Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:29 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:32 am
  •  
 

Report: Eagles plan to franchise DeSean Jackson

D-Jax looks like a likely target for the Philly franchise tag. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson wants a new contract. This is not new news. But the latest reason for this discussion won't likely end with Jackson being any happier, as the Eagles are reportedly planning to place the franchise tag on Jackson before he gets to free agency.

Latest NFL News, Notes

That's according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who says to "count on" the Eagles franchising Jackson because the team will not let Jackson "walk without getting something in return."

Philly has from February 20 to March 5 to apply the franchise tag. After that, Jackson would become a free agent. Jackson's already said he's fine with playing under the franchise tag in 2012, probably because he'd be willing to make around $9.5 million guaranteed. (More than three times the value of the entire rookie deal he just finished playing out.)

A pile of disastrous events -- an insurance policy, missed team meetings, a fourth-quarter benching, getting called out by teammates, you name it -- are sandwiched between Jackson's holdout before 2011 and his impending free agency in 2012. That being said, the Eagles need Jackson. The explosive wide receiver had just 58 catches for 961 yards in 2011, but his value to the Eagles offense as a deep threat can't be understated.

Additionally, the Eagles may seek a trade with Jackson once they use the franchise tag on the wideout, according to McLane. There are plenty of other wideout-needy teams in the NFL who might be interested in giving Jackson a long-term deal, and the Eagles would love to get something back for him.

Could a long-term deal with Jackson still happen? Of course it could. But Jackson and agent Drew Rosenhaus want Jackson to be paid like a top-five wideout.

"I think right in that range," Jackson said last year. "Maybe top-5 in the NFL. ...My playmaking skills and abilities, my punt returns, and the ability to get the ball and score on any play. I mean, Fitzgerald, he's a special receiver -- don't get me wrong -- but he doesn't play special teams so that adds an extra edge to it."

Jackson's not "wrong," per se, when discussing how his skills make him a valuable commodity. The problem is his attitude, which is so poor -- at times -- that it's reduced his effectiveness on the field and made him a distraction off of it. That's not exactly the type of behavior that sends teams scrambling to throw big-time, long-term money at a player.

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: February 12, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Wayne on Pats: 'Who wouldn't want to play there?'

Wayne's career in Indy may be over but he'll play somewhere (New England?) in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Way back in August, days after the lockout had ended and before any of the 32 teams had their hopes and dreams crushed, Colts owner Jim Irsay asked veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, in the last year of his contract, to be patient. There would be no new deal during the season.

"At this point," Irsay said at the time, "I don't anticipate that sort of thing, an extension or anything like that. We always talk about next year, where we're going to be with the (salary) cap, what type of situation we're going to be in because it's going to come quickly. We prepare for next year whether it's Pierre (Garcon), or Robert and Reggie."

The Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record without Peyton Manning, who along with Wayne, appears to have played his last game in Indy. To Wayne's credit, he never complained publicly or entertained thoughts of holding out, even saying last summer that "I'm a Colt, what else I'm gonna be?"


On Friday, ESPN's Josina Anderson asked Wayne about his NFL future. He doesn't sound much different in February than he did in July. 

"All I know is the Colts," he said. "That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. 

"However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven't heard anything from [the Colts] yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be. 

"But either way, I'm cool," Wayne continued. "I have nothing bad to say about the Colts. The Colts took me in and made me a millionaire. I had nothing before I got here but a bunch of invoices. So either way I am still good, and I will still be friends with all of my teammates. But I am still at a point with all of this Peyton stuff, and this Andrew Luck stuff that I can't be all the way worrying just about that. My phone hasn't rung yet. It's only fair I worry about number 87 first. When I'm signed, then I can weigh in more." 

We've been saying for almost two months that Wayne's future could be tied to Manning's. Wherever Peyton ends up, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Wayne won't be far behind. (This week, the Dolphins are the favorites to land Manning; Wayne went to the U. And if Manning goes to the Jets, it makes sense that Wayne would follow him there too.)

But should the duo go their separate ways after playing together for a decade, the Patriots would be a logical landing spot for the wide receiver. Here's what we wrote on December 22 about possible destinations for Wayne in 2012:

"1. New England. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati."

Wayne isn't a burner (he's 33 and an 11-year veteran), but he knows how to get open on short, medium and deep routes, something Ochocinco struggled with from the moment he arrived in Foxboro.

