AFC East: Curtis Martin

Sixteen years before Darrelle Revis, there was Curtis Martin.

The Hall of Fame running back was the first high-profile player to switch sides in the New York Jets-New England Patriots rivalry, so he knows all about the passion and vitriol of The Border War. Martin remembers hearing more cheers than boos when he returned to Foxborough for the first time, but he doesn’t expect New Yorkers to be as gracious when Revis returns to MetLife Stadium.

His advice to Revis: Buckle up.

[+] EnlargeDarelle Revis
AP Photo/Brian BlancoNew Patriots CB Darrelle Revis won't be receiving a warm welcome when he faces the Jets in New York.
“The game has changed, the fanfare has changed,” Martin told ESPNNewYork.com. “I expect it to be a little more hostile, not as welcoming. [He laughed.] I think he should wear his helmet when he comes out of the tunnel.”

Revis didn't go from the Jets to Patriots – there was a quick stop with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers –- but the fans won’t remember his one year in Pewter purgatory when they see him in Patriots colors. Martin can empathize with the anguish of Jets fans.

“I totally understand the feeling,” Martin said. “It just makes it that much tougher to beat those guys.”

Martin said his initial reaction to Revis signing with the Patriots was, “Wow.” He still considers Revis the best cornerback in the league, and he called it a brilliant move by the Patriots. Martin, an avid chess player, used a chess analogy to describe the impact Revis will have with the AFC East champions.

“The Patriots already have that strong piece in Tom Brady. He’s like the queen, that very powerful person,” Martin said. “Putting Darrelle Revis up there is like having an extra queen in the game. That’s a powerful move for the Patriots.”

The Jets were criticized for not showing interest in Revis, especially since they released Antonio Cromartie. They have a gaping hole at cornerback, yet they didn't respond to an inquiry by Revis’ agent.

Martin said he didn't expect the Jets to pursue a Revis reunion, seeing as how they already jettisoned him once. Asked if he wanted them to make a play for Revis, he gave a yes-and-no answer.

“You put Darrelle on any team, and you've definitely made your team more powerful,” he said. “I would always like to see the Jets with the best players, so, yeah, of course. That being said, there was a reason why he was let go, so I wouldn't necessarily expect them to do that.”

Some considered Martin a traitor in 1998, when he signed a six-year, $36 million offer sheet with the Jets. The Patriots had an opportunity to match, but they declined because the contract was structured in such a way that it could've blown up their salary cap. After three terrific years in New England, he bolted for the Jets.

“Initially, when I first came out of the tunnel, I heard some people say, ‘Traitor,’ but for the most part, people were cheering for me,” said Martin, recalling his first trip back to New England. “I thought that was pretty incredible. It showed their appreciation for what I was there. It actually made me feel good.”

It would be an upset if Revis gets the same treatment.
Curtis Martin always has been an admirer of Peyton Manning. Two years ago, the Hall of Famer wanted to see the New York Jets pursue Manning as a free agent. On Sunday, Martin believes Manning will be the difference in Super Bowl XLVIII.

"I think the advantage comes with Peyton Manning, his mind and his understanding of the game," Martin said Monday during an appearance on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show. "He can go out there and it's like playing chess. He's like a good football chess player. I would give the advantage to Peyton and to the Broncos just simply because of (his) wisdom and knowledge, just because of Peyton's football IQ."

Another edge for the Denver Broncos, according to Martin, is Super Bowl experience. No one on the Seattle Seahawks has played in a Super Bowl. Martin played in only one, for the 1996 New England Patriots, and he lost to the Green Bay Packers. He said the Patriots' lack of experience that year was costly.

"We were so pumped up, it was almost as though we were too hyped for ourselves," Martin said. "It took us a while to settle down. By then, Green Bay had already jumped out on top of us. I do think there are nerves and excitement, and the entire week leading up to the Super Bowl does have an effect on the players. Everyone wants to say it's just another game, but it's bigger than a game."

Miami mess has a shade of green

January, 9, 2014
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Remember when the New York Jets were known as the most dysfunctional team in the NFL? That unofficial title now belongs to the Miami Dolphins -- the South Beach circus.

