Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: July 25, 2011 8:29 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:03 am

Getting ever closer to end of the lockout

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It was a late night and an early morning for the negotiators for the NFL and the NFLPA, but according to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman and NFL.com’s Albert Breer, it was a successful bargaining session. And, hopefully, the final negotiation meeting for the next 10 years or so.

Because it sounds as if the two sides have agreed to the basic terms of a new CBA, even though Breer writes that there are still small points to review before it’s truly done.

In his Daily Shoutout, Freeman writes that the NFLPA executive committee is expected to meet at 9 a.m. this morning (though that time might get pushed back). After the committee votes to recommend the CBA, the plaintiffs of the Brady v NFL case will sign off on the deal, and then the player reps will vote to pass it.

As long as 50 percent plus one of the rank-and-file players vote to ratify, the deal will be completed.

At this point, we’re still a little unclear whether team facilities would open Tuesday or Wednesday, and we're still not sure when free agency would begin. But we should begin to know all the answers at some point today.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 24, 2011 10:40 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 10:53 pm

Report: Pryor might not be eligible for draft

PryorPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The entire time we debated former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor and where he’d be selected in the supplemental draft, we didn’t actually talk about the chances of Pryor not being allowed to take part in it. But it’s been revealed that he might not get the chance to be drafted after all.

That’s according to Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez, who writes that NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that only a college player with “unforeseen” changes in his circumstance can participate.

For example, a player who was kicked off his team for violations or a player who was declared academically ineligible or a player who left the squad after graduating. He doesn’t say anything about a player, like Pryor, who leaves of his volition before graduation because of a scandal at his college program.

“It is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular (college) draft,” Aiello wrote to Marvez in an e-mail. “It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular (draft).”

Pryor could have declared himself for the April draft, but instead, at the time, he decided to accept a five-game suspension for 2011. He changed his mind after coach Jim Tressell was fired, but that doesn’t mean he can just place himself in the supplemental. It might simply be too late for him.

More from Marvez:
Pryor’s status for the supplemental draft will be determined by Joel Bussert, the league’s vice president of player personnel/football operations. Aiello said such eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The NFL has strict rules about supplemental draft eligibility because it doesn’t want players trying to skirt the regular draft in an attempt to manipulate where they might be picked. Quarterback Bernie Kosar did just that in 1985 to land with the Cleveland Browns instead of the Minnesota Vikings.

If the supplemental draft isn’t an option, Pryor could wait to enter the 2012 NFL draft or try to play in an alternate professional organization like the Canadian Football League. Pryor has signed with an agent and is ineligible to return to Ohio State.

Earlier this month, Pryor said he didn’t care if he was taken in the first round or the seventh round of the supplemental draft. At this point, he should just be happy if he’s invited to participate at all.  

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 24, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 5:04 pm

Banta-Cain undergoes surgery; back in 4-5 weeks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Last season, Patriots LB Tully Banta-Cain was bothered by his abdominal muscles, but in the offseason and during the lockout, he seemed to improve. Yet when he began working out again recently, the injury resurfaced.

So much so that, according to the Boston Globe, Banta-Cain underwent surgery last week to repair an abdominal tear.

For a team that desperately needs help rushing the passer, the loss of Banta-Cain -- who’s combined for 15 sacks the past two seasons -- isn’t good news.

But he also might not be out for long. Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times writes that a source says, “I would say he'll be practicing in four to five weeks. Everything should be fine.”

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 4:44 pm

Forte would really like more money from the Bears

M. Forte wants more money from Chicago (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You could be forgiven if you would have thought, before last season, that the idea of Bears RB Matt Forte asking for a contract extension and more money would have seemed slightly out of whack.

Remember, after a standout rookie season in 2008, Forte didn’t have a great 2009, rushing for 929 yards (averaging 3.6 per carry) and scoring just four touchdowns (though he continued to perform well as a pass receiver).

But in 2010, Forte was much more electric, breaking the 1,000 rushing yard barrier, scoring six TDs and averaging a robust 4.5 yards per carry.

Considering he’s due $550,000 in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract, putting him well behind his backup, Chester Taylor (who made $7 million last year), you could certainly make the case Forte is wildly underpaid.

Knowing that, Forte wants to sign a new deal before training camp begins if possible.

