Tag:Darren Sharper
Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 5:49 pm

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker James Harrison probably isn't much of a poker player. The man is primarily known for two things: being one of the NFL's most tenacious linebackers, and for speaking his mind, even when it's not in his best interest. The most recent evidence for the latter came last week when Harrison unloaded on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall in an interview with Men's Journal.

That led to the inevitable media backlash promptly followed by some Harrison backtracking and PR damage control. To Harrison's credit, he wasted little time telling Roethlisberger that his words were misconstrued, and shortly thereafter issued a statement apologizing to Goodell, too.

So that happened. And now that we're all done parsing Harrison's every word, the conversation has turned to whether Goodell is within his rights to fine or suspend Harrison once the lockout ends. (We've had similar conversations about Kenny Britt, who can't seem to stay out of trouble.)

It's an issue that will likely be negotiated as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

While we wait for that eventuality, however, soon-to-be free agent Darren Sharper said on Fox Sports Radio recently that Harrison shouldn't face league sanctions.

"At this point, with the lockout, I think James looked at it as his liberty and knew that he had the perfect time to say what he wanted to say and not have to face any repercussions because they can’t do anything because there is no CBA agreement," Sharper said, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "He can’t get fined and it might be something at the end of the road where they can go back and fine him at a later date, but right now he’s in the clear to say whatever he wants to."

Harrison's Busy Week

Recently retired Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel echoed Sharper's sentiments. During a Friday radio appearance on Boston's WEEI, he said that the NFLPA "would have an issue if (Harrison) were suspended or fined."

Vrabel elaborated: "I know that James Harrison is a heck of a player and one the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans and their coaches probably really enjoy and are glad that he's on their team," he said. "As long as his teammates are fine with it, we support him as an association."

Vrabel also thinks that Goodell is a big boy and can handle the criticism.

"Roger's got big shoulders, Roger understands," he said. "I would say to Roger or anybody else that had a problem with it, I would say what Bill (Belichick) said to us: 'To (those who) much is given, much is expected. And Roger is given a lot in form of compensation and being in the situation that he's in, so there's a lot expected of him. And if that means taking the higher road and calling James and trying to figure out how to get this thing settled between them or whatever issue they have going on."

Whether that happens remains to be seen. First things first: the owners and players have to agree on an new CBA.

PFT's Mike Florio writes that "one source with general knowledge of the dynamics recently suggested that Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith already have come to an understanding on the point."

Florio adds: "But we’ll have trouble understanding any understanding that allows the NFL to punish players for arrests occurring during the lockout. Indeed, a decision by the NFLPA* to expose players retroactively to responsibility for violations of the personal conduct policy could open the door for a fairly potent lawsuit alleging breach of the duty of fair representation, which could open a fairly significant can of worms given that the labor deal will have been negotiated at a time when, technically, the NFLPA* has the power to represent no one."

Finally, Florio points out that the players who have run afoul of the law aren't getting away with anything by escaping NFL-related sanctions. They still have to answer to the legal system, the media and the fans. Obviously, this doesn't apply to Harrison, who broke no laws when he called Goodell a "clown" and the "devil," and it could be another reason the league chooses not to discipline him.

Then again, arbitrarily meting out punishments has been a criticism (hallmark?) of Goodell's enforcement strategy. It's impossible to predict what he might do. 

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 15, 2011 6:03 pm

Darren Sharper not ready to call it quits

Posted by Andy Benoit

Darren Sharper has played 14 seasons in the NFL. Most of them solid if not spectacular. His résumé – 63 interceptions, 11 touchdown returns and a Super Bowl from his career-best ’09 seasoD. Sharper (US Presswire)n – will warrant a serious Hall of Fame discussion once he retires. (Five of the seven players in NFL history who have as many interceptions as Sharper are enshrined in Canton.)

Seemingly, that retirement should come in 2011. Sharper is 35. He missed a large chunk of last season recovering from a knee injury. His starting job was bequeathed to the younger, rangier Malcolm Jenkins. And, most importantly, his contract with New Orleans has expired.

But retirement will not come in 2011 – at least not if Sharper has his way.

"After last season, I really was very frustrated with how my season was and how our season went," Sharper told John DeShazier of the Times-Picayune. "If that was going to be my last year in the league, I didn't want it to go like that, in terms of being frustrated all year and not playing like myself. I want to show how healthy I am this year and play like I'm used to playing."

Sharper is working out with other Saints players and claims he’s back to 100 percent.

"I feel like pre-surgery," he said. "My knee is healthy, my body has had time to rest and recover, and I really feel good running. After a workout I don't have to worry about icing it down or anything, I don't have any swelling, and I've been pushing it pretty hard, working out harder than most of the young guys out here training. And I've been able to bounce back the next day."

If this is true, instincts and experience can make Sharper one of the better free safeties in the game for at least another year. It’s not a question of whether a team will take a flier on a healthy Sharper, it’s a question of which team it will be.

"I would love to come back to New Orleans, but as a free agent you always have to keep all your options open. There are a lot of teams out there that have a chance to win a championship, and that's my main goal, to be able to play, and play well, and have a chance to vie for another championship."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 9:42 am

Saints likely to be without TE Graham, FS Jenkins

Posted by Andy Benoit

It’s looking like the New Orleans Saints will be without one of their top young offensive and defensive contributors Saturday at Seattle. Tight end Jimmy Graham did not practice all week due to an ankle injury. Free safety Malcolm Jenkins also sat out with a knee problem.
Both are unlikely to take the field, though neither can be ruled out completely.

"The news with Jimmy has been good in that in a day and a half, he's feeling a lot better than earlier in the week there certainly was a lot more doubt," Sean Payton said of Graham, according to the Times Picayune. The head coach expressed similar sentiments about Jenkins.

