Tag:Rashard Mendenhall
Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:33 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Harrison's agent: 'A lot of it is bravado'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Wednesday, we learned not only how James Harrison feels about Roger Goodell but also his thoughts on teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. None of the remarks were laudatory.

While this would have been a news story no matter the time of year, that we're four months into a lockout guaranteed it would be the lead news story for several news cycle.

So here we are some 36 hours after the initial story broke … still talking about Harrison. Except now, it's less about what he said and more about how those around him can help stuff the genie back into the bottle. (Frankly, it might be easier to just build a time machine.)

Harrison said that his comments on Roethlisberger were taken out of context (and Thursday night he released a statement apologizing for, well, everything), teammate Lawrence Timmons came to his defense, and even the author of the Men's Journal piece that started it all tried to provide Harrison some cover.

It was only a matter of time, but Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, has weighed in as well. And to hear him tell it (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), "A lot of [what Harrison said is] bravado."

Parise continued: "I think people have to be careful not to read that and think those statements are anything more than expressions of feelings, particularly in regard to the commissioner. The commissioner fined James $100,000 last year. What do you want him to say, he's my best friend? James is a tough individual, and that's the type of language he uses."

Wisely, Parise didn't make Harrison available to the Post-Gazette. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the paper: "We are not commenting on any aspect of the story."

Harrison's Big Day

Not until the lockout ends, anyway.

CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel thinks the commissioner (who Harrison referred to as a clown and the devil) should suspend the Steelers linebacker for a game and fine him $250,000.

"I don't think we should get caught up in his cultural language," Parise said. "I think people will read that for what it is and move on. I don't think anyone truly believes James thinks the commissioner is the devil."

Neither Roethlisberger nor Mendenhall said they were concerned about Harrison's criticism of them, and Steelers President Art Rooney II didn't provide much in the way of details in a statement issued Wednesday. "I have not yet seen the article in Men's Journal nor have I spoken to James Harrison about his comments," he said. "We will discuss the situation at the appropriate time, when permitted, once the labor situation is resolved."

The sooner the lockout ends the better for the Steelers, an outfit that can't seem to steer clear of trouble in recent offseasons. If anybody in the organization is glad to see Harrison hogging the spotlight, it's probably Hines Ward, who was arrested for DUI in Georgia last weekend.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: July 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.14.11: Just who is Greg Cosell?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Andy Benoit, writing for the NY Times, profiles Greg Cosell of NFL Films. You might know Cosell as one of the most knowledgeable (non-coach, non-player) observers in the NFL.
  • Falcons fifth-round draft pick Jacquizz Rodgers is taking classes at Oregon State to finish up his degree, just like he, his mom and his uncle had agreed he would. After all, it’s not like he can study his playbook at this point.
  • According to Forbes, via PFT, the Cowboys are the second-most valuable sports franchise in the world, worth $1.86 billion. The Redskins ($1.55 billion) and the Patriots ($1.37 billion) come in at fourth and sixth, respectively.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: July 14, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:55 pm
 

What else did Harrison tell magazine reporter?

HarrisonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In an interesting admission today, the writer of the controversial James Harrison piece for Men’s Journal magazine told Harrison to do whatever he needs to do in order to make peace with his quarterback.

“We talked about 11 o’clock yesterday morning,” Paul Solotaroff told ESPN radio, via Pro Football Talk. “Look, James is the guy who’s got to live with Ben for the next three years.... So as I told James, ‘Listen, whatever you’ve got to say to mend fences is perfectly fine with me.’”

That’s why Harrison told Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger that Solotaroff twisted his words in the story.

But it also sounds like Solotaroff didn’t use all the quotes he could have, and apparently, Harrison got really nasty in the interview (it, of course, would be a surprise if Harrison wasn't nasty)

Harrison's Big Day
“I filled up three notebooks, I don’t know how many hours of digital tape, and I cut so much stuff from this piece,” Solotaroff said. “There is just acres of stuff James said that’s compelling and amusing and riveting. And that wasn’t the only thing he said about Ben.”

In addition to bashing Roethlisberger and RB Rashard Mendenhall in the piece that ran -- he also said some not-so-nice things about commissioner Roger Goodell -- Solotaroff left on the cutting room floor the quote in which Harrison called Cleveland’s Colt McCoy “an idiot kid quarterback.”

But you know what’s also kind of weird about this interview? Solotaroff seems like a HUGE fan of Harrison.

