Agent Explains Reasons Matt Ware Kept Diabetes Diagnosis Private

Earlier this month, Arizona Cardinals safety Matt Ware received the 33rd annual Ed Block Courage Award. Ware received the award not just for the courage it took to overcome multiple knee injuries in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but also because he overcame his March 2009 diabetes diagnosis.

Learning that Ware had diabetes was a surprise for most media members and fans because unlike other players (Jay Cutler for instance), there was no public knowledge of Ware’s diagnosis. His agent, JR Rickert, explained to LBS it was kept that way for two reasons.

Rickert said that Ware wanted to keep the news private because he was not comfortable letting the public know about a personal medical issue. Secondly, as Rickert explained “there are some conditions that guys have that essentially have little to no impact on the field, so you don’t want to create a question where there really isn’t a question.”

Rickert cited ADD as a similar condition that could be negatively perceived by teams, but is really insignificant. “As long as they’re dealing with it and overcoming it, I’m not sure you want to share that with a club if they don’t know it already because that is a guy’s right to deal with it anyway he sees fit,” he reasoned.

Ware signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in 2008, re-signed for one year in 2010, and is now a free agent.

What Decertification Means for the Players Union and NFL

On Friday evening, the NFLPA made the decision to decertify in a move that would block the lockout by the owners. I keep getting asked the question by readers and friends what decertification means, so I figured it was worth a post to explain things.

The NFL players initially bonded together and formed a union in an act they hoped would help generate more favorable rights. For instance, by forming a union, they could approach the owners with certain demands and the owners would have to negotiate or lose their players (and risk going with “replacement players” who are inferior in talent). The sides formed an agreement known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement that details how the league will be run. The CBA contains points such as when players can become free agents, whether teams will pay players who get injured, and how long the season is.

I’ve never read the NFL CBA, but several years ago I read the MLB CBA and let me tell you, every possible detail you could imagine is covered. We’re talking everything from meal money on road trips to the way arbitration hearings will go is spelled out.

Anyway, the NFL owners realized that the league was getting extremely popular and generating ridiculous amounts of revenue, and they wanted more of it for themselves. Two years ago they opted out of the CBA, just like A-Rod opted out of his contract with the Yankees to negotiate a more favorable deal.

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Drew Brees Feels Badly for Fans

The NFLPA has decided to decertify and sue the NFL for violation of anti-trust laws. LBS is firmly on the side of the players in this negotiation, feeling that the pot should be split 50-50 and that the players deserve lifetime health care for their injuries. It’s pretty simple: the players surrender their health every time they take the field and they should have many more rights than they do now. The owners owe the players much more decency than they currently provide them, and it’s sad to see their greediness result in the lockout that has been prevented by decertification.

It’s also sad that fans have to endure the labor battle between the two sides. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recognizes this and expressed that sentiment on his twitter account Friday.

In various tweets, the former Super Bowl MVP wrote “To our fans – I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal … The NFL brought this fight to us – they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request … I am very sorry that you as fans have to endure this. Football is more than just a game for all of us. We will keep fighting…always …Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us”

Well guess what Drew, you’re right in not expecting people to feel sorry for the players, but you have someone here who sees beyond the owners and does feel badly for the players. And with compassionate sentiments such as this one, you make it much easier for us to root for the players to have success in gaining more rights and equality in their fight with the owners.

Was NFL Owners’ Idea for 18-Game Schedule Just a Negotiation Tool?

As the NFL players and owners continue to meet to try and agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they have several items to negotiate. One of those points was the owners’ supposed desire to implement an 18-game regular season. Most players opposed it, fans weren’t elated for it, but the owners wanted it and spoke like it was an inevitability.

Regardless of their desires, NFLPA exec De Smith says the union will not discuss an 18-game season. The rigidity of Smith’s stance on the issue makes me wonder if the owners can use that for leverage in negotiations with another topic. It also makes me wonder if they ever wanted 18 games in the first place, or if they were pushing the idea solely for the purpose of leverage in negotiations.

The fans never pushed for the idea of 18 games. As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, and Jimmy Traina wrote on twitter, contrary to what Roger Goodell has said, the fans’ objection never was four preseason games, it was just having to pay for four preseason games in order to purchase season tickets. The two are not the same issue.

It’s quite possible Goodell and the owners knew the players would object to it, and by pushing for the longer season, they’d guarantee themselves leverage for another topic. Hey, they already had guaranteed themselves payments from TV networks in the case of a lockout, who’s to say they didn’t have this planned too?

Shooting Victim Quentin Taylor Is Former Ole Miss, Georgia Southern Linebacker

The victim most seriously injured in the shooting on 17th Street in Apopka, Florida on February 28th is a former college football linebacker from Ole Miss and Georgia Southern, LBS has learned. Quentin Taylor was shot in the left cheek and the bullet exited through the back of his head. In the incident report, it says Taylor appeared to have had a seizure while in the hospital.

The 24-year-old victim was a top linebacker and running back at Apopka High School and All-State player as a senior. He was a top 20 linebacker and played 15 games for Ole Miss before transferring to Georgia Southern. Somewhat ironically, his major at Georgia Southern was criminal justice according to his football profile. Additionally, Taylor had a 3.2 GPA in high school and achieved an 1150 on his SATs.

In an interview with recruiting site Rivals.com in 2005, Taylor had this interesting response to a question. “Are there any rising seniors from Apopka that we need to know about? “Yea, Nico Stanley. He plays LB/RB for us. Nico is about 6′ 0″, 210. And Joe Shula at WR. He is about 6′ 4″, 185. All three of our senior offensive linemen are for real. Jamal Bass, Abe Evelan, and Gregory. They are all legit.”

The first player he mentioned, Nico Stanley, is the other man who was shot in the incident.

Brandon Meriweather Not Mentioned in Stanley, Taylor Shooting Incident Report

Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was alleged to have been the shooter of two former high school classmates. The victims’ lawyer who passed along the initial allegations has expressed doubt regarding Meriweather’s status as the shooter. We’ve been waiting for more facts to emerge in the case and can share with you the incident report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. This portion of the report was taken at the shooting scene at 2:10am on February 28th and it names Nico Stanley and Quentin Taylor as the shooting victims. Here’s what it says (you’ll probably have to zoom in):

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Victims’ Lawyer John Morgan: ‘I Have a Lot of Doubt’ it was Brandon Meriweather

UPDATE (9:32 a.m.): An Orange County Sheriff’s department told WEEI Thursday morning that Meriweather is not currently part of any investigation: “Mr. Meriweather is not officially listed on any police report at this point. There is an ongoing investigation into that incident, but I can tell you he’s not listed at this point. We are having meetings on a number of issues this morning, but nothing as of this time.” Two weeks later and no mention of Meriweather in any police report? He’s looking better by the minute.

The official flagship station of the New England Patriots, 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, may have helped strengthen Brandon Meriweather’s case on Thursday morning.  As you may already know, two men who were shot on February 27th at a house party in Florida have alleged Meriweather was the shooter.  The lawyer representing them, John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan personal injury firm in Florida, spoke with the Toucher and Rich Show on Thursday morning.  To be frank, he made a complete fool of himself.  You can hear the audio here. I highly recommend listening to the entire clip:

By all accounts, there is no police record of the incident.  According to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department had no record of the incident as of this morning.  Morgan claims that the department would say there is an ongoing investigation if asked, but the report from the Herald directly contradicts that claim.

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