Every Sunday our NFL columnist Anthony Stalter provides his quick-hits from the week that was in the NFL.
+ The Ravens had no choice but to sign Ray Rice to a long-term contract, and the deal wound up being fair for both sides. Rice will receive $8 million per year, which is more than fair for his production level. The Bears were also wise to sign Matt Forte but had Chicago rolled the dice and Forte wound up holding out, at least the Bears still have Michael Bush to fall back on, as well as an improved passing game that features Brandon Marshall. Had the Ravens not signed Rice and he held out into the season, Baltimore would have relied on the backfield duo of Joe Flacco and Anthony Allen. Yikes.
+ Troy Polamalu gave the media and fans a very honest, very realistic look into the world of the NFL by telling Dan Patrick earlier this week that he’s lied to trainers about injuries so that he could stay in games. Nobody should be under any grand illusions that Polamalu is the only player that has lied about whether or not he was hurt so that he could re-enter a game and in some respects, he should be lauded for providing reality into the situation. The problem, of course, is that there’s a list of former players that filed a suit against the NFL trying to prove that the league is responsible for not telling them about the dangers of concussions. It’s going to be hard for these players to prove to a judge that the NFL has been negligent about anything when current players are lying about their injuries to get back into games. That said, the game has changed, especially when it comes to the treatment of concussions (which were once viewed as a joke by teams and players). Still, the players on these concussion suit can’t exactly be thrilled by Polamalu’s comments, no matter how honest he was being.
+ Who knew Santonio Holmes was such a comedian? During a recent podcast for NFL.com, Holmes essentially scolded the New York media for being too negative when it comes to reporting on the team and then told them that if they wanted to feel important, they should only report on the positive aspect of the Jets. First off, I didn’t realize that the New York Jets cut the paychecks for the staff at the New York Post. I also didn’t realize that the Post was supposed to be a group comprised of cheerleaders that provided unwavering support for the Jets. Holmes’ comments are laughable and he’s one to talk considering back in October of last year he called out his entire offensive line for not giving Mark Sanchez enough time to throw. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black – if Holmes wants the media to be positive he should start by being positive himself.
+ Another week, another slew of arrests for the NFL. Marshawn Lynch was booked for driving under the influence after weaving lane to lane with two near collisions. What’s interesting is that the mistake could wind up costing Lynch $17 million in guaranteed money because as an NFL exectuvie tells Sirius XM Radio’s Ross Tucker, a suspension for conduct detrimental or substance abuse defaults the guaranteed money in Lynch’s four-year, $31 million contract. Now, there’s a good chance that the Seahawks won’t touch Lynch’s money but if they did, not calling a cab will have cost the running back $17 million. Ouch.
+ Of course, Lynch wasn’t the only player arrested recently. Elvis Dumervil, Dez Bryant, Robert Quinn, Kenny Britt and Aaron Berry all ran afoul from the law from everything from driving drunk to assault with a firearm to smacking their mother around (in the case of Bryant). Granted, it’s not as if NFL players are the only ones committing crimes. We just hear about them because of their celebrity status. But it’s almost unfathomable that these players refuse to learn from their peers and in the specific case of Britt, how one player can be arrested so many times since coming into the league. This is a guy that has been booked four times in the last two offseasons; it’s unbelievable. These players are essentially co-workers that continue to ignore the endless supply of warning signs that are around them. Front offices must be praying nightly that they don’t receive phone calls at two in the morning from now until training camp opens.
+ If Norv Turner had one foot out the door last year then he’s got about three fingertips on the door frame heading into this season. It was surprising that the Chargers didn’t fire him last year considering the Chargers couldn’t take advantage of the hot mess that was the AFC West. Regardless, he absolutely has to win this season and not just one playoff game – he better be knocking on the door of the Super Bowl. That said, why should Turner get whacked and A.J. Smith be saved? When was the last time A.J. Smith hit a home run in the draft? And because he plays hardball with free agents his talent is evaporating on both sides of the ball. So if Turner gets axed then he and Smith should be sharing a cab out of San Diego.
+ It was pretty smart of the Jets to include a “poison pill” in Darrelle Revis contract. Rex Ryan and Mike Tannebaum were clearly annoyed with Revis’ holdout situation a couple of years ago and were hell-bent that a repeat wasn’t in the works. Revis announced earlier this week that he’ll report to camp on time this year, although it may not have been on his own accord. According to a report earlier this week by ESPN.com’s James Walker, if Revis skips camp his current deal would be automatically extended by three years. Considering Revis wants to get to free agency as quickly as possible, that would not have been a very favorable situation for him.