"I think we're going about it the right way,'' Forte told the Chicago Tribune. "My agent, Adisa Bakari, talked to (Bears GM) Jerry Angelo and Cliff Stein last season, just letting them know that we've been producing.

"And now that it's close to training camp, we don't have much time to negotiate.''

That’s true, but it’s also true that the Bears have a ton of other players with whom they need to sign deals. Forte might be deserving of a nice payday – since 2008, he ranks fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage – but he might not get one, simply because it’s not yet his turn. 

Not yet anyway.

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 11:34 am

Your "Roethlisberger is married?!?" FAQ sheet

B. Roethlisberger has gotten married (Goldstein Photography).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Ben Roethlisberger married his fiancé, Ashley Harlan, Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette gives us a detailed report with how exactly how the ceremony and reception proceeded.

So, a quick Q&A session so you can get all your “Roethlisberger is married?!?” queries answered without you having to search too hard.

How many people were at the wedding? About 600.

Was Steelers LB James Harrison there? You know the guy who told Men’s Journal that Roethlisberger should “stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain't that, and you know it, man. You just get paid like he does."  Yes, Harrison reportedly was in attendance.

Did the two engage in fisticuffs? No.

If they did, who would win? I would pick Harrison in a second-round KO. Except Roethlisberger is hard to bring down. So, the ref would probably have to stop the fight with Roethlisberger dazed and leaning against the ropes.

Were the wedding colors black and gold? No, it sounds like the drapes that the reporters could see were cream with gray and pink accents, while “the ballroom featured a silver, ivory and blush pink color scheme.”

How ‘bout those centerpieces? From the article, they were “created from locally grown phalaenopsis orchids, roses, hydrangea and peonies in shades of ivory, white and blush pinks.” Sounds pretty, eh?

Were workers at the reception site allowed to carry cell phones? No.

If the over/under on the bridal party was set at 16, how should I bet? Over. Apparently, it was a 21-person bridal party.

If the over/under on the amount of tiers on the wedding cake was set at five, how should I bet? Over. It was a six-tiered vanilla bean buttercream cake.

Most important question. What was on the dinner menu? Filet and halibut from the Common Plea restaurant (for my money, one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh).

Second-most important question. Where is the happy couple honeymooning? They’re not. You know why, though, right? Because football is almost here.

Photo courtsey of Goldstein Photography.

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:38 am

NFL Lockout almost over, CBA finished

Smith, GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The labor deal -- and the path to NFL football in 2011 -- is finally, truly done. Well, almost.

That’s the report from CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman, who writes that the owners and players have agreed to a new CBA.

"It's done," one player source told Freeman. "We have an agreement. Now we just have to vote."

[More from Mike Freeman: Lockout updates]

Now, the majority of the players (50 percent, plus one) have to agree to the deal in order to end the lockout for good. Players will fly into Washington on Sunday in order to go over last-minute details. They’re then expected to vote Monday, and a news conference should occur shortly thereafter.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, once the deal is ratified, free agency and training camp likely will begin on the same day.

Saturday was a huge day in moving along negotiations, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly worked hard together to make sure there wasn’t any additional trouble between the two sides.

On Monday, the NFLPA executive committee will meet in Washington, and it’ll pass along its recommendations to the players -- to ratify the new CBA AND to reform the NFLPA as a union -- who will have to sign off on both deals in order to begin the new league year.

The plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case (including Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, who reportedly dropped his demand to be paid $10 million or be exempt from the franchise tag) would then have to consent to the deal, and the lawsuit -- and any other judicial matters between the two sides -- would be kaput.

And most importantly, we’d have football again.

UPDATED (11:46 a.m. ET): Freeman is reporting that the new league year can't start until the fifth day after the CBA is ratified and signed, and training camps couldn't start until two days after that. So, we still have a little time before the players officially get back to work.

UPDATED (12:29 p.m. ET): If you wanted a small dash of cold water on your red-hot "LOCKOUT IS ALMOST OVER" news, the Associated Press provides it for you. In its small story about the NFLPA executive committee meeting Monday, the AP cites sources that it's not certain whether a vote will be held to recommend the deal. So, keep that in mind before you start partying too hard tonight.

