Tag:Detroit Lions
Posted on: June 29, 2010 11:17 pm

A whole new respect for the most irrelevant one

Give Tim Toone credit. The dude has a sense of humor.

Toone, a WR out of Weber State, was selected by the Lions as the final pick in this year’s NFL Draft, making him (one of my favorite nicknames ever) this season’s Mr. Irrelevant. To celebrate, as the L.A. Times Sam Farmer points out, he’ll attend a banquet in his honor at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa and be roasted by college football insiders. Also, this week, he’ll help drag the infield at the Los Angeles Angels game, because throwing out the first pitch would be too relevant, and ride in the Goodyear blimp.

From the article:Toone … is taking it all with a smile. He’s excited about the pile of gag gifts he’s going to receive, among them a towel to keep him warm on the bench this season, and the Lowsman Trophy – as opposed to the Heisman – which depicts a player fumbling.

If Toone was one of the bookends in this year’s draft, the other was Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, drafted No. 1 by St. Louis.
Asked whether he and Bradford discussed that, Toone chuckled and said: “No, I don’t think he knows who I am.”
I love the fact that Toone can laugh at himself. It’s like Sandra Bullock accepting her Razzie Award this past year. Pure awesomeness.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 29, 2010 6:17 pm

The police video of Tom Lewand's arrest

If you've got some time to kill and you want to show your kids the dangers of alleged drunken driving (or you just want to remind yourself), Mlive.com has the dashboard video of police stopping Lions president Tom Lewand last Friday night.

Have a look at this link . You see Lewand’s truck weaving from side to side. You see the cop ask him, “How much have you had to drink,” and Lewand replies, “Not a thing.” “Not a thing?” Nooo. I haven’t had a thing to drink in about a year and a half.” “Really? What am I smelling then? “Um, I don’t know, uh, not sure. Uh, breath mints?”

Even after the cop says he can smell the liquor on his breath, you have to admire the resolve of Lewand to stick to his story. But it’s painful to watch him ponder if he should or should not take a breathalyzer test. If he refuses, the police tell him he’s going to jail. If he blows, he knows he’s most likely in trouble (he later registered a 0.21 and a 0.20, according to the police report. That's more than twice the legal limit).

After showing you this, I’ll probably leave this topic alone for a while – at least until we hear from commissioner Roger Goodell. But it’s never good when a team president has a video like this out there online.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 28, 2010 3:39 pm

An update on Tom Lewand

Further adding to my point from Sunday that Lions president Tom Lewand – who was arrested last Friday on a DUI charge – needs to be punished and punished severely , the Detroit Free Press wrote today that Lewand’s blood-alcohol contest was more than twice the legal limit. According to the police report, he also told police that he hadn’t taken a drink in a year and a half and that he was the designated driver that day.

From the article:

The report says Lewand performed a couple of field sobriety tests but did not walk heel to toe, as requested, and could not balance on one leg. He also touched his upper lip when asked to put his finger to his nose.

After initially refusing to take a breath test for blood alcohol level, Lewand later took the test, registering a .21 and a .20.

In Michigan, a driver is considered drunk if his blood alcohol level is more than .08.

Lewand later issued a statement, saying, “I am deeply sorry for my actions and take full responsibility for them. As a person in active recovery, I am committed to taking all necessary steps to insure nothing like this ever happens again."

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 27, 2010 8:04 pm

Lewand should be punished like any other player

Lions president Tom Lewand was arrested Friday night and charged with DUI, and Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp writes that, if Lewand is found guilty, he needs to face the same action as players caught in the same situation.

My take: Lewand should be punished and punished severely. Players get DUIs, and to some extent, people yawn. Let’s face it, players are – by and large – young and rich, and young people with plenty of change in their pocket commit stupid acts (the same is true for young and poor people, it should be noted). But when you have a top team executive who’s committing stupid acts that can kill innocent people, it’s just a little bit different.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and take full responsibility for them,” Lewand said in a statement. “As a person in active recovery, I am committed to taking all the necessary steps to insure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Owner William Clay Ford also released a statement: "Tom made a very serious mistake and he appropriately owned up to that mistake. As he continues to seek professional assistance for this problem, the Lions will support and help him in any way possible. I continue to have full confidence that Tom will positively lead our organization as he has since assuming his current role of team president. He has all my support."

