For awhile there it seemed like the only quarterbacks that were making headlines this spring in pro football were a guy who wants to find a new place to play (Mike Vick) and a guy who isn’t quite sure what he wants to do (Brett Favre).
That changed on Tuesday when the game’s biggest stars got into the headlines: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
For the first time since his knee injury against the Chiefs back on September 7, 2008, Tom Brady was on the field with his football team. He took part in a Patriots OTA session in Foxboro on Tuesday and he spoke at length for the first time about his injury, his rehab and what he expects.
More on him later.
Manning was on the field Tuesday morning as well for an OTA with the Colts on Tuesday. When it was done, it spoke to the media and he wasn’t very happy. Manning is miffed at the loss of assistant coaches Tom Moore and Howard Mudd and he’s unhappy with the lack of communication within the Colts about the entire situation.
“I can’t tell you what’s going on,” Manning told the Indy media on Tuesday. “I will say I don’t think it’s been the most properly communicated scenario around here.
“I think the communication has been pretty poor in my opinion. Somebody says one thing then somebody else says another thing. I’m not sure everybody’s on the same page in this building. I’m just trying to focus on playing quarterback well.”
For a guy who likes to keep his emotions under very tight wraps, that’s about as ticked off as you are ever going to see from Manning. Moore, the Colts offensive coordinator and Mudd, the team’s offensive line coach, have been fixtures in the Indy offense since Manning broke into the league. Mudd helped create and coach the protection that has allowed Manning to pile up yards, TD passes and victories. Moore is the guy who put together the game plans and allows the quarterback to really run the show on game day.
Both coaches have left the Colts because of issues involving their league pensions. There has been talk with the Colts about the duo coming back to the team in consulting roles, but apparently there’s been a snag in that according to GM Bill Polian.
“Basically Peyton is confused about the roles that Tom Moore and Howard Mudd will have in the future,” Polian told ESPN. “My answer is, welcome to the club. We’re confused too. The people that are supposed to have answers still don’t have answers. Whether we can bring them back, when we can bring them back, remains to be seen.
“We would love to have’em back but we don’t know in what capacity they will be allowed. It’s still being researched.”
What’s happened here is that Moore and Mudd took lump sum payments on their pensions. Given their length of service in the league, those checks were in the seven-figure range.
To continue with the Colts in any role, the participation of Moore and Mudd must be approved by the pension administrator. But Polian told ESPN there was confusion over who was the pension administrator. The NFL has no rules on this situation because it’s never come up before.
There’s been a lot of misinformation over the last month and all Manning wants to know is if Moore and Mudd are coming back and when.
“I wouldn’t say I totally like the way it is right now,” Manning said. “I think the communication has been pretty poor. But that’s what we’re dealing with.”
BRADY SAYS NO APOLOGY NECESSARY FROM POLLARD
Our buddy Peter King of Sports Illustrated got the first sit-down interview of the year with Brady. It’s available right here on SI.com and will be in this week’s edition of the magazine. They released it early because Brady was on the field Tuesday as New England started full-squad OTA sessions.
The story covers a lot of ground and includes plenty of Brady talking about the injury he suffered back on Sept. 7 against the Chiefs. As the whole football world knows, Bernard Pollard hit Brady’s left knee and knocked him out for the season. The injury required reconstructive surgery and Brady had to deal with two bouts of dealing with a staph infection.
Brady told King he never felt angry about the hit or upset with Pollard.
“It’s football — there’s no way he owes me an explanation,” Brady said of the Chiefs safety.
The Patriots QB said he wasn’t bitter about the injury, but did feel empty as he was helped off the field. “You go down, they take you off the field, the ref blows the whistle, the 25-second clock starts, and they play the game without you,” Brady said. “You’re like, Wow. That’s really what it’s like. They play without you.”
Brady said he’s “as confident as anyone could be that I’ll be ready to play, back to playing normally, when the seasons starts. I’ve done everything I could to push myself, sometimes too hard. Right now, I’m doing everything, literally everything. There’s nothing I can’t do.”
ELLIS COULD BE AVAILABLE AS EARLY AS TODAY
On Tuesday morning, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones met with veteran DE Greg Ellis. Afterwards, Jones said that Ellis would be traded or released by Dallas and that should happen in the next few days.
Ellis, who will turn 34 in August, has played 11 seasons with the Cowboys, contributing 634 total tackles, 77 sacks, 36 tackles for loss and 21 forced fumbles. He started 156 of the 162 games he was available for over those 11 seasons.
It’s hard to imagine any NFL team trading for Ellis if they know he will soon be released by the Cowboys. As a vested veteran, he doesn’t have to go through the waiver system, so he will be able to decide where he will play in 2009.
That would probably be the best way for the Chiefs to pick him up, rather than through a trade. Ellis set to make $4.15 million this year in the final season of his contract. That would not be a problem for the Chiefs to fit into their cap situation. Plus, Dallas is on the line for $1.5 million of that total in a guarantee. The Chiefs could pick him up, Ellis could get his $4.15 million and it would only cost $3 million.
CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP OPEN AND CLOSE
The daily practice schedule remains under wraps at Arrowhead, but the Chiefs did make official when they will go to and then depart River Falls, Wisconsin for training camp.
They will climb on the big bird on Thursday, July 30 for the trip to the northwoods. The next day will be used for meetings, testing and everybody getting their feet under them. First practice comes on Saturday, August 1.
Many Kansas City area fans like to plan their trip north around the annual Family Fun Night practice under the lights at Ramer Field. That will go down on Saturday, August 8, right about the same time that the late Derrick Thomas is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Chiefs will make a trip back to Kansas City on Friday, August 14, so they can open their pre-season schedule at Arrowhead against Houston the next day. They’ll return to the Falls on that Sunday, breaking camp on Thursday, Aug. 20 for their game in the Metrodome the next day against the Vikings.
They’ll come back to Kansas City after that game and will continue the pre-season at their facilities in the Truman Sports Complex.
It will be the 19th and supposedly final year for the Chiefs in Wisconsin. They first went there in 1991 and they are scheduled to train before the 2010 season at Missouri Western in St. Joseph.
SIGNINGS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE
BROWNS – signed CB Rod Hood (Cardinals).
COWBOYS – released CB Tra Battle and DT Casey Tyler.
DOLPHINS - signed CB Will Allen to a two-year extension.
PATRIOTS – released OL Damane Duckett and TE Brad Listorti.
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …
Born on May 27, 1981 in Rochester, Pennsylvania was LB Kris Griffin. He joined the Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005. He spent two years with the team, appearing in 24 games and playing mostly on special teams.
Born on May 27, 1956 in Munich, German was K Nick Lowery (right). He spent 14 of his 18 seasons in pro football with the Chiefs (1980-93), finishing as the franchise’s leading scorer with 1,466 points. Lowery made 329 of his 410 FG attempts with the Chiefs.