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    "John Mara probably knows this is going to sound like lip service, because it
    isn’t often that overlords in a mercenary, cash-flow cartel express any concern
    about such trifling matters as long-term damage or body counts.

    But he sees these broken men – good men still in their 50s, men he has known
    since he was a kid, men who served his father faithfully – and their condition
    is “heartbreaking,” to use his term.

    “For me, it’s a personal thing, because I grew up with these guys,” the
    Giants CEO said of the retired NFL players who seek restitution from a league
    that Mara admits has underserved for too long. “It’s shocking to me to see guys
    who, when they were players, you’d say, ‘This guy is going to have a good
    post-football career – very smart, has his degree. . .’

    “And then it’s 10 years later, and he’s broke and out of work. It kills you
    to see that. It absolutely kills you.”

    If the anguish he showed over this issue today is an insincere act, this
    gentleman is a great loss to the theater.

    He came to Newark this morning to speak with our editorial board about the
    encroachment of a retail monstrosity across the parking lot from MetLife
    Stadium, and the traffic nightmare he is certain will result from the American
    Dream complex operating on football Sundays.

    Afterwards, Mara took some time to discuss what has become a largely
    underreported American nightmare, which involves hundreds – or perhaps thousands
    – of NFL alumni who are living with the debilitation of countless collisions,
    with limbs that no longer work, and with traumatic brain injury.

    Roughly 80 of them are presently filing lawsuits against the league, and
    while we cannot speak of the legal strength of these actions, even Mara knows
    where public sentiment will lie by the time it all plays out.

    Think of it: How long can we be bombarded with these heart wrenching
    distortions of such strong images of American manhood – Junior Seau, Dave
    Duerson, Andre Waters, and on and on – and accept the sanctioned mayhem of a
    league which seems to accept self-inflicted gunshots as the only liberation from
    decades of pain?

    For most of us, the root cause of this is fairly clear, and while Mara cannot
    speak of the legality of it, he isn’t ignoring the connection, either. He points
    out that 90 percent of the time the Competition committee is in session, the
    discussion is on player safety. But they’re still years behind studying the
    long-term effects of brain trauma, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

    Mara said, “I’m on the health and safety committee, we have more medical
    committees looking into it. We’re just starting to gather more information about
    it. And I’m very confident we’re doing everything we can do right now to find
    out more about it.

    “But the notion in these lawsuits that we knew there were long-term effects
    and we withheld that information is ridiculous. Is there some kind of cause and
    effect? I don’t know, I’ll let the medical experts tell you that; common sense
    would tell you that there is. But to say we knew it and withheld it, I really
    find that objectionable.”

    Of course, his sore feelings are somewhat secondary to the soreness of the
    NFL veteran who can’t get out of bed every morning or remember the names of his
    kids, and Mara knows that. He also knows the volume of such casualties is

    “It is,” he said, with an audible exhale. “And one of the reasons why we have
    a lot of people joining these lawsuits is that we haven’t done a good enough job
    of taking care of retired players. That’s an issue we need to come to grips
    with. We made a good start in this last CBA (by reducing full-contact practices,
    etc.), and by allocating all this money to the legacy fund.”

    That amount is $620 million, which is to be divided among 4,700 pensioners.
    Someone has been dragging their heels in getting it out to the guys who need it
    -- or their widows, in many cases -- but one of these days maybe they’ll get
    around to it.

    “But to me, the league as a whole hasn’t done as good a job as we could
    have,” Mara repeated. “And I see significant improvements in the future. But we
    still have to agree with the union on how to do this.”

    One more issue related to safety: You’ve probably heard by now that Mara told a while back that the competition committee was looking into
    eliminating kickoffs entirely.

    Whether this is a reaction to focus groups or the objections of the diehards
    on the radio chat shows is unclear, but now Mara says, “I don’t know if
    (eliminating kickoffs) will ever happen. But the new protocols we have about
    taking guys out of games if there’s any suspicion of a concussion” are doing
    what they were designed to do, and are always being reexamined."



    "Thirty-three year-old Rocky Bernard isn't the same player he was when he
    was in Seattle -- where he accumulated 29 sacks in his first seven seasons.
    Bernard didn't register a sack in 16 regular-season games in 2011, but he came
    up with a huge sack against the Falcons in the wild-card round and delivered his
    signature sack dance from his time with the Seahawks to top it off.

