Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Safety

John Busing, a veteran safety who played 43 games with the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals, was signed by the Giants on the eve of training camp. With Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant, and Michael Johnson as their only safeties with NFL experience, the Giants figured a little more depth there couldn't hurt.

The roster count is at 79, which still leaves room for signing No. 1 pick Jason Pierre-Paul without having to cut somebody.

By the way, second-rounder Linval Joseph's four-year contract should be worth just over $4 million, given his slotting at the 45th pick overall.


Joseph Done

And now there is one.

With the signing of second-round defensive end Linval Joseph to a four-year deal, the Giants have only to bring first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul into the fold before tomorrow's first workout. My guess is they'll get it done.

Meanwhile, a little bittersweet moment today when I saw the eminent Vinny DiTrani's tweet about heading up to his final training camp. Almost wish I could be there to shake his hand. Almost.

I remember when Vinny, Ralph, Tom Canavan, and I split a house the first couple of years up there. Lots of laughs. Fifteen years later, and now Vinny's beginning the wind-up of a great career that started when players considered leather helmets sissy stuff. Hope he enjoys the last camp, and hope it's as exciting as his first.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Making Room

The Giants made room to sign their two remaining draft choices, first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul and second-rounder Linval Joseph, by waiving linebacker Kenny Ingram and defensive end Ayanga Okpokwuruk.

The Giants have a history of getting all their picks signed in time for an on-time arrival, and it's likely this year won't be any different.


And Here's Hilliard

Here's the conference call with Hilliard, one of my favorite Giants receivers of all time. The man took an incredible amount of punishment, starting with a fractured neck vertebra as a rookie and continuing on with that vicious late hit by Brian Dawkins and beyond. But he always came back for more, sometimes in short order. Big heart. Huge heart.

Q: We asked David Tyree the same thing, but why was it important to you to retire as a Giant?

A: It was a no-brainer for me. I think I gave it a great effort, my best effort I should say, every day for my 12-year career. You know, being a Giant was obviously more special to me than anything in my professional career, with no disrespect to my four years in Tampa. If I didn’t have my start there, I wouldn’t have been a part of a great organization and playing with a number of great ballplayers and being able to play for the Mara family and the Tisch family.

Q: We know you are coaching in the UFL in Florida…could you ever see yourself coaching with the Giants?

A: I think that is completely up to the families that are running the business. You know, I’m doing the best I can now not to disrespect the craft. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. I’ve had an unbelievable experience in such a short time. I’m hoping that at some point I’ll have the opportunity to coach in the NFL for a number of years. I definitely would love to have that opportunity, but that’s not up to me at this point. I have to work as hard as I can, and do a good enough job to be considered.

Q: Are there one or two games, plays, or special moments that stick out in your career over others?

A: I think that my entire career has been special to me, and it’s hard to pick out just a couple moments. From the first drive during the second game of the year, fourth play when I got injured during my rookie season to being fortunate enough to play in the Super Bowl even though we didn’t close the deal, and even how it ended as far as us parting ways. All of the moments I enjoyed I will cherish until the day that I die. Just being fortunate enough to be with those guys for as long as I could, it’s hard to pick out a moment.

Q: Ike, you took a beating and had some injuries, some were even serious at times. How do you feel physically as you reach the end of your career today?

A: I feel ok. I think had eight surgeries in my 12-year career, which was part of the reason I’m not playing today. Obviously after that hit from Leroy during that Sunday night game in ’08 in Tampa, I still have some nerve damage from that hit. I think it’s too much of a risk to your team, then and now, if you choose to play after that, which I’m not. To come back and play, I think, isn’t in the future. I still get some pretty bad burns and scrapes doing normal activities, but not enough to deter me from doing anything I want to do. I think it’s part of the game, and you know what you sign up for once you get into it. It’s all partly my fault because I didn’t fully prepare myself bodily wise, but I enjoyed myself and I’m doing ok.

Q: What brought you back from those injuries, some we probably never even knew about that you played through?

