Tag:Michael Vick
Posted on: June 16, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:31 pm

Coach on Plaxico: he's 'close to average'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The headline on Matt Bowen's NationalFootballPost.com post says it all: "Do we need to slow down the talk on Plaxico?"

Yes, we probably do. Since Plaxico Burress was released from prison last week the discussion has been more about potential landing spots than concerns that, you know, he might not have much left in the tank.

That's not to say issues haven't been raised -- they have -- just that the conversation usually turns to the most recent jailhouse-to-penthouse success story: Michael Vick. There's no denying Vick's impact on the Eagles last season, and there were plenty of skeptics when the team signed him.

But Vick's the exception -- and exceptionally gifted.

Before Burress' stint upstate, he was known for being tall, not for his athleticism. Two years removed from an actual NFL game, Plax is still tall but he's probably lost a step, too. Bowen admits that "I like the idea of Plaxico Burress aligned as the X receiver in my offense on 3rd and medium (think 3-step passing game) and in the red zone where you can throw the slant and the fade on the goal line."

But after talking to NFL coaches and scouts, Bowen found that "[T]here isn’t an overwhelming amount of desire from what I am hearing to run out and bring this guy in once the lockout is lifted. If anything, more questions than answers on what Plax can provide to your roster in 2011."

And an NFC coach told Bowen that he thought Burress would be "close to average," adding that he was never a great route runner, just a product of the Giants' offensive system.

One of the great ironies is that people talk about Plax's red-zone potential, especially on goal-line fade routes and jump balls. The fact that he excelled at neither during his five-year career in Pittsburgh infuriated fans, and his drop of an end-zone touchdown pass in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots in January 2005 pretty much solidified that belief. Of course, Burress made the biggest catch in recent Giants history -- an end zone grab over Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs in the Super Bowl -- so maybe it's now part of his repertoire.

Either way, given the tepid response to Burress leads us to believe that Bowen's right: There won't be much of a market for him. Then again, maybe it's pre-free agency posturing by teams jockeying for position to sign Plax, though, honestly, we doubt it. It's more likely the case that coaches and general managers legitimately aren't that interested in a 34-year-old player who hasn't seen the field since 2008.

But as Bowen points out: We'll keep talking about it because it's June and we're in the middle of a labor dispute. There's not much else going on.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 11:41 pm

Mike Heimerdinger still battling cancer

Posted by Ryan Wilson

If you need more proof that the NFL is a business, consider Mike Heimerdinger. The former Titans offensive coordinator was diagnosed with cancer last November, and in February he was fired by new Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak.

To Heimerdinger's credit, he didn't bemoan his professional fate, saying at the time, "It's never easy to be fired. [Munchak] has to do what's good for the Titans, and [he] will do what's best for the Titans. I appreciate my time here, but it's never easy to be fired."

But everything's relative, and for Heimerdinger, losing a job isn't in the same conversation as beating cancer. He's currently undergoing his second round of chemotherapy and weighs 170 pounds, down 60 pounds from November.

“The hard part is I am not a real patient person, and this is not a patient disease,” Heimerdinger said on Monday from the NFL Alumni Charity Golf Classic held in his honor this year. “It is a marathon, and I want it done now. I want the chemo to work and doctors to say, ‘It is all gone.’ But that is not going to happen. So you have to come to terms with that. That is the hard part for me.

“I was hoping it went away. I was hoping that the first treatments, it would go into remission and disappear. Obviously it didn’t, so I’ve had to do more treatments. The main thing is to keep it under control and not spread it. And it hasn’t spread, and it is under control. Hopefully, we can keep it under control.”

According to the Associated Press, in addition to the charity golf event, fundraising efforts also included a silent auction featuring "… 2012 Masters tickets, signed pictures by Chris Johnson and Jay Cutler, autographed helmets from Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and the 2010 Heisman winner Mark Ingram and autographed jerseys from John Elway and Peyton Manning."

Al Smith, the former Houston linebacker and current president of the Tennessee chapter of the NFL Alumni, said it was an easy decision to donate money raised through the charity to the American Cancer Society after Heimerdinger was diagnosed with the disease.

