There's a subclass of NFL workers more worried than the players about a potential 2011 work stoppage: the assistant coaches. That worry comes in various forms, like Vikings assistant Derek Mason leaving a playoff team for a similar job at Stanford, and Cowboys assistant Todd Grantham doing the same to go to Georgia, and other coaches -- many of them, I'm told -- are considering similar moves that would have been considered a step down in peaceful labor years.
In the Big Lebowski, John Goodman's character, Walter Sobchak, says: "You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me." I recalled the genius of Goodman when my editor here at SI.com asked me for what he called my "sporting New Year's resolutions."
Conclusions regarding the circumstances surrounding Sean Taylor's death early Tuesday morning are still premature. We may try to connect the dots in order to make some sense of the senseless, but we don't know much.
When the Washington Redskins were putting the hard sell on free-agent linebacker London Fletcher last March, one club official told Fletcher they needed the outgoing 10th-year veteran as much to be a defensive leader as a player.
I admit I had a certain perception of Sean Taylor based on his transgressions off the field -- guns, DUI charge later dismissed, etc. That was before I actually met him after I signed with the Redskins as a free agent in March.
Young and old, in burgundy and gold, they have gathered in Redskin Park today, huddled around a parking spot adorned with the number 21. Players are trickling in. No one is saying a word because no one has to. All throughout Washington, D.C. there are signs of remembrance. At one high school, there are scores of people decked out in burgundy and gold. The sky couldn't be a more threatening shade of grey, but no one is moving.
I have been asked this question, given the new studies on head injuries and concussions: Can they be related to size and speed of the players? Jason of Berkley, Mich., brings up this point and wonders if the NFL might someday impose a weight limit.
The story that won't go away: Michael Vick and the dogfights. I hate to belabor this ("Like hell you do," says F. Red) but new stuff keeps coming up. Now animal lovers on the Redskins, the firm of Portis & Samuels, is weighing in with its, "What's the big deal?" approach. This was brought to the fore by my E-mailer of the Week, Gabe of Tallahassee, who expressed outrage at the indifference these two guys showed ... actually acceptance, rather than indifference. The Skins have issued an apology. So has Portis. So has Samuels. Hey, fellas. Hey, Redskins. Take you're apologies and stick 'em.