Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:11 am

The Daily Shoutout: Hurd won't lose award

Just this week former Chicago receiver Sam Hurd was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Not a good day for Hurd.

If you remember, Hurd was a one time winner of the Ed Block Courage award. The award is one of the more prestigous in sports. It's a great thing given to players for their charitable deeds. They are voted on by their teammates as role models for, as the award describes, their "inspiration, sportsmanship and courage." Hurd won the award when he was in Dallas.

Would the organization ever consider rescinding Hurd's award? I asked just that and was told by a spokesman the foundation would not take back Hurd's award. They've never done it before, the spokesman said, with other controversial winners and they're not going to start with Hurd.

This is an interesting decision. Does having a man who might be a big-time drug dealer as your award winner tarnish the award?

Probably not since the award stands for something so good and the vast majority of winners remain excellent standard bearers.

So Hurd won't lose the award.

And now he goes on to worry about more interesting things. Like staying out of prison.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, NFL
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 11:29 am

The Daily Shoutout: Bears in chaos

OPENING HIT: The Bears fired Jerry Angelo, the team's general manager, and a team source said the reason why was simple:

"The organization was growing stale."

Interesting. Not sure I'd agree with that and it seems that Angelo was far from the main problem with the Bears. The firing of Angelo seems completely and utterly reactionary to not making the playoffs. Angelo isn't blameless but the reason Chicago didn't make the postseason is because their two offensive stars, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, were injured. Let's be real. A healthy Bears team is probably still playing.

Let's put it this way. As Bears general manager Angelo was 95-41 overall. Under him the Bears won four division championships and went to a Super Bowl. Does that sound like a man who should have been fired?

But this is the NFL. Being sensible or patient is against league rules. I actually think teams get fined for that.

The team announced on its website that Smith would coach in 2012. A source had earlier told me that Smith was in trouble and I still think he is. I'm still not convinced Smith will coach the Bears next season and I'm extremely skeptical he'll coach beyond that.

A new GM wants his guy and it's only a matter of time before the new GM, well, pushes for his guy. Smith is not that person.

We'll see.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, NFL
Posted on: January 2, 2012 10:43 am

The Daily Shoutout: Jeff Fisher man of the hour

OPENING HIT: I can't remember the last time a head coach was in this type of demand. Maybe Bill Cowher not long after he left Pittsburgh. Believe it or not, Jason Garrett was highly thought of around football. Jon Gruden comes to mind. Urban Meyer in college football. But perhaps none of those names compares to the demand for Jeff Fisher right now.

Every team with an opening or potential opening will contact him. He'll have his pick of jobs. He'll be offered a fortune.

But I'm told by a source close to Fisher that of all the jobs, two mainly intrigue him.

One is Indianapolis (though it's not certain the Colts will fire Jim Caldwell). Fisher, I'm told, loves the idea of coaching either Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck (or both). Well, yeah, of course he would. What coach wouldn't?

I'm told another top choice for Fisher is a surprising one--Tampa Bay. Fisher feels the roster is more talented than it shows. I'd argue with Fisher on that one.

Also, keep this in mind. Though Fisher's name will appear in many different places, I'm told he will likely only interview with one or two teams. Possibly three. Fisher has no intention of doing mass interviews.

He's the most sought after coach in a long time which is interesting when he was practically run out of Tennessee.

Funny how quickly things change.

Category: NFL
Tags: Fisher, NFL
Posted on: January 2, 2012 10:01 am

Elway still not sold on Tebow?

In late December the Broncos' general manager, John Elway, gave Tim Tebow the dreaded vote of confidence.

"Tim Tebow's not going anywhere," Elway told the Associated Press. "I mean, he's going to be a Bronco and we're going to do everything we can and hopefully he's that guy."

Hopefully he's that guy.

While I'm sure Elway wasn't lying I'm told by several league and team officials Elway continues to have significant concerns about whether or not Tebow can be a franchise quarterback despite Elway's public protestations to the contrary.

It's understandable. Elway would have to be a fool not to have second thoughts after the past three games by Tebow. He's committed seven turnovers in the past three games, all Broncos losses. The rest of the league has clearly adapted to him by shutting down Tebow's running lanes and Tebow has a difficult time throwing an accurate pass.

I'm told none of this has gone unnoticed by Elway and the doubts about Tebow are creeping in--if they ever left. It's not exactly a state secret that Elway has never been comfortable with the entire Tebow phenomenon.

Elway may deny this (he has to now) but it's accurate and presents a huge mess for the legendary quarterback who has done a good job of rebuilding the team.

Now he has to somehow deal with what is clearly a mess.


Category: NFL
Tags: Broncos, NFL, Tebow
Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:01 am

Raheem Morris hot seat

Representatives of Tampa Bay Buccaneers ownership spent part of Sunday night and Monday morning speaking to players and others throughout the organization about coach Raheem Morris, according to an agent who represents one of the Buccaneers players.

This isn't a shock. This is what a smart team does when it's deciding whether or not to keep its head coach. You gather as much intel as possible before making a decision.

