Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Bowen: the NFL isn’t little league football

Bounties part of game across the NFL
articles.chicagotribune.com

That’s the truth. I can’t sugarcoat this. It was a system we all bought into.

I ate it up.

It’s hard not to, not when you’re playing for a coach like Gregg Williams, my defensive coordinator while I was with the Washington Redskins…

...I’m not saying it’s right. Or ethical. But the NFL isn’t little league football with neighborhood dads playing head coach. This is the business of winning. If that means stepping over some line, you do it.

Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don’t peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.

Win or else. That’s the drill.

Bowen provides some needed perspective in this suddenly-raging debate. It doesn't make Gregg Williams right. It simply provides some context.

What Bowen is saying is that when you have a multi-billion dollar business like the NFL, in which the very brand has been built on a little of the 'ol ultra violence, and further, in which the average NFL career is just a tiny window, you shouldn't be surprised or shocked when you wake up one day to find out gladiators will look for any edge they can get.

Bruni: brutality is not what draws us to football

Enough Football Violence
bruni.blogs.nytimes.com

I watch because there’s intricate strategy in every play called, and there’s extraordinary athleticism in every play that goes better than expected.

I watch for the 54-yard field goal with five seconds to go.

I watch for Tim Tebow, who doesn’t administer any crushing hits at all, but makes you wonder about the power of positive thinking and the corkscrew turns of fortune.

I stop watching–I even turn away–when an outstretched, utterly vulnerable wide receiver is about to take a helmet in his side and hit the ground with the kind of impact that could cause a concussion if he’s lucky, worse if he’s not. And I find myself conflicted about my enthusiasm for the sport, given its grim toll.

Saints confirm what we suspected all along

NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund
espn.go.com

Between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced Friday.

The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”

While I'm sure Roger Goodell is going to feign the requisite amount of shock and disgust at this news, it doesn't come as a surprise to the rest of us.  The idea of taking out an opposing player is as old as the league itself.  What makes this story even more peculiar, however, is that Saints owner, Tom Benson, ordered Mickey Loomis, Saints GM, to stop the bounties.  Yet, they continued. Loomis can probably kiss his job (and his proverbial ass) goodbye.  

Here's some additional food for thought: Dennis Allen, former Broncos defensive coordinator, was defensive backs coach for the Saints in 2009 and 2010.  So he knew all about his mentor's "bounty" program.

What are the chances that he brought a little of this sugar to Denver?  Not high, would be my guess.  

What are the chances he brings it to Oakland as their head coach?  Zero, now that Goodell is making the rounds.

Banks: Broncos make sense as mystery RG3 team

Don't try to read the future in unpredictable NFL; more Snaps
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

To repeat, I think Philadelphia and Denver make the most sense as a mystery team in the RGIII sweepstakes, because the Eagles can get out of their Michael Vick contract after 2012, and John Elway is said to be impressed with Griffin and his pass-first, run-later skill set. The No. 15 Eagles and No. 25 Broncos could be motivated enough to join the likely suitors of No. 4 Cleveland, No. 6 Washington and No. 8 Miami.

Peter King had written in his latest MMQB that he thinks Denver picks a quarterback in the first two rounds, and he mentioned in the current SI that the Rams already had several feelers—including one from a team "you would never expect". That last part apparently prompted something of a Twitter kerfuffle.

As noted in today's Lard, Rams GM Les Snead echoed King's MMQB point by stating that some of the teams expressing interest in the #2 pick are not so obvious.

Cox found not guilty on both counts in rape case

Former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox not guilty in sex-assault case
www.denverpost.com

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox has been found not-guilty on two counts of sexual assault of a victim unable to assess her condition.

The jury deliberated for four hours on Thursday and just over two hours today. The verdict was just read in Douglas County District Court.

Someone's going to sign him. Anyone willing to bet it's not the Bengals?

As Florio notes, Cox would be unable to avoid testifying in a potential civil suit.

Bill Williamson sets auxiliary verb record

Chat wrap: Could Broncos make a play for RG3?
espn.go.com

Bill Williamson: Could be the Broncos. But that’s no mystery. The Broncos scouted him during the season often. The problem is, there is little chance they can move up from No. 25 all the way up to No. 2 to get him.

BW: It could come down to that scenario, although I might put Chad Henne in the mix. I think Orton and Campbell are comparable, although I think Campbell may have slightly some more upside. Crennel loves Orton, but quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn knows Campbell well. It could be very interesting.

BW: I’m hearing Mathis is high on their list. Williams may be one of the biggest free agents on the board, but Mathis is a high quality player who is may be a tad cheaper. If Mathis doesn’t sign with the Colts, the Chargers may be in play.

Today's grammar lesson come from our friend, Bill Williamson.  What's the topic?  Auxiliary verbs.  They are the Mother's Little Helper of verbs: they allow one to appear to say something profound while giving weasel-like escapability.  Can, might, may, will, could--the list goes on and on.

Will the Broncos move up and take RG3?  They might.

Will the Chiefs keep Orton?  They could.

Will Woody Paige suddenly self combust?  He may.

That's right, anything could, might, or may happen.  Of course, it might not, either.  And that's the beauty of this kind of football writing.

You don't have to say anything at all.

Jury deliberating in Cox rape trial

Jury gets case against former Bronco Perrish Cox
www.denverpost.com

Cox did not testify in his own defense of charges that he raped a woman who was passed out at his apartment over Labor Day 2010.

In court earlier this morning, the prosecution played a video recording of the interrogation of Cox in December 2010, during which he repeatedly denied having sex with the alleged victim.

“I didn’t touch her at all,” Cox said, throwing his hands into the air. “She wasn’t even drunk.” After he was arrested by police, Cox asked the officers “I’m going to jail? Are you kidding me?”

In his closing statement, Steinberg said his client may have lied about having sexual contact with the alleged victim. “There may be a long line of distinguished individuals who did the same,” Steinberg said. “But that doesn’t make it rape.”

I'm sorry, but is Steinberg implying that Perrish Cox is a distinguished individual?

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.