Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: July 30, 2011 9:40 pm

Bears land Marion Barber, Amobi Okoye

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It took a couple days, but the Bears have finally gotten going in free agency.

Already, they had signed former Cowboys WR Roy Williams and taken a chance on former Jets LB Vernon Gholston, and Saturday night, the team added more pieces, announcing that it’s come to terms with former Cowboys RB Marion Barber and former Texans DT Amobi Okoye.

The team said Okoye’s contract is a one-year deal, while NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora writes Barber’s contract is for two years and $5 million.

Considering Bears RB Matt Forte isn’t happy right now and has threatened to hold out because he’s slated to make only $550,000 in base salary this year -- he has reported, by the way -- Chicago’s move seems like one that could help change Forte’s attitude. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, you also have to wonder about Chester Taylor's future with the organization. 

Barber had a hard time staying healthy in Dallas, and earlier this week, he was dropped in favor of rookie DeMarco Murray. Meanwhile, Okoye, a former first-round pick, hasn’t been all that productive since he recorded 5 ½ sacks in his 2007 rookie season, recording just 5 ½ sacks since then.

Now, both get a chance to rejuvenate their careers in Chicago.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 9:03 pm

Brandon Marshall talks about his mental disorder

aMarshallPosted by Josh Katzowitz

WR Brandon Marshall, while one of the most talented players in the league, has always been a problem child in the NFL.

Now, we might have a reason why Marshall can’t seem to stay out of his own way. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly, Marshall has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

You’ll recall that the Broncos had to jettison him to the Dolphins, and while in Miami, he’s ripped his starting QB and admitted to changing play-calls. Curiously, he’s also talked about trying to play in the NBA.

He also was allegedly stabbed by his wife in the offseason, but then told police he wasn’t stabbed even though we’re all pretty sure he actually was.

Generally, he’s been a nuisance wherever he’s played, and that always seems to get in the way of his talent and his marketing value (though he gives great production, recording at least 86 catches and 1,000 receiving yards the past four seasons).

But now we might have a better understanding of why.

A quick explanation of BPD and how it affected Marshall, via the Sun Sentinel.

"BPD is a well understood psychological disorder. It's not a form of misbehavior," said Mary Zanarini, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, who treated Marshall this summer.

BPD is a mental illness that studies say is more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but is rarely diagnosed because of misperceptions in the mental health community, and the challenges of providing a proper treatment plan.

The disorder is marked by difficulties with relationships and self-image and controlling moods and emotions.

During Marshall's treatment at McLean, he learned how to defuse the bomb inside of his head. Now with the tools and a new perspective he's returning to the real world, to the NFL, to a marriage he admittedly broke, and to a wife who feels vilified. He must use the skills he's learned to survive, if not thrive.

Marshall had been undergoing therapy for four years, but it didn’t seem to help. But he traveled to Boston for three months of psychological and neurological exams, and he seems to have found the cause of some of his problems.

Obviously, Marshall still has many miles to go. But at least he knows what he’s dealing with now.

"By no means am I all healed or fixed," Marshall said, "but it's like a light bulb’s been turned on in my dark room."

Make sure to check out the rest of the story. It’s a good read.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 7:55 pm

After Manning, Colts target, reacquire Addai

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Colts have been busy with their checkbook today, and the offense will be better for it (or presumably, just as good as it was last year).

We’ve already told you about the epic signing of QB Peyton Manning, and now, courtesy of WISH-TV (via the Indianapolis Star) we bring to you the news that RB Joseph Addai has re-signed with the squad.

Though Addai rushed for at least 1,000 yards his first two years in the league, he’s missed 13 games combined in the past three years and has not topped the 850-yard mark.

But, when healthy, he’s a solid player, and with Donald Brown and Javarris James also on the squad, Addai is certainly the best running back on the team.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 6:23 pm

A displeased Umenyiora will report

UmenyioraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

DE Osi Umenyiora is not a happy man, and his displeasure is pointed at the Giants as he tries to force a new contract from his team. He also believes New York has reneged on a promise to provide him with more money, and that doesn’t sit well with him.