The real shock is how ownership has been able to -- for the moment -- keep their decision a secret. Nothing -- for the moment -- has leaked.

Actually, one sentiment is beginning to (slightly). Ownership doesn't truly want to fire Morris but feel they may not have a choice. The team has lost 10 straight games and there's little question Morris has lost the locker room. Bucs ownership, I'm also told, is extremely concerned about the effect bringing Morris back will have on ticket sales for next season.

Category: NFL
Tags: Bucs, NFL
Posted on: December 30, 2011 8:10 am

The Daily Shoutout: Owens won't play in IFL

OPENING HIT: No way Terrell Owens will do it. No way in hell. No. Freaking. Way.

The ego of Owens won't allow it. I don't care how financially desperate he is. The ego of Owens will stop him from playing in the Indoor Football League because he'll see it as too far beneath him.

And it is. I'm no fan of Owens. I think he's a bit of an Uncle Tom who has thrown numerous players and organizations under good sized buses. I guarantee you there are people around the NFL who are laughing at the predicament of Owens and saying: karma is a bitch, eh Terrell?

But admitedly despite how Owens has treated so many people so poorly there remains an element of sadness about Owens even considering playing in some cheapened copy of football to make a buck. Owens was a great player. I mean, great Hall of Fame worthy player and here he is in serious talks with the IFL.

Yet again it won't happen. This is likely some sort of trial balloon by Owens to see the reaction and once he digests how most people are mocking this potential decision he'll back out. I could be wrong but Owens playing in the IFL just isn't Owens.

That ego won't allow it.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:47 am

The Daily Shoutout: Giants-Cowboys circa 1994

OPENING HIT: I remember a Giants player, linebacker Michael Brooks, telling me that the night before the Giants played Dallas in the biggest game of the year -- it was 1994 -- how it was impossible to sleep leading up to the game. Another Giants linebacker, Corey Miller, said after the loss it felt like a piece of him died.

This was almost 20 years ago. The Giants-Cowboys battle was for the division crown just like this weekend's game will be. I was a Giants beat writer and that contest remains one of the best games I've ever covered. It was a game that put Emmitt Smith on a Hall of Fame glide path as he destroyed the Giants for 168 yards on 32 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 61 yards and played the second half and overtime with a mild separation of his right shoulder. That game allowed Smith to get his third straight rushing title, gaining 1,486 yards for the season, 57 more than the rookie Jerome Bettis of the Los Angeles Rams.

Giants players after that game told me privately that they felt Smith exaggerated his injury but it didn't look that way to me. It looked like he was seriously hurt.

What that game did, what it might do this time around as well, is either start a playoff run or end a coaching tenure. My belief has long been that game propelled the two franchises into different directions. It launched the Cowboys' second Super Bowl win and cemented their dynasty and it was also the beginning of the end for Dan Reeves.

This game just might do the same. If Tom Coughlin wins the Giants could again be one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs, Giant killers, just like when Coughlin won his first Super Bowl. And it might be the beginning of the end for the Dallas coach.

Conversely if Tony Romo, playing with an injured hand, can win, he can do a lot to build his image as a clutch quarterback.

It's rare to get a game like this at the end of the season and we actually have two of them: Denver facing Kansas City might even be a more dramatic contest.

But if this Cowboys-Giants game is anything like the one in 1994, well, this is going to be fun.
Category: NFL
Tags: Cowboys, Giants, NFL
Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:14 pm

Cam Newton makes first big mistake

There is very little not to like about Cam Newton. He's extremely intelligent. He's demonstrated maturity beyond his years. He's a leader. He destroyed -- phasered, photon torpedoes on maximum -- many of the things said about him pre-draft by some idiot media and NFL scouts. A number of those things, I felt then and now, were racially based.

Yes, Newton has done it all and oh, by the way, he's probably the mold for the next generation of NFL quarterback.

But now we have seen Newton's first big mistake as an NFL player.

He recently told ESPN this: "I can't sit up here and look at it like, oh man, my critics are racist," Newton says. "I blame JaMarcus Russell and to some degree Vince Young. If you have the opportunity to make that kind of money doing something you love to do, why would you screw it up? I'm trying to be a trailblazer. If Baylor's Robert Griffin decides to come out, I want people to say 'He can be the next Cam Newton' instead of 'He's gonna be the next JaMarcus Russell.'"


Not blaming critics...totally fine. Criticizing Russell or Young...fine. But Newton fell into a trap. He was saying this: Russell and Young were the reasons he was being criticized pre-draft when that is just nonsensical.

I just don't understand why Newton felt the need to A) shield his critics and B) bring up Russell or Young in the first place. What do those two have to do with Newton or his critics?

Young has had his issues but he's 31-19 as a starter. I love Newton as a player and a guy but he has a ways to go before reaching 31-19.

And I don't see Tim Tebow saying: "You know, the reason people had skepticism of me as a quarterback was because Ryan Leaf was a failure."

Newton's logic makes no sense.

Newton: smart guy, great talent, will win a lot of games.

But he just made his first mistake.

Category: NFL
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