NFL Nation: Richard Collier
|Joel Auerbach/US Presswire|
|Miami's Vontae Davis hopes to avoid major mistakes on and off the field.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The main message of the NFL Rookie Symposium, a mandatory four-day orientation at PGA National Resort and Spa, is "watch your back at all times."
For the past 13 years, the league has conducted seminars to counsel draft picks on how to act like professionals. With the misdeeds of Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress filling headlines, commissioner Roger Goodell wants to get new players indoctrinated immediately.
"I think it's great what [Goodell] is doing for the league, cleaning it up and really doing a great job of holding guys to a higher standard," said Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick. "They just try to introduce the rookies to that and to the policy and how strict it is."
A significant aspect of being new pros is protecting themselves now that they're on the big stage. These players are young and often naive. Many come from modest backgrounds. They're about to receive steady paychecks with lots of commas. That makes them targets.
"The biggest thing is 'no' has to be the favorite word in your vocabulary," Davis said. "You can't be afraid to say 'no.' Most people are friendly. It's hard for them to actually say 'no.' But they're going to have to learn. They might have to go to a "no" class where they say 'no' a thousand times.
"I sit is a room every day and say 'no, no, no.' I practice it."
Davis is more aware than most of his 2009 draft classmates.
He recently was the victim of identity theft. Last week, an impostor provided Davis' full name and address when cited for a couple tickets in Champaign, Ill., where the real Davis went to college. Davis was with the Dolphins at the time of the traffic stop.
Davis said his wallet had been stolen from his car while he was attending Illinois. He canceled his credit cards and obtained a new license -- the old one was issued in Washington D.C., the new one was from Maryland -- and didn't think about it again until reports of an arrest surfaced.
On Monday, we learned another schmo was passing himself off as Dolphins receiver Davone Bess through a Twitter account.
"We talk about this stuff every week in our player development meetings," Davis said. "To actually see it happen to you, you're like, 'Wow.' It wakes you up. This stuff is serious. It's really serious."
The NFL brings in several speakers each year to discuss everything from life choices to finances to charity work to the importance of history.
This year's program included NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, retired running back Jerome Bettis, Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and St. Louis Rams linebacker Chris Draft.
One of the more compelling speakers had to be former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Richard Collier, who was shot 14 times last September. He is paralyzed from the waist down and had his left leg amputated.
"It's about making smart decisions," Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith said. "You definitely want to remember that because you not only can hurt yourself but your organization. You don't want to draw that kind of negative attention to your team."
"You've got to be smart and protect yourself, protect your team," Sanchez recalled Jeter telling him recently.
"Coach Carroll said the same thing: If you love something and respect something with all your heart, you'll do everything you can to protect it. This is what I've always wanted to do."
- John McClain's take on the Texans' absence at USC's pro day.
- A look at how players picked in the final 10 of the first round have fared in the last decade, from Lance Zierlein.
- Dunta Robinson needs to get over being franchised, says Alan Burge.
- Pete Prisco examines the Colts' draft needs.
- A look at Bill Polian's draft thinking from 1999, from John Oehser.
- A look at the Colts heading into the draft, from Paul Myerberg.
- No. 6 on Oehser's list of Peyton Manning's most underrated moments.
- In the Colts.com position-by-position series, we hear from Jim Caldwell about the cornerbacks.
- The trial of the accused shooter of Richard Collier has been postponed, writes Paul Pinkham.
- Cole Pepper wonders about Jay Cutler to the Jaguars.
- The Titans have submitted evidence to the league that the Redskins tampered with Albert Haynesworth before the free agency period starts, reports Jim Wyatt.
- Wyatt talked to Torry Holt on the eve of his Thursday visit with the Titans.
- Jay Cutler to the Titans is unlikely, blogs Wyatt.
- Tennessee's turning its focus to the draft, writes Terry McCormick.
The Texans' preseason slate includes a home Monday Night Football appearance.
Only 30 of the last 100 players drafted in the top 10 have panned out to be very good to great, says Lance Zierlein.
Part two of the Bob McNair interview done by Brooke Bentley of houstontexans.com.
The Colts have won just three of their last 16 preseason games. Details of this season's schedule from Mike Chappell. I wonder if winning in the preseason will be more important to Jim Caldwell? I am guessing not.
Richard Collier offers encouragement at a fund raiser for victims' group, writes Garry Smith.
Public speaking is therapeutic for Collier, says Cole Pepper.
A look at the Jaguars' preseason schedule.
Pete Prisco considers the Titans' draft needs.
Paul Myerberg runs through gains, losses and needs for Tennessee.
Albert Haynesworth pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor traffic charges in Williamson County, Tenn.
