My last mailbag for a month will be yours, mostly, with a few announcements up top:
• Re: Nick Collins, the Green Bay safety, being dissatisfied with playing the final year of his contract at $3.045 million: Come on. You're kidding, right? When Collins did his five-year contract, the Packers put an escalator clause in his contract, adding a $2.5 million incentive clause if Collins reached certain performance levels. He reached those incentives, and so the Packers added the big bump to his scheduled $545,000 salary. So what exactly is the problem here? The clause was put in to make sure Collins would not get screwed in the final year of his contract, and he absolutely is not. He's a top 25, top 30 NFL defensive back. He's not Troy Polamalu, not Ed Reed. I daresay, yet, he's not even Polamalu's running mate in the Steelers backfield, Ryan Clark. And he wants monster money. I'm told there's a good chance the Packers are going to let him sit and have no intention in re-doing his contract. They shouldn't.
• Re: Dr. Z:Paul Zimmerman had a setback two weeks ago, suffering a seizure at the breakfast table. He had to spend some time in the hospital near his Mountain Lakes, N.J., house, and he is now back home, continuing rehab and experimenting with some new medication to try to find the right balance, as stroke patients often have to do. It's a battle for him right now, and your warm wishes are appreciated. I'll be visiting him next week, and if you'd like me to bring along your wishes, send them to me via Twitter, and I'll print them out and take them to Zim. If you know people who love Zim, please encourage them to send along a Tweet. Thanks. As of now, he's still rehabbing hard, concentrating on his speech, studying the morning papers and trying to decipher them, and planning a trip for concentrated therapy later this year at a special program at the University of Michigan -- a program the generosity of fans like you made possible.
• Re: the Indianapolis Tweetup at Victory Field in downtown Indy on Aug. 10 at 5:45 p.m.: If you're interested in attending, the baseball team there, the Indianapolis Indians, has set aside some seats for us. So ask for "the Peter King section'' if you go to the ballpark that night for tickets, or if you order them beforehand. I'll be there with football/baseball savant Will Carroll (check him out at footballoutsiders.com), who can answer football questions with me -- or baseball questions if you have some. I'll provide more logistical details about the Albany/Troy, N.Y., Tweetup in my first post-vacation MMQB July 27.
• Re: the Roy Williams lack of weight training until this year: I should clarify to say that, obviously, he has lifted weights before. What he hadn't done before this year with the Dallas Cowboys is stay in a program consistently for an entire off-season or be devoted to lifting during a season.
• Re: seeing Ben Roethlisberger shooting an 81 at Bethpage Black, playing alongside Michael Jordan and Justin Timberlake (with Rocco Mediate on Big Ben's bag, by the way): NBC will show the mini-tournament July 4 at 2 p.m., after the Wimbledon Ladies Final. I walked that course last week. I'm no golf scribe, but an 81 at Bethpage Black ... that's absurd.
• Re: guest columnists for the next four Mondays: We'll start with Trent Green coming off the bench next Monday to spell me. Enjoy this wise man of football.
Now onto your e-mail:
• KERRY COLLINS IS A LIBRARY BOOK. From Michael Bailey of Creedmoor, N.C.: "Peter, interesting comments early in your MMQB with Warren Sapp. Being a big Penn State guy, I followed Kerry Collins a lot when he got to the NFL and saw what happened to him. It's interesting what Sapp said, about the 'kids' not wanting to listen. My question is, do you not think that neither Collins nor Sapp weren't one of those same 'kids' 10-15 years ago themselves? Maturity is something we all have to gain and grow. Everyone comes into the league, it seems, with an ego making more money than they had ever dreamed. I have a hard time believing that things are so much different now than they were when Sapp, Collins and the like came into the league a few years ago.''
That's a good thought, and it's an interesting concept. That well might be true. But I do think Collins listened to the veterans he shared locker rooms with early in his career, including Frank Reich and Billy Joe Tolliver. I also believe Collins was helped a lot by the faith of Ernie Accorsi and the hard coaching of Jim Fassel. So I guess what I'm saying about Collins' situation is I don't think there was the same kind of guy who'd seen it all as he came up through his career as Vince Young has now with Collins in the same locker room.
• SPARE US FAVRE. PLEASE NO MORE FAVRE. From Mark of Parker, Colo.: "Peter, I have a comment about Joe Buck's show in response to yours. I think the reason the Favre piece was second page has nothing to do with the show. It is that most of us don't really care anymore, we want to move on, Favre is old news, he has tarnished his career with the lousy decision-making and this story needs to have an end. To add to this I want to say that most football fans I know really don't understand the love affair the media has with Favre. Yeah he was a good QB but we have seen much better in the NFL. This is just my opinion of course. Keep up the good work. Thanks.''
I've been asked a lot about our coverage of Favre as a collective news media. It's a fair issue. I've tried to not over-Favre the audience while at the same time covering a story that I think needs to be covered. Whatever you think of Favre, and whether you think he's a noble old player or a disingenuous guy who's toying with the emotions of football America -- or worse -- the fact is that it's a story that could have a major bearing on the playoff race in the NFL this year. So it gets covered. I've tried not to overdo it, but you would have to be the judge whether it's being overdone.
• THE STALLWORTH CASE GOES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE. From Mark Freeman of Holliston, Mass.: "Could Roger Goodell's stance with Donte' Stallworth have a negative effect on the NFL? I have not seen anywhere where Goodell commented on the stand-up nature with which Stallworth has handled his situation. I am not a Stallworth supporter and have always thought of him as an overrated player that never put in the time to become the player people believe he can be. The way he has handled himself during this tough situation has changed my view of him. My fear is the tough stance the league is taking will send the wrong message to the players. Pacman Jones, Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress, as examples, should get far greater suspensions than Stallworth. Those players have not done anything that really shows remorse for their actions.''
Stallworth was under contract to an NFL team and took a man's life, and Goodell suspended him indefinitely. I don't see the problem there. The three players you've mentioned are not under contract to any NFL teams now, so Goodell isn't under pressure to make any speedy decisions, particularly on Michael Vick or Plaxico Burress. I would anticipate both would get sanctions, and Burress could be suspended for between four and eight games.
• THE BRONCOS GET WHITE-GLOVE TREATMENT FROM THE MEDIA. From Ed Hatem of Richland, Wash.: "Don't you think the Broncos, as an organization, has gotten an incredible pass from the media considering the bungles of the last two years. Consider the fact that two years ago Jay Cutler struggled through an entire season because the team doctors couldn't figure out the man had diabetes. These are the same doctors and nutritionists who apparently let the team lose a tremendous amount of weight over the course of last season. [Cutler gets traded, then] we have another player who wants out and the coach says it's not going to happen even while the owner is saying he is going to try to help facilitate a trade. Now, I understand it was en vogue to bash Cutler... but isn't Denver's free pass in this about up? Is this organization in disarray and the media is just being polite about it?''
Polite? Maybe I'm not reading enough, but the Broncos got bashed in at least half of the post-Cutler-trade columns I read, and I've heard plenty of media people who've said the Broncos would be setting a terrible precedent by trading Brandon Marshall. There are several issues here, but the basic one is this: It's fair to argue the Broncos didn't give the Cutler fire a chance to die down before dealing him, and it's more fair (to me, anyway) to argue that the team would be making a huge mistake in agreeing to trade Marshall because of the bad precedent it would set for any dissatisfied players in the future. Overall, I'm not sure you can kill the Broncos now because we don't know how the decisions are going to work out. But I think if Marshall is dealt and the team goes 3-13, they deserve all the criticism you can muster.