“I was furious at the way James got done by Goodell last year,” Solotaroff said. “I thought making him the poster boy for this abrupt and arbitrary rule change . . . was about the most wrongheaded thing you could do, particularly since Goodell seemed bent on singling James out.”

That’s fine for Solotaroff to feel that way. But now it sounds like Solotaroff is protecting Harrison from getting into even more trouble, simply because he likes Harrison so much.

And when you basically admit to that in a radio interview, your credibility as an objective reporter will get called into question. As it should be.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.



Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Dockett gets pulled by cops, live tweets it all

Posted by Will Brinson

Donovan McNabb recently said that athletes should stay off of Twitter. There's some logic to his thought process (see: the Rashard Mendenhall-9/11 public relations nightmare that recently unfolded) but, ultimately, Twitter is fantastic because it allows athletes to interact with fans.

Or, if you prefer, live-tweet what happens when they're pulled over by the cops and refuse to allow the men in blue to search their vehicle, as the case was with Darnell Dockett (who made our Top 10 must-follow NFL Twitter accounts last year) on Monday afternoon.

"I don't know why the police always messing w/me I'm never gonna let them search my car with out a search warrant!" Dockett exclaimed about 1:00 PM EST on Twitter. "No matter what!"

He then went on a rant while -- apparently -- pulled over on the side of the road, waiting for the cops to return with a search warrant. To the expletive-washed blockquote machine!
Police sitting here waiting on back up cuz I told them YOU NOT SEARCHING MY CAR! PERIOD! & now I'm sitting here! Owell I aint got [expletive] 2 do!"

There R 3police cars and they are talking! I don't see A search warrant they won't see inside this escalade! I got all day hope they don't!

Police said "do you mind if we look around in your Vehicle?" I said I sure DO! He said "I'm gonna call back up" I said u wanna use my phone?

I think they (POLICE) going to get a search warrant cuz they sitting here looking like fools waiting on something!

These COPS really think I'm stupid they playing good cop bad cop! BOY STOOOOP! I'm not falling for that! NO SIR YOU WILL NOT LOOK IN MY CAR!

This cop just ask me how tall R u & where R U from! I'm bout to ask him can I go across the street to POPEYS while we sitting here waiting!

I been sitting here for a HOUR 1cop by the driver window, 2talking at the car! And the 1by the window being friendly! Like wtf?

I asked the cop why he pulled me over he said I was speeding I said [CAPITALIZED BOVINE EXPLETIVE]! But give me the ticket that's when he asked to search my car!

So you gonna lie and say I'm speeding then you wanna search my car! Get the [expletive] ouutta here! Better go get a warrant *turns up radio*

OK so now I think they letting me Go cop just brought my DL's and registration! Yeah I'm bout to be out this MOFO!
So, yeah, this is still playing out in "real time" on the Internet.

And it's probably going to end awesomely one way or another, either with Dockett getting in some kind of trouble and tweeting all the way to jail, or with Dockett posting the officers' badge numbers on Twitter.

Regardless, it's pretty clear that McNabb was wrong about the power of social media.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 5:46 pm
 

Why Tiki to the Steelers doesn't make sense



Posted by Ryan Wilson

The three most talked about players in recent weeks -- Terrelle Pryor, Plaxico Burress and now Tiki Barber -- combined for exactly zero yards, zero touchdowns and zero games played last NFL season. Or the one before that. In fact, only Burress has seen an NFL field at all since 2007; Barber retired in 2006, and Pryor was in college until he had a sudden change of heart earlier this month.

All three are looking to get (back) into the league, and all appear to face long odds. To varying degrees, they come with baggage, and Burress and Barber are on the wrong side of 30. Our focus here is on Barber since Sports Illustrated's Peter King mentioned him in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column.

Specifically, King spins the Wheel of Educated Guesses on possible Barber landing spots this summer, and it came up Pittsburgh.

Let's breakdown King's reasoning line by line:

"The Steelers have a head coach the Barber family knows well -- Mike Tomlin is close to twin Ronde Barber after coaching him in Tampa from 2001 to 2005 and also knows Tiki."

Tomlin also knows Michael Vick well; they both grew up in Newport News, Va. And you know what? When Vick was released from prison and was mounting a return to the NFL, the media connected the dots, and rumors of a Tomlin-Vick reunion followed. Vick eventually signed with the Eagles.

In August 2009, Tomlin told NFL Network's Deion Sanders why the Steelers didn't pursue Vick.

