Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:59 am

St. Louis will allow Rams to play overseas

Wembley By Josh Katzowitz

When the NFL announced that the Rams would spend at least one game in the next three seasons playing a home game in London, the league might not have realized the headaches that were to follow.

The City of St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission pointed out that the overseas trips violated the terms of the lease with the Edward Jones Dome. Which led the NFL to suspend ticket sales for the 2012 game between the Rams and the Patriots (though they eventually resumed).

Now, it appears the Rams WILL play in Wembley Stadium next year, as the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. In exchange for allowing the Rams to play one home game away from St. Louis in 2012, the team will allow the Dome to increase the number of weekends during the season that the facility can be used for non-Rams activities*.

The team will also pay the game-day employees the wages they would have earned during the game they will miss.

*In the original lease, the Dome could be used one weekend a month to book conventions or concerts. But now, for the next three years, the Dome can use the facility for those non-Rams activities for two weekends a month.

But this issue between the city and the team probably won’t go away. The lease was amended only for 2012, and as the paper writes, “The future games allow the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to retain a bargaining chip over a separate, larger issue: negotiations about renovating the Dome.”

"This agreement gives the CVC more powerful tools to help entice major events to St. Louis, which parallels our strategy of elevating St. Louis on a global stage," Kevin Demoff, the Rams executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement.

And for now, gives a temporary agreement that will allow everybody involved (the city, the team and the league) to get what they want.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 9:20 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

Troy Aikman worries about the long-term viability of the NFL. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

While we hear nothing but great things about the health of the NFL -- particularly whenever commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference -- and see the ratings continue to rise, former Cowboys star quarterback Troy Aikman, who moonlights as an NFL analyst on a non-CBS network, isn’t quite as optimistic.

Though the NFL has continued to gain in popularity since … oh, let’s say … when the AFL was established in 1960, Aikman can see a day in the future when pro football isn’t necessarily the No. 1 sport in this country. For Aikman, it’s all about the long-term viability of the league, and when a sport becomes oversaturated among the public, that’s not great news.

“At one time, watching football was an event,” Aikman told the L.A. Times. “Monday Night Football was a big event. Now you get football Sunday, you get it Monday, you get it Thursday and, late in the year, you get it on Saturday.

“People in Los Angeles realized, ‘You know what, life’s OK without the NFL.’ If I’m an owner, I don’t want any fan thinking that.”

One big struggle Aikman points to is the NFL Network. While the network, in my view, does a mostly-wonderful job in covering the league, there’s a big problem the NFL has not solved. As in, much of the country doesn’t have access to the channel.

Latest NFL News, Notes
“All of sudden, fans, me included, were saying, ‘I wasn’t getting the Thursday night game and I was OK with that,’” Aikman said. “That’s not a good thing.”

That’s true, especially since the league will add more games to the Thursday night lineup, meaning that’ll be five more games next season fans can’t see on the networks or ESPN.

If there’s any reason I can think of to agree with Aikman, it’s based on what he said last year when discussing the concussion issue that simply won’t go away (nor should it).

“I think that we’re at a real crossroads, as it relates to the grassroots of our sport, because if I had a 10-year-old boy, I don’t know that I’d be real inclined to encourage him to go play football, in light of what we are learning from head injuries,” Aikman said on HBO’s Real Sports. “And so what is the sport going to look like 20 years from now?”

But other than the concussions issue -- which, to me, doesn’t seem to have many fans (or players) all that concerned -- I’m not sure if I buy the theory that the NFL’s wings will melt away* because of a supposed sense of hubris.

*Icarus clearly would disagree with this statement.

“I think we’re going to look back at this point in time and say these were the missteps that the National Football League took that kept football from being the No. 1 sport,” Aikman said.

“I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport. You talk about the ebbs and flows of what’s popular and what’s not. At some point, the TV ratings are not going to be there.”

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:12 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 10:16 am

Are the Packers and Wells headed for a breakup?

Will Wells be around in Green Bay to protect Rodgers? (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Last October, when we told you about the Packers signing receiver Jordy Nelson and guard Josh Sitton, there seemed to be optimism about Green Bay eventually inking tight end Jermichael Finley and center Scott Wells to new deals that would preserve much of the team’s offensive core.

Well, Finley still is in limbo, as the possibility of the franchise tag hangs over his head, and now it appears there’s a real chance that Wells could be on his way out of Green Bay altogether.

Considering Wells is probably the best Packers linemen -- and one of the best centers in the game -- and considering he just played in his first Pro Bowl, this revelation comes as quite a surprise. But that’s the word from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which writes, “Wells is being told by the Green Bay Packers that he has overvalued himself as an undersized, 31-year-old center no matter how well he has played for them. Wells basically is telling the team, ‘Watch what happens.’”

