(11-02) 20:56 PST —
The Raiders quite possibly are setting up Tom Cable to walk the plank.
That would fall into the category of zany Raiders’ hijinks, like the kind in which coaches get fired by the light of an overhead projector and assistant coaches attack filing cabinets with their jaws.
But we have entered a new territory: Creepyland.
The Raiders released two statements Monday in the wake of an ESPN report in which two women accuse Cable of physical abuse.
One statement declares that the Raiders will “undertake a serious evaluation of this matter.” Ominously (for Cable), the statement immediately notes that the Raiders have dismissed employees in the past for “inappropriate conduct” and have kept the reasons confidential.
The other statement is where matters get creepy.
“ESPN’s role in this matter must be carefully examined,” the statement reads. “ESPN routinely disseminates falsehoods about the Raiders. During the last year, ESPN (working with someone who was in this organization) engaged in a calculated effort to distort the truth about the Raiders, utilizing lies and innuendo.”
The Raiders imply that the recent Cable report on ESPN just might be more of these falsehoods, lies and/or innuendo.
A couple of things here.
One, Raiders, may we please see a list of the falsehoods routinely disseminated by ESPN? And I don’t mean rumors that didn’t prove true, or crazy speculation, or mean-spirited remarks. Give the public a list of actual ESPN lies about the Raiders, several of them, or shut the darn heck up.
Two, when you use the terms “falsehoods,” “lies” and “innuendo” in referring to the ESPN report in which two women accuse your head coach of striking them, you have vaulted out of paranoia and into slime.
To be crystal clear, there is no charge in this column that the Raiders, from Al Davis down, take a casual attitude toward male-on-female abuse. The Raiders’ family will never fully recover from the 1999 strangulation murder of Tracey Biletnikoff, daughter of the Raiders’ great wide receiver, Fred Biletnikoff.
All the more reason the Raiders erred with colossal insensitivity in urging an examination of whether two women who claim Cable physically assaulted them might be part of ESPN’s so-called dissemination of lies and innuendo.
Cable’s former wife claims he punched her in the jaw two decades ago, and abused her throughout their marriage. A recent girlfriend claims Cable slapped her. We know this: Cable admits he slapped his wife 21 years ago, and she did take out a restraining order against him. No innuendo there.
The Raiders’ owner and top executives wallow in paranoia. The media is out to get them. For instance, the media dwells on the Raiders’ NFL-record run of six seasons of losing 11 or more games, while ignoring the team’s true identity, stamped in bold black letters on the cover of the media guide and on the bottom of each news release: “THE TEAM OF THE DECADES.”
Still, it’s shocking and dismaying that in the Raiders’ anger over the systematic attack from ESPN, Davis and his people can’t resist making the connection between lies/innuendo and a report of the alleged abuse of two women.
Why are the women going public now? Not that the timing matters. Some will suspect a connection with Randy Hanson and a civil suit he may file against Cable and the Raiders. It would seem to strengthen Hanson’s case if his attorney can paint Cable as a man with a history of anger and violence issues, tossed into the public arena by ESPN.
It might help persuade a jury that Randy Hanson wasn’t merely a victim of his own clumsiness.
Speaking of which: Cable shouldn’t be coaching right now. He should be on NFL suspension, because even the Napa County district attorney concedes that at some point during Hanson’s mysterious mishap in that hotel room, Cable had his hands on Hanson’s shirt, seemingly a violation of NFL rules. But that’s another matter.
What’s really bizarre in Monday’s two news releases is the juxtaposition of warnings.
In one statement, the Raiders say they’re evaluating the matter, and alert us that they have fired employees in the past for inappropriate conduct. In the other statement, they call into question the validity of ESPN’s report.
So the Raiders might wind up firing their coach over charges they suggest might be nothing but phony-baloney smears in ESPN’s attacks on the Raiders.
More than 40 partiers at Cowboys game jailed for intoxication
Posted Monday, Sep. 21, 2009
By NATHANIEL JONES
ARLINGTON — Some 40 fans who attended Sunday night’s football game at the new Cowboys Stadium will likely be late to work Monday morning.
As of 7 a.m. Monday, 41 people were sobering up in the Arlington jail after they were arrested during and after the 33-31 defeat of the Cowboys at the hands of the New York Giants.
There might have been more people arrested at the game, but the exact number was unclear Monday morning. That’s because some people may have bonded out of jail between game start and 6 a.m. Monday.
Bail for public intoxication is $304, according to the Arlington police online jail log.
