Mon May 20 09:47pm EDT
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll may have been happy to have most of his players back on the field for the start of the team's 2013 series of voluntary OTAs, but that was not the first thing on his mind on Monday. Nor should it have been. Instead, when Carroll addressed the media after a spirited two-hour non-contact practice, his thoughts went immediately -- and comprehensively -- to the fact that six different Seahawks players have been suspended for violations of the NFL's substance abuse policies since 2010, and to the increasing perception that Carroll is leading a team that can't get out of its own way. Carroll was forced to address the situation this time because defensive end Bruce Irvin, the team's first-round pick in 2012, was recently suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for reported Adderall use.
"This is a challenge -- it’s a challenge for us, and it’s a challenge for the league," Carroll said during a five-minute statement at the beginning of his press conference. "The league is doing everything they can to help guys make it through these young careers that they have, from teaching, to instructing, also the punitive side of it. They're doing a really good job and they’re in it for the right reasons, and we are too. We go beyond with what the league does. We go well past with what the guidelines ask us to do as far as working with our young guys trying to give them the direction, trying to give them the counseling. We have people on staff that are here specifically to work with our individual guys because I really see this as an individual challenge."
Right now, it's a collective challenge for the organization. Irvin's suspension followed the suspensions of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner in 2012 (both for Adderall, though Sherman's was later overturned on appeal), and the earlier suspensions of guard John Moffitt, offensive tackle Allen Barbre, and defensive back Winston Guy. The NFL does not release the reasons for these suspensions, but Moffit admitted that he took Adderall before he knew he needed a medical exemption. Not even counting the overturned Sherman suspension, that still puts the Seahawks in the NFL lead when it comes to such suspensions since 2010.
And it's worth wondering, as some jokesters might, whether the Seahawks are now an Adderall team with a football problem.
Carroll is now saddled with the perception that he's lost control of the ship. Right or wrong, a team that many experts believe could represent the NFC in the Super Bowl has been pegged as a loose cannon. It's not something that he wants to deal with, especially when these perceptions are added to the scandals that contributed to his departure from USC in 2009. Can Carroll can maintain order in these more difficult circumstances? Can any NFL head coach, and how is that best done?
Mon May 20 03:49pm EDT
The NFL and NFLPA are closing in a deal that would make significant alterations to the league calender over the next three years, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
According to the report, the union is close to signing off on a deal allowing the league to move the start date of the new league year to before the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. Historically, the new league year has begun in early-to-mid March, nearly two weeks after the final day of the combine.
An even bigger change, and one that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not need union approval for, is pushing the date of the annual NFL draft from late April to May. While the collective bargaining agreement allows for the commissioner to set the date at his or her discretion, Goodell would like to the NFLPA's approval before taking that step.
Mon May 20 03:11pm EDT
NFL owners have gathered in Boston this week for their annual spring meetings. A focal point of this week's meetings will be the announcement of the host cities for Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI, votes on which will take place on Tuesday.
Owners will choose between presentations from South Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area for the 50th Super Bowl, which will be played in February 2016.
The Bay Area is the favorite to host Super Bowl L as construction is well underway on the San Francisco 49ers' new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, located about 40 miles south of San Francisco. Completion of the new stadium, which has seating capacity of up to 75,000 and will be named Levi's Stadium once a naming rights deal is approved, is expected in time for the 2014 season.
San Francisco hosted the Super Bowl in 1985 and was tentatively awarded Super Bowl XXXIII, but could not reach a deal to finance renovations to Candlestick Park and lost the right to host the game.
Meanwhile, the current bid out of South Florida is considered a long shot to host either Super Bowl after the Florida state legislature recently defeated a bill that would have granted public money for renovations to Sun Life Stadium.
A three-quarters majority, 24 of the 32 owners, are required on the first ballot Tuesday. If neither San Francisco or Miami receives 24 votes on the first ballot, then a simple majority would win on the subsequent ballot.
Mon May 20 12:55pm EDT
The job of a rookie quarterback was never what you'd call easy. But the sudden, meteoric splash of young talents like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have meant that for new QBs, the learning curve is a ten-foot-high wall, and patience with their development is nonexistent. So it's got to warm the chilled hearts of Bills fans to hear that their latest prize acquisition, rookie E.J. Manuel, is acclimating well to the team's new offense under Doug Marrone and OC Nathaniel Hackett.
