NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith lays out key initiatives; comments on Jahvid Best

Posted by ttwentyman on January 31, 2013 – 8:20 pm

DeMaurice SmithThe NFL Players Association has forged a new $100 million partnership with Harvard University to help improve player health and safety, NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith said today at the Super Bowl.

The endeavor is a research initiative that will study 1,000 retired NFL players aimed at treating and ultimately preventing the large scope of health problems plaguing football players and athletes.

Smith also identified three key initiatives that he hopes to implement into the CBA as early as next year, and said he’s prepared to file grievances to get them.

First, the union wants an independent concussion expert that isn’t paid by either side on every sideline to help identify symptoms of concussions and have the final say on whether a player can return to the field or not.

The league agreed in their press conference Thursday and this is likely to happen in 2013.

Second, the union wants to put in place a system that properly credentials team medical personnel and its training staff so the union knows their backgrounds.

Smith used the example of San Diego Chargers team doctor, David Chao, who lost a medical malpractice suit in 2012, but is still the team’s doctor.

Third, Smith and the union are against the practice of teams asking players to sign medical waiver before taking toradol, a painkiller used by athletes.

After the press conference, Smith was asked specifically about Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best and Best’s comments before last season that he’s the “poster child” for the new NFL that looks at concussions in an entirely different light from just a few years ago.

Best hasn’t been cleared to play in more than a year since suffering a concussion in October of 2011.

“I don’t comment on any particular cases,” Smith said. “We look at all of them.

“But the last thing I will say, and this is just me, I don’t believe in the term “poster child.” Every one of our cases is different. I make sure, and we make sure, that we treat every case individually and we try to get it right.”


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Julio Jones better than Calvin Johnson?

Posted by ttwentyman on January 31, 2013 – 12:34 pm

Gil Brandt stirred up some controversy with Detroit Lions fans earlier this month when he said via Twitter and on Sirius NFL Radio that Falcons receiver Julio Jones was a better receiver than Calvin Johnson.

Brandt wasn’t backing off that claim down at New Orleans for the Super Bowl.

“I think Calvin Johnson is a great player but if I drafted right now I would take Julio Jones,” Brandt said. “I just think he’s a better football player. I think he has great hands.”

Jones had a nice season with 79 receptions for 1,193 yards this season and 10 touchdowns, helping lead the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game.

Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for receiving yards in a season with 1,964 yards on 122 catches. He had half as many touchdowns as Jones (5), but did get tackled inside the 2-yard line six times.

Jones’ second season in the league is very comparable to Johnson’s. In 2008, Johnson had 78 catches for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“If you sit at this table and there’s 10 guys at this table and you ask the two names, Johnson would probably be about a 6-to-4 favorite. I just like Julio Jones a little better.”

It was Jones who replaced Johnson in the Pro Bowl earlier this month when Johnson decided not to play due to injury.


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Day 5 in Hawaii, Roary at the Pro Bowl

Posted by Tara Altman on January 29, 2013 – 5:38 pm

Roary at Pro Bowl“It’s Pro Bowl Day here in Hawaii and it’s an exciting atmosphere. I had to make sure to arrive at Aloha Stadium early so I could not only get myself ready to be a part of this awesome event, but so I could be a part of the Pro Bowl Tailgate Party and get to meet even more fans from all over the league.

“They even had a huge sand castle shaped like the Pro Bowl Trophy. After spending some time there it was time to head back to the stadium to get ready for game time. After a pregame performance by Train it was time for the other mascots and myself to take the stage.

“The Pro Bowl was an awesome experience whether it was taking photos with fans, signing autographs, or taking part in the various small performances with the mascot. It was a game day unlike any other I’ve been a part of before.

“After the game it was time to start prepping for the long trip home.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to bottle up warm weather to bring back with me, but overall the week has made a ton of memories and I have made a ton of new friends. Signing off for now and I will see you soon Detroit.

“GO LIONS!!!”