All were arrested in the 900 block of East Randol Mill Road.
Two people were arrested for fighting and three people who were suspected of driving while intoxicated near the stadium also remained in jail, according to the online log.
A record-setting crowd of 105,121 attended the Dallas Cowboys’ first home football game of the season.
By halftime, 28 people had been kicked out of the game, said Tiara Ellis Richard, an Arlington Texas spokeswoman.
Reduced season-ticket sales for some N.F.L. teams could result in a greater than usual number of local television blackouts.
“It’s all part of the challenges that we’re seeing in the economy and what our clubs are going through,” Roger Goodell told reporters Tuesday at the Washington Redskins’ training camp in Ashburn, Va. “Our clubs have been working hard in the off-season to create other ways to try to get people in the stadiums and to have policies that are a little more flexible, and hopefully, they’re going to pay dividends for us.”
He said that the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose season tickets have fallen to 25,000 this season from 42,000 last season, were one of the teams whose games could be blacked out if their home games are not sold out.
N.F.L. rules require that games be blacked out in local markets if they are not sold out 72 hours before kickoff.
A USA Today survey found that the fans of a dozen teams might face some blackouts this season.
CBS and Fox said they did not expect the blackouts to significantly affect ratings or cause them to provide givebacks to advertisers.
“Very simply, it’s about the overall ratings,” Ed Goren, the president of Fox Sports, wrote in an e-mail message. “A few blackouts may not have any real effect on our full-season ratings.”
LeslieAnne Wade, a spokeswoman for CBS Sports, said, “It won’t be in every market, so we don’t expect blackouts to affect the rating we’re selling for national advertising.
Redskins Still in Pursuit of Cutler
By Jason Reid and Jason LaCanfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 2, 2009; 12:07 PM
The Washington Redskins’ pursuit of Jay Cutler continued today, with the Denver Broncos reportedly informing teams they want at least two first-round draft picks for the disgruntled quarterback.
Cutler, who requested a trade on March 16, expressed surprise that Denver had moved so quickly to meet his demand and indicated he was having second thoughts about leaving the Broncos.
“I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon,” Cutler, 25, told FoxSports Wednesday night. “I didn’t want to get traded. That wasn’t me. They had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback, and then they didn’t. I really didn’t want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn’t want it to get this far.”
One NFL source said the Redskins were trying to complete the deal as quickly as possible, although at least two other teams, the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were also reportedly interested in acquiring Cutler. An official with an NFL team that has been in touch with Denver said the Broncos told his club they would want at least two first-round draft picks for the two-year starter, confirming a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The Redskins have declined to comment on the reports.
The NFL source said Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has been pushing for the trade in an attempt to solve the team’s decades-long pursuit of a franchise quarterback.
Another NFL source said a high-ranking Redskins official contacted one NFL team Wednesday about the possibility of trading quarterback Jason Campbell for a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. That source said he interpreted the Redskins’ overture as an attempt by Washington to put together a package to acquire Cutler.
Redskins spokesman Zack Bolno denied the team had inquired about dealing Campbell.
Redskins officials have repeatedly publicly denied interest in Cutler. Vinny Cerrato, Washington’s executive vice president of football operations, said March 17 that the team was not pursuing Cutler, and Coach Jim Zorn dismissed the notion while meeting with reporters last week at the NFL owners’ meetings in Dana Point, Calif.
If the Redskins fail to acquire Cutler, they risk alienating Campbell, who has been the starter the past two seasons. Campbell said Wednesday that he wants to stay in Washington.
“I want to be here. I feel like there’s a lot I want to accomplish and that’s what I’ve been working to do, but you know it’s not in your control,” Campbell said. “All I can do is just keep doing what I’m doing, working hard and waiting to see what happens.”
Campbell was among the main targets of frustrated fans, who questioned his intelligence and leadership skills on Internet message boards and sports-talk radio, during the team’s 2-6 collapse after a 6-2 start to last season. The offensive line struggled in pass protection, and the receiving corps did not produce as Snyder and Cerrato hoped, but “everyone always want to blame the quarterback,” Campbell said yesterday. “I know I’m improving, I’m working to get better every day, but some people are . . . you just know that’s the way it is.”
After the Redskins failed to qualify for the playoffs, Cerrato declined to commit to Campbell as the team’s quarterback beyond the 2009 season. Zorn has continued to publicly support Campbell, who in only his second full season as a starter last season established personal bests with an 84.3 passer rating, 3,245 yards and 13 touchdown passes while throwing only six interceptions.
