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Hurt Locker


Joe Horn One of Several Former Players Suing NFL Over Use of Painkiller

Former WR Joe Horn as I like to remember him--being a fun-loving divo.

Let’s just start with the details:

“The plaintiffs have described the situation as one of being in a pregame locker room with players lining up to receive injections of Toradol in a ‘cattle call’ with no warnings of any sort being given, no distinguishing between different medical conditions of the players, and regardless of whether the player had an injury of any kind,” the suit alleges.

The dozen retired players, including Joe Horn, Matt Joyce and Jerome Pathon, played in the late 1990s and early 2000s and say they now have anxiety, depression, short-term memory loss, severe headaches, sleeping problems and dizziness, according to Christopher A. Seeger, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.

“We took it like clockwork,” said Horn, a receiver who played 12 years with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons and who says he now experiences bouts of dizziness and blackouts. “They don’t meet with you to tell you what will happen five years later. Had I known that there were going to be complications, I wouldn’t have taken the shots.”

In accusing the league of negligence, fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation and conspiracy, the former players are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages, and the reimbursement of their legal costs.

The league disputed the suit’s claims.

It’s possible this suit could have critical implications. We all know when it comes to football NFL rules about health get stretched…by everyone including the players. What the former players are arguing here is that the power to make a decision about whether or not to risk their health was taken out of their hands. It’s probably not relevant to the lawsuit, but I can’t help but wonder what they would have done with that information? Would they really not have taken the drug? Again, not necessarily relevant to the case but it does represent the kind of questions that will come up depending on the direction it all takes.

I think of New York Giants OT Stacy Andrews who was coughing up blood and originally thought he had a rib issue this week. Turns out he had a pulmonary embolism in BOTH lungs and could have died. Andrews is lucky he and the trainers looked further into his symptoms. There are lots of symptoms and signs that get ignored especially late in the season when everyone is stressing about closing the season right and setting themselves up for a spot on the team next year.

I guess what I’m saying in a roundabout sort of way is that hiding information is somewhat a permanent part of the game and how the legal system handles this case could get really interesting. The symptoms the players who are suing describe are not uncommon among former players-how much they are tied to a particular painkiller is going to be up for serious debate.





Doctors: Jay Cutler’s Surgery Not A Choice — Plus My Thoughts on Comparing QB Injuries

Jay Cutler just can't catch a break. Get it? break. haha...ha...ha. Oh well. Photo via Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images courtesy of Sports Illustrated

I can only hope that one day an entire season will go by without someone questioning Jay Cutler’s toughness and commitment to the team or whining about some face he made (or didn’t make). During the week 11 games Cutler broke his thumb and had surgery on it which could put him out for 6 weeks. Well, 6 weeks is way optimistic, 8 or 9 weeks sounds more like it. That means he’d be out into the playoffs. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has also been diagnosed with a thumb break, and the fact that he isn’t going to miss a game set the sports talk word on fire with people, once again, insisting that Cutler is just a big old pussy. WRONG.

After hearing questions Monday over the airwaves wondering why Bears quarterback Jay Cutler can’t play with a broken thumb in his throwing hand the way Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is, Dr. Mark Cohen offered a second opinion.

It doesn’t mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.

“Jay Cutler having the surgery now means the bone is broken and shifted or displaced and is not what they call a stable fracture,” said Cohen, a hand surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. “It’s an unstable fracture. On those you can’t wait because they’ll heal crooked or won’t heal properly. The guy had a significant thumb injury and he’s got to have the bone fixed so the bone can heal. He has no choices. The doctors have no choices. This is cut-and-dried.”

Let’s repeat this again for the slow muthafuckers in the back:

It doesn’t mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.It doesn’t mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.It doesn’t mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.It doesn’t mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.

It’s no secret that Ben Roethlisberger is my favorite QB and one of the things I like the most about him is the toughness he exudes both mentally and physically. But there are plenty of times when being tough crosses the line into being dumb as a bag of rocks and my honey Ben is no stranger to either concept.

This whole comparison habit people have reared its ugly head again when some, stupidly, compared Michael Vick’s rib injury to Tony Romo’s rib injury. I’m no doctor, but it seems common sense would tell folks that all rib injuries are NOT the same. Further, given the fact that players have different styles of play (not to mention throwing motions), it would follow that even if two players had the EXACT same injury (which isn’t likely) one may be able to play while the other couldn’t.

I was really upset at the suggestion that Vick should play with his rib injury just because Tony Romo did especially since the Eagles season is all but officially over and the team does need a healthy QB for next season. But that’s still really besides the point. All the newly minted ‘doctors’ in the sports world really need take a step back and stop rushing to see who can be the most foolish.

