DeSean Jackson Shying Away from Contact to Avoid Injuries?

DeSean Jackson is one of the most dynamic play-making receivers in the NFL. The Eagles top wideout has the type of speed that can change a game in a span of a few seconds. It is that big-play ability that has Jackson headed for a monster pay day this offseason. That is, of course, if he can remain healthy.

Health is always a concern for NFL players before they have been paid. In the blink of an eye, Jackson could go from a chance to make $30 million guaranteed in one summer to only a few million over the course of his career. The question is has it changed the way he plays.

According to Yahoo! Sports via Rotoworld, at least one unnamed Eagles player wonders if Jackson is shying away from contact because he has yet to receive the monster contract he was looking for during the offseason.

“I can’t lie – it is something I’ve thought about,” the player said. “There was a play toward the very end of the game where it looked like he might have short-armed it. And I don’t blame him.”

While Michael Vick is scrambling to get some sympathy from the officials, Jackson may not be leaving it up to them to protect him.  Given his concussion history and the fact that he weighs only 175 pounds (on paper), it makes sense.  Jackson would not be the first receiver in football to shy way from contact, but he probably has more to lose than anyone else who has made a habit out of it.

Darren McFadden Appears to Have Officially Turned the Corner

The University of Arkansas will probably never field a better backfield than it did in 2007. Felix Jones is now the starting running back for the Cowboys. You also have the fullback-turned-rusher in Peyton Hillis, now a household name in Cleveland. Then there is Darren McFadden, who pretty much ran around the Jets’ vaunted defense for 171 yards last Sunday.

Of the Razorback trio — too perfect a mascot name given the topic — McFadden entered the 2008 draft with the most fanfare, having placed second in the Heisman vote. Yet, injuries and perhaps Al Davis’ maniacal game of coaching carousel over McFadden’s first few years in the league, had his Arkansas running mates being more productive. They were also getting more attention. Granted, none of the three have yet to really make a lasting mark yet, but for once, the hype around McFadden seems to be coming to fruition.

After a miserable 2009 campaign, McFadden bounced back last year with 1,157 yards and a very impressive 5.2 YPC. His track record of injuries doesn’t call for much hope that he will be available for all 16 games. McFadden missed at least three games in each season so far. But if he stays on the field, he should find himself surpassing his 2010 numbers easily. The tailback is already a third of the way there.

For Raiders fans and fantasy owners alike, a lot will be said about what to expect out of McFadden if he shows the same dominance against the Patriots this Sunday.  Yes, New England’s defense has been a whipping boy so far, but last time I checked, Oakland and New England games were supposed to be a laugher.

If Oakland does win, it will almost certainly be thanks to McFadden’s surge.  Maybe the walk is finally catching up to the talk.

Tony Dungy Could See Peyton Manning Walking Away from Football in a Year

Peyton Manning had been a bastion of good health throughout his NFL career until succumbing to a neck injury recently. In early September, the All-Pro quarterback had a third procedure on his neck, ending his streak of 227 consecutive starts. His former coach, Tony Dungy, doesn’t believe the quarterback will exit the game on this note. However, Dungy could envision Peyton walking away from the game after one more year.

“I don’t think it would be hard to walk away from the game where he is now, with everything that he’s done. He loves it, he’s very competitive,” Dungy said during a guest appearance on PTI Thursday. “I don’t think he’ll walk away like this unless the doctors tell him that he can’t play. I think he wants to come back and have a great year. I could see him walking away after one more year, but I know him as a competitor, and there’s no way he wants to leave because of an injury.”

Dungy coached Peyton for seven years, so we trust his insight on the subject. However, he conceded that he no longer has insider info on his former quarterback.

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Brandon Jacobs Goes LeBron on Haters, Tells Them to go back to Miserable Lives

Brandon Jacobs has a message for all the people doubting the New York Giants, and it’s one that may sound familiar. “The people outside that want to say they’re fans and don’t believe in us, I couldn’t care less if they ever believed in us,” Jacobs said Thursday. “They don’t mean anything to us if they didn’t believe in us. They can go back and finish living their miserable lives as they’ve been living and hoping that they lose and whatever.”

I get how it is when you’re in a locker room and feeling like the world is against you, but don’t Jacobs’ comments seem just a tad bit overboard? And isn’t that nearly identical to what LeBron James said after losing the NBA Finals?

LeBron: “Because at the end of the day, all the people that were rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today.”

So is that the new form of payback from athletes to fans? You have negativity for us? Well you’re the one who has to go back to your miserable life.

I don’t know about you, but maybe that’s not the best approach for an athlete. You’re probably going to lose more supporters than you’ll gain by telling people to go back to their miserable lives if they’re not getting on board with Eli Manning and the 25 interceptions he threw last season. But hey, who are we to bring a fresh dose of reality to the Giants locker room?

Sure Enough, Someone Bought a Tim Tebow Billboard in Denver (Pictures)

You may recall two weeks ago when we passed along news that some fans in Denver were planning to purchase billboards aimed at convincing the Broncos to start Tim Tebow. The idea worked and Tebow ended up playing wide receiver in a recent game. Sure enough, someone actually went forward with the idea and purchased a billboard.

FOX 31 provides the background info on the billboards:

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Antonio Garay Rolls in a Hello Kitty Smart Car (Pictures)

Chargers defensive tackle Antonio Garay has some balls and he’s not afraid to express who he is. The dude wears his personality in his hair, and apparently on the street. How many other 6’4″ 320 lb. men do you know who roll around town in a Hello Kitty Smart Car?

Anyone who would drive a Hello Kitty Smart Car with confidence would also have to have a sense of humor. Clearly Garay does — he told someone on Twitter “I was told the smart car is slimming on me.” It sure is.

He also wants the VIP treatment when he drives the car. So much so, that he says he valet parks it.

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Released Colts CB Justin Tryon Says Jim Caldwell Didn’t Have Control Over Lineup

The Colts waived cornerback Justin Tryon Wednesday, and the defensive back opened some eyes with comments he made later that evening. The Arizona State product, who started six games for the Colts last season, suggested on Twitter that head coach Jim Caldwell wanted to start him but was unable to.

“I thank the Colts die hard fans for the love they’re showing me!” Tryon wrote. “I’M A STARTER yes.. [Jim] Caldwell wanted to start me but it wasn’t up to him!”

It’s an odd tweet because Jim Caldwell is the team’s head coach, and you figure the head coach would have the power to decide who starts and who gets benched. Many people feel that this is indicative of Caldwell’s position within the organization; they think he is more of a figurehead than an authoritative figure.

Team owner Jim Irsay wasted little time trying to set the record straight.

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