Want to talk NFL football today? We invite you to join SI.com staffers Chris Burke, David Sabino and host Richard Deitsch at 2:30 p.m. ET for SI.com's inaugural Spreecast video chat, looking at the upcoming NFL season.
It might be a case of illegal clipping.
During a break between training camp visits, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith sat down with SI.com recently in San Diego to discuss the state of the game and the major issues confronting it. In a 45-minute conversation, Smith said, among other things, the players "reserve the right to seek any relief that we believe is appropriate" if it's shown that the owners have created an unsafe working environment by using replacement referees, and that long-term chronic pain could be the next major issue on the horizon. Following is a text of the conversation:
MMQB preamble, Homage to the Opening of High School Football Season:
One of the best things about touring training camps is that you come across all kinds of information. Unfortunately, some if it never gets published because it doesn't fit the story that's being written, or there isn't enough space for it.
HOUSTON -- While we digest the status of Mike Vick with his battered ribs and wonder if he'll ever play a full season of football again (he's played exactly one 16-game regular season), let's get updated on one team that's been very quiet in the first month of summer camp.
GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- The highlight of the week that was, looking at my 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd NFL teams prepping for the season? Easy. It was the 27-year-old coaching apprentice, talking into a walkie-talkie, communicating with his captain on the field, looking completely in charge.
Moral of the preseason: Don't take it too seriously.
Louisiana State Police investigating wiretapping allegations against the New Orleans Saints football team said Monday they found no evidence any state laws were broken.
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- To Bears coach Lovie Smith, the Olympic competition he watched every night after training camp meetings in his dorm room at Olivet Nazarene University was a vital football lesson for everyone in the game.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Jim Trotter had to say about Seahawks camp in Renton, Wa., which he visited on Aug. 9. Read all of our postcards here.
Former Super Bowl champion Brett Favre was back on the football field wearing his No. 4 jersey and throwing touchdowns in front of a cheering crowd.
Watch as NFL great Brett Favre takes the field - as a high school football coach in Mississippi.
The funeral for Garrett Reid, son of Philadelphia Eagles head football coach Andy Reid, will be held Tuesday morning, according to the website of the Philadelphia funeral home handling arrangements.
NFL player O.J. Murdock apparently focused during his last hours on his glory days as a track and football star at the Tampa, Florida, high school where police say he killed himself.
RENTON, Wash. -- I'll get to the upstart Cardinals, the recharged Chargers, Drew Brees tsk-tsk-ing the commissioner, what Peyton Manning hates and the third-round pick who leads all rookies in charisma. I know what you want. You want football. You want to see what I've seen. Five quickies from my first five camps:
So we're off with the 16th season of Monday morning quarterback. Pro football is the sport that never sleeps, and I was fortunate on my vacation to have union czar DeMaurice Smith, Colts rookie tight end Coby Fleener, Washington GM Bruce Allen and inspirational Tampa Bay defensive tackle Eric LeGrand writing, allowing me to sleep peacefully every Sunday night -- boy, I already miss that -- knowing the column was in good hands.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is asking a federal court for a hearing this week over the football player's yearlong suspension stemming from the "bounty" investigation: allegations of financial bonuses being paid to hurt opposing players.
The ongoing playoff talks have dominated the Mailbag thus far this offseason, and now they're about to affect the publishing schedule. In an attempt to keep these columns from becoming outdated six hours later, you'll notice this one went up a day earlier than usual (Tuesday), in advance of Wednesday's BCS meeting in Chicago. Next week's (yes, we're going weekly now) will be pushed to Thursday in order to include any possible outcome of the June 26 presidential meeting. And the following week, we'll go back to Tuesday (July 3), albeit to beat the holiday.
NEW YORK -- As Mary Jo White, the former federal prosecutor who examined the evidence for the National Football League in its pay-for-performance/bounty case against the New Orleans Saints, went through reams of evidence Monday afternoon for 12 reporters in league offices, I had one overriding thought: All of this cannot be invented.
PHILADELPHIA -- In an NFC East that features the moxie and resiliency of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, the fresh dose of energy and excitement Robert Griffin brings to Washington, and the always intriguing talent and potential of the Dallas Cowboys, it's the Philadelphia Eagles -- Team Underachievement last year -- that I think is in the best position of all as the 2012 season looms in the not too distant future.
