Candid Camera: NFL Edition
I am a huge fan of pranks. I even enjoy watching extremely awkward moments, which is probably why Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of my favorite shows. In the video above, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley sheds his scary-as-hell football persona and gives us a peek of his softer, lighter side, laughable side. I like.
Check out the bizarre and at times, cringe-worthy prank Woodley pulls on NFL buddies Steve Breaston, Marcedes Lewis, and Michael Turner. I’ll give you a hint… it involves solid acting performances, a cross-dressing element, and short shorts. Everybody wins!
Logic tells me the Patriots will have their way with the Broncos in Saturday’s AFC divisional round game. Universal mysticism tells me the Broncos are functioning in some 5th element, bizarro-world playing field that could actually make it possible for Denver to take down the Patriots in New England.
I’m picking the Patriots for a few reasons.
1) They are playing at home where they lost only one game this season.
2) While the Broncos defense has talent, the unit (ranked 20th in the NFL) is inconsistent and can’t be trusted to dismantle the NFL’s 2nd leading offense on the road.
3) Despite a slow start, the Patriots bounced back after an ugly first quarter and hammered the Broncos, beating them by 18 points in Denver just 26 days ago.
Vegas has the Pats favored by 13.5 points, and while I don’t bet on sports (or anything else for that matter) to begin with, I certainly wouldn’t put money on these numbers. While reason tells me the Patriots should smash the Broncos by at least 20 points, I’m admittedly afraid of whatever power Tim Tebow appears to possess.
I give Denver a chance, primarily because the Patriots have a horrendous defense. Back when the Pats were winning titles, yes, they had Tom Brady and a slew of role players offensively, but they also had a strong defense with guys like Tedi Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour. Those days are long gone and I believe this is the worst defense the Pats have had in recent years, despite having some talented guys on the roster.
Remember, the Broncos offense gained 167 yards against the Pats in the first quarter of their week 15 meeting and the tide really turned as on the Broncos because they kept fumbling the ball. I think they handed the momentum to New England more so than the Patriots taking it. A huge issue for the Broncos defense was the fact that they successfully managed to shut down Rob Gronkowski, but in turn, had no answer for Aaron Hernandez who destroyed them.
I give the Broncos tremendous credit for beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round, but remember, they stunk in the first quarter, got hot, then let the Steelers come back to tie the game. The Broncos, who themselves have suffered the loss of key players to injury (C Chris Cooper, WR Eric Decker), needed overtime to put away a completely depleted Steelers team. While the game was exciting to watch and yes, a win is a win, I don’t think Denver fans should be enthusiastic about the team’s overall performance heading into New England.
This is like trying a case with DNA versus circumstantial evidence. When it comes to pleading the case for a Patriots victory, the argument is based in fact, numbers, etc. It’s like DNA; real, hard core, slam-dunk evidence. As for the testimony in favor of a Broncos win, the majority is anecdotal, emotional, and intangible, especially when it comes to Tebow and the Denver offense.
The truth is that cases are won on circumstantial evidence, it happens. The Broncos aren’t supposed to beat the Patriots. They just aren’t. But then again, they weren’t supposed to be good, they weren’t supposed to win the AFC West, they weren’t supposed to make the playoffs and they certainly weren’t supposed to do any of that with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. While we might not be able to explain it, the things we have seen the Broncos do with our own eyes have to put some amount of fear and doubt into the minds of even the biggest Patriots fans. Things are scarier when you can’t understand how or why they happened. I would also be a bit spooked given the fact that the Pats have been bounced from the playoffs in their first round games for two years straight, both games were home losses.
That said, I’m going with matter over mind and picking the Patriots to snap their playoff losing streak and end the “miracle” season for Tebow and the Broncos.
Bearded Beer Drinkers Sitting Between Players On Mavs Bench During NBA Game
These two guys scored the best seats ever, that is if you enjoy the musty stank of a sweaty NBA player.
