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Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Mario Williams isn't worried about big money now

WilliamsBy Josh Katzowitz

With Houston’s Mario Williams set to hit the free agent market, there’s a real question whether it's worth it for the Texans to re-sign the former No. 1 overall pick to what will be an enormous long-term contract.

As the Houston Chronicle points out, the Texans would have to go to some length in order to free enough salary cap room to make Williams a strong-enough long-term offer. And if the Texans allow him to get to free agency, John McClain writes, “there are teams with so much cap room and such a desperate need for pass rushers that he could end up with the largest contract of any defensive player in league history.”

Williams, though, isn’t necessarily interested in hitting that kind of milestone. Or so he says right now.

"I'm not worried about that,” Williams told the team’s website, via Rapid Reporter Brandon Williams. “Money is money at the end of the day, and it's really not that big of a deal for me. Whatever fits best for me and the team, whichever it may be, then so be it."

Free agency starts soon
Williams obviously doesn’t have to be as concerned about money because his rookie contract paid him $54 million over six years, and though his next deal likely will far exceed that money total, Williams apparently doesn’t feel he has to cash in as large this time around.

Besides, he really enjoys Houston.

“I love it here,” Williams said. “We’ve got everything we need here. The team is right where it needs to be. The pieces fit, but it’s part of business. Whatever happens, happens.”

The Texans could franchise tag Williams, though they most likely won’t because the salary cap hit would be way too large. For now, Williams -- who said the torn pectoral that knocked him out for most of the season is 100 percent healthy -- will wait. And he seems fine to do so.

“They have to do their thing,” Williams said. “I know they have a lot on their plate getting ready for the combine and draft. So I’m just waiting. That’s part of being in this position. I tell my agent to just let me know what’s going on. Whatever he hears he’ll tell me. Once I’m told something (concrete), then we’ll sit down and talk about it. I’m not really worried about it.”

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 6:01 pm
 

Sherman doesn't think Fins are 'that far away'

ShermanBy Josh Katzowitz

For a guy who lost out on the Buccaneers head coaching job to Greg Schiano and instead had to take a job as the Dolphins offensive coordinator, it’s nice to see Mike Sherman maintaining his sense of humor.

I mean, the idea that Sherman said he doesn’t think the Dolphins are far away from a Super Bowl is absolutely hysterical. Good one, Mike, you slay me every time!

Oh … he wasn’t kidding? OK, then.

"I've watched the tape, I don't think we're that far away," Sherman told reporters today, via the Miami Herald. "We're missing a couple of pieces here and there and we have a chance to build upon what Jeff Ireland has put together here. After watching the tape, I feel like we get a couple of pieces here and there and we'll be close."

So, um, what?

"We'll have some very explosive potential with the talent we have on offense," he said. "We have to fill some holes but overall we have some explosive players and that's exciting. If you have explosive players, you should have explosive plays."

Right, right.

OK, I’m obviously being snarky with his comments, because last year, Miami was nowhere near qualifying for the postseason (or a winning record, for that matter). To think the Dolphins can completely turn around their organization in a year with a first-time head coach in Joe Philbin and a starting quarterback in Matt Moore and/or Chad Henne who is not exactly elite and a defense that was almost exactly average last year seems a bit … oh … optimistic.

But it’s not like the Dolphins have to climb out of hole the Rams or the Buccaneers find themselves in. There were times last year, especially when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, that the team actually played well. And Sherman is right that there is talent.

The emergence of Reggie Bush was one of the more underplayed stories in the AFC East this year, and Brandon Marshall is a top-flight receiver. Assuming the Dolphins go after a free agent quarterback in the offseason (perhaps a guy like Peyton Manning?), Sherman might have a decent point.

The Dolphins aren’t Super Bowl bound anytime soon, but perhaps they can put together enough to compete for a division title.

"I never think much more than this year so next year or the following year, we're going to be as good as we can be this year," Sherman said. "We'll see what happens and see how it goes. I don't think anyone would have picked the Giants necessarily to win the Super Bowl this year."

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 4:29 pm
 

49ers could be out of Candlestick in two years

After the 2013, San Francisco doesn't plan to return to Candlestick Park. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like the 49ers might have only two years left to play in Candlestick Park. As Bloomberg reports, the city council of Santa Clara, Ca., on Tuesday night approved 5-1 an $878.6 million contract that will allow a $1 billion stadium to be built.

With the NFL already approving a $200 million loan that will cover some building costs, construction is scheduled to begin in July, about six months early. This allows the 49ers to leave Candlestick a season earlier than originally expected.