And while Wayne-to-the-Pats was nothing more than speculation, it also makes sense.  Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, has spoken to Wayne about relocating to New England.

“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said according to the Boston Herald. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’

“If it could have worked with Chad (Ochocinco), it would have been good. It didn’t. I just think (Tom Brady) has a lot of weapons, but he can always use that stretch-the-field receiver," McGinest said. "When they had Randy (Moss) there, it really made it tough for teams to stop them. Reggie Wayne is somebody who could stretch the field. He has great hands, he’s a professional who could pick up the system. Having another big-time receiver like that would put it over the top.”

And that was our point back in December. Ochocinco has been a disaster, Wes Welker is a possession receiver not a deep threat, and the passing offense is built around the tight ends.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith points out that Bill Belichick is a longtime Wayne fan, too.

“I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne,” Belichick said during the 2009 season. “That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better.”

The Patriots have a history of taking guys who regularly torch them. That's how Welker ended up in New England in 2007.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:30 pm
 

T.O. on NFL: I wasn't a bad teammate, disruptive

After 15 seasons and five teams, T.O.'s NFL career appears to be over. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Terrell Owens last played in an NFL game on December 19, 2010 as a member of the Bengals. It was his first and last year in Cincinnati, one half of the self-proclaimed "Batman and Robin" along with Chad Ochocinco. The duo was so dynamic that quarterback Carson Palmer opted for retirement over another year in Cincy, T.O. wasn't re-signed and Ochocinco was shipped off to New England.

Owens, then 37, was allowed to walk for reasons other than his on-field skills. In 14 games during the 2010 season, he caught 72 passes for 983 yards including 10 touchdowns. Still, despite holding midseason 2011 workouts to show that he had fully recovered from knee surgery, Owens didn't get a sniff from any of the 32 NFL teams. Ultimately, he ended up joining the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League where he is also a co-owner.

T.O. appearing recently on KESN-FM, spoke about about his year away from the NFL and his IFL future.

"I'm using this as a platform to keep myself in shape," he said according to the Dallas Morning News. "The business end of it is something that intrigued me, being a co-owner with the team.

"This is me transitioning to life after football. I feel I'm physically fit and can play at a productive level to where I can play a couple of more years in the National Football League. That's what I'm pushing for. I'm not going to give up hope just because I'm 38 and just had a knee injury. I think a lot of why I probably didn't play this year, everybody keeps talking about the 'character' issues. The last two or three years relatively I was quiet, knowing that everybody was saying that I had a character issue, I'm disruptive, there's a lot of hype that comes with me, they're saying I'm a distraction here and there.

"That's all hearsay," Owens continued. "If you ask a bunch of my teammates, a lot of it is basically blown out of proportion, the media making me into a fall guy. Overall, will I ever admit that I was a bad teammate? Never. I wasn't a bad teammate. Was I disruptive. No I wasn't disruptive."

Here's the thing: Owens, as far as we know, was never arrested for beating his girlfriend or making it rain or carrying a concealed weapon. But it's also a stretch to say that he wasn't, at one time or another, disruptive. Owens implied that former teammate Jeff Garcia was gay, and then there was the falling out with Donovan McNabb. So, yeah, there's some revisionist history going on because, realistically, Owens could've helped a WR-needy team last season if not for he fact that he was, you know, a huge disruption.

"I feel like I have a lot of football left and I'm looking forward to getting back to playing," he said. "I think the thing ... I didn't get picked up was that a lot of general managers bought into the fact that the media thinks that I'm this bad guy, this rebel guy, this disruptive guy that divides and messes up team's chemistry. They won't allow me to turn over a new leaf. They won't allow me to be a better person. Anytime anything is brought up about me, they keep talking about things that happened five, six, seven years ago. Why don't I get a pass? I've kind of fallen into that villain category and I can't get out of that box."

And at 38, Owens likely won't get a chance, at least not in the NFL.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 5:22 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Report: Tommie Harris' wife on life support

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The wife of defensive lineman Tommie Harris is on life support after suffering either a stroke or brain aneurism, family friend Bill Horn told the Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen.

"We are holding on for a miracle," Horn said.

Harris was the 14th overall pick in the 2004 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He played seven seasons with the Bears where he was a Pro Bowler. The team released him after the 2010 season. He was also released by the Colts during the 2011 preseason before signing with the Chargers where he played in 13 games, registered 13 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble.

