NFL General

Emmitt Smith sheds light on why Barry Sanders walked away

Most of the time, when we come across Emmitt Smith, we’re expecting to hear something that resembles gibberish more than analysis. But if there’s anything ol’ Emmitt should know, it’s running backs. So, when he responded to the question of why he believed Barry Sanders stepped away from the game, he actually made sense for the first time since becoming a member of the media.

I have had that conversation with Barry and Barry basically shared with me that he had had enough of football, No. 1, and possibly enough of dealing with the situation that he had to deal with up there in Detroit, being the go-to guy the whole time and not having the support, or what is perceived as a complete support staff around him like I had.

Obviously I had a great quarterback with Troy Aikman and I had Michael Irvin and and Jay Novacek and so forth. But when you looked at the Detroit Lions, and as I look at it and evaluate what Barry Sanders meant to that organization, he meant everything in the entire world to that organization. And for him not to have had a championship run is kind of disappointing and I think a person can only go through that for so long before they get enough.

And as you get older, football starts to wear on you. It wears on your mind mentally as well as beating your body up physically. And so if the organization doesn’t look like it is headed in the direction you want it to go in, it can definitely weigh on you heavily.


[]: Emmitt Smith: Why Barry Sanders retired from Lions

Detroit Lions

Tatum Bell thinks 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns is "reachable"

We all know who Tatum Bell is, right? He’s the Lions running back who rode your bench – or hopefully your waiver wire – all of last year, amassing a monster season of 181 yards on 44 carries and one touchdown. Well, apparently poor Tatum got knocked silly on one of those 44 rushes because he seems to believe he is Barry Sanders all of a sudden.

I think I can get 1,300 yards,” Bell said Wednesday. “That’s my goal — at least 1,300, 15 touchdowns. I know it’s reachable.

We know Bell is still a youngster at 27 years old and with the recent changes to the Lions staff there is an opportunity for him to become the feature back, but DAMN man; c’mon! Rushing for over 1,000 in Denver is one thing, but if you expect to go for 1,300 and 15 then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening come next season.

Just ask teammates Roy Williams or Jon Kitna what happens when you go moonshine crazy on predictions.


[]: Lions’ Bell is aiming to gain 1,300

Detroit Lions

The pizza man is still delivering

Roy Williams is a heck of a wide receiver, but no matter how many yards he accumulates or touchdowns he celebrates, his ball-snagging abilities are nothing compared to his knack for spittin’ sweet quotes. And this guy makes some insane catches. While this year wasn’t his finest campaign on the field, his appearances on the local sports talk radio shows were par none. So, here’s a nice sampling of Williams’ Orch Dork’s best work in 2007.

On why Jeff Garcia stunk in Detroit:

Cause he blamed everybody else. He blamed everybody else but himself. Like it’s (the receivers’) fault. In the West Coast system, my son can run the West Coast system and he’s only two.

Since you grew up in Texas, you’ve never had to shovel anything have you?

Maybe some cow manure or something.

What do you think he (Shaun Rogers) likes more playing football or eating?

I’d have to say football. You know they say the football is pigskin. He may eat the football.

So are you the skittish type? Like afraid of thunderstorms?

What? No. Not me. … I’m scared of people; some people can look scary. We had a wideout dinner Friday night at the MGM, which is pretty good at Bourbon Steak … and there’s a guy who walked in, had on all black. He had stringy hair that he parted from the middle … and I kept my eye on him the whole time.

On Joey Harrington:

I’ve always been a Joey fan — still am a Joey fan. I don’t think it was just Joey. I think it was guys in the locker room (who were) a little soft. Seeing what I see now, I don’t think guys really cared about winning. All they really cared about was (a Lions assistant) dropping their checks off Monday morning. That’s just the way I felt my first two years here. I think that was just the main problem.

What was that dance you did? You did like a shimmy, and your stomach was showing.

Yeah little shimmy little shake. Just a fat wide receiver in the NFL trying to make a play for his team.

Did you just call yourself a fat wide receiver?

Oh no question. I used to have a six-pack you know. I don’t know where that thing went.

It’s all that Pizza Hut bro.

(Laughs) No question, no question.


[]: Best of Roy Williams Part One
[]: Best of Roy Williams Part Two
[]: Best of Roy Williams Part Three

Detroit Lions

Shaun Rogers needs a bye week following his 66-yard TD run

So, what do you get when you cross a touchdown hungry, rumbling, stumbling, 6-foot-4-inch, 340 pound defensive tackle and a 5-foot-11-inch, 207 pound running back turned wannabe tackler? Well, you get yourself a spatula and peel Selvin Young’s carcass off the turf.

