Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Jeff Saturday
Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 7:00 pm
 

How do we keep our youth football players safe?

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Getty Images)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Before he was even finished with his opening statement Friday, Chris Nowinski -- former Harvard football player, former WWE professional wrestler and current advocate for concussion research and prevention -- summed up his entire reason for holding a press conference on recognizing and averting brain injury.

“The question is this,” Nowinski said, “How many times should a 6-year-old be hit in the head for sport?”

If you don’t care about concussions for NFL players --or if you kick in your TV when an official flags a defender for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit -- the sentence above should give you pause.

If you feel like it’s OK that the Browns allowed Colt McCoy to reenter a game after suffering a head injury and that it’s OK former tight end Ben Utecht is already having major problems with post-concussion syndrome and that it’s OK teams can hedge their bets by calling an in-game concussion a “stinger,” maybe you should think about your own child playing football.

Do you still think it’s OK that your 6-year-old might be suffering multiple concussions in a season? At least the NFL players can make the choice. The 6-year-old can’t.

That’s why the Sports Legacy Institute and Nowinski as president CEO held a press conference Friday to announce a proposal that would assign a “hit count” to a football player in the same way a “pitch count” is assigned to a youth pitcher.

As Nowinski says, science doesn’t know the answer to how many head hits it takes to cause permanent brain damage, in the same way that science doesn’t know how many cigarettes it takes to cause lung cancer. But the SLI's goal is to determine a standard number this year and then convince youth sports league by 2013 to turn that figure into permanent policy.

“We need to make aware that hits to the head have serious consequences,” Nowinski said. “It’s not being addressed at the youth level when brains are most vulnerable.”

One problem: I’ve never gotten the impression NFL players care much about their long-term health when they’re playing the game, and when I talked to a number of Super Bowl participants last year, I got the impression that players didn’t feel the need to keep their kids away from the game either.

The players know the dangers; they apparently just don’t have a problem putting their kids in harm’s way. Isaac Kacyvenski and Colts center Jeff Saturday disagreed with me Friday. They said players do, in fact, care.

“I have the exact opposite reaction from talking to players,” said Kacyvenski, the former NFL linebacker who was a 2006 Seahawks Super Bowl co-captain. “We’ve had discussions at length with players who are worried behind the scenes. They're worried about their future. The long-term consequences are unclear.”

Saturday, who along with Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is supporting the SLI and its initiatives, agreed with Kacyvenski: “I don’t know many football players who go with what you’re saying. I haven’t seen it.”

Saturday, on the other hand, was concerned enough about the issue to forbid his son from playing padded football until he turned 11. Before then, his boy played flag football. That’s because, as Saturday explained to his kids, it’s daddy’s job to play this high-risk, high-reward game. Football, he says, is supposed to be fun for you. So, if you’re scared, don’t take the head shot. Let it go, because it’s not a big deal.

Saturday, simply put, has to know (and he does) that he’s advocating for his children. Frankly, that’s the kind of attitude I expected to hear when I asked some Packers and Steelers last year. I expected the debate that Saturday and Kacyvenski gave me on Friday.

“In the NFL, a ton of it is awareness,” Saturday said. “We want our men to know, these are the symptoms we need to look for. I’m a 36-year-old man and I can tell you when I have a headache that’s not going away, I’m not sleeping as well, I don’t feel as good. Six-year-olds or 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds, they’re just going to deal with it. They want to go play in the yard. They’re not going to tell you, ‘I’m restless and cranky.’ They don’t communicate in the same way. They don’t know always how to process the information. You have to take it out of their hands.”

Nowinski is quick to point out that the public's brain injury awareness has exploded in the past five years, but when players like Rob Gronkowski or Brian Urlacher say they’d lie to doctors to hide a concussion, that doesn’t do his cause any favors.

“Everybody is accountable,” Nowinski said. “The reality is we’re talking about dramatic culture change. We’re talking somewhat about redefining manhood.”

