Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Gisele Bundchen, New England Patriots, Tom Brady
File this one under: Pays to be a supermodel and the wife of Tom Brady in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Gisele Bundchen was driving 70 mph in a 55-mph zone on state Route 6 in Barnstable, Mass., when she was pulled over by a state trooper Saturday, according to the Boston Herald.
“He did give her a warning and let her go on her way,” state police spokesman David Procopio said. “He reminded her that the speed limit on (Cape Cod) is 55, not 65 as it is in other parts of the state.”
Procopio told the newspaper that two children — presumably son Benjamin and stepson Jack — were in the vehicle, properly fastened in car seats.
“That trooper (identified as Michael Hopper) stopped 25 cars that day, five were given warnings, including Gisele,” Procopio said. “The other 20, who were doing more egregious things, were given tickets. She got no special treatment. If he stopped Mrs. Rex Ryan for the same thing, she also wouldn’t have gotten a citation.”
The Herald, not buying it, went deep enough to capture a tweet from the trooper’s son, William J. Hopper.
“He let her go. But in return, she signed her autograph on the citation with kisses,” he wrote.
We feel it’s unlikely that Gisele, who earned $45 million last year, went out of her way to dodge the infraction.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Tom Coughlin, Deon Grant, Jacquian Williams, New York Giants
Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with reporters Tuesday to unpack the previous night’s 28-13 victory over the Rams. And he had some questions to answer.
Coughlin shared his perspective on first-quarter injuries to safety Deon Grant and LB Jacquian Williams that — because of how quickly the players bounced back — raised speculation New York was buying time against St. Louis’ no-huddle attack.
“Well, from my standpoint on the sideline, I thought (Grant) was cramped,” Coughlin said. “They were in a no-huddle situation, a hurry-up deal. I just thought he cramped at that time or definitely had something that was bothersome to him.”
Said Coughlin: “When I looked out on the field, all I saw was the injured player.”
Coughlin then was asked if employing faking injuries to slow the action could be categorized as smart football.
“That’s not very smart,” he said. “That’s a penalty. … It did force a rule change, too. The only thing I would comment on is at that point in time, the only thing I noticed was a player down.”
Did we expect the veteran coach to say something different?
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Jon Zimmer, Michael Signora, Darren Sproles, Matt Forte, Mike Tolbert
With two weeks of football in the books, the numbers don’t lie. We’re in the heart of an offensive explosion.
A few factoids from our very own Jon Zimmer, lead editor of NFL media publications:
- Through two weeks of play, three of the top six NFL pass catchers are running backs. Chargers RB Mike Tolbert leads all players with 17 receptions. Bears RB Matt Forte and Saints RB Darren Sproles are tied for third with 15 catches each.
- We’ve witnessed 172 touchdowns and 15,771 net passing yards so far in 2011, the most after two weeks of any season in NFL history.
And two gems from Michael Signora, NFL vice president of football communications:
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Eli Manning, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Peyton Manning
Because it’s not enough that Peyton Manning already made it crystal clear he’s doing all he can to get back on the field, we now bring you Eli Manning issuing essentially carbon-copy comments to ESPN radio on Tuesday morning. You know, just for good measure.
“He’s doing well and he’s rehabbing and he’s gonna try to do, you know, everything he can to get back out there,” Eli Manning told Mike and Mike in the Morning. “Like any player, they want to get back on the field, they want to be with their teammates … and do whatever they can to get those guys ready.
“… He’s handling it as well … as expected, as he possibly can. And I know he’ll be working hard to try to get back out there.”
You still with us?
To be fair, when Eli Manning is asked repeatedly to comment on Peyton Manning’s recovery from neck surgery, he’s got more invested in the affair than the well-being of a Colts franchise that hasn’t suffered a losing season since 2001.
The bond between cops is strong, and Eli Manning’s primary concern is his brother’s longevity and health — regardless if that’s what matters to the masses.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Deon Grant, Jacquian Williams, New York Giants, St. Louis Rams
Take a look at the video above from Monday night’s Giants-Rams tilt, which went to New York 28-16.
With just under four minutes left in the first quarter, and the Rams no-huddle offense marching toward pay dirt, a pair of New York defenders crumpled to the MetLife Stadium ground like a couple of teens at a Bieber concert.
We can’t speculate on the extent of the injuries suffered by S Deon Grant and LB Jacquian Williams. But they certainly healed in a hurry in what resembles the most recent example of a common delay tactic used by NFL defenses.
“Miraculously, he (Grant) recovered quickly,” ESPN’s Mike Tirico said after watching the replay.