Check out this video from Tuesday’s game at the Palace between the hosting Detroit Pistons and visiting Dallas Mavericks. Does something seem a bit off to you? The Pistons announcers were perplexed as well when they noticed Zach Galifianakis and Ben Roethlisberger doppelgangers sitting between Vince Carter and Delonte West on the Mavs bench. Not only were these two sitting between players, but they were drinking beer! Awesome.
According to various media outlets, the two dudes in question are Aaron Cohen, a fashion designer from Michigan (Galifianakis) and his buddy Chris Stokes (Big Ben). I’ve read a few blogs claiming that the men were sitting in VIP seats that are technically next to the bench. If that is the case, then why the heck is Carter not sitting next to his teammates?
Either way it’s a pretty funny sight and it must have been a cool experience for the fans. I love how West is completely ignoring the existence of the guys while Carter seems to be somewhat amused by the whole thing.
Not to rain on the parade, but while this makes for a fun story, you would think the Pistons (or whichever team allowed the men to sit between players) would be weary of allowing fans to get that close to players for an extended period of time during a game. Remember Malice in the Palace? True, several fans sit courtside during every NBA game, but sitting between players, especially if you are a fan of the opposing team seems a bit risky.
UPDATE 8:45pm EST The Associated Press is reporting that divers did recover a body from the Fox River late Monday afternoon. Authorities had not released the identity of the body, a male between 20-25 years of age until the family was notified first. At a scheduled news conference, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Philbin was away with the team in Oshkosh.
Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang, whose father died last week, tweeted the following Monday evening:
@TJLang70: As children we all have to someday say goodbye to our parents, but a parent should never have to say goodbye to their child.
@TJLang70: Prayers for the Philbin family.
The police said no foul play was involved and hopefully further details will be made available to help give the Philbin family closure, if possible. Clearly, this is a sad day for the Packers organization and the Philbin family.
ORIGINAL POST: The last few days have not been kind to NFL assistant coaches.
First, Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson sustained burns over 30 to 50 percent of his body as the result of a fire that started in his kitchen last Friday morning. The 50-year-old was reportedly placed in a medically induced coma, and remained hospitalized in Pennsylvania while the Steelers lost to the Broncos on Sunday in Denver.
Preparing to face the New York Giants in this coming weekend’s divisional round playoff game, the Green Bay Packers coaching staff is now bracing itself for tragedy as Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, has gone missing.
Multiple news outlets are reporting the 21-year-old was last heard from around 2 a.m. Sunday, as Philbin was visiting friends around the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson released the following statement Monday afternoon:
“The Packers organization is aware of the missing person report regarding Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Philbin family during this difficult time. We ask anyone with information about Michael to contact the Oshkosh Police Department.”
Multiple media outlets are reporting that another search is under way, according to Deadspin.com, “A rescue team in Oshkosh, Wis., is searching the icy waters of the Fox River for a person reported to have fallen in, while police are looking for a missing man they have identified as Michael T. Philbin… An employee at an auto parts manufacturer on High Street, located just along the river, had called for an emergency crew at 2:30 a.m. Sunday after thinking he heard someone call for help from the river.”
I’m not sure if Deadspin has any actual evidence that the two cases are connected, but the website is implying Philbin is the man suspected to have fallen into the icy river. Joe Nichols, a crime prevention officer from the local police department said the two cases are being treated as two separate incidents, according to thenorthwest.com.
Philbin has faced rough times in the past few years as he was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls and two counts of battery in 2009.
Hopefully this story will have a happy ending, but if it doesn’t, the Packers coach will have quite a tough task ahead of him. While we have seen countless players take the field under a cloud of personal tragedy (Brett Favre’s fabulous performance the day after his father’s death in 2003 comes to mind), rarely has that dark cloud resulted from the loss of a child, which is thought to be the worst loss of all.
Lets hope Michael Philbin is found alive and well.
Well isn’t this clever?