And if the next generation of players aren’t as good as their predecessors because they’ve devoted less time to padded practice, that’s OK by him.

“If we create a generation of slightly worse tacklers with dramatically healthier brains, that’s a win,” Nowinski said. “I’ll live with that.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Jeff Saturday holds 'stern' players-only meeting

Posted by Will Brinson

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the 0-9 Colts are the worst team in football. They've been outscored 120-24 over their past three games and the only thing Indy fans have left to cheer for is the possibility of landing Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in the upcoming draft.

But that doesn't mean the Colts are giving up on 2011 just yet. In fact, in advance of their Week 10 matchup against Jacksonville, center Jeff Saturday held a players-only meeting this week, in which he delivered a "stern" message about the team continuing to give it their all this season.

"I felt like it needed to be said and I said it," Saturday said, via Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star. "I don't want to go into the details of it."

However, rookie tackle Anthony Castonzo provided a little insight into what was said, or, at least, the tone of what was said.

"It was really stern," Castonzo said. "It was like, 'Listen, we're not joking around. We're 0-9 right now.' "

That doesn't mean Saturday was pounding his fist on a table or, um, jumping off a turnbuckle or anything. He just probably delivered the message in a similar way to how he handled lockout updates during the offseason.

"He didn't have to yell. He didn't have to scream," Reggie Wayne said, per The Star. "He didn't have to be 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. He was Jeff Saturday. That's how we took it."


Saturday said that he acquired coach Jim Caldwell's consent to hold the meeting, and it's kind of surprising that Caldwell hasn't used the respected veteran to try and push the players before. (Or not surprising, depending on how you view Caldwell, I guess.)

This Colts team has seven games left in the season to avoid the ignominy of going winless, and just two of the games can really be considered "winnable" -- this weeks' matchup against Jacksonville and Week 17's matchup against ... Jacksonville.

That's not to insult the Jaguars, but they're pretty clearly the worst team on the rest of the Colts schedule. Plus, while Jacksonville's defense is impressive this year, their offense is arguably the worst in the NFL (just behind the Colts!), and if Indy's going to stop anyone from scoring 20-plus points in a game this year, you've gotta think their best chance is against the Jags.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Jeff Saturday says he was misquoted by blogger

SaturdayPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After the Colts took a 62-7 pounding at the hands of the Saints last weekend, everything that could have been said about how disappointing the Indianapolis franchise has been would have been fair game.

If you had said the team was an abomination without Peyton Manning, fair game. If you had said the front office was to blame for not coming up with a Plan B in case something like this happened, fair game. If you had said coach Jim Caldwell was in over his head when he didn’t have Manning on the field, fair game.

Even if the words are coming from a Colts player’s mouth. Even if that Colts players takes it back soon after. All of it should be fair game.

That player is Indianapolis center Jeff Saturday, who said on a radio show after the Saints debacle that the Colts had been out-coached. And then, Saturday said, um, never mind about that whole out-coached thing. And he said it in a not very nice way and directed it at BigBlueShoe on StampedeBlue.com.

"That was ridiculous,” said Saturday, via the National Football Post. "You've got a 45-year-old man who lives with his mom, down in his basement, freaking blogging about something that was a direct misquote. It had nothing to do with what I said. At 62-7, there was no redeeming qualities in the way any of us participated. And this is a team thing, 100 percent. I made it perfectly clear.

"Coach Caldwell didn't have on any pads Sunday. We did, and all of us as a team failed to get the job done. I can assure you I don't need the media to clarify what I'm saying. I speak pretty clearly and I was insulted that somebody would do that and try to divide our team and putting things in people's minds that really don't need to be there."

So, what did Saturday say he said?

"I didn’t say that," Saturday said. "I said that as a team we were outplayed, we were outcoached and there was nothing that we did better than they did yesterday."

So, the team was out-coached, then? What, then, is the problem?