"I spent some time with Mike this summer. Mike's from my hometown, I've known Mike a long time," Tomlin said. "It was bigger than business for me. There were gangs and so forth when I grew up there, but when you played ball, you played ball. It was different. They respected what you did, and you kept it moving.

"Where we're from now gangsters play ball," he continued. "I believe that his redemption and his second opportunity is pivotal for those young guys from my area to see a guy come through the other side and make it right.

"In terms of [the Steelers being interested in Vick], to be quite honest with you, our quarterback is going through some things of his own right now, and he needs my complete support and undivided attention. So it just wasn't the appropriate time for us to consider something of that nature."

At the time, there were plenty of skeptics; Vick had been an inconsistent quarterback before the stint in Leavenworth, and the thinking went that his best chance at NFL redemption might come with a position change -- maybe running back, wide receiver or wildcat specialist.

Instead, Vick waited his turn and when he finally got on the field, he seized the opportunity, played out of his mind and led the Eagles to the playoffs. But Vick was also just 30 last season; he still possessed the physical skills that made him one of the NFL's most dangerous quarterbacks before dogs and the legal system led to his downfall.

"Tomlin wouldn't be afraid of the sideshow Tiki Barber might create, nor would he be shy about pulling the plug if the 36-year-old back couldn't beat out the likes of Mewelde Moore."

That's exactly what Tomlin would be afraid of. Referring again to Tomlin's 2009 conversation with Sanders about Vick: "…[T]o be quite honest with you, our quarterback is going through some things of his own right now, and he needs my complete support and undivided attention." It sounds like there's only so much "support and undivided attention" to go around.

And while the Steelers have had their share of distractions in recent years -- from Ben Roethlisberger twice being accused of sexual assault to James Harrison's $100,000 in fines last season to the more benign Jeff Reed duking it out with a Sheetz bathroom towel dispenser -- that doesn't mean the organization welcomes it. It's hard to tell sometimes, but they're not running a halfway house.

(Remember: Santonio Holmes -- the Super Bowl XLIII MVP -- was shipped out of town for several drug-related incidents, including an impending four-game suspension. No one thought the fifth-round pick the Steelers got from the Jets for Holmes was fair value, but the organization had run out of patience with the mercurial wide receiver.)

Putting aside the media circus Barber would bring with him to Latrobe, Pa., there's a bigger concern: He's 36. When Barber called it quits after the 2006 season, he was one of the best running backs in the league. But as we've written several times lately, running backs are among the easiest positions to replace. There's no reason to spend large chunks of the salary cap (or use high draft picks) to get a back when equivalent talent can usually be found on the cheap.

Any team willing to give Barber a shot would probably give him a contract offering the league minimum. But at 36, Barber has, what, a year, maybe two years left? That means clearing a spot on the 53-man roster, one previously occupied by a young, low-cost back being groomed for a larger role down the road. Instead, the Steelers get Barber, who's closer to 40 than 30, and hasn't played a meaningful game in nearly five years. It doesn't make sense.

For fun, we looked back the past 15 years at the RBs who were at least 35 years old and played in the NFL.



Not surprisingly, it's populated with fullbacks who made their living as glorified offensive lineman and weren't relied on to actually carry the ball. Of the 12 players listed, none cracked 1,000 rushing yards for a season, and when we look only at true running backs, we're left with five names: Emmitt Smith, Marcus Allen, Earnest Byner, Larry Centers and Hershel Walker.

Of these, only Allen was productive after the age of 35. (In fact, from age 35 to 37, Allen was a top-5 back, according to Football Outsiders. That's mind-blowing, frankly.)

In 2004, Smith ran for 937 yards, but compared to the other RBs in the league, he was well below average. Football Outsiders ranked him next to last among all RBs that season, ahead of the Bears' Anthony Thomas.

So even if Tomlin has a relationship with Barber and thinks he can handle the media scrutiny, the bottom line (because the NFL is a business, after all) remains the same: can Tiki produce?

History says no, unless you think Barber is the next coming of Marcus Allen. We do not.

The Steelers have a core of veteran stars; Tiki Barber would fit right in. The Steelers have a good back, Rashard Mendenhall, but no back-of-the-future type who Barber would be robbing playing time from. And one NFL source tells me Barber really wants a shot to play in Pittsburgh.

We have no doubt that Barber wants to play in Pittsburgh. NFL Network's Albert Breer hears that Barber wouldn't mind suiting it up in New England, either.