    The defensive tackle entered the offseason a free agent and heard from a few
    teams, but the Giants
    brought him back in time for minicamp in June
    . We talk to Bernard about the
    uncertainty during his offseason, the development of Marvin Austin and his sack
    dance in our latest installment of the Giants
    summer questionnaire series

    You were a late signing.
    How does it feel to be back with the Giants?

    It's good to get back to practice, get back to working with all the guys,
    just getting back to football mode.

    Do you think missing some of
    the offseason will hurt you?

    Not really. I'm a veteran guy. The defense is pretty much set from the last
    couple years so I pretty much in tune, I worked out on my own.

    What were your expectations going into the offseason as a free

    I didn’t really have any expectations. I kind of just soaked in the moment of
    the game and everything. I don't know, I didn't really know what to expect. You
    never know – it could be the end so I was just taking it whichever way it went

    Did you think it would be the end of your career?

    No, I kind of had an inkling that I would have a chance to come back. I just
    think the timing of it was – I had some things I had to take care of back home
    so I think it was more of a timing thing.

    Marvin Austin's been out of football for basically two years. How do
    you see his development coming along?

    He's been out for two years so he's going to get a lot of work in during this
    training camp. It'll be a little different than before, than in years past so I
    think he just has to put in the work and the effort to really catch up to speed.
    He just has to grow off what he was able to do last summer and build off that.

    With all the attention given to the defensive ends, do you feel like
    you tackles are overlooked?

    [Laughs] I wouldn't say that. When you have a bunch of great players around
    you like that you just take it in stride, really. I just try to go out there and
    perform when I have the opportunity without the recognition.

    You had a dance after your sack against the Falcons in the playoffs.
    Where did that come from?

    I've been doing back since I was in Seattle. I haven't done it much in New
    York, it was more in the Seattle days.

    How did it come

    I just did it one day and all my teammates were excited about it so I just
    kept doing it.

    Are we going to see a dance off with Victor

    Oh, no. I'll stay away from that."



    has proven himself to be one of the most versatile talents on the
    New York
    Giants’ defense; however, things weren’t always going so well for him. A number
    of setbacks plagued him early on making it a difficult start to his career. He
    was unable to grow completely comfortable with his role on the Giants’ defense
    after being constantly moved from defensive end to linebacker. He had to deal
    with his brother’s motorcycle accident, and his career became threatened after
    experiencing a severe neck injury that caused him to miss the majority of the
    2010 season. Another injury kept him from playing in his first Super Bowl.
    Nevertheless, Mathias has persevered and refused to allow these incidents to
    have an impact on his future in the NFL.

    Kiwanuka’s personal life has seen several positive changes which happen to
    coincide with his excellent production on the field. During this offseason, he
    witnessed the birth of his first child, and just recently got married. In football
    related news; Kiwanuka helped the Giants become Super Bowl champions, and
    received a three year contract extension worth $16.5 million. On top of that he
    can now concentrate on being a permanent linebacker rather than worry about
    whether he will be switched to playing defensive end again, although he is
    expected to line up as one occasionally in certain packages. Kiwanuka expressed
    how he feels going into his second season as a full-time linebacker to Mike Garafolo in his summer questionnaire.

    “It’s a big difference. I started to get more comfortable at the end of last
    year. But having the ability to go from one offseason to the next playing the
    same position, it means a lot. It’s getting there. I don’t think I’ll ever be
    content with how I’m playing, but I’m still working on it and I feel 10 times
    more comfortable playing there.”

    Kiwanuka, who was played defensive end for the majority of his football
    career, is fully aware of the beating a player can take at both defensive end
    and linebacker. Because of his injury history, one may speculate that linebacker
    may be a safer position to play rather than defensive end. Kiwanuka was asked
    which position was better for his body.

    “I don’t think it matters because they’re both high-impact positions in
    different ways. As a linebacker, there’s more space between you and the blocker,
    so there’s more momentum involved but it’s a smaller guy you’re going against.
    Defensive line, there less space but you’re going up against a 300-pound guy. So
    I think it equals out at some point.”

    After experiencing what it’s like to play in a Super Bowl and to get married,
    Kiwanuka reflects on which one he felt was more stressful.

    “I’m going to have to go with the wedding. I’ve been playing football
    for a long time; I’ve never been married before. I know what to expect on one

    Currently Mathias is spending time with his wife and newborn child as he
    awaits the beginning of training camp later this month. Like most fathers, this
    is time he values very much.