Analyst Jon Gruden was a bit more specific in his interpretation: “I hate to say that he’s (Grant’s) not really hurt, but that’s a tactic that defenses have used in the past against no-huddle offenses to try to slow it down and stop the clock.”
The drive ended with St. Louis’ Josh Brown booting a 25-yard field goal.
In a chat on FOXSports.com on Monday, former VP of NFL Officiating and current FOX Sports NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira responded to a question about the suspect injuries.
“It is allowed because it is not against the rules,” he wrote. “It will end up getting discussed in the offseason. This has been going on for a long time and needs to be addressed. It is totally unethical.”
UPDATE: Asked for comment, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello pointed to page 19 of the NFL rulebook (Rule 4/Game Timing): “The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.” Of course, if a player or club admits to it, the action would be subject to discipline.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Tyrell Johnson, Minnesota Vikings
Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson was arrested early Tuesday for suspicion of impaired driving.
The Star Tribune, citing Hennepin County jail records, specified that the fourth-year safety was booked on suspicion of fourth-degree driving while intoxicated.
The Minnesota State Patrol told The Associated Press that Johnson, 25, was stopped about 2 a.m. CT for failing to signal a merge on an interstate ramp while driving in Minneapolis.
During the stop, the trooper noticed Johnson had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. The state patrol says Johnson’s blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent during field sobriety tests. The legal limit in Minnesota is 0.08 percent.
He was hauled into jail and booked at 3:15 a.m., according to the jail log obtained by The Star Tribune, and released just over two hours later.
It continues to be a bad week for Johnson, who dropped what would have been a game-winning interception against the Bucs. The Vikings told The AP they’re aware of the incident but declined further comment.
The fourth-year safety was Minnesota’s second-round draft pick in 2008 out of Arkansas State. He’s logged 24 starts with the team, with 99 combined tackles and two picks.
The Star Tribune reported that Johnson is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a frequent speaker for youth and student groups.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Jason Taylor, Bill Belichick, Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins, Tony Sparano, Yeremiah Bell
After spending last season with the Jets, Jason Taylor‘s seen how a division power prepares for games and believes the Dolphins aren’t doing enough to change the scenery of the AFC East.
Despite a coaching staff perched on a white-hot seat, it took prodding from the 37-year-old defensive end to initiate a change in the winless team’s intensity level during practice. Now in his third stint with Miami, Taylor gathered teammates around him after Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Texans and vowed to set a new tone before their meeting with the Browns.
Taylor’s teammates believe the call to arms was long overdue.
“We have to start practicing like it’s the game,” defensive co-captain Yeremiah Bell told The Miami Herald. “We have to do that because, so far, we’ve been playing a lot like we practice.”
Even rookie running back Daniel Thomas has seen issues with how the team’s prepared this season: “We have a lot of mental mistakes in practice, and sometimes it carries on into the game so that’s something we have to work on.”
“It’s going to be a lot more intense this week,” Bell said. “Everybody realizes our game needs to go up a level. Everybody understands that because what we’re doing is not getting it done so far.”
If you’re a fan of the Miami Dolphins, at the very least you’d relish some assurance that your team — if not as talented as the Jets and Pats (and perhaps the upstart Bills) — is not being outworked. The Patriot Way is not a complete mystery to Tony Sparano, considering he and Bill Belichick are both apples off the Bill Parcells tree. When players go public with their displeasure around game preparation, it’s a sign they’ve taken matters — and their careers — into their own hands.
Dolphins coaches are on the spot to re-organize and right a ship that looks ready to crumble in coastal waters if change does not come quick.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Terrelle Pryor, Al Davis, Oakland Raiders
It’s unlikely that Terrelle Pryor will win an appeal of his NFL-mandated five-game suspension, but the Raiders rookie passer claims to have stumbled upon the key ingredient to a quick start upon his scheduled return in Week 6.
“(I’m) focused,” he told WQAM-AM in Miami. “Without that, you can’t really do much at all. With a lot of focus, extreme focus actually, you don’t really think about the things you can’t control, you’ve got to think about the things that you can.”
Said Pryor: “I’m getting very used to (being in the NFL) now,” adding that he’s been fully won over by Raiders owner Al Davis, who (almost predictably) pursued the former Ohio State star in last month’s supplemental draft.
“(Davis is) a great guy. I can’t say enough about him, he’s just a great guy,” Pryor said. “He’s what brought football about and he … runs a hands-down program with the Oakland Raiders. … He had something to do with the merger of the NFL, you know. He’s one of the greats.”
While Pryor continued to educate listeners with his version of Davis’ accomplishments, he was asked about the owner’s age.
“He looks good. I’m not interested in that,” Pryor said, hinting that he might be wise beyond his years after all.
