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Should Rookies Boycott the 2011 NFL Draft by Staying Home?

While players and fans find themselves wondering whether or not there will be football in the fall, soon-to-be rookies are faced with a difficult decision that needs to be made in just over a month. The NFL Players Association has decertified, and as of now there is no collective bargaining agreement in the NFL.  The owners have locked players out of team facilities. The players do not want to do the owners any favors or help them make extra money.  For that reason, the player’s union has asked that incoming rookies boycott the NFL Draft in New York and stay home on draft day.

Fans may not realize it, but this is one of the most difficult decisions rookies will ever have to make during their NFL careers. The NFL Draft represents the most exciting three days of a young football player’s life. If you are expected to be a first-round pick, hearing Roger Goodell call your name at Radio City Music Hall and hand you an NFL jersey is something you have probably dreamed about since Pop Warner.  Oh well.

My advice to rookies: stay home.  The decision will be brutal for anyone who had their heart set on attending the draft.  Any college athlete who envisioned himself putting on an NFL team’s hat and holding up a No. 1 jersey while cameras flashed all around him can forget about it.  Would the rookies rather have an owner who might be a little miffed they refused to attend an NFL event, or a locker room full of guys who feel like they aren’t “one of them”?  The former is any easy choice.

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Dave Duerson Autopsy Report Reveals He Had American Flag Folded on Bed

More details from the sad story of former Bears safety Dave Duerson’s suicide were released in the autopsy report by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department. Duerson died after shooting himself in the chest and asked for his brain to be donated to the NFL Brain Bank for examination. The 11-year veteran may have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is a condition many athletes have developed after receiving repeated concussions, and he wanted to know if he suffered from the condition.

The Autopsy Report describes the environment in Duerson’s apartment when the police arrived. The building’s manager called the police to enter the apartment after a chair was lodged up against the door. Inside the apartment they found several documents on the dining room table. In the second bedroom, there were more documents laid out along with two framed certificates, framed medals, and an American flag folded at the head of the bed. They found Duerson dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in the master bedroom. In the walk-in closet in his bedroom, they found a football statue, three helmets from different teams, and three football trophies. The helmets were likely from the Bears, Giants, and Cardinals — the three teams for whom Duerson played.

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Leonard Weaver Agrees with Adrian Peterson Slavery Comment

When Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said the owners and players relationship was like “modern-day slavery,” we overlooked his choice of words to find the point we figured he was trying to make. Unfortunately for Philadelphia Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver, we cannot excuse his words expressed on CSN Philadelphia during a recent interview.

Speaking with Derrick Gunn Tuesday via Pro Football Talk, Weaver said “We as players want to make a statement that you know what, we love playing for you all, we love your owners, you know? We love you guys very much, but at the same time we need to see some equal opportunity here and stop treating us basically like Adrian Peterson said, like slaves.”

Aside from agreeing with Peterson’s choice of comparison, Weaver comes across as thoughtful and intelligent. The problem is unlike Peterson, Weaver’s speech cannot be excused. Peterson was speaking right after the lockout was declared and he was likely highly emotional. He used a regrettable comparison, but the point that the players aren’t treated fairly is valid. If that’s the message Leonard Weaver wanted to convey, he lost everybody as soon as he agreed with Peterson.

It’s one thing to complain about a lack of health coverage and point out that players put their lives on the line when they take the field, but consciously comparing the relationship to slavery is just plain off. The owners may be making away with all kinds of money and may be super rich, but the players have plenty of rights and are handsomely compensated. They’re not being treated fairly by the owners, but likening the situation to slavery has little validity. Until saying that, Weaver was doing just fine in his interview.

Bill Belichick Only Coach Who Blew off Media Breakfast at Owners Meetings

Prepare yourselves for one of the most shocking tales you will ever read here on LBS.  On Tuesday morning, the NFL asked that every team’s head coach meet with members of the media during a one-hour breakfast before proceeding with their daily schedule at the owners meetings.  Of the 32 head coaches in the NFL, 31 showed up to the voluntary breakfast to entertain the media’s questions.  That leaves only one missing coach.  That coach was — brace yourselves — Bill Belichick.