Which is why he planned on holding out from training camp. Until he determined the Giants were going to fine him $30,000 a day if he missed practices.

That’s why Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin writes that Umenyiora will report to camp Saturday night and be ready to go.

But he’s still not happy with his situation.

“No one reached out so hey, we’ll go in and do what we have to do,’’ Tony Agnone, Umenyiora’s agent, told the New York Post. “Nothing in the situation has changed.’’

Umenyiora’s contract still has two years remaining at $3.125 million in 2011 and $3.975 million, and the Giants don’t seem to be interested in renegotiating.

More from the Post:

Umenyiora remains angry that the Giants have not come up with more money that he insists was promised him, or that Reese hasn’t traded him away.

Asked how Umenyiora will deal with Reese, Agnone said “They won’t speak.’’

Asked if he was surprised that the Giants did not reach out in any way to try to satisfy Umenyiora, Agnone said “Very surprised, surprised by the whole situation. But I shouldn’t be.”

But teammate Justin Tuck insists that Umenyiora isn’t angry.

 “I think he realizes this is a business and he’s doing what he feels is best for him. My biggest concern he doesn’t do something that’s going to hurt Osi. We all have been in situation where we wish we could take stuff back. Osi’s a smart guy, he knows what he’s doing.”

As does Agonene, who told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge that he's trying to protect his client.

"(Shaun) O'Hara and (Rich) Seubert had contracts, and they got released," Agnone said, "and Brandon Jacobs had a contract and it was reduced. Does this only work negatively, and not positively?"

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 4:19 pm

Manning deal is done: 5-years, $90 million

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On Friday, Colts QB Peyton Manning said he would be willing “take less money” from owner Jim Irsay if it meant keeping Indianapolis competitive.

Today, we get the news that Manning has, in fact, taken less money*, and, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Manning has reached terms on a five-year, $90 million contract extension that averages $18 million per year** (the same money, probably not coincidentally, that Patriots QB Tom Brady makes).

Manning's money
To confirm the deal, Irsay tweeted, "OFFICIAL----WE HAVE A DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

*Of course, less money, in this case, is relative.

**We don’t know what Manning’s guaranteed money take from this contract is, but you get the general idea that he hasn’t set a new standard for top-line quarterbacks.

On Friday, Manning -- who had been rumored to be looking for $25 million a year (his franchise tag was to pay him $23.12 million in 2011) -- denied he was trying to break the bank, explaining, "I'm willing to take less than they’ve offered if they are going to take that money to keep players we need to keep and go get other players. All I want is for them to have the cap and the cash to keep the players they want to keep and to sign other players."

Now, it appears he’s put his (smaller stack of) money where his mouth is.

UPDATED (4:16 p.m. ET): According to Mortensen, Manning had offered to take less (!) money than Brady, but Irsay refused that idea. Instead, according to Irsay, Manning will make $69 million in the first three years and $10.5 million during the final two (though, assuming Manning is still at the top of his game, he could renegotiate before the 2014 season).

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 2:51 pm

Things stay same: Ochocinco talks, Albert fails

C. Ochocinco meets the media for the first time (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might have heard something about the Patriots making some pretty interesting moves during free agency in the past few days. For one, they traded two low draft picks to the Bengals for WR Chad Ochocinco. For two, they acquired somewhat-moody, rarely in-shape Albert Haynesworth from the Redskins.

Luckily for you, we’ve got news on each new Patriots player and how they’re handling their new surroundings.

1) Chad Ochocinco met with the New England media today for the first time, and it’s clear the Patriot-ifcation of the outspoken WR has already begun. He said he probably won’t say much to the media going forward, and then afterward, he asked for a group hug (that latter point is very un-Belichickian, by the way).

“I will always be me,” Ochocinco told reporters in quotes distributed by the team. “It has been a part of my game to always be me, but there is a certain way the Patriots do it and it’s easy for me. I’ve always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win. ... There is no need for some of the stuff I did before. There’s no need for it.”

