Somebody has been pretending to be the safety from Syracuse, spinning a story so convincing that the fake Phillip Thomas has appeared on blog posts, conducted radio interviews and tweeted a bogus signing with the Washington Redskins. The fake Phillip Thomas created a Facebook page loaded with pictures of the real Phillip Thomas along with photos from inside Redskins Park. The fake Phillip Thomas even posted a picture of a Redskins playbook that appears to have been taken in a hotel room.
On Friday, the real Phillip Thomas laughed nervously as he scrolled through the fake Phillip Thomas’s Facebook page on a laptop. He was shocked by the fake Phillip Thomas’s misspellings, pointing out that the fake Phillip Thomas had used the word “week” when he should have used “weak.” All of it unsettled him, he said. For instance, what was the page’s main photo, which appears to show someone talking to a group of children in a classroom? The implication was he was speaking to a class, but he had never seen the children or the room or even the photo. The person talking to the class is conveniently looking down, his face hidden from view.
“I have no idea who this is,” the real Phillip Thomas said. “He’s got to be watching my every move.”
One of the strangest stories you'll ever read, to be sure.
The key to recognizing a fake, of course, lies in the details. One that struck me was when the fake Thomas talked about the significant time he spent with Mike Shanahan
We all know Shanny doesn't waste his time on you unless your name is John Elway, Robert Griffin, or Dale Carter.
He's got better things to do, like work on his base tan.
McDaniels is back with more miles on him
Asked why he’d come back to New England with nothing left to prove, McDaniels said, “I think it’s more about what I have to learn. I think this is a great environment for a young coach to learn. As old as I might feel, I’m still really young and have so much more to learn and understand. There is not a better teacher than Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and the way we do things here, how we adapt each year, and I think that gives any coach – young or old – an opportunity to really grasp those things and really improve.”
McDaniels actually has plenty to prove. He hasn’t coached a winning offense since 2008 when Cassel carried the Patriots to 11-5. He needs to show he is still one of the most innovative minds in football but also do it with a different cast than the one he had in New England his first time.
John Fox, Brock Osweiler and Ronnie Hillman (videos) talked with reporters afterward. Osweiler spoke about working to raise his elbow in his throwing motion and admits no sentimental reason for taking #6.
He instead hopes to acquire his more familiar #17 from WR Andre Caldwell. But Caldwell wore #87 in Cincinnati, and of course that belongs Eric Decker, who wore #7 as a Gopher but never will as a Bronco. Not sure Brock should be negotiating for number through the press, as that will likely only jack up the price. This could take a while to play out, as all numbers in the tens and eighties are currently assigned.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos have waived DT Jeremy Jarmon, presumably to create room on the roster for newly-signed CB Drayton Florence.
Denver originally acquired Jarmon in exchange for veteran WR Jabar Gaffney, who recently headed back to New England following his release by Washington after one season.
Jarmon was among the Broncos' final cuts last season and had signed a future contract on January 2.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The topic of the day continues to be increasing player safety and easing the transition out of the game.
Ex-Chargers QB Dan Fouts will speak at the team's memorial for Junior Seau today, and he chatted with Clark Judge about the problems currently facing the game and its players. He says the NFL's culture of toughness and the reluctance of players to seek help must change.
Thankfully, that message appears to be taking hold in NFL circles, as Jarrett Bell details. Players like London Fletcher and Brandon Marshall have recently spoken up about post-career counseling, while NFLPA exec Nolan Harrison is calling for baseline concussion testing and better financial education for incoming players. Jack Bechta suggests that players take mandatory year-round life-skills classes for their first three years in the league, while Matt Bowen recommends that retired players continue their educations via NFL subsidies, like he did.
Mike Tanier thinks the NFL is serious about improving player safety, and that we should be patient with the league as their figure out how to do so.
