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NFL: Jackson has ‘wanted change’ but not now

May 5, 2010 Comments off

Tavaris Jackson admits there have been times he thought a change might be best for him, but the Vikings one-time (and perhaps future) starting quarterback told Sirius NFL Radio on Tuesday that he never requested a trade after Brett Favre joined the Vikings last August.

“Being a competitor and knowing the business side of it you have to think about different situations like that or what they’re thinking,” Jackson said while appearing on a show with Adam Schein and former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon. “If they’re thinking, ‘OK, we’ve had enough … we’ve got our guy,’ or whatever.

“You have to think everything through and think of different scenarios and just try to be ready for anything because you never really know what [coaches and front office people] are thinking. Honestly, it crossed my mind and I’ve wanted change, but change is not always good. The grass is not always greener on the other side. The Vikings are all I know right now and I’m just trying to do my best around here.”

Jackson and Sage Rosenfels find themselves in an extremely difficult situation this offseason. Many assume that Favre will return in 2010, despite last week’s report that he needs ankle surgery. However, if he doesn’t Jackson and Rosenfels likely will battle for the starting job and Vikings coach Brad Childress indicated at the NFL Owners meetings in March that Jackson would have the upper-hand entering that competition.

That means Jackson must prepare as if he’s going to be the starter, knowing full well he probably won’t be in that role on Sept. 9 when the Vikings open the regular season at New Orleans. Jackson’s approach this offseason has been to worry about himself and let everyone else concern themselves with the other things.

“One thing I learned from Brett is just be yourself regardless of the situation and the circumstances,” he said. “Just go out and be yourself today, every day and they [can] take it or leave it. That’s what I’m going to do and that’s how I’m approaching it. Just trying to get better every day like I always did, working hard. That’s all I can do and that’s how I’m going to take it.”

Jackson was candid in admitting that possibly being the starter isn’t the same as knowing you are the team’s choice: “It’s different when you know you’re the guy or when you kind of think you’ll be a backup. You can say you’re going to work as hard, but it’s a lot different when you know you’re going to be the guy and you’ve got those guys depending on you.”

Jackson, who is 10-10 as a starter since being selected in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Vikings, has traded messages with Favre this offseason but he hasn’t asked the veteran about his plans.


Asked if he feels the way the Favre situation is being handled by the Vikings is a “little bit wrong,” Jackson said: “That’s not for me to say. I’m not a head coach or GM or owner or anything. I look at it as everything happens for a reason and that’s the approach I always took and I will continue to take that approach. Whatever happens is going to happen and I can’t control it. Sage can’t control it. We just have to go out and do our part and pretty much just fight. Just do our thing. That’s all we can do.”

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NFL: Favre: I need surgery to play in ’10

May 1, 2010 Comments off

Brett Favre is still stinging from that painful loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC title game three months ago — so much so that it’s a factor in his decision to come back to the Vikings next season.

Favre issued a statement on his website Friday saying that his left ankle is still hurting and will require surgery if he wants to return for Minnesota. But he said the injury “is not debilitating” and he’s come through far worse in a 19-year career built on playing through pain.

“I don’t believe major surgery on the ankle would be required for me to return in 2010,” Favre wrote. “I’ve consulted with Dr. (James) Andrews on the phone, and a relatively minor procedure could be done to improve the dexterity of the ankle, and to relieve the pain. I’ve put up with pain worse than this in my career, and I didn’t want anyone to assume that the possibility of surgery was the sole factor that would determine whether I return or not.”

Currently holding all the NFL’s major career passing records, Favre will turn 41 in October. He has turned the waiting game into an art form late in his career, and it appears this summer will be no different.

The Vikings have made it clear they won’t pressure Favre into a decision on whether he will return for a 20th NFL season.

“The ankle pain is a factor, but one of many factors that I’ll need to consider in making my decision,” said Favre, who is believed to be at his home in Mississippi. “Other factors include the input of my family, and the wonderful experience that I had last year with the Vikings.”

Vikings coach Brad Childress said he was neither surprised nor concerned by the revelation that Favre needs another surgery. He reiterated that he would be fine with Favre missing the first two weeks of training camp like he did last year.

“We were aware of it and in fact spoke about it at the end of the season and it’s just a matter of whether he was going to or not going to address,” Childress said. “We all are familiar with his aversion to surgery. That’s no surprise. So it’s just something if you want to live with it and whether you want to live with it the whole lifetime or want to fix it now, fix it again later.”

Earlier in the day, Favre told ESPN in an e-mail that the ankle is still swollen and painful and that surgery was unavoidable if he wanted to keep playing.

“This decision would be easy if not for my teammates and the fans and the entire Vikings staff,” Favre said in the e-mail posted on ESPN.com. “One year truly felt like 10 — much like Green Bay for many years. That’s what I was missing in my heart I suppose, a sense of belonging.”