But far be it from me to insist that facts should impede a person’s ability to mock a player.




Cowboys and Eagles Should Sit Romo and Vick This Week

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has a cracked rib and a punctured lung. Currently, it hurts when he laughs. Brian Orakpo just shared this on facebook.

I can’t believe I have to say this…but I really don’t think that Tony Romo and Michael Vick should play Sunday (Eagles/Giants) and Monday (Cowboys/Redskins). To catch you up, Romo suffered a cracked rib and punctured lung against the San Francisco 49ers. And Vick was concussed in the game against the Atlanta Falcons. 4 days later and Romo is expected to play on Monday and Vick is currently a game time decision having participated in team walk throughs the last couple of days.

I realize that football players are the superest of humans, but this is so dumb it’s sickening. I get that football season is short and that every win counts, and you certainly want to nail those wins against teams that aren’t great lessening the blow of not beating superior teams. But if ever there was a good chance for backup QBs Kitna and Kafka to win games in their starters’ absence it’s against the Redskins (umm yeah I know they’re 2 and 0) and the depleted Giants.

How can a league that changed kickoffs in the interest of safety also send two players out to play given what they experienced last week? Redskins Cornerback D’Angelo Hall has already publicly said he will target Romo’s injury which is appropriate football strategy (however terrible some people thought it sounded). Whether Hall makes will make it over the line of scrimmage I don’t know, but there’s a HIGH probability OLB Brian Orakpo will. And SS Laron Landry is coming back off injury with something to prove. What better way to welcome yourself back then to grab a couple of sacks against your division rival?

Romo could be without his best receivers leaving him vulnerable to holding the ball longer when he has to pass. But I suppose it’ll be okay because we’ve been assured that the puncture was “small” and could clear up in a matter of “days?”

I don’t care!

Kafka had a good showing for the Eagles last week when Vick had to leave the game. And if Vince Young’s hammy feel better this week he’s likely to be available to play as well. The Eagles have a former starter and a promising youngin backing up Vick and are headed to play an injured team whose best strength the past couple seasons has been getting to the QB. Given the Eagles offensive line woes if Vick absorbs more hits, knockdowns and sacks in the next game while he’s already feeling badly…the likelihood of him fulfilling the gruesome prophecy held by many that he’s going to miss most of the season increases exponentially.

I ain’t with it.

There were a number of other players that suffered concussions this week, and I’ll try to keep track of who plays and who doesn’t for a future post.


Michael Vick Aims to be First Eagles QB in 3 Years To Survive Week 1

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick Looks for a Receiver

Michael Vick Will Need More Than Good Legs to Survive The Season

Yes you read that right. Two years ago Donovan McNabb was knocked out of game 1. Last year Kevin Kolb was knocked out of game 1. This year, prayer for the Eagles starting QB is needed more than ever. With the hodge podge Philadelphia has on its offensive line, not to mention a fresh-out-of-retirement offensive coordinator Howard Mudd, Vick will be lucky to survive the first couple blitzes.

Philadelphia media has reamed the Eagles front office and coach Andy Reid for 1. assuming 26 year old rookie guard Danny Watkins would be ready week 1 (he’s since been replaced, at least temporarily) and 2. For not making stability of the offensive line a priority given how important Vick is.

Count me among the folks who don’t understand why the offensive line wasn’t a top priority even more than solidifying the pass defense. I don’t begrudge the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, but Vick is the real centerpiece of the team. Without him the cards can come crumbling down pretty quickly.

The Eagles are like the Colts in the sense that they are supremely QB reliant. As panic sets in across Indianapolis at the thought that Manning’s neck injury means he may never play again -which is HIGHLY likely- other teams have to take note of the need for succession planning. As annoying as the Patriots can be, it’s one thing that they understand very well, and that has contributed to them being a solid team (if not a playoff team) pretty much every year since the late 90s. I’m glad the Eagles signed Vince Young as backup, but this deep team has high expectations and Vick is the only real present QB option that can meet them.

The Eagles are known to patchwork lines on both sides of the ball, but this year, with the front office saying they’re going “all in” it seems like protecting Vick would have been move numero uno. Make no mistake, this year he will be targeted more than ever:

With the Eagles boasting so many explosive offensive players, getting to Michael Vick might be the only sure way to slow down the Birds scoring. Expect the Rams to try, especially after surrendering nearly 224 passing yards per game last year.

