Ross Tucker
Friday April 24th, 2009

The practice of destructive misinformation that is so prevalent during the walkup to the draft is absolutely deplorable.

If a team is going to put up a smokescreen by feigning interest in a certain player or position group in order to increase its opportunity to trade down or get the player it really wants, I can live with that. If an agent is going to try to create a better market or increase the draft position of his client by indicating that teams higher in the draft order have a much greater interest in his client than they actually do, I can handle it.

What I can't stomach are the individuals who deliberately spread false rumors about a prospect for the sole purpose of helping their own situation. There has got to be a better way. Is it really that cutthroat of a game that people have to take malicious steps to damage reputations and potentially their futures in order to possibly help theirs?

The subject came to the forefront this week with the talk surrounding Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells' foot and Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe's knee. Look, if a team has a legitimate concern about a player's health and answers a reporter candidly, that's fine. If a team accentuates the negative in the hope of landing that player, that's absolutely wrong.

Teams and agents have been known to spread false information about players' health, personalities, test results, off-field activities and coachability, all in the name of the almighty dollar. That is unfair. These players have worked hard for this opportunity, and to have these issues pop up or proposed as more significant than they are seems more than a bit cruel.

Ultimately, every team has to do its own research and draw its own conclusions, but at times teams can get leery or scared off just because that information is in the public domain and they don't want to risk looking foolish if the player's supposed flaws come to fruition. Though it is unlikely to ever happen, I would love to be in the room during contract negotiations if the player falls in the draft to the team that was spreading the word about his faults in the first place. What a great way to start a relationship.


Just like my colleagues Peter King, Jim Trotter and Don Banks, I will be taking my first step into the social media world of Twitter this weekend. Even though I am the young buck of the group, I have no experience with Twitter, Facebook or any of the other social platforms that so many in my generation enjoy. Also, as a former offensive lineman, I'm leery of doing something called tweeting. Still, check out my Twitter account for updates I'll be making from Radio City Music Hall throughout the weekend.

The mailman is in ...

Instead of using draft picks to acquire unproven talent, why not use those picks to acquire similarly talented players already in the NFL? I'd take a player who has been through the rigors of an NFL season and offseason over an unproven commodity any day, which is why I believe the Eagles got a steal when they acquired Jason Peters from the Bills. --Phillip Carpenter, Charlotte

I couldn't agree more and I make this point on the radio all the time. Draft picks are unproven commodities. Their overall success rate is not nearly as high as a lot of teams would have us believe.

The love of draft picks stems from the fact that outside of the first 10-15 picks, they are typically a very reasonable fixed cost. And since they are young, the thinking is they are both less likely to break down and hungrier to do what it takes to have success and make it to their second contract.

Hey Ross, I wanted to say I appreciate your viewpoint as you have often played with or against many of the teams and players currently in the NFL. With that in mind, if you were in a situation similar to Jason Peters, where your performance was clearly not in line with your compensation, how would you handle it? I know the kosher answer is play out your contract and then be rewarded either by the team or in free agency, but in the NFL with the beatings bodies take and the injuries that occur, there is a viable risk that you may not be the same player when your contract is up. And with teams able to dump a contract if a player underperforms, do you feel a player should have some recourse when he outperforms his contract? --Jeremy, Charlotte

I would first make every attempt to express my dissatisfaction in private, behind closed doors, in the hope of upgrading my deal. It is tough to say whether I would attempt to withhold my services or take my case to the media if I were in that situation, but my guess is that I would not.

Your point about the length of careers and the risk involved is well taken. But if I signed the contract I would have known what I was getting into and would live with that commitment while at the same time attempting to get something done with the team in a non-contentious fashion. Maybe that is old-school, but that is me.

If the NFL does increase the regular season by two games, won't that make old single-season records obsolete? It would make it easier for any above average quarterback to pass for more yards in a season than some of the best quarterbacks in history. Same with rushing yards, and just about every statistical category. --Jeff Soffer, Arlington, Va.

That is a fair point, but not one with which most people seem to be overly concerned. I have never been a record guy myself, but I recognize the significance for some. The league increased the regular season from 14 games to 16 at one point and my guess is it is just a matter of time before the next increase happens. I am more concerned with player health than records.

Since you played there, you know how passionate Cleveland sports fans are. Is there a snowball's chance in H-E double hockey sticks that the Browns will ever have a coach/GM combination that will have a clue? If all of the the athletes in the NFL are talented, and there's no doubt about that, how come the Browns consistently are near the bottom of the league year in and year out? To paraphrase Vince Lombardi in an old NFL Films clip, "What the hell is going on there?" --Jim, Stokesdale, N.C.

I thought my wife was the only person I had ever met that used the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks expression, so thanks for clearing that up! The Browns have not had a lot of success in that department since they returned to Cleveland and you have to place the onus on ownership since it is doing the hiring. I was surprised that Eric Mangini got another opportunity so quickly with other more accomplished head coaches like Jim Fassel and Brian Billick more than willing to get back in the game. That said, I like your new GM, George Kokinis, based upon my conversations with him and from what I have heard from others, so hopefully he is the first step in the right direction.

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