On his way out of Denver on Monday, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic surely expected a typical, run-of-the-mill travel day, the kind a sports reporter experiences countless times per year.
But after a dramatic 27-23 Broncos win over the Steelers in overtime in Sunday’s AFC wildcard game, Tebowmania has swept through the Denver metro area, the airport being no exception.
Instead of flying the friendly skies as usual, Kovacevic and other passengers on United flight UA648 heading to Pittsburgh from Denver International Airport were taunted by a not-so-subtle message flashing on the screen at Gate B23.
“How ‘bout that Tebow?”
Kovacevic’s tweet accompanying the photo was just as classic, reading,
@Dejan_Kovacevic: Further proof that airlines are corporate demons, right now at Denver airport.
I laughed out loud at the tweet and the photo. On one hand, I love that some airport employee is going to get a kick of out watching the faces of the perturbed Pittsburgh faithful all day long as they read the screen. After all, the Broncos hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2005 season, so perhaps some let their excitement get the best of them.
Plus, the folks at the United kiosk made a valid point. Tebow played fantastic, going 10-21 for 316 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air, not to mention 50 yards rushing on 10 carriers, including a touchdown run. I’m sure most people watching at home were also thinking, “how ‘bout that Tebow?” I sure was!
On the other hand, I suppose this kind of jab could really anger a die-hard fan. I’d like to think that as upset as I might be over my team’s loss, I could just shake my head and mutter “well played” at something like this, but I can’t be sure.
Steelers fans stuck in the waiting area staring at that sign will get over it eventually. “This too shall pass,” as they say. With a roster decimated by injury, losing a first-round playoff game on the road wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, especially with angels in the endzone helping the Broncos offense all game. Hey, it’s not like losing a Super Bowl or anything. Oops! Nevermind.
Tim Tebow Calls Tom Brady A “Prophet” After Broncos Beat Steelers
The Broncos could only go so many minutes after their shocking win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before someone in the media mentioned Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
With their 29-23 overtime win in the Wildcard round, the Broncos earned themselves a trip to Foxboro to take on the top team in the AFC in the divisional round next weekend.
After Sunday’s win over an injury-depleted Steelers team, the wonder that is Denver quarterback Tim Tebow took to the podium to answer questions from the media. A reporter asked him what it was that Patriots QB Tom Brady had said to Tebow during their week 15 matchup.
As you can see in the video, Tebow avoided recounting the specifics of what Brady said on the field that day, but another reporter followed up asking, didn’t he say something like ‘we’ll see you again?’
That’s when Tebow laughed awkwardly, and replied, “Uh, he might have said something like that, and um, so I guess he’s a prophet, I don’t know.”
Gotta love Tebow bringing it back to religion, no matter WHAT the question or topic. The reporters in the room got a kick out of his reply, as did I.
As for that week 15 game, we all remember what happened last time the Broncos met the Patriots:
The home team Broncos started strong, leading the visiting Pats 13-7 at the end of the first quarter before being absolutely pummeled both offensively and defensively, resulting in a 41-23 New England win.
I doubt Brady is a prophet, but he is intuitive and the Patriots are the best of the best when it comes to recognizing talent. If you recall, shortly before the 2010 NFL Draft, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took Tebow out to dinner at a restaurant in Boston’s North End. Whether the Patriots were truly interested in Tebow, served as a scout for old friend Josh McDaniels or just used him as a decoy (the Pats drafted three Florida Gators not named Tebow that year), surely Belichick liked something he saw in Tebow.
Not only do we get to see a Tebow-riffic offense and smoking hot Broncos defense attempt to avenge that embarrassing week 15 loss against perhaps the finest offense in the NFL, but they’ll do so opposite their former head coach Josh McDaniels. The former Patriots offensive coordinator took his old job back (he will officially take over for Bill O’Brien once he leaves to coach Penn State after the Patriots’ season ends) and starts working with the team on Monday, as he’ll help the Pats do whatever they can to stop a team he once coached, led by the controversial quarterback he drafted.
