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.”

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »

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.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 25 Comments »