Jensen reports that Ashley, 29, is in an Oklahoma hospital and some of Harris' Chicago teammates are en route to offer their support. Ashley gave birth to the couple's second child in October.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:29 am
 

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

Turns out, Madonna wasn't that impressed with M.I.A. and her middle finger. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

You may have heard something about Madonna being the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLVI. For the most part, the show went off without a hitch. There were plenty of pyrotechnics and dancers and, well, all the things we've come to expect from one of television's biggest spectacles. There was even a special guest -- M.I.A.

And while it wasn't a Janet Jackson-level code red, M.I.A. did cause collective panties to bunch when, during her performance with Madonna on the song "Give Me All Your Luvin,'" she extended her middle finger and later uttered an expletive. NBC and the NFL scrambled to issue apologies.

On Friday, Madonna called into "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and spoke publicly for the first time about the hubbub.

“I was really surprised,” she said according to ABCnews.com. “I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t happy about it. I understand it’s punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy, and positivity it seemed negative. It’s such a teenager … irrelevant thing to do … there was such a feeling of love and unity there, what was the point? It was just out of place.”

This is the older, wiser Madonna talking. At 53, she sounds a lot different than the woman Rolling Stone's Caryn Ganz described as "[T]he most consistently controversial one since Elvis Presley … until she toned down her press-baiting behavior in the Nineties."

No word on if the FCC will fine NBC for M.I.A.'s one-finger salute. Following Breastgate '04, the FCC fined CBS $550,000. The federal agency subsequently increased the fine for such incidents to $325,000 a pop, which means that M.I.A.'s actions could cost NBC as much as $650,000.

Word on the street is that there was no underlying motive behind M.I.A.'s artistic choices other than “adrenaline and nerves,” and she got “caught up in the moment.”

For what it's worth, we were in the auxiliary press boxes for Super Bowl XLVI and neither saw nor heard M.I.A. violating the FCC's indecency laws. Franky, we didn't even know she was there. (see below for visual proof -- click photos to enlarge).

The view of the halftime show from the auxillary press box. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) Even zoomed in it was hard to make out naughty hand gestures. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 2:25 pm
 

SNL spoofs Eastwood's Chrysler Super Bowl spot

Hader parodies Eastwood in SNL's version of 'It's halftime, America.' (YouTube/Hulu)

By Ryan Wilson

Chrysler's Super Bowl commercial featuring Clint Eastwood's "It's halftime, America" pep talk was inadvertently pulled from YouTube last Sunday night not because of objectionable content or copyright infringement but because of a mix-up.

The day after the Super Bowl, the Wall Street Journal's Suzanne Vranica wrote that Chrysler "was one of the few big-game advertisers that didn’t release its Super Bowl commercial prior to the game. That meant it missed out on the millions of dollars in free publicity that other advertisers got from online airings of their ads beforehand. Post-game online availability would have helped make up for that."

The spot was generally well received (save the Karl Rove crowd) and given all the subsequent attention (as of this writing, it's been viewed almost 6.5 million times on YouTube), there is little concern that the ad hasn't been widely seen. Especially since Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader parodied the commercial over the weekend.


"I don't care if Obama runs the ball, or Romney throws a touchdown, or Ron Paul kicks a field goal with his tiny little chicken legs," Hader-as-Eastwood warns. "I tell you right now, though, I ain't puttin' Santorum in the game. He can stand on the sideline doin' cheers in his little sweater vest."

(Trent Lott takes offense to the cheerleader crack.)

The original Chrysler-Eastwood spot is below:


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:29 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 12:53 pm
 

Can Big Ben and Haley co-exist in Pittsburgh?

Haley may not have been Roethlisberger's (or Tomlin's) first choice, but none of that matters now. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Steelers have had a run on un-Steelers-like offseasons recently. From Ben Roethlisberger's legal entanglements to Hines Ward's DUI to to Rashard Mendenhall's tweets on foreign policy to James Harrison's guns-ablazin' interview in Mens Journal, it's always something.


Even though this offseason isn't yet a week old, the Steelers are in the news again, this time for forcing offensive coordinator into "retirement" (eight days later, Arians joined the Colts in the same capacity) and hiring Todd Haley as his replacement.

We spoke to Lance Zierlein of TheSidelineView.com about this new dynamic (Lance has special insights into the Steelers -- his dad was Mike Tomlin's offensive line coach in Pittsburgh from 2007-2009) and it basically came down to this: Roethlisberger's been given too much leeway by the organization, there are some things he needs to do to improve, and Haley could be the guy to do it.

Zierlein admitted that Haley's abrasive style will take some getting used to, and the hire is weird in the sense that Haley's only link to Pittsburgh is through his father, Dick, a longtime personnel guy with the Steelers. He has no connection to Tomlin or his coaching tree, and based on Tomlin's comments shortly after the season (he said he expected all his assistants back in 2012), Haley wasn't even on his radar until Arians was pushed out.

In Sunday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Joe Starkey writes that Haley's addition is aimed at one thing: corralling Roethlisberger, who pretty much has had the run of the place since he arrived in 2004.

"How does Roethlisberger respond to getting slapped around a little?" Starkey asks. "The organization that granted him nearly unlimited power to play as he saw fit -- heck, to play when he saw fit after his ankle injury -- is trying to reclaim a portion of said power. And there is no delicate way to do that.

"So get your popcorn ready. It's either going to work to spectacular results or blow up in their faces. Applaud the high-risk, high-reward philosophy that has often served the Steelers well. Question their methods. Enjoy the cabaret."

This seems to be the widespread perception -- that Roethlisberger won't handle tough coaching well. But as Zierlein pointed out Friday, While Haley's style isn't buddy-buddy (he's had run-ins with players everywhere he's coached, from divas like Terrell Owens in Dallas to team leaders like Kurt Warner and Matt Cassel in Arizona and Kansas City), he's had a lot of success as completely different kinds of offenses, from the Cards' aerial assault to the Chiefs' run-heavy game plans.

And Haley's in-your-face style isn't all bad. In fact, Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a huge Haley fan.

"I think Todd is a great coach," Fitzgerald said late in 2010 when Haley was leading the Chiefs to the AFC West title. He's fun to play for. "Everybody says he's a hard ass and this … but at the end of the day when Todd came in the locker room he'd give you the biggest hug. He wanted it so bad for us. He prepared so much and he pushed us. I remember after the NFC championship (victory over the Eagles in January 2009) he was in tears. Those moments are what I'll remember."

So maybe Haley isn't Roethlisberger's first choice or Tomlin's "guy," but he'll have plenty of weapons to work with. The Steelers' wide receivers are some of the best in the league, tight end Heath Miller is as good a blocker as a pass catcher, and Big Ben is a top-5 talent. There are worse situations to step into and be expected to succeed.

Ultimately, none of this matters. It'll come down to whether the Steelers' offense in 2012 is better than it was under Arians. That means scoring more points, being more proficient in the red zone, and having a more consistent running game. Do that, and people will gladly overlook how Haley comports himself on the sidelines. Fail and will be looking for work.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:59 am
Edited on: February 12, 2012 1:52 pm
 

Report: Pierre-Paul to appear on TNA Wrestling

It looks like JPP and Kurt Angle have some differences to settle.  (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

UPDATE, 1:45 p.m. ET -- Jason Pierre-Paul has decided against resolving his make-believe issues by donning tights. “He declined because he is exhausted,” Robert Bailey, the president of Rosenhaus Sports, told FOXSports.com (via PFT). 

The list may not be all that distinguished but it is long. And now, it appears, Jason Pierre-Paul will be the latest professional athlete to step into the squared circle in the name of entertainment. According to FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez, the Giants' defensive end is scheduled to make an appearance for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at a Monday night television taping in Orlando, Florida. The segment will air on TNA's Thursday night Impact Wrestling.

Pierre-Paul would join Dennis Rodman and Ben Roethlisberger as former champions to take up wresting. But non-champions can live out childhood fantasies, too; the Jets' Bart Scott, and former Titans Pacman Jones and Frank Wycheck have also been involved in TNA storylines.

Marvez's source reveals that JPP is "is expected to have an in-ring confrontation with TNA star Kurt Angle."

We eagerly await Tom Coughlin's response to questions about Pierre-Paul's offseason workout regimen. Silver lining: at least he's not dancing! 

(This gives us a fantastic idea: maybe Rodney Harrison and Rob Gronkowski should settle their differences in a pay-per-view wrasslin' match with the proceeds going to charity. If nothing else, it would be an opportunity for Harrison to keep his word about Gronk getting his "head rung" for dancing like he was in Footloose hours after the Pats' Super Bowl loss.)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add 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