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Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your Amazon.com page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 6:26 pm
 

NFL will rule on Benson 'as soon as possible'

BensonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While the NFL didn’t have a problem handing down a three-game suspension to Bengals running back Cedric Benson for violating the conduct policy in the offseason -- though there was a lockout and he was a free agent, meaning he wasn’t actually employed by anybody -- the league apparently is not finding it as simple to rule on the appeal of that suspension.

Originally, Benson was supposed to be suspended for last Sunday’s Buffalo game (though Benson made it clear by the end of the week that he WAS going to play in that one), this week’s game vs. the Jaguars and the Oct. 16 contest with the Colts.

But since the league still hasn’t ruled, nobody seems to know what the heck is going on with his suspension. In response, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told CBSSports.com that the league “will render a decision as soon as possible.”

As Bengals Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner writes, Benson appealed last Tuesday, and as of Monday, he hadn’t heard anything from the NFL. And if the Bengals don’t hear anything by Wednesday, they’ll assume he’s good to go for the Jacksonville game.

Said coach Marvin Lewis: “There is no time frame from what I understood."

Aiello told CBSSports.com that the appeal’s officer for the case is Harold Henderson -- who was the NFL's longtime legal counsel -- and not Goodell like I originally thought.*

*I thought Goodell handled all the appeals for the non-drug suspensions, but Aiello called that another myth. Of course, it would be tough to call Henderson a completely unbiased judge since he worked with the league for so many years.

But since it’s taking so long, it’s fair to wonder whether the NFL is struggling with this issue. After all, Goodell didn’t suspend Aqib Talib and Kenny Britt for their offseason violations (even though they, along with Benson, were on the list supposedly approved by the NFLPA that would allow the commissioner to suspend a group of eight players).

Maybe Benson’s appeal, in which he said he presented plenty of facts of his arrest(s) on assault charges and perhaps argued that he wasn’t an employee of the league at the time anyway, actually will work. Because it seems to me that if Goodell chose not to suspend Talib (who’s facing a far more serious charge than Benson) and Britt (whose arrest record compares pretty equally to Benson’s), he really doesn’t have a basis to suspend Benson either.

But we’ll see soon enough what Henderson thinks. My guess: Benson will still miss some games.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 2:05 pm
 

NFL to meet about football in LA, United Kingdom

Jul 18, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Replica of proposed Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing in the City of Industry at 2011 NFL 101 All-Access at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's a discussion that's been ongoing pretty much since the NFL left Los Angeles after the 1994 season, but according to CBS NFL insider, Charley Casserly, Southern California could be that much closer to landing a franchise.

Speaking Sunday on the CBS Pregame Show, Casserly had this to say:

"There's going to be a league meeting on October 11. At that meeting, the owners are going to be updated on the two stadium sites. One is in downtown LA, and the other is in the City of Industry, which is east of LA.

"What's interesting about that site is that it's a 600-acre site which would be totally devoted to football. In other words, you'll have plenty of room for the stadium, parking, entertainment, the "NFL experience." Sounds like a Super Bowl site to me."

Casserly also addressed the league's plans for international games, specifically, how to incentivize teams that might be skeptical about giving up home dates on the schedule.

"At the same [league] meeting, there's going to be a proposal put in front of the owners to expand the number of games played in the U.K. Right now it's one. I'm told it could we could see 2-4 games there. There's also going to be -- and I found this interesting -- a financial incentive for teams to give up home games, and here it is: If you play three consecutive home games in the U.K. … you can get up to a million dollars additional revenue for each game."


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Posted on: September 30, 2011 7:12 pm
 

James Harrison will not apologize to Cushing

HarrisonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

You might recall that small, little-read magazine article this past offseason in which Steelers linebacker James Harrison made a few disparaging remarks about Roger Goodell (he called him a “crook “and a “devil” and said he “wouldn’t piss to put him out” if Goodell happened to find himself on fire) and ripped his teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall for their Super Bowl performances.

I’m sure you remember that Men’s Journal story actually, but you might not recall that Harrison also ripped Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, saying he was “juiced out of his mind.” In response, Cushing said he would pray for Harrison.

Now that the Steelers are playing the Texans on Sunday, you probably expect Harrison to try to smooth things over with Cushing, the same way he did with his teammates and with Goodell. Obviously, you don’t know Harrison very well.