"The fact [Heimerdinger] battled through still coaching through it all and showing the perseverance and determination and overcoming the disease, we thought it would be good to benefit something that resonated with him," Smith told the AP.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 11, 2011 7:09 pm

Braylon Edwards, Michael Vick give back

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We've spent enough time documenting all the recent legal run-ins of NFL players, that it's only fair that we give equal time to some of the good deeds, too. Michael Vick was a high school commencement speaker in Philadelphia Friday, and not only did he talk about redemption, he surprised two students with $5,000 college scholarships.

Nice touch, for sure. But former Browns first-round pick Braylon Edwards took it further. In May 2007, when Edwards was still in Cleveland, his foundation pledged $1 million in scholarship money to students in the Cleveland Municipal School District.

The catch, via Shutdown Corner: "Students and their parents signed a pledge that the students would complete at least 15 hours of annual community service and maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Those students were also given help from tutors and workshops through the process via Edwards' ADVANCE 100 program."

Edwards has been known for many things during his NFL career, most of them having to do with hands of stone, running afoul of the law, and his love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with Browns fans. But give him credit: he kept his word. And now, 100 students each received a $10,000 scholarship, courtesy of Edwards.

In fact, Braylon sounded downright inspirational when he tweeted the news last month.

"As the 2nd most hated man in Clev. & a man of my word, Today I will honor a promise made to 100 students in Cleveland 6 years ago … The last of my Advance 100 students will graduate from my program & head off to college on scholarships that I will provide them with. … Guys enjoy & embrace your new beginnings and remember your promise to me, to reach back & help someone else along the way!!!"

Points for pandering to his audience. As Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar notes, "In 2009, Edwards got into it with a friend of James outside a Cleveland nightclub and punched the man, leading to comments from LeBron that Edwards' actions were motivated by jealousy." Perhaps there is still some ill-will towards Edwards for how things ended in Cleveland, but compared to LeBron, he might as well be Drew Carey. Well played, sir.

Once the lockout ends, Edwards says he'd like to stay with the Jets. One problem: New York will have to decide how to allocate their salary-cap dollars; in addition to Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith are also free agents -- not to mention the never-ending rumors about Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 12:36 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 1:28 pm

Burress: 'Give me a playbook and I'll learn it'

BurressPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In his first interview since his release from prison earlier this week, WR Plaxico Burress pleaded for potential employers not to judge him by his past and to just give him a chance to make a good impression.

"I know what I'm capable of. All I need to say to teams is 'don't judge my future by my past,'" he told the Wall Street Journal. "Just let me come out and play football … Just give me a playbook and I’ll learn it.”

Burress, because of the lockout, can’t be in contact with any teams, though Eagles QB Michael Vick said this week that Philadelphia could use a receiver like him. As Ryan Wilson pointed out recently, many other teams also could have an interest in seeing what Burress has left in his soon-to-be-34-year-old body.

Burress, during the interview, made some interesting observations, namely what it was like to watch NFL games with fellow inmates and what having former Giants teammates visit him meant to him.

"There is nothing pleasant about prison," he said. "There's so much I can tell you and (at the same time) no one thing I can put my finger on. There's an emotional toll and there were definitely some guys I was around who'd done things that made me say, ‘Really, seriously, I am here?’”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:11 am

Mike Vick biography 'Finally Free' coming July 27

Posted by Will Brinson

Michael Vick's 2010 season was straight out of a storybook. And now, it will go straight into a biography, with the release of Vick's new book, "Finally Free," on July 27.

In the book, Vick details his rise and fall, as well as the humiliation of being in prison.

"You're nobody," Vick writes, per Sean Leahy at USA Today. "You don't have no existence to the world at all. You're just a guy with a name and a number."

Most interestingly, Vick details that he lied to everyone about dogfighting, including his lawyer. The lying isn't a surprise, but while prosecutors were building a case, Vick's defense was continually claiming he had nothing to do with the ring.