According to NBC Bay Area, the construction must be completed by August 2014, and if not, the builder, Turner-Devcon, will owe millions of dollars in fines (as in $6 million per home game missed).

All of which is great news for the 49ers, who have played in Candlestick for the past five decades.

Plus, it’s totally good news for those who like to watch their NFL football with the lights turned on.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:50 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 11:48 am
 

Report: Manning had 4th surgery, could need more

Manning

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s generally been reported that Peyton Manning has had three procedures on his neck in the past two years -- which caused him to miss all of last season. But Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks is reporting that Manning actually had a fourth surgery sometime between May 23 and Sept. 9 of last year.

Making matters a little more opaque, Banks also reports that Manning potentially has developed bone spurs in his neck that the Colts believe will require another surgery (and possibly, gulp, another fusion surgery).


The unreported procedure occurred last summer in Chicago and it was a follow-up to Manning’s initial neck surgery. Since this occurred during the lockout, the club physicians only had very little contact with Manning.

Manning's Offseason Saga
"I wouldn't have anything to say about all of that, one way or another,” Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, told SI on Wednesday.

According to Banks’ source, Manning badly wanted to return for the Week 16 Houston game last year, and he participated in an “organized and fully-scripted 30-play practice session” the week before in front of former executive Bill Polian and former coach Jim Caldwell.

More from Banks:
Polian was said to be initially frustrated by the extent and scope of the workout, which he then viewed as a surprising attempt to play in a meaningless situation at the end of a long and defeat-filled season in Indianapolis. League sources say the former leader of the Colts front office was taken off-guard by the intensity and pace of the 30-play session that Manning took part in. Polian was under the belief that it would be conducted at walk-through speed, but instead it was held at typical regular-season tempo with scripted play calls.

A day later, league sources said, the team's strength and conditioning staff impressed upon Polian that it had wanted to see how Manning responded to a fast-paced and scripted workout, because his recovery was not going to reach the next level if he simply continued to lob passes at a leisurely pace. And the practice was conducted from the 25-yard line on in because that was then roughly Manning's ceiling in terms of his arm strength throwing the ball.
Make sure to click the above SI.com link (or this one right here) to read more details about Manning’s past and his possible future. It's strong reporting and fascinating material.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:24 pm
 

Cris Carter: Modern-day WRs are 'not appreciated'

Cris Carter believes his numbers are good enough to get into the Hall of Fame. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Cris Carter might disagree with my assessment of how the Hall of Fame selection process should mostly maintain its status quo, but we agree on one aspect of the current state of voters --they’re having a tough time figuring out what to do with the wide receivers.

For the second straight year, the upcoming induction class won’t feature a receiver, even though Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Carter are all legitimate candidates. The problem is that the voters are split between Reed and Carter, and with an 80 percent vote needed to get a player in the HOF, neither have managed to siphon enough votes to top that requirement.

“I think the modern day wide receiver … his skill level is not appreciated,” Carter told Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin on WQAM radio in Miami (via sportsradiointerviews.com).” It’s not just about the numbers. It’s the ability to catch the football and put your talent on display. That being in the 1980s and 90s and you know I played in three different decades, so Mike people like yourself … people like Joe Montana, people have said things to me… when you all say something to me it really means a lot more. I can’t do no more. I appreciate what you guys are saying and doing everything, but I pleaded my case those 16 years I played in this league.”

Carter -- who had 1,101 catches, 13,899 yards, and 130 touchdowns during his career -- has better numbers than Tim Brown (Carter has less yards receiving but 30 more touchdowns) and Andre Reed. But as Carter says, it’s not just about statistics.

So, how good can he feel about his chances for the Hall now that he’s been rejected for the past five years?

“I felt good my first year,” Carter said. “I mean, I am the only person alive that’s eligible for the Hall of Fame that has 130 touchdowns that is not in it, so when you have a stat like that ... You got more touchdowns than Jim Brown and Walter Payton like…I mean I am not campaigning for the Hall of Fame, so for me the list doesn’t change every year. My numbers ain’t going to change. It’s just too much productivity over the time…like I have no argument Mike. I really don’t.”

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:00 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 1:03 pm
 

Buccaneers tell Albert Haynesworth goodbye

HaynesworthBy Josh Katzowitz

The Buccaneers announced Wednesday that they’ve released well-traveled (and much-mocked) defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the third team in the past season which has decided it’d be better off without him.

Haynesworth -- the $100 million man with the Redskins who was traded by Washington before last season and who was then axed by the Patriots in the middle of 2011 before signing with Tampa Bay -- started six of seven games with the Buccaneers, recording 25 tackles.