A: I just love football. Some people call me crazy, but that’s okay. I just think that you know what you’re getting into and I enjoy the physical part of the game. I just couldn’t deal with it very well as far as holding up and staying healthy throughout my career. I never shied away from the physical play, and I enjoyed everything about the game. Just the will to be out there with the guys, do the best I can, and make plays was really what motivated me to play as much football as I could, barring not having that opportunity to play because I was injured.

Q: When you look back at all those injuries now, the pain and suffering nerve damage, do you think it was worth it?

A: I wouldn’t change a thing, man, especially in terms of how I played the game. There would be so many things I look back in hindsight and say ‘I wish I would have done things a little bit differently’ in terms of how I prepared, some of the things dealing with the media and certain teammates, etc., but as far as what I left on the grass, I did the best I could on a quarter by quarter basis. Whatever is said about my career and whatever opinion people have, so be it. But as far as everything on the grass, I’m very comfortable with what I did.

Q: Tyree hinted that coaching is a ‘calling’ with long hours and a lot of preparation. Does that make you hesitant at all?

A: No. The beautiful part of the situation is that my wife is along for the ride. She is very understanding and committed to what we are trying to do as a couple. We understand what comes along with the beast known as coaching. So we know that hours and hours are involved going into that craft that those hours are spent for a reason. It’s a big business, and there is a lot of money involved and we only get paid to get it right. We’d be doing a disservice to the guys who show up prepared if we didn’t.


David Tyree's Comments

Here's what David Tyree had to say about his retirement on a conference call with reporters this morning.

Q: David, we saw you in June and you had an inkling that your career was probably over – what was it that finally got you to make the final decision?

A: The final decision really came upon – I guess you guys know me – just positioning myself and seeing what was best. You know, just to put it out there, that I didn’t get the interest that I expected in free agency but that really wasn’t the final decision. I really felt I finished the season strong enough and positioned myself to be on somebody’s roster at some point this year but what really made it the final decision for me was just looking at the body of work over the past seven years, what was I really trying to stay in the game to accomplish? And just really trying to position myself to hear from God and what was next for my family and it just kind of unraveled that everything that I was passionate about at this point in my life was more so off the field.

Q: Why was it so important for you to get one last day with the Giants and retire as a Giant?

A: I mean, honestly, that was extremely important for me because I never thought that – just to be all honest – I never really saw my career even happening to begin with and once it did get off to a start it was kind of a fairy tale ride for a kid out of Essex County and the story couldn’t have been written any better and I was honored from the start of things even in the most shakiest of moments to have played my career with a class organization and it was only fitting that I ended there.

Q: Can you give an approximate number of times that you have watched your Super Bowl catch since it happened and when is the last time you watched it and are your feelings any different today about it than they were at the time?

A: I guess an approximate…you know…I guess I couldn’t even approximate the numbers. Usually only when I’m dealing with something media-wise. I am going to take the time –I was just chatting with someone yesterday – I’ve never watched the game in its entirety so that’s something I’ll look forward to doing. I know it means a lot more to me now and – I was sharing this as well – and I don’t think that I had the full understanding of the true depth of what occurred and I think that the more I am removed from it the more I appreciate it. So goes with my entire career. Obviously that is the one signature moment which I’ll be remembered for as a football player, but I was definitely satisfied with the complete body of work as well.

Q: When you were down in Baltimore did it feel strange to you? I know you wanted to continue your career but did you feel a little out of place not being with the team you grew up with?

A: Yeah, there were definitely some weird feelings going along but obviously I knew I had some things to contribute and looking back even at that – not that it was so far removed from it – but it was really something that was being built up in me, just character-wise, that sense of perseverance that I needed to, you know….it was a sense of , can you come back from one of your most emotionally draining experiences that you’ve had in your life and compete at this high level. You know, y’all have heard me time and time again that you’re only as good as your last opportunity and I think I’ve made the most of my opportunity down there in Baltimore, obviously proving my worth and doing what I do as far as those special teams. So as the season progressed, I played better and didn’t obviously win the Super Bowl but advanced to the second round of the playoffs and had a successful team.

Q: What are your plans now?

