On if he and Shockey have worked things out:
“I saw Jeremy about a week after it all went down at a Heat game … and I told him, I said, ‘I apologize for putting it on the street level and making it derogatory towards you.’ The information that was passed to me, I stand by my source, but I hate that I put it on a level, that wasn’t the way it should be. … That’s what I apologized for, because I put it on a way lower level than it should’ve been. It was something serious that never shoulda went on and stuff like that. So that’s the problem I have with myself and what I said to him.”
On if Shockey is OK with him:
“The two times I’ve seen him I haven’t had a problem with him, but if he does we can go out in the grass and get it over with. … I don’t have a problem with getting my knuckles a little scarred up.”
SbB has learned Chris Berman will do the play-by-play for ESPN’s Sept. 10 Monday Night Chargers-Raiders game. Berman will also do play-by-play for one ESPN NFL preseason game. Trent Dilfer will be the color analyst for both games.
Yikes! Looks like ESPN is stumbling, bumbling, and mumbling on this one.
No one circles the (funny) wagons like ESPN.
(H/t: Awful Announcing)
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! PFW hears that the arrival of Peyton Manning has allowed John Fox to devote more of his time and energy to the defense, and how many times will that unit be blamed for allowing over 40 points in 2011 games? Let's go over a few points, shall we?
A U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by D.J. Williams against the league, meaning the Broncos linebacker will likely serve a six-game suspension for having violated the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.
The league had accused Williams and former teammate Ryan McBean of submitting non-human urine samples for steroid testing, but the two players had already lost their appeals with the commissioner's office by the time their suspensions were announced in March. Both McBean and Williams had received six-game penalties; McBean settled for a three-game ban and dropped his own lawsuit against the league, but Williams was apparently not offered the same deal.
The number of retired players suing the NFL for its handling of head injuries has grown almost daily, to the point where there are now 90 lawsuits pending on behalf of 2,397 league alumni. Until now, it's been a bit difficult to keep track of the ex-Broncos among those seeking damages.
But thanks to the Washington Times, we now have a convenient and sortable table to track the plaintiffs. Among them are 154 former Broncos, including players from all five decades of the team's existence prior to the current one.
The cynical view suggests that some of these players are suing for financial gain. But there are far too many names, some of great fame and magnitude, for this to be solely about a money grab.
Think of it this way: In a collision, the brain is basically driving without a seatbelt or an airbag. While better helmets and the banning of helmet-to-helmet detonations might help keep your skull intact, they would do nothing to stop the brain from smashing into the windshield in even minor collisions.
Bailes’s answer to this brain slosh amounts to stuffing the whole car full of packing peanuts. His newest research takes groups of rats and puts a small, circular device around their necks, compressing their internal jugular veins. That increases the volume of blood in the skull, which creates added pressure on the brain, locking it in place. In theory, that should keep the brain’s movement inside the skull more in line with the skull’s own movement, allowing all the new space-age helmets to do their jobs.
So far, Bailes’s team has seen a 30 percent increase in cranial pressure, and, after concussing the rats and examining the resulting computer models, an 80 percent drop in the precursors to amyloid protein. “This was only a proof-of-concept pilot study, and it hasn’t been proven in humans, but we think the theory is sound,” he said. “If it moves forward, we’re going to expand to a broader group of patients, and we hope to do that sooner rather than later.”
If the research can be replicated and no unforeseen safety concerns pop up—neither of which is guaranteed in research like this—there are already people and players volunteering as test subjects. Why wouldn’t there be? If a simple necklace could reduce the accumulation of brain injury, and there is virtually no downside to wearing it, isn’t that worth whatever minor discomfort it causes and a few hours a year of testing?
Concussed rats and jugular veins. Who knew?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Saints bounty scandal took some more strange twists yesterday, as interim head coach Joe Vitt called the commissioner and offered to take a lie detector test to prove he did not offer $5K toward a bounty on Brett Favre.
