The first round of cuts by NFL teams to get the rosters down from 90 to 75 players mainly involves people like Joe Flabeetz – of whom you never heard and for whom the major role in training camp for the outset was to be cannon fodder. However, there were two recognizable names in the first round of cuts this year:
Cards cut punter, Dave Zastudil.
Bills cut RB, Fred Jackson.
The Bills’ cut was really surprising since Rex Ryan believes in an offense built on “ground and pound”. It takes runners to do the pounding and while Jackson may not be Jim Brown reincarnate, he seemed to have something remaining in the tank.
Scott Ostler posed a couple of interesting questions in the SF Chronicle last weekend:
“Do you buy the apology lite of USC football coach Steve Sarkisian, who was drunk and profane at a public rally and blamed it on mixing a smidge of alcohol with meds? Didn’t specify the meds. Could a player get away with the same excuse?”
The blunt answer to the question about a player offering a similar explanation/excuse is that the player would be swimming upstream in the court of public opinion from the moment his voice trailed off at the end of said explanation. That is neither right nor wrong; it just the way it is. Having said that, I believe that Professor Ostler did not comment on another aspect of Coach Sarkisian’s explanation that jumped out at me. Sarkisian said that there was liquor in the coaches’ locker room and that after this incident where he had had a pop or two and it led to embarrassment, the answer was to remove the booze from the coaches’ room. Here is my question:
What was the alcohol doing in the coaches’ locker room in the first place? I understand the idea of celebrating big wins – with the emphasis on the word “big” – but this is not a celebration the coaches could legally share with about half of the players on the team. So, why was it there in the first place? They could not wait an hour after showering, dressing and dismissing the team to go and have a couple of shots together somewhere else?
Similarly, over the last weekend, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald seems to have put the exclamation point on the whole Cris Carter controversy at last year’s NFL Rookie Seminar:
“Cris Carter apologized for telling players at an NFL Rookie Symposium they should have a ‘fall guy’ handy to help them avoid trouble. An alternate piece of advice he might have considered: Stay out of trouble so you don’t need a ‘fall guy.’”
There is wisdom in Greg Cote’s remark here; would that more of the NFL players would be able to take that wisdom and assimilate into their daily lives…
I know that I am more cynical/skeptical than the vast majority of people walking the streets these days. Nevertheless, I wonder if the following played even a small part of Roger Goodell’s thinking as the Deflategate saga lurched forward to the point that we find it today:
If Tom Brady has to miss the first four games of the 2015 season, he will be eligible to return to action on October 18 when the Patriots play – wait for it – the Indy Colts. Recall, it was the Colts who “blew the whistle” here and started the whole Deflategate kerfuffle.
How big would the hype be for that game if it were Brady’s first of the year? The hype would be bigger than for any other regular season game and it might rival the Conference Championship games. Now, we know that the NFL loves to dominate the sports news firmament on a 24/1/365 basis and so I wonder if that is part of the calculus here…
Interestingly, when the Falcons were found to have pumped artificial noise into their home field, team president and GM Rich McKay was suspended and was booted from his seat on the NFL Competition Committee but reinstalled there as his suspension was lifted by the Commish. With that reinstatement, McKay basically will not miss any games – ignoring the fact that having the GM present in or absent from the stadium on game day does not amount to a pinch of coon s[p]it. Similar to the Brady situation, there was no evidence that McKay was part of the effort to pipe in the amplified noise. Dissimilar to Brady – should the Commish get his way – McKay never had to miss a real NFL game.
Former NFL RB, Lawrence Phillips, is doing time in California for a felony assault conviction. We need not go into Phillips’ troubled past here; if you really want to get all the gory details, Google is your friend. Recently, Phillips’ cellmate, Damian Soward, turned up dead in the prison and after investigating, it now seems that Phillips will prosecuted as the instigator of the death. According to reports, Soward was found in his deceased state in the cell that Soward and Phillips shared; if true, that means Phillips needs to retain Perry Mason to defend him lest his current 7-year sentence become something far lengthier.
Lest anyone draw an erroneous conclusion here, I am not decrying the death of Damian Soward here. Soward was in prison for first degree murder and was serving an 82 years-to-life sentence. I suspect the world did not lose a great human benefactor or a great philanthropist; that does not mean that he deserved to die.
Veering off the sports scene for just a moment here, in another prosecutorial decision, it seems that Caitlyn Jenner could face charges in a vehicular incident where others lost their lives. I have no knowledge of or real interest in that matter but there is an interesting aspect:
How would you feel if you were selected to be on the jury for any trial that might descend from that incident knowing that your presence in the jury box designated you specifically as one of Caitlyn Jenner’s peers?
During voir dire, I suspect that a comment along those lines could get you excused from empanelment.
Finally, here is Greg Cote of the Miami Herald again with an overview of Deflategate:
“Parting thought: Lawyers for the NFL and Tom Brady are due back Monday for the latest round of arguments. If this “Deflategate” morass were any more ridiculous, they’d move it from federal court to Vaudeville.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………