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Ravens SS Bernard Pollard Releases Bourre (Cajun card game) App

Menacing Ravens SS Bernard Pollard has a new app. Wishing him lots of luck and success with it.

When SS Bernard Pollard isn’t injuring your team’s favorite player or making a menace of himself in the secondary with FS Ed Reed, he’s apparently getting into the apple app game. Today, Mashable reported that Pollard released a self-funded app of the Cajun card game Bourre which is a popular way for athletes to waste money compete for pots of money. The goal of Pollard’s app is to teach people how to play the game with ease and to make it fun without the gambling part.

From Mashable:

First, star guard Gilbert Arenas nearly lost his career after wielding an unlicensed handgun in the team locker room following a bourre-related gambling dispute with a fellow Washington Wizard. Then a couple Memphis Grizzlies fought on a team charter flight after some high stakes bourre gone bad. The two incidents served to pull back a curtain on a previously unheard-of part of pro athlete gambling culture, but gave bourre (pronounced BOO-ray) a hint of menace as well.

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A breakdown of why the Washington Redskins drew a 36 million dollar salary cap penalty

As we all wondered the ins and outs of how something could first be okay and then totally and completely not okay, Sally Jenkins gave us the detailed history of why the Skins received a salary cap penalty for actions taken during an “uncapped” year.

It all has to do with what amounts to a quest by the Redskins to gain a competitive advantage. Jenkins writes:

What happened was this: Back in 2010, when the NFL entered hardball negotiations with the players union for a new labor contract, the owners warned each other not to use the situation to get a leg up. were in an uncapped year, with no limit on player salaries, and entering a tense and emotionally fraught labor situation, and they asked each other not to abuse the circumstances.

In essence they said, “Don’t try to set yourselves up to be in a better spot when this is over.” Think of it like a yellow caution flag in a car race: The drivers agree to hold their places and not to accelerate until the track is clear.

But that’s exactly what Snyder did. To a lesser extent, so did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones just sped up a little. Snyder apparently floored it. The Redskins shifted money, moved it, dumped it, and did everything they could to emerge from the labor pause with the books cleared of bad numbers, so when it was over they could get the biggest jump possible on other franchises in buying up new players.

Jenkins goes on to give a great synopsis about why Dan Snyder isn’t only disliked among scorned Skins fans but why his peers aren’t such fans of his either. I think it’s a worthy read.

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Brandon Lloyd and Bryant McKinnie Among Players To Learn Business of Music At Clive Davis Institute

The NFL and NFLPA have lots of programs running to help NFL players develop their lives and interest outside of football. Their office of player engagement has partnered with the Clive Davis Institute which is part of NYU’s Tisch’s School of Music to boot on a bootcamp for 20 current and former NFL players including the Rams Brandon Lloyd and the Baltimore Ravens’ Bryant McKinnie. Also, Bryant Scott who I interviewed a few months ago when his single Dedicated was released on itunes.

I was vaguely aware of Lloyd’s interest in rapping back when he was a Redskin. You can check out his old myspace page here  and see him getting his freestyle on via this MTV2 Sucka Free clip. McKinnie owns his own record label and frequently tweets about the label and his artists. Here he is talking about why he started the label.



The complete list of players participating in the bootcamp:

Player Current team (Former teams)
Marvin Austin NYG
Antoine Bethea IND
Keary Colbert Former (CAR, DEN, SEA, DET, KC)
Justin Fargas Former (OAK)
Al Harris STL
Torry Holt Former (STL, JAX)
Darren Howard Former (NO, PHL)
Chris Kluwe MIN
James Lee TB
Brandon Lloyd STL
Dustin Lyman Former (CHI)
David Macklin Former (IND, ARZ, WASH, KC)
Bryant McKinnie BALT
Ryan McNeil Former (DET, STL, CLE)
Chukky Okobi Former (PIT, AZ)
Chris Pressley CIN
Bryan Scott BUF
L.J. Shelton Former (AZ, CLE, MIA, SD)
Craig Terrill Former (SEA)
Ashton Youboty JAX

Matt Forte, Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis: Of Interventions and the Law of Diminishing Returns

For just $2 a day, you can help Bears running back Matt Forte.

I’m working on a post about the fabulous running back play across the league this year. That’s coming up soon. But in the midst of it, I gave a little thought to the guys like Matt Forte, Arian Foster, and even Peyton Hillis who are all battling issues with their contracts. Last year Hillis’ breakout performance spurred the viewing public to vote for him to be on the Madden cover. Matt Forte is currently 45% (maybe more) of the Bears offense, and Foster is getting the ball so much it’s a wonder his notorious hamstring is holding up at all.

Hillis is by far having the worst season having been injured for much of it amid accusations that his injuries aren’t even real and that he’s sitting out cause his discontent with his contract. Last week, Hillis’ teammates staged a sort of “intervention” to let him know that they need him to be a part of the team and that his attitude needs improvement.

Easy for them to say.

By Wednesday, a group of about eight Browns veterans had summoned Hillis into a meeting room for an intervention-style, air-clearing session designed to restore his focus. After a breakout season in 2010 that vaulted him to national prominence, including a spot on the “Madden NFL ’12” cover, the 25-year-old back’s consuming desire for a new contract has become a locker room distraction that numerous teammates regard as an impediment to cohesion and collective success.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says one Browns veteran. “Last year, Peyton was such a positive, inspirational force on our team – but now he’s like a different guy. It’s like he’s in a funk that he can’t get out of, and it’s killing us, because we really need him. And we’ve told him that. But we’re at the point where we just don’t know what to do.”