That’s fine. I’m not saying Lewand should lose his job. I don’t think he should. And I truly hope he gets the help he needs and comes out a better person. But he deserves to be punished for his actions, the same as any player in the NFL. I imagine commissioner Roger Goodell will see to that.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 25, 2010 7:05 pm

Two fights end Lions offseason

When a football coach says a practice is “too intense” and actually curtails the end of the workout, you know it was probably a little intense.

Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press has the story here when, on the final day of the Lions mini-camp today, there were two fights, and coach Jim Schwartz stopped practice. Afterward, he said that some players would be fined for their actions.

It hasn’t been a great offseason for the Lions, who also were deducted two OTA sessions after the NFL discovered they were violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement with their intensity and tempo of practice.  The proceedings on Friday also were a little passionate.

“Yeah, that was too intense,” Schwartz said. “We had a situation come up before in OTAs and we sort of laughed about that you can’t fine the players. But guess what? There’s going to be a lot of fines from today. It’s not acceptable what happened. We weren’t able to finish a period.

“It’s going to get hot, you’re going to get at the end of practice, you’re going to have things that come up, but when you can’t finish practice and when you have guys entering fights that aren’t involved in it, it’s unacceptable. And they’re going to get taxed pretty heavy for this.”

Fights, of course, break out all the time in football practices, and usually, there’s hardly anything newsworthy to write. You could write about Bengals C Kyle Cook fighting with a defensive lineman or SS Roy Williams tangling with WR Maurice Purify – both of which occurred during the hot days of Cincinnati’s training camp last year. But most likely, you wouldn’t, because these types of little tussles occur all the time.

But when a coach actually has to stop practice to deal with the pugilists, well, that’s a little overboard.

As ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifer t analyzes, “I'm not going to get too worked up about Lions players fighting their way through spring drills. I'm OK with a team that's lost 30 of its past 32 games showing some anger. What you don't want is a pattern of losing your composure when you're tired or frustrated. That mistake leads to penalties and lost yardage when it happens in a game.”

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 24, 2010 3:46 pm

Kevin Smith looking to bounce back in Detroit

MLive.com notes that Lions running back Kevin Smith partook in seven-on-seven drills at the Lions latest minicamp. Smith, in his third season out of Central Florida, is coming off a late-season ACL injury.

The Lions traded back into the bottom of the first round to draft running back Jahvid Best this year, but don’t consider that an utter indictment on Smith’s outlook in Detroit. Best is a scatback with home-run speed and elusiveness; he’s not built for 25 carries a game. The Lions badly need big-play potential; they had just five runs of 20 yards or more in 2009.

Smith was one of the most productive running backs in NCAA history while at Central Florida. As a pro, he’s shown a hint of burst at the second level and better agility than his build suggests. But, overall, he’s still a somewhat methodical runner, which doesn’t jive with an offensive line as fleckless as Detroit’s. The Lions will be at least moderately better up front in ’10 (Rob Sims is replacing Manny Ramirez at left guard). If Smith can get healthy, Detroit could potentially have a viable one-two punch.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 21, 2010 9:47 pm

Playing with fire

I live right down the street from a fire station, and most of the time when I drive by, I look at the shiny red trucks and I ponder the possibilities of becoming a fireman.

The life of a fire fighter doesn’t seem glamorous, but it seems awfully gritty and gratifying. Like a real man’s work. Saving people’s lives, hanging out with the guys and playing cards between alarms, roughhousing with the station Dalmatian. Plus, have you seen how badass these guys look when they’re tearing through a building in their uniforms, facial hair and serious mugs?

It seems to me that becoming a firefighter would be pretty awesome. The only thing that stops me from filling out an application? Having to, you know, mess around with fires. Those things can be hot, from what I understand.