“The funny thing is it's easier to learn than the offense I had at Florida State,” Manuel said on SiriusXM. “It's a true West Coast-type progression offense. That's really what I wanted when I was coming through the pre-draft process. I wanted something that I could just go in and say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, check it down and run it. That's it, it's that simple. I love it."
Now, the way that Manuel related it, the Bills' playbook sounds only slightly more complex than the "everybody get open" method of Thanksgiving Day football. We're betting there's a bit more to it than that. Still, Manuel is doubling down on the idea that he's got this thing knocked.
“The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State," Manuel continued. "[FSU's offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn. This offense is very simple. I've done a great job with it.” Confidence, right?
Of course, understanding the playbook is only half the battle, if that much. Execution is key, and that's where Manuel will need to step up. As our own Doug Farrar wrote in previewing Manuel for the draft, "There are questions about his on-field decision-making ability, his ability to read defenses at an advanced level, how well he throws under pressure, and how able he is to throw with a sense of anticipation." Knowing what you have to do and actually doing it are two very different tasks, and perhaps it's to Manuel's benefit that he can get the sequence of plays in mind quickly in order to focus on, you know, actually running those plays.
Now, the Hot Sports Take here would be oh, the Bills offense is easier than a college one so the Bills must be worse than a college team!!! Wrong. Complexity is not necessarily a sign of genius, and simplicity does not necessarily equal simplemindedness. And yes, the Bills would destroy Florida State or any other ACC team they played.
SEC? Totally different story. Buffalo would be lucky to finish third in the SEC East.
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-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
Mon May 20 12:36pm EDT
Legend has it that at Vince Lombardi's first team meeting with the Green Bay Packers, the new coach held up a ball and told his team, "This is a football." Many coaches since have pulled similar stunts to start a new season. It's a way of emphasizing fundamentals by starting with the basics.
And it seems very silly because, as we know, by the time players get to the pros they know all the fundamentals in and out, right? Not so fast.
Michael Vick, the 32-year-old starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, has played 10 seasons in the NFL, played two seasons at Virginia Tech, started three years for his high school team and probably played youth football for many years before that. And throughout those thousands of practices and hundreds of games, Vick says nobody taught him how to properly carry a football.
It is absolutely mind-blowing that Vick didn't know the correct way to carry a football before new Eagles coach Chip Kelly pulled him aside at a recent practice and taught him, but that's what he told PhillyMag.com:
Mon May 20 12:07pm EDT
It was quite the story last week, especially for those who enjoy outrage over the money made by professional athletes and the sense of entitlement they all supposedly have: Washington Redskins fans went to the Bed, Bath & Beyond website and bought gifts for quarterback Robert Griffin III and his fiancée, Rebecca Liddicoat from the couple's wedding registry. Those gifts included several pricey items (in the $200-499 range), which set quite a few people out of joint. After all, those people said, where does a guy who signed a four-year, $21,119,098, fully guaranteed contract in July of 2012 get off accepting gifts from fans?
Dan Steinberg, the Big Kahuna over at the Washington Post's indispensable D.C. Sports Bog, got all investigative instead, and actually reached out to the fans who bought those gifts to see why they did it. As you'd expect, Steinberg got some interesting responses.
Patrick Dibert, a 24-year old Redskins fan who works in the non-profit sector for a Virginia group that fights hunger ... bought Griffin and his fiancée, Rebecca Liddicoat, a set of Brita water filters for $30 (including shipping), and he isn’t about to apologize.
“It’s not like that was money I’m not going to donate to charity; I’m just not going to go out to happy hour one time during the week,” Dibert told me on Monday. “I mean, it’s just kind of funny to say I bought RGIII a present.”
Wes Taylor bought RG3 and Ms. Liddicoat a pair of spoon holders for $8, and seemed surprised anyone was taking this so seriously.
"It was kind of a goof," Taylor told Steinberg. “I just saw something on there that wasn’t that expensive and was like ‘You know what, I might as well send that.’ It was off the wall, it was goofy and no one else had bought it.’”
And for John Short, buying a simple wedding gift was more about the goofiness inherent to the hardcore Redskins fan than any sort of "give to the rich" mistake.
Mon May 20 11:27am EDT
That happy gentleman sipping on a cup there at right is Keenan Allen. He's living the high life right now, enjoying his status as a newly-minted NFL draft pick. Problem is, he's a draft pick of the San Diego Chargers ... and that there is a Raiders hat on his head.
