And now for something completely different: The San Diego Chargers not only did the right thing with
Given the 30-year-old back's plummeting résumé -- 5.2 yards per rush in 2006, to 4.7, 3.8 and 3.3 in the last three years -- and taking into account LT still believing he should be a team's main running back, Spanos and Smith knew it would be untenable to keep him. In the high-powered offense coach
So, with the NFL combine set to begin this week -- which is the only time all season that all coaches, general managers and agents are in one place at one time -- Spanos called LT around noon Monday. He asked him to come in for a meeting, had the meeting, and then Tomlinson went down the hall and met with the two other decision-makers (Turner and Smith) individually, and they all said their goodbyes. No leaks, no embarrassment, no they-showed-me-no-respect stuff. That's called doing the right thing.
"I just didn't think it was right to try to trade him for something, to see how people judged his value and then to possibly trade him for something that was far from what he meant to us,'' Smith told me Monday night. "It just wasn't right. And by doing it now, we give his agent the chance to see everyone at the combine. It's very difficult, very sad. But we all know football isn't forever. It just became a situation where we wanted to do the right thing for everyone.''
I tell you that because, obviously, it doesn't happen that way often.
Now Tomlinson's agent,
Now onto your e-mail:
That's a commonly held belief by a lot of people around the league, but I checked this morning, and I can tell you there's no evidence to suggest the Glazers are taking, for example, any chunk of their $95 million annual network TV money and funneling it to pay down their debt with Manchester United. In their (slight) defense, it's not the smartest thing to spend big money on an overall poor crop of unrestricted free-agents. I doubt the Bucs would be in contention for Julius Peppers, who, unless the money is very different, will have a lucrative chance to play for a good team like New England. Right now, Tampa's a building team, not a good one.
Agreed. That's a double-standard on my part. The only thing I'd say is that she was cleared by a physician to ski, and this might be the last Olympics of her career. But overall, I should have paid more attention to my recent NFL-related principles. Good call.
"In 1962 there were only 14 teams in the NFL. When the first group of men was voted in, these men, by and large, played in a league with eight teams. If you consider a team as having a 40 man roster -- which I'm sure it didn't most of the time -- it's a stretch to say that as many as 320 men comprised the entire league. After Cleveland and Baltimore were incorporated and Dallas and Minnesota were added in 1960, the NFL stood at 14 teams and 560 players in 1962. With 32 teams now...
"I would suggest increasing the induction number to seven to 10 a year. Second, the 7-10 should never include owners, commissioners, writers or anyone else whose career wasn't defined as a player or coach. These people could be elected under a separate category with one to two eligible per year. Third, increase the number of eligible 'Old-timers' from two to three. (I apologize for forgetting the correct term wrong. No slight intended.)''
Lot of interesting points there, Rick. First, the number has changed a few times over the years, most recently where the maximum number of modern-era candidates in a year dipped from six to five, and the number of Senior candidates increased from one to two, done to address the large backlog of players in the league's first 60 years whose careers may have been forgotten or glossed over.
I think the overriding theme of your letter is that you'd like to see more players inducted, because so many deserve it. As my Sirius Radio friend
I see the math, and it's daunting. The best thing we can do is keep making it difficult to get in and do the best we can each year, and eventually the deserving players will get in. The one thing I am in favor of changing is adding a contributors category, to cover all commissioners, owners and front-office people. I'd prefer to have one Seniors nominee every year and one Contributors nominee, in addition to five Modern-Era candidates, which would be comprised of former players and coaches.
"Send Dr. Z my family's warm wishes, and please keep us updated on his progress. If Dr. Z would like to hear it, my son
Wow. Brandon, please know that when I see Zim next week I'm going to read him your letter. It is powerful, and I feel for you. All the best, and good luck fighting the fight that is really important.