Look, we know Saturday must be frustrated playing for a winless team after having been a key cog for so many division-winning Colts squads. But to take the comment that he admitted he said out on a blogger while insulting that blogger (who, don’t forget, is a Colts fan) is, well, slightly ridiculous. And the quote, no matter what Saturday thinks, is fair game.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Labor peace won by strength of resolve

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

How about this sight for those who were desperate for football to be over? NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the podium outside the NFLPA headquarters on Monday.

Smith said some nice things about Goodell, and Goodell was about to say some nice things about Smith. And after Smith introduced Goodell to the assembled media, the two shook hands and smiled. It was a beautiful sight.

Four months earlier, Goodell and Smith stood near each other in Washington and gave separate pressers, and we didn’t know when we’d have football again. But all that’s forgiven now (though not necessarily forgotten). We have football -- 10 years of labor peace -- and after a summer of misery, we finally have a payoff.

“Football is back, and that’s great news,” Goodell said. “Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinary. Everybody worked hard, everybody had a passion. This agreement is going to make our game better.”

And if you’ve paid attention at all in the past few months, you know those are sweet words. But it wasn’t an easy process. We got to watch how the sausage is made, and it was not a pleasant experience.

NFL Labor

All along, we heard people talk about how the relationship between former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late union leader Gene Upshaw made the game strong and, for the most part, kept the labor peace while they were in charge of their respective sides. We wondered about the relationship between Smith and Goodell and whether it was strong enough to hold. We wondered if Smith was in over his head. We wondered how unified the players really were. We wondered if the NFL owners were content to blow up the game just to show the players that they were the bosses.

Goodell and Smith wouldn’t let that happen, though. Their relationship apparently is strong enough to keep the two sides from spinning away from each other into lockout infinity.

“If we don’t have a good relationship, it hurts the game and the business of football,” Smith said. “I’m proud to say our relationship has grown. Even up until the last minute, it required us to come together and get the job done. That will be our relationship going forward.
J. Saturday embraced New England owner Robet Kraft (AP).
Said Goodell: “We have trust that we’re both in there to do the best we can for football. You can’t reach a 10-year deal without that. He’s a great leader for his players. He never lost his passion. We listen to one another, which is important. We have respect for our various consituents. The players, under his leadership, have done an extraordinary job.”

But the one who was embraced the most Monday was the man who’s suffering the terrible loss of his wife, Myra, to cancer. Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- one of the most well-respected owners in the game -- was engulfed by love. Not just from his owner colleagues and his commissioner, but by the other side as well.

“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Smith told him. “We took a day off on Friday to remember a great woman and a great family. I’m thankful for what she meant to the city of Boston and especially thankful for what you mean to the game of football.”

Colts C Jeff Saturday took it a step further. After paying a nice tribute to Myra Kraft, who allowed her husband to help save football even when she was dying, Saturday stepped away from mic and embraced Kraft in a big hug.

Smith and Goodell had shook hands and smiled for the cameras. But Saturday and Kraft showed their love for each other.

It was, simply put, a touching moment on an exciting day for a man who’s lost so much in the past week. And while fans and players can be excited that they’ve got back their game -- and while Smith and Goodell provided their own beautiful moment -- Kraft’s resiliency in finishing the bargain while he was experiencing so much pain provided the true inspiration of the day.

Even during one of the most trying times of his life, he was helping to restore the game you love. And everybody should be thankful for that.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:58 am
 

NFL, NFLPA meet for more than 15 hours

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFL and the NFLPA finally have emerged from their 15 1/2-hour meeting, and they will return at 9 a.m. Friday morning to continue discussions, according to reports from NFL.com’s Albert Breer. The mega-bargaining session began at 10 a.m. ET Thursday and continued until about 1:30 a.m. Friday

There’s obviously no new CBA, but after such a long day of meeting face to face, you have to wonder if that announcement is coming relatively soon -- like, say, within the next week or so.

Though late Thursday afternoon, there was plenty of pessimism emanating from a number of reports after the NFLPA held a conference call for some of its members, the fact that the two sides negotiated for another eight hours after that has got to be a positive step.

Plus, with the league moving closer to a deadline when a deal would have to be done in order to begin training camps on time, both sides seem a little more energized to get something accomplished.

According to the AP, among those involved in the talks today included: U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, Giants owner John Mara, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and, for the players, Colts C Jeff Saturday, Chiefs G Brian Waters and Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:31 pm
 

NFL owners, players 'headed in right direction'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

NFL owners and players are meeting Tuesday on Maryland's eastern shore in an effort to end the 91-day lockout as soon as possible, according to reports from NFL.com and ESPN.

This is the third time this month the two sides have convened in an undisclosed location to make progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement (and this time, with lawyers). Last Friday, for the first time since the lockout began in March, hopes seemed high for a speedy resolution to a labor dispute that once appeared as if it could go on indefinitely.

"NFL owners have a one-day meeting scheduled in suburban Chicago next Tuesday, and they are planning to meet once a month until the situation is resolved," NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Tuesday. "A memo went out to owners asking that they keep their schedules for next week flexible, in case the June 21 meeting spills into Tuesday night or even Wednesday."
Latest on the lockout

ESPN's Chris Mortensen writes that "Sources have characterized the owners and players as being in a 'deal-making mode' and hope to make significant progress over the next two or three days."

The NFL estimates that canceling the preseason could cost upwards of $1 billion, which means that the longer the lockout drags on, the more likely it is that the owners will be in danger of losing serious dough. Sources tell Breer that "internal deadlines to have some semblance of a 'normal' preseason with the games preserved sit on or around July 15." That gives both parties a month to sort things out.

More background on Tuesday's gathering, via the Associated Press:
A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the owners and players are "headed in the right direction" and that lawyers "are back in the room" after being excluded from sessions the past two weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the meeting are not being made public.

Two other people familiar with the talks say a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement could be in place before the owners gather next Tuesday. ... Still, it would be premature to predict that lockout is about to end, the people familiar with the talks told the AP. Yet the atmosphere of negotiations has been more positive than it was previously, creating "a sense of movement," they said.

That movement toward an agreement might be in both sides' best interest after a federal appeals court judge warned the owners and players they might not like the upcoming decisions in legal actions sparked by the lockout. Indeed, the court could delay any rulings if a new CBA appears to be near.
The AP reports that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith; several owners, including the Giants' John Mara and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones; and a large group of players that includes NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth, were all on hand at the meeting.

For the first time all spring there is much to be optimistic about. Not only are the owners and players willing to work together, they're doing it now, well before deadlines could legitimately imperil a 2011 season.

If the lockout ends in the coming weeks, Goodell, who was roundly booed at the April draft, will have suddenly saved his legacy. Because in the end, all fans want is football. They don't much care how we get to that point.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 3:48 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA confirm secret talks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you needed confirmation that the NFL and the NFLPA are engaged in secret meetings this week – although you SHOULDN’T since CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman reported it Tuesday night – the two sides have released a statement.

"NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week,” the statement reads.

The two sides are meeting somewhere in New York – some reports have pinpointed the meetings to Long Island – and according to NFL.com, the NFLPA is represented by DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth.

Meanwhile, the NFL is represented by commissioner Roger Goodell, New York Giants owner John Mara, Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, New England’s Robert Kraft, Carolina’s Jerry Richardson and San Diego’s Dean Spanos.

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

Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:56 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Indianapolis Colts

Posted by Will Brinson

 

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:





While the Colts were (*YAWN*) winning their ninth straight division title last year, holding off challenges from, I don’t know, the Jaguars I guess, Indianapolis showed cracks in its foundation that will have to be rectified if the Colts plan to continue dominating the AFC South.

