STEROIDS SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN. From Adam Rennhoff, of Nashville: "Peter, I'm a regular reader and I always look forward to the next MMQB posting. I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but it seems odd that I haven't heard more (in the national news) about the death of the steroid dealer [David Jacobs, of Plano, Texas] who was threatening to name drug-using NFL players. It seems like EVERYONE obsesses over the smallest details of the NFL on a daily basis but this story disappeared the second it happened.
"If something like this happened in European soccer, you can bet that (jokingly or not) people would be talking about the mob ordering a hit, etc. Now, I'm not trying to say that is what happened here. It just seems like a scandalous story that the media (surprisingly) seems to have completely backed away from. I'd really like to hear your opinion on that.''
I'm really glad you weighed in, Adam. It is a story the media hasn't grabbed onto. But the deaths of David Jacobs and Amanda Savell appear, from news reports, to be a murder-suicide, with Jacobs apparently killing a girlfriend he believed was about to spurn him and then killing himself. Maybe the police will discover the deaths to be something else. But Adam, understand this -- the NFL had already interviewed Jacobs before his death, and I'm told he named names. So just because he's dead, don't think his testimony to the NFL will not live on. We may already be seeing that with Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler.
YOU HAVE A DOUBLE STANDARD, KING. From Rich McPherson, of Beaverton, Ore.: "Brett Favre had an addiction to Vicodin, admitted it and moved on with his life. He is seen as a football god, and I see his mug everyday when logging onto this site. However, he is mortal (as evidenced by his ill-timed OT interception in the NFC Championship game). You, as a pretty staunch defender of offensive lineman, have all but thrown Nick Kaczur under the bus by saying that he probably won't be with the Pats next season. Is he not worthy of overcoming the odds and rebuilding his career the way that Favre did -- with the same team? Am I missing something?''
Great point, Rich. My two points are pretty simple. With the recent dubious history of the Pats being what it is, the last thing this franchise needs is an OxyContin scandal with one of their starting players at the center. I said the other day on my Sirius Radio show I would be surprised if Kaczur stayed on the Patriots after his case is adjudicated. It could be that they'll keep him, and, as you say, rehabilitate him and allow him to retain his place on the team.
Regarding the Favre comparison, there's really a triple standard in the NFL -- and I believe in all of sports. The free-agent rookie from Podunk State IS getting cut if he's found guilty in a OxyContin scandal. The moderately successful starting right tackle MIGHT BE cut if he's found guilty in an OxyContin scandal. The Super Bowl-winning starting quarterback IS NEVER getting cut if he's found guilty in an OxyContin scandal. You know what I mean?
I WOULDN'T BET ON IT, MIKE. From Mike, of Orlando: "I saw where Inside the NFL was picked up by Showtime. It's another $10 a month out of my pocket to subscribe to a channel I don't currently have, but it's worth it to watch the best NFL show going. Are you still going to be on it?''
Doubt it very much. They wouldn't want me. It's more likely this will be a CBS talent-supplied show. I see where profootballtalk.com picks James Brown, Phil Simms and maybe Michael Strahan to be a possible studio group for the show. I would suggest strongly that they use Charley Casserly, who has done a terrific and insightful job on the Sunday show as the inside-football guy.
GEORGIA ON HIS MIND. From Patrick Fleming, of Atlanta: "You have written a lot about the Falcons this offseason. Just wanted to share a thought/question. With all that has happened to this organization in the past year (yes, it has only been a year since the news hit us over the head from Virginia), I must say it seems like the Falcons have made outstanding progress.
Maybe I'm just drinking the Kool Aid that the Arthur Blank marketing machine is serving us with a smile, but we have a new nuts-and-bolts GM in Thomas Dimitroff, who has removed more than a few team tumors, signed the best available running back on the market, had a respectable draft and, importantly, been a stabilizing voice in the local media.
Also, in Mike Smith, we have a pro football coach (the guy sleeps at the practice facility) who seems to have the respect of his players, a solid leaguewide reputation and seems to be a great fit with Dimitroff. So my thought/question is this. Am I crazy to think we could make a wild card run this season? It seems like the pieces are in place and this is the league of redemption!''
You are crazy. But you know, if Matt Ryan comes along fast, nothing is impossible. I do think the defense needs John Abraham to be healthy for 16 games for this team to have chance to be .500; there's no one else on this defense who scares opposing offensive coordinators.
K-K-K-KELLEN AND THE JETS. From Daniil, of Queens, N.Y.: "I would like to know what you would do about the Jets QB situation. Do you believe that one of the guys already on the roster gives them an actual chance at a title, either this year or down the road, or will they need to make a move for a QB to actually have a shot to win a title?''
It's simple. The Jets drafted Kellen Clemens in the second round two years ago and haven't given him a fair shot to win, and keep, the starting job. He has to win the job this year in camp and then demonstrate over 16 game that he either is or isn't the Jets' quarterback of the future. If he isn't, then New York has to pick one in the first round of what is shaping up as a quarterback-weak draft in 2009.
TEXTING JUST MIGHT BECOME THE KEY TO MY JOB. From Jason Viana, of Birmingham, Ala.: "I work a lot with teenagers in my job and have been amazed by the tremendous increase in text messaging. One kid I know sent over 10,000 in one month. I am not smart enough to do the math per day but that seems like an awful lot. As I read MMQB, I more and more frequently see you refer to quotes from players as texts. So can you give us an idea of how often you text with players? Is it something you like, or are willing to deal with if you cant have an actual interview? I imagine it has to be difficult to get a good read on someone through a text message... do you only do this with players you know well? I will stop the barrage, but I find this change in communication fascinating and would love to know how it relates to your job.''
Great question. In fact, I reach Favre and Tom Brady by texting (mostly) or e-mail. I communicated just this week with David Tyree, Michael Strahan and Rodney Harrison by text. I have found over the past couple of years that, more and more, players do not like to pick up their phones, particularly if they're not sure who's calling. Reggie Bush rarely answers his phone. He texts voraciously. It's easier, because, as Bush has told me, it's simple to take 35 seconds to send a three-sentence message to someone he really doesn't want to talk to -- better than spending six minutes on the phone with someone you really don't want to be on the phone with. I hadn't thought of this until your e-mail, Jason, but it's an interesting question, and I think journalism schools should start to take up this issue. Should you interview someone by text? I don't know.
I think we're going to post my commencement speech at Ohio University next week after I've made it. Aside from that, I'm on vacation, and I'll see you all again on Monday, July 14. Have a great June.