The Eagles, meanwhile, counter with a rookie at center, Jason Kelce; a journeyman, Evan Mathis, at left guard; a right tackle, Todd Herremans, who has played one game at tackle since 2006; a right guard, Kyle DeVan, who first practiced with the team Monday; and left tackle Jason Peters, the only piece of continuity from a year ago.

Mathis did not play with the first team at all in the preseason and Herremans did not play at tackle in the Eagles dress rehearsals. Each will be facing live competition Sunday for the first time in their current roles.

The lineup change is partly a result of miscalculation - first-round pick Danny Watkins not being ready to start, for example - and partly a result of last year’s poor pass protection. The Eagles sought to overhaul their offensive line with new coach Howard Mudd after the team allowed 49 sacks last season, fourth most in the NFL.

But the change has been hampered by the lockout and a search for healthy personnel who can play Mudd’s style.

PRAYER NEEDED. Or else Michael Vick will be looking at a season full of injuries and…condoms.

For Vick’s part, he’s remaining his normal chirpy self:

Vick’s confidence in his abilities may be unparalleled.

“You can never have too much bravado, man,” the 31-year-old said. “Never.”

You can see it in the way he fearlessly plays, in the way he often carries his team, and in the way he frequently talks about himself. But isn’t it possible to have too much confidence and to lose sight of your limitations, even for a quarterback?

That very question could sum up the 2011 Eagles as they open their season Sunday at the St. Louis Rams. They are stocked with talent and equipped, in many ways, for a Super Bowl run. But the Eagles have holes that maybe not even Vick can cover.

Don’t tell him that, as reporters have tried recently in bringing up the Eagles’ patchwork offensive line. “I’m going to give defenses fits anyway,” Vick said a few weeks ago. His unbridled confidence may just be the Eagles’ best hope.

“I’m afraid to fail, and I think that’s what keeps me going,” Vick said late last month, just hours after he signed a five-year, $80 million contract. “I think that’s why I keep my confidence up at a high level, because I’m afraid to fail.”

I hope he can instill the same fear of failure in his blockers.




Hacked Accounts: Injured Laron Landry Says Washington Redskins Staff is a “Circus”

A shirtless and tattooed Washington Redskins Safety Laron Landry

Washington Redskins Laron Landry in Quasi-Linebacker Form

I live for little bits and pieces of honesty from players I like. Washington Redskins safety Laron Landry is one of my favorite Defensive Backs, and apparently fans have been questioning him on twitter about his progress. Landry expressed frustration about how his injury has been handled by the Redskins in some tweets that have since been deleted. I’m sure he was hacked…but on the off chance he wasn’t, the Washington Post says:

“Uuhhh oo it ain’t my fault…blame the genius circus staff for the rush. wouldve been there 2wks ago. Im [sorry] but saga [continues],” Landry said in atweet that has since been deleted.

On Saturday, Landry tweeted, “Dont u hate when u absolutely know something 200% and dumb. . . still do the opposite of what u tell them!!! Set backs. . . !!!” The message contained three vulgarities.

Landry hasn’t exactly been forthcoming when asked directly about the situation. On Monday, when he was asked about the status of the strained hamstring that forced him to miss the last two preseason games-after rehabbing the strained left Achilles’ tendon that cost him all of training camp and the start of the preseason-Landry said only “every day is progress.” Landry, who last season recorded 85 tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble in just nine games, also maintained hope that he would play Sunday in the regular season opener.

Side note: Why do defensive players use so many exclamation points when they type? This is a trend I’m noticing. Maybe it’s just a symptom of having an aggressive personality or something.

Moving right along, I can’t tell from these tweets what exactly is going on on the Redskins but this is a dysfunctional team so really you never know.

Only last week did I confidently predict that John Beck would be starting over Rex Grossman, only to be brutally rebuffed when the Redskins announced Grossman as the starter for week 1 (they keep saying week 1…is he the starter for week 1 or the starter period?). I need to marinate on this. Grossman has taken over 1100 snaps in a regular season games to Beck’s 3 (over the entirety of their careers). He also has a year more in the Redskins “system” (whatever that is). If I see two people with those numbers I’d expect the person with more experience and snaps to easily play better than the guy who has barely had a chance. The fact that Grossman didn’t blow Beck out of the water is a bad sign to me.

For Beck’s comment, he is PISSED. His words, not mine. Another interesting round in Redskins land.




New York Giants Make Plans to Convert Locker Room Into A Hospital

The New York Giants are struggling with Injuries

Okay obviously this headline isn’t true. But it’s not a bad idea.

