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Matt Ware on Defensive Rules and Fines: Offense Sells Tickets

LBS spoke with Arizona Cardinals DB and former UCLA safety Matt Ware at a recent screening of The Wooden Effect. We talked about how Matt’s been spending his time during the lockout, how his offseason workouts have been going, and we asked for his thoughts on the Kerry Rhodes-Rex Ryan mini-feud. We also got to find out from Matt if Adrian Wilson is as much of a beast in the gym as this video suggests.

In the second half of the interview, we talked about some of the rule changes in the NFL (fining teams for illegal hits) that had the Steelers saying the NFL is going soft. While the changes are nice, Matt says the problem is things happen on the field so quickly it’s hard to avoid certain hits. He also said he understands why the league is protecting its offensive stars. Here’s our interview:

Talking about the defensive changes, Ware said “I like the improvements, but at the same time some of the stuff happens so fast you can’t think about it — you just react. If you’re sitting there lining someone up from 20 yards [away] then that’s one thing, but if it’s a bang-bang play, that’s going to continue to happen because guys are moving so fast.”

We agree, and we’ve said just as much, and that’s part of what makes the rules unfair. These are split-second decisions that defensive players can’t think about, otherwise they won’t be doing their jobs well.

On the rules skewing towards high-octane offenses, Ware said “Offense sells tickets. People don’t want to come watch games that are going to be 3-0.”

Again, he’s right on with that point. But it’s not just the tickets, it’s the overall business of the NFL that demands offense. You don’t get millions of people playing fantasy football and billions of dollars in TV deals with 3-0 games, as he pointed out. That’s just another obstacle defensive players are facing, and it’s really hard when you get flagged for touching quarterbacks like Tom Brady.

Kenny Britt Charged with Resisting Arrest Day After Careless Driving Plea

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was sacked by the LBS Nut Bag in April for his police chase in New Jersey. It was the sort of tale that would make Mr. Toad jealous as it featured equal parts of high speeds, drug use, and typical denial. On Tuesday, Britt pleaded guilty to careless driving (that’s one heck of a euphemism for leading cops on a chase … but I digress). Now here’s the best part: a day after his guilty plea, the dude got into some more trouble.

According to The Jersey Journal, Britt was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing a government function and resisting arrest. He allegedly crushed a cigar containing marijuana in order to hide it from police before he was collared. Here are the specific details from the event:

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Kim Kardashian-Bret Lockett Cheating Story Just Buzz for New Season of Show

One of the hottest stories Wednesday was the report from In Touch Weekly that Kim Kardashian was caught cheating on fiance Kris Humphries. This is the exact sort of “bombshell” intended to make teenyboppers and housemoms gasp incredulously while running to the supermarket to pick up their copy of the fake news. In reality, the extent of Kim’s sins depends on your definition of cheating, because the report says she had phone sex and flirted with New England Patriots safety Bret Lockett over text message. Not only is it not the sort of cheating they would like you to believe, it also seems to be all-too-perfectly timed.

The newest season of Keeping up with the Kardashians premieres on Sunday. The engagement to Kris Humphries is a nice new story line for the show, but is it juicy? It’s a change, but I’m not so sure it’s titillating. Not only that, it’s also two weeks old, which might as well be 10 years ago in our ever-changing digital age. The Kardashians needed something big — something huge — an “oh my god” controversy to make everyone tune in Sunday to see what’s going on with the family. They needed just the type of story In Touch published.

When you think about it, is texting someone else that bad? I would consider it wrong, but if it’s old news, it probably already was addressed by the couple. Do you really think Wednesday was the first time Humphries heard about Bret Lockett? Of course not — we’re not that stupid.

The magazines and the entertainers work hand-in-hand; they need each other in order to survive. The celebrities crave the attention and relevance that comes with being on the cover of a magazine. The magazines and websites are dying for exclusive stories that will generate traffic and sales. As long as they get an inside scoop (like Kimmie cheating), what do they care if they’re being used to generate buzz for the show?

You really think they weren’t in on this story together?

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Mark Brunell Bankrupt After Whataburger Investment, Hopes Lockout Ends

Like most other NFL players and coaches whose careers hinge on an agreement being reached between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, Mark Brunell is hoping there is football in the fall.  However, unlike guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the issue with Brunell is money.  Don’t worry, Brunell didn’t go out and buy unnecessary things like Siberian tigers or eight Lamborghinis.  The man made a simple investment, it just happened to be in a restaurant chain called Whataburger.