I guess that means he won’t be sending opposing DBs little presents in the week before their games, and I guess that means he won’t be celebrating touchdowns in quite the same way. And as WR Wes Welker would advise him, Ochocinco also probably shouldn’t share any good Rex Ryan foot-fetish jokes he’s heard.

Either way, Ochocinco feels recharged.

“It’s hard to maintain a high level of productivity when things are always up and down,” he said, “The thing about this place [is that] it’s consistent. …  There is only so much that I can control and the position that I was in. In Cincinnati I did the best I could to my ability, and I did it in sort of a noisy way and that says a lot for me -- to be able to talk it and still walk it. To be able to come here, regardless of who is in, they get it done here. I call it riding the wave; I am going to enjoy it.”

He’ll enjoy it while wearing his old No. 85.

“This was Mr. [Aaron] Hernandez’s way of greeting me here,” Ochocinco said. “He gave me the number and I didn’t have to pay anything, I just shook his hand and I said, ‘Thank you.’ … I drive a Toyota Prius, so I was going to let him use my Prius on the weekends, and that’s about the best I can do right now. I have some left over McDonald’s coupons since I don’t eat there anymore.”

2) The reports coming out of New England also say that, perhaps not surprisingly, Haynesworth didn’t pass his conditioning test Saturday. Though Belichick didn’t confirm or deny that, he did say Haynesworth isn’t ready to play quite yet.

“There are things we still need to do with Albert for him to be able get on the practice field and when those things are done, he’ll be out there,” Belichick said.

Good to see that Haynesworth has learned from his past mistakes.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:51 pm

TV execs weren't sweating lockout

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Even if you were sweating the question of whether the NFL and the NFLPA would get a new CBA complete before the start of the regular season, the TV executives apparently weren’t.

They just figured there was too much money to lose for the NFL not to play games and have them shown on TV.

“There’s so many benefits to so many people that I was always relatively confident they’d get the deal done,” Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, told the New York Post.

So, the fact that a deal actually WAS consummated is a pretty good feeling for CBS, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV (especially since the NFL was supposed to have received money from the latter anyway, even if there was no season (although we never did get a ruling from Judge David Doty in how much of that cash the owners would have to give the owners after bargaining with the networks in what amounted to lockout insurance).

CNBC reporter Darren Rovell explains why football is so important to the networks and why the end of the lockout is such a big boost.

“The NFL is the most popular sport in the history of sport,” CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell said. “No sport at any time has been as popular as the NFL is now based on the percentage of people who watch in this country and the amount of time people spend consuming just the NFL.”

And also this: “Sports is the only thing on television that is not TIVO-able meaning it’s either live or it’s garbage,” Rovell said. “That’s really the value of sports and that’s what makes the advertising so valuable. Whether you go to the bathroom or not for the most part the ads are going to be on because you are watching live. … We’ve seen a tremendous amount of TV rights deal with sports go 10, 12, 14 years because no matter how we consume we know it’s going to be consumed live. So, no matter how the networks sell it, it is going to be of greater value.”

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 12:04 pm

Report: NFLPA has recertified as a union

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Although it comes as absolutely no surprise, the NFLPA, once again, has voted to recertify as a union, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer.

After decertifying just before the players were locked out, there was some talk at the time that perhaps the NFLPA would be better suited NOT to recertify, meaning it couldn’t collectively bargain with the owners, meaning the owners  wouldn’t be exempt from anti-trust laws, meaning the possibilities of beginning the season under those terms was an impossibility.

But after the owners and players agreed on a new CBA, 50 percent plus one of the players had to vote in favor of restarting the union. That way, when the two sides meet today to complete the negotiations that only can be accomplished by collectively bargaining, the owners would be talking with a real-life union.

If the players wouldn’t have voted to recertify, the season likely would have been over before it had begun. Instead, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has been making the rounds at NFL camps this week explaining why and pushing for the players to vote yay on recertifying.

Now, they have, and the two sides are that much closer to completing the entire deal and giving fans 10 years of labor peace.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com