Tag:Drew Brees
Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:21 pm

Mike Ditka to appear on 'Entourage' series finale

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This July, HBO's Entourage returns for an eighth and final season, and the series finale will include a cameo by … former NFL head coach and ESPN NFL analyst Mike Ditka (bet you didn't see that coming).

Ditka spilled the beans during an appearance on "The Waddle & Silvy Show."

"This just came up spur of the moment, and actually you know, it was a good experience," Ditka said. "I didn't realize how big a deal it was, I'll be honest with you. I'm kinda naïve about those things, and I understand it is a pretty big deal, and yes, I think it is very nice and [Wisconsin athletic director Barry] Alvarez is on it with me so both of us are there. …

"[The role] goes beyond me and my altar boy image, but I do have a couple of lines in there that might test a few people."

The list of famous faces from the sports world who have appeared on the show over the years is long and distinguished. That said, Ditka isn't the first person with ties to the Bears to turn up on Entourage: in Season 7, LB Brian Urlacher discussed investment opportunities with Turtle

Even if the recent progress towards a new CBA falls through in the coming weeks, at least we'll have Ditka's cameo to look forward to. So there's that.

In the meantime, a partial list of Entourage cameos by various sports figures. (Please note: there's a lot of naughty language so keep that in mind before clicking the YouTube links below. Hey, it's HBO.)
The only thing missing? Mike Tahoe and CJ Hunter. Because every show needs mustachioed cops.

Photo via Ari Gold's twitter feed

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 6:44 pm

Brees on Upshaw death: Owners saw blood in water

Posted by Andy Benoit

As executive director of the NFL Players Association, Gene Upshaw developed what many felt was an extremely cozy relationship with the NFL league office and the owners. His unexpected death in 2008 had a significant impact on the labor negotiations.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees thinks the owners used it as an oD. Brees (US Presswire)pportunity to gain leverage on the players.

"Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away -- I'm just going to lay it all out there -- the owners saw blood in the water," Brees told Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter. "They felt like, 'This is our opportunity to take a significant piece of the [financial] pie back at all costs, a piece that we will never have to give back again. This is our chance, while they don't have leadership, while they're scrambling to find a new executive director. This is our time.'

"I can point to about five different things to prove to you that they were ready to lock us out. They opted out of the last year of the [CBA] deal; they hired Bob Batterman [who oversaw a lockout of NHL players]. They tried to take the American Needle case to the Supreme Court to basically give them an antitrust exemption or single-entity status but were defeated 9-0; they established new TV deals to pay them in the event of a lockout, but we were able to put a freeze on that money because they did not negotiate in good faith and broke the law. And they had an internal NFL document that was leaked -- a decision tree -- that said smack dab in the middle of it 'financial needs in a lockout.' That was in 2008, OK? So you're telling me that they had no plans to lock us out and really wanted to get a deal done? I don't think so."

He went on.

"Their philosophy was, We're going to give you a very subpar deal, a slap-in-the-face deal, and hope that you'll accept it because hopefully we've intimidated you enough into thinking that this is a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and you're just going to succumb to the pressure," he said. "Well, guess what. We're a lot more informed and educated than in the past, and we're much better businessmen than you think and we're going to stand up for what is right and what is fair. Fifty-fifty is fair. It's been fair for the last 20 years and I think the game has done pretty well over the last 20 years. I think franchise values have gone up at a pretty good rate over the last 20 years. So you can't sit here and tell me that the system is broken."

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 3:54 pm

GM: '1st ACL tear' to dampen voluntary workouts?

Posted by Will Brinson

Given the current labor climate, it's been pretty impressive to see NFL players in various cities rally around the leaders of their respective teams and start firing up some offseason workouts.

But it's easy to be optimistic when nothing's going wrong -- in a piece that ran Friday, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated talked to a GM who expressed concern about the future of these workouts once a major injury happens.

"Quite honestly, I'm waiting for the first ACL tear that happens and then we'll see if anyone talks about how great this whole workout program is for these young guys," the GM said. "I just think the potential downside outweighs the benefit. I know that's probably not conventional thinking, considering the Redskins won two championships off this kind of thing. [...]

NFL Labor

"Let someone lose their quarterback for eight months because he slipped and hurt something, be it a Drew Brees, a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, then we'll see how fast these camps continue."

The unnamed GM is correct -- if someone who is a) extremely notable or b) angling for a new contract suffers a major injury during these workouts, they'll probably come to a quick halt.

And while freak injuries are a part of exercising (for anyone), it's worth noting that these voluntary workouts aren't exactly conducive to serious injury problems -- Brees noted that players "take a risk by being here" but also pointed out that there's "absolutely no contact."

And from the perspective of the players involved, it also helps to keep them together at a time when they appear to need unity more than ever.

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 11:37 am

Bush isn't necessarily done in New Orleans

Bush Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After the Saints drafted RB Mark Ingram in the first round, Reggie Bush almost immediately tapped out a farewell tweet that read, “It’s been fun New Orleans.” QB Drew Brees, though, is urging Bush to remember the situation five years ago when the Saints drafted Bush and how then-starter Deuce McAllister handled himself.

"Deuce handled that situation better than anybody ever could have and he had one of his best seasons in 2006," Brees told Towntalk.com (H/T Pro Football Talk). "He was a huge part of our success. I think Reggie has that same potential to be that big a part of our success this year despite the fact that we've got three other guys."

That also is a hindrance for Bush, because it’s not only Ingram he must worry about. There’s also Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas – who just landed a four-year contract before the lockout. So, after Bush tweeted his response to Ingram’s signing, Brees texted him some words of encouragement, basically writing not to take the draft as a sign that the Saints don’t want him.

