Thursday, September 30, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Four Notes

Payback Time

Remember Dez Bryant?

He’s the Dallas Cowboys rookie who refused to carry the shoulder pads of the team’s vets during training camp, a “rite of passage” in the NFL ranks…well, his time finally came this week.

Roy Williams was one of the vets told by Bryant, who received $8.3-million in guaranteed money on his rookie contract, that he can carry his own gear. He let it slide though, saying the rookie would be buying dinner one of these nights and earlier this week it finally happened. Before we get into the details, lets just get the moral of this story out of the way – never offer to buy dinner for a football team!

The final bill came out to a whopping $54,896!

Bryant was supposed to only be taking the offensive players out, but Williams made sure he invited the defense as well. ESPN says players ordered just about everything on the menu at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, and even took home bottles of wine.

Personally, I think I’d rather carry the shoulder pads!

Vick or Kolb?

We’ve talked about it every week so far this season – so lets revisit the Michael Vick storyline out of Philadelphia.

He came in at half time in Philly’s opening week loss and looked great. He then started for the injured Kevin Kolb in week two and led the Eagles to victory. In week three, with Kolb healthy again, he was eventually pegged as the starter after a bit of waffling from coach Andy Reid.

Well, Vick lit up the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 28-3 win last weekend, throwing for 291 yards with three touchdowns while running for 30 yards and another major!

It looks like the starting job is now his until he has a weak game as there hasn’t been any talk this week about even considering starting Kevin Kolb.

This weekend should be fun too – Donovan McNabb makes his return to Philadelphia as the Washington Redskins battle the Eagles.

Mouthguards and Mouthpieces

A bit of a bizarre incident on Monday night after the Chicago Bears pulled out a big win over the Green Bay Packers in an NFC-North clash:

A Milwaukee TV station obtained footage of Packers safety Nick Collins getting into it with a Bears fan as he headed to the dressing room, and throwing his mouthguard at the guy. Collins says the guy spat on him and taunted him with a racial remark.

As Yahoo's Chris Chase points out – if Collins is telling the truth, this is just another example of the crowd mentality out-of-your-reach tough guy who would only dare step to a guy like Collins if he knew there was no chance that he would have to back up his words.

Chase adds though, NFL players can’t go around reacting to that kind of stuff.

Is the reaction well deserved? Totally. At the same time though, that loser in the stands will go back to flipping burgers or whatever it is he does with his life tomorrow, while Collins is a guy making millions of dollars to play football…it’s just not worth the hassle to react to these idiots.

Collins has since apologized for his actions, but there’s a chance he could face some type of punishment from the league. I think if I were the guy in charge of league discipline, I’d let him off with a warning this time around.

Private Smith

For the second straight week, a player is accusing a Kansas City Chiefs player of “improper touching” during a game.

San Francisco 49ers rookie Anthony Davis says of Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith “he tried to feel me; that’s weird right?”

This is a complaint we heard the week before from Cleveland Browns centre Alex Mack, who also accused Smith of grabbing his private parts.

Niners coach Mike Singletary tells CSN Bay Area that “after a while, there’s only so much you can take,” while adding his player was wrong to retaliate and cost the team yards.

I think the NFL needs to pull Shaun Smith aside and make him attend some kind of “respect in the workplace” seminar or something, don’t you? He should also have to change his last name to “Grabby” for at least two weeks – how’s that for a punishment?

More Labor Talk

The news out of the NFL this week is that the owners and the league already have a plan in place if there is a work stoppage next year.

No, they’re not talking about replacement players – the league says though they’re ready to put employees on unpaid leaves of absence or start chopping salary depending on what happens with the lockout situation.

For their part, the union is trying to paint the league as the bad guys here, saying “it’s a shame that the NFL would put even more jobs at stake” adding that neither the players nor the other employees asked for this.

The owners opted out of the current CBA with the players in 2008.

Speaking of negotiations between the two sides – the league is presenting a proposal for an 18-game season to the players, an extra two games over and above the current system.

On Monday, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian said it was a done deal…which it totally isn’t, at least not yet.

The players, or at least some players say they’re against the idea, which would cut the number of preseason games by two and likely boost revenue for owners. Pittsburgh Steelers union rep Charlie Batch tells the Associated Press that they’re not into it, because it’s extra games added onto the players bodies. I see where he’s coming from with that comment, but it also means that it’s less likely players will be injured during the preseason!

The thing with these upcoming CBA talks is that the owners want more money and the players don’t want to budge on their earnings. Adding two games is one way help the owners generate at least a bit more revenue, without the players having to rollback salaries or anything.

It looks to me like this is going to be one nasty fight, and the more I hear or read about it, the more I can actually picture an NFL work stoppage.

Other stuff…

ESPN's Rick Reilly gives us a list of NFL “complisults” – or half-compliment/half-insults that you can use to diss your friends favorite team this football season. Here’s an example, using the Bengals: “I think T.O. has really changed. Just look at his time in Buffalo. He didn’t do a single thing to draw attention to himself!”

According to Sports Business Daily, this past week marked the 12-year anniversary of that yellow line that shows us where a player has to get to for a first down. Happy Trails “1st and Ten.”

If you’ve got a football loving female in your life, I’ve got two things to say to you: First of all, good job. Second – the NFL is out with a campaign to "woo" women shoppers with a line of clothing geared toward your special lady. The league launched a $10-million marketing effort this week…so, apparently they’re quite serious about the whole thing!

Game to watch: The game I’m most excited for this weekend is Washington against Philly, just because it’s Donovan McNabb's first game back in the city where he spent 11 seasons under centre – and of course because I’m pulling for Michael Vick to continue his resurgence. It’ll also be interesting to see if the Steelers can beat the Ravens and move to 4-0 (still without Big Ben), and if the Bears can maintain a perfect record too, against the Giants.

On the other hand, which of the 0-3 teams will get that first win of the season? To be honest, I kind of hope none of them do!

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