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
Jack Del Rio Calls Broncos’ Defensive Coordinator Turnaround ‘Unusual’
“We want to be Top 5 in everything that we do, and so that’s what we’ve set our goals for,” he said. “We’ve got a ways to go.”
Del Rio had some of the best defensive lines when he coached in Jacksonville, and he said he’s not at all worried about the Broncos’ defensive line. “I’m not worried about it, I’m working it; and that’s what we have to do,” he said. “We’ve got to work to fix whatever problems we have. Obviously last year the defensive tackle position here went the entire year without a sack. That’s going to change.”
He said having Ty Warren healthy and drafting Derek Wolfe is going to help the cause.
Recall previously that Del Rio had said the Broncos want to be a top-10 defense. It appears as if those numbers have adjusted in the right direction.
Do you hear what I hear? Why, it's the sound of Del Rio's brass balls clanking together as he walks.
In football, I’m an offense guy, going way back to when I was a kid. I’ve always thought deeply about the passing game, and been able to really see concepts, and understand why they do what they do. This is despite not playing the game at a high level, or coaching at any level above Pop Warner. I just feel offense, and as such, I’ve read dozens of books written about offense and watched hundreds of games, and the result is that I can do what I do with the subject matter.
In transitioning out of my current job, I have a couple of visitors in Cleveland to document my processes, and one of them paid me the compliment Monday of saying that I do a good job of explaining complicated things. I appreciated her saying that, and really, I think that it stems from the writing I’ve done on football sites over the last four years. I know what knowledge I ultimately want to share, and I plan out a logical way of getting there, all while making sure all of the important interim knowledge points along the way are disseminated in an order which makes sense, and which lays a strong foundation for holistic understanding of the major knowledge item at the end. Like Lester Freamon said, we’re building something here, and we’re building it from scratch, and all the pieces matter.
Peyton Manning is the NFL’s highest-paid player with earnings of $42.4 million, which ranks 10th overall. The Indianapolis Colts paid Manning $26.4 million in 2011 even though he missed the season recovering from neck surgery. Manning joined the Denver Broncos as a free agent in March, when he inked a five-year, $96 million contract that paid him a $6 million advance on his 2012 Broncos’ salary. Manning continues to be the NFL’s top pitchman, earning $10 million annually off the field from Reebok, Gatorade, Sony, DirecTV, Wheaties and Papa John’s.