Shutdown Corner - NFL

--Now that Brett Favre(notes) has kinda/sorta announced that he is still thinking about playing (unless of course, he doesn't), and he might be motivated by an NFC Championship rematch against the New Orleans Saints (unless, of course, he isn't), there is still more good news for the Minnesota Vikings. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected the NFL's petition to expedite the StarCaps case of defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams(notes), which virtually guarantees that the Williams Wall will be in uniform for the 2010 season.

The NFL was told that it has not demonstrated that the four-game suspensions for alleged use of the banned StarCaps diuretic should be given special priority, and the league really doesn't have a case here. Remember, this is the same NFL that knew the results of Brian Cushing's drug test in September, and let him play all season through the appeals process. If the Williamses are in need of a precedent (though it doesn't sound like they will be), they could start right there.

--Saints coach Sean Payton has some very interesting recollections of post-Super Bowl celebrations (at least, what he can remember of them) in his new book.

Basically, we were up all night. And why not? There was no next game to worry about. And God knows, we'd waited long enough for this. Four years since I'd gotten to New Orleans - 42 years, five months and 18 days since John Gilliam's opening run. As we toasted the team, the city and ourselves, we knew we still had some celebrating in front of us. No one seemed eager to call it an early night ...

... "Have you ever seen the movie, "The Hangover," where the guy is asking, "How did this lion (actually tiger) get here? Where did my tooth go? Isn't that Mike Tyson? That was (the Monday after the Super Bowl) for me."

In my mind, Payton's the NFL's best coach, and it sounds as if he's a pretty captivating storyteller, as well.

--Props to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio for breaking the story that Panthers receiver Steve Smith was actually playing in an adult flag football tournament when he broke his arm, and not in the camp-for-kids story that was floated by other sources for a while. In the aftermath, Smith explained that his love for the game was at the root of his taking a risk that will not keep him out of the picture through training camp.

"If you get out of your little shallow box, you would understand it's more than just money for me in this game," Smith told radio station WFNZ-AM. "This is what I grew up playing, and it was my offseason. Until freaking Father's Day, nothing had happened."

From now on, the 31-year-old Smith will be more restrained. "I'm going to sit in my bubble. That's what I'm going to do for the rest of my career. That would be better for everybody."

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