Category:NFL
Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:00 pm
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Even Suh is offended by bounty programs

Suh says he would never participate in a bounty program. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

For the guy labeled as one the dirtiest players in the NFL, even Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can’t believe the findings of the NFL regarding the Saints and their bounty program.

Suh -- who was suspended two games in 2011 after stomping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith and has been disciplined by the league a total of five times in his short caerer -- told the Charlotte Observer that he wouldn’t participate in something like that.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
"It's unfortunate to hear these things come out," Suh told the paper. "Me personally, I don't take part in those things and knowing my teammates and knowing my coaches, we wouldn't allow that.

"I understand it's a tough situation the commissioner has to deal with. As he has in the past, he's going to deal with it with a stiff hand. Hopefully, people can learn from the mistakes and make an example out of it.

Asked how common those kinds of bounty programs are -- where players are rewarded by teammates and the coaching staff for knocking opponents out of the game -- Suh said he didn’t know because he only was aware of what was happening in the Lions locker room.

But the NFL has said between 22 and 27 Saints players participated in one from 2009-11 and former Redskins and Bills players have said they did as well when Gregg Williams, who has been summoned to New York again to meet with NFL security officials on Monday, coached on those teams.

“For me personally and for my teammates, we don't want to put anybody out,” Suh said. “I would never want anybody to target me to take me out so why would I do it to somebody else?"

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 9:54 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 10:07 pm
 

Seahawks sign Lynch to multi-year deal

Lynch will get to avoid the franchise tag by signing a multi-year deal with Seattle. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

When Seahawks general manager John Schneider said last month that free agent running back Marshawn Lynch would return to Seattle for the 2012 season, he answered “Sure” when asked if the franchise tag could be applied if a long-term contract wasn’t negotiated.

With the franchise tag deadline closing Monday, that step won’t be necessary after all.

The Seahawks announced Sunday night that Lynch has signed a multi-year contract. According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $31 million over four years with $18 million guaranteed.

“We are excited to keep Marshawn as an important part of what we are building,” Schneider said. “This is what we were hoping for when we acquired him from Buffalo.”

Lynch -- listed fourth on our list of unrestricted free agent running backs this offseason -- has done well since the Bills traded him to Seattle in 2010, aided in part by an untold amount of Skittles

He helped the Seahawks upset the Saints in the 2010 postseason -- you remember this ridiculous rushing touchdown, right? -- and in 2011, he recorded career highs in rushing yards (1,204) and touchdowns (13) while scoring in a franchise-record 11-straight games.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 5:43 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:00 am
 

Gregg Williams to meet with NFL again

Gregg Williams, right, has been summoned to meet with Roger Goodell again. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

The NFL has summoned former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to New York City on Monday for more discussions with security officials about alleged violations of the league's bounty rules.

The meetings with NFL officials, including a possible sit down with commissioner Roger Goodell, come in the wake of new reports that Williams ran illegal bounty programs during his stints with the Redskins and Bills.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Obviously, this is terrible, though not unexpected, news for the current Rams defensive coordinator, recently hired for Jeff Fisher’s new staff in St. Louis.

In an email to The Associated Press, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote, the league will continue "addressing the issues raised as part of our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of the game."

Already, Williams has apologized for his actions, saying, “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

Of course, that statement was released before we knew about the possibility of the programs in Washington, where he was the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs, and Buffalo, where he was head coach from 2001-03.

And while there has been a report that Williams would face a fine but not likely a suspension -- again, before we heard about Washington and Buffalo -- I’m guessing Goodell is going to leave all disciplinary options open after listening to what Williams has to say.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:36 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 5:11 pm
 

CJ2K predicts he'll be league leader again

Johnson believes he can lead the league in rushing once again. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Josh Katzowitz

In case you missed it last year, Titans running back Chris Johnson didn’t exactly have a stellar 2011.

After holding out and missing all of training camp and most of the preseason because he wanted a new long-term contract -- you couldn’t blame him for his desire for a raise, considering his original base salary was $800,000 -- he eventually signed a four-year, $53.5 million contract. And proceeded to tank.

The season, in fact, went so poorly that we wondered midway through whether Tennessee would simply part ways with Johnson.

Johnson finished the year with 1,042 rushing yards, but his yards per carry and his touchdowns significantly decreased. It was, by far, the worst season of his career, and with questions about his elusiveness and his desire to be a top player, it was easy to forget the 2,006 yards he gained in 2009.

Clearly, though, Johnson hasn’t lost confidence in himself. Or his predilection to make predictions about what he plans to accomplish in the next season. So, he’s taking to the Twitter machine for his latest proclamation.

“Statement is I'm gonna lead the league n rushing this year save this,” Johnson wrote Saturday.

Surely, the Titans wouldn’t mind that prediction coming true for the man who finished tied for 14th in the league last season. And there’s also this to think about: Johnson didn’t only miss the entire offseason because of the lockout but he also held out for all of August as well. Clearly, his body never caught up after so much time missed.