Rookie move, KA.
This past weekend, Allen was trying a little social-media outreach, recording himself on Vine visiting an In-N-Out Burger. And, as so often happens when athletes get unfiltered access to the public, things turned ugly.
Now, it's generally good form not to in any way endorse your competitors; if you're a Coke spokesman, you don't want to get caught drinking a Pepsi, for instance. But you can figure that Allen, who went to college at Cal, might be a Raiders fan from way back, and almost surely owned the hat before he was drafted in the third round by that bolt-oriented team to the south. Reasonable mistake, right? We can all agree that it was a simple oversight, can't we?
Of course not. This is NFL fandom we're talking about here. Chargers faithful saw the hat and absolutely went ballistic. Lob Shots compiled a few of the best Twitter responses. Some of the lines we can actually share:
"if that's post draft, that kid is an idiot. I won't be rooting for him." -@habitualistic
"Typical San Diego! If he wore that in Denver he would get destroyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -@dnel0780
"Welcome to San Diego. Now burn that Raiders hat" -@crackpotjack
You get the idea. Allen deleted the Vine and took to Twitter to express his regrets:
— Keenan Allen (@KAAdeuce1) May 18, 2013
I get it fans!!!! Won't happen again!
— Keenan Allen (@KAAdeuce1) May 18, 2013
Of course, the fans didn't let it go that easily, with one replying, "Shouldn't have happened in the first place." Another fanned the flames of the grassroots burn-the-hat movement, which would win Allen pretty much the entire city of San Diego but put a price on his head in Oakland.
Fun stuff, huh? When do we get to playing actual games again?Related NFL coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
Mon May 20 10:25am EDT
We all thought Oxbow won the Preakness Stakes in Maryland on Saturday, but that's apparently because we weren't looking far enough in front. Ray Rice led the pack!
Well, at least he did on his own Facebook page, where he posted the above Photoshop. Rice's teammate Torrey Smith was actually at the race, and gave the "riders up" command — horse-racing's equivalent of "start your horses" — while wearing quite the tie:
And as for football players actually competing against their equine equivalents ... here, per Larry Brown Sports, is Ochocinco racing a horse. Giddyup.
Sun May 19 01:58pm EDT
On July 18, 2012, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III signed a four-year, $21,119,098 contract that is fully guaranteed. That's commensurate with his status as the second-overall pick in the draft, and it pretty much insures that unless he really messes up the numbers, he'll never have to worry about money again.
Still, Redskins fans have decided to help RG3 out a bit with the expenses on his upcoming nuptials to the future former Rebecca Liddicoat by finding the couple's wedding registry on the Bed Bath & Beyond website ... and fulfilling all sorts of orders.
This was confirmed by Griffin on Twitter.
Thank you to the Fans who are helping buy ALL the items from our wedding registry at Bed Bath & Beyond … say.ly/MLw5Rbg
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) May 19, 2013
Now, before the expected outrage that fans of a player making this much money would pitch in to buy these things for the happy couple (who are tying the knot on July 6), Griffin has an answer for that. The fans found his registry without his prompting and threw down of their own volition.
I didn't ask the fans to buy me anything. They found it on their own and decided to get what they could. SMH at all these Debbie downers — Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) May 19, 2013
Sun May 19 01:36pm EDT
Last week, the Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning agreed to a renegotiated contract with the primary intent on adding insurance language for the 2014 season. The new contract, which was originally reported by Mike Klis of The Denver Post, was initially believed to have no cash or salary cap implications, but that was not the case, a source with knowledge of the contract details confirmed to "Shutdown Corner".
Under the new terms of the contract, Manning will still earn the $40 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, but the payouts of those amounts has been tweaked.
Instead of earning $20 million in fully guaranteed base salaries in 2013 and 2014, Manning received a $10 million salary advance and his base salaries in 2013 and 2014 have been lowered to $15 million in each season. The $10 million salary advance is treated like a signing bonus and will be prorated over the next four seasons, reducing Manning's cap number from $20 million to $17.5 million in both 2013 and 2014.
However, the downside to the cap savings the next two seasons is that Manning's cap number will increase by $2.5 million, going from $19 million to $21.5 million, in both 2015 and 2016 as the Broncos will have veered, slightly, from the "pay as you go" approach they had been taking with the 37-year-old quarterback.
Posted Jul 2 2012
Posted Jul 3 2012
Posted Jun 21 2012