Harrison said he will not, in fact, apologize to Cushing for his comments in the magazine article.

“I don’t need to,” Harrison said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “It’s not on my mind.”

To be fair, Cushing was suspended four games in 2010 for a positive steroid test, so Harrison wasn’t necessarily incorrect with his assessment. But maybe he should acknowledge that he was a bit incendiary with his comments. Even if he doesn’t want to apologize for them.

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Pryor's 5-game suspension upheld by Goodell

PryorPosted by Josh Katzowitz

When Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games by Roger Goodell  for his transgressions at Ohio State, he (or at least his agent) claimed he wasn’t going to appeal his decision before he ultimately did just that. Since he was appealing the suspension back to the guy who originally suspended him in the first place, he must have known his request had little chance of working.

And it hasn’t.

The NFL has announced that Goodell has upheld the Oakland quarterback's five-game suspension.

Here are some excerpts from Goodell’s statement:

-“Based on Mr. Pryor’s actions, I believe it is a fair conclusion that he intentionally took steps to ensure that he would be declared ineligible for further college play and would be able to enter the NFL via the Supplemental Draft. Taken as a whole, I found that this conduct was tantamount to a deliberate manipulation of our eligibility rules in a way that distorts the underlying principles and calls into question the integrity of those rules.”

-“Mr. Pryor -- not Ohio State or the NCAA -- made the judgment that he was ineligible for college play, and then took a series of affirmative steps that were intended to, and had the effect of, accomplishing that result. Moreover, Mr. Pryor did so in order to avoid the consequences of his conduct while in college -- conduct to which he had admitted and for which he had accepted a suspension -- and to hasten the day when he could pursue a potentially lucrative professional career in the NFL.”

To Goodell, it seemed that Pryor was deliberately trying to manipulate the eligibility rules in order to make himself money (since he wasn’t going to be playing for Ohio State this season) and since Pryor already had agreed to serve a five-game suspension while at Ohio State, Goodell thought his actions warranted that same punishment in the pros.

“In my judgment, allowing players to secure their own ineligibility for college play in order to avoid previously determined disciplinary consequences for admitted conduct reflects poorly not on college football -- which acted to discipline the transgressor -- but on the NFL, by making it into a sanctuary where a player cannot only avoid the consequences of his conduct, but be paid for doing so,” Goodell wrote.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFLPA is going to file a non-injury grievance on his behalf.

So, is this fair of Goodell, suspending somebody for something that occurred when Pryor wasn’t even in the league? Probably not. But did Pryor deserve the suspension? Probably yes. And I realize that those two statements are at odds with each other, but that’s ultimately the decision with which Goodell had to wrestle.

But the NFLPA doesn’t have to like it. Which is precisely the point CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson made when he wrote this: “As you'll recall, the NFLPA hasn't been exactly thrilled at the news of Pryor's suspension, because it represents a dangerous precedent in terms of future control for the NFL over players leaving college early. … This isn't exactly the sort of situation where the players want to just lay down and let the league have its way, setting a precedent for suspending players for actions that were committed while they weren't even in the league.”

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Cedric Benson: 'I'm playing' against Bills Sunday

Cedric Benson hasn't yet been suspended. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Cedric Benson is reportedly facing a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's player-conduct policy during the lockout. But when the Bengals face the Bills this weekend, Benson will be on the field.

"I'm playing," he said according to the Bengals' official Twitter feed. And head coach Marvin Lewis confirms it

While there hasn't been an announcement from the NFL regarding Benson's suspension, he met with the league Tuesday as part of his appeal hearing. An explanation of the process from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello (sent to PFT Wednesday morning) sheds some light on the process.

“A player is not suspended until he has had an opportunity to file an appeal and for that appeal to be heard and adjudicated,” Aiello said via email.

There doesn't appear to be a timetable on when a ruling will come, either. The biggest issue is that Benson, who is apart of the NFL Players Association, was unaware that the NFLPA and the NFL had agreed to punish some of the players who had violated the league's conduct policy during the lockout. In fact, Benson last week filed a charge of unfair labor practice against the NFLPA.

