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Looks Like Jason Campbell Has Finally Had Enough of the Redskins Bull****

A few weeks ago on my radio show (which I probably don’t mention enough here, yes, it’s every Friday overnight 11pm-4am PT available at sportingnews.com or 1090am for the So Cal crowd), I made a point of comparing Jason Campbell’s reaction to trade rumors with Jay Cutler’s reaction to the same rumors. While Cutler used the Cassel to the Broncos rumors as leverage to demand a trade, Campbell reacted to the Cutler/Redskins rumors in a mature way. Campbell publicly showed he knows it’s a business, saying that any team that didn’t win the Super Bowl the previous year will be looking to improve the following season.

While Campbell was justifying the Skins’ interest in Cutler, there’s no doubt he was hurt. The guy was the team’s first round pick a few years ago, waited his time, finally got his shot, and felt like they had committed to him as their starter. Now he’s hearing nothing but rumors that they’re trying to upgrade at the position? That they view their quarterback as a weakness? Of course he couldn’t have felt good about everything. The final straw may have been the rumors that Washington’s interested in drafting Mark Sanchez (quick plug, I’m hosting the SNR post-draft show Sat. night 7-10pm PT too if you can listen). That’s not sitting well with Campbell, apparently:

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The Real Winner in the ’09 Draft: Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA

Much like the Dolphins did last year with top pick Jake Long, the Lions supposedly want to have their first pick in the draft already signed before making a selection. This makes a lot of sense because teams want to avoid contract holdouts during training camp, especially bad teams that need their top players on the field. Well it came out last week that the Lions had already begun negotiations with the agents of three players — Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, and Aaron Curry. Here’s the catch: both Stafford of Georgia and Baylor OT Jason Smith are represented by the same agents — Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA.

If the Lions were trying to decide between the top three guys on their board, price and ease of negotiations could be a critical factor. Unfortunately for Detroit, the luxury of bargaining is lost since CAA is holding two of the top three cards. Now one can argue that the pay scale for draftees is already set by the slotting system (the higher you’re picked the more you make), but contracts vary by position. Knowing what the Lions are willing to pay for Stafford (or Smith) will help the negotiations for the other player, and vice versa. Detroit won’t be able to play any hard ball. Their only leverage for now is Aaron Curry, and from the sounds of things, going with him would be the best option of all.

Incidentally, the Dogra/Condon combination also represented the first and third overall pick in last year’s draft, Jake Long and Matt Ryan. The only difference is the Dolphins weren’t too interested in Ryan whereas the Lions could go in any direction for all we know.

Josh McDaniels’ Newest Project: Fixing the Broncos’ Cafeteria

If you were wondering what Josh McDaniels’ next big step was as the first-year head coach of the Broncos, we now have the answer. You follow up chasing your franchise quarterback out of town by changing up the team cafeteria! The Denver Post has the details:

Among [McDaniels'] discoveries were that Broncos players collectively lost approximately 450 pounds from the beginning of training camp last year until season’s end.

The Broncos have altered the daily menu at Dove Valley and have plans to expand the kitchen.

“We addressed the nutrition end of it,” McDaniels said after the team’s mini-camp workout Sunday. “We want to make sure our players are as healthy and fed as well as we can feed them. We don’t want to end up with a different team in December as what we put together in September.”

Somewhere Mike Shanahan is reading this and laughing his ass off. I wonder what the league average is for weight loss from beginning to end of a season. Between daily practices and Sunday wars, I can’t imagine anyone’s gaining weight nor maintaining it. The notable exception of course is the coaching staffs — seems like those guys are putting on pounds by the hour. Call me skeptical, but I’m guessing the Broncos have bigger fish to fry such as fixing that defense and finding a healthy running back.

Is There a Cover-Up for Positive Drug Tests at NFL Combine?

I can’t remember the last time members of the media got stories of great magnitude flat-out wrong like they did with this one. Maybe it was when a TV station erroneously reported that Albert Pujols was on the Mitchell Report and later got reprimanded. It’s been reported over the past month that there were 25 or so failed drug tests at the NFL Combine, be it for steroids, weed, you name it. One of the players said to have failed a test was Boston College DT B.J. Raji. Raji’s agent vehemently denied the failed test but what else would you expect from his agent when both of them stand to lose tons of money because of the report? To further complicate matters, the report was released by Sports Illustrated — a very reputable source — and it was later removed from their website. In a more sketchy situation, a website called NFL Draft Bible reported that the likes of Percy Harvin, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, as well as Raji had positive drug tests.