The hype going into next weekend’s game will be palpable and overbearing by game day. Hopefully the play on the field will at least come close to doing it justice. I can’t picture the Broncos beating the Patriots after the loss they suffered a few weeks ago, but then again, the Patriots beat the Giants in week 17 only to be beaten by New York in the Super Bowl a few weeks later. Plus, with what feels like angels in the end zone at times, perhaps the Broncos are destined to keep this insanely exciting storyline alive.
Update - 5:30 p.m. EST: To tweet, or not to tweet? That is now the question surrounding Urban Meyer. As I, and several other media outlets reported Tuesday morning, word spread that the new Ohio State football coach had banned his players from using twitter (read the original post below). But now the tune has suddenly changed as Buckeye players are once again taking to their still-existing twitter accounts in attempts to set the record straight.
Original Post: In one of his first moves as the head football coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer has done the unthinkable in the age of social media; he has banned twitter.
A few Buckeye players broke the news Tuesday through their twitter accounts, of course:
(Tight End Reid Fragel) @Fragel88: New staff new rules. No more twitter, not a big deal and probably for the better. Love our fans, love this place. Go Bucks #2012
(Tight End Jake Stoneburner) @STONEYeleven: Twitter=Done. Me=back for senior year, leading this team, and shocking the world!! #gobucks #12-0
Stoneburner made it a 2-for-1 in what is likely his final tweet, announcing he will return to OSU for his senior season. As for the 12-0 prediction tacked on at the end there… if a New England Patriot tweeted such obvious bulletin board material, he would certainly receive a Bill Belichick tongue-lashing in return.
Speaking of Belichick, even the ultimate gatekeeper in professional football doesn’t prohibit his players from using twitter.
For several reasons, I don’t like this move by Meyer but I completely understand it at the same time.
Twitter has become the ultimate, universal news outlet helping to break stories and dispense information in the fastest way technology has ever seen. On a less important level, the social media tool has, in itself, become a newsmaker thanks to people who mistakenly tweet out private messages, tweet while intoxicated, impulse tweet or say things that should probably be kept private in general.
A few examples of #TwitterFails from the sports world in 2011 were Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall’s tweets about Osama bin Laden and 9/11, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard tweeting that the Orlando Sentinel has “dumb articles,” and of course, former L.A. Lakers guard Shannon Brown’s attempt at shutting down the rumor mill by tweeting that no, he did not sleep with teammate Pau Gasol’s “woman.”
#smh on that last one.
Then there’s the trash talk, colorful language, twitpics of a porn star wearing your jersey, etc.
Given the OSU football program’s tattooed record, I suppose its better to play it safe wherever you can. Does this mean Facebook (aka: place for a prospective employer to look up all of your drunk party pictures from college) is out at OSU too? What about MySpace? Okay, I know, nobody uses MySpace anymore.
But in reality, how much tangible harm does twitter really cause in the college football arena? Surely, the 27 Gator football players arrested during Meyer’s tenure at Florida were not twitter-related. In fact, I would argue that twitter is a great way for an athletic department to keep track of its athletes as so many people seemingly tweet their every move.
It’s too late to weigh the pros and cons as Meyer has already made his ruling, but how much do you want to bet that plenty of Buckeye players will continue to tweet. just with a new account under a different name? Over or under 30 players? I’ll also take submissions for best OSU player alias twitter handles. Tweet them to me @jackie_pepper
For some professional athletes, playing to win is not nearly as important as the paycheck and lifestyle that comes along with the job. For others, like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, logging that W is a major source of pride and accomplishment, making any loss unacceptable.