When you coach in Green Bay, where they name streets and stadiums after those who get the job done, it's not easy and perhaps not even advisable to dream of cracking the pantheon of Lombardi, Lambeau and Holmgren. But Mike McCarthy, head down and grinding away in his trademark no-frills fashion, is working on it.
A unified lawsuit on behalf of more than 2,000 National Football League players has been filed against the league in federal court, alleging that the NFL failed to acknowledge and address neurological risks associated with the sport and then deliberately failed to tell players about the risks they faced, according to attorneys representing former players.
SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers were nearing the end of an 11-on-11 passing drill last Wednesday when coach Norv Turner approached wide receiver Robert Meachem with an important question.
Five thoughts for June 5th, three months away from opening night of the 2012 NFL season:
Before I get to the state of the Texans, and the running back driving fantasy football players crazy, as well as a local boy in Queens having the time of his life and the latest in Bountyville, here's a preamble about the life span of the best prospects in football.
Thousands gathered on the San Diego shore to "paddle-out" and honor NFL great Junior Seau. KGTV reports.
Never during its 92 year history has the NFL experienced anything like this: battles everywhere, but not inside stadiums. They're occurring in federal courtrooms, where more than 100 former players are suing the league over various health issues they claim were caused by negligence on the part of everybody from the commissioner to trainers to coaches.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Subtract a reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year from the lineup of almost any team, and a lost season is likely in the offing. Certainly Super Bowl dreams would wither and die.
There's an old adage in sports that great players rarely make great coaches.
Bumping his head while walking through the doorway. Trying to get comfortable in a coach seat on an airplane. Crouching lower, (lower, lower) to get his face in the picture frame.
Did the NFL and its teams secretly impose a salary cap of $123 million in the uncapped 2010 NFL season? Were teams threatened by the league with "serious consequences" if they exceeded the secret cap? The NFLPA asserts yes to both questions, and earlier today filed Reggie White, et al. v. NFL, a collusion lawsuit against the league in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The players contend they lost $1 billion because of the secret salary cap; as stipulated by collectively-bargained language, such damages, if proved, would be automatically trebled to $3 billion.
PHILADELPHIA -- The late March trade that brought middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia has a chance to be one of the shrewdest moves of the NFL's offseason and should help solidify the middle of the Eagles defense, which got gouged repeatedly in 2011, especially during Philly's stupefyingly bad 4-8 start.
For the second time in 17 months, the Players Association has filed a collusion claim against the NFL, alleging that owners sought to suppress wages in 2010 when there was no salary cap.
There's a story about Byron Buxton --- you can call him Buck --- that has nothing to do with baseball. It has nothing to do with how fast he runs (he might be the fastest prospect since Bo Jackson). It has nothing to do with how hard he can throw a baseball (his fastball has been clocked at 99 miles per hour). It has nothing to do with how far he hits a baseball (he once hit a ball, in an exhibition, that landed on the top row of the leftfield bleachers at Wrigley Field).
While the entire NFL world has been fixated on every detail and development in his year-plus battle with his neck issues, Peyton Manning wasn't the only player who had his 2011 ruined by injury. His lost season just happened to generate more media coverage than the plight of all other injured players combined, given that his absence set off a chain of events that rendered it the most impactful injury in league history.
One day last summer, West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich stood on a second-floor balcony of the Puskar Center, the football facility that adjoins the Mountaineers' stadium. Defensive end Bruce Irvin walked onto the field. He wore shorts and flip-flops. Not realizing that two pairs of eyes were watching him, Irvin casually jumped over a six-foot football dummy and then continued on his way.
The NFL is both beloved and exalted in the pantheon of spectator sports because absolutely no one knows what will unfold from week to week. But that doesn't stop us from predicting up a storm when it comes to the season just ahead. More than two months away from the full-scale opening of training camps, here are seven strong hunches we're willing to share in a bold foretelling of 2012's storylines to come:
Jacob Bell doesn't hate football. He doesn't want to discourage players who love the game from playing it. But Bell, who walked away from the game last week healthy and able to play at 31, eschewing a job on the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line after starting 100 NFL games in Tennessee and St. Louis, wants players to know the risks.
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin offensive guard Ryan Groy tried to calm everyone around him in January. Sure, the Badgers had just hired offensive coordinator Matt Canada from Northern Illinois, but Canada wouldn't bring the spread offense that produced so much glorious weeknight MACtion to Camp Randall Stadium. That would mean Wisconsin would throw more. It would mean the Badgers would turn their broad backs on years of beautiful rushing tradition. It would mean the offensive linemen would have to -- gasp -- slim down. Canada wouldn't do that.
