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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Brandon Meriweather Was Involved in 2006 Willie Cooper Shooting at Miami

If Brandon Meriweather being involved in a shooting sounds familiar to you, it’s because it should. We passed along word that two men are alleging the Patriots safety shot them on February 27th. No arrests have been made in that case, and the allegations come from the attorney hired by the victims.

While those are just allegations, the incident from July 2006 is factual. In 2006, former Canes safety Willie Cooper and teammate Brandon Meriweather noticed a suspicious car outside their residence. When they went to investigate, a man next to the house popped up and shot Cooper in the butt. Meriweather shot at the man three times and scared him away. Nobody appeared to be injured in the incident.

Meriweather had a permit for the gun at the time and he was acting in self defense, but this also suggests the man is quite familiar with carrying and operating firearms (even if his accuracy may be lacking). This is not the type of history that makes us confident in his innocence. If anything, the missed shots should be a dead giveaway it was Brandon. Between the helmet-to-helmet hits and our criticism of his Pro Bowl selection, it’s not looking like Meriweather’s year.

Two Men Allege Patriots S Brandon Meriweather Shot Them

It appears as if Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather may be a person of interest for police in Florida. A man who was shot on February 27th outside a house party says it was the Patriots safety who fired the shots at him and his friend.

The report of the allegations comes from Deadspin which talked to John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan personal injury firm in Florida who was retained by the shooting victims. Morgan tells Deadspin that “the trouble started at the Blue Jeans Lounge in Apokpa when a friend of Meriweather’s allegedly beat up a woman. The woman’s brother arrived later with his own friend, and the conflagration shifted to a nearby party, where the brother soon got the better of Meriweather’s friend in a fight. That’s when Meriweather allegedly pulled out his gun and fired at the brother, grazing the man’s face and hitting the other victim in the head.”

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Raheem Morris Doubles as Rays Manager for a Day

After stumbling to a 3-13 season in his debut as an NFL head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raheem Morris went 10-6 in his second year. The sophomore campaign for the young head coach inflated his sense of self to the point where he thinks he can be an effective coach in two sports now. OK that was just a joke, but Morris is actually good friends with Rays manager Joe Maddon and he and his staff were invited to spend the day with the Rays on Tuesday.

“It was all about Raheem,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who invited the Buccaneers coach and his staff to spend a day in spring training with the AL East champions.

“I gave him the game ball,” Maddon said. “He did a great job with the pitching change. … There was nice conversation during the course of the game. It was a fun day.”

The pitching change to which Maddon referred was when he pulled James Shields in the 4th inning. Shields described what happened, saying “He walked to the mound, and he’s like, ‘So, what do we do now?’” Shields relayed. “I was like, ‘You’re supposed to get the ball from me.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, okay, then hand me the ball.’ Then he’s like, ‘So, what are we doing after the game? Is this what we’re supposed to talk about out there?’ It was pretty funny.”

Here’s a video of both Morris and Maddon talking about the experience, including Maddon saying he wanted his players to gain some football toughness.

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