Favre then issued his statement, seeming to downplay the severity of his injury by saying he feels good enough to work on his property in Mississippi.

“Sure — certain exercises cause some ankle pain, but it’s nothing that I haven’t experienced (or played with) before,” he wrote. “In fact, many people don’t realize that I injured my ankle before the NFC Championship game. I’ve had surgery on this ankle twice before, and I’ve played with the pain before. The hits I took throughout the 2009 season, including the Saints game, just added to the ankle pain and likely caused some bone spurs.”

If this all sounds a little familiar, that’s because it’s the fourth installment of a drama miniseries that has run every summer since 2006.

His waffling ultimately led to an ugly parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the New York Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.

He enjoyed one of the best seasons of his storied career, throwing for 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions and guiding the Vikings to a 12-4 record. Favre twice beat the Packers, who should give two-time division champion Minnesota stiff competition for the title next season whether he returns or not.

“Somebody tell Brett to have that surgery so I can make up for last year!!!” Packers linebacker Nick Barnett posted on Twitter.

Now Favre and the Vikings are back in the same place as last year.

The quandary then was whether he wanted to have surgery to repair a partially torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder. Andrews performed that surgery and Favre made it through the entire 2009 season without any problems with his arm or shoulder.

Favre is under contract for $13 million this season, but that’s only if he plays. Several signs point to the Vikings believing he will return, including not pursuing a trade for Donovan McNabb and declining to select a quarterback of the future in the draft.

“I still don’t know (what he’s going to do),” Childress insisted on Friday. “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it from way back when.”

NFL: NFL needs more time to determine Roethlisberger punishment

April 19, 2010 Comments off

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined the show to talk about the state of the NFL on draft week and where he stands on Ben Roethlisberger.

Goodell was asked if reports that he would announce his suspension today or tomorrow were true. “There may be plenty of reports. I make the decision when I”m prepared to do so,” Goodell said.

Goodell was asked if there has been a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“Yes, there has been a violation of that,” Goodell said. “The issue here is respect to a pattern of behavior … bad judgments.”

Goodell said he needed time to review all the facts. “Obviously there is a depute about the facts that occurred that night,” Goodell said.

Here are some of Goodell’s other takes:

— Goodell still wants to add two regular-season games. “We’re thinking of flipping two preseason games and making them regular-season games,” Goodell said. “It’s in response to our fans and better for the game. We would still be staying within our 20 games.”

— Goodell said he still wants a franchise in Los Angeles, but the NFL has to settle the CBA first.

— Goodell said Tim Tebow hasn’t let him know yet if he’ll be coming to the draft. Goodell said that Jimmy Clausen called him and he’s not coming so he can spend time with his family.

NFL: Sam Bradford said he hasn’t heard from St. Louis Rams

April 19, 2010 Comments off

Quarterback Sam Bradford joined the show to talk about Thursday’s draft.

Bradford said he hasn’t started negotiating with the Rams. And he wanted to clear up any notion that he doesn’t want to go to the St. Louis Rams. He said the team hasn’t called him or his agent. And reports he didn’t want to negotiate with them aren’t true.

“People out there think right now that I’ve said no or my agent has said not,” Bradford said. “That’s not the case at all.”

Bradford said that he just wants to play in the NFL and didn’t specify any teams.

Bradford, who grew up a Steelers fan, also said that his agent and family did talk to him about the Ben Roethlisberger case. And he realizes he always has to be aware people around him have camera phones.

NCAAF: NCAA bans wedge blocks, eye black with messages

April 15, 2010 Comments off

On Thursday, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the three rules changes.

One year after the NFL banned wedge blocking on kickoffs because of safety concerns, the NCAA followed the lead. The new rule says that when the team receiving a kickoff has more than two players standing within two yards of one another, shoulder to shoulder, it will be assessed a 15-yard penalty — even if there is no contact between the teams.

The reason: NCAA studies have shown that 20 percent of all injuries occurring on kickoffs result in concussions.

“Everybody is looking to make sure we have a safe environment for the players,” said Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “On kickoffs, you have a lot of steam on both sides and you usually have what is called a ‘wedge buster.’ This will eliminate some of that.”

The hope is it will reduce concussions, an issue that has received greater attention over the past year.

The NCAA deemed it so important that it made a rare rules change in an off-year of the normal 2-year process.

But it’s the taunting rule that will create the biggest buzz.

Currently, players who are penalized for taunting on their way to the end zone draw a 15-yard penalty on the extra point attempt, 2-point conversion attempt or the ensuing kickoff.

Beginning in 2011, live-ball penalties will be assessed from the spot of the foul and eliminate the score. Examples include players finishing touchdown runs by high-stepping into the end zone or pointing the ball toward an opponent.

Celebration penalties following a score will continue to be assessed on conversion attempts or the ensuing kickoff.

