Thumb Things To Ponder

Posted: September 18, 2009

Thumbs down

To ESPN for its misleading report on the Eagles' decision not to activate the $7 million option bonus in the contract extension that Brian Westbrook signed last year. John Clayton wrote, "Brian Westbrook's long-term security isn't as long as he had anticipated." Uh, actually, it's exactly as long as he had anticipated. The option bonus was only put into Westbrook's extension so that the deal would comply with the league's cap-accounting rules. Both he and his agent, Todd France, were well aware of that and had no problem with it. As was pointed out in the Daily News on Wednesday, a source close to Westbrook acknowledged that Westbrook and France viewed the final 3 years of the deal, which were voided when the option bonus wasn't picked up, as "dummy years." As in make-believe. When Westbrook signed the extension, he knew he would be a free agent after the 2010 season.

Thumbs up

To media-friendly New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. In this era of paranoid, tight-lipped coaches unwilling to divulge even the most harmless information to the outside world, Ryan understands that the media doesn't have to be your enemy. After a training-camp practice in August, Ryan took 15 reporters into a team meeting room and broke down the tape of 16 plays from the Jets' preseason game against the Rams. "I just want to give you an idea what I'm looking for," he said. Earlier, when a reporter asked about a player injury, Ryan asked, "Haven't you guys ever talked to our trainers?" When a PR flak rushed up to him in a panic and explained that media access to the trainer had been strictly verboten in the past, he smiled and said, "Like I said, you're not supposed to talk to our trainer."

Thumbs down

To Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for showing poor form and running away from ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber as she attempted to interview him Monday after the Patriots' 25-24 win over the Bills. No excuse short of Gisele going into early labor justifies not standing still for 2 lousy minutes and letting Kolber ask him a few innocuous questions. I mean, ESPN is paying Brady's employer, Bob Kraft, and the league's other 31 owners $1.1 billion a year for the broadcast rights to "Monday Night Football."

Thumbs up

To Titans quarterback Vince Young, who surprised Steve McNair's sons Trenton and Tyler by taking them to a "Dear Dads Breakfast'' at their school, St. Paul Christian Academy in Nashville, Tenn. McNair was shot and killed on July 4. Young was close to McNair. They had known each other since Young attended McNair's football camps when he was a teen. "It was a great, great gesture," Julie Dilworth, the admissions director at the school, told the Nashville Tennessean. "All the kids had been talking about the dads' breakfast and [Trenton and Tyler] were wondering what was going to happen with them. They were thrilled." Said Young: "Those are my boys. It was just out of love. Steve would have done it for me. He pretty much did it for me when I was growing up."

- Paul Domowitch

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