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March 2012 Archive


Feeling the pressure Sean Payton Turns to His Mentor Bill Parcells

Chris Mortenson reported that Sean Payton asked his mentor and retired former Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells to consider coaching the Saints while he’s suspended for a year. As you know, Payton’s suspension is due to the fact that the Saints ran a bounty program under his watch and lied to the NFL about it for about 2 years.  As numerous reporters have pointed out, even an “interim” coaching job would set Parcells another 5 years back for Hall of Fame consideration so the likelihood of Parcells taking over for Payton is pretty low. He could, however, fill in for GM Mickely Loomis who is suspended until week 8 but even that seems like a stretch from where I sit. Obviously, that means nothing as stranger things have happened.

In fact, the mere thought of Payton and Parcells discussing such a move is strange itself. Why would Payton want to subject the team to an entirely different coaching style (Payton is known for being a good listener and a flexible leader, Parcells, however, is not) that, if things go as planned, would only be for a year anyway? Would it not make more sense for Steve Spagnuolo to double as DC and HC…at least then-assuming Spags doesn’t flee for another HC position after next season-players would be adapting to a style that they’d have to get used to anyway.

But the mentor-mentee relationshp is an influential one. And like any good mentor Parcells has had a lasting impact on Payton.  In 2010, Jeff Duncan mentioned in the Times-Picayne that when Payton first took over as HC of the Saints, the halls seemed haunted by Parcells:

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Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Others Wear Hoodies to Support Justice for Trayvon Martin

I continue to be completely consumed by the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin down in Florida. Although the case has gotten plenty of coverage, there’s still sooo many people who either don’t know or don’t understand why it’s a big deal to many of us. Earlier this week, CNN’s Roland Martin (who I normally can barely tolerate) starting calling out some athletes and rappers in Florida asking why they had not spoken out. Normally I’m indifferent as to whether celebs talk about something but in this case I see where it’s important. I also see where calling them out gives a good reason to say something they may have been thinking  about anyway but may have been reluctant to speak out about preferring to avoid potential backlash or a misstatement.

That’s why I was glad that Lebron James tweeted this photo of the Miami Heat:

This photo was very moving to me because I didn’t expect it nor do I think that black athletes or black people period should be the only ones expected to publicly oppose someone getting away with stalking and murdering a black child (or anyone for that matter!). I think Lebron and the Heat did a wonderful thing here because truthfully it feels good to see black folks with a platform stick up for those who don’t have one (yes I’m aware not all Heat players are black, even better!). Wade mentioned that he was glad Martin took him to task. I thought that was interesting given the fact that Wade’s girlfriend Gabrielle Union had been tweeting about Trayvon for a week while Wade remained silent. For what it’s worth that follows the common theme of women being much more vocal in general about these sorts of things. Wade is now wearing a hoodie in his twitter avatar.

It was also very cool to see some of the writers who were spotted donning hoodies in their profile photos like Jim Trotter from Sports Illustrated, Aaron Nagler from Bleacher Report, and ESPN ‘s Michael Wright, Trey Wingo, and Jean-Jacques Taylor as well Bleacher Report’s Michael Schottey and  Newsday’s Rod Boone. I’m sure there were many others but this is the much-appreciated short list. I also noticed SI’s Richard Deitsch retweeting articles on Trayvon and asking for recommendations of reporters who were covering the case thoroughly. Sometimes you can make a statement without being explicit…and in this case I appreciate even the smallest gestures from those who aren’t tasked with covering social issues. Because of Deitsch’s tweets a few more people are informed and that matters to me.

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Profile: Howard Shatsky of Professional Football Management

I hope you checked out the last profile interview I did with Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal. He had some interesting things to say about writing and social media. This week’s victim profile interviewee is Howard Shatsky who owns Professional Football Management. I reached out to Howard because he’s outspoken and doesn’t hold a lot back. Howard has represented players like Josh Baker and Marcus Dixon.

So read on to find out how he approaches counseling his clients and also why he has a limit on how many rookies he’ll represent at any given time.

1. What do you do when an athlete won’t listen to your advice?

At the end of the day, my clients are my boss. So you [as an agent] provide your advice and counsel what they choose to do with that is up to them just like any adult who has final decision. If it’s something I feel strongly about or I feel like one of my clients is going to go down a path that isn’t good for them then I’ll push it hard. If I see it as not being all that important, I won’t. But they’re adults and they make their own decisions which is why I find it interesting that T.O. is blaming is agent [for some of his financial problems].

2. Do you think the new rookie wage scale opens the door for some of the lesser known agents or how does it affect agents in general?

I don’t think it affects anything other than agents will make less money off rookie players. I do not think it opens the door for new agents. Guys will still recruit the same amount they used to and they’ll spend the same amount of money recruiting rookies they’ll just make less money. I don’t think it will cause players to ask to have their deals redone earlier either.

3. What’s the most difficult relationship for an agent to maintain? E.g. agent/client, agents/agent, agent/team owners.

It’s not that important for me to have great relationships with the guys I compete against. You may have some guys that you’re friendly with but you’re always more worried about your relationship with clients and with teams. For me, having been in the business for 25 years it’s not difficult for me to maintain relationships that I already have. For someone breaking into the business, it is going to be difficult to get those relationships—that’s why I recommend that they [players] go with agents who have experience. I have clients who are good guys so maintaining relationships with them isn’t hard. I recommend to agents not to just sign anyone, sign guys you can get along with.

4. What’s better for players in general-A large firm or a boutique agency?

It all depends on who’s running the agency. A lot of experience and a small number of clients is a very good situation for clients to look at. To me, experience is the most important thing. I wouldn’t want to be a guy with 60+ guys I want to be somewhere where I mean something to them. I think [in those situations] they get more things done for them and better all around service.


On rookies:

I won’t represent any more than 2 or 3 rookies in any given year. That’s because I don’t think you can effectively do it with all the things you need to do to represent a guy properly.


Redskins Tim Hightower rescued off a mountain in Arizona

This is probably the same look Hightower had on his face when he got stuck on that mountain with his wife

From Phoenix Fox 10:

A couple who went for an evening hike on Camelback Mountain Thursday ended up needing some help, and the man who needed help is reportedly a former Cardinals player.

Witnesses called the FOX 10 newsroom to report that the man needing aid was Tim Hightower.

Hightower is now with the Redskins, and his wife is Krista Hightower.

The couple ended up hiking off-trail and getting lost, and then it became too dark for them to make it down.

Redskins blog reports that Hightower is just fine and is back to work.

I mean why? Just why?


Mark Sanchez may be fragile but his mental state isn’t the only one that matters

As you can see, took a modest approach to the Tebow-to-Jets story

A couple seasons ago we had a drinking game. If the Dolphins were playing (and you have the misfortunate of having to watch) take a drink every single time you hear the term “wildcat.” That season, if you played that game, you AND Ronnie Brown would be drunk by the end of the 2nd quarter. We tried to do it last season and were sober all game. The wildcat went the way of some other trends in the NFL. And I, for one, was glad to see it go.

Fast forward to this offseason (we need another word cause the NFL truly does not have one of those), the Jets have acquired former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano to run their offense and now Tim Tebow to…to…well, isn’t that the question? What exactly do the Jets want Tebow to do? Of course it’s possible that the Jets acquire Tebow as a true backup. A guy that only gets 2nd team reps and only plays if the starter cannot. But this smells like something more. Actually, it’s not a smell…it’s more like a stench.

Last year, to “motivate” Sanchez Rex Ryan started giving over-the-hill-no-chance-in-hell-he’d-ever-play-wasn’t-that-good-when-he-did-play back up QB Mark Brunell some of Sanchez’s reps. When the media and bloggers (including myself!) pointed out how effing ridiculous it is to try to motivate a starter by giving reps to someone who hasn’t a chance in hell of taking that person’s job the Jets pretended as though the change in reps was just par for the course and nothing to worry about.

Except people did worry. They worried that Sanchez wasn’t mentally tough enough to deal with all the pressure of being an NFL QB in a major media market. Fast forward to the end of the season and the Jets had a complete meltdown with the first of the strong rumblings coming after safety Eric Smith took a bad angle and couldn’t tackle Tebow costing the Jets an opportunity to win the game. When the season was officially over anonymous receivers named Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress couldn’t wait to criticize Sanchez. Next thing you know there were fingers being pointed everywhere and the Jets drama was dominating the news cycle with 8th string QBs giving us the 411.

You’d think a team that had gone through all of that would take the low key approach to fixing the mess in their franchise. But not the Jets. They first pursue Peyton Manning and after being brutally rebuffed make an odd gesture to Mark Sanchez by extending his contract unnecessarily — and without much extra money added to it. So basically they began yet another exercise in just plain being insulting. They barely waited a week before they jumped into the Tebow fray announcing the deal was done before reading Tebow’s contract and finding out they’d have to add another 5 million to the price. Yet another embarrassment. But not to be discouraged they ended up going through with the deal anyway.

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