A: It’s going to be a combination of business and ministry. Be careful because I’m not a big fan of the word religious but I am passionate about my relationship with Christ so to me I truly understand that that was the primary focus of what that catch means to me. It give me a voice, it gives me a platform to reach others, to share, to encourage others in whatever area of their lives. Kind of what I’ll be doing in business is – I have a passion to see guys do well, to have an understanding of what it means – this whole NFL career – what it sums up to and the fact that it’s really not a career in itself, it’s more of a springboard into your next area of life. So that’s – even in the business realm – what I’ll be doing and helping guys walk this journey a little bit.

Q: David, you always worked hard and were always very astute about the game. Do you think coaching might be in your future?

A: No, I can’t see any coaching in my future. I just had my fifth child in June. I’ve really been tuned in. And the last two years and some of the struggles that that has presented me after the Super Bowl has really gotten me tuned in to the fruitful…just being around my family more…how much more the kids give me than I give them and also by way of being a husband. So I’m really enjoying my place and my role in my home right now so whatever I do I don’t want to take too much from that – I would never want to. Coaching is probably one of the most draining but rewarding vocations and jobs that somebody could get themselves into so I see coaching as just as much of a calling as preaching. You need to be called to that.


Tyree And Hilliard

Two of the Giants former crowd favorites have officially retired as Giants. Ike Hilliard, the wonderful possession receiver, and David Tyree, who we'll all remember for his Super Bowl catch, signed one-day contracts so they could retire with the team they gave their greatest thrills to.

Hilliard, a hard-nosed receiver who broke just about every bone in his body during an eight-year career in the Meadowlands, is going to be an assistant coach with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL.

Tyree, known before The Catch as one of the Giants' greatest kick coverage specialists, finished up with Baltimore last season and will now begin the post-football phase of his life with his family, which includes a newborn son.


Since You Asked...

I might as well get this out of the way now rather than wait until camp officially opens. I mentioned on Ed Valentine's show last night that matters both practical and financial will keep me from attending camp this year. Actually, this will be the fourth straight year I've missed Albany. But I'll try to keep an eye on things from here. And I encourage all of you to frequent my colleague's blogs. They'll be up there, and they'll have their little fingers both on their blackberries and an on the pulse of the team. You'll be well-informed, I can guarantee that much.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Promotional Me

Just a little self-promotion wrapped around doing a buddy a solid. I'm going to be on Giants Talk Radio tonight at 8:30 with Ed Valentine and Patti Traina. Might be worth a listen because everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- I say is brilliant.

They're actually getting started at 8, so don't be late. Word has it there may be a surprise or two in store. Besides me, I mean.


Jones' Spot Filled

The Giants figured out what to do with third-round safety Chad Jones' roster spot. They picked up Eagles defensive lineman Alex Hall off waivers today.

Jones was waived, with the intention of placing him on the non-football injury list. That means the Giants won't be obliged to pay his salary, though he does get to keep his $850,000 signing bonus.

As for the 6-2, 250-pound Hall, he went to Philadelphia from Cleveland, where he was a seventh-round pick in 2008, when the Eagles traded cornerback Sheldon Brown. The Eagles later decided he was probably better suited to play an outside linebacker spot in a 3-4 defense than defensive end in the Eagles' 4-3. The Giants, of course, play a 4-3 base.

Hall had three sacks with Cleveland in 2008, and could be used in pass rush situations here. If he makes the squad at all, that is.



Heading into camp Sunday, Lawrence Tynes and rookie Matt Dodge are the Giants' only placekicker and punter, respectively. Tell me if you're comfortable with that arrangement. Could either of these guys use some competition?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Biggest Battle

Now that the Giants have their middle linebacker in Keith Bulluck, what will be the biggest positional battle once training camp opens Sunday?

Beatty vs. Diehl? The pecking order of running backs? Osi Umenyiora-Mathias Kiwanuka?

You tell me. And tell me why. And don't be afraid to throw in whether you're personally heading up to the University at Albany, and whether you have any eating or lodging suggestions for any camp newbie.