You know who isn’t afraid of a little orange flame? Former Ravens long-snapper Joe Maese. The Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston features Maese, who played in Baltimore from 2001-04 and finished his career in Detroit in 2005 and now fights fires for a living in Howard County, Maryland.

"I guess when you've been around this kind of work most of your life, it's easier to walk away from things that happen on the job," Maese told Preston. "I've never been the kind to take work home with me. Even when I played in the NFL, I eventually couldn't see myself doing anything different than I do now. I always knew I wanted to help somebody. It wasn't about money, but doing something constructive with my time."

Anyway, it’s an interesting feature, and if I learned anything from reading it, I learned this: Maese is a braver man than me.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:58 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2010 12:05 am

More NFL teams violating the CBA

And then there were four. Four teams, that is, that have been forced by the NFL to cut back their OTA practices for failing to adhere to the Collective Bargaining Agreement where it pertains to the intensity and tempo of offseason workouts.

Already, Baltimore and Oakland had been busted for violating the CBA. Today, the NFL determined that Jacksonville and Detroit also had violated the rules, and therefore, the Jaguars and the Lions will have to forgo their OTA days for June 21-22.

Players are not permitted to be at the team site for those days, except for injury treatment, but they’ll still be paid.

Here’s what it says in the CBA regarding offseason workouts:

Contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run), is expressly prohibited in all off-season workouts.

Voluntary off-season workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players. The intensity and tempo of drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority, and not at a level where one player is in a physical contest with another player.

The following rules shall also apply to the fourteen (14) days of organized team practice activity:

• No pads except protective knee or elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.
• No live contact; no live contact drills between offensive and defensive linemen.
• 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills will be permitted, providing no live contact takes place.
• The NFL will monitor all Clubs during the off-season to ensure player safety and adherence to live contact guidelines.
• Maximum six (6) hours per day, with a maximum two (2) hours on field, for any player.

What’s so interesting to me is that, more than likely, a current member of that team turned in his squad to the NFLPA. The NFL, sometimes, has operatives who come to town to check that teams are adhering to the CBA and sometimes, it reviews teams’ practice videos, but it seems unlikely that was the case for all four teams.

So, what does that say? Is the fact a team member righted what was a CBA wrong a commendable action? Or does that make him a pansy?

“You don’t want to rat out your teammates,” one veteran DB told me. “I mean, something had to be said to the (NFL)PA. That goes back to the old saying, ‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,’ but the PA is still there to protect the players.”

Does this happen quite a bit, though? The player to whom I talked, after all, has competed for four teams.

“It happens,” he said. “But you can’t worry about it. You have to worry about your own self.”

I also talked to a recently-retired defensive lineman about this issue, and he said the league should make it easy – have all OTAs be considered a passing camp. The linemen, he said, shouldn’t have to pound on each so much in the offseason, considering the beating they take during the regular season.

As for Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, here’s what he told the media today: "Unfortunately it’s been decided by the (NFL) PA and the Management Council that we were somehow going beyond the limits that they had established for us, and while I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment of what we’ve been doing, we are going to respect that decision. … I don’t think in any way this diminishes the amount of work we were able to get done; the energy and the effort was outstanding. I feel like we accomplished a great deal as a young football team that’s very hungry, that’s very eager.”

Del Rio also said next work’s workouts were simply going to be a review of what already had been installed. The Florida Times-Union’s Vito Stellino tweeted this about the punishment: “The ironic thing is that the writers had nicknamed Del Rio's camps Cub Med in the pas(t) because of a lack of hitting in pads.”

As for the Lions, they’ll still hold their mini-camp June 23-25, and GM Martin Mayhew said in a statement the organization will continue to respect the league’s rules and regulations. Meanwhile, running back Kevin Smith said he expects his teammates to participate in cardio work on their own.

“You don’t want to take four or five days off before a minicamp that’s going to be pretty intense, Smith told the Detroit Free Press .

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

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