Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:12 pm

Crisis averted: NFLPA gives Smith his bonus

The NFLPA executive committee voted to give DeMaurice Smith his $1 million bonus.

"The Executive Committee of the NFLPA stands firmly united behind Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and what has been accomplished under his leadership," read an NFLPA statement obtained by me. "Today, we made an affirmative decision on his discretionary compensation. We look forward to having him serve our membership long into the future."

There was some concern among some NFLPA leaders that Smith might not receive the bonus and he could depart.

But that is no longer the case. Smith is now the leader of the union for the long haul.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:57 am

The Daily Shoutout: Same. Old. Bills.

OPENING HIT: Remember when the Buffalo Bills were the toast of football? They had beaten the New England Patriots and were called by some one of the best in the NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a Harvard grad. Heard that over and over. Stevie Johnson was Jerry Rice wrapped inside Calvin Johnson wrapped inside Andre Reed. The Bills were going to kick the crap out of the world.

Now, there's this. The Bills were booed during Sunday's loss to Miami. There is speculation in the media that the Bills, despite signing Fitzpatrick to a new and filthy rich, fatty cat contract, might look to draft another QB. The Bills started 4-1 and then 5-2 but have lost their last seven games. They're a wreck.

The Philadelphia Eagles are probably the most disappointing team of the year but the Bills are a very close second.

The big question is this: what the hell happened?

The Bills are a classic example of the media overstating a team's early success, extrapolating it over an entire season, instead of waiting and seeing just how good they were. They did have one nice win against the Patriots but many of those early wins look suspect now. They beat Oakland, Kansas City and Philadelphia early. We now know those weren't such quality victories.

I don't know what the lesson is. Maybe there is none other than this.

Same. Old. Bills.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:18 am

The Daily Shoutout: How did Hurd keep his secret?

OPENING HIT: Sam Hurd is accused of basically being a drug dealing overlord. The amounts of drugs he's accused of attempting to purchase are almost incomprehensible. Federal officials say those crimes extend to his tenure with two different NFL teams. So there's an obvious question.

What did these teams know and when did they know it?

Both the Cowboys and Bears say they didn't know anything about Hurd's alleged crimes. I believe that.

But I will say this. You have to remember something about the NFL and its teams: they know everything about their players. And I mean, everything. The NFL has the best security arm in all of sports consisting of former law enforcement officials. Most teams have similar security personnel. In the past, it wasn't unusual for some teams to spy on their more troubled players. There are legendary stories about the New York Giants monitoring the activities of the decadence of Lawrence Taylor.

So if the Cowboys and Bears really had no idea about Hurd, and these allegations are true, we are seeing something highly unique in NFL history. A league and teams that normally know everything about a player were duped. Again, this almost never happens in professional football.

This is the NFL's Iraq. Instead of missing weapons of mass destruction two teams and a great league may have missed one of its players accused of a pretty grand series of crimes. It's amazing, when you think about it.

No, the NFL isn't going to know everything about its players.

But many times, they do. Except now.

Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, NFL
Posted on: December 18, 2011 7:30 pm

Tebow magic ends with Patriots blowout

DENVER-- There were five minutes remaining in Denver's game against New England and Broncos fans, in large numbers, began to depart Sports Authority Field. It was a mad rush for the exits. They knew not even Tim Tebow could bring them back from this.

Normally, fans here don't leave when there is time on the clock because they know there is always a chance Tebow will do something, well, Tebow-ish. Not today. Not this time.

Tebow met his match. Actually, two of them. Bill Belichick, who created the perfect game plan to stop Tebow (a game plan teams should have used in the past) and Tom Brady, who put up enough points to put immense pressure on Tebow.

The combination proved too much for the Broncos to handle and for the first time in a long time Tebow seemed ordinary and he was definitely beaten.

Patriots 41 Broncos 23 Tebow miracles: 0.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 6:14 pm

Why Bob Kraft is a special owner

I want to tell you a story. It doesn't involve Tim Tebow. It has nothing to do with James Harrison or money or television ratings. It begins with a meeting in Denver on Saturday morning between Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and Kathy Redmond, a longtime crusader against athlete violence. This is what happened.

Kraft and Redmond have a connection that goes back years. Kraft has always admired Redmond and Redmond has felt the same about Kraft. The bond goes back to a player, a violent person, named Christian Peter. Some of you will remember that name. Peter was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 1996 draft. Peter had been a one-man crime wave as a college player at Nebraska and part of that alleged wave included Redmond saying Peter had raped her while both were at the university.