Where To Get It

The Maple Street Press' Giants Yearbook will be coming out in the next few days with articles in there by yours truly, Ed Valentine, Ralph Vacchiano, and Patti Traina. If you're in the tri-state area, you should be able to get it on any New York newstand or your local Barnes and Nobles. If you live outside there, or are having trouble finding it around here, simply go to this link and order it.

I should stress that this is mandatory reading for followers of this blog. There will be a test that will count for 30 percent of your grade, along with attendance and participation.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jones Out

Good news for third-round draft pick Chad Jones. He's being released from the hospital today, a month after he nearly lost his left foot in a car accident in New Orleans.

Jones will still have to have more surgery -- the next procedure six to eight weeks from now -- before he can even think about getting back to football. But from a human standpoint, just getting out of New York's Hospital for Special Surgery is a milestone, considering where he'd been.

The Giants still haven't filled his spot on the 80-man roster, but with camp opening Aug. 1, that should happen soon.

Meanwhile, doctors have suggested that Osi Umenyiora get surgery for his troublesome hip, but the defensive end has declined. Despite the pain worsening over the offseason, Umenyiora has decided to try to work through it, since it has been determined that playing won't create further damage.

Wondering if that's a mistake that could impede what should be a comeback year.


With an $855 K base salary, a small signing bonus, and a roster bonus, LB Keith Bulluck basically signed for a year at $1.3 million, with an incentive package that could raise his total package to $2.1 million. According to Mikey G., the Giants also have an injury waiver which would allow them to dump the deal if he re-injures his surgically-repaired left knee. That tells me that, despite the glowing report Bulluck gave of his progress after ACL surgery in January, the Giants aren't totally convinced that knee will hold up over the whole season.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No. 53

That's the number Keith Bulluck has been assigned. Used to belong to a fellow named Harry Carson, whose bust you can see in the Hall of Fame in Canton.

Don't read a great deal into that. Not that Bulluck isn't a great player, but the last guy to wear 53 was rookie MLB Phillip Dillard, who will now be re-assigned another number. Bulluck wore 53 with the Titans, so he really hasn't ventured too far from home, right?


He Targeted Giants

Though it took several weeks for the Giants to bring in former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck for a look and eventually sign him to play middle linebacker, Bulluck had the organization in mind since last year.

He was more than a little peeved that the Titans hadn't made an effort to sign him to an extension in 2008. And even in 2009, despite having three interceptions and 108 tackles in 14 games, Tennessee indicated no interest in having him back. So Bulluck had long been considering the big picture.

"That gave me a great indication that I wasn't going to come back as a Titan," Bulluck said. "When I was having the year I was having and they still didn't give an indication that they were going to re-sign me, the big picture came in my head. So I'd say I started considering them last year."


Bulluck's Knee

The best news, if Keith Bulluck is to be believed, is that the Pro Bowl linebacker's left knee has come around very well since ACL surgery that cut his 2009 season short.

"The knee's getting better," Bulluck said. "I've seen five or six doctors in the last however many months. They've pulled, they've twisted, they've done everything there is to do to try to find something wrong with it. With the way the rehabilitation process goes these days, it's almost equivalent to a high ankle sprain.

"The only people that seem to be worried about my knee is the reporters. My team doctors, the coaches here, they're not concerned with it because I think if they were, I wouldn't be having this conversation with you right now."

Bulluck admitted that the rehab is still on-going, but that the knee is about "90 percent" there, with seven weeks to go before the season opens. He obviously showed the Giants enough in a 20-minute workout last week that they signed him to a one-year deal that could be worth as much as $2.5 million if he hits all the incentives.

Take that as good news. Even better is that Bulluck won't have to worry about playing two spots, as he did in Tennessee. As a three-down linebacker, Bulluck would play the first two downs outside, and then move to the middle on third down. Now, he'll concentrate strictly on the middle, and probably be a two-down player. That alone should help conserve the 33-year-old's knee.

There's still work to do, however.

