Even in paradise, Belichick needs his hoodie

Two different looks for head coach Bill Belichick on Friday at the Pro Bowl. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Bill Belichick cracks me up. Not in the way a comedian cracks me up, but because the guy is so … so … quirky when it comes to his hoodie.

I’m just trying to understand how the Patriots’ coach has continued to wear a fleece here all week in flawless weather conditions. It’s hilarious. And it makes zero sense.

I guess it doesn’t have to when it comes to Belichick. The guy is one of only four coaches in NFL history with at least three Super Bowl wins, so whatever makes him happy, I guess. But is it really necessary to rip off the sleeves and hood just for the sake of wearing the hoodie?

It reached a whole new level on Friday, which was picture day for both the AFC and NFC teams. That meant the players and coaches wore their game-day attire, and for Belichick that meant a nice, loose, comfortable-looking linen shirt. The moment the photo shoot ended, though, that thing came right off. It was back to looking like … Belichick. Oh yeah, and the hoodie was inside-out, too.

Funny guy that Belichick is.

Special moment with Terrell Suggs

(Simon Samano/NFL)

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs autographs a football for a fan during AFC media day at the Pro Bowl.

Bill Belichick rallies his team

(Simon Samano/NFL)

Head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the AFC squad during practice on Friday.

CJ2K bewildered by Fisher’s departure

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — First Chris Johnson lost his quarterback and good friend, Vince Young, when the Titans decided earlier this month to release him after a tumultuous season and full-blown feud with coach Jeff Fisher.

Now, with Thursday’s sudden announcement that Fisher and the team are parting ways after 16 seasons, Johnson’s trip to paradise has been hindered by the bewilderment of what the heck is going on back in Tennessee.

“I didn’t ever think this was going to come about,” Johnson said. “I thought we weren’t going to have Vince, so Fisher was going to be there. So I’m not sure (what happened).”

Even when Johnson last spoke with Fisher shortly before his departure for Honolulu, there was no inkling of this happening.

“Everything was good when I talked to him about the Pro Bowl,” Johnson said. “He didn’t mention anything like that.”

The situation is what it is, and now Johnson is left to wonder what changes will be made for a franchise that is clearly in shambles. He’s hopeful this madness is happening for the right reasons.

“I’m pretty sure that the reasons why they’re making some of the decisions that they’re making… they can’t come in here and not make the right decisions,” Johnson said. “I’m sure they’ll put a lot of people around me, a lot of people around our defense to make us a successful team.”

As for Johnson’s personal situation and desire for a new contract, well, he understands there are bigger issues with the team at the moment.

“I think right now I’m not even their main concern,” Johnson said. “Their main concern is to get a quarterback and a head coach. I feel like I’ll get taken care of when the time is right.”

Peppers, Dockett co-exist fine despite tweet

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Bears DE Julius Peppers is in somewhat of a precarious situation this week at the Pro Bowl.

You see, if Maurice Jones-Drew, who’s not here, started the curious case of Jay Cutler with his original tweet about the Bears’ QB “quitting” on his team in the NFC Championship Game, then Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett, who is an NFC alternate, hammered the message home with this doozy on Twitter: “If I’m on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room!”


So now Peppers is here this week, very close to Dockett, with the two of them in the same position group and spending just about every minute of every practice together. Awkward?

“There isn’t even nothing to squash. Dock is Dock,” Peppers said. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. He had his opinion. It may not be true, you now what I mean? But it’s not really a big deal. It’s been overblown.”

Maybe not exactly what Cutler would hope to hear. But, Peppers did come to his quarterback’s defense in the grand scheme of this crazy situation.

“You’ve got to understand that it’s easy to sit on your couch and criticize somebody that’s playing,” Peppers said. “You could never really understand how much pain somebody else is going through. I know Jay. He is a tough guy, and I know he would never quit on the team like that.”

Texans’ Foster gets intro to ‘dread juice’

You’ve got your orange juice, your apple juice, your cranberry juice. Now add “dread juice” to your various types of juices.

Go all-access with Arian Foster at Pro Bowl practice to find just what the heck it is.

Don’t let MJD be misunderstood

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Calm down, everybody. Maurice Jones-Drew is still the lovable “Pocket Hercules” we all know and love.

At least that’s the message from his teammate, Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis.

No doubt, Jones-Drew has received some flack — even death threats — for starting the Twitter rage/cheap shots taken at injured Bears QB Jay Cutler for not going back into the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. You may recall this tweet, “Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now… When the going gets tough……..QUIT,” which started it all.

Everybody then chimed in. Even Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski teed off, and he played in only six games this season. (Hopefully Gradkowski has plenty of Windex for his glass house.)

But MJD apologized for his Twitter remarks about Cutler, and Lewis — who was also his teammate at UCLA — didn’t see the need to dwell on it any further.

“I don’t know, man. It sucks that it had to happen that way,” Lewis said. “We aren’t robots. We are human. Things happen.”

A simple case of MJD’s emotions getting the best of him? Nothing against Cutler?

“I don’t think so,” Lewis said. “A lot of these tweets get taken a little too seriously these days. And that’s part of it, and he’s got to understand that. But people just take these things and run away with it sometimes. It is what it is.”

Revis calls for more leadership, consistency

When the Jets went on the road and defeated the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs, it was an inspired and emotional win. After the final whistle blew, Braylon Edwards did his back flip. Bart Scott shouted “CAN’T WAIT!” to a sideline reporter. And other players floated off the field with arms spread wide, mimicking an airplane in flight.