"I want to make sure Eric is a part of what we do, somehow. Eric's always going to be a part of my life." -- Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano to me, upon being named coach of the Bucs in January, about the fate of Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers defensive tackle who suffered a spinal-cord injury in a 2010 game.
With the draft and free agency having reordered depth charts around the league, it's time to take stock of the positional battles that will be worth watching unfold once training camps open. Here are 10 intriguing depth-chart competitions that warrant our attention this summer:
First up this morning: A history lesson. We'll never see two months like we've just seen in any offseason. Ever. To recap:
At the very least, Junior Seau's shocking suicide this week raises the stakes all the more when it comes to what might be on the line in the controversial and much-debated effort to increase player safety in the NFL. We don't know for sure yet if the league's two biggest headlines in recent days were connected on any level, and if Seau's long and distinguished football career led to the kind of brain injury that contributed to him taking his own life, but there is ample reason -- and far too much recent history -- to support suspicion on that front.
More than 100 former professional football players, including former Atlanta Falcons Jamal Anderson, Chris Doleman, and O.J. Santiago, are adding their names a growing list of players suing the NFL.
The 1994 Chargers were the only team in franchise history to go to a Super Bowl -- they lost, 49-26, to Steve Young and the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX -- but over the years a sobering series of tragedies has cast a pall over that achievement.
Grieving for a fellow player is, sadly, nothing new for members of the 1994 San Diego Chargers. Legendary linebacker Junior Seau, who was found dead Wednesday of an apparent suicide, is now the eighth player from that team to die.
Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday, according to police. He was 43.
Two months to the day after this bombshell of a story first exploded across the NFL, the final shoe finally dropped Wednesday in the Saints bounty scandal. And predictably, it landed with another loud, reverberating thud.
Saints bounty scandal 77, Patriots Spygate scandal 0.
Four past or present New Orleans Saints players were suspended Wednesday by the National Football League for their roles in the "bountygate" scandal involving bonuses for trying to hurt opponents.
Out of the rubble of a 4-12 season in 2010, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis headed south to Mobile, Ala., to coach a group of NFL prospects in the Senior Bowl.
The book is barely closed on the 2012 NFL Draft, but it's never too early to start thinking ahead. Information is already being processed for next April's event, and it looks as though the early portion of the draft will be well represented by the senior class, with a number of versatile, complete linebackers available in the first round. So as we begin preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft, here's a list of 32 prospects expected to impact the early selections.
The 2012 NFL Draft illustrated teams' focus on the passing game, with quarterbacks, cornerbacks and pass rushers flying off the board. Teams can now afford to be much bolder at quarterback thanks to the rookie salary slotting system, allowing them to take guys higher than graded and to give up on former first-rounders quicker than before. Next year's class doesn't have an Andrew Luck in it, so predicting the top QB picks will be tougher, but teams will always find players to fit that need.
Just because I'm not an instant draft-grade guy doesn't mean I can't opine about what we've just seen, and what we're about to see in the next few months. Take the quarterback position. Let's rank the 11 quarterbacks who got picked in the draft in two categories: who will have the biggest rookie-year impact, and who landed in the best spot.
When the Colts selected Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish with the 253rd and final selection in the NFL Draft Saturday, it signaled the start of the undrafted free agent frenzy. In my years as GM of the Vikings, we called this John Randle time.
So what were 39.6 million people doing over the weekend? Watching the draft. At least one minute of it, according to NFL numbers released Sunday. I won't cover all three days of it here. Instead, I'll pick and choose the things that most interested me, and then ... well, let's just get it going. There's so much to say.
The bellowing never stops. It pummels you over the head like a hard rain, and it's forever accompanied by outdated references ("Mel Kiper, to quote Stan Laurel, 'Here's another mess you have gotten me into, Ollie.' ") and long-winded intros that last nearly as long as a Presidential campaign. Mostly, there is Chris Berman simply talking and talking and talking.
The nation waits with bated breath. Who, they wonder, will the Indianapolis Colts take on draft day? Will it be Penn State's Derek Moye? Maybe University of Nevada corner Isaiah Frey? Marquis Maze of Alabama and Syracuse's Nick Provo could get the nod, as well.