Remember when the Texans upset Indianapolis in the season opener, and we (or at least, I) thought it was a brand new day in that division? Remember when, with the 38-35 loss to the Cowboys in Week 13, we wondered if Indianapolis, 6-6 at the time, would even make the postseason? Well, the Colts corrected themselves to win the final four games of the regular season, winning three of three division contests in the process, to earn the chance to lose to the Jets in the first round of the playoffs.

The Colts, though, no longer seem infallible. They’re, in fact, awfully beatable, and they’ll have to make some corrections this offseason to make it 10-straight championships.



Running game, head coaching questions

The Colts haven’t compiled a top-10 rushing attack since 2001, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking home nine-straight 10-win (or better) seasons since then (for the record, Indianapolis had the No. 7 rushing offense in the league in 2001, but the team finished 6-10). Last year, though, you could see the lack of a top-notch back to bail out QB Peyton Manning when he wasn’t playing well was a real detriment to the team.

The Colts ranked 29th in the run game last season with 92.7 yards per game. Hey, it’s an improvement on 2009 (32nd in the run game with 80.9 yards per game), but still, it’s not good enough.

Regarding Jim Caldwell, is anybody convinced he’s the next coaching legend? His record is outstanding, but the critics would say you could throw any old guy wearing a headset out there and pay him to watch Manning win games for you. I’m not saying those critics are right; I’m just saying it’s something to think about (though it’s not a great thing that owner Jim Irsay had to give him a vote of confidence after the 2010 season).



1. Better quality offensive linemen
This partly ties into the running game, but the Colts are in need of a solid group of guys to protect Manning. C Jeff Saturday is fine anchoring the middle of the line, though he’s in his mid-30s now, and while the line improved late in the season (not that it had anywhere to go but up), a left tackle would be nice so Charlie Johnson could move to the right side of the line. Manning does a nice job of getting the ball off quickly (which is why he doesn’t take many sacks), but you don’t want him taking more hits than he must. Although the Colts hardly ever draft offensive linemen in the early rounds of the draft – Bill Polian just doesn’t do it – this year might not be a bad idea to start.

2. Run-stopping DT
While Fili Moala, in 2010, had a big improvement over his rookie season, the Colts still ranked 25th in run defense. That’s why many mock drafts have Indianapolis selecting Oregon State’s Stephen Paea with the No. 22 pick (Polian also isn’t a fan of taking DTs very high in the draft). There’s little question that DEs Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney don’t have a problem finding the quarterback. But in order for the Colts to make deeper playoff runs – and four times in the past six postseasons, they’ve failed to win a game (the other two times, they made the Super Bowl) – they need somebody who can stop the run.

3. Backup QB
It’s time to stop thinking of Manning as an immortal Superman who rarely makes mistakes and never gets hurt. Instead, Manning was more mistake-prone than usual last year (his 17 interceptions were the most since 2002), and his backup, Curtis Painter, is simply not starting NFL quarterback quality. The problem here is that Manning – who is still a top-five quarterback, for sure – is going to make sooo much money the remainder of his career, Indianapolis probably can’t afford to bring in a quality, start-on-a-dime signal-caller. So, for now, the Colts will continue to pray the 35-year-old Manning doesn’t fall off a cliff (figuratively and literally).



Caldwell took a ton of heat after the Colts playoff loss to the Jets for calling an ill-advised timeout that allowed the Jets to regroup and win the game at the last minute. Sure, he’s 24-8 (2-2 in the postseason) in his two years in Indianapolis, but Caldwell isn’t shown the same respect as his predecessor Tony Dungy (one was the leader of the team, some say, and one is basically a figurehead coach).

On offense, though, Manning is the one running the offense, and how he plays usually is how the Colts go. For now, Indianapolis will be fine, because Manning is still really, really good. But what if he’s not next year? Is Caldwell the guy who can right the ship if everything is going bonkers? Frankly, we don’t know for sure. It shouldn’t matter this year or next (unless Manning gets hurt). But soon enough, that question will be the most relevant one to ask.

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