Thursday March 6, 2014
We could be seeing the end of three great players who are nearing the end of their NFL careers.
Charles Woodson is 37, one of the greatest safeties ever to play the game, says he is seriously considering retirement if he and the Raiders can't come to a deal for 2014.
The 31-year-old Devin Hester, one of the game's great kick returners, is parting ways with Chicago, after the Bears announced Thursday they won't be re-signing him.
And finally, Champ Bailey, 38 years old and a 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback, has been released by Denver after a decade with the Broncos.
All three of these future Hall of Famers could sign with other teams as free agents and play another year or two or even three, but their days of domination - or even starting - are over.
It just shows what happens in the merciless NFL when you lose a step, or even a half step. There's always someone behind you nipping at your aging heels, younger, faster and cheaper.
Speaking of free agents, here are the best of a somewhat mediocre group of quarterbacks on the market this year.
- Getty Images
Wednesday March 5, 2014
People say the NFL is old-fashioned, stodgy and unreceptive to new ideas.
I don't know about that. They've been coming up with some crazy ideas lately. The latest one, that's actually been kicked around for a while, makes sense, and that is getting rid of the extra point, the most anti-climactic play in football.
Every football fan hits the snooze button for the extra point: Kickers made 1,262 PAT's this past NFL season out of 1,267 tries.
Actually, the NFL is considering making the extra point a 42-yard kick. They're on the right track, but they're not going far enough. I mean, it's still just a kick.
Why not do it like soccer's penalty kick, where one guy tries to kick a goal against a lone goalie? Mano a mano, one on one.
Picture this: One running back, one defender. Give the runner the ball at the 20-yard line and blow the whistle. My best against your best. You score, you get two points. You don't, you get zip.
I like it. What do you think? You got a better idea?
While you're thinking about it, check out these losers from the NFL Scouting Combine, including Johnny Manziel and Michael Sam.
- Getty Images
Saturday March 1, 2014
It's pretty hypocritical of the NFL to consider banning the "N-word" while allowing the Washington Redskins to keep their nickname.
A slur is a slur, and if it is offensive to a large group of people, you should change it.
Those people, almost always white, who say they'd be proud to be called a "Redskin" are ignorant. Not dumb, stupid, or even necessarily racist. Just ignorant of what it does to people who are offended by the term.
As far as the "N-word" a lot of people are saying it will be hardest for black players to refrain from using it on the field because it's part of their "culture."
That might be true, but if you listen to respected black leaders, it's time to change that.
The NFL can't have it both ways. It should clean up its own act before pretending to be sensitive cultural warriors.
In the meantime, here are my winners in the NFL Scouting Combine.
- Getty Images
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Everybody's raving about the 4.53 second 40-yard dash time by Jadeveon Clowney at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
When you consider that the guy is around 266 pounds and almost 6-feet-6, yes it is freakishly fast, faster than many of the wide receivers who were timed at the combine.
Then again, what happens when game time comes and Jadeveon seems to just be going through the motions, as he often did in South Carolina?
The point is, every year we seem to get too hung on the numbers at the combines. Some of these NFL prospects lose weight temporarily so they can impress scouts with their speed at the combines and get the fat contracts.
Numbers don't mean much if you can't play the game. Remember Jamarcus Russell? He was a 6-5, 223 pound quarterback and could sling it 50 yards on his knees. He was the first pick in the 2007 draft and a complete bust for the Raiders.
Then you have Eddie LeBaron who was only 5-7. He made it to the Hall of Fame.
Warren Moon and Tony Romo were both undrafted. Tom Brady didn't go until round six. Bart Starr didn't go until round 17 and Deacon Jones hung around until round 14.
So, let's get all ga ga over these numbers, but don't forget there are all sorts of intangibles that go into the making of a great football player.
NFL teams can be the same way. They can be loaded with talent on paper and a bust on the field. The opposite can be true as well. Here are my most surprising teams from the 2013 NFL season.
- Getty Images