"When the dogfighting allegation surfaced, my lawyer told me, 'If you were involved, you need to tell me you were involved.' That's when it was on the state rather than the federal level," Vick writes. "I kept telling him, 'No, no, I wasn't involved, no, no.' The whole time they were building the case, my lawyer was saying 'no' but he was seeing all this evidence saying 'yes.'

"If I had just told the truth, maybe I would've received a smack on the wrist instead of a lengthy sentence."

That's actually a pretty good lesson for everyone -- don't lie to your lawyer. And speaking of lessons, it seems that the primary purpose of the book is to impart valuable lessons to young people about the mistakes they make and turning around their lives.

It also seems, based on the video below and the ads on MichaelVickStory.com, that Vick's trying to help sell Sports Spectrum Magazine, which appears to be a faith-based sports magazine that has somehow managed to avoid being sued by Sports Illustrated for having a remarkably similar cover setup.

The book is co-written with Charles Chandler and Brett Honeycutt, both formerly of the Charlotte Observer, and is being sold at Vick's newest website, MichaelVickStory.com in both hardback ($24.75 pre-order!) and Limited Edition Hardback (for the not-so-low price of $99.95).

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 4, 2011 2:36 pm

Hot Routes 6.4.11: Snyder not impressing Congress

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s decision to sue Washington City Paper has attracted the attention of at least one member of Congress. Rep. Steve Cohen – a Democrat from Tennessee – will try again to pass a bill through the House of Representatives that prevents people from filing “strategic lawsuits against public participation.” Which basically means that a rich dude can’t file a meritless lawsuit simply for the purpose of obtaining revenge.
  • This, I believe, qualifies as good news. The Bills players are donating $10,000 to support the help efforts being made in Joplin, Mo. Punter Brian Moorman also said the players are uniting with New Era, which will provide 10,000 pieces of clothing. Hopefully, they’re not all Bills hats.
  • If you’re looking for the top ex-con athletes playing pro sports today, it should be no surprise to you that many of them are football players. From Plaxico Burress to Michael Vick, Forbes.com has you covered. Nice to see a jockey and a darts player (thrower?) in there, as well.
  • Among the newsy items in this transcript of Patriots QB Tom Brady from his charity football game Friday: his surgically-repaired foot feels good; his newest haircut looks good; and he’s confident a solution to the lockout is forthcoming.
  • In case you’ve forgotten about the NFL strike of 1987, CBSSports.com’s own Chuck Finder is here to remind you about how crazy it was.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: May 30, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 10:58 pm

Several NFL teams might have interest in Burress

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Plaxico Burress will be released from prison on June 6 after serving more than 20 months for, well, accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub in November 2008. The punishment may not have fit the crime, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to make an example out of Burress, presumably to serve as a warning to others who might consider carrying a loaded weapon in public (or shooting themselves with it, for that matter).

At the time, Bloomberg was clear: "I don't think that anybody should be exempt from [three-and-a-half years behind bars for illegally carrying a loaded handgun]. And I think it would be an outrage if we don't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Now, almost two years later, Burress will finally get his release. For most inmates about to earn their freedom, the biggest concerns about life on the outside often include finding gainful employment and staying out of trouble. The latter is linked to the former, so landing a job is paramount. Which brings us to this: What will the NFL market be for Burress' services once the lockout is resolved?

First, some background: Burress last caught a pass in an NFL game on November 16, 2008. Still with the Giants, and less than a year removed from a Super Bowl title, Burress had just three receptions for 47 yards against the Ravens before a hamstring injury forced him to the sidelines, and a few days later, a self-inflicted gunshot wound changed his life. The next time Burress suits up in an NFL game he will be 34, the age most players begin their transition to life after football.

So the dilemma facing potential suitors goes something like this:
  • After more than 20 months behind bars, does Burress have anything left?
  • How would he fit in with new coaches/teammates/scheme? 
  • Will he stay out of trouble? 
All questions NFL front offices will undoubtedly consider, and a few of them will be ready to sign Burress once we have a 2011 season. In today's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column, Sports Illustrated's Peter King lists his early front runners.

