Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Great Falls, Montana, are you ready to rock?

Archie Manning preps for Heisey Youth Center fundraiser in Great Falls
www.krtv.com

Manning has never been to Montana in his travels, but already has a round of golf and fishing planned during his time in the Treasure State - and with son Peyton now playing in nearby Denver - he admits it likely won’t be his last.

Manning noted, “He’s excited about being in Denver. I know (Montana is) Bronco country, I believe it is at least to some extent, so we’re excited about the Broncos and hope it goes real well.”

Are you ready to rock, Children of Great Falls!

(H/t: David Coverdale)

Peter King doth protest too much, wethinks

Gleason to speak about ALS; more on Tebow, Tomlin, trade deadline
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

I guess we’ll find out. Tebow crosses cultural and religious and sporting lines. I understand the interest—I really do—but I fear the world will be sick of Tebow, through little fault of his own, and he’ll be shoved down our throats so much that it’ll be hard to simply judge his football ability.

This, from the same guy who titled his 16 Dec piece thusly:

Forget Brady, Belichick vs. Tebow the real matchup to watch

Yeah, forget Brady.

Eric Decker feels like we do

Broncos’ Eric Decker on Life After Tim Tebow in Denver: It’s Nice to Have “Focus Back on Football"
sportsradiointerviews.com

On if there’s any sense of relief that the Tim Tebow circus is gone now:

“Tebowmania. Yeah, obviously he’s earned the right to have conversations about him. I guess at the same time, to be honest with you it is nice just to kind of focus back on football, and we talk football and there’s not — there’s still a lot of excitement here with the football. I mean, he is a great teammate. I respect him greatly. But again, like you were saying, a lot of the focus right now is on football, is really talking about how we’re gonna form this team to win some ball games next year.”

It cannot be said enough: Thank You, John Elway.

Vegas sports book sets over/under for Broncos wins at 9.5

2012 NFL season over/under win totals released: AFC analysis
www.cbssports.com

Denver Broncos, 9.5 wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): Perhaps the most interesting over/under of any team in the NFL, the Broncos are getting much more attention this offseason than last. It’s easy to assume that new quarterback Peyton Manning will automatically get this team 10 wins; that’s about what he was good for with the Colts. Cantor Sportsbook director Mike Colbert told Covers.com he doesn’t think the Broncos will nine games. Will Manning be healthy? Will his weapons be ready? Can the defense hold up? If all those answers are “yes,” the over is a nice bet. Verdict: OVER

Two weeks ago, Cantor released lines for the first 16 weeks of the regular season, with Denver favored in seven games and three games listed as a pick'em. (h/t to reader Orange_and_Blue for nailing the over/under)

In today’s NFL, is being gay okay?

Report: Most NFL players would have no problem with an openly gay teammate
sports.yahoo.com

If football isn’t the ultimate masculine/gladiator sport, it’s certainly right up there. As a result of that factor, not to mention the perceived group-think of the locker room, meeting room, and huddle, and supposed “caveman” mentality some believe it takes to play the game, there are some who would tell you that no openly gay player would be able to survive (literally or figuratively) in the NFL. But in a recent series of interviews with current and former NFL players, OutSports.com found that the perception is not reality. If the small group interviewed represent the majority, attitudes have definitely come around about any NFL player who would choose to come out…

...That tolerance goes back further than you think. Vince Lombardi, seen as the ultimate authority figure, and championed as a pillar of supposed “clean-cut” values for generations of football fans, had an openly gay brother, and often told his players that anyone who had a problem with the concept of homosexuality could not play for him. It was the same as any other kind of bias to the coach—and in an era where he had to wait far longer than he should have for a head coaching job because of his Italian heritage, Lombardi despised prejudice of any kind…

...Perhaps the most encouraging part of the interview was the take of those players just coming into the league—OutSports spoke with rookies Trent Richardson, Robert Griffin III, Doug Martin, Coby Fleener, Nick Foles, LaMichael James, and T.J. Graham. To a man, the players who will comprise the future of the league didn’t have a problem with the concept—and many wondered why it was a big deal at all.

File this under: Things I didn't know about Vince Lombardi.  

The real test, of course, for all of this stated tolerance will come out (pun totally intended) when a current NFL player says he's openly gay.  It's likely the issue will divide the locker room internally--even if only a little.  There are simply too many players like David Tyree out there.  Publicly, the team and the league will support openly gay players.  Legally, they'll have little choice.  And the public backlash they'd receive for not doing so would be more intense than Tebowmania x 10.