Detroit Lions

With friends like Jon Kitna, Joe Cullen doesn’t need enemies

Jon Kitna is a cold blooded dude.

The Lions quarterback showed up to the Mike Furry Foundation charity Halloween party dressed up as a `naked’ Joe Cullen and his wife played the role of a red-headed, pig-tailed Wendy’s employee. In case you don’t know, `fully clothed’ Joe Cullen is a coach in Detroit.

Cullen, the Lions’ defensive line coach, was arrested Aug. 24, 2006, in Dearborn for alleged indecent and obscene conduct for driving on a public street while nude. Cullen pulled his sport utility vehicle into a late-night Wendy’s drive-thru. The attendant discovered that he was naked. Cullen was asked to wait in the restaurant parking lot while they prepared his order. The restaurant manager notified police. Cullen later pleaded no contest to driving while nude.

Although rooted in serious personal issues, the unbelievably bizarre particulars surrounding the incident made Cullen and the Lions the “butt” of a steady stream of derisive punchlines across the country.

Apparently, Kitna believed it’s time for the players to join in on the joke.

“A lot of the guys on the team remember what happened,” Kitna told Fox 2 at the party. “It’s far enough removed that you can laugh at it now.”

We’re with you Jon, we were laughing at it when it was just five seconds removed. Still, we don’t know if Cullen would agree. But who gives a crap about him right; after all, he’s just a coach on your team.

Listen, we’d defiantly do something like this to one of our loser friends, but we can do that. See, our friends have no self respect left anyway and the idea of them being in a position of authority is actually quite laughable. We’re guessing that everyone at this Lions based party reacted to the Kitnas’ gag in about the same way people reacted to the Steve Irwin costumes with a stingray attached to the chest. They probably wanted to laugh, but they just couldn’t show it.


[]: What was Kitna thinking?

Detroit Lions

Roy Williams is a member of The Tiger Woods Frugal Foundation

Besides being good for a few spectacular plays a game, Roy Williams is also known for being rather forthcoming in his opinions. He’s never had a problem with telling like he thinks it is. Of course, he’s had to eat some crow over some of his comments. We’ve heard him talk about how prolific his offense was even when it wasn’t and it appears that he’s even rubbed off on his quarterback who is now guaranteeing ten victories this year.

While we love hearing players talk football, which he did in this radio interview, we really love hearing the behind the scenes stuff. Like how Williams freely admits that he’s a cheap bastard.

On being cheap: I am cheap, I’m a cheap date. Get you some McDonalds, with some cheese on it and I’m just really cheap, man. I’m very low key, I like to stay home. I like to go bowling on Monday nights and I go to the casino every once and awhile. Other than that, you won’t see Mr. Williams out at all.

On what he plays at the casino: I’m a craps and blackjack guy. I like to throw the dice a little bit. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll take it to the cards.

You do tip the pizza guy? There’s no such thing as a tip. But I am really polite and I say `Thank you sir.’ … The pizza man knows, when he comes to my address, he’s coming for free.

If you’re on a date and she wants to go to a nice place, what do you do? I might just take her to the casino and get her a free buffet. If I did take a date out to a nice place, I’d take her to a nice place, like a Red Lobster or something. It wouldn’t be Morton’s or nothing like that.

Hey, the way we see it, Roy just totally up’d our stock on the meat market. If a millionaire says there is no such thing as a tip and Red Lobster is considered “a nice place,” then we’re pretty much the most eligible bachelors in town.


[]: Roy Williams comments on the Bears and why he doesn’t tip the pizza guy

Detroit Lions

Jon Kitna overcomes a concussion and then overcomes the Vikings

The whole world was reminded of the amount of guts it takes to be a big league football player when Kevin Everett possibly lost the ability to walk during a fairly routine tackle. And while that’s one of the scariest examples there is of inherit dangers within the game, one of the quieter dangers of the game involves those hits that leave someone’s bell ringing. Of course, we’re talking about those nasty concussions.

Steve Young knows all about it. Troy Aikman has plenty of experience with `em. And now Jon Kitna has a great ‘tough guy’ story to tell, even though he might get a headache just thinking about it.

Kitna took a nasty shot during the second quarter of a game between Detroit and Minnesota and was sidelined with a concussion until being cleared in the third. Then in the final period, Kitna led the Lions on a game-winning drive. But it wasn’t easy.