As the paper writes, this isn’t a salary cap issue, because the Packers could pay Wells what he’s worth. It sounds like they’re just not willing to do it, because, I don’t know, he’s not important enough to the team.

And if the Packers don’t pay him what he wants, Wells could hold a grudge that’s been years in the making.

Latest NFL News, Notes

From the Journal Sentinel:
Wells hasn't forgotten that the Packers cut him at the end of his first training camp.

More critically, he hasn't forgotten how Mike McCarthy and (Ted) Thompson cast him aside after three years as their starting center and replaced him with Jason Spitz in 2009. …

Wells responded with his finest season in '09, topped it in '10 and probably was even better yet in '11. Unlike so many of his teammates, Wells wasn't offered an early extension and played for base salaries of $2.25 million in 2010 and $2.75 million last year.

He remembers that, too.

What’s working against Wells: he’s 31, and he’s undersized for a center. And no matter what he’s done in the past for Green Bay, those two characteristics could cause the Packers to look elsewhere if his asking price isn’t right.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:28 pm

Osi plans to stay "really quiet" in offseason

UmenyioraBy Josh Katzowitz

Osi Umenyiora almost had a nasty breakup with the Giants before the beginning of 2011. With two years left on his contract that would pay him $3.125 million for 2011 and $3.975 million for 2012, Umenyiora wanted an extension and a raise, but the Giants declined to do so.

Then, they said he could seek a trade before the organization changed its mind, and eventually, Umenyiora underwent arthroscopic surgery that kept him out of the season’s first three games.

Luckily for both sides, Umenyiora played well once he returned, and the Giants won the Super Bowl.

And Umenyiora isn’t looking for a fight this offseason, telling Sirius XM NFL Radio (via the NY Daily News) that he plans to be “really quiet.”

He still wants a long-term deal, but he’s not going to push for it publicly any more.

“I ain’t going to say nothing,” Umenyiora said. “I don’t need that.”

No, because it got pretty nasty last offseason, especially when he claimed that Giants general manager Jerry Reese reneged on a promise to pay him. Umenyiora also expressed regret signing a six-year deal as a rookie, because “things in the NFL change so fast.”

For now, though, Umenyiora will sit and wait to see if the Giants make a move toward trying to pay him more money.

“I could see things going either way,” he said. “I could see where they would want to keep me. I could see where they would want to trade me. I am going into the last year of my deal, so they might want to get some value back.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to stay here and finish out my career, but it’s a business and they’re going to do what’s best for them, and I have to try to do what’s best for me.”

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Tom Brady vacationing in (sigh) Costa Rica

Brady somehow has to make due with the supermodel wife and the Costa Rican vacations (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Tom Brady has a nice life. That might be hard for you to believe, considering his wife has been mocked mercilessly for sending an e-mail to friends and family to pray for Brady in Super Bowl XLVI and for complaining about the team’s receivers afterward and since, you know, the Patriots lost to the Giants, leaving Brady alone with his thoughts in the postgame locker room.

But it’s true. Brady has a pretty good life. You know, with the exotic supermodel wife, the Hall of Fame talent, the solid bankroll and all the Uggs he can wear. Oh, and the vacations. The very strong after-season vacations.

This week, Brady and the family are in Costa Rica, eating local food, drinking coconut water and wearing skimpy bikinis (well, only one of the family members is wearing the tiny bathing suit). So, if you care enough about that, click this link to x17online.com (it’s a celebrity gossip site, NOT a NSFW site. I promise). 

Otherwise you can go about your day, knowing that your supermodel wife will NOT reward you with a luxurious vacation when you screw something up at work.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:36 pm

Roethlisberger, Haley still haven't talked

Haley, left, still hasn't called Roethlisberger, center, despite being hired by Tomlin two weeks ago. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Josh Katzowitz

Todd Haley wasn’t exactly known as a player-friendly coach when he was at the helm of the Chiefs, and in his new job as the Steelers offensive coordinator, it appears he isn’t trying very hard to be Ben Roethlisberger’s best friend.

Or, you know, trying to talk to him at all.

That’s what Roethlisberger revealed to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, saying, “He still hasn’t called yet.”

The admission continues what has become a strange offseason for the Steelers, with team president Art Rooney II seemingly overruling coach Mike Tomlin and letting offensive coordinator Bruce Arians “retire.” Then, with the hiring of Haley, it’s been unclear who actually wanted him (there was speculation that Tomlin didn’t want Haley as much as Rooney did, though Rooney later came out and said Tomlin was the one who makes the assistant coaches decisions).

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
With the loss of Arians, Roethlisberger made it clear he wasn’t happy with that decision, and when Haley was announced as the new hire, he said, “I've gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about him. Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they're letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent. I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion."