Zorn, however, has stopped short of declaring Campbell a “franchise quarterback,” saying the former first-round draft pick possesses the skills to become an elite player. Having played in three offensive systems in his first four NFL seasons with Washington, Campbell was eager to begin his second season in Zorn’s version of the West Coast offense.
“I was definitely looking forward to being in the same offense for another year and seeing what we could together,” Campbell said. “Being in a different system almost every year, you just don’t get as comfortable as when you’re in the same system for a lot of years. It’s just different.”
Although Campbell still hopes to be Washington’s starting quarterback in the 2009 season, “with all the stuff out there, you know crazy stuff happens in this league,” he said. “You just have to be ready for anything.
“A bunch of trade talk is what got Cutler mad at Denver, that’s the reason all that stuff started with him, but I wouldn’t do all that. The thing you understand that there’s no loyalty in this game, so you just have to work hard. That’s all you can do.”
Cutler is one of only three NFL quarterbacks to throw for at least 25 touchdown passes and 4,500 yards last season, and has developed well the past two seasons as a starter, to the point where some believe he is on the cusp of becoming a star.
He expressed a desire to leave Denver after the Broncos were reported to have pursued a trade for New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel — a former pupil of rookie head coach Josh McDaniels. The Broncos attempted to repair the frayed relationship between the talented young quarterback and the coach, but the situation deteriorated to the point where owner Pat Bowlen finally declared his intent on Tuesday night to trade the player.
Cutler was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of Vanderbilt, and was heralded for his strong arm, size, strength and athleticism. He replaced Jake Plummer as Denver’s starter in late November of his rookie season, and finished 2007 as the league’s 12th-rated passer. In 2008 he reached the Pro Bowl, but some scouts have pointed to his high interception totals as a cause of concern. He has thrown 32 interceptions in his last 32 games, and at least one interception in 13 of his 16 starts last season.
Cutler has also failed to post a winning record as a starter, though Denver’s poor defense certainly played a role in that.
Some NFL executives have also called Cutler’s attitude and leadership into question following his response to the trade talks, and some clubs found him to be aloof while evaluating him prior to the draft. Whether he possess all of the intangibles generally associated with elite quarterbacks will play out as he evolves in his next locale.
In the midst of the greatest economic freefall this country has ever seen, one of the most popular topics among those in the sports finance world is which team, in which league, will file for bankruptcy first and when.
With Jeff deGraff, the top tech analyst on the Street, predicting last night on CNBC’s “Fast Money” that we are “probably in the fifth inning” of the meltdown, sports teams and their owners can’t possibly be immune, with billions and billions of dollars lost.
Let’s start with the “when.”
The best guess, according to those in the know, is that if the bear market continues, a team will likely file for bankruptcy by February or March. Who is it going to be? It’s hard to say unless you analyze every owner’s unique financial situation. But it’s generally believed that if a team files in the near future, odds are it will be an NHL team, they reason. That’s because it’s the sport with the least cash flow and probably has the owners with the lowest net worth. In fact, since 1974, a major professional sports team has filed for bankruptcy five times and every single one of them was a National Hockey League Team.
The Pittsburgh Penguins filed for bankruptcy in 1974 and 1998, the Los Angeles Kings filed in 1995 and the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres filed for bankruptcy within days of each other in 2003. In June of this year, Nashville Predators co-owner William “Boots” Del Biaggio filed for Chapter 11.
Although owners love their sports teams, it’s undeniable that many of their businesses are also losing money and that means, at some point, a team has to go. And once one owner does it, it’s very possible that the financially strained in the toughest markets could go running to the courthouse to try to salvage something.
Bain Capital was laughed at when it was reported that they offered $4 billion to buy the entire NHL in 2005, as the sport endured a full season of sitting out from the lockout. That deal would have put the average franchise at $133 million. Almost four years later, that number looks pretty good.
By Thomas Boswell
Monday, September 29, 2008; E01
IRVING, Tex. Among the litmus tests passed down through generations of Redskins fans is the ability of new coaches to travel to hated Dallas and beat the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. For many, the first trip to Irving has been brutal, setting a tone that never changed. The last Redskins coach to win his first game in Dallas was George Allen in ’71. Even Vince Lombardi lost his only game here for Washington. And Joe Gibbs lost his first time here in both his regimes.
Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis (26) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin (26) after a 31-yard run in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008, in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Jim Zorn may not be a made man quite yet in this town. Seasons are long, much less entire coaching careers. But he’s moving up the ladder awfully fast after a 26-24 victory over a Dallas team that’s touted as one of the Cowboys’ best and a Super Bowl contender. His offense controlled the ball for 38 minutes 9 seconds, outgained Dallas in yardage, 381-344, and did not commit a turnover. Perhaps most important, his attack had such balance between passing and rushing, while the Cowboys threw 47 times out of desperation, that the Redskins actually dominated this game by more than the final margin.
“I don’t know whether I have a headache from calling plays or watching the clock at the end, wanting it to get down [to 0:00],” said Zorn, who sweated out the last 3:22 after a 29-yard Shaun Suisham field goal gave underdog Washington a 26-17 lead that hushed the huge crowd. “It’s good to see that everybody is responding to this style of leadership. We’re heading in the right direction. What does it mean as a [rookie] NFL coach? I mean, we just beat Dallas in Dallas.”
With that, Zorn just stopped and grinned at the thought. Not bad for a guy who, nine months ago when he was introduced as coach, thought the team’s colors were “maroon and black.”
Can we officially and forever forgive that one now? This win stamped Zorn as part of burgundy-and-gold lore.
In his attempt to redesign the Washington Redskins’ offense, rookie coach Jim Zorn has constantly peppered Jason Campbell with all sorts of phrases. One of them: “Avoid, reset and throw.”
After a miserable first game, Campbell last week responded with a phrase of his own: “Coach, just trust me.”
On Sunday, both got the point. Campbell went from uncomfortable to prolific with a 321-yard passing day, and he mastered the “avoid, reset and throw” move with aplomb on a 67-yard touchdown to Santana Moss as the Redskins came from behind to beat visiting New Orleans 29-24.
“We talked a lot during the week,” Campbell said. “I said ‘Coach, just trust me.’ And he said, ‘I’ve got to trust you more.’ We do it together.”
Campbell appeared out of sorts with Zorn’s West Coast attack in a 16-7 loss to the Giants, but he went 24-for-36 with no interceptions against the Saints. He completed his last eight passes as the Redskins (1-1) overcame a nine-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final 6 1/2 minutes.
“I don’t really know how to act, but I am very excited,” Zorn said of his first NFL win. “I wish I could enjoy it as much as I had to endure last week for four or five days, but I won’t be able to.”
The big play came with 3:29 left and the Redskins trailing 24-22. Campbell avoided the rush, stepped forward and hit Moss in stride, the receiver one step ahead of rookie cornerback Tracy Porter.
Reggie Bush returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown that gave the Saints (1-1) a 24-15 lead at the end of the third quarter. New Orleans remained in the game principally because all five of the Redskins’ first-half drives ended in field-goal attempts.
The Saints committed three turnovers, and all landed in the hands of seventh-round draft pick Chris Horton.
“Hail To The Redskins- Hail Victory….
Braves On The Warpath- Fight For Old D.C.!“
A Class Reunion in Canton
Partisan Crowd Cheers Monk, Green On Induction Day
By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 3, 2008; D01
CANTON, Ohio, Aug. 2 — They came from the District and beyond to see them. Way beyond. Some of the pilgrimages began in Orange County, Calif., and others in Murphy, N.C., where a white-haired couple began driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains some nine hours earlier.
“After all the memories, we had to see them go in,” Bill Garrod said as his wife, Nancy, nodded in agreement, hours before Art Monk and Darrell Green were to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
And the moment the last Class of 2008 inductee took the stage, their patience was rewarded for those $4 gallons of gas and hours on sweltering freeways — just as Monk’s patience the past eight years was rewarded.
For 4 minutes 4 seconds before Monk spoke — an applause lasting nearly three times as long as that for any other honoree — the steadiest and most reliable wide receiver to play pro football in Washington took in the chants, smiles and unconditional love heaped upon him.
“Thank you, thank you,” Monk kept saying, happily unable to quiet the applause from the announced crowd of 16,654 at Fawcett Stadium, about 15,000 of whom wore burgundy and gold.
Green had spoken nearly an hour earlier, drawing a monstrous ovation as fireworks cascaded behind him. He was the third inductee to be honored and the first Redskin introduced.
Bill Garrod wore one of those Super Bowl T-shirts with the caricatured mugs of Redskins players from another era. There was Charles Mann, Earnest Byner, Ricky Sanders and, of course, the ebullient and grinning Green. Bill spoke of seeing Eddie LeBaron play at Griffith Stadium in the 1950s the way others spoke of the magic and majesty of RFK in the 1980s and early 1990s.