A look at the Titans' preseason schedule from Gary Estwick.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
The NFL will be more active in Washington now that it has a full-time lobbyist, says the AP.
- The Titans will wear throwback Houston Oilers jerseys three times in the upcoming season, once in the preseason -- once at home in the regular season, once on the road, writes John McClain. (See more in Titans section.)
- The Texans need to improve their replay challenge process, says Alan Burge.
- John Oehser points us to NFL Network's list of Peyton Manning's top 10 moments.
- Jim Caldwell sees new linebacker Adam Seward as Gary Brackett's backup in the middle, Oehser says.
- Richard Collier will share his story at a charity golf tournament Monday, says Scott Butler.
- A look at the Titans' offseason program so far, which is missing just two unnamed players, according to Terry McCormick.
- Jovan Haye is still getting settled back in Tennessee, writes Gary Estwick.
- Keith Bulluck said on SIRUS Radio that he'd like the Titans to add Torry Holt, says Estwick.
- A Vince Young status report from Jeff Fisher, which amounts to the status quo, from McClain.
- Tuesday's blog entry on when the Titans will wear Oilers jerseys this season has been updated with a picture of Jeff Fisher holding one of them.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Please join the AFC South chat today at 3 p.m. ET.
Here's a mid-morning rundown of headlines from around the division.
- All quiet.
- Jim Caldwell is looking for a new special teams coach, says Mike Chappell.
- Vito Stellino reviews owner Wayne Weaver's review of the Jaguars' 2008 season.
- Weaver cited, among many things, secondary discipline as an issue, writes Jim Nasella.
- Developments in the case against the alleged shooter in the Richard Collier shooting case, writes Paul Pinkham.
- Jack Del Rio has six staff openings to fill.
- His teammates are hoping the Titans find a way to retain Albert Haynesworth, writes Jim Wyatt.
- Jim Schwartz is looking like an early frontrunner in Detroit, writes Terry McCormick.
- Titans assistant Bart Andrus has been offered the head coach position with the Toronto Argonauts, according to the Toronto Star. (Useless aside, I was an Argonaut in high school.)
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Some headlines to help tide you over and get you ready for opening day of the NFL playoffs. I'm hardly alone in regarding this weekend and next as the four best days of the season.
I'll be talking to you later from Qualcomm Stadium. It's a dreary, wet day in San Diego so far.
The final defensive stats illustrate the need for change with the Texans, Megan Manfull writes.
Colts-Chargers pits two indomitable quarterbacks, writes Karen Crouse.
Peyton Manning joins Brett Favre as a three-time MVP, says Mike Chappell.
The Colts expect a much better pass rush than they got in last year's playoff loss to the Chargers, writes Chappell.
Indy is wary of receiver Vincent Jackson, according to Phillip B. Wilson.
Stopping big plays is another way the Colts can change their fortunes from some recent games against the Chargers, says Phil Richards.
Who has the edge? Wilson takes a look.
Another matchup breakdown from Justin A. Cohn.
The Colts say they've forgotten about last year's loss to San Diego, says Cohn.
Police release details of Richard Collier's shooting, the Times-Union reports.
It's going to be a busy offseason for Jack Del Rio, says Tania Ganguli.
The Titans were the NFL's best kickoff return team, thanks in large part to Chris Carr, writes Jim Wyatt.
Tight end Bo Scaife, a free-agent to be, is hoping to stay with the Titans, says Gary Estwick.
The grounds crew has put down new sod at LP Field to be ready for the Titans Jan. 10 playoff game, reports Wyatt.
Albert Haynesworth says his knee is feeling better, according to Wyatt.
"Believe it or not, this is the happiest I've been my whole life," he told us.
That's something to hear from a man who once rated a 390-pound giant during college, who now moves around in a motorized wheel chair, paralyzed from the waist down and without the lower half of his left leg as a result of 14 gunshot wounds suffered in a September shooting.
His face is thin, but he wore a constant smile.
Thursday's AFC South blog entries included this video clip of former Jaguar Richard Collier talking about his recovery from 14 gunshots.
Here's Liz Merrill's story about Collier's recovery.
ESPN on Sunday morning will provide a couple of opportunities to see and hear more from Collier, who was left paralyzed from the waist down and had his left leg amputated as a result of the shooting three months ago.
The piece will be featured on "Outside the Lines" (Sun., ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) and "Sunday NFL Countdown" (Sun., ESPN, 11 a.m. ET).
Here's a bit of a preview in the form of excerpts from Collier:
On emotions in days after finding out his leg had been amputated:
"That's the most I've cried my whole life. Every day. Anything would just trigger tears. Watching football on TV, anything. That was my lowest point."
