Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former Broncos defensive lineman Pete Duranko passed away on Friday following an 11-year battle with ALS, the disease which would inspire him to become a national spokesman and fundraiser in search of a cure and to raise awareness. Duranko was drafted by the Cleveland Browns out of Notre Dame in 1966 but spent his entire NFL career from 1967 to 1974 with the Broncos, playing in 98 games and starting 76 of them. Regarding his own battle with ALS and his wife's fear of the day when Pete would be unable to care for himself, he told Patrick Saunders in 2003,
“She says, ‘I don’t know if I can handle it.' And I told her, ‘You never know what you can handle.”‘
Duranko was 67 years old and passed in his hometown of Johnstown, PA. Our thoughts go out to the Duranko family.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The players and owners met for 10 hours yesterday but apparently accomplished little, will remain in touch over the weekend and reconvene for more negotiations on Monday. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora writes that the loophole left by the Eighth Circuit's ruling likely allows the NFLPA to pursue an expedited injunction to protect the rights of unsigned players, and that if an agreement isn't reached in short order they may do just that. Plus, if Judge Nelson were to grant such an injunction then the NFL would be unable to appeal the decision.
Puzzlingly, Mike Freeman thinks the Eighth Circuit's decision only helps the owners. However, he still thinks reason will prevail in the end. Finally, Andrew Brandt says the two sides are hoping to come up with an agreement that will result in perhaps a decade of labor peace.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! During a lengthy sitdown with John Fox yesterday, Woodrow picked the new HC's brain on the Denver QB situation. And while Fox says he has an idea who the starter will be, Paige surprisingly admitted to having no clue whether it's Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow whom Fox has in mind. We all were told when Fox was first hired that he's rather coy with his public statements, and that while he loves to talk he prefers not to actualy say anything while doing so - perhaps this is our first, best dose of that. Fox provided fodder for the backers of Tebow: he'd rather a "gamer" and leader who can handle pressure than someone who excels in practice - and for Orton fans: it's crucial the starter has a firm grasp on the offensive system. Surely, we can all interpret that through whatever lenses we're already wearing...
Fox went on to tell Paige that adding a running back is the team's #1 priority come free agency (more than a DT?!?!) and claimed the Broncos would fashion the "most sophisticated" rushing attack in the league, whatever that means. As Ted had alluded to upon the HC's hiring, Fox says he will leave the game-day playcalling to the coordinators and that his involvement will be heavier during the week, especially on defense.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! A collection of lawyers on both sides met yesterday for almost 11 hours yesterday in New York, apparently continuing to work on the smaller details with the mindset of reducing the expected 10-14 day lag between an agreement and signed document. Sounds a bit like putting the cart before the horse right? Couldn't the players and owners be working on the more crucial facets of a potential agreement concurrently?
Either way, De Smith, the Commish, the players, owners and Judge Boylan are expected to rejoin the talks today, although Boylan is scheduled to go on vacation on Saturday. If an agreement isn't reached before then, it will be interesting to see if the two sides will be able to forge ahead without resorting to their prior games and without allowing NFLPA outside attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn to sabotage the negotiations in holding out for a beneficial verdict in the antitrust suit. Then again, it's thought that both the Eighth Circuit and Judge Doty have completed their rulings and would issue them if the two sides were to stalemate again.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The legal staffs of the two sides met yesterday for over seven hours in New York, will meet again today, and are expected to be joined by the players, owners, De Smith and Roger Goodell tomorrow. Meanwhile, Albert Breer goes on to write that if the talks were to stretch beyond July 15 and result in canceled preseason games, ownership is likely to worsen their offer and thus increase the likelihood of the labor dispute playing out in court.
Chris Mortensen is hearing a deal is "within reach" yet unlikely to be consummated this week. Finally, Mike Silver writes that a deal is much closer than the two sides are letting on, too close for them to allow the whole thing to regress into a legal battle. Silver believes that ultimately the two sides will both be able to claim victory in the end and come out looking like roses in the eye of the football-watching public, and that all will be forgiven for the lockout and its rhetoric. I'd have to agree with that last sentiment - what, are people going to stop watching football because training camp and OTAs were either shortened or omitted? Please...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the players and owners prepare to resume their negotiations today in New York, more details on their talks from last week are emerging. The reports from Thursday and Friday that the owners had backtracked from the earlier agreed upon split that gave 48% of revenue to the players has been confirmed by John Clayton, who says the owners increased their offer to 46% before the latest talks adjourned.
Meanwhile, Judy Battista writes that the retired players whose suit was combined with that of the current players filed a class-action complaint yesterday against both the players and owners, accusing the two sides of conspiring to lessen the retirees' benefits for their own gains. The goal of the complaint, which was filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis, is to allow the retired players to represent their own interests at the negotiating table rather than letting the NFLPA do so.
Happy Fourth of July, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman has penned an open letter to De Smith asking the NFLPA leader to get lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn away from the labor negotiations. Freeman hears that the two attorneys have been "picking stupid fights" which have "delayed the negotiating process." As Jason Cole wrote the other day, the thinking is that Kessler and Quinn are pursuing an agenda that holds out until a verdict is reached in the Brady antitrust suit, one the players would be expected to win in a big way.
Meanwhile, Florio points out that the players will also lose out financially if preseason games are lost.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Bradenton Herald caught up with Von Miller while he was at the NFLPA's rookie symposium last week, and the #2 pick spoke about his inclusion in the Brady suit and his lockout living arrangements. Miller admits it will be tough to top the season last year's second-overall choice Ndamukong Suh had, and he has a great perspective on the fact that he'll likely make a lot less money on his rookie contract than will Suh as a result of the expected new rookie wage scale. Miller told writer Alan Dell that he can't fear losing something he never had, and that
I am living with my parents, and they love me being there so everything is fine. To me, it’s never been about the money. I’ve played all my life for free, and if you take something here you’ve got to give something there. The great players will get their money in the long run.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The yo-yoing of the labor talks has continued, as Thursday's grim midday news were followed by many hours of negotiations and a reported mending of the revenue split issues. The talks continued for a couple of hours yesterday before breaking for the weekend, and are expected to start anew on Tuesday. Adam Schefter says the main issues being dealt with at this point are still the revenue split and the financial source of the so-called "legacy fund" to benefit retired players.
Mike Freeman is hearing that player attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn are the biggest impediments to a deal at this point, and he writes that the Eighth Circuit and Judge Doty are holding off their own rulings and hoping that Judge Boylan's mediation will be enough to see the two sides through to an agreement. Finally, Jason Cole writes that Kessler and Quinn are happy to wait out the courts because come September, the players are likely to win big with their antitrust suit, as the owner's lawyer before the Eighth Circuit did little to convince the judges that a lockout could be extended beyond six months.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Jarrett Bell of USAT writes about the Broncos and the five biggest questions he deems they're facing this season, starting with whether John Elway will succeed as a front-office exec and if Tim Tebow can wrest the starting QB job from Kyle Orton. He figures the presence of John Fox means that hopefully the constant turnover at the DC position will finally come to an end, although Bell thinks the Broncos' selection of Von Miller over Marcell Dareus (of course, who knows if Dareus was even their second choice?) will be a hot debate topic going forward.
Bell concludes by wondering if Brian Dawkins has enough to contribute in his 16th season (and is it worth $6 million?) and if the Broncos can finally restore their home-field advantage. That last one should be filed under the "moot points" category, as good teams always have good records at home, while mediocre and poor teams (like Denver has been for the past five years) do not. They just have to become a better team, period. The rest (winning at home, beating division rivals and lesser teams, etc.) result from that...not vice versa.