Five months of frustration about to vanish with NFL lockout coming to an end

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks up at the scoreboard while playing the Carolina Panthers during their NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If you were one of the many NFL fans that said you were done watching football because of all the greed that has taken place over the last five months between the players and owners, you can officially stop lying to yourself right now. Because once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been signed, you know damn well that the first thing you’re going to do is check the rumor mill to see what your favorite team has in store in terms of free agency.

And hey, I’m not judging you. There have been many times over the last couple of months that I wanted to say that I too was done with football. That I wasn’t going to dump a couple of hundred dollars on NFL Sunday Ticket and only further line the pockets of the super-rich. But I would have been lying to myself as well.

According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the “economics” of the labor agreement are done and there have been several reports over the last couple of days that state the CBA will be signed anytime between now and Tuesday. Once that happens and the free agent winds start blowing, what happened over these last five months will quickly fade until nobody even remembers how nasty this entire process has been for everyone involved. People may say differently. They may say that they will never forget what has transpired and won’t return. But the truth of the matter is that the NFL is still king. As long as gambling and fantasy football (which might as well be gambling) never ceases to exist, people will continue to watch. It’s the most popular sport in America.

For those few and far between that really won’t come back, I commend you. Instead of spending countless hours this fall watching players and a game that you have zero impact on, you’ll turn a blind eye and do something else. Don’t line anyone’s pockets but your own. I wish I could do the same thing but I’m not as strong as you are. I love the NFL and no matter how much frustration it has caused fans over these last couple of months, I’m going to welcome it back with open arms once the games count in September.

Sure, like a scorned lover I won’t dive back in with two feet. I’ll proceed with caution as if the water is infested with piranha. But over time, I’ll be fully invested again. It’s football after all.

Friday Quick-Hitters:

– Brandon Marshall told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his wife did not stab him and that he truly did slip on a vase. This is also the same Brandon Marshall who once said he slipped on a McDonald’s wrapper and wound up putting his forearm through a television set. So this is either the unluckiest, goofiest human being on the face of the planet or my man is doing some lying.

– The new salary cap in the NFL will reportedly be $120 million and will also come with a salary floor. Thus, some teams will be forced to spend money on free agents just to qualify for the salary floor. That means you, Malcolm Glazer…

James Harrison has released a lengthy statement apologizing for his harsh comments on commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. Of course, the only thing he apologized for in reference to Goodell was his “careless use of a slang word.” Nothing like apologizing without really apologizing, eh James?

– Tom Watson hit a hole-in-one in the second round of the British Open today to give him his 15th ace of his career. I think I speak for all weekend golfers who have never hit one hole-in-one in their lifetime (not to mention 15) when I say: Congrats, Tom…you douche bag.

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Dolphins “worried” about Marshall’s future, but won’t break ties with WR

Miami Dolphins’ Brandon Marshall (R) lets the ball slip from his hand for an incomplete pass as Tennessee Titans’ Cortland Finnegan defends during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Miami, Florida November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

According to a report by the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are wary of Brandon Marshall’s ongoing off-field issues and are “worried about his future,” but not to the point of releasing him.

The Dolphins have to weigh Marshall’s long-term viability with the team because his history suggests trouble is coming again even if that trouble casts Marshall as a victim or a major player in the drama, as he was in the shooting death of former Denver teammate Darrent Williams.

The Dolphins, at this time, have no intention to break ties with Marshall, a source said Saturday. Miami reportedly has the option to break away from Marshall by not paying a $3 million option bonus that guarantees the player’s salary through 2012.

Not paying that bonus would let Marshall walk after only one season in Miami.

But the Dolphins today, right now, have no intention of releasing Marshall in that fashion. They will continue to gather facts about the latest incident and make plans based on those facts with the idea of keeping Marshall.

Yes, the team’s direction on the matter can change. But right now, the plan, written in sand rather than concrete, is to keep Marshall.

I wouldn’t expect that the Dolphins would release him after something like this. They knew what they were getting when they forked over two second round picks to acquire him from Denver, and then a $47.5 million contract. They knew of his past transgressions, including the fact that he had seven reported domestic violence incidents with his ex-girlfriend, and the fact that they weren’t acquiring a model citizen.

Marshall is trying to create a better image for himself, but this latest incident certainly won’t help. The elephant in the room is whether or not he provoked his wife to stab him. She claims she acted in self-defense, which isn’t shocking considering he has a history of allegedly putting his hands on women. (He claims he never laid a hand on his ex, but the police reports that she’s filed suggest otherwise.)

If Marshall’s wife did stab him because she was concerned for her life, then he and the Dolphins have a big problem here. I doubt he’ll be released either way, but now Miami feels the burden that Denver once did.

Brandon Marshall stabbed by his wife in domestic dispute

Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall (C), celebrates his touchdown against the New York Jets during third quarter NFL football action in Miami, Florida September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Dolphins’ receiver Brandon Marshall was stabbed in the stomach by his wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall, on Saturday and immediately went into intensive care. His wife has been arrested and charged with one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Marshall’s agent Kennard McGuire issued a statement on the situation saying: “This is a very difficult time for Brandon and family, thankfully he will make a full recovery,” McGuire said. “We simply ask that his privacy is respected.”

The 27-year-old apparently needed surgery to repair the wound, but no vital organs were pierced.

Marshall and his wife are no strangers to domestic violence. Just over two years ago, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in Atlanta after allegedly getting into a fight with Michi, who was his fiancé at the time. The chargers were dropped the next day, however.

In a bad twist of irony, I interviewed Marshall right after he turned 27 in March and he expressed excitement that for the first time in several years, he was having a healthy offseason. He told me it was great not to have to recover from any surgeries and that he can concentrate on preparing for the football season instead of preparing for rehab.