    “It’s been awesome. It’s the best experience of my life. Everybody says it’s
    hard to explain what you feel and that’s exactly right. There’s no way to
    explain it. It’s just unconditional love. It’s a great

    It’s certainly great to see a player who works so hard for his team to be
    rewarded with a new contract but also with a new family. Kiwanuka has been a
    team first player who has done everything the coaches have asked of him. Here’s
    to hoping the rest of his time in the NFL will be as rewarding as the last year has been for



    "Good news for those of you in the New York area who still do not have NFL Network –
    the league announced on Monday that WPIX/Channel 11 will simulcast the week
    three matchup between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, beginning with their own pre-game show
    at 7:00 PM EST.

    “In keeping with our commitment to offer the best local programming, PIX11 is
    extremely happy to be partnering again with NFL Network to provide New York football over-the-air to fans,” said Eric Meyrowitz, vice
    president/general manager.

    The game will be called by the NFL Network team of broadcasters Brad Nessler
    (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (game analyst) and Alex Flanagan (sideline

    The September 20th meeting between the Giants and Panthers will be a Thursday
    night game and the second primetime game for Big Blue over the first three weeks
    – they open the season against the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, September 5th at
    8:30 PM on NBC. The following week they travel to Philadelphia to face the
    Eagles for yet another primetime game, airing on Sunday, September 30th at 8:30.
    That game will also be on NBC.



    "This is a great interview from SB Nation YouTube with New York Giants
    first-round draft choice David Wilson,
    which was done during the rookie premiere event in Los Angeles.

    The interview, including a shout-out to Big Blue View, is below. Excerpts,
    for those of you who prefer to read rather than listen, are after the jump.

    Wilson on being selected by the Giants:

    "Being a part of the Super Bowl champions and they took you with their first
    pick, so they are expecting a lot of you and they want me to contribute right
    away. ... I'm putting my foot in the door and once I put my foot down I'm gonna
    go north. Not north and south, just try to go north."

    Wilson said the other Giants' running backs made him feel "comfortable" upon
    his arrival.

    On the New York/New Jersey area:

    "In Virginia you can look for miles in the the distance. In New York you can
    look about 10 feet."

    On teaming with Ahmad

    "He's a powerful running back and hard-nosed, but he's not the biggest guy,
    either. We'll complement each other and, although we aren't the biggest guys we
    run hard. That's all you can ask for out of a running back is to run hard when
    he has the ball."

    On competing in the NFL:

    "It gets trimmed down to the best of the best. Every week you've got to bring
    your 'A' game," said Wilson."


    "Good morning, New York Giants
    fans! Here is your Tuesday morning notebook.

    Blue nominated for ESPY Awards

    The New York Giants are up for three ESPY
    Awards, including Best Team, Best Coach/Manager, and Best Championship
    Performance. Vote now before the show airs Wednesday, July 11.

    summer questionnaire: Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka |

    Life is good
    for Mathias
    right now, and that hasn't always been the case.

    multiple switches from defensive end to linebacker and back, his brother's
    motorcycle accident and a neck injury that robbed him of most of the 2010 season
    and had him thinking about life after football, the former first-round pick is
    now enjoying his role as a full-time linebacker, participated in a Super Bowl
    victory after sitting out the previous one with a leg injury, received a nice
    contract extension this offseason, witnessed the birth of his first child and
    got married this past weekend.

    NFL supplemental draft -- WR Josh Gordon to hold pro day Tuesday, source says -

    Former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has declared for
    Thursday's supplemental draft, is scheduled to hold his pro day on Tuesday at
    the Houston Texans'
    training facility, according to a league source.

    Multiple NFL teams are
    expected to attend, and the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon is expected to be timed
    in the 40-yard dash in the 4.4s or better.

    One NFL scout said Gordon
    could go as high as the second round, and he is considered a rare talent as far
    as supplemental drafts go."







    "Last year actually began with the New York Giants wondering how they were
    going to fill all the WR spots on their roster with healthy players. Steve
    Smith had been injured in ’10, Mario Manningham was again injured, and so was
    Domenik Hixon. The position was one of pure speculation. Now it is their
    greatest strength.