As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva points out, with Tampa Bay not having to pay Haynesworth’s 2012 base salary of $6.7 million and a $400,000 roster bonus, the Buccaneers will save $7.2 million on its salary cap. 

"I appreciate Albert playing for us after some key injuries this past season," general manager Mark Dominik said in a statement. "He was very professional and we now wish him all the best as he moves forward."

Latest NFL news
Perhaps the biggest shocker in the whole “Haynesworth to Tampa Bay” storyline is that he didn’t make much of a peep. He didn’t get arrested. He wasn’t so obviously hated by his teammates and coaches. He seemed to be a better teammate. He seemed a more positive person.

But the question is: can he still play?  Maybe not.

“This year right here, you’ve probably seen me at my worst,” Haynesworth told the Tampa Bay Times after the season. “I mean just as far as my play. I still did some good things, but I just think that next year I’ll be a hell of a lot better, back closer to my ’08 form.”

With all of Haynesworth’s baggage, though, will anybody give him another chance?

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Morris 'wouldn't change anything' about Bucs job

Morrsi

By Josh Katzowitz

As new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano continues to add to his coaching staff, former coach Raheem Morris, fired last season, looks back and thinks, well, everything during his tenure was fine.

“I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Moriss told WDAE in Tampa, via sportsradiointerviews.com. “You put yourself in a position of power and you put yourself out there and you want to go out there and want to be great and we had the opportunity and almost pulled it off. I take no ill-will, no negative feelings toward those guys, toward the Bucs organization at all. … Now we’ve separated and I wish those guys nothing but the best.”

In reality, Morris, out of three years in charge in Tampa Bay, had one good season -- in 2010 when the team went 10-6 (otherwise, his record was an unimpressive 17-31). But last season, it was clear the team had plenty of problems, including a lack of discipline and players that seemed to quit toward the end of the year.

"Here's the thing: in order to be a great team in the NFL, coming off a 10-win season, you're not going to surprise anybody anymore," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said during Super Bowl week. "So you're going to get everyone's best. And you can't do the same things if you're going to be great in this league. I learned that from Warren Sapp. You've got to give them something new.

Latest NFL news
"I just think our discipline level dropped a little bit. We kind of had the second-year slump coming off a 10-win season and kind of living off that.”

Though Morris said he would be content not to change anything from his three years with the Buccaneers, he also realizes he made some mistakes.*

*If it was me and I had the opportunity to change my Tampa Bay tenure, I would change the mistakes I had made. But hey, that’s me.

“When you get put in those positions, you make more than one mistake and I certainly can tell you I made some mistakes,” said Morris, now the defensive backs coach in Washington. “… With all that being said, those mistakes you have to make in order to go into battle. When you make these calls and go through these things, you believe in them. When you look back, and reflect, if they were mistakes, it’s something you can sit there and deal with, and I do.”

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:17 am
 

Should the HOF selection process be tweaked?

HOF

By Josh Katzowitz

The night before Super Bowl XLVI and a few hours after the Pro Football Hall of Fame votes had been announced, the three Eye on Football bloggers walked back to our hotel, debating whether the NFL enshrines players in the best way possible.

Criticisms already had begun to pour in -- how could Bill Parcells not be elected, how could the selection committee leave out Cris Carter? -- and the three of us pondered the best way to fix the selection process (or if it should be fixed at all).

I believed the status quo, for the most part, was fine, but Ryan Wilson seemed to me the most open to change.

Since that time about two weeks ago, the floodgates of criticism have opened and a torrential waterfall of suggestions from fans and players have formed a maelstrom of condemnation in which hardly anybody can escape.

Which is why, in part, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who has been a Hall of Fame selector for two decades and is one of the most-respected NFL reporters, is contemplating dropping out of the process altogether.

“I've been thinking of stepping down from the committee of 44 selectors. Many of you are right. Twenty years is a long time,” King wrote Tuesday. “I've stated my case -- in favor or opposed -- for many who've been elected and many who haven't. And I've thought, independent of the argument some have proposed for term limits for Hall voters, that maybe it's time for someone else to sit in judgment of these great players, coaches and league and club officials. Fresh voices are good things.

“In 20 years, sitting on the panel has gone from an honor to equal parts burden and honor. I never got in this for pats on the back. I got in it to try to do the right thing by my conscience. Sitting in judgment of the all-time greats is an often-intimidating job, because you realize you're acting as judge and jury to a man's career. When Chris Doleman got in this year, he said that night that the only thing better in his life would be when he died and met his maker. Don't think that's lost on me. It's an honor -- with a heavy weight attached. And the weight gets heavier every year."