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NFL gaffe puts Pro Bowlers in jerseys donning pre-2003 Lions logo

Posted by ttwentyman on January 28, 2013 – 2:46 pm

Ndamukong Suh

Photo: USA Today

The NFL fined 49ers running back Frank Gore $10,500 for wearing his socks too low in the NFC Championship Game.

The league is notoriously strict when it comes to enforcing its dress code. Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson was fined $5,000 last season for not showing white in his socks during a Monday Night game.

For a league so obsessed with its uniform, it was funny to see Ndamukong Suh and Don Muhlbach wearing a pre-2003 Detroit Lions logo on their Pro Bowl jerseys Sunday night.

That’s two logos ago for those who are curious.

The NFL is solely responsible for the jerseys players wear every time they step on the field. The team does no alterations to the uniform.

It’s unclear if the league plans on fining itself for the gaffe.


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Day 4 in Hawaii, Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium

Posted by Tara Altman on January 27, 2013 – 1:05 pm

Roary poses with DT Ndamukong Suh.

Roary poses with DT Ndamukong Suh.

“Day 4 meant a bright and early wake up and an extremely fun event.

“Its’ Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium! Ohana day is a family day open practice at Aloha Stadium where families got the chance to come in, watch both AFC and NFC squads practice, had a chance at autographs from players, mascots and cheerleaders, and watched a performance by the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders.

“It was an exciting day and a lot of fun to see the fans from all around the nation coming together for the event. I even ran into a certain Defensive Tackle while I was there, Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh that is.

“After the Ohana Day event, my day wasn’t even close to being over. I took a little bit of the time to go and visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Taking the time to visit the area, learn about what took place, as well as pay my respects to those individuals is a memory that I will definitely carry with me forever.  Once I had finished up at Pearl Harbor it was time to get cleaned up before the NFL on Location Party.

“It was great getting to meet fans from all over, take photos, and even get a little dancing in with some fellow mascots. But now it’s time for me to sign off and get some shut eye before tomorrow.

“It’s Pro Bowl Time! GO LIONS!!!”


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Day 3 in Hawaii, Roary on the “Eat the Street” event

Posted by Tara Altman on January 27, 2013 – 12:57 pm

“Hi everyone!  It’s day 3 here in Hawaii and the moments and memories continue to roll in from my Pro Bowl Experience.
Roary at Eat the Street
“After strolling around the beach as well as taking a walk around downtown – it’s just fun taking in the sights, smells, and sounds as you go throughout Honolulu – it was time to start prepping for my event that evening. It was called “Eat the Street”.

“Now if there is anything I have learned  along this trip, it’s that the food in Hawaii is delicious, and it was on full display at this event.

“Over 40 food trucks were present representing all the regions you can find an NFL team. Believe me everyone, I left there with a full stomach. But it was time for a little rest before the weekend rolled in and the final couple events of Pro Bowl Week got underway, before the game on Sunday.

“Sending all of you warm thoughts, and I will see you all soon.

“GO LIONS!!!”


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Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy unite in Hawaii!

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on January 25, 2013 – 5:03 pm

Ndamukong Suh

(L-R) Henry Melton, Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh

Remember the days of Ndamukong Suh vs. Gerald McCoy in preparation for the 2010 NFL Draft?

Fast forward three years and the pair is together in Hawaii along with Chicago’s Henry Melton for the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Here, Melton, McCoy and Suh are posed following the NFC’s Wednesday practice.

Suh posted this photo on his Facebook and Twitter profiles!


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Day 2 in Hawaii, Roary makes an appearance at Play60 event

Posted by Tara Altman on January 25, 2013 – 4:27 pm

“Aloha everyone! Day two was an experience in so many ways, its almost hard to put into words.

“When the day got started there was a whole lot of rain, but it seems like no matter how much it rains, or how little, it always ends with a huge colorful rainbow.
Roary at Play60
“Shortly after it was time for me to make another appearance! We made our way to Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor to meet up with a large group of local children for a Play60 event. Just getting the opportunity to be on the base itself was amazing!

“I joined five other mascots and members of the AFC Pro Bowl roster as we made our way into a gym and started to participate in various football drills and games, sign autographs, and of course take the occasional photo op.

