February 12, 2014
FOR ANY NFL team thinking about drafting Michael Sam, the Missouri pass rusher who now has come out as gay, three questions will be considered. There should be only one question, the first one, but this is just a recognition of the reality in 2014. So: 1) Can he play? 2) Will the media distraction be overwhelming? 3) Will his teammates accept him? None of us can answer the first one. Sam is an undersized defensive end who probably cannot play that position in the NFL. How he would translate as an outside linebacker is a projection that only professional talent evaluators can make - and even they will disagree, in all likelihood.
January 31, 2014 |
NEW YORK - It will never be like it was for John Elway. If the Broncos manage to beat the Seahawks Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVIII, Elway, who, as executive vice president of football operations put this team together, will be jubilant. But he knows it won't feel the same way it did as a player in the late '90s when he was down there on the field with the ball in his hands and his teammates counting on him, when he led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl titles. "It's very different [as a front-office executive]
January 28, 2014 |
JON MICHAEL O'CONNOR is Father Judge all the way down to his tube socks. After the Crusaders sacked Archbishop Ryan, 56-45, yesterday, the 6-1 senior guard stood shoeless in the locker room clad in Columbia Blue from head to toe. Hell, it's even in his genes. Interestingly, however, he came very close to wearing Raider red. "I was actually going to come here," O'Connor said inside the visitors' locker room at Ryan. "I had all my paperwork ready, but at the last second my family and I decided to come to Judge.
January 26, 2014 |
NICK GROSSMANN hoped his prophesy would not be self-fulfilling. Sitting in his stall in the Flyers' locker room in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 4, Grossmann was his usual quiet self while the rest of his teammates hooted and hollered and celebrated yet another third-period comeback win that night against the Coyotes. An even-keeled veteran, Grossmann could see the danger that lay ahead. He urged his burgeoning team to remain "humble. " In a lot of ways, the Flyers' 7-1-0 run through late December and early January was not all that different from the financial crisis that began to envelop America since 2008: Overinflated numbers produced results that appeared better on paper than in reality, masking a bubble that was bound to burst.
January 20, 2014 |
To their credit, the Flyers learned from the disastrous nine-year deal they gave Ilya Bryzgalov. They announced Saturday they had signed goalie Steve Mason, who could have become a restricted free agent after this season, to a three-year extension. Mason will be paid $12.3 million, or $4.1 million per season. It's a good deal for the Flyers because it does not tie them up for an ultra-long period, like the $51 million Bryzgalov contract. It's also a good deal for them when you consider Mason's agent, Anton Thun, said last month he thought his client was comparable to Montreal's Carey Price, who signed a six-year deal for $39 million ($6.5 million per season)
January 7, 2014 |
At one end of the Eagles' locker room late Saturday night was owner Jeffrey Lurie, offering optimism in the aftermath of his team's 26-24 playoff loss to the Saints, speaking of the future as if it were full of nothing but happy days for his franchise. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," Lurie said. "It's a missed opportunity, and it's the tip of the iceberg. I think that everyone in this room knows it. It's a very young team, and at the same time, they already learned what it takes.
January 1, 2014 |
As Chip Kelly retooled and rebuilt the Eagles football operation, changing everything from the offensive and defensive schemes to what the players ate and drank after practice, he also changed a lot of the players, too. There were 22 newcomers on the 53-man roster this season, which isn't an unusual amount of churn for an NFL team, but it did mean that the locker room was split between the group that lived through the disastrous 2012 season and...
December 16, 2013 |
There are few happier places on earth than the December locker room of an NFL team that has won five straight games and appears headed toward the playoffs. Players come in boisterously after practice, joking and yelling, punching each other on the shoulder. In one corner of the room, a husky, bearded offensive lineman dons a Santa Claus hat for his interviews. At another locker, the rangy quarterback takes questions about being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The world is very good.
December 3, 2013 |
STATE COLLEGE - Bill O'Brien made sure his players knew Penn State was a 24-point underdog against Wisconsin on Saturday. That was enough inspiration. The Nittany Lions went to Camp Randall Stadium and handed the previously 15th-ranked Badgers a 31-24 loss. "I can tell you flat out that they took offense to the fact they were 24-point underdogs and that nobody, even in State College, thought they could win that game - except the kids in that locker room, and the coaches in that locker room," said O'Brien, who finished his second season in Happy Valley with a 7-5 record (4-4 in conference)
November 19, 2013 |
THERE IS never an absence of drama with LeSean McCoy. Whether it is stealing a Redskins fan's banner before the game or breaking Redskins defenders' ankles during the game, excitement seems to follow the fifth-year running back. He added another accolade to his list yesterday afternoon as he became the first player in the NFL to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark. But McCoy didn't care about holding the title as the league's most proficient rusher. He says he did not know that he had eclipsed the millennium mark until after it happened.