Archive for the ‘Around the league’ Category

Never, ever change, New York Jets. Please, always stay the same, and just do you. Be the toxic, self-depreciating mess you know you can be, and never develop the ability to self-censor, or think coherently while speaking to the media, and by extension your fans, coaches, teammates, and the universe.

When the thought of using Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie at wide receiver occasionally this year first surfaced, there was a distinct smell of desperation in the air. Then yesterday when he told the gaggle of gums who host ESPN’s First Take that if he had to rank himself among the Jets’ current wide receivers he’d be No. 2 behind only Santonio Holmes, the odor permeating through the training camp air took on a far more familiar flavor. Steaming hot crap.

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As we astutely noted back in May, Robert Griffin III doesn’t actually sell his jerseys. There are stores and websites for that, but perhaps hawking merchandise on street corners is an avenue the players could pursue nine years from now if there’s another lockout when the current CBA expires.

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The NFL is a traditionally macho sports league, littered with dudes that look like they can eat an entire side of beef, bench-press a Buick, and then drink a keg of beer funneled through the exhaust pipe of a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427. It is the furthest thing from feminine that a professional sports league can get, aside from maybe that World Arm Wrestling Championship featured in the Stallone flick Over the Top.

Due to the current lockout of NFL referees, the league could be getting a shot of estrogen to go with all of that testosterone.¬† ESPNW is reporting that if replacement referees are used and a labor agreement isn’t reached prior to the regular season, one of the replacements could be a woman, specifically Shannon Eastin, who has experience refereeing college football.

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We’re all overjoyed that football is back, and that we can now go about the business of scrutinizing depth charts, and intricately analyzing throwing motions. But although you’re aware that there’s much more to life than professional football, a reminder every now and then is still helpful.

It just sucks when it comes like this. It really sucks.

Titans wideout O.J. Murdock died this morning in Tampa, Florida from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was discovered by deputies in his car at 8:30 a.m. in front of his high school where he was once a standout receiver.

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Mike Mularkey is in the opening days of camp with a new team that’s training without Maurice Jones-Drew, the league’s leading rusher, and Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville’s first-round pick. So like a parent who sees a swear jar as the holy root of all sacred discipline, he’s instituting his own unique brand of secret service level gag order.

If you’re employed by the Jaguars to play football and you talk openly about an injury, you’ll be fined $10,000. Even if you’re talking to your mom, the caring figure who’s nurturing hand has healed your wounds.

Mularkey shared part of his opening comments to his players with the media, and although he may have been joking about the mom part, the rest was serious. If Jags players speak to anyone about their broken bones, he’ll break their bones, or something.

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Almost exactly a year ago I went to Cleveland, and I suppose the purpose of my trip was tourism-related. Joakim Noah was pissed.

Since the burdens of the normal expenses of early adulthood (in my case, buying a condo) had drained my monetary reservoirs at the time, a five-hour drive to Cleveland to knock another good ol’ American ballpark off my list was an economical getaway for a few days, especially since the cost of a house in that fine city is roughly equivalent to the price of a VCR.

For those two days of “vacation” I wasn’t a football blogger. Instead, I was a baseball fan soaking in the atmosphere around Progressive Field. But that was frequently interrupted by rubbery dog (dawg?) faces and bones. Even in August during the early days of training camp before a single preseason game had been played, and even with the Indians still clinging to playoff contention, the Browns owned that town.

That’s why whenever there’s even discussion about a change in Browns ownership, there’s also immediate fear about the team leaving. It’s happened once, and it could happen again.

Earlier today when Randy Lerner issued a statement saying that Jimmy Haslem had interest in making a substantial investment in the team, those fears resurfaced. But stay calm, Browns faithful, the Factory of Sadness isn’t getting relocated.

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If you can muster the ability to care about the Jets quarterback controversy that’s not a controversy at all, you’re a better man than I.

I care immensely about Tim Tebow, partly because he keeps me employed, and partly because I’m fascinated to see him rumble down the field on kickoff coverage, be a punt protector, and scramble around in the backfield as a pretend running back who can throw a football occasionally.

But mostly, I have legitimate and genuine curiosity about how this Tebow experiment plays out with the Jets, and strictly from a football perspective. I don’t care about his religious beliefs, and whether he is or isn’t pimping hoes with his bros nightly in New York, and if the dark soul of the city has rotted his core.

The Tebow infatuation has gone from legitimate but annoying in Denver, to cute in New York. Mark Sanchez will face pressure because he’s sucked recently, which is the same kind of pressure any quarterback who’s been less than adequate faces. The pressure he’s facing from Tebow is mild at best, even though his first interception will be greeted with Tebow chants, and even though every poor day he has at training camp will prompt questions about his future, and his status as a man. There’s no quarterback controversy between Sanchez and Tebow, and there never has been.

But Tebow is winning the popularity contest, and it’s not even close. He’s consumed the minds, and every motor movement of the New York media…

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