With a full offseason and training camp to prepare, Johnson very well could return to the form that allowed him to make so much money in the first place. Johnson’s prediction isn’t necessarily a bold one, because we saw his top form not too long ago.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:49 am
 

For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft

At this point, it's unclear who will draft RG3. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Coming off his standout performance at the scouting combine last month, the stock for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III might not ever be higher than it is right now. And thus, it makes sense that the Rams would like to trade their No. 2 draft pick as soon as possible in order to get the biggest booty in exchange for the rights to select Griffin in April.

Once free agency begins on March 13 and a number of quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne hit the open market, the desire to trade a trove of draft picks to the Rams for RG3 might decrease significantly.

Who wants RG3
But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting -- at the absolute bare minimum -- two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

What’s interesting about this scenario is if the Browns feel they can gamble and not trade for the No. 2 pick and still hope RG3 falls to them at No. 4, especially with the Vikings probably not looking at RG3 with Christian Ponder, a first-round pick last year, as the starting quarterback.

But as always, you have to take with a grain of salt any trade reports that occur before the NFL draft. At this point, it’s still a poker game with plenty of bluffing from all sides.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:09 am
Edited on: March 4, 2012 10:55 am
 

Ochocinco gets drenched by lion

Ochocinco

This isn't the lion that apparently peed on Ochocinco. This is actually Joba Chamberlain. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

On Saturday, we woke to the somewhat-stunning news that somebody had leaked a “clandestine” video showing a quarterback who looked like Peyton Manning throwing good-looking passes at what was supposedly Duke University.

On Sunday, we’ve got even more important news.

Ochocinco has been peed on. By a lion. For some reason.

And late Saturday night, he decided to break that news to the world.*

*And you thought the OCNN was just a passing phase.

“I never go out at night n the night I do I get peed on by a real "Lion" I feel honored, who can say they got peed on by a "Lion,” Ochocinco tweeted (sic’s and all).
 
Not only was he breaking news, he was analyzing it.

“I wasn't that close, he sprayed like a water gun RT @mizzmccord: how in the world did u even get close enough to a lion to get pee'd on?”

OK, here’s the story, as best as I can piece together. Ochocinco, who talks all the time about how he goes to bed early in the PM, attended a charity event Saturday night, and it featured a lion in a cage. Despite the fact Ochocinco was dressed in his Sunday best, the lion deemed him fit to serve as a firing target and apparently hosed down the Patriots receiver.

What further incensed Ochocinco? The dastardly lion didn’t take aim at Ochocinco’s fiancé. All of which led Ochocinco to one conclusion.

“Tonight's mishap is one of the reasons why I'm always sleep by 8:30, nothing good happens after 9pm,” Ochocinco wrote. “I love you n goodnight.”

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Did Gregg Williams compensate players in BUF?

One of his former players in Buffalo said Williams encouraged his players to knock out opponents for financial rewards. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

The NFL already has informed its fans that, under Gregg Williams reign as Saints defensive coordinator, he contributed to a bounty pool that helped motivate New Orleans players to try to knock opponents out of games. He’s since apologized and said it was a terrible mistake.

Then, there was a report Saturday that the NFL would investigate the Redskins to determine whether Williams pulled the same shenanigans in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator there under Joe Gibbs from 2004-07 (Gibbs has said he wasn’t aware of a pool, but former player Matt Bowen admitted in a piece for the Chicago Tribune the Redskins had one in place).

Now, the Buffalo News reported Saturday night that, when Williams was the Bills head coach from 2001-03, he rewarded players for injuring opponents and making other important plays.

"There was financial compensation," former safety Coy Wire told the newspaper, along with three other former players who asked not to be named.

And it wasn’t just rewards for knocking out a player to gain a competitive advantage – which obviously is bad enough. No, according to Wire, it was a malicious-type atmosphere.

"There were rewards,” he said. “There never was a point where cash was handed out in front of the team. But surely, you were going to be rewarded. When somebody made a big hit that hurt an opponent, it was commended and encouraged."

And now at this point, Wire can’t believe he ever thought that was the right way to play the game.

"Now, it's unthinkable that was my reality," Wire said. "I shattered (former Lions running back) James Stewart's shoulder, and he never played again. I was showered with praise for that. It's a shame that's how it was. Now I see how wrong that was."

And assuming the NFL investigates these charges and punishes the offenders, Williams also will get the chance to learn just how wrong it was. And at some point maybe we should wonder whether, assuming all of this proves true, whether Williams deserves to continue his coaching career in the NFL.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:29 pm
 

Rex Ryan says he's never participated in bounty

By Josh Katzowitz

Erase Rex Ryan off the list of coaches who would pay his players to injure opponents.

The Jets coach and the son of Buddy Ryan, the former Eagles coach who supposedly put out a bounty on Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in 1989, said that’s not something in which he has participated. Nor would he.

"This is something that is being handled by the NFL office," Ryan said in a statement on Saturday, via the New York Daily News. "I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it."

The same apparently can’t be said of current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who helped run a bounty pool while as the Saints defensive coordinator -- he apologized in a statement on Friday -- and possibly as the Redskins defensive coordinator in the years before that.

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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