Regarding Pittsburgh's "core of veteran stars," why would Tiki "fit right in," as King suggests? Here's what CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote last month, after Barber compared himself to Anne Frank:

"I covered Barber for most of his career and he remains one of the most versatile backs I've seen. He was also among the most arrogant. Most Giants players hated Barber. I mean, hated him. They thought he was a pompous putz on a lifelong journey to show the world he was smarter than most of his football peers."

The Patriots have a history of taking flyers on guys with character concerns (Corey Dillon and Randy Moss immediately come to mind), but that's not the Steelers' M.O.

But maybe this time is different. Maybe Tomlin makes an exception for Barber, who admitted that depression led him back to football after he couldn't deal with losing his $2 million-a-year gig with NBC. Now, he wants another shot at NFL glory.

Still, we can't get past Barber sounding as if he's coming out of retirement for all the wrong reasons. And even though he's not the type of player the organization usually pursues in free agency, perhaps the Rooneys will have a sudden change of heart. We just wouldn't count on it. Since, you know, the Steelers said months ago that they weren't interested.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Tomlin: Mendenhall 'shouldn't have said it'

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You’ll recall that Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall caused a minor stir last month when he penned a few updates on Twitter about Osama Bin Laden and 9/11 that later were deemed somewhat controversial.

Mendenhall's mess
Mendenhall claimed that he just wanted to make his followers think, but he took some serious heat afterward, costing him endorsement dollars and probably some patriotic Pittsburgh fans.

Now, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has weighed in on the matter, telling KDKA in Pittsburgh that perhaps Mendenhall should have watched his mouth (or, more specifically, his typing fingers).

“He shouldn’t have said it,” Tomlin said. “Yes, it is a freedom of speech issue. Yes, he is a young man, and he has a right to his opinion. But sometimes these young men got to understand the positions that they hold and the influence that they have and to be highly sensitive to that.”

I’ve got a feeling Mendenhall now understands exactly what Tomlin is talking about.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 14, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Mendenhall kind of claims he learned a lesson

Posted by Will Brinson

It's unlikely that we'll grow tired of talking about Rashard Mendenhall on Twitter. That's mainly because he keeps tweeting, of course.

Like, on Saturday, when Mendenhall seemed to start off on an apology tangent (or a "here's what I've learned" tangent at least), when he decided to veer in a similar "outside the box" Twitter rant.

"I've learned more these last few weeks than some people will ever even attempt to learn their whole lives," Mendenhall tweeted. "Conventional wisdom is the new Jolly Roger."

What? Conventional wisdom is a pirate ship? That sounds like an Anchorman quote.

I kid, of course -- Mendenhall is making reference to the use of "Jolly Roger" to mean "poison" or "a hazard." In which case, he's actually making a fairly provocative statement, only he's doing it in an intelligent way. (Which is quite different than what he did the first time.)
Mendenhall

The point Mendenhall's trying to make is that he wants people to "think."

That's all well and good, and anyone who says they don't want professional athletes to think and to have opinions about worldly topics is playing too much into a stereotype.

But it doesn't change the fact that Mendenhall still needs to do that himself before he decides to pass along an opinion in a shortened medium like Twitter that doesn't provide much room for explanation.

If he really has learned his lesson, he'll remember that next time around.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:51 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 9:12 am
 

Ward on Mendenhall: 'That wasn't a good opinion'

Posted by Will Brinson

Rashard Mendenhall's opinions of 9/11 aren't very popular -- it cost the Steelers running back an endorsement deal with Champion and a lot of flak from the general public.

Turns out, it wasn't just the general public who thinks Mendenhall made a mistake saying what he did. His teammate, Hines Ward, also recognizes how dumb the tweets were.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” Ward said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “But that wasn’t a good opinion.”

Ward also discussed the consequences of social media in today's world and, unlike his teammate Ryan Clark, who thinks athletes simply shouldn't use it, he was spot on.

“If that’s your opinion leave it as your opinion,” Ward said. “When you tweet that out there, you have to deal with the backlashes that come with that. You put everybody out there because everywhere we go we get asked questions about the comments you made. When you tweet like that, you’ve got to be careful.
Mendenhall

"I’m not a big tweeter because sometimes your emotions get caught up, you speak your mind and it’s not always the best thing to say.”

Look, anyone can get caught up in the heat of the moment and say something stupid on social media; it's not a requirement that you be an athlete.

But being an athlete means you're more high profile, and that means being a little more careful about what opinions you throw out there.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com