News and Notes from Around the NFL

Matt Stafford looks great and is finally ready to get back on the field and play football.  On Friday night he told me that he was excited about it and felt great.  The thing that I like about Stafford is his guts.  The Lions sure put him out there to be killed with a less than impressive line and Stafford has the injuries to prove it, but you can’t knock the kids guts.

Drew Stanton is as genuine of a person as they come.  The Lions 3rd string QB is tough and has the leadership qualities that every coach covets in their QB.  Being from Michigan, a lot of guys would have gotten bitter by the way the Lions have handled him, but Stanton keeps fighting.  His teammates don’t like him in Detroit; they love him.  He is good for the Lions and showed last year that he can play in the league.  Stanton is as real as they come and told me last week he is ready to play football.  I can’t help but think how good he would have been with the coaching that MSU has right now.

Eric Smith, the Jets S, got his degree this week from MSU.  It took him four years, but he never quit.  Another tough as nails player that sure has made the Spartan Nation proud and as a member of one of the best defenses in the NFL with the NFL’s premier defensive coach, that is saying a lot.  Smith is one of the guys that loves to talk football and loves to talk all things MSU, but when I sent him a message of congratulations on Sunday, all he could respond with is “Thanks.”  He is one of the most humble people I have ever met and one of the best all-time human beings to be a Spartan.  He is good for the NFL.

There is a lot of speculation that once there is a deal in the NFL to end the work stoppage that the Chargers will make a run at local San Diego product Reggie Bush.  I spoke to a member of the organization this past week and brought it up, he quickly assured me that he won’t be a Bolt.  “Way too rich for our blood.”

Rob Ryan, the new DC in Dallas, is going to have the biggest impact on that organization as ANY player.  Dallas hasn’t had talent issues; they have had toughness issues.  I was speaking to a former player for Ryan who is well aware of what the Cowboys have talent wise in the locker room and he told me, “Scary is how I would describe that defense is going to be.  If those players buy into Rob you will see Dallas rival the Jets for the best defense.”

I recently got this email from Janek who is an Ohio State Buckeye fan, but it relates to the NFL.  He said to me in part, “Since you know Coach Tressel, could you see him taking an NFL job as an assistant?  Is there anything that you think would intrigue him?”  I could NEVER see him taking an assistant’s job, but I have maintained for some time that the one NFL job I think that would get his attention the fastest would be the head coach of the Buckeyes.  Now I know that they have a coach and he is a great Spartan and person so I certainly am not stirring the waters.  What I am saying is that the head coach of the Browns would intrigue Tressel.  The NFL has contacted him before and NO has been the answer each time.  The Browns have always intrigued the vest.

I have said for over a year that I expected the labor dispute to drag on, but NO games to be lost.  There is no reason to back off from that at all.  They are much closer to a deal today than two weeks ago and I have been all but assured that this is accurate from both sides.  People need to understand that players right now (unless they get workout bonuses) aren’t getting paid, even if there wasn’t a lockout.  The players who get to the NFL (95%) are there because of hard work.  Not having to go to their respective cities of employment makes it nice for them, but most are working out.  I have talked with nearly 75 players recently and NOT ONE is angry or upset for the lockout.  In fact, one long time member of management and a former player told me last week, “We may see better football.  This is how it used to be.  Guys will be healthy and ready to play.  What they didn’t learn in the classroom, I think will be made up for with guys more mentally ready and physically ready.  I personally think that there is too much damn football in the off season.”

Had a real interesting tid bit to pass on to all of you.  Peyton Manning had shoulder surgery.  He still isn’t throwing which, as you can ascertain, isn’t a big deal to me this off-season for anyone missing some time.  The big deal is that as he ages and with no contract for next year, could that be one of the reasons that the Colts let him go into the off-season with no deal?  I don’t think they have anything to worry about, but it is a roll of the dice.  There is brewing speculation that the Titans could come calling for the free agent and with his ties to Tennessee and his love of Tennessee would he listen?  Seems highly doubtful, but one NFL player told me recently, “I think the Titans could be the only team that could grab his thought process.”

The one NFL first round pick from last year who may have his team salivating the most is Andy Dalton.  The QB from TCU has the Bengals excited to have him and with Carson Palmer saying he is done with them, they aren’t too frustrated.  The Bengals think they got their guy in Dalton and now could sit back and let Palmer rot.  Seems like a dumb idea when teams would trade for him, but the Bengals are an odd NFL duck and seem like the kind of organization that would not trade Palmer and at least get something in order to teach him a lesson.  Whether or not they trade him will be an interesting soap opera when a deal is done.

World-renowned Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Lanny Johnson was on my radio show last week and shared numerous great NFL stories. One of which was about Mike Singletary.  He had performed surgery on the star MLB and Singletary called him one day and asked the good Dr. to call the team and tell them, “He can’t practice.  He needs time to recover from injury.”  The team wanted the future Hall of Fame backer to return faster than the Doctor had ordered.  Nice to see teams haven’t changed.