"As far as getting off blocks, going sideline to sideline, I haven 't done that since December," he said. Bulluck tore the ACL on a non-contact play on Dec. 20 against Miami and had surgery 10 days later. "As far as going full-go, it's up to the coaches. I've been told they're not going to try and kill me in two-a-days, and I know when I'm not practicing I'm going to be doing things to get my knee stronger. I'm not 100 percent right now. I still have to get more strength in my quads, but all that stuff comes."

Bulluck had played 127 straight games in a 10-year career before his injury, so there's no reason not to think he couldn't serve as at least an adequate MLB. Whether he'll be great, who knows? But he's always had the reputation of being a hard worker and a good locker room guy. With Justin Tuck serving as more of a quiet leader, Bulluck could meld well with the uninhibited Antrel Rolle as the vocal leaders on defense.

"I still have that burning desire to come and play and prove that I'm one of the best linebackers in this league," he said. "That's my challenge. Playing with this organization, I still have a lot to prove. And we can win. That's why I chose to come here."


More On Bulluck

The Giants will have a conference call with new LB Keith Bulluck this morning, so we'll have updates on him off that. Plus, the floor is open for anyone who cares to speak out about the signing. As I said yesterday, the way I look at this deal is, why not? It's not a tremendous amount of money, and Bulluck comes with the understanding that he's not being looked upon as a long-term solution.

In the meantime, take a look at this link. It'll get you to the pre-order page for the Maple Street Press Giants Yearbook, in which yours truly has a really interesting feature on Perry Fewell and the lineage of great Giants defensive coordinators. Just my humble opinion here, but you might want to get this thing to pass down to the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids to show them what real writing was all about back in the old days. Oh, yeah, my guys Ed Valentine, Ralph Vacchiano, and Patti Traina also have pieces in there. And it won't even cost you a sawbuck. A bargain, if you ask me.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giants Sign Bulluck

Looks like the Giants found their middle linebacker, though he's a little beat up with a lot of tread off the tires.

They worked out former Titans LB Keith Bulluck and apparently liked what they saw. Or at least liked him enough to sign him, perhaps as more of a stopgap in the middle while folks like rookie Phillip Dillard or Jonathan Goff develop. They're taking a chance, however, as Bulluck comes off ACL surgery after having his final year in Tennessee cut short after Game 10.

Don't quite have an idea of how this'll turn out. Bulluck is known as a pretty good locker room guy. His teammates loved him, so perhaps he can offer some short-term leadership. Best-case scenario, he comes all the way back and adds a solid middle linebacker for the next couple of years. But right now, he must be regarded as a short-term plug to a huge hole in the defense. Certainly worth the gamble.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Sad Tidings

Just heard former Daily News columnist Vic Ziegel passed away. Another good one from the old school has left.

I always had a soft spot for Vic. When he wrote for the Post, oh, about the time man took chisel to rock, he used to write these "letters home" columns, like some kid writing home from summer camp. Very funny. I remember modeling several of my columns for the college newspaper after those, though none approached the humor and humanity Vic could portray in his writings.

I've always been grateful to him, too, for paying attention to me. During his short tenure as the Daily News' sports editor in the early
80s, he was kind enough to interview me for a hockey job that eventually went to someone else. When no one else would give me the time of day, he was receptive to me.

So thanks for that, Victor. And thanks for the columns. The kids today, they don't know what they're missing.


The Bossman Cometh

Okay, so there was a little bit of conversation the last two days about TE Kevin Boss. Let's go into that. Given the potential strength of the receiving corps, would you like to increase his pass-catching duties, or turn him into strictly a blocking tight end? As any follower of this blog knows, I happen to love the kid as a receiver. He's tough and not afraid to take a hit. But those hits do pile up, as we saw last year, and he might be better off staying away from those linebackers and safeties.

Fire away!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Question

Assuming Hakeem Nicks comes all the way back from foot surgery, what kind of season do you think he'll have? Could he break into the league elite in his second season?


Monday, July 19, 2010

London Times

One opinion on whether London will eventually get a Super Bowl and an NFL franchise.

What do you say? Would you like to see an overseas franchise in the NFL? And how about giving merry old England a Super Bowl, since the real fans can't attend it, anyway?


Story CCed To You

The Detroit News had a story on C.C. Brown, the newly-signed Lions safety we all got to know last year from constantly seeing the back of his uniform.