“I think one of the reasons it’s been looked at is that when a penalty occurs on the field, it’s normally taken from the spot,” Teaff said. “This was the only occurrence that it wasn’t taken from the spot, so they wanted to change that.”

Taunting has caused an annual debate among college football players, coaches and fans, and last season’s big controversy stemmed from Georgia receiver A.J. Green receiving a 15-year personal foul penalty after he caught a go-ahead touchdown pass late in a game against LSU.

The yardage from the penalty was assessed on the kickoff and helped LSU get into position to drive for the winning score. Southeastern Conference officials said later that there was no video evidence to support the flag on Green.

A third change bans the use of eye black containing symbols or messages, a trend that grew in popularity because of the use by Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Tim Tebow.

The rules committee also approved a change for new soccer fields. Those fields can be 70 to 75 yards wide and 115 to 120 yards long. All fields in current use have been approved and will not be required to change.

INDIANAPOLIS — Eye black with messages and wedge blocks will be banned from college football this fall, and taunting in the field of play will start costing teams points in 2011.

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NCAAM: Is Reebok Hitching Its Future on John Wall?

April 15, 2010 Comments off

Yahoo! has a story today that likely No. 1 pick John Wall could be joining LeBron James’ marketing firm. Now the my angle: deep in the story, there’s a mention about a potential shoe deal that is likely to send a few shockwaves. First, the details:

Point guard Raleigh, North Carolina Word Of God Christian Academy AAU: D-One Sports Ht:6'4" Wt:184 lbs Class:2009 (High School)

In the short term, they’ll be negotiating a sneaker deal that promises to invigorate a stagnant market for young players. Reebok is banking that Wall can be its product’s face with the demise of Allen Iverson, and multiple sources say the company’s prepared an offer that could be worth $3 million-$4 million annually. Here’s the test for LRMR: Does it have the chops to get Wall more than the traditional shoe deal?Wall isn’t going to be LeBron, but he’s the most-hyped player to come since him,” a rival sneaker industry official said. “And, sometimes, hype is just as important as talent.”

Shock No. 1: They’re still giving out shoe deals worth this much? The last few years made it seem like shoe deals had really dried up. Shelling out that much for John Wall would be a big change of course. Judging from Darren Rovell’s tweet, it would be risky.

Shock No. 2: LeBron is going to let Wall be a part of Reebok? Wall has been a Nike guy for a bit now. He wore Hyperdunks at Word of God in high school. He switched between Hyperdunks, Hyperizes and LeBron VIIs at Kentucky this season. Now, ultimately there’s probably some division of labor. LeBron, the person, would probably love to have Wall rocking his kicks in the NBA, but LeBron, the business man who runs a marketing firm, has a responsibility to get Wall the best deal possible.


I can’t imagine Nike would pay marquee dollars to Wall. It’s not like they’re at a loss for big hoops endorsers. But Reebok? They could use Wall. Still, it’d be strange to see a Wall sneaker deal brokered by LeBron’s marketing firm with anyone other than Nike. Oh, and let’s not forget that Reebok reportedly offered LeBron more money than any other company coming out of high school, but he spurned them.

All I’m saying is this: If Reebok does spend big bucks on Wall, the first order of business should be getting him in some sort of viral video where he jumps over the EasyTone girl and dunks. I’ll wait for my check, Reebok.

NFL: Report: Cowboys to Retain Wade Phillips

January 18, 2010 Comments off

Despite an embarrassing 34-3 playoff loss in Minnesota Sunday, the Cowboys will reportedly bring Wade Phillips back for his fourth season as the team’s head coach.

ESPN’s Ed Werder, citing a high-ranking Dallas team source, reported Monday that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plans to retain Phillips, whose contract includes a team-option year for the 2010 season.

Phillips’ fate has been up in the air all year, as Jones has opted not to offer him an extension. The Dallas owner has, however, voiced his support for Phillips on multiple occasions during the season — one in which Dallas finished 11-5, won the NFC East (for the second time in Phillips’ three years) and beat Philadelphia in a wild-card round playoff game.

I really don’t know how you can sit here and make a change with the winningest-percentage coach that we’ve had in the history of the Cowboys,” Jones told reporters after Dallas’ Week 17 division-clinching win over Philadelphia.

Phillips is 33-15 in three years as Dallas’ head coach and 1-2 in the playoffs. For his NFL head coaching career, Phillips holds an 81-54 record — he has coached Denver, Buffalo and Dallas, in addition to brief in-season stints with New Orleans and Atlanta.

Dallas’ opening-round win over Philadelphia was Phillips’ first career postseason win. Following Sunday’s loss at Minnesota, he’s 1-5 all-time in the playoffs.

“It’s like the elevator falling from the top. It’s tough when it’s over,” Phillips said following Dallas’ season-ending defeat. “If you don’t win it all, you have not reached your goal.

For now, it appears that Phillips will get at least one more shot to get Dallas over the top.