CBSSports.com colleague Josh Katzowitz wrote Sunday, "Benson is arguing to the National Labor Relations Board that the NFLPA wasn’t a union during the lockout -- the NFL and a group of retired players all have made the same claim in various lawsuits because, in fact, the NFLPA decertified before the lockout began and took great pains to announce that it no longer was a union -- and Benson also says that he wasn’t an employee of any team during the lockout. Benson reasons that he shouldn't be suspended for actions that occurred when he wasn't an employee of the NFL or of the Bengals."

Benson isn't alone. Teammate Andrew Whitworth agrees.

"The union let those eight guys down,” Whitworth said, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner. “I don’t feel like that was fair. To me, if I was told that was a make or break, I would've said that’s a make or break deal that we were going to sell out eight guys to have an agreement."

As PFT.com's Mike Florio pointed out Wednesday, "The biggest question seems to be whether the NFL has the power to impose discipline against players for off-field conduct occurring during the lockout. In Benson’s case, the situation is complicated by the fact that he wasn’t even employed by an NFL team, since his prior contract with the Bengals had expired."

Who knows how long it will take to sort this out, bur for now, Benson will keep playing.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:20 am
 

Report: NFL wants TWO games in London

The NFL says it wants to hold two games in London next year (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For those NFL teams who hate giving up a home game in order to fly overseas and play a tilt in front of European fans, it sounds like they’re going to be twice as disappointed next season.

Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that commissioner Roger Goodell told him that the NFL would like to play two games next season in Europe. According to Kaplan, he believes both games would be in London.

For Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, that probably doesn’t sound like a good idea, considering he said this in June when asked about playing in London this season:

"No, I'm not excited to go to London,” he said. “I don't understand why they do that. ... I am not excited to go to London, I will say that. I can't imagine many players would be, considering the travel involved and disruption to their weekly schedule.”

Last year, when I spoke to Takeo Spikes about it, he described the difficulty of adjusting to a time zone that is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast and eight hours ahead of the West. Though he said he enjoyed the trip, it wasn’t easy on his sleep patterns.

From my Five Questions (or more) with him:

CBS: You guys went straight from Carolina to London, while Denver spent a couple extra days at home. Do you think it helped that the 49ers flew out early to let your bodies adjust?

Spikes: I think it helped. To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time.


But there obviously is big money to be made in Europe and the NFL feels it needs to continue pushing its global brand. And really, what would a team like the Bengals rather have? Playing in front of an excited, sold-out crowd in Wembley Stadium or a half-full stadium of Cincinnatians who are apathetic about the product in front of them?

Maybe the former.

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Posted on: September 26, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Whitworth backs Benson on NFLPA issue

BensonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Though the Bengals had lost a brutally-bad 13-8 game* to the 49ers on Sunday, the scribes found time to ask running back Cedric Benson about his appeal of his three-game suspension and about the fact he’s disgusted that that NFLPA supposedly agreed to allow the league to suspend eight players for activities that occurred during the lockout.

*Not surprisingly, CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel was unimpressed with the performance of both teams.

Benson told reporters (via the Cincinnati Enquirer), “There were some things in the CBA that we were not made aware of, which is really no surprise. That kind of falls on the PA. You would think they’re here to support you and have your back, that’s what a union does. I guess, in my case, it’s different.”

It does seem odd that Roger Goodell would choose to suspend Benson and leave alone Kenny Britt and Aqib Talib -- even though all three are multiple-time league policy offenders. And it is very odd that the NFLPA would feel the need to sacrifice eight players in order to make nice with the league. The NFLPA, though, still denies there has been any kind of agreement.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the Bengals player representative, spoke on the matter today, and he came down on the side of his teammate.

 "The union let those eight guys down,” Whitworth said, via Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner. “I don’t feel like that was fair. To me, if I was told that was a make or break, I would've said that’s a make or break deal that we were going to sell out eight guys to have an agreement."

Like Benson, Whitworth said he wasn’t aware of the union’s decision to allow those eight players (all of whom have at least two league policy offenses) to (possibly) be punished while the 16 first-time offenders get off without any punishment at all.

Meanwhile, we all sit here and wait for the NFLPA’s response, because you’d think at some point they will have to disclose its reasons for making this agreement (assuming, of course, that it did make an agreement).  And while the union might have a perfectly good explanation why it would allow this kind of covenant, I imagine the players the NFLPA represents will feel like DeMaurice Smith sold them out.

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