"They [NFL officials] haven't turned over anything that we would consider to be direct evidence of player involvement in a 'pay to injure' scheme that we could consider for discipline. It's very hard to have a productive discussion about punishment when one side has kept, to itself, all the information. It's a very, at least from our perspective, unfair situation where you have a number of allegations floating back and forth in the press. There certainly appears to be some information that's been provided to the media about certain individuals' involvement and references to everything from e-mails to Powerpoints.
"It's difficult for those players to be in a situation where they can hardly defend themselves from unsubstantiated accusations that are being made in the public. If there is direct evidence of a 'pay to injure' scheme implicating players or anybody involved, we are asking the league to turn over that information. If the evidence demonstrates that the players or anybody else was involved in misconduct, then we've been as a union zero sum when it comes to the issues of health and safety for our players and that's where we're going to remain.''
-- NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, interviewed by Melissa Stedler of the union-licensed ProPlayersInsiders.com website.
"I was misused. Absolutely, I was misused.''
-- Donovan McNabb, on ESPN, about how he felt he was handled by the Washington Redskins in 2010.
"Anything short of reverence is subject to ridicule.''
-- Jerry Tipton, longtime Kentucky Wildcats beat writer, on the criticism he has endured covering the team, in a New York Times profile over the weekend.
I covered many Kentucky home games for four seasons in the early '80s for the Cincinnati Enquirer. One of my first stories for the paper was about point guard Dicky Beal of nearby Covington, Ky., breaking his commitment to DePaul to attend Kentucky.
I'll always recall sitting on press row at Rupp Arena and feeling like scum. Fans there hated the press. I recall one time at Senior Day -- in 1984, I believe -- seeing center Melvin Turpin's mother at the game in a wheelchair, and someone there said it was the first time in Turpin's career that his mom was able to attend a game. I thought it would be nice to go ask her at halftime what she thought of her son's fine career, and what it was like for her to be at a game. Which I did. And about two minutes into a nice conversation, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was assistant coach Leonard Hamilton. He glared at me and said, "What are you doing talking to this woman?''
Tough gig. Much tougher for Tipton, who's been harder on the team than most over his 30 years of covering the Wildcats. In the Times story, a fan told Tipton he was looking forward to him dying, so he could urinate on his grave.
Why the Buffalo Bills are excited, now that Mario Williams is on the team:
New season tickets sold in the first two days after Mario Williams signed this month: 1,600.
New season tickets sold in the first seven days after Drew Bledsoe was acquired in 2002: 1,273.
In 1991, Jack Elway took over as coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League of American Football. His GM: Oliver Luck. They worked together for two years.
"I visited my dad over there after one of my Denver seasons,'' John Elway told me. "And I remember a little kid running around the place. It was Andrew.''
Andrew Luck would have been very little -- like one and a half or two and a half years old, depending if it was the 1991 or 1992 season when John Elway visited.
Just thinking: Jack Elway worked with Oliver Luck. John Elway played for Stanford. Jack Elway coached Stanford. Andrew Luck played for Stanford. John Elway went to work for the Broncos, and as his first major act running the football operations, signed Peyton Manning in free agency after Manning was made expendable by the prospect of Indianapolis drafting Andrew Luck. That's one strange circle of life.
Two hours down the road from Sanford, Fla., site of the Trayvon Martin killing that has inflamed the nation, I sat down for a relaxing exhibition game in Port St. Lucie the other day. On the scoreboard before the game was an ad, with a voiceover by the PA announcer, for a shooting range and gun shop near the stadium.
A fan (presumably a local person, though he never said) who I'd been talking with a couple of seats away noticed me listening to the ad -- with nine soundproof areas in which to practice shooting -- and said, "You're not in New York anymore, Peter.''
"I've made sum mistakes, & have no excuses. I'm using the tools I've learned 2 move forward rather than backwards, & will B open 2 talking abt the details in the days 2 come. I'm confident that thr will B further understanding when the facts R revealed, & feel vry blessed 4 all of the support, esp from my friends & family.'' #beblessed
-- @ryandleaf, former quarterback Ryan Leaf, after being arrested and released on $76,000 bail Friday in Great Falls, Mont., for burglary and drug possession.
The Great Falls Tribune reported Leaf was found with 20 Oxycodone pills after a month-long investigation by the Central Montana Drug Task Force. He is being investigated for taking pain pills from a home in Great Falls.
Last November, I had Leaf on my SI.com podcast. We talked for 25 minutes about the weight of being the second pick in the 1998 draft (behind Peyton Manning) and the rehab he went through after getting hooked on pain pills, and surgery to remove a brain tumor. After going through rehab, he said he was most impacted by therapy with this message: You've got to move past this bust thing, and you don't have to live the rest of your life making up for your football failure in the NFL. He told me that day: "The fact that they said I didn't have to do anything associated with football ever again was like a huge weight being taken off me. I felt like that might be the only thing I was ever going to be able to do and to have such a rock that I lugged around for so long, being the bust of all-time or whatever, that was just too consuming for me, I think.''
"Watched 5 gms of Cousins. Disappointed. Saw limited passer w/average arm strength. Needed functional space to throw. Plant + throw passer ... Would need to be highly managed by scheme.''
-- @gregcosell of NFL Films, whose double-tweet analysis of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins -- going against the grain of so many draftniks in love with Cousins -- is one of the reasons his Twitter analysis is so vital to people who follow the draft: He just goes by what he sees on tape, nothing else.
"Just went to see Hunger Games at a Magic Johnson theater. Tickets were $21,750 and a Diet Coke was $750. Seemed a little steep.''
-- @peteabe, Boston Globe baseball writer Pete Abraham, after Magic Johnson became part of a group that paid a world-record price for a sports franchise, $2 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers.