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.
Just how insufferable is Terrell Owens to work with? Enough for a team that he owns to release him.
That’s right, Owens has been released by the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers, who cited T.O.’s refusal to play in two upcoming road games (which had playoff repercussions) as well as skipping out on a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital as reasons for his termination. His ownership stake has also been terminated.
“It’s disappointing and unfortunate,” owner Jon Frankel said in a statement. “But (he) could no longer be tolerated by the Wrangler organization.”
Considering none of the 32 teams has dialed Owens’ number the past two years, that sentiment is likely shared by the NFL as well. He has always taken phenomenal care of his body but given his personality and age, there’s absolutely no chance any team will take a chance on him moving forward. Get yourself released from an IFL team and you can forget any NFL teams contacting you.
Furthermore, what kind of selfish human being is a no-show for an appearance at a lock children’s hospital? Granted, there are always two sides to every story but what was his excuse? That he had to make another appearance on Dr. Phil to bitch about his current financial predicament? What an ass.
The nice thing about Owens’ release from the Wranglers is now he has become even less relevant than he already was. Not that it’s right to bask in others’ misery but this latest setback is downright comical.
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Terrell Owens laughs while warming up prior to his NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Ohio October 3, 2010.REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
During a recent appearance on Dr. Phil, Allen Wrangers receiver Terrell Owens said that he belw threw most of the $80 million that he earned playing in the NFL. But during a radio hit on 790 The Zone in Atlanta today, Owens said he isn’t broke.
“I’m not broke,” Owens said. “My broke, for the normal person, is not their broke.”
“My circumstances have changed,” Owens said. “That means I don’t make the same amount of money that I used to make. With my financial situation, people are asking how did I blow $60 or $80 million? Those numbers are skewed. If you just kind of factor in the numbers of what I made and how many years I’ve played. Other than that, I don’t know what else to say…I’m not an extravagant living-type person. I didn’t blow my money. My money was stolen and mismanaged.”
My question is, if he isn’t broke then why hasn’t he paid his child support? Why hasn’t he seen his kids? Is he not broke-broke but broke enough to be a responsible adult and parent? I’m confused.
Owens also told 790 The Zone that he wants to return to the NFL.
“I really want to take it there. My thing is, just let me have an opportunity to go out on my own terms…I know I can play.”
T.O. might be better than the third or fourth option on some teams but this isn’t someone to feel pity for. Not the way he treated former teammates Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb, as well as former offensive coordinators like Greg Knapp. I realize Owens is a fiery competitor but when he was at the top of his game he didn’t make it easy on his teammates to be around him.
Sorry, T.O., but going on your terms may never be an option for you.
Cincinnati Bengals’ wider receiver Terrell Owens (81) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers’ Bryant McFadden (20) during the first half of their NFL football game Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 8, 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
There are conflicting reports as to how T.O. suffered the injury. One source says he was hurt while taping a reality TV show for VH1, while another claims that he tore his knee during a personal workout. Either way, the injury has put the 37-year-old free agent’s career in jeopardy.
Best-case scenario he’s out for the next six months. That would put his return around November or December, which would basically wipe out his entire 2011 season. At that point, some team’s receiver corps may be decimated by injuries and take a one-month flier on T.O. But considering he was going to have a hard enough time trying to find a suitor when he was healthy, there’s a good chance that no team will take a shot on him coming off ACL surgery.
That said, T.O. has always been in outstanding physical condition. He takes extremely good care of his body and if he wants to play again, there’s no doubt that he’ll do everything in his power to be physically ready to come back.
But whether or not someone will take a chance on him when he does is another question altogether.
Cincinnati Bengals Carson Palmer throws a pass in the third quarter against the New York Jets in week 12 of the NFL season at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on November 25, 2010. The Jets defeated the Bengals 26-10. UPI /John Angelillo
But a trade or outright release still seems highly unlikely at this point. Things can change rather quickly in the NFL so I’m not suggesting that there’s zero chance that Palmer could play elsewhere next season, but here are three reasons I believe he’ll remain a Bengal.
1. His contract.
Palmer signed a six-year, $118.75 million contract extension in 2005. He’s set to make $11.5 million the next two years, $13 million in 2013 and $14 million in 2014 before he becomes a free agent in 2015. He’s 31 and hasn’t been the same quarterback since he suffered that knee injury in the 2004 playoffs. How can the Bengals convince any team to take on his salary and part with a draft pick(s)? Unless Palmer were to take a significant pay cut and/or the Bengals were willing to accept less value for a starting quarterback (which Palmer still is, regardless of his struggles the past couple of seasons), he won’t be moved. Releasing him is still an option, but keep in mind that the Bengals are the ones that want to retain him. It’s Palmer who wants out.
2. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco will be gone.
When Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell were his starting receivers the last two weeks of the season, Palmer put up his best numbers of the year and actually looked like he was having fun again. Maybe the having fun part is a misconception but it’s not hard to believe that Palmer is worn out from playing with guys like Ochocinco, T.O. and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They’re always open, they always want the ball and they’re always in either Palmer or Marvin Lewis’ ear. But Owens (a free agent) probably won’t be back and Houshmandzadeh is long gone, which only leaves Ochocinco. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not the Bengals want to keep the Ocho for next year. But when you consider he’s 33, his production has started to decline, he’s scheduled to make $6 million in the final year of his contract and he can be a headache, it would appear that there’s only a slim chance he’ll return next season. If the Bengals can guarantee Palmer that he doesn’t have to deal with some of the distractions that he’s had to put up with his entire career, it stands to reason that he would give Cincinnati another try.
3. Jay Gruden.
The Bengals fired Bob Bratkowski as offensive coordinator and hired Jay Gruden to provide a spark to the offense. In Bratkowski’s system, the receiver’s routes took time to develop, which meant Palmer had to sit in the pocket and was seemingly always under duress. But Gruden’s system is designed for the quarterback to get the ball out of his hands quickly and is much more quarterback-friendly (as was Jon Gruden’s West Coast Offense in Tampa Bay and Oakland). Thus, if the Bengals could rid themselves of T.O. and Ochocinco and provide Palmer with a more quarterback-friendly system, it may rejuvenate him. (Then the team doesn’t have to worry about drafting a signal caller at No. 4 when they have so many other needs to address.) Of course, the Bengals still have to part ways with Ochocinco and convince Palmer that things will be better, but hey, it’s a long offseason. They have some time.
Comment Starter: Will Palmer remain a Bengal or will the team look to trade or release him this offseason?