While he likely won’t have to go through rehab, he’ll once again have to recover from another offseason surgery following his stabbing. Further details, including what provoked Nogami-Marshall to stab her husband, are not known at this time.

Update: Michi Nogami-Marshall has admitted to stabbing Brandon in the abdomen with a kitchen knife, but says her actions were in self-defense. Marshall originally told police that he had slipped and fell on a vase, but apparently the officers weren’t buying the story and took Nogami-Marshall into custody anyway. (Strange, I slip and fall on vases all the time – hard to believe that officers didn’t buy Marshall’s story.)

Brandon Marshall chats with The Scores Report

The word “disappointing” was the first thing out of Brandon Marshall’s mouth when I asked him about his first year in Miami. But the fifth-year receiver sees a bright future for him and the Dolphins and he’s not settling for just a playoff appearance in 2011: He’s thinking bigger.

Armed with a new website, Twitter page and a great outlook about his future in Miami, Marshall is hitting the ground running this offseason. The lockout hasn’t stopped him from improving as a player and reaching out to fans that he says have supported him through ups and downs. He even recently called a group of them just to talk and thank them for their ongoing support.

Brandon was also kind enough to talk with us recently about how he’s dealing with the lockout, what it’s like to go through an offseason where he’s actually healthy and what his experience was like in Miami last year. He also named a couple of teammates that are ready for breakout or Pro Bowl seasons and he dropped a big hint about what free agent he’d love to have line opposite him in the Dolphins’ offense next season. (It’s not hard to figure out if you followed Brandon’s career at Central Florida.)

Check out Brandon’s official new website at www.BrandonMarshall19.com and his Twitter page @BMarshall19.

The Scores Report: Hey, how are you, Brandon?

Brandon Marshall: I’m good! How are you doing, Anthony?

TSR: I’m great! I just saw that you had a birthday recently.

BM: Yeah, I did.

TSR: I’m a little late but Happy Birthday!

BM: I appreciate that. We had a good time yesterday.

TSR: So what, cake, balloons, pony ride? Do you have a party?

BM: No, my wife had a surprise dinner for me at Maggiano’s at the Hard Rock.

TSR: Very cool. Well I’m a fellow March man – my birthday is next week.

BM: Aries baby!

TSR: That’s right! We’re hardheaded and don’t like to be told what to do.

BM: That’s right.

TSR: (Laughs) Congratulations on the new web site – I like the beat going on in the background.

BM: Yeah, that’s Lindsey. Lindsey picked that beat out. (Editor’s Note: Lindsey is one of Brandon’s managers at EAG Entertainers and Athletes Group, who was also kind enough to set up the interview.)

TSR: Really? I’ll have to tell her she did a nice job the next time I talk to her. So tell me about the site and what it’s designed for. You noted recently that you wanted to reach out more to fans.

BM: It’s nothing too crazy. First though, I wanted to thank you for allowing me to do this interview with you guys. I know you guys are pretty popular.

TSR: It’s my pleasure Brandon, we really appreciate your joining us today.

BM: The website is simple. I’ve been in the NFL for five years and I haven’t been too happy with my interaction with the fans over the last five years. I’m trying to get my foot in the door and try to establish myself as an elite athlete and a great receiver. It’s now where I feel like I’m entering my prime and I’m comfortable with where I’m at in my career, so I have some room to interact more with the people who put me in this position. You know, just in terms of the support they give me – especially through my ups and downs – and sticking with me. I just want to be able to give back to them. Last night I actually did a UStream where I had them text me their numbers on the computer and I called a bunch of fans just to chat with them.

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Broncos fire Josh McDaniels – too soon or not soon enough?

ENGLEWOOD, CO - SEPTEMBER 21: Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniel addresses the media during a press conference to discuss the death of Bronco wide receiver Kenny McKinley at the Denver Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley on September 21, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. McKinley, 23, was found dead in his home on September 20, 2010 in Arapahoe County, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

That was quick.

It hasn’t even been two full years since the Denver Broncos hired Josh McDaniels and now he’s unemployed and they’re searching for a new head coach. Following the team’s 3-9 start, the Broncos fired McDaniels on Monday after he led them to losses in 17 of their last 22 games.

Looking at his brief track record, it’s hard to argue with the decision. Immediately upon arriving to Denver, McDaniels started a feud with then-starter Jay Cutler, who was eventually traded to Chicago for a first round pick and parts (uh, Kyle Orton). Then McDaniels led the Broncos to a 6-0 start in 2009, only to collapse down the stretch to finish 2-8. In the offseason, he was part of the contingent that sent No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.

He also had a hand in dealing Peyton Hillis to the Browns in exchange for Brady Quinn, who is now third on the Broncos’ depth chart behind Orton and rookie Tim Tebow. Hillis, meanwhile, hasn’t stopped bowling over defenders since he arrived in Cleveland and has established himself as a feature back.

McDaniels also had a hand in trading away multiple draft picks in order to select Tebow in the first round of April’s draft despite the warning signs that he was a massive project as a passer. Not lost on anybody was his inability to retain Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator following the ’09 season or how he was recently fined because a member of his video department was caught taping one of the 49ers’ walk-through practices in London earlier this year. Spygate 2, anyone?

But even considering all of that, was it enough to fire McDaniels right now? You can’t even properly grade his first draft class yet and nobody has the faintest idea what will become of Tebow. The Broncos didn’t have to commit to him through 2011 but what about through the rest of 2010? And who are you going to replace him with right now? “Wink” Martindale?

McDaniels’ short tenure in Denver was obviously filled with way more misses than hits, but it’s not like the Broncos improved their situation by firing him now. If anything it was a lateral move but then again, sometimes what’s best is to cut your losses and start anew.

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