I’ve never felt anything like that, and for it to clear up and go right back to as normal as I can be, is nothing short of a miracle,” Kitna said Monday. “I just definitely feel the hand of God. That’s all it was. You can’t explain it.

“I have no headaches, no symptoms, no lingering effects. But that was the worst my head has ever felt, and the worse my memory was in the second quarter. Yet, after halftime there was nothing.”

Kitna said it was the third concussion of his NFL career, and the first since 2001.
After saying he knew who he was during the game, a reporter asked Kitna if he knew where he was.

“Barely,” he said.

Kitna appears to be just fine now, but we all know how quickly the effects of multiple concussions can add up. Just look at what happened to this former NFL QB after taking too many shots to the melon. Poor guy can’t even dress himself properly anymore.


[]: Kitna on concussion: `I’ve never felt anything like that’

Detroit Lions

Do you know who I am? Well I’m gonna grope you either way

Lions defensive tackle and supergenius Shaun Rogers has been accused of forcibly groping a stripper in her dressing room at The Players Den, a strip club in Detroit. According to the police report, Rogers walked in, asked, “Do you know who I am?”, had a handgun in his waistband, and proceeded to grope her because he was Shaun Rogers.

The stripper called for help but was told that she shouldn’t worry about it because Rogers was just drunk. The club manager wasn’t aware of an incident on Friday night.

Just last month, Rogers talked about stepping up his game this year. We assumed he meant on the football field, but it turns out he probably meant in the clubs.

I just feel high expectations will bring about more prosperous things. The higher you set the bar and the closer you can get to it, the higher you achieve. I’m happy that (Marinelli) has so many expectations for me. I’m not going to do anything but try to live up to them.

If guilty, expect him to get some time in Roger Goodell’s penalty box and Rod Marinelli to look like an idiot for talking him up.

[Detroit Free Press]: Lions’ Rogers accused of criminal sexual conduct

Miami Dolphins

Nick Saban likes money

How can you tell Saban is lying?

Are we insane or did Nick Saban not stand up at recent press conferences and tell us that he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and that he was committed to the franchise? Something along the lines of “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach”. Well, $4M a year is a big incentive to go against your word. Saban was set to take the offer until he met with Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga and started wavering. However, this morning, Saban officially accepted the Alabama offer — believed to be from 8 to 10 years and worth $35M to $40M. All that cash makes being labeled an NFL failure easier to stomach.

By the way, what does Alabama have against Don Shula. First they fire his son and then they steal the head coach away from the franchise he’s the face of.

In other news, Matt Millen, who nobody wants in college or in the pros, said that he would never quit. Despite a 24-72 record, Millen said that he would never consider quitting.

If it’s not working, you keep on working at it until you get the freaking thing done. That’s just what you do. You don’t ever quit.

That kind of attitude is admirable… unless you’re Matt Millen and the entire Detroit Lions fanbase wants you gone. Well, at least has a reason for being around another year. It’s always fun to read someone else’s angst.

[]: Saban expected to make decision today
[San Jose Mercury News]: Nick Saban forever a coach on the make
[Detroit News]: Lions’ Millen: ‘I’ll never quit’

Washington Redskins

Dec 21 in Sports History: Vince Lombardi’s last game

In 1969: Vince Lombardi coached his last NFL game with the Washington Redskins, losing 20-10 to Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys. Ironically, Landry became coach of the Cowboys on the same day 10 years earlier. Lombardi took a terrible Green Bay Packers team and led them to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. He had a lifetime record of 105-35-6. Although Lombardi would be dead of cancer just nine months later, his legacy as an NFL coach is still unmatched.

In 1997: Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions became the third player in NFL history (O.J Simpson, Eric Dickerson) to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Sanders’ 184 yards that day gave him a total of 2,053 for the season and helped the Lions clinch a playoff spot with an important 13-10 win over the New York Jets. It was the 14th straight 100-yard game of the season for Sanders, also an NFL record. Sanders retired after the following season despite being on the brink of passing Walter Payton on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. Sanders is the only player to have 1,000 yards in ten straight seasons.

Sanders’ moment was somewhat overshadowed when teammate Reggie Brown was severely injured in the same game. Brown collided with a Jets’ player and lay motionless on the turf for almost 20 minutes while paramedics scrambled to save his life. He suffered a career-ending spinal injury, but was able to walk again.