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations, and the occasional insight as we wrap up the NFL's entire three-day draft extravaganza at Radio City Music Hall ...
The book is closed on the 2012 NFL draft after 253 players were selected in seven rounds over the past three days. As is the case every year, there were a lot of head-scratching moments. Highly-rated prospects slipped through the cracks while several players were chosen much earlier than their talents warranted. Here's a look at the steals and reaches from the past three days ...
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations, and the occasional insight as we review the doings of day two, and rounds two and three, of the NFL Draft Friday night in Radio City Music Hall....
NEW YORK -- The Morris Claiborne story fell into the laps of America on day one of the NFL Draft Thursday night, the same way Claiborne found himself a Dallas Cowboy.
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations, and the occasional insight as we absorb the dizzying events of round one of the NFL Draft Thursday night in Radio City Music Hall...
The general manager for the New Orleans Saints said Thursday he has never listened in on an opposing team's communications, or asked to have the capability.
CBSSports.com's Larry Holder on a report that New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis listened in on opposing teams.
The dramatic, out-of-nowhere rise of Victor Cruz last season is only the latest glaring reminder. When it comes to talent evaluation, the NFL can miss on a grand scale. Not only did the New York Giants' dance-happy, second-year receiver go undrafted as a rookie in 2010, but he also wasn't even thought highly enough to warrant an invite to the league's scouting combine in Indianapolis, a cattle call of an event that annually draws more than 300 NFL prospects to the Midwest.
When his team plays at home, the Red Sox manager holds press conferences in front of a red brick wall that lends an unintentional air of comedy or tragedy to his every utterance, the brick-wall backdrop being synonymous with stand-up comedy and firing squads and official announcements from the Boston Red Sox, for whom April has alternated between farce and doom.
The Louisiana State Police said Tuesday that they have joined the FBI in investigating allegations that New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaches for nearly three seasons.
Prognosticators have their opinions on the players rising in the draft, but what about the people inside the league who make the decisions? There are always a number of surprises throughout the draft's seven rounds, as players gain momentum late in the process and move up boards. Here are 15 names to remember, some well-known and others true sleepers, who could be drafted much earlier than most project.
One of Mickey Loomis' best friends, Cortez Kennedy, was sitting in a model's chair in Alpine, Utah, of all places, Monday afternoon, while a sculptor worked on his Pro Football Hall of Fame bust. The session lasted for four hours, and Kennedy kept busy by scanning the web and reading ... and then he saw the report that Loomis was being investigated for wiretapping the visiting coaches' booth at the Superdome from 2002 through 2004. Immediately he texted Loomis.
Brian Dawkins was never a crossover athlete on a national scale. He never went on Letterman or Leno. Never appeared on the cover of a video game or a reality show. We had only a vague idea what was in his crib.
With the NFL draft less than a week away, conversations have centered on the top prospects expected to be selected in the early rounds. But every year unknown players chosen in the late rounds or signed as free agents after the draft make rosters around the league and positively impact NFL squads. Here are 14 players, none of whom were invited to the combine, creating a buzz in NFL war rooms.
George Whitfield didn't expect to be in this position -- the go-to-coach for such big-name quarterbacks as Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and now Andrew Luck.
As Chandler Harnish stood in the lobby of his Indianapolis hotel one day during the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, someone bumped him in the shoulder. Harnish's first thought was how rude. His reaction changed quickly when he turned around.
We're still a week away from officially knowing Robert Griffin III's fate in the NFL draft, but it sure doesn't feel that way, does it? In many ways, it seems like Griffin became a Redskin the minute Washington and St. Louis executed their blockbuster first-round trade on March 1, and the ensuing seven weeks has been an exercise in introducing fait to accompli.
Michael Brockers is hot, Ryan Tannehill may not be. The old draft trade chart is out the window, the Jags have an itchy trigger finger, Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd have the attention of the Rams, Seattle may not want to move as much as the current rumor suggests and, speaking of rumors, I'd advise you not to believe many of them about moving up.
When it comes to drafting wide receivers high in the first round, pickin' ain't easy. For every seemingly can't-miss prospect like Calvin Johnson, there lurk major whiffs like Charles Rogers and Mike Williams -- and not just for Detroit. What's worse, there's always a more lightly regarded prospect lower in the draft (like the Texans' Kevin Walter, a seventh-rounder of the Giants in 2003) or on the street (like the Patriots' Wes Welker, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chargers the next year) who is destined to enjoy the kind of success that makes you wonder who's running your favorite team's war room.