    Hakeem Nicks is a special player. He is Michael Irvin without the attitude
    and the antics. He is big, strong, and has huge hands. Hakeem is a match-up
    nightmare for most teams, and coupling him with a few other special players has
    made him, and will continue to make him, a dangerous threat anywhere on the

    Victor Cruz had the best year any wide receiver has ever had for the New York
    Giants. Just that statement alone takes a minute to digest. An un-drafted free
    agent who had to sit his first year due to injury, not only made the team, but
    made the team better and more explosive. Cruz has medium speed, but a quickness
    and shiftiness that allows him to beat anyone at anytime.

    Ramses Barden is 6' 6? receiver that was originally supposed to play the role
    of Plaxico Burress. Ramses entering his 4th year has a total of 15 receptions
    and seems to be having trouble not only staying healthy, but learning to play
    big time football on a consistent basis. Playing wide receiver in the NFL
    requires more than catching a ball, it is precise route running, running hard to
    influence players away from the intended target, and effective blocking on
    running plays. Ramses often has been a healthy scratch from games, leading one
    to believe his practice sessions or film grading is not up to Giants

    Domenik Hixon is entering his 7th season, but has missed many games due to
    injury. Hopefully Domenik can return to the team fully healthy this year and
    not only add to his receiving numbers, but bolster the return game as well.

    Jerrel Jernigan is a 5’8? 189 pound speedster out of Troy. He showed some
    flashes in the return game towards the end of this season and will look to
    bolster those numbers this season. He should make the team easily and add great
    depth to the Giants passing attack.

    Added to the equation for this training camp are the following: Brandon
    Collins 5’8? a rookie out of SE Louisiana, Dan DePalma, 5’11? from West Chester,
    David Douglas 6’1? from Arizona, Julian Talley 6’1? from Massachusetts, and they
    welcome back Isaiah Stanback a four year man from Washington at 6’2?.

    The big addition here is Rueben Randle 6’2? 208 from LSU. Randle showed very
    well in mini camp.. He is hands catcher, and will compete with Hixon and the
    others to replace Mario Manningham who now resides in San Francisco

    The Giants receiving corps will be a strength again this year. With Hakeem
    Nicks taking it a bit easy and slow in the upcoming training camp, not only will
    more guys get reps in camp, but in the pre-season games as well. This will be
    another great watch in camp. Who will step up this year?"



    "Will Beatty has
    had a lot of expectations throughout his New York
    career. He is
    a former second round pick in 2009 and was expected to take over along the
    offensive line at some point. He’s battled injuries throughout his career and
    now is the time where he needs to take the next step and be healthy for an
    entire year and show whether or not he can play at the NFL level otherwise the
    team is going to have to search for an answer at the tackle position.

    Beatty was drafted in 2009 and started in
    four games and played in all 16 as the third tackle/tight end spot. In 2010,
    Beatty broke his foot in the first game of the season and missed eight games. He
    came back and started the last two games. Last season he started the first ten
    games before a detached retina ended his season.

    A detached retina is never a good thing,
    no matter who you are or what you do, let-alone a tackle who’s supposed to
    protect the blindside for Eli Manning. Right now David Diehl probably has the left tackle spot with
    Beatty on the right. Don’t sleep on James Brewer pressing Beatty for time or even veteran
    Sean Locklear.

    Beatty has to prove he can be a tackle in
    the NFL, otherwise he will not be on the Giants after this coming up season. If
    he can’t do the job, you can see the Giants using their first round pick in 2013
    on a tackle. The offensive line was a question mark throughout the season
    especially in the running game. When the line clicked, the team clicked. Beatty
    has to prove he can be a part of it."






    "LaDainian Tomlinson
    joined the cast of NFL Network's "Total Access" on Monday and kicked around some
    predictions for the upcoming season. Training camp is just around the corner,
    and it's never too early to make some predictions (which you all can use to rub
    in my face later, though New York Giants fans would
    never do anything like that).

    In fact, I'm brimming with so many prognostications, I'm going to spread them
    over two posts, one covering the NFC on Tuesday and another covering the AFC on
    Wednesday. That's 12 times to tell me how wrong I am, question how I even got a
    job here at and help me try to get that job at Entertainment Weekly that
    you seem to so desperately want me to get.

    And without further ado ...

    • Jay
      will have a monster year

      Only one Chicago Bears receiver has
      topped 100 receptions in a season during the club's nearly 100 years of
      existence. Brandon Marshall did it twice with Cutler in Denver. Now that Mike
      Martz's failed experiment is safely in the past, the Bears can join the rest of
      the leaders in the NFC North with a prodigious passing attack. (Sorry, the word
      "prodigious" has stuck with me after I heard Chris Berman utter it 239 times
      during the Home Run Derby on Monday night).

