Football Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

On Wednesday, NFL owners and players are expected to sit down across the bargaining table from each other for the first time this week. It will go down in New York.

That’s where lawyers for both sides were meeting on Monday and Tuesday and trying to iron out language for the new labor agreement. The old deal was more than 300 pages of type and the new deal does not figure to be any smaller.

As always seems to be the case in this affair, the mood of the negotiations has been characterized from almost being over, to having major issues that must still be decided. The so-called “drop-dead” date has moved once again. Originally it was reported that this Friday, July 15 was the day when an agreement had to be finalized to keep the entire NFL calendar intact for August.

Now, the media is reporting Tuesday, July 19th could be the day – that’s when the owners and players will meet in Minneapolis for a session with mediator U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan. The league owners are set to meet on July 21st in Atlanta, where supposedly they could ratify the deal with a vote. Again, that’s 75 percent of the 32 teams must go for the agreement.

Right now, it seems that the annual Hall of Fame pre-season game will fall victim to the owners’ lockout. It’s scheduled for August 7 in Canton, Ohio with the Bears facing the Rams. If a deal doesn’t get done this week, expect the game to be cancelled. Since the Hall opened in 1962, it’s had a Hall of Fame Game every year except 1966.

LOTS OF CHIEFS CONNECTIONS IN LAKE TAHOE

The 22nd annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship will go off this weekend at Lake Tahoe. That’s Super Bowl winning QB Aaron Rodgers (left) signing autographs as he got a practice round in on Tuesday.

The event sponsored by a Kansas City company has plenty of Chiefs connections taking part.

Expected to play in the three-day event that begins on Friday are Chiefs head coach Todd Haley and QB Matt Cassel. Also taking part is former head coach Herm Edwards, QB Trent Green, RB Marcus Allen and DE Jared Allen.

Haley is one of four NFL head coaches scheduled to play, joining Washington’s Mike Shanahan, Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt and Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio.

Cassel is one of seven NFL starting quarterbacks that are supposed to be in the field, joining Rodgers, Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer, Tony Romo of Dallas, Matt Ryan of Atlanta, Matt Schaub from Houston and Denver’s Tim Tebow.

The event will be televised on Saturday and Sunday on NBC, starting at 2 p.m.

HALL OF FAME FOR THEOTIS

Congratulations to former Chiefs RB and front-office employee Theotis Brown (1983-84) who will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame. Brown (1976-78) and left the Bruins as the team’s single-season leader in total yardage. He ranks No. 7 on the program’s all-time rushing list at 2,914 yards.

Plus, his son Trey (2003-07) went to UCLA and started for the Bruins in the secondary. He was a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School.

Induction ceremony is November 4 and the eight-person class will be presented at the Rose Bowl on November 5 when UCLA plays Arizona State.

PUT THE PACKERS IN CHARGE

This item was forwarded by a reader and I found it interesting. Here it goes:

  • In the Packers-Eagles game on September 12, Green Bay injured Philadelphia QB Kevin Kolb, knocking him out of action. The Eagles had to go with backup QB Michael Vick.
  • After the Packers-Bills game on September 19, Buffalo released QB Trent Edwards.
  • After the Packers-Cowboys game on November 7, Dallas fired head coach Wade Phillips.
  • After the Packers-Vikings game on November 21, Minnesota fired head coach Brad Childress.
  • During the NFC Championship Game against the Bears in January, the Packers injured Chicago starting QB Jay Cutler and backup Todd Collins, forcing the Bears to go with 3rd stringer Caleb Hanie.

Question: Is it just me, or did the Packers create more jobs than President Obama last year?

ONE MORE FROM VRABEL

In talking with the media after Monday’s announcement that he would become an assistant coach at Ohio State, Mike Vrabel had some interesting things to say. For instance, on what he learned during his career:

“I just think I’ve learned a lot; I know what bad football looks like, I’ve played plenty of bad football. I think I’m a little more understanding of when mistakes happen, and getting them corrected and moving on to the next play and just bring a positive energy and some excitement to these guys.”

ANOTHER PART OF AFL LEGACY PASSES

For those Chiefs fans that remember the decade of the American Football League, another one of the noteworthy players from that era has gone to join Lamar Hunt. Former Denver Broncos DL Pete Duranko passed away last Friday after a long battle with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 67 years old.

A funeral and burial will take place on Wednesday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he was born, raised and died. Duranko came out of Johnstown and Notre Dame, where he was part of the Fighting Irish national championship team in 1966, contributing 73 tackles. He earned All-America honors as a defensive tackle that season.

Duranko joined the Broncos in 1967, where he played defensive end and linebacker for eight seasons at 6-2, 250 pounds. Overall, he played in 98 games with Denver, starting 76 of those.

He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis some 11 years ago, and he became a national spokesman and fundraiser for groups that sought funding for ALS research. Some wondered why he put himself out in front of the disease, but it was something Duranko thought was important for him to do, rather than stay behind closed doors.

“I try to speak to people with terminal diseases at hospices,” he told the Greensburg Tribune-Review newspaper in 2006. “I tell caregivers it’s one day at a time. It’s not easy, but if you have friendships and support groups, you make it through each day. I’ve seen people give up easily. It’s easy to do. Sometimes I have to do a lot of acting, too.”

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