August 3, 2009

Haynesworth Receives Injection in Non-Face-Stomping Knee

Albert Haynesworth disturbed Redskins fans by receiving another injection of "lubrication" in his left knee. Fortunately, his face-stomping right knee is still 100%.

The Genius of James Harrison

Rarely does a football player achieve so much on and off the field as Steelers LB and Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. Just since the end of last season, Harrison has provided us with so much to mull over. Is it any wonder the man drives a Smart Car?

Back in May, Harrison released his first nugget of genius upon the sports world. When asked about going to the White House to meet President Obama, Harrison politely refused. He reasoned, "This is how I feel, if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, he would've invited Arizona if they had won."

This is an excellent point. If President Obama hadn't found the time to invite each of the 32 NFL teams over in his first four months in office during the greatest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, while running an escalating war in Afghanistan and trying to finally get a national healthcare package together, why should Harrison go out of HIS way to meet him?

Then, also in May, Harrison's pit bull attacked his 2-year-old son. The son's mother, who doesn't normally stay at the house and Harrison's massage therapist were home with the dog and child, but Harrison was out. The dog was let out of its pen, and proceeded to maul the child and injure the mother and massage therapist who attempted to intervene.

blablhhblahblah You misunderstand. I *CAN* has cheezburger.

The media totally whiffed on this story, comparing it to the 2006 incident where Joey Porter's pit bulls ate a miniature pony or Michael Vick's famous dogfighting travails. The true genius of James Harrison comes in the lesson for his young son. As the alpha male, Harrison's presence keeps the dog in line with the hierarchy of men in the household. With Harrison out, the dog rightfully recognizes that he is the dominant male, and must demonstrate this to the toddler.

The toddler has clearly been taught a lesson about life and football by Harrison. In a power vacuum, the successor must assert himself or fall in line. Dog 1, Child 0.

Just today, Peter King has new wisdom from Harrison to impart upon us. According to King, James Harrison spotted Mike Shanahan spying on Steelers' practice. Harrison immediately reported the espionage to Coach Mike Tomlin. King paraphrased the exchange (sloppy reporting but the Starbucks in Latrobe lacks the foo-foo coffee du jour that King requires), saying that Harrison asked Tomlin, "Hey, you aren't going to let the Broncos' coach watch our practice, are you?"

Those unfamiliar with Harrison's wisdom might have scoffed, noting that Mike Shanahan was fired by the Broncos prior to this offseason. Harrison, like other shrewd observers, knows that there is no way in hell current "coach" Josh McDaniels makes it through this season. Shanahan is simply taking an involuntary sabbatical and will return in time for the Broncos-Steelers showdown on Monday, November 9th.

Lastly, Harrison said, "Virtualization has allowed us to decrease our costs, increase our agility, increase time to market for new business applications and make changes more efficiently." Okay, maybe that was a different James Harrison. (Thanks a lot!)

August 2, 2009

New Evidence of Redskins Tampering? CNNSI Visits Skins, Ravens Camps

To re-set the stage, the NFL has begun a tampering probe into the Redskins' signing of Albert Haynesworth. No team was allowed to contact a free agent until midnight on February 27, 2009. The Skins signed Haynesworth by 5:30 a.m.

The evidence so far is that Daniel Snyder and Haynesworth (and Redskins receiver Malcolm Kelly) agent Chad Speck had dinner in mid-February in Indianapolis. Then on the same morning free agency opened, February 27, 2009, FB/HB/KR Rock Cartwright said in an interview on Snyder's Redskins Radio, "I kind of had an idea they were going to sign [Haynesworth] anyways...One of my teammates said they had the same agent and ... he said they had been talking."

blalbblahblah Looks pretty good for having been up all night negotiating.

Further, the contract itself is not that simple. The deal was announced at over $100M with $41M guaranteed. According to ESPN, the deal includes a lump sum $29M payout in the fifth year, which effectively makes it a four-year deal.

The new evidence comes from Haynesworth himself. This is from King's training camp vignette:

When Haynesworth was talking to the Redskins, he wanted to be sure of one thing: He wouldn't have to change his style of play. The Titans allowed him to penetrate and attack the backfield over the last seven years. Under Blache, the Washington tackles have been more read, hold the fort, and then react and attack.

"If I was going to come here, I wanted to make sure they'd let me be me,'' Haynesworth told me. "I wasn't coming here to change my style and be one of those 'read' guys. But they said they wanted me to play my game, and so that made my decision easier.

So the Redskins' position is that at midnight on February 27, 2009, the team reached out to Albert Haynesworth for the first time. They entered into negotiations, hammered out the details, Haynesworth shopped the deal around to other teams to make sure no one wanted to out-bid the Redskins, Haynesworth spoke to defensive coordinator Greg Blache to ensure he would be allowed to play the exact same role, both sides signed a deal and got it announced by 5:30 a.m. Then everyone converged on Redskins Park for a press conference, looking fresh and invigorated.

Either the Skins were doing a lot of talking to Haynesworth, or they overbid for him so badly that Haynesworth and Chad Speck were tripping over furniture to find a pen to sign on the dotted line.

CNNSI Visits Redskins, Ravens Camps

CNNSI is doing their obligatory 32-camp tour. This past weekend they hit both McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland (Ravens) and whatever they call that money-leeching corporate mecca in Ashburn, Virginia (Redskins). Both Peter King and former NFL guard Ross Tucker attended both camps, but King wrote the Skins' piece and Tucker wrote the Ravens'.

The Skins piece is a mixed bag. King only really gets excited for superstars (Brady, Manning, Peterson, etc.) so there isn't much for him at Redskins Park. First he complains about Redskins Park and the 1,000 fans or so in attendance. He does see good things for Haynesworth and Jason Campbell, but questions the failure to upgrade the offensive line. Of course, over a third of his post is dedicated to food.

The Ravens' counterpart is very positive, but Ross Tucker is generally a more positive writer than King. Tucker describes Westminster as typical of the small-college towns that host camps, noting that the 10,000-plus in attendance made parking a nightmare for him and King. Tucker notes that DT Haloti Ngata is emerging, that Joe Flacco commands the offense now, and that Ray Rice is making strides towards being the clear #1 back. The post went up Saturday, so the news of Mason returning is included but does not receive much treatment.