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Carolina Panthers


Jeremy Shockey Saves Teammate’s Life After He Chokes on Pork Tenderloin

This might be the funniest headline I’ve ever written.

According to National Football Post, Carolina Panthers Tight End Jeremy Shockey saved fellow tight end Ben Harstock’s life when he almost choked on a piece of pork tenderloin in the team cafeteria.

It’s more of a story with a good ending than it is a funny one. Hartsock tried drinking some water to clear his throat and when that didn’t work it became evident to others in the room he could not breathe.

“He started to go to the bathroom and I don’t know if he collapsed, but he couldn’t breathe,” McCartney said. “Some new guy came and tried to give him the Heimlich. It didn’t work. Then, Shockey hit him in the back pretty hard and out came the meat. The Panthers told me it was really scary.

“Ben told me Shockey came over and gave me the Heimlich Maneuver and saved my life. He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for Shockey.”

This has been a week full of heroics by NFL players.

If you didn’t hear, Baltimore Ravens rookie Wide Receiver Tandon Doss broke up a knife fight in Baltimore at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Doss said he was not worried about his personal safety when he intervened.

“I mean, it was two dudes on one,” he said with a shrug. “I was trying to help the situation out. I broke it up.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he was not aware of Doss’ role in the fight.

“I’m not on Twitter,” he said. “I’ll be looking into that.”

Doss downplayed any description of his involvement as being heroic.

“I saw the guy on the ground bleeding, and I saw a guy on top hitting him,” he said. “So I stopped it.”

WELCOME TO BALTIMORE TANDON!!! As aggressive as the Ravens play, it’s good that Doss is already showing he isn’t afraid of a fight. I expect big things from him against the Steelers. That’s the real test.

And finally, some positive news about Bryant McKinnie. Not only did he sign with the Ravens after being cut from the Vikings for being out of shape, he also donated all the contents of his Minnesota home to charity rather than taking everything with him to Baltimore.

Former Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie has decided to donate the furniture and appliances from his Eden Prairie home to a local chartity, his publicist said today.

“All of my furniture in my old home is practically new and in decent condition, I look at this as a positive way to move to my new location, while still providing families in need of appliances and household goods,”



NFL Quarterback Crisis: My Biggest Gripe With A World Where Rex Grossman Has Options

Tavaris Jackson had a few chances in Minnesota and didn't deliver. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thinks a stable situation will turn his play around.

I feel like I’ve gone on too much about the dearth of talent at the QB position in the NFL. But since there has been a bunch of movement at the QB spot over the two weeks, I suppose it’s appropriate to discuss it really briefly again.

Redskins QB Rex Grossman turned down a longer term offer with the Redskins preferring to sign a one year contract and keep his options open. On one hand, given Grossman’s previous performances, this could serve as a prime example of the audacity of NOPE. But, since the current NFL will now boasts Snap-starved Tavaris Jackson at the helm for the Seahawks and a very unproven Kevin Kolb taking 30 million + to take over the Arizona Cardinals, Grossman’s comment almost seems acceptable.


Middling QBs are having the best year ever! And rookies that have to start right away might be having the worst. I’ll be interested to see how football commentators assess Andy Dalton and Cam Newton as they lead the disastrous Bengals and win-deficient Panthers from day 1. Both rookies will have it tough.

As for Rex Grossman, he is still going to have to “compete” for the starting spot in Washington with some dude named John Beck who I was going to research but lost interest half way through. In fact, I don’t plan to mention the Redskins much at all this year. As I’ve been told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

The main thing that is disappointing to me about bad quarterbacking is the impact it has on receivers. I’m rooting for Kolb to be good because I want Larry Fitzgerald to be good. I’m rooting for Tavaris Jackson to succeed because I want Sidney Rice to succeed. And so on. This is one thing to keep in mind as you build fantasy teams…who’s getting your guy the ball? Anyway, a great receiver on a team with a bad QB makes me feel like I’m being cheated out of something great.

All the more reason for the NFL to think about how it can better nurture and preserve QB talent.

A little bit on good cap management

Everyone was wondering how the Philadelphia Eagles could sign so a many high value players and remain under the salary cap. Peter King sums it up.

Understand this principle to start: The Eagles were not in bad cap shape to begin with. When free agency opened they were at $99 million in commitments to veterans and draft choices. (More about those later.) They had shed big veteran salaries over the last couple of years — including quarterback Donovan McNabb’s — and by opening day 2010 had the third-youngest 53-man roster in football. Young means salary manageable.

As of Sunday morning, the Eagles’ projected roster (there’s some guesswork here, but it’s close) consisted of 35 players with cap numbers of $1.5 million or less. And only six players — quarterback Mike Vick ($16.1 million cap number), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha ($10 million), cornerback Asante Samuel ($9.34 million), tackle Jason Peters ($6.54 million), and defensive ends Jason Babin ($5.3 million) and Trent Cole ($5 million) — had cap figures of $5 million or more.

King goes on to say:

Not including Asomugha, the eight free agent signings and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who came from Arizona in the Kevin Kolb trade, have zero dollars promised to them for 2012 and beyond. There are years remaining on contracts, yes. But guarantees, no.