They overwhelmed this lush, northeastern Ohio town about an hour south of Cleveland with numbers and passion, thousands of fans clad in burgundy and gold hats, jerseys, assorted paraphernalia and, yes, Halloween masks. They dwarfed other Hall of Fame inductees’ fans, transforming Canton into a rollicking yet respectful RFK tailgate.
Soon after the national anthem, 2007 inductee Michael Irvin took the podium and was booed long and lustily, as if the former Dallas Cowboys wideout were still standing across the line of scrimmage from Green. According to NFL broadcaster and former coach Steve Mariucci, the crowd was “95 percent Washington Redskin jerseys!”
The fans’ journey to the cradle of professional football to pay homage to Monk and Green began less in a place than a time, when the Redskins were frequently atop the NFL, led by groups of men nicknamed the Fun Bunch and the Hogs. Among the most skilled were Green, the loquacious, lightning-quick cornerback who played longer for the Redskins than any player, and Monk, the sure-handed wide receiver who let his solid play speak for him.
Monk and Green were enshrined with former New England Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett; Gary Zimmerman, an offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos; Fred Dean, the pass-rushing demon of the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers; and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas, who also mentored Green and Monk for eight seasons as a Redskins assistant.
Monk’s selection in February to Canton was the culmination of a rejection process that went on for almost a decade, as other, more showy wide receivers and less-accomplished players received enough votes for enshrinement. Monk resigned himself to being known as the durable yet often unspectacular pro, the guy who did not have enough go-long highlights to impress a suddenly pass-happy league.
Never mind Monk held the NFL’s career record for receptions for two years, had five seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards and that he caught seven passes for 113 yards in Super Bowl XXVI. For seven years, it didn’t matter.
“I think the first year was probably the worst, because there was so much anticipation from my community, all the fans, just saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got it made, you’re a shoo-in,’ ” Monk said Friday during an interview session. “And when you start hearing that and you start believing it and when it didn’t happen, it was a disappointment.”
“It’s taken eight years,” Monk added. “But regardless of how long it’s taken, it’s good to be here.”
Green’s induction came almost as quickly as the blinding speed of the player four times named the NFL’s fastest man. He was enshrined the first year he was eligible.
Before every split time was news at an NFL combine and every team had an army of strength and speed coaches, Green once ran a 40-yard dash in an unheard-of time of 4.17 seconds.
He played 20 years with the Redskins, an NFL record for years spent with one team equaled only by former Rams offensive lineman Jackie Slater. Monk’s 295 games with Washington remains a milestone for a player with one team in one city. His seven Pro Bowl selections were buttressed by 54 career interceptions.
The fans who invaded Canton this weekend all had their favorite Green and Monk moments, ranging from Green’s spectacular punt return against the Chicago Bears in a 1988 playoff game — he winced in pain from a rib injury as he crossed the goal line — to Monk’s record-setting reception against the Denver Broncos at RFK Stadium on “Monday Night Football” in 1992, after which Monk’s teammates interrupted the game to carry him on their shoulders.
“So I guess that would be the most memorable for me,” Monk said.
A Los Angeles Rams fan, standing near Redskins fans, volunteered he had never imagined Eric Dickerson being caught from behind by any player in his prime, but that he remembered Green tracking down the tailback and dragging him to the ground.
Dan Bee, who came from Orange County, Calif., with his wife, Stephanie, said the play that sticks in his mind is Green knocking away a pass against the Minnesota Vikings on fourth down near the goal line at the end of a playoff game, sending the Redskins to Super Bowl XXII in 1988.
Keith McCoy and David Sutherland, both 24 and best friends growing up in Northern Virginia, simply remember attending Monk’s camp four straight summers, how gracious the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was to impressionable youths like themselves. “He signed autographs, took pictures, talked to us, everything,” McCoy said.
Monk was presented by his son, James Arthur Monk Jr. Green’s presenter was also his son, Jared, whom he and his wife were going to name Darrell Green Jr. before changing their minds a month before he was born.
“I’m so grateful because he’s his own man,” Green said. “I’m more proud of my son being my son than I am being in the Hall of Fame.”
Inside the Hall of Fame, through the maze of exhibits and grainy NFL Films, thousands more burgundy-and-gold-clad people made their way to the bronzed-bust room, where they snapped photos of Joe Gibbs’s likeness. This, too, was part of the journey to pro football’s Mecca. For this day, they wouldn’t be anywhere else.