Suggs and the Ravens (10-4) were humiliated by the San Diego
not so super until three weeks ago Chargers (7-7) on Sunday night, the 34-14 defeat not sitting well with the four-time pro bowl selection. Check out a tweet posted by a sizzling hot T-Sizzle a few hours after the game ended:
@untouchablejay4: That was Phuckin Bullsh!t Bmore. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. WE WILL WIN OUT!!!!!!! #byanymeansnecessary
Please pardon his phrench, as clearly, Suggs is frustrated. When this tweet popped up on my timeline, my first thought was, “uh-oh. Guaranteeing wins never ends well.”
Suggs had several reasons to be upset. For starters, the Ravens went into Sunday’s game leading their division, but because of the loss, should the Steelers beat the 49ers on Monday, Pittsburgh would take sole possession of the AFC North and drop Baltimore down to the fifth seed.
“It’s back to the drawing board,” Suggs told the media in the locker room after the game. “Everybody said we’d fall to fifth so what… Like I said, we in hell now, so, but, we got a vacation home in hell. This is normal for us…”
Umm, okay. I won’t pretend to understand exactly what Suggs is getting at there but losing the game to the Chargers stung on several levels and wasn’t cool, even by Hades-dwelling standards.
The long-heralded Ravens defense only laid two nasty hits on Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers in the entire game, and the only sack the Ravens notched went bye-bye with a personal foul called on Suggs.
The Ravens came into Sunday’s game not only riding a four game winning streak, but also enthused for the return of their captain/emotional leader/amazing pre-game dancing linebacker Ray Lewis (from injury) for the first time in as many games.
Despite leading the defense with ten tackles, Lewis’ return wasn’t nearly enough for the Ravens as quarterback Joe Flacco was hammered by the Chargers, being sacked five times and throwing two interceptions.
As for Suggs’ promise of winning out, that isn’t out of the question by any means as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns (4-10) next week, followed by the Bengals (8-6) in Cincinnati to close out the regular season.
Ravens fans should wait to see what goes down with their arch-rival Steelers on Monday night before going into freak out mode just yet, although ESPN’s Trey Wingo tweeted Sunday that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he was optimistic that the injured Ben Roethlisberger will be under center against the 49ers. I wonder if Suggs and the Ravens will watch that game with the rest of us?
Everyone can agree that that the Cleveland Browns handled the Colt McCoy concussion situation poorly. Well, everyone but the Browns themselves.
Quick recap: After the Browns quarterback received a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit last Thursday night care of the Steelers’ James Harrison, McCoy’s hand was checked out by the team’s medical staff, not his head, after the play. McCoy played the rest of the game, missing only two plays after the hit and was not even tested for a concussion until after the game when his complaints compelled the medical staff to do so. As an indication of how serious that hit was, McCoy’s father said his son has no memory of the play ( http://tinyurl.com/bvbly8t ). According to the Washington Post, McCoy did not undergo the mandatory Sports Concussion Assessment Tool review until the following morning. The results of the test were abnormal and the doctors sent McCoy home.
Browns president Mike Holmgren confirmed the fact that McCoy did not undergo concussion-related testing on the sideline during the game, yet defended the reaction of the coaches and medical staff in a press conference on Wednesday, saying that nobody on the sidelines saw the helmet-to-helmet hit.
“I’ve had guys in my career come out and go, ‘hey, you better check Steve Young, somebody better check him because he’s not coming out right. None of that happened,” Holmgren said. “Ok, no one alerted anybody to this. It seems inconceivable that nobody did, so, how do we do this, now so they get the information they need, the doctors? This is still to be talked about, but to have somebody say something at a proper time.”
My first thought was why didn’t the assistant coaches up in the booth call down to the sideline and inquire about the hit once they realized McCoy was going back in the game after sitting out for less than four minutes? The coaches have a television feed in the booth and even if the TV was muted, they would’ve seen NFL Network replay the hit over and over again. Interestingly enough, that was the situation Holmgren himself was in.
