Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

ESPN still unable to craft non-raycess headlines about Asian American athletes

ESPN’s Hines Ward "Happy Endings" Headline Is A Rorschach Test For Racists, Perverts Everywhere
deadspin.com

Did you read ESPN.com’s story about Hines Ward being cut by the Steelers, the only team he’s known for 14 seasons? Did you see that their headline was “No Happy Endings,” because Ward loves Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh loves Ward and it’s sad that it had to end this way?

Sigh. There's a whole lot that can be written about Hines Ward and his achievements as a football player before getting into his ethnicity. Unfortunately, the Worldwide Leader does not seem to think so.

Matt Yoder and Christmas Ape offer their takes.

He probably would have fumbled the interview anyway

Source: Peyton Hillis won't be tagged
espn.go.com

Throughout the past season, Hillis has wavered about whether he wants to continue playing football, and even considered joining the CIA, according to team sources.

It is unclear if he actually pursued a career with the CIA.

Gotta wonder if it's Hillis doing the dumping as he changes agents for the fourth time in over a year.

More reaction from With Leather and Shutdown Corner.

Raiders likely to cut Wimbley

Raiders to cut LB Wimbley if new deal isn’t reached
blogs.nfl.com

The Raiders will cut linebacker Kamerion Wimbley if he does not restructure his deal, a team source said Thursday.

Wimbley is due to make $11 million this season, with $6.5 million guaranteed, and Oakland is trying to restructure its budget and get under the salary cap.

Wimbley also has triggers in his deal that execute $19 million in future guarantees if he’s not released before the start of the league year. The Raiders value Wimbley and he is one of few pass rushing options they have, but the team also has lots of money tied up in its front seven and is in a cap crunch.

FWIW, the 2012 League Year begins on Tuesday, March 13.

Thomas’s testimony against Cox begins

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas testifies for prosecution in sex-assault trial of Perrish Cox
www.denverpost.com

As a woman lay passed out on an inflatable bed on the floor of his apartment, former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox turned to then-teammate Demaryius Thomas and said “I think she’s ready,” Thomas testified this morning.

Thomas, a prosecution witness in the sexual assault case against Cox, told jurors that he replied “Nahh. I don’t think so.”

In other testimony today, Cox’s former girlfriend said Cox apologized when he was asked whether anything happened between him and the alleged victim.
“He was just saying he was sorry and didn’t mean to hurt me,” Carthy Che testified this morning at Cox’s trial in Douglas County District Court.

Tebow continues to maintain low offseason profile

Tim Tebow and Taylor Swift spotted on dinner date
www.nypost.com

A romance may be brewing between Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and country songstress Taylor Swift.

Page Six reported that Tebow was the toast of a pre-Oscars bash on Friday night, where he spent some time chatting up Swift. The pair then had dinner Monday night at Toscanova Italian restaurant in Century City, according to the website Clevvertv.com.

Meanwhile, Tebow appears to be making a slew of Hollywood friends. On Sunday night, he mingled with stars including Tom Cruise at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Timmy sure is having quite the offseason, between re-re-re-working his mechanics and footwork, stretching out a wide-ranging celebrity buddy list that now includes Lindsey Vonn, Jeremy Lin, Fred Durst, Tom Cruise, and Taylor Swift, all the while potentially turning away the advances of Jenny McCarthy, Katy Perry, and Kim Kardashian.

Mike Klis knows all of the Broncos’ offseason plans, and he’s sharing

Possible Broncos QB dilemma: Tall Brock Osweiler in second round or not THAT short Kellen Moore in fourth?
blogs.denverpost.com

No matter how much they love Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden _ and they do _ the Broncos can’t take him at No. 25 because his age (29 on Columbus Day) drops his value…They would like Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler [in the second round].

Whatever quarterback the Broncos draft, the plan is to not play him in 2012. Tim Tebow is the plan in 2012. Remember, too: Tebow’s backup in 2012 will first be signed through free agency (Chad Henne? Josh Johnson?) soon after the market opens on March 13, or two weeks from today.

The Broncos do plan on drafting a starting defensive tackle, a starting cornerback and at least a 1B running back to complement Willis McGahee in 2012.

