part of his two-year, $3.09 million contract extension he signed in 2012, or take a risk on playing sooner, and take a walk.
Love chose the latter, and as it turned out, he didn't have to wait long for a team interested in his services. The Jacksonville Jaguars reported, per the team's official website, that they picked Love up off waivers on Thursday. Love had lost about 30 pounds off his 315-pound frame in the offseason, which left him unable to participate in off-season activities for the Pats, but according to his agent, Richard Kopelman, Love is back in fighting shape and ready for action.
“Prior to the diagnosis, Kyle recently experienced unexplained weight loss, but since being diagnosed and having altered his diet, Kyle has regained most of the weight he lost, is in good health, and was not limited in any way during offseason workouts in which he was engaged up until being told he would be released," Kopelman told ESPN Boston on Wednesday.
Love is the second former Patriots defensive lineman picked up by the Jaguars this week -- they also acquired defensive end Brandon Deaderick off waivers on Tuesday.
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