Mangini
Mangini
Turns out the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal was only the start of the Dolphins' woes. These days, they're making news with a fractured front office that makes the Christie administration look like the honor society. It might be safer to swim with sharks than to work for the Dolphins. Then again, it's kind of the same thing.

"A lot of politics," a person familiar with the situation told me.

General manager Jeff Ireland, who failed to make the playoffs in any of his six seasons, agreed to part ways with the team this week after losing a power struggle with coach Joe Philbin, according to reports in South Florida and elsewhere. Funny thing is, there's a greenish tint to the entire mess -- meaning links to the Jets.

One of the biggest sharks in the Miami tank apparently is Dawn Aponte, the executive vice president of football administration -- a former underling of ex-Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Aponte reportedly stabbed Ireland in the back, formed an alliance with Philbin and worked her way into the inner circle of owner Stephen Ross.

Ross, a super wealthy businessman who lives in New York, has a curious affinity for former Jets. He recently named Jets Hall of Famer Curtis Martin to his "Bully Board" -- an advistory committee that was formed in the aftermath of the Incognito-Martin controversy. In addition, one of Ross' most trusted advisors is Matt Higgins, former team president of the Jets.

You can't make this stuff up.

Dolphins team reporter James Walker does a nice job of outlining the Dolphins-Jets parallels on his blog. It's a must-read.

So now the Dolphins are looking for a new general manager, and the names being reported in the South Florida media include Tannenbaum and former Jets coach Eric Mangini, currently an offensive consultant for the San Francisco 49ers. Once upon a time, Tannenbaum rose to power in the Jets' organization when he convinced owner Woody Johnson to hire Mangini away from Bill Belichick. The Tannenbaum-Mangini alliance ruled the Jets for three years. When Mangini was fired, and hired by the Cleveland Browns, he brought along an up-and-coming star in the front office.

Aponte.

This would be a great reality show, wouldn't it?

Two-Minute Drill: Curtis Martin

November, 16, 2013
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Our weekly Q & A is with Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin, who was in the news recently. He accepted an invitation by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to serve on an advisory committee to review the Dolphins' conduct policies and make recommendations in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal:

How does a former Jets great end up on a Dolphins committee?

Martin: It doesn't have anything to do with it being the Miami Dolphins; this is a universal problem. It's this situation. You know all about the turmoil it has caused. Stephen wanted to pick out individuals he trusted, people like (former Dolphins) Jason Taylor and Dan Marino. I'm more of an outside point of view.

You don't see anything weird about it?

[+] EnlargeCurtis Martin
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsCurtis Martin is going to serve on an advisory committee to review the Dolphins' conduct policies in the aftermath of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation.
Martin: No. At the end of the day, the NFL is part of my family now. It wouldn't matter what team it was. This is something I wanted to do. It's a very important issue.

In all the years you played, did you ever witness this type of bullying?

Martin: No, I've never seen anything like it, personally. I'll be really interested to see the final facts. In a situation like this, you have to get all the facts and make a judgment. When I was playing, there's no way I'd be aware of a situation like this and not address it. I take this issue very seriously. I hear a lot of people saying a lot of things. People say [the Dolphins] had to know it was going on, but that's not necessarily true. Really, I'd rather wait until we have all the facts before I say anything more about it.

How did you get to know Stephen Ross?

Martin: We've had some interactions in the past. I definitely have a lot of respect for him. From his words, I think he appreciates the way I think about things.

When you retired in 2007, you said you were close to becoming involved in the ownership of an NFL team A short time later, Ross purchased the Dolphins. Were you talking to him about becoming a part owner of the Dolphins?

Martin: When I was freshly retired and looking to buy into team, he was one of the guys generous enough to give me good advice. I was seeking out the expertise and experience from different owners. I wanted to talk to some owners who had been around a long time, and I wanted to talk to new owners.

Let's talk about the Jets. Are you surprised they're doing so well?

Martin: I don't necessarily feel surprised about it. I always like to see how things play out. I'm glad they're doing well. Say what you want, but 5-4 is encouraging. There's a lot of potential there. Geno [Smith] is growing and growing.