    • The 49ers will start the season 0-2

      The San Francisco 49ers have
      added a lot of aging talent (Randy Moss, Brandon
      , et al.), making their roster resemble the cast of one of those Garry
      Marshall flicks ("New Year's Eve" or "Valentine's Day"), but that won't be
      enough to prevent San Francisco from starting 0-2 against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Best-case
      scenario is 1-1. Let's face it, a plus-28 turnover differential will be nearly
      impossible to duplicate and the NFC West will be much more competitive. However,
      the 49ers will still win the division.

    • There will be no "redeem" in this

      Many figure the Philadelphia Eagles have
      learned their lesson from the previous season and will finally reveal themselves
      as a true "Dream Team." Not happening. Just look at the schedule. The Eagles
      open with the Cleveland Browns (win), but
      have the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, New York
      Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and
      Detroit Lions. After that, it's the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. The
      Eagles should be improved this year, but the brutal schedule could derail their
      season. But don't worry, Andy Reid's job is safe.

    • The Panthers will win the NFC South

      Division champs just don't repeat in the NFC South, so don't expect the New
      Orleans Saints (with all of their troubles) to come out on top. This year, it
      will be the Carolina Panthers (as I told
      Steve Smith during his visit to the Dave Dameshek Football Program). Scoff all you want
      right now, but remember me when the Panthers knock off the Giants in Week 3 on
      NFL Network.

    • Giants will improve their record, but
      won't make the playoffs

      The New York Giants finished with a 9-7 mark in 2011 but reached the playoffs
      after winning the NFC East. It was a fitting development, because Giants fans
      moaned after their 10-6 club missed the playoffs in favor of the 7-9 Seahawks in 2010. Look for history to repeat itself this
      year as the Giants improve their win total but just miss the

    • The Cowboys will win the NFC East

      The Dallas Cowboys would have won the NFC East last season if Miles Austin and Tony Romo could have connected
      on a critical third-down play late in the fourth quarter of a Week 14 home loss
      to the Giants. That game was part of a 1-5 fade down the stretch. This year,
      though, the team will close with five home games out of the final seven, a
      favorable set-up that should help propel the Cowboys to the postseason. No wild
      card for the Giants, though, as three teams from the NFC North will make















    If Drew Brees doesn't
    get the long-term deal he and the Saints have been haggling over,
    one report says he won't sign his franchise tag and will not
    report to New Orleans training camp.

    According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Saints have offered a contract to
    Brees that would average $19.25 million per season, which would make him the
    highest paid player in history (Peyton Manning's deal with the Broncos averages
    $19.2 million per year).

    But Mortensen writes that Brees wants $20.5 million per year.

    Remember, the two sides have until Monday to strike a long-term deal before
    Brees has to play under the $16.6 million franchise tag. But if that doesn't
    happen and Brees actually holds out from training camp, there's no telling how
    long he'll stay away from the team.

    A few weeks ago, Brees said he'd never sit out the season because he loves the game too
    much -- which, at the time, seemed to give away some of his leverage (I
    personally thought it meant that the two sides were close enough to a new deal
    that Brees saying that wouldn't make much of a difference).

    According to Saints Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, the team hasn't heard from Brees'
    agent, Tom Condon, since early June after the Saints offered the latest

    With so much money on the table for Brees, it's hard to fathom any NFL player
    walking away from that kind of franchise-tag cash (thank goodness, though, that
    Brees does have other employment options).

    Unless Brees really believes in the principle of this stand-off. And if
    that's the case, the Saints might have to choose between Chase Daniel, Luke McCown or Sean Canfield as the
    2012 starting quarterback.

    Hey, at least they'd be cheap."






    The push to give NFL fans who attend games more continues to overlook that
    they’d prefer to simply pay less.

    The point was hammered home for us on Sunday night and Monday morning, when
    ia space-filling item about the steady drop in paid attendance since 2007
    racked up more than 150 approved comments.

    But since in many respects the NFL sets the agenda for its coverage by
    talking not about dropping prices but by adding bells and whistles, no one in
    the media seems to be sensitive to the burgeoning uprising of fans who are
    voting with their wallets.

    And so, while it’s critical to make the in-stadium experience at least as
    good as the home experience, the bottom line is the bottom line. Unless and
    until owners are willing to give up some of the windfall that comes from $13
    tubs of stale popcorn and one beer that costs more than a six-pack at a store,
    more and more people when faced with the prospect of schlepping to the local
    stadium will borrow a quote from Lee Corso and stay home."


