1. I think the only things left to add on the Brian Cushing situation are these three points:
a. The Associated Press, the news agency that oversees the balloting, has to make some hard-and-fast rules for future all-pro teams and awards. This voting shows that too many of the 50 men and women who vote want rules and don't want to have to unilaterally decide whether to vote for suspended players or not. I was comfortable in drawing a line in the sand from this day forward, saying I'd never vote for another performance-enhancer. But obviously some of my peers were not. My feeling is we shouldn't be able to vote for any player or coach who has been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs or for masking agents for performance-enhancers.
b. I don't believe Cushing's tumor defense.
c. Voting for players suspended for other reasons (like Ben Roethlisberger) shouldn't be outlawed. I mean, it's difficult to see how a quarterback who misses 25 percent of the season could win an all-pro or MVP nod against passers who play. But Roethlisberger didn't tilt the field by taking a banned substance. What I oppose is a player who takes something to gain an unfair advantage over his peers.
2. I think the 80 Titans coaches, players and staff members deserve credit for going out in the storm-ravaged central Tennessee area to help friends, neighbors and strangers recover from a historic flood. Kerry Collins tore down waterlogged drywall in a home, and Jeff Fisher, Vince Young and others stunned neighbors in a lower-middle-class section of Nashville by showing up and getting to work. "I'll tell you one thing,'' cornerback Cortland Finnegan told me. "Taking out a ruined wooden floor with a crowbar is not easy work. What we saw out in the community was so devastating. Think about everything in your house floating out onto your lawn, ruined.''
3. I think if the Colts had it to do all over again, they'd have activated Sam Giguere, a reserve wideout from an obscure college in Quebec, to play in the spot Hank Baskett occupied on the kick-return team late last season. Strange statement to make here in the middle of May, looking back at the Super Bowl, but I think the Colts were starting to have real questions about Baskett's hands by late in the season, and they nearly made the move to Giguere. Baskett, of course, couldn't handle the onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl, the Saints recovered, and the rest is ignominious history.
4. I think Dan Snyder is correct to be disappointed in Albert Haynesworth for not showing up for the team's offseason program, minicamps or official Offseason Training Activities. It's absurd that a guy who's made more money than any other player in football over the past 14 months is boycotting practice under a new coach with a new scheme. I don't care if the Redskins are morphing from a 4-3 to a 1-6, with Haynesworth being the 1. You take all that money, you've got to show loyalty, whether you feel it or not. By the way, congrats to Snyder and the Redskins for their record of revitalizing playgrounds and ballfields in the in the Washington area. The team finished its 25th rehab over the weekend.
5. I think it's almost as absurd to think ill of Tim Tebow for passing on a couple of huge endorsements, which he has done since the draft. Tebow knows his job right now is to prepare to be a football player, and it isn't that taking a day or two out of his prep work or vacation will do significant damage to his career. But if teammates see his mug all over TV this summer and fall pushing two or three products as a big NFL star before he's ever arrived ... not a good idea. It's smart to lay low for now.
6. I think I'll be stunned if the 2014 Super Bowl is not played in New Jersey. And I think the players in that game will be thrilled to know they're staying in the Jersey burbs, not Manhattan, with the practices in New Jersey (one team at the Meadowlands, where the Giants work out, and the other in Florham Park, 35 minutes to the west, where the Jets train). Logistics will be a mess, unless everyone commutes by chopper.
7. I think, neophyte program director that I pretend to be, I have one piece of advice for ESPN as it sets its NFL schedule for the year: Find a spot for the long-running "NFL Matchup'' show. The NFL has decided it won't seek sponsors for the show this year, meaning it's now up to ESPN whether it wants to air the show or let it die. It always has been an NFL Films production, since its inception in 1984: so ESPN would own and operate the show if it decides to take it on. I know this: My football Sundays would be severely diminished without the show, whenever it's on -- and in the past few years, I've had to chase it to odd times as ESPN moved it all over the schedule. But I found it. It's a bastion of great information for the real football fan, and it just has to survive.
8. I think this is my reaction to Patrick Crayton skipping OTAs beginning today in Dallas: Dude, are you crazy? You actually think you have some leverage here, and you actually think teams out there want you? I can hear it now, a coach of a receiver-needy team saying to his GM today: "Hey, let's go get Dallas' fourth receiver, deal something for him, and give him a new contract! What an idea!''
9. I think it's sad to report the death of 37-year-old Norman Hand, the defensive tackle who, 10 years ago, was a Haloti Ngata type, an athletic pile-pusher for the Saints and led a resurgence of the New Orleans D. Hand died of undisclosed causes the other day, and those who played with him will tell you he never minded doing the dirty work.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I'm not saying The Office has jumped the shark or anything, but I watched one of the DVRed new episodes (I think from the night of the draft), about Michael chasing some attractive bar owner, and I didn't chuckle, guffaw or laugh one time. I'm trying to figure out what's changed. I think it has something to do with Pam and Jim, but I'm not sure. I just know it's not very funny.
b. If you want the World Cup to return to the United States in 2018 or 2022, go to GoUSAbid.com and sign the online petition. The local organizers are in the homestretch of trying to convince FIFA we want the Cup. (See how I'm getting into the soccer thing now?)
c. Thanks for your film recommendations last week. Will act on them in the coming weeks, then in July, post-World Cup. The only movie I watched last week was Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which stopped me in my tracks when I had 100 other things to do Thursday. I once met the late John Candy, in of all places the locker room of the Toronto Argonauts (which he at the time he owned with Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall) in Winnipeg, after Rocket Ismail helped the Argos to a Grey Cup title. I approached Candy, wearing the largest fur coat in Canadian history, and told him Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have gotten a lukewarm reception from the critics, but I loved it. "Great movie,'' I said. To which he said with a disgusted sneer, "Damn right it was.''
d. Well, I'm 11th out of 12 teams in my Jersey-based rotisserie league (thank you, Mr. Broxton; you too, Mr. Ellsbury), so I shook things up Sunday. Dealt Dan Uggla, King Felix (Hernandez) and geezerish Trevor Hoffman for Dustin Pedroia, Ricky Romero and Kerry Wood. The King has been underwhelming, but I know that's a gamble. Have to hope Romero pitches his next 25 starts like he's pitched the first seven.
e. Never live that down, Bruins. Heck of a job, Flyers. The Flyers are amazing. They expend all that energy to win four in a row, including coming back from a three-goal deficit in the decisive seventh game against Boston -- then wipe out the Canadiens 6-0 in the first game of the next round.
f. Stay in Cleveland, LeBron.
g. Is it possible the biggest reason I had such disdain for the NBA the past 20 years is I lived in New Jersey? That Cleveland-Boston series was enough to make me interested in Boston-Orlando.
h. Coffeenerdness: Meaningless Non-Starbucks Stat of the Week: There are 1,151 places to buy brewed Dunkin Donuts coffee within a 50-mile radius of Boston.
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