What do you think their record would be if Mark Sanchez still were the quarterback?

Martin: That’s a real guess. To be honest, if I knew, I’d say. Sanchez has had pretty decent years, but I like Geno’s talent. He’s versatile. He has escapability, along with a pretty good arm. Once this kid totally understands the game … I equate it to chess. When I started to learn to play chess, I made some good moves, but I didn't have a sense of the whole board. It's the same thing with playing quarterback. You have to know where everybody is on the field. That will come in time. Geno will be very dangerous as he develops that quality.

You're also a member of the Super Bowl XLVIII committee. How's that going?

Martin: It's been a learning experience. I always thought the teams just showed up at the game, there was more traffic and that was all there was to the Super Bowl. But it's so much more than that. You have to work with the lighting on the field, transportation, sponsorships. What if it snows? It's really a huge, huge task to put on a Super Bowl. Woody Johnson wanted me to sit in on the committee, on hehalf of the Jets, and I consider it a tremendous honor. This is going to be one of the biggest, best Super Bowls ever.

Dolphins Q&A: Tony Dungy

November, 12, 2013
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TAMPA -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced Monday that he’s set up a task force to clean up their locker-room culture. One of the members selected to lead that task force is former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy.

ESPN.com’s Dolphins team page caught up with Dungy before Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get his thoughts on his communication with Ross, Miami’s in-house culture, and how he plans to help.

Dungy
James Walker: Tony, you have been one of the leading figures on several important NFL issues. How did Ross get in contact with you to join this task force to clean up the culture in Miami?

Tony Dungy: Steve called me. I talked to him several times during their coaching search and since he’s gotten the team. Steve called me and said he wasn’t sure what happened. He’s in the process of finding that out. But he wants to look forward and see how he could ensure their locker room and whole organization was operating in the best way. He wanted to get some former players that he respect and former coaches, and put together a recommendation of best practices.

Walker: After the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga, how serious do you think Ross is about cleaning up the Dolphins’ locker-room culture?

Dungy: I think he’s very serious. I think he’s disappointed that this happened on his watch, and it could have happened to anybody. People ask me how much should a coach know? How much should you be aware of what’s going on? You do have to count on your players, your leadership. I’m standing around a bunch of guys [in Tampa] who made it happen for me. What I did is set the atmosphere on what my expectations are. But I counted on Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp to let me know. As a coach you are kind of counting on that.

Walker: You, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Jason Taylor all have a lot of clout in NFL circles. Why do you think Ross picked this particular group?

Dungy: I think he wanted to get some ex-Dolphins. I think he wanted to get some guys that he respected that could say, ‘This is how football is. This is normal. This is what we had in great locker rooms and this is how you get it.’ I think he picked some great guys.

Walker: How involved will you be?

Dungy: I’m not sure. We haven’t really talked about it. It’s something I think will be very intensive early on, especially, to kind of set the tone. I just told him I would be glad to do whatever I can to help him out.

Locker Room Buzz: Miami Dolphins

November, 12, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Observed in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins' 22-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pouncey
No excuses: Dolphins players offered no excuses for falling to the winless Buccaneers. Center Mike Pouncey and others admitted Tampa Bay played better and deserved to win. The Buccaneers jumped out to a 15-0 lead early and held on.

The boss: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in the locker room and didn’t seem too thrilled with another loss. Miami lost its fifth game in six tries.

HOF: Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin was in attendance. He was a guest of the Dolphins after being appointed by Ross to be a part of a task force to clean up the locker-room culture.

HOF12: Curtis Martin's amazing story

August, 4, 2012
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CANTON, Ohio -- Curtis Martin won his bet to make it through his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech without crying.

Did anyone else?

Martin, in accepting his enshrinement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, shared details about his life that would wrench the hardest heart: the murders of his grandmother and aunt; the manner in which his father tortured his mother; the time someone held a gun to his head and pulled the trigger seven times, only to have a bullet discharge on the eighth pull, when the gun was pointed elsewhere.

This was as moving a speech as I can recall hearing.

That Martin would survive all this and grow into a man with the wherewithal to nurture his mother to health? That, together, they would forgive his father?