According to Shalise Manza Young, the Patriots coach showed up after 8 a.m. (the scheduled start time for the media breakfast), poked his head into the ballroom where it was being held, and continued walking.  Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald later added that Belichick walked out of a meeting on proposed rule changes later in the day and said, “Sorry I overslept this morning.”  When he was told he missed a good meal, the coach responded, “Do I look undernourished.”

Overslept, huh?  One of the most meticulous men in all of sports waking up even a second later than he wanted to?  Somehow I don’t believe that.  One thing I do want to congratulate Belichick on is successfully emerging as one of the biggest dicks in sports over the years.  Honestly, could he be any better at it?  Everything the guy does just radiates f-you.  He may not like the media, but the same is true for most coaches in sports.  Belichick hates them, wants you to know about it, and wants you to know that he knows there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Kickoffs Moving Back to the 35, Prepare for Touchbacks Galore

A proposal that will likely lead to an abundance of touchbacks in the NFL next season — or whenever football resumes — was passed Tuesday afternoon.  The spot of a kickoff will be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, which is where kickoffs were spotted prior to 1994.  Another proposal that would have made things even more interesting was to move the spot of a touchback from the 20-yard line to the 25-yard line, but that proposal did not pass.

Several changes have been proposed for kickoffs this offseason in an attempt to protect players on one of the game’s most dangerous plays.  Players will now only be allowed a 5-yard running start on kickoff coverage, compared to the 10 to 15 yards they were allowed before.  Surprisingly, the return team will still be allowed to use the two-man wedge — a maneuver that has been blamed for many serious injuries throughout the league over the years.

NFL players are getting bigger and stronger with each passing year, and kickers have not necessarily been an exception.  We now have jacked place kickers like Jay Feely and guys who can kick the ball a mile off a tee like Stephen Gostkowski.  A lot of return men like to put on a show in today’s game, which makes choosing to return a kick from three yards deep in the end zone a fairly common occurrence.  Any kick from 2010 that was three yards deep in the end zone will nearly find its way out of the end zone in 2011, and will likely not be returned.

Overall, we can expect this rule to result in less injuries, more touchbacks, and worse starting field position for NFL offenses.

Rex Ryan Compares Himself to Babe Ruth Calling His Shot

Could somebody please get this guy a muzzle? Sure, a lot of us are tired of hearing about the current labor situation in the NFL, but I would rather listen to that never-ending issue than read about Rex Ryan repeatedly guaranteeing the Jets will win the Super Bowl in 2012. We know you’re confident. Good for you. Enough is enough.

Rex’s latest comments are particularly absurd — even by his ridiculous standards.  The Jets coach told the NY Daily News, via Pro Football Talk, that he likes to think of himself as Babe Ruth calling his shot.

“They talk about walk softly and carry a big stick,” Ryan told the NY Daily News on Monday. “I love that. I agree with that 100 percent. But I guess I feel more like Babe Ruth. I’m going to walk softly, I’m going to carry that big stick, and then I’m going to point and then I’m going to hit it over the fence.”

Has this moron ever heard the story about The Babe calling his shot in the 1932 World Series? According to the legend, Ruth stepped to the plate, pointed toward the center field fence, and belted a homer on the next pitch.  The pointing isn’t exactly as epic without the part about the ball going over the fence.

Rex has pointed enough.  Any baseball player who calls his shot is eventually going to be right.  The luster wears off a bit when you do it year after year and have yet to cash in.  If New York ends up winning the Super Bowl next season — assuming there is a Super Bowl — Ryan will get plenty of credit for winning a championship, but he shouldn’t get any for calling it.  If all 32 head coaches guarantee their team will win the Super Bowl in 2012, someone is going to be Babe Ruth.

Chris Kluwe Mocks Roger Goodell’s Letter, Lockout on White Board

The white board of Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is back, and that is good for everyone. In case you don’t remember, Kluwe took to his cartoon figures to point out the hypocrisy in the NFL’s punishments of hard hits. The former Bruin continued his critical ways when he tweeted that TCF Bank Stadium had an “unplayable” surface back when the Vikings were set to play there.

Now that he has plenty of time on his hands because of the lockout, Kluwe’s back to his creative drawings. He tweeted out the picture above on Friday and shortly thereafter this “letter” from Roger Goodell:

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