If Tim Lincecum or Bruce Carter were fans of Whataburger, business would probably be booming for Brunell.  It’s not.  According to The Florida Times-Union via The Big Lead, Brunell filed for Chapter-11 bankruptcy a year ago because of “two failed business partnerships,” one of which was an investment in a real estate development company and another in 12 Whataburger restaurants.

That means Brunell has to have approval from a judge to reorganize his debts, and when we say he is crossing his fingers there is an NFL season we aren’t kidding.  The judge’s final ruling in Brunell’s bankruptcy claim is contingent upon whether or not he signs another contract with the Jets.  That means Brunell is not only hoping for a speedy resolution with the labor dispute, but also that the Jets can use his veteran presence on the sidelines this upcoming season.  Best of luck, Marky Mark.

Steve Smith Distances Himself from Carolina Panthers in Interview

Steve Smith has another two years and $14.75 million left on his contract with the Carolina Panthers, but it’s clear he would like to play for another team. His desire is fair; he is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy, and at 32 years old he probably wants to play for a Super Bowl-caliber team rather than a franchise in rebuilding mode. There has been speculation that he’ll be traded when the lockout ends and that the Chargers are a possible destination. While we don’t know what will happen, what we do know is that Smith is distancing himself from his former team.

First off, Smith has not been in attendance for the team’s recent workouts, citing personal issues. Since we don’t know what’s going on with him personally, it’s not entirely fair to hold his absence against him. However, Joe Person noted in an article on Smith that the receiver referred to Carolina as “they” not “we.”

“I think the fundamental things the Carolina Panthers are doing right now are huge. I think anybody to say they’re not making any moves would be unfair and biased. They’re making great changes.”

Distancing himself from the team by saying “they” indicates Smith’s current mentality, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play with the Panthers if there is a season. It just means he doesn’t feel like he’s a part of the team, and that he likely wants out. We’ve heard the Chargers are interested in him, and if they’re able to land him in a trade, it will make an already explosive offense even more effective. I’m hoping for Smith’s sake that he’s able to get out of Carolina and onto a more competitive team.

Helmet knock to Evan Silva for the tip

Mikel Leshoure Gets Detroit Lions Tattoo After Being Drafted in Second Round

Former Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round, 67th overall. Leshoure will likely be splitting time with Jahvid Best, so it’s not as if he was drafted to be the team’s franchise player. That didn’t stop Leshoure from expressing his bond to the team in the form of permanent ink. Leshoure actually got a Detroit Lions tattoo on his left forearm that was on display at his team’s workouts Monday:

Leshoure is aware that he may not be with the Lions his entire career so that’s why he had the tattoo marked with the day he was drafted. Still, it’s a brazen move by a rookie who doesn’t seem to recognize the business of the league. If he’s not careful, he could wind up like another star running back who had to get a second tattoo after doing the same thing. It’s nice that Leshoure is already showing loyalty to his team, but he’ll soon learn teams show little loyalty towards players. Hey, it could have been worse — at least he didn’t get this awful tattoo.

UPDATE: Leshoure tore his Achilles’ tendon in August and was knocked out for the year.

Photo Credit: Justin Rogers/MLive.com

DirecTV Won’t Charge NFL Sunday Ticket Subscribers Until Games Are Played

Around this time of year, DirecTV customers who subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket begin getting charged their customary $50 per month over the next half year. What does that mean? Our TV bills begin to resemble that of a rent check for a one-bedroom apartment in the Midwest.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but we’re sports fans and we love our football, so they have us by the schnuts. The good news is DirecTV decided to surprise fans with something positive for a bleeping change. Check out this email they sent out to Sunday Ticket subscribers Thursday:

I have my doubts that my bill will be adjusted accordingly if games are missed because that’s pretty ambiguous language. You can’t put a price tag on games lost. You take away one NFL game from us, you may as well be taking away our season. Got that, DirecTV? One game missed, I want ALL my money back mmmm k?

On the real, DirecTV shouldn’t be celebrated for this; why should we get charged for a product we’re not receiving? The only reason we’re ecstatic is because we’re conditioned to associate anything DirecTV-related with bad news and large fees. I’d prefer not to hear from DirecTV unless they plan on lowering my bill, not keeping it status quo.