The first game of the season hasn’t taken place yet and the Giants have lost:

MLB Jonathan Goff, DT Marvin Austin, CBs Brian Witherspoon, Terrell Thomas, and Bruce Johnson, LB Clint Sintim to season-ending injuries. Yes, season-ending.The Giants also have Osi Umenyiora out with knee surgery and first round draft pick CB Prince Amukamara out due to a foot fracture until at least October. And key players DE Justin Tuck and LB Mathias Kiwanuka (one of my favorite players) have also struggled. Tuck with a sore achilles and neck and Kiwanuka returning from serious neck injury and now with a hurting groin.

It’s like night of the living dead over there.

Let me be the first (well, maybe not the first) to say that I had no confidence in the Giants this season even before this unfortunate rash of injuries took place. I think their decision making since the lockout ended has been questionable (how the hell you lose Steve Smith to the Eagles of all teams??), and by all accounts Eli Manning isn’t looking very spry. That being said, I’m interested to see how the Giants handle all this adversity.

Since OTAs and mini-camps didn’t happen, we are seeing a lot of unprepared rookies and whole lot of injuries especially torn ACLs. For all we know the rest of the league might catch up to the Giants injury-wise. God, I hope not.

For all you Giants fans who aren’t hip, Inside Football is a great site for your latest in-depth New York Giants news.



Chiefs Rookie Injured in Fight With Thomas Jones — Thumb in A Splint

Since when are rookies just getting into out and out fights with veterans? Multiple veterans at that. Rookie first round pick Jonathan Baldwin apparently got into it with teammate Jaamal Charles first and later Thomas Jones. The fight with Jones ended with Baldwin sustaining a cracked thumb that is currently in a splint. He missed the Chiefs last pre-season game and maybe doubtful for the rest of the pre-season.

This just ain’t the way to start off an NFL career. According to Arrowhead Addict Sports Radio 810 reported that veterans on the team have an issue with Baldwin’s sense of “entitlement.”

While Baldwin got the typical “character issues” speculation coming into the league, Thomas Jones has also had scuffles in the past. If you remember, Jones fought Cedric Benson in the head when they both played for the Bears. That was Benson’s rookie year. (not that Benson hasn’t been in a fight or two!)

For the Chiefs part, they lied and then later refused to comment. Thomas Jones said he would not be answering any non-football questions (wait…isn’t the locker room a part of football? He’s only taking scheme-related question now? Oh.) Kansas City media looks to be all over the whole character issues thing and how the Chiefs are going back on their promise to bring in character guys. Remember, this is the team that had volatile running back Larry Johnson for many years.

I’ve said time and time again NO ONE but NO ONE cares really and truly about character unless they are certain it’d be a distraction. But the right player and the right personnel fit, character importance goes out the window. And the Chiefs are right on the cusp of making some things happen, they need good players not girl scouts.

Since high testosterone males who run into each other for a living are prone to fighting I’m reserving judgement. If you ask me, their whole careers are a big fight. It just sucks to see a rookie injured. But it may be safe to say Baldwin is definitely not the shy type by all accounts, and maybe not be interested in any kind of veteran hazing that may take place in the locker room.

Speaking of hazing, the Jaguars have banned it. Dallas Coach Jason Garrett has also said he doesn’t believe in hazing though rookies and free agents still can’t wear the Dallas star on their helmet until they “earn it.” Yeah okay.


Clinton Portis Shows Up to Patriots Workout Completely Out of Shape

One of my favorite players ever, Clinton Portis, in brighter days.

Clinton Portis is one of my favorite players of all time. I envisioned him leaving the Washington Redskins where he had a very productive career despite the dysfunction, and helping out some team at 2nd string at least a couple more years. I kept waiting on news on him and finally I got it. Portis tried out with the Patriots last week. Unfortunately, he showed up completely out of shape and said he lost 25lbs in the last two weeks.

This is definitely not the way I wanted Portis to end his career. Portis will go down as one of the greatest Redskins in history. He should also be known as one of the most effective and fearless blockers. He was never afraid to sacrifice his body on a play. I really think that last year he was in much more pain than he let on. Worried about his position and career, he came back way too soon from a groin injury, and at that time I thought it might be a death knell. That alone could have forced him into retirement.

With all that his body has gone through, I see why he’s on his way out. I just don’t understand why retiring wasn’t preferable to showing up to Pats camp (of ALL places) out of shape. Portis is one of the wealthier and friendlier guys in the NFL-there are probably plenty of guys he could have worked out with and elite places he could have trained at during the lockout. The decision to show up and make the only news about him this season the fact that he was totally unprepared for football just doesn’t make sense to me. It also makes me sad.


