Santonio Holmes gets shown the door; Dez Bryant trying to open one
Now this is redonkulous.
Holmes to the Jets. A 26-year-old Super Bowl MVP traded for a fifth-round pick. A healthy star receiver coming off a 1,248-yard season, for the 155th overall choice in the draft.
Six quick points about a deal almost as stunning as the McNabb trade:
It's unlikely the commissioner would use use his far-reaching "the-shield-has-been-tarnished'' powers to suspend Roethlisberger for a brief period at the start of the season for his second sex-related accusation in eight months, especially without criminal charges. What may make more sense is a ban of a game or two by the upstanding Steelers, who could use conduct-detrimental-to-the-team as a reason to sit Roethlisberger. In a city like Pittsburgh, the populace would applaud a slap upside the head to Big Ben.
In the meantime, the Steelers, I believe, are saying to Roethlisberger: You have two strikes on you, and you're out if you get another strike. This is a decision of conscience for Pittsburgh, not a football decision.
Now, it's possible the Jets have too many at-risk players. A four-game suspension for substance-abuse means Holmes is one positive test away from a year out of football. Fellow Jet wideout
Ryan's throwing a party this morning, and when Holmes walks into the Jets' complex in Florham Park, N.J., Ryan will hug him like a college roommate he hasn't seen for 30 years.
Last thing: The Jets are amazing. They've become a little like the old Raiders (we're afraid of taking no one on our team), a little like the Yankees (we'll sign anyone to win), and a little like the
Now, before the Holmes trade so rudely interrupted the evening, other news around the league:
All along I've felt Tebow needs to go to a spot where he can have a peaceful redshirt year or two, and assuming
By the way, Tebow was in Cleveland and Washington last week, and he visits Denver this week. I hear the Cleveland coaches were very taken with him, and if he's there when they pick in round two (number 38 overall), or they trade down from number 7 in the first round, well, who knows?
I keep hearing the Rams believe Bradford's significantly better than the other quarterbacks, and if they do, what sense does it make to trade a franchise quarterback so you can be in position to take a quarterback with a couple more holes, and then other top prospects? At the end of the day, you're not going to be sure if you plugged the biggest hole you've got, and if you haven't, and if it's a
*Cleveland was scheduled to host Bryant Wednesday morning, before he flew to Denver to meet with Broncos officials. But a source close to the Browns told me last night, "He's no longer on our list. He's not visiting us.''
NFL teams will have a tough call on Tim Tebow. The call might be tougher on Bryant. Teams wonder about his character after he lied to the NCAA about having dinner with
"I'm amazed you're not a statistic by now,'' I said to Bryant Saturday as he left Baltimore. He was flying home to Dallas, to spend one night in his own bed before continuing on the trip Sunday in Tampa. "I'm amazed you're still here. How'd you do it?''
"Just staying positive,'' he said. "I used all the negative stuff in my life as motivation. I tried to stay humble. It's a blessing to have been able to overcome everything I have. By me going through everything, it's made me a stronger person.''
When Bryant meets with teams, the questions invariably are the same. They're about his suspension, his relationship with Sanders, who are the biggest influences in his life, and whether he'll be myopically devoted to football. He's a receiver with top-five-in-the-draft talent, who might get picked in the second half of the first round because teams see too many red flags.
I think Bryant might be turning a corner in these meetings. He admits his mistakes. He doesn't blame the NCAA. He doesn't blame his upbringing. It may be well-rehearsed, but if it is, he sounds sincere and hasn't had a hiccup.
"I just go and try to be me,'' he said. "People who know me know I'm not a bad guy. I made a mistake. I learned from it. I think it matured me. What I want these teams to know is I never committed a crime. I've never been in trouble with the police. Don't smoke weed. Don't drink. Whoever drafts me is going to get a dedicated, hard-working player.''
His two-week odyssey, he said, is "all business. I don't consider this exciting, and I don't consider draft day exciting. Just business. It's all on the path of getting ready to play pro football. When I get drafted, that's not the exciting part. Getting to a team and starting to work, that's what I'm looking forward to.''
He said three of the teams he visited either told him he'd be their pick if he was on the board when their first-round pick came up, or hinted strongly at it. The reason I don't want to put headlines on that is simple. Every year, teams tell players, "You're our guy,'' then end up picking another guy. So let's not get too excited about a "promise'' that may or may not be true. But many of the teams he's visiting could use a productive deep threat.
"On TV all these years, I never saw
The teams that make the most sense to me: Denver, picking 11th, Miami (12th), San Francisco (13th, 17th), Pittsburgh (18th) and New England (22nd). Of course, the Patriots, with three second-round picks, could move up to a team wanting extra picks (Jacksonville at 10, perhaps) to make sure they can get him. Where Bryant goes will be one of the best stories of an intriguing draft.
"Wow. We got Holmes this is crazy. We makin' big moves this offseason.''
"You don't have to be Mr. Loudest Guy in the Room. That's not ever going to be Sam. He's not going to be on 'SportsCenter' screaming at the top of his lungs. But that doesn't mean he's not going to get after you if you're not doing your job. He was well-respected in our locker room, and that wasn't just some transformation that happened in the last month or so either.''
"Going to Washington was the shocker to me. I think the Eagles are hurting themselves. Donovan makes the Redskins a better football team. They needed a player like that. But the Eagles run their team as a business. It's the New England approach -- 'Don't fall in love with the player.' I see why they did it. But I think Donovan's got a lot left and really improves the Redskins.''
"Coach Reid knows what Donovan's limitations are.''
