"It's horribly poor form ... for the NFL to take the position that Congress should stay out of the labor dispute when involvement could pressure the league to do a deal, and then to embrace Congressional involvement when it could pressure the players to do a deal.''
-- Mike Florio, on profootballtalk.com, writing Sunday about how three congressmen, including former Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), released a letter this weekend urging NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to meet with NFL Alumni czar George Martin to discuss benefits for retired players.
Martin has been attempting to meet with Smith for months now, and Smith, presumably because Martin works with the blessing of the NFL, has refused. The NFL has long urged a new CBA to be forged at the negotiating table, not in the halls of Congress or in court.
"For NFL players, federal court in Minneapolis is a legal nirvana.''
-- Richard Sandomir, ace TV/business of sports/general-assignment reporter for the New York Times, leading his story Sunday about how Minnesota has been a good home field for NFL players in court cases for the last 20-plus years.
"I'm most disappointed in the actions of the Union's leadership that is supposed to be representing all of our players. They clearly were not negotiating in good faith right from the beginning. I believe their intention all along was to decertify and bring us to litigation.''
-- San Diego Chargers president Dean Spanos, a member of the owners' negotiating committee.
What would you say if I told you that Tiki Barber, in his last three years of football (at 29, 30 and 31) was more durable and more productive than Adrian Peterson was in his past three years (at 23, 24 and 25). It's true. Barber carried more times, for more yards and more yards per carry (5.0 for Barber, 4.6 for Peterson) in those respective periods.
My point is not that Barber, who turns 36 next month, would be a success coming out of retirement after four years away from the game. (With his TV career in mothballs, Barber announced last week that he intends to try to return to football if anyone will sign him.) My point is that Barber averaged 110 rushing yards per game after turning 30 -- the highest average rushing figure over the 2005 and '06 seasons for any back in football -- and, well, it wouldn't be a total waste of time to bring him to training camp for backfield insurance. On a non-guaranteed contract, of course.
How the careers of Barber (age 29-31) and Peterson (age 23-25) compare:
When David Boies, 70, was added to the NFL's legal team for the fight against the players on Saturday (he actually agreed to work for the NFL before the Super Bowl in the event the players took the NFL to court; the announcement was made Saturday), a few veteran league observers were stunned. The plain-spoken and deep-thinking Boies is, in the words of one veteran sports executive, "about as liberal as George McGovern, and who'd have ever thought the NFL would hire someone like that?''
Boies worked for Al Gore in trying to get his close loss to George Bush in the 2000 election overturned. He won a case in California seeking to overturns the state's ban on gay marriage. He's a big supporter of Teach for America, which urges some of the smartest college graduates in the country to give their first two post-grad years to teaching in underprivileged school districts. He represented far, far left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore in a Treasury Department investigation into Moore's travel to Cuba in the health-care-industry-ravaging movie Sicko.' And he was of a team of lawyers representing Jamie McCourt in her high-profile divorce from Frank McCourt.
Boies might make good theater out of some of these boring legal arguments coming up.
As a city to have fun in, we underrate Washington. It's not just the historic sights you see almost no matter where you're perched in town. It's the neighborhoods, with the good places to eat and drink. The problem with Washington as a place to visit over the years as an NFL writer is pretty simple: You rarely stay in Washington. You're either out near Dulles Airport if visiting the Redskins' practice facility, or you're in the Maryland burbs if covering a game at FedEx. That has to change.
The other night, upon a recommendation from Jon Saraceno of USA Today, I got some nice pasta in Georgetown. Friday night, I went with NFL.com's Albert Breer and girlfriend Emily to a craft beer place, ChurchKey, hoping to get something to drink and eat (in that order), and though we stayed for one beer, it was just too crowded for 53-year-old people; 20-somethings love places like that but it was just too loud and too mobbed. We walked two blocks down the street to Posto, an Italian place, and, joined by scribes Greg Bedard and Alex Marvez, had some fine ravioli.
I left Saturday vowing to stay in D.C. on all future trips associated with the Redskins. It's just too good a city.
"NFL = March Sadness.''
--@gametimemickey, Mickey Ryan, as the labor negotiations blew up Thursday night in Washington.
"Love how one person close to talks just put it to me: 'Hoping for a Hail Mary, preparing for Thelma and Louise.' ''
--@SI_PeterKing, me, at nearly the same time Thursday, with the two sides one day away from running the talks off a cliff.
"A labor dispute is not Armageddon. It is not war. It is 2 groups who have let passion overcome reason.''
--@davegoldberg84, longtime pro football writer Dave Goldberg, in the wake of the week's news.
SI Now: How did "Dougie McBuckets" originate?
SI Now: Hypnosis one reason for Doug McDermott's on-the-court success