    The good news is, the Colts should be exciting.

    The bad news remains, exciting isn’t nearly the same thing as good.

    There’s a new attitude coursing through Colts camp, which there should be
    after last year’s 2-14 train wreck. When you’re replacing guys at every
    meaningful level of the organization, a sense of renewal and optimism is natural
    and necessary.

    Whatever else he does, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck at least gives the Colts
    evidence of a plan they lacked last year, when Peyton Manning’s neck problems led to the
    attendant problems of a Curtis Painter-led offense and the
    painful-but-inevitable departure of an icon.

    Being able to stink for a single season and to be rewarded with one of the
    more polished passers to come out of college in years was a nice consolation
    prize for the Colts. If you’re going to replace a Manning, this is the way to do

    But even Manning needed a 3-13 rookie season before he could deliver on his
    promise, and it’s unfair to count on anything else from Luck in 2012.


    Even if it’s for the short-term, the Colts do have two very good pass-rushers
    in place after re-signing Robert Mathis to a four-year, $36 million
    contract and resisting the urge to purge veteran Dwight Freeney.

    That’s a start, as changing over to a hybrid 3-4 system will be a major
    upheaval anyway. The ability to get after a quarterback is the first step toward
    any defense being respected or respectable, and that’s probably a lot of the
    reason Mathis and Freeney are two of the few old parts retained.

    New coach Chuck Pagano brought a few guys he knows from Baltimore, in hopes
    that adding familiarity speeds the transition to a new program. Defensive end Cory Redding, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and safety Tom Zbikowski will help install the system.
    There are a few other pieces in place to build with, as linebacker Pat Angerer and free safety Antoine Bethea give them acceptable
    starting-caliber players.

    It’s not a bad start. It’s also necessary that a lot of these guys play over
    their heads, because they could be on the field more than they’ve had to in the


    Gone are the days when the Colts could easily light up scoreboards.

    Even if top pick Andrew Luck shows the kind of progress other rookie
    quarterbacks have in recent years, it’s still going to be difficult for him
    because of the lack of supporting cast.

    They kept wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, and it’s a good thing they
    did, because many of the rest of the offensive jobs are a mystery.

    Not only did they lose wide receiver Pierre Garcon, tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme and running back Joseph Addai, but also steady offensive
    linemen Jeff Saturday and Ryan Diem.

    They’re trying to fill in with as many kids as possible, and that will come
    with the predictable growing pains. After Luck, their next two draft picks were
    tight endsCoby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. Third-round speedster T.Y. Hilton is the closest thing to a threat
    at wide receiver out of this year’s draft, and it’s hard to expect much from him
    this year.

    It’s a situation where you’d like to be able to lean on a running game, but
    neither Donald Brown nor Delone Carter inspire much confidence, and a
    patchwork offensive line doesn’t create much either.


    Where to begin?

    All they really changed is changed is everything, getting rid of one of the
    best quarterbacks in league history, so they could start fresh with a fleet of
    new faces starting with Andrew Luck.

    Throw in a new General Manager (Ryan Grigson), a new coach (Chuck Pagano),
    new coordinators (Bruce Arians on offense and Greg Manusky on defense), a new
    defensive scheme, and a load of new players, and it’s a full reset for a team
    that was one of the models of consistency for the previous generation.

    Nine straight years of double-digit victories (including an amazing seven
    straight 12-win seasons) made the Colts under Manning and general manager Bill
    Polian a paragon of success, a role model for what they’re trying to do

    But Polian was a known commodity when he took over the Colts, and there are
    precious few of those here in any capacity anymore.

    Camp battles.

    The cornerback position is kind of a mess, and they’re adopting an all-comers
    approach to the position.

    Jerraud Powers is fine on the right side —
    not great, but fine — but who starts opposite him is very much up in the

    Kevin Thomas, a former third-round pick,
    worked with the ones through the spring, but they tried to create as many
    options as possible. That included trading for Cassius Vaughn, claiming guys off waivers
    and combing through the street free agents. It’s a process that is far from

    They’d love it if someone from the group of Delone Carter/Mewelde Moore/Vick Ballard/various others could push
    running back Donald Brown, but at the moment it’s his job to lose.


