Archive for April, 2010

NFL Draft Round 1: Record-tying 7 defensive backs selected

The Kansas City Chiefs selected defensive back Eric Berry (left with Commissioner Roger Goodell) from Tennessee with the fifth overall selection in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft on Thursday night. The selection began a run of seven DBs chosen in the first round, matching the opening round record set in 1998 and tied in 2006. 

Last year, two defensive backs were selected in the first round and 22 were chosen in Rounds 1-3.  Rounds 2-3 of the 2010 NFL Draft will be televised in primetime tonight (6 PM ET on NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2).

Below is a positional breakdown of last night’s first round compared with the prior two drafts.

FIRST ROUND

Position 2010 2009 2008
QB 2 3 2
WR 2 6 0
RB 3 3 5
TE 1 1 1
C 1 2 0
G 1 0 0
T 4 4 8
DE 4 5 3
DT 5 2 3
LB 2 4 3
DB 7 2 6

Goodell: More $$ should go to proven vets; Players will benefit from new CBA

This morning, Commissioner Roger Goodell (right) joined sports reporter Darren Rovell on CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss a variety of topics ranging from the NFL Draft, which kicks off tonight in primetime (7:30 PM ET on ESPN and NFL Network), to rookie wages and the current labor situation.

Following are the Commissioner’s answers to labor-related questions:

On rookie wages:

Commissioner Goodell: “We want all of our players to be paid appropriately.  When you are coming in as a rookie, there is still some question about whether you are going to have the ability to play at the NFL level… An extraordinary amount of money that is guaranteed — $600 million of guaranteed money will be committed over next three days.  Some of those players won’t make it in the NFL.  That money goes out of the system.  We would like to keep that money in the system and make sure it goes to veteran players because they have already proven that they can play on the NFL level.  It’s a matter of reallocating and shifting our economics so that all of us can be successful.”

On current labor issues:

Commissioner Goodell: “I think we have proven that we know how to manage our business.  We are trying to manage our business appropriately.  The economics of football, and professional sports, have changed for us.  It requires a tremendous amount of investment to build these new stadiums.  Just across the river we are building a stadium (New Meadowlands Stadium) for $1.7 billion in private money.  The two teams have to pay down that debt.  That extraordinary amount of debt is created to grow revenues – of which the players get 60 percent.  We have to get a better economic system that will allow us to invest in the game, grow the game, and the players will benefit from that.  That is what we are trying to do at the negotiating table and figure out a new structure.”

To watch the complete CNBC interview, click here.

Pair of NFC West “rookies” ready for first Draft at helm

San Francisco director of player personnel Trent Baalke (below with coach Mike Singletary) and Seattle general manager John Schneider (left) head into the 2010 NFL Draft as the top draft decision makers for their clubs for the first time.  Baalke and Schneider, the only executives in this year’s Draft with two first-round choices, were profiled in their local newspapers today. 

“We’re not going to sit back and say, ‘Everyone else, go pick the players,’” Baalke told 49ers beat writer Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News. “We’re going to get the players we have targeted, I promise you that.”

“I’m always open to trading down,” Schneider told Seattle Times Seahawks beat writer Danny O’Neil. “We took pride in it in Green Bay, and we will continue to do that.”

For the complete San Jose Mercury News story, click here.

For the complete Seattle Times story, click here.

NFL donates $1 million to Boston University to study brain injuries

The NFL is donating $1 million to the Boston University School of Medicine for the study of brain injuries, the Associated Press reported today.  The money will support the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy’s research into the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes.

“These unrestricted funds allow us to accelerate our research with independence and scientific integrity,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the center and a clinical professor of neurosurgery at BU’s School of Medicine. “This gift and the significant changes made in recent months by the NFL demonstrate the league’s commitment to the health and safety of current, retired, and future players, as well as millions of youth athletes.”

For the complete story, click here.

Commissioner Goodell chats with fans at 2 PM ET today

Commissioner Roger Goodell


As the NFL gets set to release the 2010 playing schedule tonight (7:00 PM ET on NFL Network and NFL.com) and is two days from kicking off the 2010 NFL Draft (Thursday at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN and NFL Network), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will take questions from fans on all issues including the current labor situation on an NFL.com chat today at 2:00 PM ET.

To submit a question for the Commissioner now, click here.

Phoenix Business Journal: Cardinals president Michael Bidwill one of area’s most-admired CEOs

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill (left) has been named by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of its 25 “Most Admired CEOs” for 2010.

