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DeSean Jackson’s Brash Attitude Has No Boundaries

We covered some of the comments Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson made in his cover story for Sporting News Magazine over the weekend. To recap, Jackson said he was very happy with the decision to trade McNabb to Washington and that the team didn’t lose anything with McNabb gone. Donovan predictably took the high road, electing to let his play on the field do the talking. Well that’s only half of what Jackson said in the magazine. DeSean specifically criticized Donovan McNabb’s ability to throw short passes and he explained why he changed agents:

Watching game film from last season, Jackson says, “That won’t happen anymore,” when a short pass from Donovan McNabb — known for occasionally bringing too much heat — screams off the hands of a teammate.

The biggest thing I’ll say about [changing agents] is I wasn’t comfortable with my last agents. For the type of person and player I am and the things I do on the field, I don’t think they were making the best of my abilities on or off the field. It was nothing like I need a new contract so let’s go sign the best agent in the game. I just felt I needed to be treated and handled in a different way. My appearances, endorsements or any time I need anything — whatever it is, a flight — I can just call Drew and it’ll be taken care of. My last agents, I was kind of like their biggest client; they didn’t really know how to handle me as far as the things top athletes need.”

While it’s clear that DeSean has a good work ethic and a desire to win, he doesn’t filter offensive comments. I’m guessing he never said to McNabb’s face the criticism about short passes because Donovan specifically said that people only start talking once you’re gone. If that’s the case, then that’s poor form by DeSean. And how about that last comment by Jackson about the agents, that he was kind of their biggest client and they didn’t know what top athletes need. Not only is that disrespectful to guys like Jeff Saturday and James Farrior, both DeBartolo Sports clients who have been to more Pro Bowls than DeSean, but it sounds like a cheesy line Bob Sugar said when he was trying to steal a Jerry Maguire client. Seems like DeSean Jackson has more needs than your typical top athlete, and that’s fine. At least Jackson works hard and stays out of trouble. That’s much more than what we can say for several other players.

Bengals Disgrace Themselves by Signing Pacman Jones, Have Lost Me as a Fan

Three years ago I mocked the Bengals because their players couldn’t stay out of trouble by ranking their players’ arrests based on the crime. After bad boys Chris Henry and Odell Thurman were heavily suspended by the NFL, I figured the Bengals would learn not to harbor poor character guys for fear they wouldn’t be able to make it onto the field. Clearly that was nothing more than a hope, because the Bengals proceeded to take players with major character issues in each of the past three drafts. 2008 pick Jason Shirley was kicked off his college team and arrested for DUI, 2009 pick Bernard Scott had been arrested five times, and 2010 second-round pick Carlos Dunlap got popped for DUI the week of the SEC Championship game. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bengals brought on Cowboys castoff and firearms dealer Tank Johnson who’s managed to stay out of trouble, Larry Johnson who had several assault arrests in Kansas City, and Cedric Benson who worked out nicely for the club.

Cincinnati must have been convinced that they were doing the Lord’s work, because the recent success of the team got to their head and they decided to do the stupidest thing I could imagine this off-season. The Bengals brought in cocaine user and all-around idiot Matt Jones and strip club addict and trouble magnet Pacman Jones for workouts. They signed Jones but were initially unimpressed with Pacman. A few months later, they agreed on a two-year deal with Pacman Jones who’s set to sign this week.

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McNabb Responds to DeSean Jackson’s Disrespectful Comments

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson recently expressed to Sporting News Magazine that he was “very happy with the decision” of his team to trade Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.  He also went on to say, “I don’t think we lost anything, even with McNabb being gone.”  Here’s what Donovan McNabb said in response to questions about Jackson’s comments, courtesy of ESPN:

It’s so wild when people get to talking when you’re not there, but when you’re there everybody loves you. So I guess people will go deeper into it than I will. I’m a Redskin, no longer an Eagle. I had 11 great years and I’m moving on with my life, so whoever may say things when I’m gone, more power to them, but it’s not making you look like a bigger man.”

This is the type of response you’d expect from McNabb.  Even when he had to deal with T.O. — the ultimate free-speaker — he managed to take the high road and never make himself look bad.  Based on his history, I’m not really shocked that Jackson would make comments like this.  To be honest, I just don’t get his motivation for doing it.  McNabb was traded.  He didn’t leave the Eagles as a free agent to take more money from a division rival.  Why take shots at him after he’s gone — especially considering what he’s done for the Eagles franchise?  I’m all for a wide receiver expressing his confidence in a new quarterback, and I’m sure Kevin Kolb is capable of being successful in Philadelphia, but this isn’t the right way to go about it.  If that’s the way you feel, keep it to yourself.  There’s much better ways to encourage a new starting quarterback than by belittling the one who just left — especially when he’s one of the best the franchise has ever seen.

Source:
Redskins’ McNabb moving on from past [ESPN]

Long Rumor Confirmed: Brian Cushing Busted for Steroids

One of the longest standing rumors in football circles was finally confirmed on Friday evening. Adam Schefter reported that Houston Texans linebacker and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing has been suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Making matters worse for Cushing is his appeal was already denied by the NFL. As Pro Football Talk points out, Cushing joins Shawne Merriman and Julius Peppers as the third Defensive Rookie of the Year to be busted for steroids in the last eight years.