Point is, this is the kind of cap situation that can absorb Vick at $16.1 million this year, and Asomugha at $10 million this year and $11 million next year. And the kind of cap that can accommodate a very good player like Cullen Jenkins, the best rush defensive tackle on the market, who never saw the market develop for him the way he thought it would.

Jenkins thought his first-choice team, Philadelphia, wouldn’t sign him after giving Asomugha a four-year, $48-million contract. The Eagles convinced Jenkins they still wanted him badly, but just couldn’t pay him what they’d been discussing pre-Nnamdi. After a night to think about it, Jenkins decided he’d rather play where he wanted for $4 million than to go to a Cincinnati-type team for more money. Jenkins figures he’ll still have another payday if he outperforms this contract in the first year or two. The reputation of the Eagles helped — as did some players’ desire to play on Vick’s team.

One more thing about the Eagles’ cap. It’s not the league’s number of $120.38 million per team. It is actually $125.58 million. That includes $2.2 million in what the league calls “reallocation credits” from the last capped year, 2009, when the Eagles didn’t spend to the cap, and the $3 million every team can borrow from a future cap year to support veteran player costs this season.

Love that King mentions guys wanting to play with Vick, and if you haven’t checked my Vick bromance post, you should.




Peter King Says He Was “Stiffed” By Carolina Panthers Cam Newton

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is doing his tour of football camps this week. According to his tweets, while at Carolina’s camp he was refused an interview by Cam Newton. King, a sacred cow in the NFL world-for those who don’t know, complained that his long-running “Monday Morning Quarterback” column comments about Newton would be “odd” cause Newton isn’t quoted.

If you remember, Peter King was the one that interviewed Cam Newton when he made his infamous “icon” statement. That was when he said “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.” That sent the NFL world snark machine at Pro Football Talk and beyond on a rampage. Perhaps that’s why Cam was hesitant. Since then Newton has been a star at dealing with the media and hasn’t made any additional missteps.

Though I still enjoy King’s column and there’s no denying the impact he can have on the image of players, I find he can uncomfortably biased sometimes. For example, his decision to blame the Steelers Super Bowl loss almost solely on Running Back Rashard Mendenhall didn’t sit right with me, in light of all the mistakes my favorite QB Ben Roethlisberger made in addition to the near-absence of Safety Troy Polamalu and Linebacker James Harrison.

I suppose this is an FYI post. It’s kind of fun to read King’s column and play guessing games about who he likes and who he doesn’t. Plus, the writing and information makes his MMQB column worth reading no matter how you feel about him personally. It’s one of the few long form columns I read regularly.

Quick note: I think that this might be a nod to how much media is changing. ESPN and Sports Illustrated aren’t the only media outlets in town. There’s a zillion other ways for players to get stories out. Whether it be via blogs like this one or even TMZ, which I’m noticing is a site where more PR folks are increasingly placing stories on football players. Soon, there probably won’t be as many sacred cow reporters.


Cam Newton Poses for GQ and Talks Black QB Stereotypes

I tend to look at men under 25 years old as babies and kids I want to drop off at the mall and take for ice cream.  But even I must admit that my child-in-my-mind Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is all grown up in these GQ magazine photos. He such a handsome young man and whoever took these photos did an outstanding job.

You can view the whole shoot here.

In the article, Newton responds to a question about whether black QBs are still accused of being naturally athletic while white QBs get the benefit of being labeled smart. Newton says:

“Sir,” he says with granite certainty, “it all comes down to whether a person wins or loses. I don’t bring race into the game, ’cause then you’re talking about excuses. I. Hate. Excuses. Excuses are a disease.”

I don’t totally agree, but I think that was the right response. He’s new and unproven and is right to keep his comments sanitized and reflective of his competitive spirit. God willing there will be plenty of years for Newton to notice the difference in how black NFL QBs are treated and discussed and to respond as maturely as he did here.

Newton has really impressed me with how he’s handled all the criticism. From the whole one-read controversy to the NCAA investigation to his dad’s generally odd behavior, Newton has made very few missteps in his public comments. I’m rooting for this guy.




Mike Shanahan Assured Devin Thomas He Wouldn’t Be Traded

Left: Arizona Cardinal (then NY Jet) Kerry Rhodes Right: Carolina Panther (then Washington Redskin) Devin Thomas. Middle: WHO THE HELL CARES

Dan Steinberg reports that mere weeks before Wide Receiver Devin Thomas was cut from the Washington Redskins, he’d been assured by Coach Mike Shanahan that trade rumors were just that-rumors. Then suddenly, Thomas was gone.

According to Steinberg, Thomas gave an interview to Redskins-focused Hail Magazine! in which he stated that he believes that he was cut due to his off field activities. For those who don’t know Thomas has done some modeling (peep the illustrious heat-inducing photo to the right) and also appeared in American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino’s latest music video.

He also was ratted out by a teammate via twitpic a day or so before the trade for sleeping during a team meeting.

Thomas alluded to the idea that you can’t say he doesn’t make plays on the field. Well, you can’t say he doesn’t, but you can’t exactly say he does either. This is the sort of dilemma I’ve had every time I’ve discussed former Washington Redskin Quarterback Jason Campbell who now plays for the Oakland Raiders.


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