Roethlisberger probably wouldn’t have guessed that two weeks later, he still would be looking forward to meeting him (there’s a pretty good chance by this point, though, that Roethlisberger already has formed an opinion).

The Trib Review went on to write that Roethlisberger “definitely came across and had the tone that he has no intention of making the first move.” And really, why should he? Haley is the new guy, and Roethlisberger is the quarterback who’s won two Super Bowls. Roethlisberger is a top-10 quarterback, and Haley just got fired from Kansas City.

Seems like Haley would want to meet the guy who is responsible for leading the offense. Of course, we probably should have expected his from Haley.

"It doesn't matter where you stand on the totem pole," Kurt Warner, who played for Haley with the Cardinals, said earlier this month. "If he sees something you can do better, he lets you know about it. That was a reason for our success."

"He just wants you to do the right thing. Instead of getting offended, maybe you have to look at yourself and say, 'OK, that's a legitimate concern.' That's the way you get good. That's how you stay great. He will be good for Ben, not that Ben needs a lot of help.”

Of course, the only way for Haley to possibly help Roethlisberger would be to meet him. We’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for that to happen.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:54 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 10:34 pm

Tebow WILL have competition next year

Tebow's season ends ingloriously in New England. (AP)

By Josh Katzowitz

We’ve been asking this for a while now: Is Tim Tebow guaranteed to be the Broncos starting quarterback next year? Our own Ryan Wilson brought this up in mid-January and listed a number of free agent quarterbacks Denver could pursue in an effort to knock Tebow out of his starting spot (including Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and (yep) Kyle Orton).

Even coach John Fox has now confirmed that nobody is going to hand Tebow anything heading into 2012. That’s because Fox said Monday, via the Denver Post, that the team would acquire two quarterbacks in the offseason to compete against Tebow.

"Numbers wise that's accurate,” Fox said. "Who, what, where, when, what market -- it's still way too early how we get those quarterbacks."

You’ll recall that Tebow a was tad controversial last year as he continued to play poorly (for the most part) but still led his team to the AFC West title and a playoff victory against the Steelers (really, by the end of Denver’s run, our colleague Pete Prisco was one of the few who remained steadfast in his belief that Tebow is not a legit NFL quarterback).

What to do with Tebow?

But that doesn’t mean the read option offense Fox and Mike McCoy had to install midway through the season when Denver decided to replace Orton with Tebow will continue to work in 2012. Tebow still has to prove he has the arm strength, the accuracy and the ability to play effectively in the pocket.

“I think at some point he’ll have to be if he wants to play a long time,” Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said in January. “That’s one area he’s going to have to improve to be elite in this league. But the things he does running the ball -- he can make some throws, it’s just being comfortable doing it. He’s got to get better at it, and when he does, the sky’s the limit for him.”

Of course, the Broncos will HAVE to bring in at least two quarterbacks, because Tebow and practice-squader Adam Weber are the only signal-callers under contract for next year. Brady Quinn -- who apparently had a third-down package set for him in the playoffs (was he planning to Tim Tebow Tim Tebow?) -- is a free agent, and there probably isn’t much reason for him to return Denver.

So, for now, Tebow is the starter.

"He's going to come into our camp as the starting quarterback," Fox said. "He's young. He can get better."

Yeah, what does he mean by that? What can Tebow do better?

Um, this.

"It's the precision on the passing, it's the accuracy, the footwork, the mechanics, the rhythm, the timing, the quickness, the release. Everything," Broncos general manager Brian Xanders said recently. "And he wants to work at it. And he's dedicated. He's going to work really hard at improving those things. .. We're excited about him improving in those areas."

Until, perhaps, the Broncos can find somebody else who’s better than what we saw from Tebow last year.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:27 pm

Adrian Peterson says he'll start running Feb. 28

Peterson is set to begin running Feb. 28. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

After tearing his ACL and MCL on Christmas, Adrian Peterson underwent surgery on Dec. 30, and a few days later, CBS Sports’ Charley Casserly said we could expect Peterson back at the start of the 2012 season.

The Vikings running back seems to be sticking to that schedule, as Peterson says he plans to start running Feb. 28.

That’s what he told KFAN 100.3 (via scout.com), saying, “I’m definitely making improvement. I’m starting to get my muscle tone and strength back into the legs. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far. I’m extremely happy.”

Since his surgery, he’s been in touch with the Vikings while rehabbing his knee in Houston.

But as he should, he’s trying to be cautious and trying not to do too much too soon. His physical therapist is making sure Peterson keeps that mindset.

“He’s making sure I’m doing the right things. It feels strong, but he doesn’t want me to push it too much,” Peterson said.

After all, if the Vikings are going to stick with quarterback Christian Ponder, it pays to have one of the league’s best running backs fully healthy for your offense.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com