The newly retired Jacob Bell has some excellent ideas for improving player care: brain scans at the Combine, mandatory meetings with psychologists for new players, and making concussion awareness part of the rookie symposium. Meanwhile, Mike Freeman is stunned by Roddy White's troubling lack of respect for his NFL predecessors, and he suggests several ways to improve the safety of the game and the treatment of players.
|83||Hill, Jason||WR||6-0||202||27||Signed 2-15; 1 year, $700K|
|20||Adams, Mike||S||5-11||200||31||Signed 3-15; 2 years, $4M ($2M guaranteed)|
|18||Manning, Peyton||QB||6-5||230||36||Signed 3-20; 5 yrs, $96M ($18M guaranteed)|
|17||Caldwell, Andre||WR||6-0||190||27||Signed 3-21; 2 yrs, $1.8M ($200K guaranteed)|
|22||Porter, Tracy||CB||5-11||186||26||Signed 3-22; 1 year, $4M (likely fully guaranteed)|
|81||Dreessen, Joel||TE||6-4||245||30||Signed 3-23; 3 years, $8.5M ($2.5M guaranteed)|
|84||Tamme, Jacob||TE||6-3||236||27||Signed 3-23; 3 years, $9M ($3.5M guaranteed)|
|16||Hanie, Caleb||QB||6-2||222||27||Signed 3-24; 2 years, $2.25M (no guarantees)|
|97||Bannan, Justin||DT||6-3||312||33||Signed 4-11; 1 year, $1M (likely fully guaranteed)|
|14||Stokley, Brandon||WR||6-0||192||36||Signed 4-16; 1 year|
|29||Florence, Drayton||CB||6-0||193||32||Agreed 5-10; 2 years, $4.5M ($1.5M guaranteed, plus $1M in incentives)|
Mike Florio reports that Florence will receive a $1.5M signing bonus and base salaries of $1.5M in 2012 and $1.5M in 2013, with an additional $1M of incentives available in $250K increments based upon 2012 playing time.
Florence had visited the Titans earlier in the week and was reportedly also pursued by the Chargers, who originally drafted him in the second round (46th overall) of the 2003 Draft out of Tuskegee. The 31-year-old spent five seasons in San Diego, the past three in Buffalo, and he played for Jacksonville in 2008 under then-Jaguars coach and new Denver DC Jack Del Rio.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! More players continue to voice their opinions on concussions, the aftereffects of an NFL career, and bounties.
First up is G Jacob Bell, who suddenly retired just one month after joining the Bengals as a free agent, citing long-term health concerns and saying he didn't want to be limping around like his old coach Mike Munchak in Tennessee. Bell cites Junior Seau's suicide as part of the impetus for his decision, although he uses an unfortunate idiom in saying so.
Denver legend Karl Mecklenburg says he often struggles to remember people's names, his own hotel room numbers, and where he's parked his car. Retired running back Jamal Lewis says he suffered from post-concussion syndrome for most of his last NFL season, and that in retirement he experiences headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and sensitivity to light. Emmitt Smith says that he of course worries about the long-term effects of having played football.
As is his nature, old friend Bill Romanowski laughed off Cris Carter's accusations and said he gave and received threats in every football game he ever played in, hilariously adding that he only "went over the line five to 10 times." Puzzlingly, Falcons WR Roddy White says all these ex-players "are killing our game" by speaking up.
Cantor Gaming, a Las Vegas sportsbook, has released point spreads for the 2012 season through Week 16.
For now, Denver is favored in seven games, is the underdog in five, three games are pick'ems, and there are no Week 17 lines. The Broncos are significant favorites against Oakland (-7), Tampa Bay and Cleveland (-8.5 vs both), with their trip to New England (+7) the only time they're getting more than 3.5 points.
There has always been a push within the game of football to find ever more rare and unknown players. The 1940s brought an effort to permit black players into the league; as bizarre as that seems now, it wasn't that long ago in real terms, and teams like the LA Rams led the way. The AFL All-Star game was moved in January, 1965 because the original city's hotels (New Orleans) wouldn't allow black players to stay or eat at the players' hotel there. Modern experience tells us that scouting traditionally black schools changed the game. By the 1950s there were teams like the Cleveland Browns who were also scouting the smaller schools and bring in big name players from them.
Now, the NFL is increasingly looking at players from Canada. Danny Watkins moved from British Columbia to Oroville, California, to take part in the firefighter's academy at Butte College, planning a career in that brave profession. Now Watkins is a former 2011 first-round pick out of Baylor who's starting and playing well for the Philadelphia Eagles. Philip Blake, a guard/center for the Denver Broncos, was one of four players from Canada selected in last month's draft. Boise State's Tyrone Crawford (Dallas Cowboys) is a defensive tackle (6-4, 275), as is the 318 lb Akiem Hicks (New Orleans Saints); both went in the third round. The 6-5, 290 lb DE Christo Bilukidi (Georgia State) went to Oakland in the sixth round.