    The Colts can crow about a new era all they want. But dumping all the
    veterans to clear the decks for the new guys will likely lead to another long

    After going 2-14, it’s hard to imagine things getting worse, but the build
    could be slow. They open at Chicago, and the Bears have the kind of defense that
    will test the well-publicized maturity of Luck.

    But then they host Minnesota and Jacksonville, a soft landing after a tough
    start. The schedule isn’t overbearing, with enough games against their fellow
    travelers at the bottom of the league that they could steal a few.

    The reality is, this year’s priority will be for Luck to show he’s capable of
    the long job in front of him, and developing some of the many young parts around

    If that means a few more wins, fine. But they’re a year or two worth of solid
    acquisitions away from even approaching their old form, and that’s if Luck meets
    every expectation. If they could match the kind of four-win jump Cam Newton helped achieve in Carolina last
    year, it would be reason for a party. But Luck doesn’t have nearly the kind of
    parts around him Newton did, which could make that kind of improvement more than
    anyone could fairly expect."


    The NFLPA will announce on Wednesday the opening of an online store -- the
    NFLPA Shop -- featuring on-demand, licensed apparel for every single NFL player, has learned exclusively.

    The online store (to be located at
    ) will provide three distinct benefits to individual NFL
    players: every single player (not just the most marketable ones) will have
    ready-to-sell items in the store, NFL players will receive up to 70 percent of
    the net proceeds for products sold, and players will be able to sell autographed
    memorabilia via consignment and auction, with the proceeds going directly to
    players or player-designated charities.

    NFLPA Shop will also feature my personal favorite sports gear item: the
    jersey t-shirt. (Mrs. Brinson won't let me go to the grocery store in an actual
    jersey, oddly enough.)

    "The unique thing about the whole shop is that now you can go online and
    order merchandise from a player that you really love. It can be an offensive
    lineman, a defensive lineman, it doesn't really matter," 49ers tight end Vernon
    Davis told (listen to his full interview in the podcast below).
    "You can get their merchandise with their name on it, their number, it's going
    to be fantastic."

    In terms of providing individual players revenue, the NFLPA Shop is an
    interesting exercise in marketing an individual's brand: each NFL player will
    have a customizable page with that player's products showcased. That means for
    fans of that player -- regardless of position, popularity, etc -- there's a
    one-stop shopping point for merchandise.

    And while no one thinks that the majority of NFL players are hurting for
    money, the NFLPA Shop provides an additional revenue stream for individual
    players. Licensing fees and operating costs will obviously come off the top, but
    a player's ability to market himself via Twitter, Facebook or whatever other
    means can now equate to 70 percent of the net proceeds.

    "[The shop] gives an opportunity for every NFL player that's not a marquee
    name on a team," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said. "For that person not just
    to be marketed but for that person to generate some additional royalty

    For elite players, making money on their name is nothing new. But for the
    average player who doesn't have a pile of endorsements or already-personalized
    gear online, this means a chance to increase brand management and put some coin
    in their pocket as well.

    "It's just amazing to see something like this is being invented," Davis said.
    "I think my teammates will really appreciate this because now their families can
    go online and order merchandise with their number on it and they don't have to
    worry about going to outsiders and getting something made when they can just go
    right online to the shop and get the merchandise."

    Additionally, try Googling "Autographed [Player Name] Football" (or "Jersey")
    and see what pops up. It's probably going to be an independent seller of sports
    memorabilia, Amazon or eBay. It's not going to be that player actually getting
    rewarded for their autograph or, more importantly, that player selling his
    autographed memorabilia to benefit a pre-selected charity.

    It'll also be interesting to see how much of a bite the union's shop can take
    out of the NFL's shop: both offer men's, women's and children's Nike jerseys
    (along with other Swoosh gear) in addition to unique memorabilia and myriad

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

    Thanks RF !
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.


      Thanks bro.

      “Basically just stay with your man,” cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. “Follow him everywhere you go. Even if he goes to the bathroom, follow him.”


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

        [quote user="BeatYale"]G'morning.

        Thanks bro.[/quote]

        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

          [quote user="G-Men Surg."]Thanks RF ![/quote]

          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.


            as always many thanks Roanoke!



            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

              You da man, Roanoke! Thanks for the post.


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

                [quote user="BigBlue1971"]


                as always many thanks Roanoke!


                “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 - 11:26 A.M.

                  [quote user="Cool Papa B."]You da man, Roanoke! Thanks for the post.[/quote]

                  “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1