Now weeks after reports surfaced that all these players had positive drug tests at the combine, Pro Football Talk has league sources telling them none of the players listed above tested positive. I’m really beginning to wonder whether or not there’s a cover-up going on. Which side do you trust? I often believe that “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” but now I’m having my doubts. Is it possible that SI and Draft Bible just ran with tips from poor sources and that it was easier for them to do because Raji failed a test while in college and Cushing has long been suspected of using steroids? I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that websites need to be 100% certain they have correct information before publishing stories, considering what’s at stake. These players could lose millions of dollars if they slip in the draft because of speculation they had positive tests. It’s hard to know which side to believe. For now, I’m giving the players the benefit of the doubt, thinking that they’re owed a huge apology.

Donovan McNabb Can Kiss His Request for a Top WR Goodbye with Peters Trade

Donovan McNabb’s made it pretty well-known that his future with the Eagles (he’s entering the final year of his contract) depends on what they do over the offseason. McNabb’s really only played with one top notch receiver in his entire career and that was Terrell Owens. Interestingly enough, not only did McNabb enjoy his best statistical season and a half ever with T.O., but Owens was also having his best season ever in ’05 before Philly shut operation T.O. down. Last year the Eagles took a step in the right direction using their second-round pick on DeSean Jackson who’s a pretty good playmaker. This year it seems as if two pretty high quality receivers (Braylon Edwards and Anquan Boldin) are available on the trade market, not to mention guys like Housmazilli and Coles who were available as free agents prior to signing deals.

The trade between Philly and Buffalo where the Eagles gave up three picks (their first, fourth, and one next year) for Bills left tackle Jason Peters, seems to have ended any chance of the Eagles picking up a big receiving option. The negotiations between the teams went so smoothly because Philly was willing to open up the vault for Peters and pay him top dollar — $60 million over five years with 25 guaranteed, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t know how they’ll have much left over for a receiving threat. Thing is, McNabb might be happier with some extra protection for his blind side than anything else. Remember that eight or nine sack game Winston Justice gave up to the Giants a few years ago? I’m sure McNabb does.

Problem for Philly here is that a $60 million investment in Peters is unwise. The guy got named to the Pro Bowl last year based on reputation, not performance. He gave up 11.5 sacks and even had to benched at the beginning of the year because his performance lagged from holding out during training camp. Peters said he wasn’t happy with his contract last year and admitted it may have adversely impacted his performance. The Eagles better make sure it was a lack of desire, not talent, that caused Peters to have the bad year. Either way they’re screwed because I wouldn’t want that much money tied up in a guy who’s performance is related to contract satisfaction.

On the Messy Life of Todd Marinovich

Two years ago I made fun of Todd Marinovich because he was picked up for skateboarding where he shouldn’t have and then got busted for felony drug charges. If my count is accurate, the former USC and Raiders quarterback has been arrested nine time, mostly for drugs. Much like Josh Hamilton or Dock Ellis, anytime a talented athlete is derailed by drugs or accomplishes a lot with drugs, we make a big deal of it. That, along with Todd’s Robo QB history, makes him so intriguing.

As Deadspin pointed out to me, Esquire did an in-depth feature on Marinovich. If you’re at all interested, I suggest taking the 30 minutes to read it. You’ll get to read some crazy things and find out more about the guy. For example, I didn’t realize that Todd was groomed to be USC’s QB not only because of his dad, but also because of his father in law and entire family’s tie to SC. Anyway, some of the most absurd stories from Marinovich’s life were touched on in the piece. Here are a few of those excerpts (warning, language and subject matter is strong):

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Lawrence Taylor: Dancing Is More Time Consuming than Football

Lawrence Taylor did an interview with Sporting News’ Steve Greenberg that appears in this week’s issue. I’m guessing LT agreed to it so he could promote his appearance on Dancing with the Stars and his endorsement of the weight-loss program, Nutrisystem. There wasn’t a whole lot of meat there and LT was pretty disappointing overall. There was a considerable amount of cussing which is always fun. About the only thing good from the excerpt posted online was Taylor’s comment comparing dancing to football:

“It’s more time-consuming, especially the mental work. It’s a lot like going through the playbook. You expect to read it and know it by Sunday. That’s the correlation I see and the biggest challenge.”

Now I’ve heard nothing but how time-consuming football is. Coaches spend countless hours preparing each week and players do nothing but practice, lift, study, attend meetings, and watch film. Everything we’re told about how hard they work makes me wonder how they have time to get into as much trouble as they do. What I gather from this comment is that football came so easy for LT that he didn’t have to prepare as much. I can’t imagine how dancing could ever be more time-consuming, even if it does take 8-10 hours of practice each day as Karina Smirnoff told me. I guess LT was just that good at football. His other interesting comment was that the game has become more of an individual sport than a team one. Funny, I always considered it the most team-oriented game of all. Perhaps he’s referring to the coverage of the sport — that would make sense.