Despite the Buckeyes’ memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost Pryor his final year of eligibility, the quarterback remains quintessential Raiders material — fast, freakishly athletic and a total wildcard. Jason Campbell appears to have finally settled into the starting role in Oakland, but that spot never seems occupied for long and we expect to see Pryor putting Davis’ greenbacks to work before Santa comes to town.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Justin Tuck, DeSean Jackson, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles
With the Rams out of the way, everyone associated with the Giants has shifted their attention to the archrival they believe deserves a healthy dose of payback.
It’s Eagles week in New York, and evidence suggests that Big Blue’s locker room still clings to December’s excruciating 38-31 loss to Philly, a meeting defined by DeSean Jackson‘s 65-yard punt return for a score on the game’s final play. It all but ended New York’s playoff hopes, despite a 10-6 final record.
“Last year will linger with me until I die,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck told the Philadelphia Inquirer after Monday night’s win over St. Louis.
The Giants haven’t beaten the Eagles since Week 10 of the 2008 campaign, but Philly’s six-game winning streak (including the playoffs) is in danger after Michael Vick‘s concussion Sunday night in a 35-31 loss to the Falcons. Tuck hopes the Eagles fire starter make’s the date.
“Yes, why not,” he said. “I mean, that guy is a tremendous athlete. Obviously, as he goes … that offense goes. You always want to beat teams at their best. … I think he brings out the best in us, too. … If he’s playing, we know we have to be on our toes.”
Neither team took the high road during an offseason spent bickering like middle schoolers over Twitter, with Philly’s LeSean McCoy calling New York’s Osi Umenyiora “soft,” prompting the Giants DT to label his detractor a “Chihuahua, a poodle, a little girl.”
A somewhat bizarre underpinning to what amounts to Sunday’s biggest grudge match.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Terrell Owens, Dr. James Andrews, Lee Jung-no, Peyton Manning
Terrell Owens, refusing to abandon his attempt to return to the NFL, has traveled to Korea for treatment on the anterior cruciate ligament he tore during the offseason.
“Mr. Owens starts with therapy Monday, followed by the collecting and storing of his stem cells the next day,” Dr. Lee Jung-no, president of the Chaum Anti-Aging center, told the Korea Times on Monday.
Owens, 37, visited the center at the recommendation of renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews.
“I very much welcome Mr. Owens’ visit to Korea, as such a big sports figure will help attract other world-class athletes,” Lee told the newspaper, in a very T.O.-like self-pitch.
Owens becomes the second big-name player to travel abroad for stem cell-related therapy after Colts QB Peyton Manning went to Europe for a procedure before his most recent neck surgery.
UPDATE: T.O. tweeted his thanks to the Korean people, writing Tuesday: “Korea was a succesful trip! Koreans r sum of the nicest ppl ever!! The hospitality shown on Korean Airlines was beyond 1st class!!”
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Andy Reid, Atlanta Falcons, Blaine Gabbert, Dallas Cowboys, First and 10, Floyd Mayweather, Jesse Holley, Michael Vick, New York Giants, Nick Collins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Victor Ortiz,
If you missed Sunday’s three most dramatic games, or if you just want to watch them again, tune into NFL Network beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET for a replay of the hard-hitting Eagles-Falcons clash, followed at 9:30 p.m. ET by the Cowboys’ emotional overtime win in San Francisco, and continuing Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET with the Bills’ wild comeback against the Raiders in Buffalo, where quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was wired for sound by NFL Films.
Here’s what else is on tap for Tuesday:
- The New York Giants capitalized on a few costly mistakes and overcame 331 passing yards from Rams quarterback Sam Bradford Monday night in a battle of two teams hit hard by early-season injuries.
- Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins of the Super Bowl-champion Green Bay Packers was ruled out for the season Monday after suffering a frightening neck injury in Sunday’s victory at Carolina.
- Mike Mayock believes the decision that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio faces in choosing between veteran Luke McCown or rookie Blaine Gabbert as starting QB isn’t a decision at all.
- Detroit’s leading receiver through two games, Nate Burleson, talks to NFl Network’s “Around the League” about the benefits of playing with Calvin Johnson and why Matthew Stafford is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL.
- In his latest Pick Six, Adam Rank says Victor Ortiz wasn’t the only one who got knocked out last weekend: Michael Vick, the Chargers’ aspirations of being an elite NFL team, and the assumptions about Ivy League quarterbacks also took a beating.
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Ryan Brown, Michael Boley, New York Giants, St. Louis Rams
Giants video intern Ryan Brown found himself a little too close to the action Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
Giants LB Michael Boley returned a Rams fumble 65 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, then felt the need to celebrate. So he fired the ball out of the end zone — and into an unsuspecting Brown’s face.