You'll recall that on Monday when the league released some of its evidence against the Saints, it included a typed transcription of a purported bounty ledger, but strangely omitted the original handwritten notes the transcription was based upon. On this typed transcription of the alleged ledger, one entry reads, "Vitt -- $5,000 QB out pool."
This was the first suggestion of any kind by the league that Vitt had contributed to a bounty pool, and the NFL even acknowledges they never made such an accusation during their investigation. Why? Because apparently they didn't feel these handwritten notes were sufficient evidence to make such a claim.
Naturally, this prompts an obvious question which Mike Florio does raise: if this handwritten evidence is not enough to implicate Vitt as contributing to a bounty pool, why is it being used at all, and why is it deemed sufficient in proving the guilt of others?
At this point, we all know the basics of the bounty accusations that have been levied against current and former members of the Saints organization. The issues of appropriate due process - which we must recognize is not guaranteed in a business setting - are very much up for debate as a result of this circumstance. It’s not the first time that the question of exactly how the commissioner’s office reaches and justifies its findings has been open to considerable and often understandable debate.
This isn’t just a response to Bountygate. It’s something that I’ve contemplated for years now, stretching back to when Roger Goodell was the league's COO under Paul Tagliabue, and he became well known for his constant effort to monetize the league's product (ie. seat licenses, NFL Network). In watching the kangaroo court-type decisions that he’s often handed down over the years, it’s obvious that an elephant in the living room is the underlying distrust and distaste of the players for him on that basis.
I’m not going to go back and hit on specific cases, one by one. Most fans are familiar with several - the substance abuse accusations that resulted in the infamous Star Caps trial, the suspension, eventual reinstatement and subsequent banning of Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, as well as the various and often inscrutable determinations of fines for different hits on players and so forth - all are common experiences among the fan base. What I want to consider goes deeper than individual debates about those incidents to the continuing pattern of randomness I’ve seen in many of Goodell's rulings.
There’s a reason it feels like Turner always starts the season on the hot seat: He does. Under Turner, the Chargers haven’t won a playoff game since the 2008 season and the San Diego fan base is more than a little restless. Despite having two years left on his contract, it was widely thought that Turner’s failure to make the playoffs for the second straight season in 2011 would result in his dismissal. However, team president Dean Spanos decided to stay the course with both Turner and general manager A.J. Smith. I can’t imagine they will be as fortunate if they fail to make the playoffs this season.
...Most of the pressure on Manning will be the result of his past production. His résumé is ridiculous: He’s a four-time MVP and 11-time Pro Bowl selection. And he’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards an amazing 11 times! Not counting last year, he’s never tossed fewer than 26 touchdowns in a season. To put that in perspective, the Broncos haven’t had a quarterback throw that many touchdown passes since Jake Plummer did it in 2004.
It's positively delicious that Peyton Manning could drive the nail in Turner's powder blue coffin while at the same time popping the hot-air ballon that is AJ Smith's head.
No, I won't mention that quarterback stat. I'm going to close my eyes and pretend I didn't read it.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The he said/she said of the league's bounty investigation continues. On Monday, NFL outside counsel Mary Jo White told reporters that Mike Ornstein had corroborated a claim that Jonathan Vilma put $10K each on the heads of Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. But in an interview with PFT's Mike Florio, Ornstein vigorously and repeatedly denies ever having done so. Vilma responded to this news by suggesting the NFL is lying.
Vilma's ex-teammate Anthony Hargrove, accused by the NFL of saying, "Give me the money" on the Saints sideline after injuring Favre, read a lengthy statement claiming it wasn't he who spoke those words.
Meanwhile, Florio says that when the NFL ended up showing some reporters a bit of their evidence on Monday, they did so having decided to do so on the fly, perhaps realizing they were losing the PR battle. Plus, the league is giving the suspended players a chance to challenge the evidence via written submissions; the Ginger Hammer will meet with Senator Dick Durbin today, and the two will speak publicly afterward.
Updated 9:08 am ET