I'm sorry. I must have missed the NFL reversing field about player safety.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we digest the NFL's just-released 256-game regular-season schedule ...
You may remember the Tony Corrente story from January. The longtime NFL referee did the Saints-Lions playoff game at the Superdome, then immediately went to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for a second round of chemotherapy on tongue and throat cancer. This was serious, folks. So many of you reached out to send good wishes to Corrente, and he appreciated it, and so I reached out to him a couple of times in the last three months, sending regards and telling him how many of you on Twitter and in emails were pulling for his full recovery.
After a long weekend of fact-finding (and misinformation-farming) for my Sports Illustrated mock draft, which was put to bed Sunday, here are the 10 things I feel good about 10 days before the first round of the draft:
Former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino tried to sidestep University of Arkansas guidelines to quickly hire his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, as the team's player development coordinator, according to documents obtained by SI.com. The documents show that Petrino sought a waiver to circumvent a university affirmative action policy requiring that the job be posted for at least 30 days before interviews could commence. Dorrell's first interview was scheduled even before the waiver was granted by the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.
By now, the name is so familiar, bordering on ubiquitous. Everybody knows the Robert Griffin story. We've scarcely been able to get enough of it in the months-long buildup to the 2012 NFL Draft.
It's looking more and more as though the Saints will fill their interim head coaching job from within -- and not with a big-name coach like Bill Parcells.
The National Football League announced Monday it will not overturn the penalty it previously imposed against the New Orleans Saints and members of its coaching staff for the team's bounty program.
It's rare that I begin with the Stat of the Week in this column, but there's a method to my statness.
After an exhaustive four-week schedule, the pro day workouts are over. NFL scouts, coaches and general managers crisscrossed the country throughout March as prospects tried to improve their draft grade. As always, the workouts have caused some players to rise in the eyes of NFL decision-makers, while others have fallen. One thing's for sure -- a lot has changed since the pro day slate began. Here are 15 players who saw their fortunes change.
SI.com's draft analyst Tony Pauline of Draftinsider.net checks in daily with news and notes about top prospects participating in pro days.
Opening Day. There is only one, and it's in baseball. The theater has opening nights scattered here and there about the calendar, and there are various opening days of ... the fishing season, the race meeting, the NFL season. But there is only one Opening Day ..."
Before this sounds like a complaint, let me say I like quarterbacks as much as the next guy, and even sold Tommy Kramer two tins of Copenhagen at a Tom Thumb convenience store in Bloomington, Minn., when Two-Minute Tommy was the Vikings' QB and I was a red-smocked cashier, my parents having decided that a good way for a 16-year-old to make extra cash was to sell cigarettes, beer and Playboys to his neighbors.
News item: Indianapolis owner Jimmy Irsay says the Colts wanted to work out quarterback Robert Griffin III and were denied by the quarterback's agent.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Forget the flash, at least for now. When the new Nike Elite 51 NFL uniform were unveiled in Brooklyn Tuesday, it was the uniform's performance improvements that were boasted about as its hallmark feature.
Two headlines of the morning. Can't figure out which I like more, so I'll give you both.
The long-awaited, much-anticipated sports business partnership between the swoosh and the shield kicks off officially in New York on Tuesday, when Nike will trot out its newly created NFL uniforms.
For most of the players here, it's probably the first and only time they will step inside an NFL facility.
It's obvious the Saints will greatly miss the on-field leadership and offensive creativity of Sean Payton during his suspension for the bounty scandal that has enveloped his team over the last month. After all, we're talking about a Super Bowl-winning coach who has led his team to the playoffs in four of his six seasons at the helm.
Barring an appeal, coach Sean Payton will walk out of the Saints facility sometime Saturday and begin an 11-month suspension for his complicity in a bounty system that existed for three years in New Orleans under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- His one-year league suspension has yet to even start, he continues to mull over his appeal options, and it's still far from clear as to who will replace him this season in New Orleans on an interim basis. But in reality, Sean Payton began focusing on the rest of his NFL head coaching career here Tuesday morning, taking a first fledgling step in the attempt to restore a reputation that has been badly damaged by the Saints bounty scandal.
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from the third and final day of the NFL's annual meeting at The Breakers hotel...