But frankly, this is probably mere coach speak. In all likelihood, the Saints will be counting on Jeremy Shockey and Dave Thomas at tight end and Darren Sharper at free safety. That’s not all bad given that all three have starting experience (and Shockey and Sharper have Pro Bowl experience).

Nevertheless, given what happened with Graham and Jenkins, you wonder if Payton regrets playing his starters in Week 17 against the Bucs as long as he did.

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

Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:27 am

Saints' FS Jenkins, TE Graham dinged in Week 17

Posted by Andy Benoit

Week 17 was not without damage for the NFC 5 seed New Orleans Saints. Bourgeoning tight end Jimmy Graham injured his ankle on a touchdown catch. (Graham still did that ridiculous mid-air chest bump that the players, for some reason, are fond of, but he was only able to get a few inches of lift.)

More concerning is that free safety Malcolm Jenkins, whom Gregg Williams has said is the defense’s best player this year, left with a knee injury. Pro Football Talk writes, “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jenkins will have an MRI today.  It’s believed to be an issue more with the knee cap than with the ligaments.  That said, we’re told that Jenkins thinks he’ll be fine.”

Fortunately for the Saints, they have great depth at both positions. Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas are great intermediate receiving tight ends (both sat in Week 17 due to injury, but both will likely be available Saturday). Veteran Darren Sharper is Jenkins’ backup.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 2:35 pm

Reggie Bush inactive for Saints Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

All week long it seemed like Reggie Bush might play for the Saints on Sunday. Turns out, he will not, and he is inactive against the Seahawks.

Bush said he wanted to play, and multiple reports circulated throughout the week indicating he would be good to go against Seattle.

Even on Sunday morning, he was on the field warming up, but Sean Payton said he was going to run him hard and make sure Bush was 100 percent before activating the running back.

It appears that Bush didn't respond well enough to the warmups, as he's on the inactive list along with Pierre Thomas, Jeremy Shockey and Darren Sharper, to mention a few notables.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 11:58 pm

Sharper returns for Saints on Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

Darren Sharpen, unseen on a football field since the Saints won the 2009 Super Bowl, will return to New Orleans on Sunday when the Saints take on the Browns.

Sharper confirmed to the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Saturday that he'll be active for Week 7.

"I'm back and very excited to finally be able to do what I do best. Play football," said Sharper.

Of course, the interesting question will be whether or not Sharper returns to safety -- Malcolm Jenkins has taken his starting spot as it were, and there's a reasonable chance Jenkins, the future of the franchise, keeps his gig.

There's also a reasonable chance that Jenkins is moved to cornerback with Sharper slotting into the safety spot (or, at some point doing so).

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: October 21, 2010 1:04 pm

Welcoming back key safeties

Posted by Andy Benoit

Week 7 is the week players can come off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Thus, the best ball-hawking safety in each conference – Darren Sharper of the Saints and Ed Reed of the Ravens – both returned to practice on Wednesday.
So will they play Sunday?"I wouldn't rule it out and I wouldn't say it's a definite," Sean Payton said of Sharper, according to Kristian Garic of WWL.

Sharper’s assessment was, "Yeah, if it went on my gut, I'm ready to play."

Of course, it doesn’t go on his gut – it goes on his surgically-repaired knee. The Saints want to see how that knee responds to a few days of practice. New Orleans has been OK without Sharper, ranking seventh in total pass defense. However, they have just four interceptions on the season.

The Ravens managed to produce the NFL’s third-rated pass defense during Reed’s absence, but, obviously, they’ll be even better off with the future Hall of Famer on the field.

Reed is coming off hip surgery, and he still has some nerve impingements in his neck and shoulder areas. He’s sore but expects to play against the Bills.

"I've been working out tremendously hard to come back from this surgery," Reed told Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun. "Like I said, I'm feeling good, but I've still got some things in there. We're going to play ball when we're out there."

The Packers also got their safety, Atari Bigby, back this week. He was on PUP with an ankle injury. Mike McCarthy has not said whether Bigby (or Bigby’s teammate, Al Harris, who is also off PUP) will play Sunday night.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: September 11, 2010 8:53 am

Saints should be thrilled about their new safety

Posted by Andy Benoit
M. Jenkins (US Presswire)
One of the brightest notes of the season opener for the Saints was the play of second-year player/first-year free safety Malcolm Jenkins. The ’09 first-round pick from Ohio State started in centerfield in place of All-Pro veteran Darren Sharper (PUP, knee). Jenkins showed phenomenal lateral range in deep coverage, good awareness in help-coverage over the top against the frequent seam routes Minnesota ran and adept – if not punishing – open-field tackling.

This had to be a relief to Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams’ scheme relies on stability in the secondary. You don’t find a more stabilizing force than the playmaking Sharper. Without him, the Saints could prove vulnerable. Jenkins received glowing reviews from training camp observers, but before Thursday night, the only true game film on him suggested he was a stiff-hipped corner who couldn’t change directions fluidly enough to play man coverage against NFL wide receivers.

The Saints drafted Jenkins knowing he might ultimately move to free safety. The move may have come a little earlier than originally expected, but if the “Thursday Night Jenkins” turns out to be the “Real Jenkins”, then the move came not a moment too soon.

While we’re on the topic of Saints safeties, it’s worth noting that Roman Harper was phenomenal against the Vikings, as well. Harper has benefitted from playing in Williams’ scheme more than any other Saints defender. He struggles to read and react in coverage at times (the further he is from the line of scrimmage, the worse he is), but he’s a genuine star as an aggressive downhill attacker. Against the Vikings, Williams frequently employed Harper in the box.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com