Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:12 am

The Daily Shoutout: Phil Simms was right. Sort of

OPENING HIT: Phil Simms said on Showtime's Inside the NFL that quarterback Peyton Manning would never allow the drafting of Andrew Luck."There is no way if Peyton Manning is given a clean bill of health -- I'm going to go on that assumption -- that he is going to let them draft Andrew Luck," Simms said.

Now, Simms has a point. Manning is a competitor and the last thing Manning wants to do is welcome the guy who is going to take his job. Manning is also a competitor, not a wet nurse. Can you see Manning as Batman and Luck as Robin? No? Me neither. Manning would probably give Luck the Brett Favre treatment. Favre treated Aaron Rodgers like Rodgers was a member of the Taliban.

But this is where Simms is wrong. Bill Polian is one of the greatest talent evaluators this league has ever known or ever will know. He's also extremely arrogant. Anyone who thinks Bill Freaking Polian is going to let a player tell him who to draft -- even a player like Manning -- doesn't know Polian. Polian don't play that.

There is also precedent for this. Dan Reeves and John Elway came to despise one another when both were in Denver. Remember, there was no more powerful players and bigger names at his height than Elway's. But that didn't stop Reeves from drafting Tommy Maddox.

Organizations don't do what's in the interest of one player they do what's in the best interest of the team. If the Colts are in position to draft Luck they are drafting Luck. It's a guarantee. It's as close to a lock as the sun rising and Tebow leading in clicks.

The real issue isn't if the Colts would draft Luck. The real issue is what I mentioned above.

How would Manning treat Luck?
Category: NFL
Tags: Colts
Posted on: October 26, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 3:30 pm

Terrell Owens offered $400 per week AFL job

How the mighty have fallen: the Arena Football League, specifically the Chicago Rush, have made Terrell Owens a contract offer. No, this is not a joke.

A spokeswoman for the team told me the offer was the standard Areana League contract: $400 per week.

Now, this is a total grandstanding move and Owens would never play in the AFL but it's damn smart of the AFL to make the offer and then publicize it. Damn smart. It'll never work but you can't blam them for trying.

Remember, Owens was once one of the highest paid players in the NFL making tens of millions.

Now, he's being offered the football equivalent of sub-standard wages. Wow.

Again, how the mighty have fallen.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 26, 2011 9:32 am
Edited on: October 26, 2011 2:48 pm

The Daily Shoutout: The next Cam Newton?

OPENING HIT: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden once told me this about Christian Ponder: "His talent is going to catch come people by surprise." Bowden said it with that thick drawl and extreme confidence. I never doubted Bowden's words. I never doubt Bowden, period, and he in some ways his prediction is coming true. It's not that Ponder is some unknown. It's that we're seeing what long-time Ponder backers have said for several years now: Ponder has it all.

Ponder is the next Cam Newton. He's athletic, smart, throws well, runs well...everything he did at Florida State he'll do with the Vikings. Ponder is the anti-Tim Tebow. His outing against a Green Bay team that's not just the defending Super Bowl champs but a team I firmly believe will go unbeaten for another three of four games (at least) was impressive. And it wasn't a fluke. He's that good.

Chris Cook: If the allegations against Cook are true he'll never play another down of football again. In a league that sometimes -- my opinion -- still takes issues of domestic violence too lightly, I'm hearing from people around football they are stunned about the Cook allegations.

JOHN HARBAUGH: Don't expect the Ravens coach to take the criticism of his offensive coordinator's play calls by players lightly. I'm hearing he's not happy about it and will address the issue with the team (if he already hasn't). Publicly, Harbaugh is saying he's fine with the criticism. Privately, he's not.

And I remain stunned at the poor season Joe Flacco is having. Just didn't see it coming.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 25, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 9:42 pm

Congressmen request hearings on HGH impasse

The battle between the union and NFL over HGH might get a whole lot more interesting.

Three Congressmen are now requesting that the Committee on Energy and Commerce hold public hearings on the continuing impasse between the union and NFL on how to implement HGH testing. has obtained the letter from Congressmen Henry Waxman, the ranking member of the committee; G.K. Butterfield, the ranking member of the subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade; and Bobby Rush, another member of the Energy and Commerce committee.

The end result of hearings could be owner and NFL officials being hauled back into Washington and explaining why no agreement on how to implement HGH testing has been reached. The NFL maintains the union is delaying testing while the union says it has serious concerns on how such a test would be implemented.

This is potentially pretty big news.

"We are writing to request that the Committee hold hearings on the continued impasse between the NFL and the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) that has resulted in the failure to begin testing for human growth hormone," the letter states in part. "Earlier this year, the league and the players' association announced that under their new collective bargaining agreement, they would begin testing for HGH during the 2011 season. But testing has not yet started, with the NFLPA continuing to raise questions about the scientific validity of the test."

The letter adds: "Committee hearings will allow us to learn about these issues, hearing from top scientists about the validity of HGH testing and from the NFL and the NFLPA about the extent of HGH use in the league and their plans for testing to eliminate such use."

"We urge you," the letter finishes, "to hold hearings on this issue as soon as possible."

Translation to all of this: we want whomever is delaying this to bring their butts to D.C. and explain in hearings why they're delaying.

Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:55 am

The Daily Shoutout: Turmoil in Baltimore

OPENING HIT: The Ravens organization has always been one of the better run, classiest organizations in all of sports. No question. The GM is classy, the coach is solid and the players are pros. But the Ravens have also often been mouthy. It has long been one of the chattiest locker rooms in the league. Its players are outspoken. They'll talk about anything, say anything. Sometimes that's good and in the case of Terrell Suggs, it can be bad.

After that putrid offensive performance against Jacksonville, Suggs went off on the team's play calling. This is a defensive player publicly ripping the offensive coordinator. This is not good. This is not great. And while the Ravens will try to downplay Suggs' words or pull the "out of context" card this is a huge deal. Because you know Suggs is likely saying things the offensive players want to say but won't. After an abysmal game like that, combined with what Suggs stated, this is a true crisis for a Baltimore team that has Super Bowl potential.

This is always the risk of having strong willed players like the Ravens do particularly on defense. They will sometimes say things publicly that should probably remain in-house.

It will be interesting to see how John Harbaugh handles this crisis. And it is a crisis no matter what the Ravens will try to say.

And they'll say something because the Ravens can't help it. They love to chat.   
Category: NFL
Tags: Ravens
Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 9:36 pm

Did Suh taunt injured Matt Ryan?

DETROIT--I saw Matt Ryan go down. He was clearly injured. I saw some of the Lions players, including Ndamukong Suh, say something to Ryan. It was clear as day. I thought they were wishing Ryan well. Boy was that wrong.

After the game, Atlanta players were furious, as they claimed Suh and other Lions players taunted Ryan as he was on the ground.

Now, to be clear, Ryan himself said he didn't hear any of this. Not a word of it. But he might not have heard it because he was in such pain.

Here's a part of the play though a chunk of the aftermath is cut off by the replay.

Receiver Roddy White told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I lost a whole lot of respect for 90 [Suh] today, and also 92 [Cliff Avril], the [bleep] they were doing when Matt got hurt. That was unacceptable. … Like 92 was kicking [Ryan’s] feet, saying, ‘Get him off the field.’ We don’t do stuff like that. We don’t rally over guys when they get hurt. It was just inappropriate behavior. I mean, ‘Get the cart’? Are you serious? Come on. When you compete, you never want to see a guy get hurt.”

Again, Ryan said he didn't hear anything, but I find it difficult to believe the Falcons are making this up.

Tension was already bad before the game. The two teams got into a near tussle before the game that had to be broken up by game officials.

Category: NFL
Tags: Falcons, Lions
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:10 am

The Daily Shoutout: Deja blu all over again

OPENING HIT: The NBA and its players broke off talks yesterday and the language, well, frightened me. Not because it was harsh or threatening but because it sounded freakishly similar to when the NFL and its players were working on their new CBA. I mean, scary. The same expressions of frustration. The same accusations of lying. The same threats from owners. The same notion from players that owners want to shut down the season. Scary.

And the same reaction from the media and fans. It's the NFL all over again. Deja blu.

I mean, totally identical. The difference with the NFL was that the NFL had more time. Their deadline was a preseason game. Their clock ticked much differently. The NBA will soon cut into vital regular season games in a sport that has far less popularity.

What's perhaps most stunning is how the NBA didn't learn from the NFL's mistakes. The NBA's players and owners are doing the exact same thing the NFL did but from a far riskier perch.

So here we go again. But this time, will anyone care?

RICK NEUHEISEL: I heard several weeks ago that members of Neuheisel's staff was looking to the NFL as a possible escape route fearing everyone would get canned at the end of the season. Well, they had better intensify that search because Neuheisel is getting canned.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 7:13 pm

Goodell letter to Congress

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday wrote a letter to Congressional leaders continuing to express his desire for HGH testing.

Goodell met with Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings to discuss an HGH testing program. The league wants to start testing immediately while the union has expressed concern for fairness in the process. The two sides have reached a stalemate.

Goodell's letter, a copy of which was obtained by, is another step in the ongoing battle between the two sides.

A copy of the letter is here.

The top of letter reads as follows. The letter is presented without comment.
"I want to express my thanks for your time last Friday and for your strong support of the National Football League's efforts to begin testing our players for human growth hormone. The NFL respects the historical role that your committee has played in supporting effective drug testing programs in profesional sports. As I said last Friday -- and as the NFL has made clear for decades -- we share your belief that these programs are essential to preserve the integrity of competition on the field, protect the health and safety of athletes, and perhaps most important, set the right example for athletes at all levels, especially youth athletes. Professional football must be free of performance-enhancing drugs and our testing regimen must be implemented fairly and be based on the best available science."

The letter continued: "As we discussed last week, the NFL agrees with the dozens of scientists, toxicoligists and other experts around the world who have concluded that human growth hormone testing is reliable, safe and accurate. In fact, there are no experts in this field who state otherwise and nothing we presented to you last week that would call into question the validity or reliability of the tests used in the Olympics and many other sports (including minor league baseball). This is true both as a general matter and as the test would apply to professional football players. As we noted, the NFLPA speciafically proposed random testing for HGH and mandatory suspensions for players who test positive..."

The letter continues with Goodell making a number of other points to back the league's contention that HGH testing is fair and accurate and should be started soon.

Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
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