It's a good thing Martin's speech came last. No one could have followed him.

Martin closed by saying he hoped his daughter, when delivering his eulogy years from now, would speak not of the yards he gained, but of the man he became. He hoped she would speak of having sought a man of similar character. He hoped she would, in closing his eulogy, leave mourners with a footnote.

"Oh yeah," she would say, "he was a pretty good football player."

Martin's presenter, retired coach Bill Parcells, spoke of his former player's great balance. Martin's speech showed the same quality. He balanced those emotional reflections with humor. And he showed great wisdom.

Martin busted on fellow enshrinee Willie Roaf for suggesting the Class of 2012 go for pedicures this week. He joked about Cortez Kennedy speaking for so long that God decided to turn off the lights.

Martin again found the right balance when discussing player safety issues, particularly whether he'd feel OK about his own child playing the game, were Martin to have a son.

Two previously enshrined Hall of Famers -- I could not identify them from a distance -- rose and applauded when Martin provided a thoughtful answer. Martin said he never sought football or loved it, but he learned life lessons from it through Parcells, through his former high school coach and through experiences on the field.

"If kids can learn what I learned from playing the game," Martin said in words to that effect, "I'd let him play. It would be worth the risk."

Martin rushed for 102 yards and the winning touchdown in his first regular-season NFL game. Parcells, upon seeing reporters gather around Martin's locker for postgame interviews, let it be known Martin was merely a "one-game wonder."

Before too long, "one-game wonder" would give way to "Boy Wonder" as Parcells' preferred nickname for Martin. The more flattering moniker survives to this day, for good reason. Martin opened his career with 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, an NFL record shared by another Hall of Famer, Barry Sanders.

Martin turned out to be a pretty good football player, all right, and so much more.

CANTON, Ohio -- Dermontti Dawson, the fifth of six Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees to speak Saturday night, thanked his parents for the guidance they provided over the years.

The other modern-day finalists preceding Dawson at the podium -- Willie Roaf, Chris Doleman and Cortez Kennedy -- made similar comments.

Curtis Martin, the final enshrinee scheduled to speak, will tell a different story. He'll surely pay tribute to his mother, but so many other factors in his life worked against him. His father left the family when Martin was 4. His grandmother was stabbed to death in brutal fashion when Martin was 9.

Martin never dreamed of the Hall of Fame; at one point, his goal while growing up in a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood was simply reaching age 21. The speech he delivers Saturday night has the potential to pack a different type of emotional punch.
Curtis MartinCraig Melvin/US PresswireRunning back Curtis Martin finished his Hall of Fame career with 14,101 rushing yards.
Every NFL player could learn from Curtis Martin.

The former third-round draft pick was never the fastest player, nor the biggest nor the most athletic. But it was Martin's heart, work ethic, character and dedication that made him the NFL's fourth all-time leading rusher with 14,101 yards.

Martin's football journey will end this weekend in Canton, Ohio. He is part of the 2012 Hall of Fame class that also includes Willie Roaf, Cortez Kennedy, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman and Jack Butler.

Martin overcame any physical deficiencies with intangibles. He was smart and very durable. Martin also had longevity and was consistent, which are all key elements to get into the Hall of Fame. Martin put together 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. In 2004, he became the oldest player to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,697 yards at age 31, when most running backs hit a wall. That season cemented Martin's legacy and made him a lock for Canton.

Martin is also on a very short list of Bill Parcells' favorite players. Parcells was notoriously demanding and difficult to play for. Yet, the Super Bowl-winning coach calls Martin one of the greatest players he’s ever coached. Parcells made it a point to have Martin on his team in both New England and New York. Naturally, Parcells will be Martin's presenter on Saturday during his enshrinement. The two would have it no other way.