Seems he blames the New York media for all that happened to him. Oh, well. Here's hoping he can get his career back on track as a so-called "Box" safety in Detroit, and never, ever have to cover another pass again.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Schedule

Anybody planning to venture up to Albany for Giants training camp beginning Aug. 1 should probably bookmark this story, which lays out the entire training camp schedule.

Who's going up among you? Anybody live right there so they can give eating and lodging advice to those from faraway places?


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hixon's Clear

Injured kick returner Domenik Hixon cleared waivers yesterday, which means the Giants will be free to put him on IR at the start of training camp.

Hixon, by the way, will earn his $1.684 million salary, which was his restricted free agent tender, while he's rehabbing the surgically-repaired left ACL that tore in a non-contact drill the second day of minicamp. The Giants did take a calculated risk by exposing him to waivers, a necessary step before putting him on IR, but it is rare that other teams will take a player who is going to miss a season.

Hixon, highly regarded by the front office for both his abilities and his clean-living ways, will be a free agent after the season. But putting him on IR this year will keep him from signing with another squad before the Giants get a chance to negotiate a longer-term deal with him.


Kelley in College H of F

Here's a story on former Giants linebacker Brian Kelley, the fourth member of "The Crunch Bunch" along with Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, and Brad Van Pelt. Kelley is getting a fine honor of his own, as he's being inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Certainly worth a read.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Slipped One Past Me

Was doing something else yesterday when the Giants waived Domenik Hixon. No big deal there, because they had to do it in order to put him on IR in August.

Don't know if it's the heat or humidity, but you guys are getting awful testy in your comments. Again, keep it civil. If somebody gets snarky, ignore it. Best way to knock down a know-it-all is to know more, and say it more logically.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Question

Only 17 days until players report to the University of Albany for training camp. Ramses Barden, the second-year wide receiver who was inactive his entire rookie year, will be among them. Tell me what to do with him?

According to the coaches, one of the major problems aside from his small-school background was his inability to grasp special teams. What I want to know is, even if he doesn't turn into a special teams wiz, might it be worth forcing the 6-foot-6, 227-pound Barden on there just to have him available for situational play at wide receiver? Remember, he's not been seen fielding punts or kickoffs, so we're talking about a tackling and or blocking position there. Or should the Giants take a chance with him handling the kicks? And who's spot on the gameday roster should he take?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

If We Can All Be Civil And Act Like Human Beings...

here's a question. Assuming Brandon Jacobs, DJ Ware, Gartrell Johnson, and Andre Brown are all in useable condition, what would you do with Ahmad Bradshaw? Remember, he's still experiencing some pain and swelling from surgery on both feet and his left ankle over the offseason, and it's unlikely he'll take more than one practice per day during camp.

Might he, by necessity, become a third back instead of Jacobs' change-of-pace guy?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taylor Pleads Not Guilty

Nothing that wasn't expected, but Lawrence Taylor entered a "not guilty" plea today to charges of statutory rape and solicitation stemming from his May 6 arrest in a Rockland County hotel room. Here's the story from ESPN.


So Long, Bob and George

Bad week all around. Bob Sheppard went over the weekend, taking with him the soundtrack of my youth, and George Steinbrenner departed today.

I'll admit freely that I never much liked Steinbrenner. He was generally a bully, and for a long, long time he didn't treat his underlings very well. Ask any of his former PR guys what a nightmare it was working for him. He flaunted some rules, too, one instance of which resulted in a felony conviction for illegal campaign contributions.

He made reporters' lives absolutely miserable. When you covered the Yankees in the Bronx Zoo era, you covered Steinbrenner as much as you covered the games themselves, maybe more. I was in the great man's presence more than once, and I can honestly say none of those experiences were particularly pleasant.

But give him this, he was a winner, and he'd make no bones about spending as much as he had to to create a winner. So he gets a lot of points for that. Is there a place in the Hall-of-Fame for him. Yep. Definitely.