ESPN’s cameras revealed Brown, donning a white Giants jacket and a backpack, studiously observing the game-changing play — but in the way a fan would, nowhere near ready for Boley’s bullet (which impressed Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen enough for him to tweet, “Got too excited and hit the guy in the face w the ball!! Lol”).
Brown wasn’t injured, but he was a little red-faced — literally.
“I’ve been getting blown up all night on Facebook,” he told The Star-Ledger after the Giants’ 28-16 victory.
When Boley found out about the incident after the game and learned that Brown was fine, he had a laugh about it. And according to an NFL Network producer, Boley later hugged Brown in the Giants’ locker room.
Welcome to the NFL, kid.
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Luke McCown, Blaine Gabbart, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars
After Luke McCown‘s implosion in Sunday’s 32-3 loss to the Jets — in which he tallied a woeful 1.8 passer rating — the Jaguars’ journeyman QB took responsibility for the debacle.
“For whatever reason, (I) felt a little short throwing the football,” McCown told The Associated Press on Monday. “It starts with me. The ball’s in my hands first. Obviously, we all have to do better. But it starts with me, and I’m going to get it fixed.”
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was pelted with questions about the QB’s future Monday, but few teams have patience for a guy who goes 6-of-19 passing for 59 yards with four picks. The plan was to give rookie Blaine Gabbert time to learn, but he could be pressed into service as soon as this Sunday at Carolina, where Cam Newton has left no questions about who leads the Panthers.
McCown — job in jeopardy — was operating with noticeably less clout after the Jaguars’ loss, shifting his focus to life’s core values.
“You want to crawl under a rock for a little while last night,” he said. “The great thing about having kids is they don’t care how many picks you throw. I walk in the house and they were glad I was home. Today’s a new day. I woke up this morning and the sun was there. … It’s another day to prepare and get better. As bad as it feels, it only counts as one loss.”
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 19th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, Dan Reeves, Michael Vick, Mike Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
You have to wonder how Matt Ryan felt seeing thousands of red-and-white Michael Vick jerseys scattered throughout a raucous Georgia Dome crowd Sunday night.
The Falcons’ fourth-year starting QB was overshadowed in the whirlwind leading up to Vick’s return to Atlanta, but Ryan’s grit in a 35-31 victory over the Eagles wasn’t lost on his coach, Mike Smith.
“He’s a tough Irishman,” Smith told The Associated Press. “I’ve said that before. He gets hit, and he takes that hit and he keeps going. He is a guy that will never give up. When you have a guy like that leading your football team, it’s going to pay dividends in the long run.”
While ex-Falcons coach Dan Reeves believes the organization abandoned Vick in his hour of need, it’s hard to fault the franchise for moving on when the passer’s future — and commitment to football — was up in the air during an 18-month stay in federal prison on dogfighting charges.
Both quarterbacks took a beating Sunday. Vick left the game with a concussion. Ryan hobbled around following a second-half sack, but he rebounded to lead the 14th of his game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. It was a performance that saved the Falcons’ night and potentially their season. It’s more of the same from Ryan, whose 34 wins in three-plus seasons is just shy of Vick’s 40 in six seasons in Atlanta.
“This is a team that doesn’t blink,” Smith said. “This is a team that stays focused, knows what the task is, and to the best of their abilities goes out and tries to perform.”
— Marc Sessler
Posted: September 19th, 2011 | NFL.com Staff | Tags: Donovan McNabb, Leslie Frazier, Mike Shanahan, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins
It has been a steep fall for Vikings fans since the team’s heartbreaking loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago.
After an ugly 0-2 start — which included losing a 17-0 lead to the Buccaneers on Sunday — coach Leslie Frazier, in comments to The Associated Press, urged Minnesota’s faithful to stick around: “My only words to our fans are be patient. We’re going to get there. I have great belief that we will.”
Grade-A coachspeak, perhaps enough to quell newbies, but not Donovan McNabb. While the QB’s play has contributed to the team’s rocky start, he’s preaching a message of urgency.
“Do I have time to sit back and let it grow?” McNabb told The AP after the team’s opening loss to the Chargers. “No. I want it to happen now, and that’s the way that I prepare. We prepare to win now.”
McNabb has been hotly criticized for just about everything during his career. Booed by Eagles fans when he was drafted in 1999, it never seemed to let up — especially in his ugly episode with the Redskins last season. After Mike Shanahan threw McNabb under the bus, he took a pay cut to join a team he believed could win now.
Barring a sharp reversal of fortune, it could be a long season for a man who largely has remained a class act through thick and thin.
— Marc Sessler