As far back as high school, Cushing was rumored to be a steroids user. Cushing went on to star at USC despite being limited by shoulder and ankle injuries at various points in his career. Then around draft time in 2009, a report said both Cushing and fellow USC linebacker Clay Matthews tested positive for steroids at the combine. That report turned out to be false. Now, we have confirmation that Cushing has used steroids. Whether he’s been escaping positive tests for years and just now was finally caught or if he just began using we don’t know. We do know that one of the longest standing rumors in football circles has finally been confirmed: Brian Cushing is a steroids user. Maybe some of the teams that passed him up in the draft are saying “told you so.”

Sources:
Cushing suspended 4 games [Adam Schefter/ESPN]

Raiders Fan Burns Russell Jersey

I know, I’ve been taking a lot of shots at JaMarcus Russell lately.  It’s not his fault the Raiders were stupid enough to take him with their first overall pick when LBS knew they shouldn’t.  And yes, I spent a good chunk of my efforts yesterday breaking down why Russell doesn’t stand a chance of starting for an NFL team any time in the near future — or ever.  But I just came across a video that is pretty funny and I had to share it — especially in lieu of one of JaMarcus’ ex-coaches calling him a “binge eater”.  Out of all the reasons to complain about Russell, the guy in this video clearly takes the most issue with his weight, which I thought was hilarious.  Also, if I’m not mistaking, the number and letters on this jersey are stitched, meaning it was probably relatively expensive so this guy must absolutely despise the ex-Raider.

Jersey burning has been a go-to move for fans in the past when players leave, or they are generally unhappy with them.  Packers fans torched Favre’s jersey after he signed with the division rival Vikings, but that was for a much different reason.  Fans were unhappy that the greatest Packer in history left Green Bay to sign with arguably their most hated rival — not angry at him because he wasted their time like Russell’s jersey burners. Here’s the video of a Raiders fan burning JaMarcus Russell’s jersey, courtesy of You Been Blinded via Sports by Brooks.

Sources:
SbB Live
Raiders Fans Burn JaMarcus Russell Jersey [You Been Blinded]

Will JaMarcus Russell Ever Start Again?

Al Davis has finally come to his senses.  Well, at least regarding former first-overall pick JaMarcus Russell, whom the Raiders finally released Thursday afternoon.  Russell’s release of course makes him a free agent and raises an obvious question — who wants him?  My guess is a quarterback with a scouting report that includes more about buying jewelry, eating too much, and a lack of effort on the field than it does about physical abilities and on-field success will have a tremendous amount of trouble finding a suitor for his services — if you want to call them that.

The Raiders have shelled out more than $36 million to Russell since drafting him with their first overall selection in the 2007 Draft.  They will pay him $3 million more this season after cutting him, but the move also saves them $6.45 million.  Simply put, Russell should consider himself lucky he’s already made a fortune because no team is shelling out even close to big bucks to add him to their roster this off season, in this economy, with this type of uncertainty surrounding the NFL’s labor agreement.

Let’s have a little fun with this anyways.  Is there a chance that any team would take a shot at adding perhaps the biggest NFL Draft bust this decade?  Here’s a division-by-division quarterback analysis that might help shed a little light on whether or not Russell has even a fraction of a chance of being a starter in the NFL again.

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LenDale White: Titans Struggled Because They Didn’t Give me the Ball Enough

The Titans struggled last season going 8-8, a year after they went 13-3 which was the best record in the NFL. Running back LenDale White’s carries dropped significantly from 200 in 2008 to 64 in 2009. At the same time, fellow running back Chris Johnson’s carries increased from 251 in 2008 to 358 in 2009, and Johnson produced one of the best all-time seasons by a running back. Regardless, LenDale explained to Petros and Money on FOX Sports Radio (via Pro Football Talk and Sports Radio Interviews) that he feels like the shift away from himself towards Johnson resulted in Tennessee slipping last season:

I think what happened was in Tennessee they probably got a little too carried away with the Chris Johnson thing. The year before that we were 13-3 when I had two hundred carries and we split the rock. Chris went to the Pro Bowl and we had the first round bye, they did things different the next year and we struggled to make the playoffs. It is what it is. It is the same offense down here in Seattle. I am very familiar.

It’s interesting to note that White brought this up on his own in response to a question about Seattle’s offensive system. He also reiterated the same point later in the interview, saying “If we would have kept things the same, if we would have just kept running the ball being the team that we normally would be, I think things would have worked out.” While I respect LenDale’s opinion and appreciate his confidence and attitude, I completely disagree. Of every reason why the Titans struggled last season, LenDale not getting the ball enough and Chris Johnson getting it too much is probably last on my list. Much higher up would be the inability of Kerry Collins to make plays, losing Albert Haynesworth to free agency, the multiple injuries to the secondary early in the season, and switching to Vince Young too late in the season. While the Titans did get carried away trying to get Chris Johnson to 2,000 rushing yards in their last game of the season, Johnson’s stellar play is one of the few reasons they weren’t worse than 8-8 last season.

Sources:
LenDale White has an interesting theory about the ’09 Titans [Pro Football Talk]
LenDale White: “I think it was just time for me to move on.” [Sports Radio Interviews]