Braylon Edwards found a job with the Seattle Seahawks. So did Antonio Bryant, who hasn’t played since 2009. That makes Plaxico Burress wonder why he is still sitting home waiting for his phone to ring.
Burress had 45 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns for the Jets last season after being released from prison. But the Jets had no interest in bringing him back, and interest from other teams has been lukewarm best for a player that will soon be 35 years old.
He told ESPN, “Some things you don’t have an answer to, but to me it’s just a matter of keep working hard, keep training, and keep building myself up to get back to the player I know I can be.”
Noting that he expected to sign quickly when the league year began in March, Burress said, “No doubt about it. With some of the things I was able to do after being away for two years, I pretty much thought it spoke for itself. But I guess obviously not.”
The notion that Burress is disruptive in the locker room is a bogus one. At least according to him. Burress said strongly, “For anybody to say I was a problem in the locker room or anything like that is totally a lie. All I did was come out, was a great teammate, tried to play the best football that I could play.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was still talking a day after he said the league’s players don’t trust commissioner Roger Goodell.
On NFL Network, he said, “I was asked a direct question: ‘How do players in the league feel about the commissioner?’ I’ve talked to many, many players obviously. I’m on the executive committee of the Players Association. So I talk to a lot of the guys who are involved in the union, and certainly my teammates and others. And I think that there is a general feeling that the players don’t trust the commissioner.”
Brees claimed to have an honest relationship with Goodell, and added, “It just happens to be that the big topic or issue this offseason has been the bounty allegations. Unfortunately, my team, my organization, has been directly affected in a very negative way by those allegations. The process is still ongoing and I think that we’ve said and done as much as we can do to prove our innocence. I would say that we felt the process from the very beginning has not been fair. But I think if you really want to look at where we’re at right now, it’s not over. I think we believe the commissioner has a great opportunity to come to a positive resolution.”
In his media time with reporters at training camp, Brees was a little more circumspect, even claiming the media his comments were blown out of proportion by the media. “I’m not going to comment further on it,” Brees said. “If there’s any dialogue that would need to take place, I would talk to the commissioner directly. By no means was that meant to be disrespectful. I was asked a direct question about how the players felt and I gave a very honest and direct answer. I think it was blown out of proportion a little bit when the headlines say I was blasting the commissioner. No, that wasn’t the case. That was really all I said and I really have nothing else to say about it.”
Let’s see: Brees said players don’t trust Goodell, and that’s not blasting him? It would be great to hear Brees’ definition of what it would take to blast someone.
Paint it Black
It didn’t take long for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson (yes, he is officially Johnson again, not Ochocinco) to bring bizarre attention to himself. After all, isn’t that what divas do?
Johnson showed up Wednesday with his fingernails painted black. When coach Joe Philbin was asked about it, he said, “I didn’t notice that by the way. There are certain things that are important to me (laughing) – fingernail preference isn’t high on my list right now. I don’t think right now it’s a big deal. That’s an interesting tidbit though.”
When asked it was a conern, Philbin said, “I told the players, we want these guys to represent the franchise the right way on and off the field. It’s not a complicated formula and the game of football itself isn’t complicated. Now, we want guys to act well, behave well, be good people. It’s not that hard. Use common sense. I don’t know if, black was probably a bad color for today. He probably should have used a light blue or something (laughing).”
Quarterback Matt Moore was asked about Jonson’s unusual move. He said, “I haven’t seen much of it, but I think that each guy needs to be an individual, needs to be his own guy and kind of play within the rules of the team. As long as he catches the ball I don’t care what color his fingernails are.”
Coughlin Wants to See Common Sense
New York Giants safety Tyler Sash is getting a lot of mileage out of his four-game NFL suspension while trying to become a sympathetic figure. Sash has claimed he was described Adderall, even though the reason he said he was taking the drug was for anxiety when that isn’t what the drug treats.
It also seemed odd when Sash said he didn’t know Adderall was a banned substance when teammate Andre Brown was suspended in May for taking it although he inexplicably had his suspension overturned. Sash claimed he wasn’t aware of Brown’s situation.
He said, “Everybody’s situation is different and I didn’t know what it was.” Meanwhile, coach Tom Coughlin believes Sash and said, “This kid really had no intention of doing anything that was illegal. I know what the definition of the rule is, and I understand all about that; I’ve been there myself … but you have to ask yourself, sometimes common sense needs to be involved.
“I feel bad for the kid. He is a heart-and-soul football player; he takes everything that he has and puts it into the game. He loves to play. We used him in a very, very important role last year as a rookie, fullback on the punt team. So there’s no issue with this young man. He doesn’t need any watchdog over him. Ignorance is no excuse of the law, I understand; but he knows what is expected and he does it.”
Transcript of the Day
Last week, another concussion lawsuit was filed against the NFL, with Ken Stabler the lead plaintiff. In the lawsuit, Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s name was mentioned because he has had multiple fines for illegal hits on defenseless players.
So it was that Harrison was interviewed by WXDX Radio.
Q: “James, are you aware of the story about the lawsuit mentioning your name in Philadelphia and if so what’s your reaction to it?”
JH: “I’m not aware of it.”
Q: “Ken Stabler and some of the other former pro football players in a concussion suit referenced you as a guy that was a repeat offender and maybe should be out of the game. When you hear former players say that about you … “
JH: “Who is — Ken who?”
Q: “Ken Stabler.”
JH: “Who is that?”
Q: “Former Raider quarterback.”
JH: “Never heard of him. His opinion doesn’t matter to me.”
Just Wondering …
The NFL preseason begins Sunday when the Saints play the Cardinals in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. Unfortunately, with the league’s officials locked out, replacement officials will be used. Players are worried about safety issues. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t seem fazed by it, noting that the replacements have been in training for a whole two months. Is this the way Goodell protects the shield?
Speaking of the Hall of Fame: I’m off to Canton for my 23rd Hall of Fame weekend, and it’s always an experience hard to describe.
There will be more than 80 Hall of Famers present as they treat it like a family reunion each year with new enshrines joining the family. This year’s class is a unique one with four linemen (two offensive and two defensive) joining running back Curtis Martin and Seniors Committee defensive back Jack Butler.
The linemen are tackle Willie Roaf, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end Chris Doleman and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. The enshrines get their gold jackets at the emotional dinner Friday night, then see their busts for the first time Saturday night.
Every year I look forward to doing a four-hour show Saturday on SiriusXM NFL radio with Gil Brandt prior to the ceremony, a show filled with interviews done all day Friday. By the end of the day Friday, it’s pinch-yourself time, realizing how many of the game’s greats I have had the privilege to talk to.
I’ll have several reports here throughout the weekend.