“I saw the hit on replay, and I go, ‘okay, that’s not good’ but I’ve also seen hits that… it looks bad, but you know, and off ya go,” Holmgren said. “You really do have to just let the medical people go through their procedures and make the judgement they’re getting paid to make. I’m telling you, we’ve got good guys. It didn’t start to show until the locker room, and a good, good time in the locker room, that’s when they really got alerted to it I suppose.”
Accidental or not, I thought the NFL should fine the Browns, which would hopefully compel teams to do their due diligence when recognizing and diagnosing head injuries, regardless of how it could affect the outcome of a game.
Just when I thought fining the Brows was the answer, I read this from an article written by Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com:
“The NFL has a new policy this season where a league observer in the press box can alert a team’s medical staff on the sideline about a concussion (or other injury) the team may have missed. Some players say that isn’t good enough. They want an independent observer with a medical background to look for concussions that were missed or are being hidden by players or ignored by the medical staff.”
Holmgren confirmed that the appointed NFL official at the game last Thursday did not speak up or contact the Browns in any way regarding the hit. Given that information, how could the NFL possibly condemn the team’s inaction when the league’s own representative failed to see the severity of the hit noticed by the NFL Network broadcast crew and subsequently, every viewer?
Even more disturbing is an attitude expressed by Holmgren in Wednesday’s press conference. Holmgren said that even if the coaches and medical staff had seen or been alerted to the severity of the hit, because McCoy was on the bench after and not displaying any signs of a concussion at that point, nothing would’ve been done differently. Well ya see Mike, that is the problem. That’s why guidelines are set mandating the medical staff to test a player for concussion after a play like whether the player shows “symptoms” of trauma or not.
Freeman’s article addresses that issue as well:
“Said one player, who is also a player representative: ‘The concussion rules are the best they can be. The league and the union have done a good job protecting players, but the truth remains, players are still hiding concussions, because they want to protect their careers. In some cases, teams know a player is concussed and let it go. Yes, that still happens.’ The NFL and players union might soon respond to holes in the policy by placing independent doctors on the sidelines during games, taking the decision out of the hands of the interested parties: the teams and players. But until then, some players will continue to put themselves at risk by doing whatever they can to stay on the field.”
Remember what happened to San Diego’s Chris Dielman in October? The Chargers guard took a hard hit in a game against the New York Jets, stumbling around the field after the play. The referee even approached Dielman as he couldn’t find his balance, yet the Chargers didn’t take him out of the game. Dielman did in fact suffer a concussion on the play and ended up having a grand mal seizure on the plane ride back to San Diego ( http://tinyurl.com/7zyz3hg ).
Research has proven that hits taken before the symptoms of a concussion have subsided can be extremely damaging and sometimes fatal. Second-Impact Syndrome (SIS) has killed several high school football players, as the brain is fragile and still forming in the teenage years. SIS is a huge reason why the NFL and other athletic governing bodies have created guidelines to test for a concussion immediately following a play. The goal is to save an injured player from sustaining further damage by letting the athlete continue to play.
Colt McCoy finished the game after being knocked out. Chris Dielman finished the game after suffering a concussion. NHL star Sidney Crosby not only finished one game after receiving a concussion, but was knocked out of the following game four days later before the Pittsburgh Penguins realized the severity of his injury.
Crosby was forced to sit out for 10 months before returning to the ice this season. After only eight games, it was recently announced that Crosby will be out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.
While many players are starting to come around in terms of realizing the importance of healing from head injuries ( http://tinyurl.com/7nalxh2 ), many still choose to ignore the evidence pointing to a tragic future that possibly awaits them. If the story of the NHL’s Derek Boogaard won’t scare someone into taking care of themselves ( http://nyti.ms/vvLrZM ), perhaps nothing will.
That is exactly the point. It is the league’s job to save players and coaches from themselves and their perhaps misguided self interests. While the NBA, NHL and NFL have all taken steps in the right direction by adopting policies to keep players safe, it clearly isn’t enough just yet.