UPDATED (1:15 p.m. ET): While CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reports that the NFLPA is still trying to tweak the opt-out clause in the new CBA (or the fact there is no opt-out clause), he also writes that it's not a deal-breaker. Probably because it'll be a hard sell to the owners -- who, you'll recall, opted out of the last CBA. The players would like to get an opt-out clause after the eighth year of the 10-year CBA.

UPDATED (1:19 p.m. ET): Freeman writes that team facilities will be open to players from when the new CBA is signed until training camp begins. Which is not unexpected, but probably necessary.

UPDATED (9:22 p.m. ET): Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com writes that Saints QB Drew Brees has sent an e-mail to teammates saying it's "expected" that the new CBA deal will be signed Monday. But Brees also, not surprisingly, hedged his bets, writing that the final ratification could come Tuesday or Wednesday as well.

Brees also writes that free agency could start as early as Friday. Saints training camp, says Brees, would open July 31 with a 2 p.m. meeting.

UPDATED (9:37 a.m. ET, Monday): NFL owners and players agreed early Monday to the terms of a deal to end the lockout, and players were expected to begin the voting process later in the day, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The NFLPA executive committee is expected to meet Monday and vote on the final agreement around 11:00 a.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:44 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:08 am

Chris Harris likes idea of Steve Smith to Bears

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

During the lockout and in lieu of free agency talk, we have spent much of our time debating whether Panthers WR Steve Smith will stay in Carolina or whether he’ll get the opportunity to bolt from the 2011 NFC South's future basement dweller.

Smith's Saga in Charlotte
He apparently wants to play for the Chargers or Ravens, but there’s little chance he’s going anywhere unless the Panthers get some kind of value for him from another team. (A third-round pick might just be the ticket.)

That said, Bears S Chris Harris has what he thinks is a pretty good idea -- Smith should just play in Chicago.

“If the opportunity is there, why not?” Harris said on WMVP-AM 1000, via the Chicago Tribune. “You can never have enough big-time playmakers on your team.”

Harris and Smith are former Panthers teammates, and they’ve also been workout partners this offseason. Although Smith is 32 years old and coming off one of the worst years in his career, Harris says Smith -- who most likely would rather play with Bears QB Jay Cutler than some combination of Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen -- looks as good as ever in workouts.

"He is an excellent guy,” Harris said. “He's a guy who wants to win at all costs. He's a competitor. He's one of those scrappy kind of players you love to have on your team."

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 8:08 pm

The NFL's legal roundup 7.22.11

N. Webster has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’ve already told you about one NFL player who’s in trouble with the law -- Broncos CB Perrish Cox on sexual assault charges -- so we might as well get the rest of the NFL players facing the legal system all together for one post.

1) Nate Webster -- a former LB with the Buccaneers, Bengals and Broncos – has been indicted on seven charges, including five counts of unlawful sex with a minor, and after pleading not guilty in Hamilton County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court on Thursday, he’s being held on a $1 million bond.

Webster, 33, is alleged to have been having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and he’s also accused of threatening the girl with guns in order to keep her quiet. Supposedly, Webster told her he would kill her and her family if she revealed their relationship.

“It’s a disgusting thing to live under the threat of this,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “This conduct occurred dozens of times. … In his car, his home, a park nearby.”

When the sheriff’s office served a search warrant on Webster, they apparently found four guns and a small amount of marijuana.

2) Ottis Anderson, who apparently was one of 75 former players who are suing the NFL for intentionally hiding the effects of concussions from players for the past 90 years, said he was never involved in the lawsuit.

Retired player Ottis Anderson says he's not suing the NFL (US Presswire)."I support the NFL and NFL Alumni Association, and as the New York alumni chapter's former president, my concern is with the players. I think there are more constructive ways of finding solutions to the issues we face than litigation," Anderson said Friday, via USA Today.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL “would vigorously contest any claims of this kind."

Other former players supposedly involved in the lawsuit are former Giants RB Rodney Hampton and former Dolphins WR Mark Duper.

3) Packers DB Brandon Underwood has pleaded not guilty to a count of disorderly conduct for an incident with his wife that occurred the night Green Bay received its Super Bowl rings, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Underwood -- who pleaded no contest earlier this year to one charge of prostitution non-marital sexual intercourse -- is accused of ripping a necklace off his wife and pushing her to the ground June 16. His wife, Brandie, filed for divorce in May, but the two are living together and trying to reconcile.

He will face trial Sept. 26.

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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