Ronde Barber announced this week that he would join a collection of high profile group of his contemporaries in retiring from the NFL. The highly-decorated cornerback, who became the first player ever to achieve at least 40 interceptions and 25 sacks during his career, spent all 16 of his seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Barber joins Ray Lewis, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, Jeff Saturday, Donald Driver and Jason Hansen, among others, who have decided that the 2012 season will be their last. The clock starts this season on the five year wait to see when – or if – they will eventually be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Barber’s pursuit of immortality in Canton will be an interesting one. In addition to the 47 interceptions and 28 sacks he finished with, he went to five Pro Bowls and was named first team All Pro by the Associated Press three times. That puts him a notch ahead of Ty Law, who profiles at a 5/2 in those same categories. Continue reading
It’s not often that one of the week’s loudest and most frequently cited headlines involves the release of a punter.
But when the Minnesota Vikings dropped Chris Kluwe earlier this week, it ensured that during this relatively news less post-draft time, that a special teamer would be in the headlines for awhile.
Kluwe spent eight years in Minnesota, being best known alternatively between booming punts and a booming voice in favor of allowing gay people to get married. He’s largely been very good at both. His political involvement has garnered national attention and earned him Salon’s Sexiest Man of the Year Award.
He has never been to a Pro Bowl, but he’s generally been seen as one of the best punters in Vikings history. So yes, his release garnered some attention.
But the Vikings, in some quarters, are being skewered by those who believe his release means the team is cracking down on free speech and standing up against the support of gay marriage.
Kluwe is entitled to his opinion, whether I agree with it or not. To me, the bigger issue with Kluwe is how he expresses said opinion. I thought he was a bit obnoxious in the profanity-laced rant in Deadspin where he first got national attention for his views. In subsequent articles and interviews, both on gay marriage and other issues, he was much more reasoned. When he takes a more thoughtful, intellectual approach to making his argument, you can tell he is a really intelligent, albeit perhaps sometimes polarizing, guy. He acknowledges and embraces that and he is right when he says there are issues facing society that are much more important than kicking a football. Continue reading
NFL Network is spending all week breaking down last weekend’s draft. Analysts and experts have given out preliminary grades. But how will the picks each team made affect the fantasy football season?
Anthony Maggio, co-host of ESPN 1500‘s Fantasy Football Sunday, gave us his initial thoughts on who they should look for and who they should avoid heading into offseason training activities. Here’s what he had to say.
Zoneblitz: Last year Doug Martin, Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris were among rookie contributors at running back. Which rookie running backs will be fantasy contributors in 2013? Continue reading
I have written on this site many times that if I were the general manager of an NFL team, I would take a quarterback in almost every draft whether I needed one or not.The position is too valuable to ignore, even If you have an established starter. I’m not saying it has to be a top pick. But with a third day selection, guys like Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib become too valuable to pass up.
Think about it. Teams like Jacksonville, Arizona and Minnesota have guys they plan to start, but nobody who has played so well that they are entrenched at the spot.
Teams like Green Bay and New Orleans have elite starters but have less than settled backup situations.
And New England, whose quarterback is the poster child advertisement for why you shouldn’t discount an underwhelming college signal caller with tools, has Ryan Mallet, who they reportedly were talking just the other day about flipping for draft picks. Barkley or Nassib would immediately become the next potential young replacement for Tom Brady when he decides to call it a career.
Barkley and Nassib may never have been the first round prospects they were projected as by so many socalled experts. But in the fourth round they are tremendous values who should not last for more than a few more picks on Saturday.
Some team out there has to see these guys as what they now are: quarterbacks with tremendous upside who are available deep enough in the draft where the risk associated with taking them has already been virtually erased.
We were about two-thirds of the way through our Team Blogger Mock Draft when the trade between Tampa Bay and the New York Jets illustrated the complete futility of the effort by making a trade that made it obsolete.
I probably should have gone back and re-done it, but I was running out of time. So I left it as it was and moved on, but I did want to address the trade and its impact on the first round that will start now within a matter of a couple hours.
Joe told me if the deal had gone down early enough that he’d had pick 13, he’d have taken Chance Warmack. That reaction both legitimized my decision to not re-do the draft, as it would have started a chain reaction starting with the very next pick at 14, and it made a lot of sense. Continue reading