Martin set a great example that the NFL is not all about draft status or pure athletic ability. Martin got the most out of himself every year, and it landed him in Canton.
Here are the most interesting stories Sunday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Buffalo may need to slightly overdraft a player like receiver Michael Floyd or left tackle Riley Reiff. But if the player turns out to be a franchise building block, no one will care if he was taken No. 10 or No. 15.
  • New England Patriots backup offensive tackle Nate Solder is ready to take over if Matt Light retires.
Morning take: The Patriots did a smart thing by grabbing Solder in the first round last year. Solder is a good, developing player and will plug in well if needed.
  • Former New York Jets star running back Curtis Martin likes the acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Morning take: Everyone has an opinion on how this will work. But this is a hit-or-miss experiment, which makes it so intriguing.
  • The Miami Dolphins will be switching to more of a zone-blocking scheme in rookie coach Joe Philbin's West Coast offense.
Morning take: This means the offensive line will be asked to be more mobile this season. The Dolphins had more of a grinding running game up front. So there will be an adjustment.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Consistency and longevity matter in the NFL. That was the path former New England Patriots and New York Jets tailback Curtis Martin had to take to make it to Canton.

Martin was never the flashiest running back. He was never the quickest or fastest. But Martin was one of the most consistent and effective. Those are the traits that led Martin to the 2012 Hall of Fame class that also includes Willie Roaf, Cortez Kennedy, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman and Jack Butler.

[+] EnlargeCurtis Martin
Al Pereira/Getty ImagesCurtis Martin rushed for 14,101 yards and topped 1,000 yards in 10 of 11 seasons in the league.
A former third-round draft pick out of the University of Pittsburgh, Martin drastically overachieved and finished fourth all time in rushing with 14,101 yards. The only three players ahead of Martin -- Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders -- are all in the Hall of Fame.

Martin also had 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The only year he didn't rush for more than 1,000 yards was in 2005, which was his final season in the NFL.

There were plenty of years when Martin was counted out, but he consistently churned out yards and proved doubters wrong. He led the league in rushing with 1,697 yards in 2004 as a 31-year old.

"I'm very competitive," Martin said in a conference call Saturday. "I'm relentless when I'm sure about something and when I'm focused on something. ... I think it was more of a result of me being focused on putting my best performance out there on the field. That's what they pay us to do. To be in tip-top shape and do our best at our job."

Running back is arguably the most demanding position in the NFL. Yet Martin's durability was off the charts. He never missed more than four games in a season and played in all 16 games eight out of his 11 years.

Martin spent his first three years with the Patriots and his final eight years with the Jets. It’s rare that a player is great over the course of his career. But Martin was one of those players.

"Curtis Martin's work ethic, durability and ability to consistently play at such a high level are the hallmarks of his career and appropriately recognized by his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. "I have never come across a player who has been more dedicated to the team and doing his job. Curtis’ tremendous production on the field, regardless of how outstanding it was, pales in comparison to the man he is. An individual of unparalleled integrity, he treats everyone who crosses his path with honesty, kindness and respect and serves as a shining example of how professional athletes should carry themselves on and off the field."

Martin said he would like former coach Bill Parcells to induct him this summer. Parcells, who also was a Hall of Fame finalist but didn't make the cut, drafted Martin in 1995 and coached him in New England and New York. Martin said he hasn't discussed the induction process yet with Parcells.

The AFC East got one of its two Hall of Fame finalists in. But former Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Reed did not make the cut on his sixth attempt. Reed was still on the ballot Sunday when it was reduced to 10 players, but didn't get one of the final slots.

Thoughts on Hall of Fame, AFC East

February, 3, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Hall of Fame voting for the 2012 class will commence on Saturday.