Never forget that sports is often simply a reflection of the culture upon which it was built.  As American culture and attitudes change (or don't), so do its sports, arts, and entertainment.  Art often sets the pace, while sports, like a set of economic indicators, often tags behind.

It's obvious, no matter your personal views, where the trend is going, however.  In another decade, it won't even be an issue.

Please, Oakland

Raiders add Ivy League QB
www.ibabuzz.com

The Raiders have signed free-agent quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballer Tuesday. Newhall-Caballero was a two-time All-Ivy League selection during his collegiate career at Brown.

There ought to be a rule against donning the Silver and Black if you've attended an Ivy League institution, you've scored at least a 22 on your ACT, or simply graduated in the top half of your high-school class.

The next battle?  Knee pads

Report: NFLPA would fight against pad proposal
www.nfl.com

A source told Marvez that the league has not provided proof to the NFLPA that the pads would have any effect on player safety, though the union has asked for it.

Marvez reported that another possible issue…is that players will resist being forced to wear leg padding out of vanity or concern that the padding will negatively affect their ability to perform—even if the intended goal of requiring pads is to keep the player on the football field.

“Guys want to feel as sleek as possible,” NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth told FOXSports.com last year. “Anything that inhibits that makes them feel it’s slowing them down or getting in their way. Some guys have never played with those pads. It’s difficult for them to wrap their heads around it mentally.”

It's not clear how wearing knee pads will help with player safety, although one assumes they won't hurt.

Let's be honest, though.  The NFL has a lot of legal reasons to demonstrate they really care about player safety at the moment.  If this includes forcing players to wear more padding, they are going to do it.  

The biggest holdouts, of course, will be the corners and wide receivers.  Like a group of hot chicks going out on the town, if they don't feel just right in their clothes, they may not come to the party.

You, too, can speculate on Manning’s arm strength after one practice!

Peyton Manning’s Broncos passing debut (Video)
photos.denverpost.com

Peyton Manning is taking charge of the offense already, decked out in the Broncos jersey for the first time Monday morning at the start of a three-day mini-camp for the Denver Broncos.


 

I'll give him an "8," Dick.  He's got a decent beat, and his footwork is something I think I can dance to.

A surprise in the D.J. Williams DUI trial

Mistrial declared in Broncos linebacker DJ Williams' DUI trial
www.denverpost.com

A mistake during jury selection has resulted in a mistrial in the DUI case against Denver Broncos linebacker Genos “DJ” Williams. Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg motioned for mistrial this afternoon in Denver County Court, arguing that he should have been allowed to challenge three jurors during selection this morning but was allowed to strike only two. The judge agreed. A new trial has been set for Aug. 15.

Prosecutors say Williams, 29, was drunk Nov. 12, 2010 when he was stopped near Ninth Avenue and Broadway in Denver for driving without headlights turned on.

Earlier today, Steinberg quizzed potential jurors on their feelings toward the Denver Broncos and professional athletes. “Some people think athletes get treated too well,” he said. “What if I told you it’s the opposite? That everyone in the system is afraid they’ll be accused of giving athletes special treatment?” Steinberg also told jurors that no blood alcohol test will be admitted as evidence. Two police officers are expected to testify about the 2010 stop on the prosecution’s behalf.

Oh, Harv. You're so cute and cuddly when you bring out the conspiracies like that.

The good news for Harv and his client? In this great country of ours, you're presumed sober until proven intoxicated and without the ability to operate a moving vehicle at high rates of speed.

The bad news?  The NFL says Williams' urine sample is still not human.  And that freaks me out.

Broncos and Wolfe come to terms

Broncos agree to $5.2 million deal with top pick Derek Wolfe
www.denverpost.com

Derek Wolfe, the first player the Broncos selected in the NFL draft last month, has agreed to terms with the team on a four-year, $5.2 million contract.  A defensive tackle from Cincinnati, Wolfe was selected with the No. 36 overall pick in the second round. He did not participate in the Broncos organized team activity (OTA) workout Monday because rules say his college class must complete graduation first. Wolfe played his college ball at the University of Cincinnati, which doesn’t graduate its 2012 class until June 9.

That means Wolfe will miss all three of the Broncos’ OTA sessions.

The power of the new CBA continues to pay dividends, at least for the teams.  These new rookie contracts--aside from being much less expensive--really cut down the signing period by a country mile.

What to make of the three practices Wolfe will miss?  Absolutely nothing.  It's three days in which he won't pull a hamstring.

I'll save my Pulp Fiction and Duran Duran references for another day, but I am willing to point out that the Chiefs wear red, and Matt Cassel looks a lot like Little Red Riding Hood.