Curtis Martin led this year's HOF class. (US Presswire)
But fans and players have criticized the process. When receiver Tim Brown didn’t make the Hall this year, he lashed out on Twitter. Other former players have criticized the fact that Carter still is on the outside. Some don’t understand why Cortez Kennedy made it in this year, and some can’t figure out how a five-time Super Bowl champ like Charles Haley didn’t.

Cleary, though, the toll weighs heavily on the 44 selectors, journalists representing each NFL market and other at-large voters, who have to elect at least four players (and leave out close to a dozen legitimate candidates) each year. I saw that in person the night of the election when I ran into a voter at the media hotel lobby and his eyes looked glazed and his brained seemed frazzled.

What should be done about the process? Anything? What would satisfy the general population -- who has began to see the selection process as unfair and, ultimately, incorrect? Anything at all?

Here are some of the ideas I’ve heard that the Pro Football Hall of Fame could choose to use in order to tweak the process. Some ideas, in my view, would hurt more than they’d help, but at least one is good enough to put into place immediately.

Term limits: Recently-elected Chris Doleman and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio have championed the idea of getting new blood in the system every five years, and in theory, that’s not a bad idea. But in this day and age, when journalists move from job to job and beat to beat (and sport to sport), the number of long-time football writers will begin to dwindle. You look at the list now and you can see long-time NFL reporters like Rick Gosselin (from the Dallas Morning News), John McClain (from the Houston Chronicle), and Ed Bouchette (from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ). I’d rather have them selecting the inductees, because they have perspective and can compare players across eras, rather than a younger soul whose institutional knowledge doesn’t go beyond the 1990s.

The Hall of Fame selectors have received criticism for not inducting Cris Carter (US Presswire)
In order to vote for baseball’s Hall of Fame, you have to be a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for at least 10 years. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar with football. But until then, term limits only limits the perspective the committee will bring.

Expand the vote: Admittedly, I like much about baseball’s Hall of Fame selection process, and the ability for a large group of people weighing in on the sport’s legacy is good policy for that sport. For football, I don’t see how expanding the voter pool will make the process any less cumbersome or fair. With the way the football committee is set up, each of the 15 finalists is presented by one voter and then the entire body debates that player. Say, for instance, you expand the 44 voters to 88. Then, you have a selection committee that has become twice as cumbersome and takes twice as much time to make a decision. Already, the process took seven hours this year to vote in the six members. Simply put, there isn’t enough time in the day to add that many more new people. And who says 88 is the right number anyway? What about 150 or 300?

If we’re talking about expanding the vote, then, we’re talking about scrapping the entire current system. If you want 300 people voting on the Hall of Fame, you have to go to a baseball-type system where you vote for the players you think are deserving and that’s it. No meetings, no debating. I think that could work, but logistically, in this system, there’s not a chance that could happen.

Add more variety: Why not add football executives or former players or living Hall of Fame members? The theory behind that idea would be to rid the committee of any perceived biases. But how does adding executives and players, who might have personal relationships to those up for induction, add objectivity to the proceedings? It doesn’t. Despite the idea that one person who has a beef against, let’s say, Cris Carter and keeps him out because of a personal vendetta, I really don’t think that happens as much as the public might believe. These voters take their jobs too seriously in order to upend themselves by making it personal. I couldn’t say the same for executives and former players who might vote in, let’s say, Carter because they’re good buddies with him. How is that any more fair?

Stop with the four-man minimum: I think the Hall of Fame might be better served with less inductees than with more. As it stands now, the selectors have to vote in at least four new members per year with a maximum of seven. I refer back to baseball, where if a certain class isn’t good enough, nobody gets in. There shouldn’t be a minimum requirement, because it should be hard to get into the Hall of Fame.

Make votes public: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The voters for the AP polls in college football and basketball are there for fans to see. Why won’t the Pro Football Hall of Fame allow its selectors to do the same? I know plenty of the 44 who want their votes to be made public knowledge. And if there is a bias among some voters, this might help dispel their desire to keep out the players they don’t like.

So, what am I saying here? Basically, I think the current format works. Despite all the criticism that’s heaped on the selectors, I’m not sure there’s a better way to get players inducted. I’m biased, of course, because I think journalists make the best selectors. They’re trained to be objective, and they’re trained to research, ponder and think about every possible angle before making a decision like this. I’m content with the system the way it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good nonetheless.

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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