+ You have to appreciate Michael Vick’s confidence in the Eagles. Said Vick earlier this week, “When I look at our football team and what we have on paper, I think about when I was growing up and the great San Francisco 49er teams, the great Green Bay Packer teams, and the great Dallas Cowboy teams, how they just positioned themselves to compete and be one of the best teams out there I think we have a chance to be that. I think we have a chance to develop a dynasty.” Obvious Vick’s comments shouldn’t be overexposed because he was really just trying to convey his optimism in his current team. But dynasty? Try winning one Super Bowl before you claim you’re on the path of winning multiple Super Bowls.
+ How about Terrell Owens? Dude claimed he was broke a couple of months ago but faced with the prospect of going to prison, all of a sudden he had enough money to pay back the child support that he owed. Funny how that works.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (L) scores a touchdown defended by Indianapolis Colts defensive back Jacob Lacey during their NFL game in Indianapolis December 6, 2009. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)
According to the report, Britt allegedly made inaccurate statements on his driver’s license applications on two occasions. If he doesn’t surrender himself to the state of Tennessee, he is “subject to arrest,” although his attorney Jonathan Farmer says Britt will cooperate.
“When he gets back he is going to cooperate fully and we are looking forward to getting that resolved in a quick manner,” Farmer told the Nashville Tennessean. “He takes it seriously and is looking forward to getting it resolved.”
Considering Britt has been involved in at least seven incidents with the police since the Titans drafted him in 2009 (which includes a resisting arrest charge last week in New Jersey), it would appear that the young wideout doesn’t take anything seriously. Instead of being responsible during the lockout, Britt has taken the opportunity to get into more trouble. Had he bothered showing up to a players-only workout last week, he would have avoided being arrested in New Jersey.
Britt will eventually have to decide whether or not he wants to play professional football. He certainly has the talent to succeed, but the league has a way of weeding players out who would rather play off the field than on it. JaMarcus Russell is a perfect example of this and while a guy like Pacman Jones is still in the NFL, he certainly hasn’t lived up to his first-round status.
At some point, Britt will have to make a choice between his football career and being a malcontent.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt drags Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry into the end zone for a score during the first half of their NFL football game in Kansas City, Missouri December 26, 2010. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
On Wednesday, Titans receiver Kenny Britt was fined $478 after pleading guilty to a careless driving charge stemming from an arrest in New Jersey last April.
And…I…was…shocked. A $478 fine and four points added to his driver’s license? After he was arrested on three counts (including a felony) following an alleged car chase with police? Seriously?
Even though those charges were reduced before he received his punishment, talk about one of your all-time smacks on the wrist. But I said to myself, “Anthony, just wait. He’s a fool. There’s going be an opportunity where he screws up again. Just be patient.”
I didn’t have to be patient very long because Britt was arrested yet again on Wednesday night by New Jersey narcotics officers and charged with two counts of resisting arrest.
That’s right, on the same day he was let off easy for another crime, he pushed away from officers and wouldn’t submit to handcuffs. He’s been charged with a minor disorderly persons offense as well as a third-degree crime, which apparently carries a possible sentence of 3-5 years if convicted. (“If convicted” – ha! Like an athlete would ever be convicted of a crime outside of dog fighting and shooting himself in the leg while in New York.)
Just to be clear, I have nothing against Britt personally. I don’t want to see Britt be a nuisance to society – I just figured he would try to be again.
And why wouldn’t he? He was charged with a felony, saw his charges reduced, and then got away with a slap on the wrist after police officers chased him in his vehicle. If I were him, I would think I were invincible and that I could do whatever the hell I wanted because I was an athlete and the same laws that apply to everyone else don’t apply to me. Then I’d go out and get in trouble again because hey, what’s the worse that could happen? Another $478 fine and a few points on my license? Psshaw.
The Titans better hope this lockout ends soon or else this kid is going to get into more trouble. He has no organization in his life right now and certainly no boundaries. What’s interesting is that had he just been present at a players-only workout on Wednesday instead of committing crimes in New Jersey, this incident would have been avoided. But apparently Britt has no clue about…ah…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, right: Responsibility.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) reaches out to try and catch a pass, as San Diego Chargers safety Paul Oliver (27) watches, in the first half of their NFL football game in San Diego, California October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
According to a FOXSports.com report, Titans’ receiver Kenny Britt was charged with eluding a police officer, lying to an officer/hindering apprehension and obstructing governmental function. Per the report, eluding an officer is a third-degree felony, while the other two charges are misdemeanors.
Britt is now the 10th player that has been arrested since the NFL locked out its players on March 11.
According to a police report, the incident occurred at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when Britt was clocked driving his blue Porsche at 71 mph in a 50-mph zone. When an officer attempted to enter the roadway to stop the vehicle, the Porsche accelerated and began weaving in and out of highway traffic. The Porsche then exited the highway and was spotted on a local street with Britt and Lord walking away from the vehicle.
The officer ordered them to stop and began questioning Britt and Lord, both of whom denied being in the vehicle. At one point during the interview, Lord ran away on foot, but he was apprehended a block away by a pursuing officer.
