Monday, April 16, 2012
Around the NFC West: Fight against autism
By Mike Sando
Good morning and welcome to the final full week before the 2012 NFL draft.
This past weekend was a slow one around the NFL, but two stories resonated in the NFC West. Both involved top executives from teams in the division: Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times spoke with Schneider and Schneider's wife, Traci, regarding the fund they're establishing to help other families raising autistic children. Their 10-year-old son, Ben, has benefited from extensive treatment. John Schneider: "We never knew if Ben would ever tell us that he loved us back. It's a strange feeling when you say, 'good night' to your son and he doesn't say 'good night' back. But we were blessed to be in a position where we could get the right help. Other families don't have access to the same resources." Noted: According to the Seahawks, a benefit event scheduled for Thursday includes a long list of celebrity waiters featuring Doug Baldwin, Brandon Browner, Tom Cable, Pete Carroll, Kam Chancellor, Chris Clemons, Jacob Green, Brock Huard, Tarvaris Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Okung, Sidney Rice, Brian Russell, Craig Terrell, Earl Thomas, Robbie Tobeck and Manu Tuiasosopo.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle explains why he thinks the Seahawks would consider Ryan Tannehill if the Texas A&M quarterback were available to them in the draft.
Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News spoke with York recently for a question-and-answer session on the 49ers' next stadium. Diverse dining options and the latest technology will be stadium hallmarks, according to York. Also, fans will be able to visit the Great America amusement park before games. York on differences from Candlestick Park: "Is everything too broad of an answer? You're almost doubling the amount of space for the same amount of people. You don't want to blast Candlestick for being an older building, because there have been a lot of great moments there, but the new building is going to be a completely different experience. Instead of just making a nice hot dog, you can do 20 to 30 different items. It'll probably be a 50 percent quicker exit than what you see at Candlestick. You can't compete with that, being able to park easily and get to your car and out onto the freeway quicker or take public transit."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers plan to bid on a Super Bowl at their new stadium. Barrows: "Teams are required to play two full seasons in their new venues before hosting a Super Bowl. The 49ers are increasingly confident that the yet-to-be-named stadium in Santa Clara will be ready for the start of the 2014 season."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes that the Cardinals are opening their offseason conditioning program Monday amid new limits on what teams and coaches can ask of players. Somers: "Teams must film all three phases and keep a copy until 30 days after the start of the regular season. Acting on a complaint, NFL officials can request to look at that film. Coaches are subject to fines of up to $100,000 for the first violation and $250,000 for the second. Those cannot be reimbursed by the club. Teams are subject to fines of $250,000 for the first violation and $500,000 for the second. Half of the fine amounts goes to the Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust and half to the Player Care Foundation. If a team commits a violation, it will lose a week of OTAs. A second violation will cost the club a fourth-round pick in the next draft."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says defensive end Calais Campbell will not attend the voluntary program while remaining unsigned as the team's franchise player.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers this on the Rams' search for a backup quarterback: "The Rams remain interested in free-agent quarterback Dennis Dixon (Pittsburgh), who worked out for the team last week, but probably won't make a decision until after the draft. Baltimore and Denver are also showing interest."
NFLDraftScout.com looks at five players the Rams could consider in the draft. On running back Doug Martin: "Steven Jackson will be 29 this summer, and at some point the Rams have to add in a significant way a player that can be his backup and potentially take over the position. Martin is gaining a lot of traction in the run-up to the draft, with some predicting he could be selected in the first round. If that doesn't happen, the Rams could be tempted to spend one of their second-round picks on a runner."