During an interview session with reporters in the locker room of the Browns’ training facility Thursday, Hillis conceded that his dissatisfaction with his contract and the accompanying controversies – including his decision to miss a late-September game against the Miami Dolphins while suffering from strep throat – have made it difficult to get his “mind right.”

And with good reason. Some guys handle stuff like this better than others. Some guys have more concerns about money than others as well. One of the most striking things about athletes is how often they don’t really believe in the fleeting nature of their careers. I don’t know Hillis, but I do know that guys who understand how short the ride is going to be typically struggle harder to reconcile the situation mentally.

With the new rookie wage scale, RBs might be the most negatively impacted by having lower pay from the jump. And with teams wanted to see more than one breakout season before renegotiating (which is a very good explanation for why Hillis hasn’t received a raise) there are going to be more ugly situations with RBs going forward.

So as bad as things are for Hillis right now I wonder how much worse off he is than Forte or Foster. Playing well and playing hard is WONDERFUL…but playing too well and too hard activates the law of diminishing returns when you’re a running back. Can anyone seriously say that Forte being 45% or more of his team’s offense for half the season already makes them feel good about how his body will hold up in a year? And Foster has averaged 25 carries a game since returning from injury, will he be alive at week 13??

Look at the way the Washington Redskins’ over reliance on Clinton Portis both in the ground game AND blocking cut his career off at the age of 28. Though he remained in the league the following season and was sideline due to injuries that just wouldn’t heal but let’s be honest, his career was done the year before. Forte is on the cusp of 27 which I suppose accounts for him wanting more guaranteed money than was originally alleged to be put on the table.

Both Forte and Foster need to be carrying the ball a lot less or the return on the investment THEY provide the team is going to be lower than it would be otherwise. The problem is how to hit just the right stride, and I don’t have the answer for how to do it. In fact, it may be impossible.

This is not to say that I don’t understand the team perspective and the hesitation to pay. Running back is a position that wears players down super fast, and strong resurgences after injury (like, for example, Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner) are pretty rare at this point. In particular, on teams like the Texans, Browns, and Bears where the offense is so horribly out of balance that the running back isn’t just a critical piece of the offense-he IS the offense.

It’s great to see Forte get such support from his teammates though. At least they realize that without Forte their team would be unwatchable this season. And if no one else has Foster’s back publicly at least Jason LaCanfora does. He stuck up for Foster when some dimwitted fans insisted that Foster was one credit union savings account from Michael Jordan money.

As for Hillis, even if you think he’s a whiny faker the Browns couldn’t be handling this any worse. And that includes the players. Hearing Scott Fujita WHINE about being asked about Hillis by beat reporters was completely over the top. I’m not in the locker room with these guys and there’s certainly a lot going on that I don’t know about that could provoke Hillis’ teammates’ anger toward him. For all I know, Hillis is a complete jerk and/or mental case. But what we CAN see from the outside is that the Browns have an injury depleted offense and a struggling 2nd year QB and it’s very easy to direct all the frustration at Hillis rather than looking at the total picture.

Unlike his teammates, obviously Browns management doesn’t think Hillis not playing is the reason the Browns are losing games. If they did they’d pay him and fix the problem…right?

Oh and can we stop blaming Chris Johnson for teams’ hesitation to pay RBs? This issue existed long before Chris Johnson came along. In fact, he was originally impacted by these issues. How in the fuck did people forget the things that happened during the pre-season already? Johnson didn’t invent underperforming after a raise just like he didn’t invent out playing a contract.


And while we’re here, Arian Foster is fascinating. Love it.



Dr. J Will Auction Off His 1983 76ers Championship Ring This Week — Also Being Sued By Bank

The Great Dr. Julius Erving, a living legend.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dr. J is being sued by his bank over a 200K loan and 1 million dollar line of credit. The AJC lists the auctioning of his memorabilia (which starts Friday) as a separate matter, but who really believes that?

In an unrelated matter, many of Erving’s basketball memorabilia items, including his 1983 Philadelphia 76ers World Championship ring, will be up for bidding Friday, SCP Auctions said Tuesday. Other items on the auction block include Erving’s ABA championship rings from 1974 and 1976 with the New York Nets, MVP trophies from both the NBA and the ABA, and jerseys.

The minimum bid is $25,000 for the NBA championship ring, and $20,000 for each ABA title ring and the NBA MVP trophy, the auction house said. In a statement released by the auction house, Erving said he plans to donate a portion of the auction proceeds to the Salvation Army.

HE’S AUCTIONING HIS 1983 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RING? As a 6ers fan I’m a little hurt! That was the very last championship we won.

I wasn’t going to put up a post about this, but blame T.O. for the fact that I did. I was just thinking yesterday, if you were a huge fan of Terrell Owens, yesterday was HEARTBREAKING FOR YOU. A few months back I wrote a post about watching my childhood heroes fall. So I know reading about Dr. J will be difficult for some people.

Speaking of which, for a fairly small market paper, the AJC does a great job breaking news about celebs in Atlanta. Their stories on Allen Iverson’s comings and goings in Atlanta  pretty much  single-handled crushed the 2000s for me. Dr. J apparently moved to Atlanta last summer.


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