10 Players Have Already Torn Achilles Tendons; Plus 400lb Bryant McKinnie Looks For Work

I soooo did not want to write this post. I can’t even type the phrase “torn achilles” without grimacing. It just sounds so damn painful! Anyway, I wondered if it was common to have 10 players to injure their achilles in two just two weeks of camp, and it looks like this hasn’t happened in the past. Judy Battista at the New York Times took on the subject in her column yesterday.

But so far, the unintended winners of the lockout are orthopedic surgeons. With training camps open for less than two weeks, unofficial counts have 10 players with Achilles’ tendon tears, season-ending injuries that Monday claimed their latest victim, Mikel Leshoure, a rookie running back for Detroit.

The number is notable because nine players are thought to have torn their Achilles’ tendons in all of the 2010 preseason. According to figures compiled by Football Outsiders, a Web site that tracks every game of the season, nine players were on injured reserve with Achilles’ tendon injuries in the first week of the season last year.

WOW, so before the pre-season even begins, more players have injured their achilles in training camp than would typically injure them in the pre-season. Battista quotes a doctor who says that not training enough during the lock out could be contributing to the problem.

I hope that players’ muscle memories can hurry and catch up, because if 10 more players injure their achilles tendons it’s gonna be some trouble!

Speaking of not working out enough, Bryant Mckinnie was cut by the Minnesota Vikings for being out of shape. Yes, I know you knew that. But what you probably didn’t know is that his weight was reportedly 400lbs and his cholesterol level was a soaring 400. Just so you know, anything headed into the 200s is considered high. And sure offensive tackles like McKinnie are big but 400lbs? Even at 6’8 400 is pushing the envelope.

Still, McKinnie is looking for work.

From Jason La Canfora:

Rosenhaus’ (Mckinnie’s agent) email to NFL teams reads as follows: “Free agent Bryant McKinnie would be willing to sign a one year contract for $2,500,000 plus reasonable incentives. Please let me know if you have an interest.”

Don’t all jump at once!

McKinnie has been one of those guys who’s ALWAYS questioned about his behavior. I defended him in this blog post when the innanets blew up about him supposedly spending 100K on a bar tab. Some of the other things he’s done have been borderline indefensible. But as I always say, character issues in the NFL are of no consequence as much as we like to pretend we care. What matters is winning, and guys can’t perform when they’re out of shape.

The Jacksonville Jaguars  also released a player, Vince Manuwai, for being out of shape. But it looks like most of the guys across the league came to training camp in good condition. Or, good enough, at least given the circumstances.

That reminds me, I hear New England Patriot Albert Haynesworth is lookin good like I knew that he would! And that’s all that matters, really.





Brian Urlacher Says Soldier Field is a Disaster and Other Quotes From This Week

Brian Urlacher Says Soldier Field is a Disaster

It’s no secret that the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field isin’t in good shape. You can even see how bad it is when watching on television as players dive into play action pieces of the field fly everywhere. Every now and then broadcast cameras will linger on a hole. But it’s still not often that you hear players talk about the field candidly.

“A disaster,” Urlacher said. “We complain about it all the time. I don’t know what’s wrong with our field. Every week they’ve resodded it. They had a soccer game there, or they had nine high school games in two days. It’s always something.

Ed Reed Says He will NOT have surgery on his neck.

“I don’t want to be like these guys having neck surgery, then you got to go have another surgery just to continue to play this game,” Reed told ESPN. “I love this game but I love myself more.”

Always tough to see such a great and consistent player suffer through injury. Ed Reed missed 8 games and still led the league in interceptions upon return.

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith continue to take the battle rhetoric all the way down. They even appeared together in some show of symbolism however belated. I mean at this point we’re all burnt out on the lockout, and since it’s almost July, it’s kind of hard to get excited about rumors of a deal being done soon. But anyway, here’s your obligatory lockout update.

“Someone asked me whether I was optimist,” Smith said. “I think we’re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we’re talking about the right issues. And we’re working hard to get it done. It’s extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by all the people, but we’re going to keep working at it.”

Falcons Wide Receiver Roddy White expressed a lot of confidence in the Falcons offense.

“He’s real coachable and he’s learning everyday,” White said of Jones during an interview with NFL Network. “[Our offense is] going to be special. It’s going to remind you of the Greatest Show on Turf. We’ve got a lot of explosive players and I see a lot more explosive plays coming out of our offense.”

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Falcons picking up Julio Jones when their defense is so sorely lacking. However, there is an argument to be made that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could be one of the great QB/WR tandems of the future if he pans out the way the Falcons hope.

Still, they gave up a lot. And passed on Prince Amukamara the CB that went to the Giants already-stacked defense.



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