As for Sheppard, his was as much a part of Yankee Stadium as anything that happened on the field. The Voice of God. Truly. There's no mourning here, for I'm sure we'll all benefit from Bob's passing at age 99 in the future. I can hear St. Peter now, after so many years of announcing arrivals at the Pearly Gates.

"Hey Boss. Sheppard's here. I'm taking a break."

Hope to see you up there, Robert.

"You're attention please. Now arriving at the Pearly Gates...Sportswritah, Ernie Palladino. Sportswritah."

That'll be cool. But maybe not just yet.


Well, I'm Back...

and not the least bit happy with you people. The day I left for a very short holiday, I asked you to do one thing -- PLAY NICE. Keep it civil, respect each other's opinions, and refrain from name-calling.

So what did you guys do instead? You plummeted this blog and everything it has stood for into the depths of stupidity. Outright disrespect, references to people's living arrangements with their mothers. This from a group of supposed adults who should be able to get along for a week without an overseer.

I've always tried to keep this blog classy. Lively, perhaps, but classy just the same. So I'm not understating my feelings when I tell you I'm greatly, deeply disappointed in your collective conduct. I don't want to hear any excuses. I'm not interested in any fingerpointing as to who started what against whom. It doesn't matter. What happened here over the past week was INEXCUSABLE and will not be tolerated. If this is a foreshadowing of things to come, I will not be hesitant to close down the whole thing and leave you to the blogs that actually encourage that kind of behavior.

I expected better.

Shame on all of you.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Taking A Break

Hope you guys all had your fill of cookouts and beach over the July 4 weekend. As for me, my holiday will continue a bit longer, so we're going dark here for a week or so. You may use this space to discuss any subjects you wish, or any news that comes up in my absence, with the usual warning to PLAY NICE!

Oh, and I don't want to come back and see potato chips and pretzels and empty beer cans all over the place. Leave the place as you found it.

Okay, I'm out. See ya down the road.


Friday, July 2, 2010

A Flight Of Fantasy

I don't get into fantasy talk too much, even though I do have one team in one league. But did come out with their top-200 fantasy ratings, and I thought it was interesting that the top-rated Giant was WR Steve Smith, who earned the 38th spot overall. In our 10-team league, that would make him a third-round choice at best. I have a feeling he's going to go higher than that this year, considering everybody's going to expect his touchdowns to go from the seven of 2009 to close to double-digits this year. I'm just guessing, though. I try not to take Giants for fear it'll ruin my objectivity on gameday.

Anyway, Brandon Jacobs comes next on the list at No. 51, and Eli Manning is No. 67. Ahmad Bradshaw is No. 78, and Mario Manningham comes in at No. 128. Kevin Boss is No. 174.

Just something to mull over before all your early September drafts.

I made the playoffs last year by a hair, and then got knocked out in the first round. How'd you guys do? And do you agree with the rankings, the whole of which is listed here?

Hey, by the way. We just reached a milestone. This is our 1,000th post since we started last September (Imaginary champagne cork popping).


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just Got More Interesting

The negotiations over a new NFL collective bargaining agreement may just have gotten a bit more interesting given the recent developments in the league of our northern neighbors.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Canadian Football League has written into its CBA a drug policy that allows for blood testing for human growth hormone, an issue the NFL Players Association has steadfastly rejected. The CFL will have year-round, random testing of 80 to 100 athletes with only 24 hours notice, along with urine analysis for steroids.

Here's the whole story. The number of tested players goes up to 400, or 25 percent of the league, in 2011, and rises to 35 percent in 2012 and 2013.

This blog has long been a proponent of players submitting to HGH testing, even if it means getting their fingers pricked or a needle stuck in their arm. And believe me when I tell you this, nobody is more scared of needles than I am. But if someone was paying me millions to do what I do and wanted to make sure I was doing it clean, I'd stick my arm out in a second.

Not that the CFL wags the NFL's tail in any way, but now that the precedent has been set, perhaps the players will be more amenable to at least considering blood tests for HGH. It's not a perfect solution, but it could help clean up a sport where undoubtedly many are getting help beyond the strictures of the drug policy. Would love to be in the room when those talks occur.

What do you think?