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.
Of course, Drew Brees was vilified in the Twitterverse by folks who somehow took his Bounty evidence = WMD evidence claim to be disrespectful to those serving in our military. Huh? The guess here is the same folks who decry "political correctness" are the ones who are raising this indignation.
Just to clarify my own position on this all, I do think the Saints had a bounty system, and it's something the NFL had to crack down on from a safety standpoint. But I believe they have bungled their handling of the whole scandal, and don't buy the notion that it made sense for the league to try to keep their evidence under wraps, as some have suggested.
In the context of the 24/7 news environment that the NFL has encouraged and profited from, I find it naive to think the league was ever going to get away with dropping such heavy punishments on the Saints without releasing evidence and having the story just disappear. Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely, while Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma each got a year; three other players received shorter suspensions. These are prideful men whose identities are built upon an all-American notion of never giving up, on or off the playing field. Yet, now they are expected to quietly accept their punishments from a league where one man is judge, jury, and executioner? It's just not realistic.
The NFL should have released their evidence months ago, instead of allowing the accused players an opening to question the process, challenge the validity of the league's claims, and attempt to win over the court of public opinion. Had they simply put everything out there from the beginning, we'd all likely be discussing something else right now.
In a Q&A with the official site, tight ends coach Clancy Barone calls Jacob Tamme a "younger version of Dallas Clark" and says Julius Thomas is a "football junkie" on a constant quest for knowledge. Plus, Stuart Zaas reviews the Broncos' options at the position.
John Elway tells Chris Hall and BTV the next five weeks will provide a key mental break for the players before the grind of camp, preseason, and the regular season.
Vinnie Iyer gives the Broncos an 'A' for their offseason acquisitions, for whatever that's worth.
Pete Prisco calls Willis McGahee the most overrated Bronco, and Chris Harris their most underrated. Yes, it's mid-June, so I am actually linking to Pete Prisco.
Oakland is reportedly interested in RB Cedric Benson; Tennessee gave franchised S Michael Griffin $15M in guarantees as part of a five-year contract; Indy signed RB Mewelde Moore; Philly will sign S O.J. Atogwe.
Vikings WR Percy Harvin is hinting at unhappiness with his contract while hilariously claiming to be keeping things "in house."
The sad story of Ryan Leaf continues with the ex-QB being sentenced to time in a drug treatment facility in Montana; ex-Packers DE Johnny Jolly is applying for reinstatement to the league after his struggles with codeine addiction.
Former Niners WR R.C. Owens passed away at 77; the term alley-oop was first introduced to American sports to describe a high passes thrown to Owens from Y.A. Tittle. Owens also pioneered the art of blocking field goal attempts from in front of the crossbar, which seems like a totally reasonable thing to allow. Of course, the No Fun League ruled this practice illegal.
It's been 37 years since Seattle picked the Seahawks name for their football team, and there were some truly hilarious candidates.
Chad Johnson says he wants to develop a Brokeback Mountain-level of closeness with his teammates.
Naturally, Bill Barnwell and Ben Muth are both very excited about the availability of All-22 film and laugh off the hand-wringers who don't like the idea. Barnwell also says to ignore any QB practice stats and in-game talk of how far kickers are good from in warmups, and Muth scouts the offensive line of the Bills.
Greg Cosell thinks Big Ben has matured into a disciplined QB; Bucky Brooks gives Rob Gronkowski the edge over Jimmy Graham as the NFL's best tight end; Greg Gabriel expects the Bears, Panthers, and Eagles to contend for NFC playoff spots after not making it last year.
Matt Bowen explains the 'jump' technique of a corner and free safety swapping places in Cover 1.
Scott Kacsmar revisits the 2009 Draft classes of the NFCE teams and finds a pair of offensive stars to make the Eagles' draft the best of the bunch.
Chase Stuart examines the statistical greatness of Rams RB Steven Jackson and considers the historical context of his being on a craptastic team for his whole career.
The Pro Football Writers Association gave Teebs their annual Good Guy Award, but Klis was too busy helping the Tebows celebrate their anniversary, so Legwold made the announcement instead.
Staff reductions are looming at Sports Illustrated.
My fellow Metsies fans were correct to note the glaring lack of praise for the Dickster in yesterday's Lard, so let's make up for it: here are his three wickedest knucklers from Monday, when he threw his second-straight one-hitter; a pair of statistical looks at what has made him so dominant this year; a review of his introspective autobiography; his introduction to the knuckleball; finally, some Haikus to celebrate R.A.'s greatness.
Even Bryce Harper's homestate Senator Harry Reid is getting in on his Clown Question, Bro meme.