Weekend Pigskin Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

A hot and sticky Midwest weekend brought thoughts of football training camp, with the shimmer of heat rising off the playing field, and players trying to push through another workout in football’s summer oven.

Then, the stark reality of Monday morning hits. As much as the weather turns thoughts to pre-season preparation, the National Football League, the Chiefs and training camp are in limbo.

Give or take a day or two, its 53 days from the time the Chiefs camp would open at Missouri Western in St. Joseph. It’s less than 70 days from the first pre-season game.

As each day passes, it becomes more and more of a “hurry-up and wait” scenario. Neither side has suffered irrevocable damage at this point, not the players, not the league. It’s just the third party, the fans that grows more frustrated, worried and just pissed off as each day gets ripped from the lockout calendar.

What follows are some news, notes and observations from what little action there was floating around the world of pro football over the weekend.  

THE JUDGE HAD SOMETHING TO SAY

Judge Kermit E. Bye of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has sided with the NFL players on two votes involving the league’s lockout.

But that didn’t keep him from passing out a bit of advice to both sides last Friday when players and owners made their oral arguments in the NFL’s appeal of a lower court ruling removing the league’s lockout.

Lawyers for players and owners spoke for about 30 minutes each, taking questions during their presentations from the three judges. There was really only one noteworthy exchange during the proceeding and we’ll get to that in a few moments.

When all was done, Bye got right to the point.

“We will take this case and render a decision in due course,” Bye said. “We won’t, I might also say, be all that hurt that you’re leaving us out if you should go out and settle the case. But that’s up to you.

“But we will keep with our business and if that ends up with a decision, it’s probably something both sides are not going to like, but at least it will be a decision.”

Consider those last few words again:

“… something both sides are not going to like, but at least it will be a decision.”

Now that’s the kind of comment and pressure that might actually get something done in this dispute. Thanks Judge Bye! It was a step in the right direction. Now, was anybody involved paying attention?

WHAT WENT DOWN ON FRIDAY IN THE LOO

It took two lawyers and three judges just a shade more than one hour to hear the arguments on the NFL’s appeal of a lower court ruling declaring illegal the current lockout.

Not much new ground was established in the orals, with the only real surprise coming from NFL attorney Paul Clement who indicated that the league believes the lockout needs to run for “one business cycle” to accurately assess its validity. That would be 12 months.

The $500-an hour lawyer types that the NFL can hire do not make verbal slips, so we have to assume that he was speaking from some knowledge. It suggests that the league has already established in the minds of the owners – or vice-a-versa – that they are not only prepared but willing to sit out a season to get the type of labor deal they can live with.

Ugh! Comments like that punch the ticket for another ride on the lockout roller coaster.

PLAXICO GETS TICKET HOME

Sometime on Monday, the big door at the Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, New York will clang shut behind WR Plaxico Burress as he gets out of prison after spending the better part of the last two years incarcerated for violating the gun rules of the city of New York.

As a refresher, it was late November 2008 when Burress carried an unregistered 40-caliber Glock pistol into the Manhattan night club called the Latin Quarter. The gun slipped out of the waist band on his pants and slid down his leg. As he tried to grab it on the outside of his pants, he ended up squeezing the trigger, shooting himself in the thigh.

The incident broke two very strict New York City laws involving gun ownership and hidden guns in places where a large number of people have gathered.

Listen, don’t get me wrong here – Burress is a knucklehead and always has been. He’s stepped over the line so many times with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants during his NFL career that sooner or later his escapability was going to be compromised. That’s what happened when he went to a New York City club with a hand gun. When you consider what some other athletes have gotten away with over the years and paid the price of nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Sure, Burress could have hurt a lot of innocent people if his gun had gone off in his pants and the bullet traveled in the other direction, rather than into his leg.

Burress agent is Drew Rosenhaus and he said last week that he knew plenty of interest in his client and he would have the opportunity to play in 2011.

What to expect from Burress? He will be 34 in August and he’s not caught a pass since November 16, 2008. He’s been able to work out in jail, but he’s not had the types of training that get a receiver, especially an older receiver, at the top of his game for the start of camp. Like Michael Vick before him, he will get a chance to revamp his image and show where he can make a valuable contribution to a team trying to win a championship.

And, what of the Chiefs? Do they and should they have an interest in Plaxico Burress? I can’t imagine there’s much of a feeling on the second level of the team’s facility that signing Plax would help the ’11 Chiefs. Yes, they need offensive firepower. They hope they are getting that from rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin. It’s hard to see where he might fit, but there’s no doubt he would raise the talent level at the position.

If a reasonable contract could be worked out – heavy on incentives, light on signing bonuses and the like – it might be worth a shot.

It might also be a headache of the type not worth the trouble.


7 Responses to “Weekend Pigskin Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • June 6, 2011  - RW says:

    Most meaningful negotiations start happening in the so-called ’11th hour’ which begs the question as to when does the clock strike 11? It has to be close to that time.

    As to the legal issues, this process seems to be repeating itself as it appears resolution is at the same stage as it was over a month ago when Judge Nelson pretty much said the same things as this St Louis bunch.

    Are the owners really ready to take a big bite out of that shi-ite sandwich and flush the 2011 season down the tubes? Frankly, I’m surprised the players have held together to this point.

    High stakes poker drama at the final table….CONTINUES.


  • June 6, 2011  - Chuck says:

    I think that the players that are getting towards the tail end of their careers probably are extra frustrated right now. This is starting to leave a real ugly taste in a lot of fans mouths right now. And when Manning and Brady filed their law suits it really disgusted me big time. Take a look at their salarys. I find these guys disgusting too.


  • June 6, 2011  - aPauled says:

    The owners are taking a real chance here, esp. if this suit Clement is listened to. I don’t think that the American people are in much of a mindset to accept and forgive any part of the NFL season being canceled much less an entire season. There won’t be enough tarps to cover the seats, so that games can be televised to those who are forgiving enough to watch.


  • June 6, 2011  - el cid says:

    Interesting comments, but will the fans be so desparate for their football fix, they will forgive anything. Ancient Rome had bread and circus’s and lasted hundreds of year keeping the populace sedated by its leaders, will we follow with our football?


  • June 6, 2011  - Haley's Ego says:

    Fook fuctball.

    Or something like that, anyway. I’m pissed over the whole deal.

    Don’t miss it a bit right now, though. In the fall, it’ll be a different story.

    Just hard to believe that these guys can’t come to some sort of an agreement. Damn, this isn’t Middle East peace. It’s football.


  • June 9, 2011  - tfjtfj says:

    all morons if they don’t come to an agreement before the preseason. lose 1 billion via the preseason for what?

    just silly


  • June 9, 2011  - el cid says:

    The big picture. What’s a billion now and when you have billions forever (or until you die) and break the players thrown in as a bonus. There is real hate between players and owners, the money does not seem to matter all that much.




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