NFL Nation: Bruce Tollner

Thoughts and observations after watching Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and free-agent linebacker Brian Banks address reporters following Banks' tryout Thursday:
  • The Seahawks have posted video from Carroll and from Banks. The excitement over the possibilities was palpable. Carroll called Banks a "solid natural athlete" with "good natural quickness" and flexibility. But after a wrongful conviction ended Banks' high school career and sent him to prison for six years, the 26-year-old prospect faces long odds. Carroll: "We're going to support the chance and have a vision for what he could become more than what he is today and see where it goes."
  • Banks realizes much work lies ahead and that he is only starting out. At the risk of seeing what someone rooting for Banks might see, I thought he projected maturity, perspective, intelligence and personality. He seemed credible when saying this opportunity would not define him. He said he has plans for his life regardless.
  • Banks said he played one season with Long Beach City College following his parole, but new requirements forcing parolees to wear tracking devices made continuing his career impractical. The NCAA allows players a five-year window to play four seasons. Banks played at Long Beach City in 2007. I don't know if he could have pursued college football opportunities outside the NCAA, but accepting a pro tryout can compromise an athlete's amateur status. "Why not shoot for the stars?" Banks said.
  • Banks said he measured 6-foot-2 and 239 pounds. That is prototypical size for an NFL linebacker. The Seahawks' current linebackers average about 235 pounds based on listed weights. Seattle has less depth at linebacker than at some positions, but even mentioning where Banks might fit is extraordinarily premature. He hasn't even formally accepted the team's offer to attend minicamp on a tryout basis next week. Banks said he would go over options with his agent, Bruce Tollner.
  • Banks said he ran a 40-yard dash, but did not know his time. He said he has run times in the 4.6-second range. That would place him in the top third of linebackers tested at the 2012 scouting combine. Carroll: "He's very coordinated, good natural quickness, very good flexibility, he jumped well, he caught the ball real well ... his hand-eye coordination was there. You can just see, he's not in the kind of condition that our guys need to be in. So this week in particular will not be a great indication, but it will be a start and we’ll see where it goes from there."
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

I understand why, coming out of Texas, Vince Young was compelled to hire an inexperienced agent. Major Adams was a family friend, and it's hard to sort through outsiders and find someone you can trust at the most important time in your life.


But the time has come for Young to make the sort of in-career adjustment he's not been able to make in-game. Adams did well getting Young a great rookie contract, but is largely inexperienced in the ways of the NFL. The current list on the NFL Players Association's Web site indicates Young is his lone current NFL client.

My sense has long been that the Titans' No. 2 quarterback is surrounded by too many people who tell him what he wants to hear, who don't want to ruffle his feathers or who add fuel to the idea he may have that the team/the public/the media is against him, and that's the source of his problems.

On April 20, Young told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean:

"I am just going to keep my mouth closed, man. All I am doing this year is shutting up, just shutting up and working. I am going to smile and shut up and continue being Vince Young, a happy smiling guy. I am not going to get into the hoopla anymore because of the fact I can't win any more, I see.

"I am just going to shut my mouth and play my role and if they need me then I will be available as a weapon."

In the past couple of days, less than two months since he pledged to "smile and shut up," he told Baltimore's WMAR-TV:

"I definitely want to get back out there playing ball and picking up where I left off, winning games and having a good time with my teammates and with the fans. At the same time, if them guys don't want me to be in there, it's time for me to make a career change for myself. Because the fact is I'm ready to play ball. If they're not ready for me to play ball, then somebody is."

He's confused, don't you think?

Young needs someone to aggressively tell him the truth, spell things out and offer wise, but firm, counsel.

I'm not part of the inner circle and I don't talk to anyone who is. Maybe someone in there is trying to get through to him and can't do it.

I would bet Tom Condon -- who represents Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford, among others -- has a better chance. Or David Dunn, who's got Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel.

It doesn't have to be a big quarterback agent, just an agent who's represented a big quarterback before. Other candidates: Mark Bartlestein (Kurt Warner), Don Yee (Tom Brady), Jimmy Sexton (Philip Rivers) and Bruce Tollner (Ben Roethlisberger). We'll resist Bus Cook, who's stirred things up too much for Brett Favre and Jay Cutler recently.

Young said if the Titans aren't ready to play him it's time for a career change.

I believe he meant he needs to move on to another team, not to another walk of life.

If he truly wants to position himself for geographic locker room and practice field change, not a true career change, the best thing he can do might be to give serious consideration to enlisting a new agent.

Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth and Trent Dilfer in this video discuss Young's latest comments.