"I think [Burress will] have two or three teams very interested. My guess is the Jets, Eagles and Raiders will be involved (the Jets if they don't sign Randy Moss), and I'll tell you a team that should be interested: Cleveland. A reborn Burress would do a good job giving Colt McCoy a threat he doesn't have right now -- if Burress is in shape and as interested in resuming his career as I've heard."

The Jets have proven time and again that they are unafraid to hitch their wagon to players with baggage (apparently, there's plenty of room on the wagon for both). Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie and Braylon Edwards are the most recent examples, and they helped the Jets to their second consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance last January. Coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum know what they're doing.

There is also the possibility that Edwards and Holmes could be lost via free agency should there be a season. That explains the interest in Randy Moss, although neither Moss nor Burress offer Mark Sanchez quite the dynamism that Edwards and Holmes provided a year ago.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, intimately familiar with incarceration and second chances, appeared on Philadelphia's WIP last week and said that he'd love to have Burress on his team.

"Absolutely -- it would be a great addition for our team," said Vick, according to SportsRadioInterview.com. "With the guys we have now, I think we can fit him in and make it work. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to put that ring on your finger at the end of the year.

"I think certainly Plaxico is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder the same way I did, and he'll go out and help this football team to whatever capacity he can. I think the guys would be willing to embrace him and bring him in. If that happens, who knows? We talking about 'what ifs' now? It would certainly be a good thing."

Assuming Burress could recapture his past form, it would give the Eagles a third legitimate wideout after DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin (not to mention tight end Brent Celek). There's also a running game featuring LeSean McCoy and Vick, an offensive line bolstered by first-round pick Danny Watkins, and an already-explosive offense suddenly seems more dangerous. And let's be honest, if anybody can relate to what Burress has been through, it's Vick.

King also mentions the Browns, a team mired in futility, and on its fourth coach since 2004. The organization hired Mike Holmgren as team president in 2010 to turn things around. He drafted quarterback Colt McCoy, who played better than anyone expected as a rookie, and added wide receiver Greg Little in April. Still, Cleveland is in need of a big-play, pass-catching threat; Josh Cribbs isn't quite there and Burress could be an attractive short-term solution while McCoy and his young offensive teammates gain experience.

Whether Burress has any interest in going to the Browns is a different matter entirely, although Ron Cook, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, thinks the Steelers should give Burress a look. Pittsburgh drafted Burress in the first round of the 2000 draft, and he was then-rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target in 2004. The Steelers chose not to re-sign him after his contract expired following the season, and Burress ended up with the Giants, where he won a Super Bowl in 2008.

This is just a hunch, but the Steelers will have no interest in Burress; they currently have a depth chart full of quality young receivers to go along with veteran Hines Ward. If they take a chance on any 6-4 wideout, it will be Limas Sweed, their 2008 second-round pick who has battled injuries and drops in an unexceptional three-year career.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 12:02 pm

Vick's old house sells to animal rights group

Posted by Andy Benoit
M. Vick (US Presswire)
After nearly three years on the market, Michael Vick’s infamous house on Moonlight Road in Hampton, VA (sight of the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation) has finally sold. The buyers? An animal rights group.

An organization called Dogs Deserve Better purchased the property for $595,000. The 4,600-square foot home originally hit the market at $757,000. The group made the purchase with a 30 percent down payment secured through donations and a loan. An anonymous donor has also agreed to make payments for the next 10 years, but the group is also looking for additional funding. The plan is to raise $3 million, which would pay for the entire piece of land (valued at $2.6 million) and allow for necessary construction to make it the group’s new headquarters.

"I think by us overtaking this property we are winning for the dogs,” said the group’s founder, Tamira Thayne, according to the Associated Press. “We are, in essence, giving this property back to the dogs that were abused there by using it to help other dogs just like them.”

According to Curbed.com, Thayne and her cohorts plan on naming the new facility Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs. (Really, guys? Err, guyz?) 

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

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