But would the Saints actually want him back? Certainly not at the $11.8 million he’s supposed to make in 2011, so Bush would have to restructure his contract. But, after the draft, coach Sean Payton also said he would be surprised if Bush DIDN’T return to the team next season, so it’s hard to know what to think at this point.

"(Bush is) a young guy, he's very prideful and wants to be great. He wants as many opportunities as he can get," Brees said." I think you immediately see (the drafting of Ingram) as, 'Oh, well, that's taking opportunities away from me.’ But in reality, I think you've got to find the positive in it."

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Posted on: May 5, 2011 12:20 am

Brees is paying for the Saints' extra workouts

Posted by Will Brinson

Yesterday, we brought you the news that Drew Brees and 37 other Saints were working out voluntarily to try and gain an edge for the 2011 season.

But there's an even more fascinating twist to the story: Brees is paying for the workouts. The former Super Bowl MVP is footing the bill for "most of the expenses," according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, including the Tulane staff to work the players out as well as lodging and insurance for some younger members of the team.

And he doesn't appear to concerned about the possibility that the bill for the workouts could approach "five figures" because of the lockout.

"Who knows," Brees said. "We'll see. But it's worth it."

Brees' leadership role is clearly having an effect on the players.

"When you have a leader like that on your team, it makes it easy for guys to rally around and understand what's available to us," right tackle Jon Stinchcomb said.

Stinchcomb's right -- as I said in the previous post about the Saints' workouts, it's pretty obvious that leadership is going to show itself with these offseason workouts through the way that various teams workout sans structure from the clubs.
NFL Labor

"I feel like the more organized you can be as a team and the more that you can communicate during this time ... I think the better off we'll be once the season does come around," Brees said.

He's right. But how many guys will actually (and literally) put their money where their mouth is in a situation like this? Answer: probably not many.

This is why Brees is a respected leader in the league, a Super-Bowl champion, and the most vocal of the named plaintiffs in the current antitrust suit against the NFL.

In a time when players are supposed to be saving money and worrying about their future, and when many of them are being derided by fans for fighting over a large sum of money, the example Brees is setting is almost bafflingly impressive.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 2:35 pm

37 Saints join workouts organized by Brees

Posted by Will Brinson

With the once-lifted lockout now in place until the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rules -- likely coming later this week -- players are back in limbo. But the would-be rudderless ship of one team, the New Orleans Saints, has some pretty good direction, with 37 players participating in voluntary workouts organized by quarterback Drew Brees.

"We would all be working out somewhere anyway, so why not do it together," Brees said. "I feel like this is putting us way ahead of other teams by having it so organized."

He's right -- it's pretty obvious that when it comes to the 2011 season, teams will probably be split into tiers when it comes to an advantage out of the starting gate.

There will be one tier of teams that worked out together, frequently, who will be ahead of everyone else. There's another tier of teams who remain "loosely organized" but don't have a firm workout plan in place. And there'll probably be a tier of teams that don't do a whole lot of organizing.

Yes, it seems safe to say that you can figure out which will be which based on a) leadership and b) organizational structure. (Think "Saints vs. Bengals," basically.)

That being said, if people aren't at these workouts won't be looked at in a bad way by the rest of the team.
NFL Labor

"I don't blame them if they're not here," said Brees, who is one of the plaintiffs in the players' lawsuit against the NFL. "We have no injury protection (as we would) if we were at the facility.

"You take a risk by being here."

Indeed it is a risk -- anyone that suffered a season-ending injury practicing when the league is locked out won't be subject to a lot of the perks they'd have were this a "normal" year.

But at some point, it should be normal in the NFL again, and those players will want to have the biggest possible advantage ... without causing any long-term damage to the roster.

"This is about getting guys back in, getting guys in the flow," Brees said. "We'll escalate it at some point to routes.

"There will be absolutely no contact. The point is to get guys together as a team."

Don't sleep on one more unintended -- or perhaps not? -- effect of these workouts: by bringing the players on the Saints together, Brees is also ensuring that, in a time of labor strife and factions-in-waiting, his troops remain unified.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:02 pm

Top 15 selling jerseys in NFL

Posted by Andy Benoit

USA Today has published a list of the top 15 most popular NFL player jerseys from the past year. Without further ado:

1) Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
3) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
4) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
5) Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
6) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
7) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
8) Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
9) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
10) Eli Manning, New York Giants
11) DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
12) Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
13) Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
14) Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
15) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

The data is based on sales from NFLShop.com.

Last year, Favre ranked No. 1 in jersey sales. Vick ranked 20th. Matthews wasn't even in the top 25.

Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:13 pm

Rodgers the favorite for Madden '12 cover

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

And from the “why shouldn’t Bodog.com put out odds for who will be voted as the Madden ’12 cover?” department, here are the odds for who will win the honor (and perhaps the vaunted curse).

Aaron Rodgers               2/3

Michael Vick                   3/2

Adrian Peterson             12/1

Jamaal Charles              12/1

Peyton Hillis                   12/1

Danny Woodhead           14/1

Drew Brees                     25/1

Patrick Willis                   30/1

If it’s me, I, of course, would go with Rodgers, because that seems so freakin’ obvious. Plus, you have to discount the PETA influence on Vick’s voters (that’s sarcasm, people). But if I was to go with a darkhouse, I’d go with Woodhead. His run in the past year has simply been outstanding (from the outhouse with the Jets to a major star with the Patriots), so why wouldn’t it continue?

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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