On doctors saying he will remain paralyzed:
"I feel like if I say that word (paralyzed), I've kind of given up. I have faith in God that I'll walk again. So I'm very optimistic about that. I've gotten stronger and stronger everyday and my mind just won't let me, I can't give up like that. I have like a "never say die" type attitude, and I just can't."
What he reflects on while spending time at a favorite spot, a nearby pond:
"I like to watch people walk, it's kind of strange, but it's really big for me. Like, MAN, it was taken away from me, a lot of little things that I just never paid attention to, I do now."
Good morning from Houston, where I have sifted through the headlines to give you an easy click-and-read opportunity to see what's been written.
The AFC South blog will soon be on the way back to Nashville and I'll bring you more from the division when I get back.
We've had a two-week hiatus on the chat, so put Thursday's in your date book: 3:00 p.m. right here.
- The Texans dominated the first "Monday Night Football" game in Houston since 1994, writes John McClain.
- Richard Justice says the Texans did well to make a good first impression on "Monday Night Football."
- Mario Williams tormented David Garrard and got three sacks and a forced fumble, says Dale Robertson.
- Steve Slaton is closing in on 1,000 yards, writes Megan Manfull.
- All of a sudden, the Texans are forcing turnovers, says Manfull.
- Injuries continue to pile up for the Colts. Linebacker Gary Brackett looks to be out at least a week and defensive tackle Keyunta Dawson will be gone longer than that, writes Phil Richards.
- Just a couple of plays have made a huge difference for the Colts this season. Mike Chappell breaks them down.
- The Colts rank fifth in brand strength among 122 major pro sports franchises, according to the second annual Turnkey Team Brand Index, published in Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal.
- Indy is hopeful Bob Sanders will play Sunday against Cincinnati, according to Tom James.
- Gene Frenette says David Garrard was unable to lift a listless offense.
- There is no sign things will get better soon for the Jaguars, says Frenette.
- Rashean Mathis didn't finish the game in Houston because of a knee injury, writes Vito Stellino.
- The Jaguars are now at the bottom of the AFC South. Michael C. Wright wonders if they've quit.
- Bad starts are killing the Jags, writes Stellino.
- The man accused of shooting Richard Collier appears in court.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Before we head to the airport for a too-long afternoon of travel with a connecting flight back to Nashville, we wander through the four cities of the AFC South to see what's been written.
The Texans came out of a win angry, because they gave Detroit too much second-half life, says John McClain.
When Matt Schaub is on, he can be very good, writes Richard Justice.
In his return, Dunta Robinson played 25 snaps, mostly covering Mike Furrey, says Bernardo Fallas.
Andre Johnson has put together the best three-game stretch of his career, writes Megan Manfull.
DeMarcus Faggins says Calvin Johnson's 96-yard touchdown catch was his fault, according to McClain and Manfull.
Steve Slaton and Owen Daniels combine for four touchdowns, says Kristie Rieken.
Turnovers and penalties amount to sloppiest game of the Tony Dungy era, writes Phil Richards.
It takes a lot to make Dungy angry. He was angry after this one, says Bob Kravitz.
Kravitz's report card includes only one F.
"I guess we're like the Dow Jones in a sense,'' linebacker Gary Brackett says in Mike Chappell's story. "We're all over the place."
Five things Don Banks learned while watching Colts-Packers.
The Packers gave Indy's receivers trouble coming off the line, according to Phillip B. Wilson.
Dominic Rhodes fared pretty well in place of Joseph Addai, but given the loss he wasn't too happy about it, Chappell and Richards write.
Apologies for missing this. Big news in the Richard Collier case: Police arrested a suspect in his shooting.
The Titans ran for 332 yards in their win in Kansas City, a single-game franchise record, says Jim Wyatt, who short-changes Max Weinberg.
David Climer says the Titans have their helmets screwed on straight as they look ahead to Monday night against Indianapolis.
Michael Silver: "A primer on a well-coached, unselfish, hard-hitting team that remains decidedly devoid of sexiness."
Titans receivers caught all of two passes with their two starters sidelined, but they were key blockers for the run game, according to Gary Estwick.
Tennessee has eight tackles for a loss as they shut down the Chiefs' run game, writes Estwick.
Kyle Vanden Bosch started, but exited quickly. He's hopeful his groin will be fine by Monday night, says the crew from The Tennessean.
Wyatt hands out two As and an A+ in his report card.
Chris Johnson gave himself a chance to execute his plan, banging on the house band drums after his long TD run in KC, writes Steve Weiberg.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Chat AFC South tomorrow at 3:00.
Drop a note in the mailbag and you'll be entered for a chance to win $1 million. (Kidding.)
