The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

27-year-old ex-NFLer suffering “almost total loss of function” Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Another sad story has emerged regarding the health of a former NFL player, although it's not the typical tale of a longtime player suffering in his 50s or 60s. This time, it's a 27-year-old whom Tampa Bay drafted in the second round of the 2007 Draft. Arron Sears left the Bucs in 2009 under worrisome circumstances, as the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time:

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held offseason workouts in mid March, guard Arron Sears was there. But he wasn't the person teammates and coaches remembered. He was distant, even for someone with his shy demeanor. Sears participated for several weeks, until shortly after the team's minicamp in April, when he simply stopped communicating. He was unresponsive when asked questions. At times, he resorted to replying in writing.

Unfortunately, things haven't gotten better for Sears, on whose behalf his parents filed a suit claiming the NFL, helmet maker Riddell, the Bucs, and other teams were negligent and withheld information on concussions and their effects. A portion of the suit reads:

Sears has almost total loss of function, is unable to care for himself and cannot take (care) of his day-to-day activities. Further, Arron Sears has extreme displays of temper and anger with the appurtenant risk of causing harm to himself and others.

According to the TBT, Sears has been taken into protective custody by the police on several occasions in the past two years, and the lawsuit, which has two other ex-Bucs as plaintiffs, says Arron is now under the guardianship of his parents. Let's hope things take a positive turn for Sears and his family, as unlikely as that may seem.

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Thanks to ESPN, nightmares do come true Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! This will thankfully be taking place past my own bedtime, but for those of you who will stay up to watch the second half of the Week 1 MNF doubleheader, you'll be stuck listening to Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer calling the Chargers/Raiders game for the Worldwide Leader. If anyone out there doesn't know why this is one of the worst events in the history of the world, here's a thoughtful melange of reaction from around the web to help clarify things:

Drew Magary: Berman truly believes he's an NFL institution, and that means you're going to spend the whole evening being reminded of it. He's gonna make it painfully aware to you that he's doing a game for the very first time, at long last. He's gonna say THEHHHHHH RAYDEEZZZZZZ 900 times.

KSK: Naturally, we can expect large quantities of CARSON “DON’T CALL ME ROBERT” PALMER DROPS BACK AND ZZZZZIIIPPPP PICKED OFF BY ERIC “WEDDLE WE GO NOW” AND WHOOOOOOOP AND WHOOOOOOPP AND HE. MAY. GO. ALL. THE. WAY. THEYRENOTGONNAGETHIM until our brains extrude through our ears. And with Dilfer’s self-serious act as the chaser, the mute button shall be our only recourse.

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Finally, playoffs in college football Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Player safety and the bounty scandal/investigation/suspensions continue to be the main topic of NFL discussion.

Starting with the Saints, Drew Brees says his team's coaches have not spoken out much against the bounty sanctions because they fear further punishment from the league. Brees is also working to promote concussion testing for youth athletes and is confident he'll have a new contract in the coming weeks.

New Orleans teammate Remi Ayodele said through his agent he "doesn't recall hearing" the "give me my money" statement during the 2009 NFC title game, for what that's worth.

As for player safety, Mike Freeman hears there was no mention of CTE at the rookie symposium, while Alex Marvez details the theory that strengthening the neck muscles of football players would aid in concussion prevention. Over at PFW, Kevin Fishbain kicks off a series about the technology of helmets by stressing that they can only really function to protect the skull, not to stave off concussions.

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What’s so offal about talking Cutler and Tebow? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team released its official training camp schedule yesterday; as expected, it will kick off a month from today at Dove Valley.

This means we're facing the dead zone for NFL news, which in turn means the Lard is going to have a whole lot of obscure stories, with plenty of them focused on old/former friends.

Now, we have some readers who are dead tired of reading about Timmy Tebow and my opinion of the punt protector. Others wonder why we're still bothering with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and some never tire of discussing Kyle Orton and his 12-21 record in Denver. Some have such disdain for NFL players that we can't help but wonder why they bother to watch at all.