Click here to read Mike Freeman’s eye-opening story about the NFL’s efforts to curb concussions while many players still try to avoid the polices designed to help them: http://tinyurl.com/7nalxh2
When a professional athlete says, “my goal is to get thrown out midway through the second quarter,” and “I don’t know if it’s throwing a football 15 yards in the bleachers and getting a 15-yarder or punting the ball and getting thrown out of the game. But something’s going to happen,” it has to make you wonder. Compound those statements with a mental illness diagnosis and the Miami Dolphins have a sticky situation on their hands.
‘Fins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who made public his borderline personality disorder diagnosis at the start of training camp, said in a media session Thursday that he was not kidding about seemingly wanting to be ejected from Monday night’s game against the New York Jets.
Between rumors of head coach Tony Sparano on the verge of getting canned, QB Chad Henne’s season-ending injury and Marshall’s strange rant, there is no shortage of drama surrounding the 0-4 Dolphins. Take a look at some of the other comments made by Marshall on Thursday:
“I’m serious. They want to fine me, it’ll probably be like a $50,000 fine. But I’m going to play. That quarter and half I’m out there, I’m going to play like a monster. I might get in a fight with Bart Scott. Cromartie, we pretty much matured our relationship and grew a little bit. We used to fight … If that happens, it happens. We’ll see.”
“The past four games, it’s been tough for me trying to control some things. I’m just going to let it out. I don’t care if they have two, three cameras on me, I don’t care if I have penalties. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to let it all out.”
“I’m best when I play emotional, I’m best when I play with passion, and you guys are going to see that on Monday Night Football. I don’t know if it’s throwing a football 15 yards into the bleachers and getting a 15-yarder, or punting the ball and getting thrown out of the game, but something is going to happen.”
Marshall’s comments worried me when I first read them. It seemed like his thoughts were scattered, and that he wasn’t all there, if you know what I mean. Your mind can’t help but think maybe Marshall’s mental illness is involved here. But then I remembered that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this behavior in the NFL. Players have often kept “hit lists” of one-on-one match ups from opposing teams and sometimes players make threats in the media. Steelers linebacker James Harrison comes to mind, when, after vicious hits on Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi last season, he said, “I don’t want to see anyone injured, but I’m not opposed to hurting anyone.” He also hinted at retiring because of the NFL’s clarification on legal vs. illegal hits. Last time i checked, Harrison has never been diagnosed with a mental illness, at least not to our knowledge.
So is there extra cause for concern in the case of Brandon Marshall? I think it is worth a discussion, given the fact that the 27-year-old attributed incidences in his troubled past (domestic disputes, several arrests) to his mental issues.
When told of Marshall’s comments, Coach Sparano defended the two-time Pro Bowl selection receiver saying, “I know one thing about that guy, he’s not going to do anything to hurt this football team…I know people in that locker room are important to him and this guy has worked really hard… He wants to be more passionate with the ball in his hands and he wants to be more passionate and doing all the things that are necessary to help us win.”
Marshall hasn’t been able to make much happen with the ball in his hands this season. He has one touchdown on 22 catches and five drops (tied for third in the NFL), three of which came in the end zone. Clearly, it’s been tough for Marshall both on and off the field.
“Dealing with the things I’ve been dealing with, I’ve been trying to control too much instead of being myself and play ball,” said Marshall. “I think after camp and me coming out and saying I worked on some things this offseason, no I’m not on no medicine or anything like that. I’ve worked on some things and I’ve gotten better at it. I think every game there’s one guy just charged with following me around to track my emotions. So I’m going to give them what they want. I’m going to play with a lot of emotion and passion, and I’m going to be that monster, not ‘The Beast.”
According to the Associated Press, “Sparano said he hasn’t talked to Marshall in depth lately about the being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.”
I think this might be a good time for Marshall’s coach to intervene and have that in-depth discussion, don’t you? It can’t hurt for Sparano and a mental health professional to check in with Marshall. Playing it safe is the solution.