Here's what I've read this morning:
- From Megan Manfull: "Since the Texans joined the league in 2002, 31 teams have started a season 0-3. Only one of those teams -- the 2004 Buffalo Bills -- went on to record a winning record by finishing 9-7. Only two others finished .500."
- It will be hard for the Texans to upset the Colts, but Houston may be a different team at home, says John McClain.
- The offense isn't improvising much, writes Manfull.
- Ten things Richard Justice loves about the Texans.
- Anthony Gonzalez is looking at an expanding role, writes Carlos "Big C" Holmes. (Honest, that's his byline in the Dayton Daily News.)
- Jerry Porter ranks ninth on Alex Marvez's list of the top 10 cases of buyer's remorse.
- Sorry I missed this yesterday. Tania Ganguli's account of Richard Collier's condition included some quotes from his sister.
- Jim Wyatt's regular Wednesday five-pack. This week: five ways the Titans can get to 5-0.
Terrible news about Richard Collier today, as his doctors revealed what he's endured since he suffered 14 gunshot wounds on Sept. 2 while he was parked at a Jacksonville apartment complex.
Collier is paralyzed below the waist and had his left leg amputated. He is now in stable condition after a long period during which he was listed as critical.
It's amazing that his teammates and close friends have functioned as well at work as they have considering what he's gone through.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Greetings, AFC Southies...
Here's a look at what's been written about the division.
I'm off to Indianapolis tonight. My plan is to get to Lucas Oil Stadium early and watch the Texans-Titans game in the press box before Jaguars-Colts kicks off. Thanks to the league for the convenient packaging this weekend.
The mailbag is always open.
- The Texans feel like they're starting all over, writes Megan Manfull.
- Indications are the Texans' Oct. 5 game against the Colts will be played in Reliant Stadium as scheduled, reports David Barron.
- With Travis Johnson out, rookie Frank Okam is likely to see some action on the defensive line, says Manfull.
- A nice look at Anthony Gonzalez from Phil Richards.
- Keyunta Dawson expects to start despite a sprained left ankle, says Mike Chappell.
- Another look at the Colts' struggling running game, this one by Justin A. Cohn.
- Jerry Porter is probably going to sit out his third consecutive game following summer hamstring surgery, according to Michael C. Wright.
- The read of the day: Tania Ganguli takes an extensive look at how Richard Collier, still in critical condition at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, is doing. She did well to talk to his sister and mom.
"I'm telling you it's really not different," Stroud said. "It's not anything special to go prepare for these guys."
"I wanted to play against them guys at full strength," Stroud said. "I wanted to play against Mo and Vince and all those guys. But injuries are a part of the game. I know that. They're going to plug somebody in and keep going."
Stroud laughed and said he sure won't feel guilty if he collects a few sacks against depth players. He had two sacks and seven tackles in a dominant victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
"He's probably feeling pretty good about going up against a patchwork group," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Did I miss something good? Is there something AFC-South related that you want to read about? Meet the mailbag. And check out a chat tomorrow at 3 p.m.
- John McClain says Sunday's game against Baltimore ranks as the biggest of Gary Kubiak's career and maybe in Texans history.
- The Ravens' defense will cause a whole new set of problems for the Texans, says Megan Manfull.
- David Anderson ranks ahead of Andre' Davis as the No. 3 receiver, Manfull reports.
- In his chat transcript, McClain says one more bad game for Matt Schaub and he'd turn to Sage Rosenfels.
- Phillip B. Wilson's blog includes detailed observations from a second watching of the loss to the Bears.
- Colts.com's weekly chat with Tony Dungy includes thoughts on former Indy assistant Leslie Frazier, who's now Minnesota's defensive coordinator.
- The Jaguars added some veteran offensive linemen in order to have healthy backups, Vito Stellino writes.
- John Henderson ponders Marcus Stroud's return with Buffalo in a Q&A with Michael C. Wright.
- Stellino looks at the state of the AFC's favorites.
- Police say Richard Collier was targeted when he was shot.
- Cole Pepper expects guard Maurice Williams to join Vince Manuwai on IR.
- On Monday, Vince Young told those close to him he didn't want to play football anymore and his mom says he's "hurting inside and out," reports Jim Wyatt. Young's crazy day included a talk with a psychologist.
- David Climer says "we have a real problem in the works here -- something that might be fixable or something that might not." He's on target.
- "Vince Young is either a spoiled brat, a troubled young man or some combination of the two," writes Richard Justice. Wow, you know things are bad when you find something critical of Young from Texas.
- Wyatt blogs that Young could be out longer than the knee injury takes to heal.
- Cortland Finnegan is worthy of a mention after being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after two interceptions and seven tackles in the win over Jacksonville.