To be fair, Runyan didn't say this as a shot at McNabb. He said it simply to acknowledge that any coach who would trade a quarterback to a rival he plays twice a year would certainly know how to attack that quarterback and be comfortable that the quarterback would have an Achilles heel the old team would be able to exploit. That is why the trade is so fascinating, even a week later.
You think it's tough to pick a quarterback out of college football who will succeed in the NFL? I say it's harder to pick a pass-rusher. And when I talk to coaches and personnel people around the league, it's maddening to them to try to figure out if
A look at the nine defensive ends picked in the first two rounds of the 2009 draft shows that only one rushed the passer at a big-league level as a rookie. That was
Admittedly, this is no exact science. But the Bills and Broncos didn't draft Maybin and Ayers to see them take the field 31 times and never sack the passer.
I spent some time recently with intriguing draft prospect
If you haven't heard of Owusu-Ansah, he's a 6-0, 208-pound corner/safety who runs a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. He's probably the best return man in the draft. He had five returns of kickoffs or punts for touchdowns last fall, including one of each in a four-minute span last October against Edinboro (Pa.). It's difficult for NFL teams to project how a player accustomed to competing against smallish, future bankers and insurance men will compete against some of the best athletes in the world.
I checked the last 10 drafts to see the history of Division II defensive backs, and it's actually very good news for Owusu-Ansah. Here's how the last 10 years of drafted Division II DBs have fared in the NFL:
Ten draft choices, zero busts, and two (maybe) solid NFL starters if Carr continues on his early-career path with the Chiefs. Pretty good odds for Owusu-Ansah.
The West crew did the Boston-New York three-game series in the first week of the season, followed by the Toronto-Baltimore three-gamer.
Time of the three Red Sox-Yankees games: 3:46 (West at the plate), 3:48, 3:21.
Time of the three Jays-Orioles games: 2:54, 2:24 (West at the plate), 2:22.
The Baltimore-Toronto games, on average, were 65 minutes shorter than the Boston-New York games.
West's game behind home plate in Baltimore was 82 minutes shorter.
I watch a lot of baseball, and since I follow the Red Sox closely and have since I was 6, I'd watch Sox-Yanks if their games were four hours long. That doesn't mean I enjoy the Sox-Yanks at four hours. I'd much rather see a 2:45 game. The other night, at fast-working
Commuting on the East Coast is fun. I mean, really -- it's fun. On Friday, I had an
"Strasburg update: Between innings, he fixed a fan's carburetor on a '67 Buick&helped a woman give birth''
1. I think the trade that should happen is Baltimore signing left tackle
This has little to do with Gaither's ability; he's a top-12 NFL left tackle, he's young (24), with 28 starts already on his resume. But the Ravens aren't going to pay two players franchise-tackle money.
This deal would allow the Cowboys to get a much-needed, long-term left tackle, still use prospect
2. I think if you're a person of means, and you're a fan of good inside stories about a very good team and the league, and you care about good causes, I suggest you consider attending what I'm calling the New England Locker Room Luncheon at Davio's in Foxboro, Mass., from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on May 11.
I'm going to host this cozy affair with Patriots tackle
The luncheon will benefit the Matt Light Foundation (he specializes in helping at-risk teens) and the Greater Boston Food Bank, two causes near and dear to the four of us. For ticket information, or to place your reservation, contact Margrette Mondillo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you can make it, and pass along the info to Pats' fans or fans of the game if you know someone who might be interested.
3. I think the Browns may do several things at number seven, but the one thing they won't do is take Notre Dame quarterback
4. I think, for those Browns fans who yearn for a franchise receiver and ask, "Why don't we trade down a bit in the round and get Dez Bryant?'' here's your answer:
5. I think the one thing most of us can agree on is Bradford one,
6. I think I believe
7. I think the overtime-reform issue still has some legs, and I believe it's got a very good chance to pass for the regular-season as well as the playoffs when NFL owners meet in May in Dallas. For many of you who asked why the league just didn't make it a strict two-possession rule, I'll give you Competition Committee member
8. I think the important thing to realize about the Jets' moves is that Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan need to be on the same page to make the deals they've made. They need to be OK with the risk of the Cromarties and the Holmeses, and with the potential of
9. I think if the Steelers didn't trade Holmes, there's a good chance the Steelers would have cut him. That might be hard to believe, but ace beat man
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The end is not going to be pretty for
d. The bullying story out of South Hadley, Mass., is so sad and so compelling and so important. So glad my kids got out of school without being tormented by bullies. Good luck to your kids doing the same.
e. Somehow the moment was nicer to see
g. Devils over Flyers in seven, but they'll be too beat up to go much further, I fear. In the finals, I like Chicago over Washington in a classic, wide-open series.
h. Watched "Julie and Julia'' for the second time over the weekend, and for the second time I was transfixed. What a movie.
i. Spirit Airlines will charge for carry-on bags that can't fit beneath the seat. I believe the next step is an airline charging for clothing. Worn, not packed.
j. Coffeenerdness: Had a cup of that McDonald's coffee for a buck the other day, and it's damn good. Maybe I'm just an addict, and it was an any-port-in-the-storm moment, but I liked it.
k. My prayers to the mining families in West Virginia. As a country, we should respect that industry more than I think we do.
l. Ditto to the people of Poland. That poor country, losing so many of its leaders in one plane crash. Amazed that a pilot could, apparently, have so much power over so many lives.
m. And a final thanks for your tremendous efforts for Five For Fighting. Your donations totaled $198,170, nearly enough for 10 remote platoons to be outfitted with recreation and communication gear for their off time. I am truly appreciative of your efforts for all the soldiers. Thank you.