Here are some thoughts on the Hall of Fame and the AFC East:
  • I don't see any sure-fire locks this year, which is rare. Maybe Bill Parcells fits in that category. But the group overall is solid. I'm sure there will be plenty of tough discussions on the Hall of Fame panel, because every spot is pretty much available for the 2012 class.
  • In terms of the AFC East, I like the chances of former New England Patriots and New York Jets running back Curtis Martin. He missed the cut last year, but this seems like the type of year a great, consistent player like Martin gets in. He is fourth all-time in rushing (14,101 yards), and the three ahead of Martin -- Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders -- are all in Canton.
  • Former Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Reed is a tougher call. This is the sixth time he's been a finalist, and each chance the odds appeared against him. This may be his best chance Reed has. The class is wide open and Reed may be able to grab one of those slots. I am not on the Hall of Fame panel, but my prediction is Parcells, Martin and offensive lineman Will Shields will get in. I think Reed could be fighting for the remaining slots with great players like Cris Carter, Willie Roaf, Chris Doleman and Jerome Bettis.
Here are the most interesting stories Monday morning in the AFC East:
  • Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall won the Pro Bowl MVP with 176 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Morning take: Although the Pro Bowl is skewed toward offense, it’s hard to overlook that kind of performance. It’s a glimpse of what he can do when he has Pro Bowl-level quarterbacks throwing the football.
  • Is too much being made out of Tom Brady's "party" comment?
Morning take: Brady thanked the fans for the great turnout during the send off and said “hopefully we have a lot more people at our party next weekend." I don’t see that as a guarantee? But people are taking it as such.
  • Former New York Jets running back and Hall of Fame candidate Curtis Martin says the Jets should pursue Peyton Manning.
Morning take: Add Martin to the list of people who think the Jets try to upgrade at quarterback. Manning is expected to be released and available in March.
Morning take: I remember watching the Super Bowl every year as a child, and this was one that really stood out. This was the first of four attempts by Buffalo and by far the closest the Bills would get to winning.
Coach Bill Parcells, running back Curtis Martin and receiver Andre Reed are among the 15 modern-era Hall of Fame finalists with AFC East ties. This is Parcells' first chance to get into Canton, while Martin and Reed have been previously eligible.

Parcells had successful stints coaching the New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Martin was a running back for the Jets and Patriots. Reed spent most of his career with the Buffalo Bills from 1985-99 and later the Washington Redskins in 2000.

Voting for the 2012 Hall of Fame class will take place in Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 4, during Super Bowl weekend.

Prepare for a chaotic week

July, 24, 2011
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Random thoughts and observations as we head into the homestretch of the lockout:

If free agency starts next Saturday, the latest tentative starting date, it'll make for a bizarro training camp. For the first few days of camp, teams will have swiss-cheese depth charts as their free agents shop the open market.

Imagine what it'll be like for the Jets: They will have Jerricho Cotchery (if medically cleared) and Patrick Turner as their starting wide receivers, with Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith potentially shopping for deals. At safety, you could see Jim Leonhard (if cleared) and Dwight Lowery, with Brodney Pool, Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo testing the market.

On, say, Day 3, they could have a new starting receiver show up, maybe Randy Moss. He'll sign his contract, receive a playbook and be sent out to the field to meet his new teammates. It's going to be chaos. It'll be a distraction for players and coaches, all of them wondering who's coming and who's going. It'll be taxing for the coaches, who will have to spend extra time teaching the system to new players. It'll be minicamp, OTAs and training camp all in one, with a revolving door of players. Fasten your seatbelt.
  • I'm all for player safety, but the elimination of two-a-days and the reduction of padded practices in the regular season (only 14) is a bit ridiculous. Come on, it's football, not lawn tennis. I agree with Bart Scott; it'll make player soft. The product on the field will suffer, especially the tackling. Old-school coaches believe players lose their edge when they're not practicing in pads.
  • The elimination of the No. 3 quarterback on the game-day roster, one of the proposed changes in the CBA, will increase the value of free agent-to-be Smith. A former college quarterback at Missouri, Smith can be the unofficial/emergency No. 3 while playing all his other roles. He'll save a roster spot or two, and that has value.
  • I don't know Robert Kraft, and I didn't know his late wife, Myra, but after reading all the tributes and seeing the number of players and former players that attended her funeral (including Curtis Martin), it's not hard to see why the Patriots are such a well-run organization.
  • You give Mike Tannenbaum six months to prepare for free agency, and you have to expect a big-splash move that catches people by surprise. He's not the wallflower type. If you're a Jets fan, though, you have to hope he doesn't outhink himself.
  • If I'm the Jets and I can get Nnamdi Asomugha for Darrelle Revis money (about $11.5 million per year), with a creative, backloaded deal, I'd do it. I'd rather spend a few million more for Asomugha instead of overpaying Antonio Cromartie. How often does a player of Asomugha's caliber hit the open market? I say go for it.
  • Question for owners: Was it really worth it?

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