Redmond would go on to become a freedom fighter for women's rights and Peter would get drafted. Redmond was a key component in raising public awareness about Peter. Then Peter contributed to his own demise. He'd get his eigth conviction in seven years shortly before the draft and Kraft, along with his late wife, Myra, made an historic decision: he relinquished Peter's draft rights.

Again, it was a brave decision, something that had never been done before.

Which lead to this meeting between Kraft and Redmond.

"It was very emotional," said Redmond.

Redmond said that in the meeting Kraft disclosed a piece of information that I had never heard before. At that time, Kraft was new to football ownership, and Kraft faced pressure from other NFL owners not to relinquish Peter's rights because other owners didn't want to set a precedent. Think about that for a second.

If what Kraft says is true that is an astounding thing. Some owners wanted to protect Peter and the NFL more than they wanted to do the right thing.

Kraft has always been one of my favorite owners because he does care about these types of things. And Redmond has long been a hero.

The meeting between Kraft and Redmond was almost like a thank you to each other. Kraft ended the meeting by saying: "I wish my sweetheart could have made it here." Kraft, of course, meant Myra.
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL, Patriots
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:53 pm

Doctors turned Congress write NFL, union on HGH

Congressional officials have been applying a steady stream of pressure to the union to bend on HGH testing. The union believes there needs to be more information and safeguards inserted into testing protocols while the NFL believes testing is ready to start now.

Well, Congress has launched another salvo. This time a group of doctors turned Congressional officials have wriiten a letter to the union and NFL urging them to end their HGH impasse. You can read the letter here.

Will this work? I don't know. The union is convinced there needs to be more research done and I'm not sure they will budge.

So the HGH impasse will likely continue.
Category: NFL
Tags: HGH, NFL
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:38 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 3:57 pm

The Daily Shoutout: NFL terrified of Hurd list

OPENING HIT: It's funny how things work in today's media environment. One station in Chicago reports an alleged list kept by accused drug dealing kingpin Sam Hurd and within 24 hours panic sets in across the NFL.

No, that's not an exaggeration. There is absolute panic across the sport about the potential repercussions of such a list and, again, the list may not even exist. Just the idea of a list is causing people throughout the NFL -- from the league office to the union to players to coaches -- to pee their pants.

And, again, there may not even be a list.

I spoke to players via phone, text and Twitter DM; current players and former players and the resounding sentiment was: "Oh s---!"

I don't think there is a list. It's too convenient and sounds like something from a movie. But after numerous conversations with players last night they are convinced such a list exists.

It can't be overstated the damage such a list could do to the NFL. If it is 10 to 20 players that's not an insignificant amount. If it was later determined that players on that list never failed drug tests it would also put the league's drug testing program in question.

So, yes, such a list would be very, very bad.

No wonder so many in the league are panicking.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Cowboys, Hurd, NFL
Posted on: December 15, 2011 9:45 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 9:57 am

The Daily Shoutout: Brain docs at every game?

OPENING HIT: The talk across football now is concussions and within all of that is the idea of the NFL putting neurologists on every sideline for every game. It's a brilliant idea but is it actually feasible?

It probably is but would still be a huge logistical and philosophical undertaking. Let's take opening weekend as an example.

There were 16 games opening weekend (there would obviously be less as byes worked into the schedule as the season progressed). You could have one neurologist per stadium. Or if the league really wanted to cover all of its players they could have one on each sideline.

There are thousands of brain docs so the numbers would be easy to do. They might cost $25,000 a year plus administrative and travel expenses, an expert said, or possibly more -- a small amount for a $9 billion league.

Those are the easy parts. The biggest problem will be incorporating a neurologist's philosophy with that of a professional football team. If the league does this football will be all in. I mean, all in. It would drastically change the sport.

That's because a sideline brain specialist wouldn't care about politcs or if a team was in a playoff push. They would be truly indepedent and remove suspected cases from the game. Period. Then, in working with another indepedent specialist, could keep players out for days or weeks.

These doctors, in many ways, would instantly become some of the most powerful people in football. They could alter seasons, careers -- everything. And they wouldn't give a damn what fans or players think of them. They would approach it with a cold reality with only player safety in mind.

Of course, that would be a great thing. It would keep players safer but I think one reason the league and union have been moving on that front cautiously is because they know the potential outcome. Independent specialists could drastically alter the sport.

Having them is the right thing to do but any assumption it would be easy is a wrong one.
Category: NFL
Tags: concussions, NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or