Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:11 am

The Daily Shoutout: Hurd won't lose award

Just this week former Chicago receiver Sam Hurd was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Not a good day for Hurd.

If you remember, Hurd was a one time winner of the Ed Block Courage award. The award is one of the more prestigous in sports. It's a great thing given to players for their charitable deeds. They are voted on by their teammates as role models for, as the award describes, their "inspiration, sportsmanship and courage." Hurd won the award when he was in Dallas.

Would the organization ever consider rescinding Hurd's award? I asked just that and was told by a spokesman the foundation would not take back Hurd's award. They've never done it before, the spokesman said, with other controversial winners and they're not going to start with Hurd.

This is an interesting decision. Does having a man who might be a big-time drug dealer as your award winner tarnish the award?

Probably not since the award stands for something so good and the vast majority of winners remain excellent standard bearers.

So Hurd won't lose the award.

And now he goes on to worry about more interesting things. Like staying out of prison.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, NFL
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 11:29 am

The Daily Shoutout: Bears in chaos

OPENING HIT: The Bears fired Jerry Angelo, the team's general manager, and a team source said the reason why was simple:

"The organization was growing stale."

Interesting. Not sure I'd agree with that and it seems that Angelo was far from the main problem with the Bears. The firing of Angelo seems completely and utterly reactionary to not making the playoffs. Angelo isn't blameless but the reason Chicago didn't make the postseason is because their two offensive stars, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, were injured. Let's be real. A healthy Bears team is probably still playing.

Let's put it this way. As Bears general manager Angelo was 95-41 overall. Under him the Bears won four division championships and went to a Super Bowl. Does that sound like a man who should have been fired?

But this is the NFL. Being sensible or patient is against league rules. I actually think teams get fined for that.

The team announced on its website that Smith would coach in 2012. A source had earlier told me that Smith was in trouble and I still think he is. I'm still not convinced Smith will coach the Bears next season and I'm extremely skeptical he'll coach beyond that.

A new GM wants his guy and it's only a matter of time before the new GM, well, pushes for his guy. Smith is not that person.

We'll see.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, NFL
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:18 am

The Daily Shoutout: How did Hurd keep his secret?

OPENING HIT: Sam Hurd is accused of basically being a drug dealing overlord. The amounts of drugs he's accused of attempting to purchase are almost incomprehensible. Federal officials say those crimes extend to his tenure with two different NFL teams. So there's an obvious question.

What did these teams know and when did they know it?

Both the Cowboys and Bears say they didn't know anything about Hurd's alleged crimes. I believe that.

But I will say this. You have to remember something about the NFL and its teams: they know everything about their players. And I mean, everything. The NFL has the best security arm in all of sports consisting of former law enforcement officials. Most teams have similar security personnel. In the past, it wasn't unusual for some teams to spy on their more troubled players. There are legendary stories about the New York Giants monitoring the activities of the decadence of Lawrence Taylor.

So if the Cowboys and Bears really had no idea about Hurd, and these allegations are true, we are seeing something highly unique in NFL history. A league and teams that normally know everything about a player were duped. Again, this almost never happens in professional football.

This is the NFL's Iraq. Instead of missing weapons of mass destruction two teams and a great league may have missed one of its players accused of a pretty grand series of crimes. It's amazing, when you think about it.

No, the NFL isn't going to know everything about its players.

But many times, they do. Except now.

Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, NFL
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:38 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 3:57 pm

The Daily Shoutout: NFL terrified of Hurd list

OPENING HIT: It's funny how things work in today's media environment. One station in Chicago reports an alleged list kept by accused drug dealing kingpin Sam Hurd and within 24 hours panic sets in across the NFL.

No, that's not an exaggeration. There is absolute panic across the sport about the potential repercussions of such a list and, again, the list may not even exist. Just the idea of a list is causing people throughout the NFL -- from the league office to the union to players to coaches -- to pee their pants.

And, again, there may not even be a list.

I spoke to players via phone, text and Twitter DM; current players and former players and the resounding sentiment was: "Oh s---!"

I don't think there is a list. It's too convenient and sounds like something from a movie. But after numerous conversations with players last night they are convinced such a list exists.

It can't be overstated the damage such a list could do to the NFL. If it is 10 to 20 players that's not an insignificant amount. If it was later determined that players on that list never failed drug tests it would also put the league's drug testing program in question.

So, yes, such a list would be very, very bad.

No wonder so many in the league are panicking.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, Hurd, NFL
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:26 am

The Daily Shoutout: The end of Favre?

OPENING HIT: First, when Brett Favre says he wasn't interested in the Bears job, he wasn't quite telling the entire story. He was definitely interested, I'm told, but when the Bears made it known the interest wasn't eventually reciprocated, then Favre made his public statement about not wanting to play.

What's been lost in this latest Favre episode is I think we have finally reached a Favre finality. At least, that seems to be the sentiment around the NFL. Teams are finally done with Favre. They no longer think his talent matches the accompanying headaches.

"I think we've finally seen the last of Favre," said one general manager.

We've heard this before. We've heard it over and over and over but contrary to popular belief Favre is not a vampire that never ages. He's 42-years-old. In the NFL, even at the quarterback position, 42 is like 52.

I can also tell you with certainty that the Bears were seriously considering Favre. They liked the possible symmetry of a former Packer great helping the Bears but in the end his age scared them away. The Bears can publicly deny this all they want but that's the truth.

So yes, it's likely, finally -- finally -- we've seen the end of Favre in the NFL. He won't be back.


Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Packers
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:43 am

The Daily Shoutout: Bears help Packers

OPENING HIT: The Bears are in deep trouble. And please, don’t give me Caleb Hanie. If Hanie finishes the regular season .500 it would be one of the great miracles of the year.

Just as Jay Cutler was beginning to show great maturity and decision-making this happens. The interceptions were down. The offense was flowing. That squishy Cutler face, the one he makes after a bad throw, was all but non-existent. Then comes a broken hand. It’s unbelievable.

But this is the most interesting part of this mess. The greatest benefactors to Cutler’s injury are the Green Bay Packers.

I think there are only three teams remaining that can beat the Packers in the regular season: Detroit, the Giants and Chicago. Now, remove the Bears from the equation. Hanie’s not beating the Packers. That leaves the Giants and the Lions with the Giants having the greatest chance.

Cutler being down ostensibly removes a major roadblock to Green Bay’s historical charge. It takes an amazing amount of dedication, skill and luck to go undefeated in the NFL. The Packers just got a large chunk of their luck quota.

 Who would have ever believed the Bears would help the Packers possibly go 16-0.


Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Packers
Posted on: July 16, 2011 9:23 am

Hall of Fame game not canceled yet but...

A Chicago newspaper reported that the Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams has been canceled. It hasn't. Not yet. Not officially anyway.

But there is growing concern among players on both teams that playing the game could be extremely risky, even dangerous, to players who have not had any offseason workouts or contact.

Players from both teams have expressed these concerns to various NFLPA representatives, I'm told, and the trade association is wondering if it is indeed problematic for players to participate in the game.

"There is a lot of debate going on now on whether or not it's safe for our guys," said one trade association official.

The sense I'm getting is that there may be more than a few players on both teams who might consider simply boycotting the game if it goes on as planned.

The game is scheduled for Aug. 7.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears
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