Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:11 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:57 am
OPENING HIT-- I've always said that Peyton Manning is the most cutthroat player in the NFL. Many times that's a good thing. You want that aspect on the field. You want a quarterback to go for the kill. Manning does that, but off the field he's the same way. The jovial Manning you see in commercials isn't really that guy. He's thrown teammates under the bus publicly, and now in an attempt to win the PR battle with fans is overshadowing his little brother during Super Bowl week.
These leaks about Manning being cleared to play are carefully plotted, well designed and unquestionably coming from Manning's camp. They're manipulative and designed as a preemptive PR strike to head off Jim Irsay likely saying sometime soon they have to release Manning because of his health. This is a Brett Favre-like ploy to put pressure on Irsay and the Colts. No question about it.
Which is why Irsay reacted so strongly on Twitter to the Manning news early this morning. Irsay knows what Manning is doing and Irsay isn't going to let him get away with it. Good for Irsay. It's one thing for Manning to use the media to push his agenda; it's another for Irsay to sit back and let Manning do it without a fight.
I respect Irsay for this. He's putting his name to his side of the fight, which is more than Manning and his agent are doing.
I've been saying for some time the probable departure of Manning from the Colts is going to get ugly and it's starting now. Both sides want to blame the other for Manning's likely exit from Indy when there is actually no one to blame. It's just the circumstances. It's football. And it's Manning being Manning.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:50 am
INDIANAPOLIS -- Let me tell you a story about a grounded superstar...
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:06 pm
INDIANAPOLIS: Everyone seems to have an opinion on if Peyton Manning will be able to physically recover from his neck injury and return to football. Manning teammate, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, is no different.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:24 am
INDIANAPOLIS-- Media day at the Super Bowl is normally a joke. Reporters scratching themselves while standing amid circus clowns and smirking players. Usually there is little news or insight. But this one, my 12th or 15th or 17th -- I forget -- actually had an interesting moment.
Some yokel from OCNN -- I believe that's the Ochocinco News Network -- had a question for Brady. Brady could clearly see that the reporter was from Chad Ochocinco's online network. No question. The "reporter" asked Brady if he would please throw a pass to Ochocinco.
Brady didn't hesitate with his response.
"Tell him to get open," Brady said, "and I'll throw it to him."
That was, well, very blunt. In some ways, very cold-blooded of Brady.
I could easily be wrong but I don't think I've ever heard Brady be so blunt about Ochocinco.
I actually thought that moment was the most interesting and actually provided a lot of insight -- if not the definitive answer -- as to why Ochocinco has been a failure as a Patriot. It's not about his relationship with Brady. Ochocinco isn't hurt. It may not be about his lack of learning the offense. It's more simple than that.
He can't get open.
That's it. That is all.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 9:54 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:43 am
OPENING HIT: Part of me wonders if Bill Belichick is pulling a fast one. That somehow Rob Gronkowski isn't as hurt as the Patriots are saying but that's far-fetched even for the tricky mind of Belichick. Which means Gronkowski is really badly injured.
This isn't a question of whether Gronk will play. He'll likely find a way to be on the field. The real question is effectiveness, and based on everything I hear the chances of Gronkowski being a factor are almost non-existent. You don't recover from high ankle trauma this quickly and the fact he still hasn't practiced is the biggest indicator of the seriousness of the injury.
My guess is Belichick will try and use Gronkowski as a decoy. Put him in the game, run a few routes maybe, use him as a blocker if possible. But the idea that Gronk will be Gronk with that kind of injury is a bit far-fetched.
Unless Gronkowski is even tougher than we think which seems impossible.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:41 am
OPENING HIT: Wide receiver great Cris Carter, who has played in a Pro Bowl or two, called Sunday's Pro Bowl game "unwatchable." That's extremely kind. That game was an abomination. Without question it was the worst all-star game I've seen in over 20 years of practicing sports journalism. The NFL and its players should be ashamed of themselves for allowing that monstrosity to happen.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:49 pm
There are now reports the Colts will not hire Jim Tressel as head coach. This after a round of reports that Tressel had received two interviews and was in serious contention for the job. As a team source told me weeks ago there is no way in hell the Colts will hire Tressel to coach the team. That mostly stands. I've also been told Tressel never received two interviews for the job as previously reported and the one "interview" he received was very casual and more courtesy than anything else.
"Jim is well liked by Irsay," said a team source speaking of the Colts owner, "but not that well liked."
We'll see. Maybe Irsay does like taking huge, risky gambles with the future of his franchise.
League sources say the Colts have interviewed numerous candidates and aren't done. They're scheduled to speak with Baltimore defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Foxsports.com reported 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely is now on the Colts radar. I was able to confirm that is indeed the case. Seely is viewed as a good potential head coach by people around football.
The Tressel-as-coach phenomenon got renewed life when Tony Dungy this week said he believed Irsay had focused on Tressel as head coach. That certainly opened my eyes but I continue to be told Tressel isn't getting the position.
Is it possible Irsay has become Jerry Jones and now rebuffs any notion of conventional wisdom? Possible. Irsay, again, is very different. He could hire Tressel as a giant (expletive) you to the league. Yes, that's possible, but no one on the Colts or in the league believes this will happen. They think Irsay's inner pragmatism will take over.
Irsay, I'm told, wants to hire an NFL assistant; some new coaching blood to go along with his theme of remaking the franchise almost entirely. This is the safer route and why Tressel doesn't make sense. The NFL is littered with the bodies of great college coaches who failed in the NFL from Steve Spurrier to Nick Saban and dozens of men between.
Do NFL assistants fail? Yes. But the failure rate for college coaches making the try is astronomical.
Again, Irsay is very different, and he could shock the NFL world with a Tressel hire.
But I think the team is heading in the direction of a hire like Pagano.
Posted on: January 23, 2012 8:46 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 6:49 am
OPENING HIT: To say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a little upset with Chip Kelly is an understatement. They are, well, furious.
A team source confirmed a Register-Guard report from Eugene that Kelly had agreed, then backed out of an agreement to coach the Bucs. It concludes yet another strange chapter in the history of Tampa coaching searches.
The Bucs are angry. One team source called Kelly "wishy-washy" and used a few other choice words. This is from the Bucs team perspective, and I suspect Kelly will give his side very shortly (and that side of the story will be portrayed very differently). But in the end none of this reflects well on Kelly. He looks soft, at least from the NFL side of things.
There is some history behind the Bucs being irritated. Bill Parcells had agreed to become the coach in 1992 and then famously backed out at the last second. That led to one of the funniest (saddest?) quotes in recent NFL history when owner Hugh Culverhouse said: "I feel like I've been jilted at the altar."
Now they've been jilted again.