“After the event a couple of the mascots along with myself decided to explore the island a little more and took in some breathtaking sights.

“Another day is in the books, but there are even more exciting days ahead of me. Make sure to keep a lookout for updates on my Facebook Page and DetroitLions.com. Aloha everyone, and I will talk to you soon.

“GO LIONS!!!”


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Roary meets up with his fellow mascots on day 1 in Hawaii!

Posted by Tara Altman on January 24, 2013 – 4:44 pm

“Day one is in the books here in paradise and it was an amazing day at that.

“Kicked off the day with a meeting with fellow mascots from all over the NFL to find out what exciting events we would be doing together.

“Getting to know Sir Purr (Carolina), Captain Fear (Tampa Bay), Rowdy (Dallas), Rampage (St. Louis), Staley (Chicago), Blue (Indianapolis), Pat Patriot (New England), Miles (Denver), and T-Rac (Tennessee) has been a great experience not only sharing ideas, but getting to learn from them as well.

“After getting to know the guys at our meeting, it was time for me to explore downtown Honolulu for a while before we had our rehearsal in the afternoon for the Pro Bowl game on Sunday.

“Once we were all finished up with the rehearsal at Aloha Stadium it was time for an old fashioned luau to finish out the evening. Talk about awesome food and entertainment!

“My excitement is continuing to build as the Pro Bowl game draws closer and with each moment I spend with the local community who have graciously welcomed us with open arms.

“Make sure to keep watching my Facebook page as well as DetroitLions.com for more updates and my activities as the week goes on.

“Best Wishes Detroit, and I’ll keep trying to send some warm weather to you guys!

“GO LIONS!!!”


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Jim Schwartz talks Titus Young, Ndamukong Suh and Jim Washburn down at Senior Bowl

Posted by ttwentyman on January 23, 2013 – 7:21 pm

Detroit Lions receiver Titus Young made his feelings known via his verified Twitter account over the last two days about his dismissal from the team and how he wants to see the ball more.

Young tweeted: “Like I said I never been selfish but if I’m not going to get the football i don’t want to play anymore”

He also said: “To Be the best you gotta Beat the best #Me”

He seemed to be antagonizing Detroit fans in a couple other tweets, asking how the weather was in Detroit on Wednesday. Young lives in California in the offseason.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday down at the Senior Bowl that he’s never met an offensive player that doesn’t want the ball, but there are better ways to go about asking for it.

“There are good ways to go about getting that and not so good ways about trying to get that done. This is a pretty good example on a not-so-good way,” he said of Young’s Twitter rant.

Schwartz admitted he hasn’t spent much time reading Young’s recent tweets, which also included a denial of running incorrect routes. He said he was disappointed with his tweets given his status with the team.

“It is what it is,” Schwartz said. “We obviously still have some ground to cover there.

“You wear your uniform 24 hours a day and social media is a part of that now. You’re responsible for everything you say.”

SUH THE DIVER

Schwartz was also asked about Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh participating on the television show “Celebrity Diving.”

“I don’t really see this as being (an issue),” he said. “It’s not like celebrity skydiving. Even like ice skating or something like that where you sit there and say somebody could break their wrist or fall down, I think we’re probably pretty safe to say there’s not a high rate of injury on celebrity diving.”

Schwartz joked that he caught a snippet of the show once and it looked pretty tame.

“I did take a couple physics courses, but there’s something about displacement of water, but it has to do with like mass and density and Ndamukong Suh’s going to displace some,” Schwartz joked. “There’ll be a tsunami somewhere. That should be probably more Celebrity Cannonballing.”

WASHBURN TO COACH DEFENSIVE LINE

Schwartz also commented for the first time on the hiring of veteran defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

He said Washburn will coach the defensive line alongside Kris Kocurek.

“We’re going to double team our defensive line,” Schwartz said. “And he’s going to work hand-in-hand with Kris Kocurek. Our defensive line is very important to us and we’re happy with Kris but this was a chance to be able to get a coach I’ve worked with and everyone on our defense has a relationship with.”


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