Britt, who was recognized as a Titans player, admitted that the Porsche was his after being asked by the officer about the Tennessee plates on the vehicle. Britt, however, claimed he wasn’t the driver.
It goes without saying that not all NFL players are upstanding citizens. Many of them are young, rich, stupid and have too much time on their hands, and Britt (22) is one of them. Some players also think they’re invincible and don’t have to play by society’s rules, which is a recipe for disaster and this lockout is only making the situation worse.
It’s painfully obvious that some guys need the discipline, structure and direction that the league provides. I realize there are 1,600-plus players in the NFL and not all of them are running around like it’s spring break in Cabo, but 10 arrests since March 11? Clearly teams are suffering from not being able to keep an eye on certain players and the Titans are one of them.
This is just one more reason why the lockout needs to end soon.
Comment Starter: Do you think Britt will receive any jail time?
Comment Ender: Is he a professional athlete? Yes? Then: Hahahahaahahhohohohoheheheheeheheheahhhhhh…to your question.
This has suspension written all over it, but it depends on what the police find in their investigation. If he does miss time, it’s really going to hurt his draft stock, which was slowly on the rise after his productive yet injury-riddled 2010. Suspended players are often great values on draft day. Steve Smith 1.0, Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger are a few examples of players whose stock was overly depressed on draft day. And all three came back to help fantasy owners for the remainder of the season.
With regard to Britt, he’s not as trustworthy (football-wise) as those aforementioned players. He has shown up to camp out of shape and has a long history of injury for a second-year player. If he’s docked four games, he better have a plan in place to stay involved in team activities or his 2011 will go sideways fast. His ADP is sitting in the middle of the 5th round, so I suspect that will drop into the 8th or 9th with a suspension looming. Fantasy owners aren’t afraid to take chances on high upside guys in the middle rounds, but they are reluctant to use a “starter” pick (typically Rounds 1-7) on a player in Britt’s situation.
Looking at the big picture, if Britt misses time, this will be an opportunity for Jared Cook and/or Damian Williams to establish themselves as a major part of the Titans’ passing game. Cook was already garnering sleeper status and this will only serve to pump up his stock this offseason.
I know, I know, with championship games still hanging in the balance, it may be a little early to start looking forward to next season, but there were a few late-season performances that got me thinking about 2011. After all, it’s never too early to find a few sleepers.
All right, he doesn’t qualify as a sleeper, but with DeAngelo Williams’ future in Carolina in doubt — he’s a free agent and the Panthers may not want to pony up to keep him — Jonathan Stewart could emerge as a first- or second-round fantasy RB next season. “The Daily Show” was handed the keys in Week 8 and really disappointed fantasy owners with just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Rams. He looked pretty good on just five carries (for 30 yards) against the Saints before being knocked out for two games with a concussion. But after returning in Week 12 against the Browns, he rattled off five quality rushing performances, averaging 106 rushing yards and an eye-popping 5.5 yards per carry over the last five games. Granted, the Seahawks, Browns and Cardinals were all in the bottom third against the run, but the Falcons were 13th and the Steelers were 1st, and Stewart averaged 7.4 and 3.9 ypc, respectively. (The Steelers only gave up 3.0 ypc on the season, so 3.9 is actually impressive.) The fact that Stewart was able to run like this despite zero threat of a passing attack is also encouraging. If the Panthers can find a QB (or the light goes on for Jimmy Clausen), and Williams is elsewhere next season, Stewart could be in for a big 2011.
Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham
There’s a lot of talk about the Bengals cleaning house this summer, and that includes Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Both guys can still play, but the spend-a-lot-of-money-on-receivers strategy hasn’t worked in recent years and the franchise might do well to start fresh with Simpson, Caldwell and Shipley, who have all performed well in stints during their short careers. Simpson and Caldwell are both third-year players, while Shipley is a rookie. After getting the start against a good Chargers pass defense, Simpson caught six passes for 124 yards and two TDs. He has great size and could be a solid starter if given the opportunity. Caldwell had a good sophomore season (51-432-3) as the de facto WR2 in 2009, when Laveranues Coles’ production was less than expected. His targets fell off a cliff when Owens came to town. Shipley seems destined for a long career in the slot a la Wes Welker or Danny Amendola. As for Gresham, the rookie has quietly put together a really solid first season. His 52 receptions mark just the seventh time in league history that a rookie TE has caught 50+ passes. The Bengals can save $2.5 million if they cut ties with Ochocinco and T.O. is a free agent, so the Cincinnati receiving corps could look very different next season. Of course, these wideouts aren’t going to have much success if there isn’t a good QB throwing the ball The franchise has to decide what it wants to do with Carson Palmer, who has had his ups and downs this season (but looked awfully good throwing to this crew against the Chargers on Sunday).