But then the crash came a week later against the Steelers, when they appeared emotionally spent. The Jets were down 24-0 before the first half ended.

Could the Jets not maintain that level of consistency that led them to a road wins over the Colts and Patriots?

“You can say that,” Darrelle Revis told NFL Network. “On people’s body language, you could kind of see guys just relax. Guys were just relaxed and didn’t really know what was at stake. I think that’s why we came out so flat. And we didn’t finish strong.”

Revis called for “more leadership and more consistency” for the Jets to get over the hump that is the AFC Championship Game.

Austin, Henderson, Bailey added to Pro Bowl

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin has been named as a late addition to the 2011 Pro Bowl, it was announced Thursday.

Austin will replace Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, who pulled out with an injury, the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News reported. Jackson, who was voted in by fans, coaches and players, apparently tweaked his knee and did not practice today in Honolulu, an NFL spokesman said. He did not address the injury in a session with reporters and refused to discuss his contract situation, the newspaper reports.

“Heading to hawaii… Got in through the back door but I ain’t complaining!,” Austin tweeted.

Austin will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance, joining teammates Jason Witten, center Andre Gurode, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and punter Mat McBriar. After signing a six-year extension before the season, Austin finished with 69 catches for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns.

Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson and Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey were named as late additions.

For Henderson, the honor caps a remarkable comeback from a badly broken left leg.

Henderson started all 16 games in 2010, made 106 total tackles and tied for the NFL lead among linebackers with three interceptions.

Henderson broke his leg during a December 2009 game and had a titanium rod surgically inserted. The injury required months of rehabilitation and put his career in jeopardy. But Henderson vowed to return.

He did so well that the Vikings medical staffers have presented Henderson’s case to colleagues as a model for treatment.

Bailey will be a part of the annual all-star game for the 10th time in his 12-year career, passing Hall of Famer Mike Haynes for the most Pro Bowls in NFL history at the cornerback position. He finished the 2010 season with 45 tackles, one sack and two interceptions.

“I’m very excited to represent the AFC and the Denver Broncos at the Pro Bowl,” Bailey said. “It’s a great honor to play on the same field with the NFL’s best, and I’m looking forward to getting out to Hawaii.”

The Broncos made the announcement on their Twitter page Thursday. The Pro Bowl is Sunday in Hawaii.

Pro Bowl move fine with Bradshaw

There were a few heads scratched last year when the Pro Bowl was moved to the week before the Super Bowl instead following it per the norm.

“What about the guys going to the Super Bowl?” some people pondered. “Where’s their all expense trip to hot tub haven? Should they be punished just for being good?”

Turns out, making it to the big game is sweet enough for those Super Bowl bound, and the fans have also responded in a big way to the move.

“I’m fine with it,” said Terry Bradshaw who will be calling the game with Brian Billick this Sunday, Jan. 30. (FOX 7 p.m. ET) “There are still going to be plenty of stars here even with the missing players.”

FOX Sports producer Scott Ackerson, who hit Hawaii’s links with Bradshaw yesterday and today, also praised the move when they both called in for a press call.

“At first it looked sort of weird to have it before, but from a numbers standpoint, instead of having eight million viewers like we did two years ago, there were 12 million last year which is a 50 percent increase,” said Ackerson. “It made a difference to fans because they’re still engrossed in the season.”

Bradshaw, who was selected to three Pro Bowls, couldn’t help but lament about the one that got away when Dan Rooney pulled him from it in 1976 after he had his bell rung in Super Bowl X against the Cowboys.

“I wasn’t devastated because I wasn’t going to play another game, but because you got $2,500 if you won and I wasn’t making that much money then,” said Bradshaw. “So I asked Dan, do I still get my $2,500 for being whacked in the head, but he said no and I tell ya I was just sick to my stomach.”

Not that Bradshaw still isn’t complaining about the Benjamins and his lack of endorsements despite being told today that he has the best marketability out of anyone in sports media according to Nielsen’s annual report.

Although in his defense, it has been quite awhile since the “Jog & Lift.”

AD gives fans what they want

(Simon Samano/NFL)

The fans are back in full force at Kapolei High School for the second day of practices, and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson did his part to oblige their requests for autographs.

Cooley ready to wrestle for NFL.com

(Simon Samano/NFL)

Redskins TE Chris Cooley is our player correspondent for the rest of this week. If you didn’t know, he’s a former high school state wrestling champion, and here he is challenging Falcons WR Roddy White to a match. White accepted, so can we make this happen?

We’ll do what we can to book it. Be sure to check back for Cooley’s full report from his first day on the job.

No beef between Peppers, Dockett

(Simon Samano/NFL)

Any potential drama there might have been between Bears DE Julius Peppers and Darnell Dockett over the Cardinals defensive end’s critical tweet of Bears QB Jay Cutler was not evident. Instead, it looks like the Aloha Spirit is alive and well between the two of them. Here they are walking and talking together at Thursday’s practice.

Stay tuned for Tuck

(Simon Samano/NFL)

NFL.com has mic’d up Giants DE Justin Tuck for Thursday’s NFC practice, so be sure to check back for an all-access pass to his day on the field.

Vick on opportunity: ‘I’m very thankful’

Eagles QB Michael Vick shares his thoughts on playing through injuries this season, his relationship with coach Andy Reid and what it means to him to be playing in the Pro Bowl.

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