To this end, and thanks to a suggestion from reader @wyoeng, we're going to devote a new section of the Lard to ex-Broncos, and as per reader @schmendrick12, it will be dubbed Offal. For those unfamiliar with the term, offal (pronounced like awful) refers to the delicious organs of an animal which most Americans probably think are disgusting, and you do know what goes into your hot dogs, right? Offal includes all sorts of tasty stuff including brains, hearts, livers, kidneys, tripe, and of course, testicles.

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No Denver offer for LDT Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, Doug Farrar is among those celebrating the forthcoming availability of All-22 film, and he details its immense value with an example from the most recent Super Bowl.

Unlike the handwringing provincialism of folks like Charley Casserly, Farrar acknowledges that simply having access to All-22 film will not be the same as understanding what is actually going on, but he makes the astute point that there will be people who take the time to study, and those who won't.

This cannot be stressed enough. There's all this talk of more misinformation being out there, and that just doesn't make sense. Bad info tends to come from the same sources. What, so Adam Schein will tell us some guy blew a coverage assignment and everyone will take his word for it? The people who already get their misinformation from Schein will still be getting their misinformation from Schein. Those who choose to get their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted, will still be getting their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted.

Farrar also calls for players and coaches to supplement the visual gold mine by speaking openly about what they are/were trying to accomplish on the field, thus helping us confirm or upend what we'll have seen on film.

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Same old BMarsh Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! From Chicago Tribune writer Jared Hopkins comes a lengthy, detailed profile of old friend Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Bears and reunited with his pal Jay Cutler earlier this offseason.

It's a unique story, in that Hopkins began his research by speaking with relatives and friends of Brandon's in his hometown Pittsburgh, prompting a call from Marshall himself, along with an invitation into his current home in Florida. Hopkins then spends a few days at Marshall's mansion, observing Brandon's relationship with his wife and hearing about their newfound devotion to Christianity.

Most interesting, if not a surprise, is that Marshall is apparently a lot like his father, a highly successful former high school quarterback whose life has been marked by frequent violence against women. And, despite Marshall and Hopkins spending several days together in close company, Brandon never quite opens up to the reporter, eventually turning on Hopkins after another meeting. In other words, it's a lot of what we've already come to know of Marshall - hard to tell when he's being sincere, if ever, and hard to believe he's actually changed.

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Broncos still have plenty of cap room Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to the Ginger Hammer requesting that the league reopen its investigation of the bounty allegations against the Saints.

In speaking to PFT about the issue, Smith cited "all of the recantations and all of the contradictions" within the league's evidence as reasons to revisit the investigation.

Meanwhile, in an interview on SiriusXM, former Saints LB Scott Fujita said of greeting Goodell at Monday's appeal hearing:

I saw him in the [appeal] hearings and he offered to shake all of our hands. Some of the other players didn't, but I went ahead and shook his hand, and I just said to him, 'What the hell are you doing, Roger?' He had nothing to say. His face sure turned red, though.

Oddly, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash tells Mike Florio the league never issues discipline based upon the intent of players. Yet, isn't that the whole point of the bounty suspensions?

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Enough already with the 40+ points meme Lard

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?

  • Denver first allowed 40+ last year to the Packers, who hung 40+ on five other teams, including the Lions and Saints. There is no shame in getting torched by the Packers, and there was a defensive score among Green Bay's seven TDs.
  • Those Lions put up 45 at SAF@MH, and it was a thrashing for sure. But they also forced three turnovers, two of which went the other way for touchdowns. Detroit also posted 34+ points against six other teams, including Green Bay, San Diego, and Dallas.
  • The two losses to New England included no Patriots defensive scores, but the Broncos did cough up five turnovers in the two games. And, the Patriots averaged 32.1 points per game and scored fewer than 27 points in just three regular season games. Like with Green Bay, giving up a lot of points to New England last year was nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • The 40 points scored by Buffalo included a punt return TD, two defensive scores, and just one offensive touchdown.

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More holes appear in NFL’s bounty evidence Lard

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?

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Seattle Peckerwoods has a better ring to it than Seattle Seahawks Lard

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

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