If the Broncos pick more for need, they could wait until perhaps the third, fourth or fifth rounds where Boise State’s Kellen Moore can be had. Moore is good. Really good. And the Broncos know it.

Not sure why Weeden's age would trump a team's "love" for him at a certain spot - if you want the player, you draft him. Andy Dalton supposedly wasn't worth a first-rounder a year ago, yet presumably there are plenty of teams who would pay that price today given the chance.

Anyway, many casual claims of fact within this little entry from Klis. But as Mike Lombardi stressed the other day, we are fully into Lying Season. So, take all of this with a mountain of salt, or do you really think the Broncos are truthfully sharing their playbook with the beat guy? Just wait for Bleacher Report, etc. to blow up with reports about reports about this report. Should be fun.

When one door closes…

Former Cal QB Sets Paper-Airplane World Record
deadspin.com

Joe Ayoob succeeded Aaron Rodgers as Cal’s starting quarterback in 2005. Ayoob’s tenure lasted for just one season, during which he threw for nearly as many interceptions (14) as touchdowns (15), and the following year he was replaced as the starter. Turns out Ayoob has more of a paper arm. On Sunday at McClellan Air Force Base, Ayoob’s throw of a plane designed by John Collins sailed 226 feet, 10 inches, besting the previous world record (207-4) by nearly 20 feet. Aaron Rodgers never did that.

[Insert Tebow joke here]

Having their cake and injecting it, too

In Defense of Ryan Braun: The undeniable idiocy of baseball's steroids "crisis"
www.grantland.com

The first is the question of the player’s health. This is not one to be dismissed lightly, even though, in almost every other context in professional sports, it is always secondary to profits in the mind of management. And the second, more hazy argument is that it is somehow unethical to ingest a substance that will make you play better. Too often, it seems, the former consideration is used to camouflage arguments based primarily on the latter.

Can someone seriously argue that it is ethical to take a drug to make a performance possible, but unethical to take a drug that makes that performance better? Isn’t making a performance possible at all the ultimate performance enhancement?...Sports are rife with drugs. Without drugs of one sort or another, the NFL season would never begin, and the baseball season would end sometime in June owing to a lack of participating teams.

Pierce (as usual) raises an important and fair question: What is the real difference between administering to players (ie. Tony Romo) painkillers such as Toradol (without which they'd likely be unable to play at all) - the dispensing and long-term effects of which are under dispute - and a "performance enhancing drug" which might allow a player a better chance of returning to action a week after a particularly physical game?

Is the former okay simply because the team is in charge? After all, we've certainly learned enough in recent years to safely conclude that team medical staffs do not prioritize players' short- or long-term health concerns over #winning, as I was just saying to my good friend Colt McCoy.

Weeden the Broncos’ back-up plan?

Broncos impressed after interviewing QBs Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler
blogs.denverpost.com

The Broncos were extremely impressed with Weeden during a 15-minute interview this week. He turns 29 in October which is why he’s not considered a top 3 QB prospect even though he’s the second best pure passer to Luck.

They also came away feeling good about Arizona State Brock Osweiler. He’s 6-foot-7 and a one-year starter but he’s such a good athlete, he passed up a basketball scholarship to Gonzaga.

Weeden and Osweiler figure to both go in the second round, no later than the top-half of the third. Each would make sense as back up to Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow.

Andrew Luck wows ‘em at combine

Luck displays rare athleticism in 40-yard dash, jumps
blogs.nfl.com

The Stanford QB unofficially ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash Sunday morning, proving the Colts likely will land more than just a traditional pocket passer if they take him No. 1, as expected, in April’s draft. Luck isn’t Peyton Manning. He’s potentially somewhere between that and Cam Newton, whose measurables last year put Luck’s into proper perspective.

Luck’s unofficial 4.59 matched Newton’s official best time from 2011. Luck’s 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump was just 2 inches off Newton’s 10-6, the best of last year’s QB crop.

Finally, Luck notched a 36-inch vertical, actually besting Newton’s 35-inch jump from last year.

I knew Andrew Luck would be compared to Peyton Manning, but Cam Newton?  Is Luck the perfect combination of athleticism and pocket passer?  Or is the bar being set so high it will be impossible to clear?  Either way, it's a whole truckload of hype.