Bidwill was selected for his leadership of the Cardinals as well as his role as the chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Under Bidwill’s guidance, the Cardinals have won division titles each of the last two seasons and earned the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance following the 2008 campaign. The team has sold out all 43 games since the 2006 opening of University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals and University of Phoenix Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLII in February 2008.

Thursday night Draft is media focus from coast-to-coast

In a recent New York Times story, longtime columnist Dave Anderson examined the history of the NFL Draft from the first selection meeting in 1936 through the current new three-day format with the opening round in primetime.

“This time, the first round will start at 7:30 PM Thursday on ESPN and NFL Network, with sound effects supplied mostly, and loudly, by a rare species known as draftniks, usually clothed in team jerseys and admitted free — the best free event in sports’ era of high finance,” writes Anderson.

The draft is in focus elsewhere around the country as well.

Judd Zulgad writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune under the header: “The NFL has expanded its draft, giving football fans more of what they crave.” 

Writes Bill Bradley in the Sacramento Bee: “The draft enters new territory this year. The first three rounds will be televised in prime time over two nights for the first time.  The prediction here is that it will work, gaining record ratings for fans waiting both nights to see how their teams will improve.”

Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post writes under the header: “NFL’s new three-day draft promises ratings for TV, drama for fans.” Dolphins fan Glen Waskin told Thompson, “There’s two seasons: football season and waiting for football season,” he said. “This is the kickoff for us.”

For the complete New York Times story, click here.

For the complete Minneapolis Star-Tribune story, click here.

For the complete Sacramento Bee story, click here.

For the complete Palm Beach Post story, click here.

Retired Patriots center Jon Morris: The Krafts “care about the people who came before them”

Robert Kraft


In a recent Boston Herald story, Jon Morris, who played center for New England from 1964-74, noted that his NFL career has been the focus of more discussion than it has in a long time.

“A lot of that credit goes to the Kraft family and the Patriots organization because I’ve been back in Foxboro twice in the last year — once for the alumni reunion last summer and then again for the 50th anniversary team festivities that they put together,” Morris told the Herald.

“The organization cares about the people that went before them. I know they do… I’ve got to tell you it feels good,” Morris added, noting that he was especially taken by the treatment he received after being selected for the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team.  “The Krafts put on an unbelievable weekend, including a huge party over at their house. They sent first-class airline tickets for my wife and myself. They just know how to do things the right way, don’t they?”

For the complete story, click here.

For more information on benefits available to NFL player alumni, click here.

Bucs’ Ronde Barber: We always favored draft over free agency

With the 2010 NFL Draft five days away (Thursday April 22, 7:30 PM ET on ESPN and NFL Network), veteran Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber (right) discussed building the team with Buccaneers beat writer Joey Johnston of The Tampa Tribune.

“We always built through the draft here, never in free agency,” said Barber, who enters his 14th season with the team after the Bucs earned seven playoff berths, finished .500-or-better nine times and won Super Bowl XXXVII in his first 13 years. “We’re not a team trying to find that free-agent guy. We have to develop them. That’s our philosophy.

“You build your team, like (General Manager) Mark Dominick says, from the bottom up,” Barber, a third-round selection 1997, told Johnston. “It’s not always the first-rounders. The third, fourth and fifth-rounders might be the bulk of your roster. With the number of picks we have, we need to find those guys. I know (the Bucs’ front office) has been pretty active scouting these guys.”

For the complete story, click here.

Ask NFLlabor.com – Status of unsigned Restricted Free Agents

With the passing of last night’s deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets with new clubs, the following question was in today’s NFLlabor.com mailbag. To submit a question, send an email to NFLlabor@nfl.com.

If a Restricted Free Agent is tendered by his team and he doesn’t sign that tender what does that mean? What is his status?

For the 90 RFAs who have not signed contracts as of April 15, the original clubs retain exclusive rights to sign the player. All RFAs can sign by June 1 the contract their original club tendered before March 5 — the first day of the 2010 league year. (Click here for a complete list of RFA tender offers.)  If a player does not sign by June 1, the original club can extend the qualifying offer and thereby retain exclusive rights to the player. 

If the original qualifying offer is greater than 110 percent of the player’s 2009 base salary and the player does not sign that contract by June 15, the team can substitute the June 1 tender with a new June 15th tender of 110 percent of the RFA’s 2009 base salary and continue to retain exclusive rights to the player.  If the player does not sign by Week 10, he cannot play in 2010.