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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chad Johnson Get Contract Boost From Bengals - ESPN's Len Pasquarelli

This just happened and was reported on the ESPN.com website:

If the NFL is poised to crack down on Chad Johnson's end zone choreography in 2006, with its recently implemented rules aimed at curtailing touchdown celebrations, the Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver is better prepared now to handle any of the fines that he might incur.

The three-time Pro Bowl performer and consummate showman, one of the most explosive playmakers in the league at any position, on Thursday signed a new contract with the Bengals, ESPN.com has learned. The lucrative deal includes a one-year extension, through the 2010 season, and an option for the Bengals to extend the contract through 2011, if they so desire.

In essence, by restructuring the remainder of Johnson's existing contract, which was set to run through the 2009 campaign, the Bengals created a six-year deal with a total value of $35.5 million.

"In terms of 'new money,' and just being unique from the standpoint of being able to do something for a player who still had four years left on his [existing] contract, it's really monumental," said agent Drew Rosenhaus, who was hired by Johnson a year ago to upgrade his contract "As long as I've been doing this, I've never been able to get an extension like this, basically because of the time remaining on the contract. It's historical. And it's a testament to Chad, and how well he's performed, and to Bengals management for the way they have handled this and the commitment they've made to him."

Under his existing contract, Johnson would have earned $5.75 million in 2006-2007 and the base salaries due him through 2009 totaled $12.15 million. The new contract will pay Johnson $16 million between this season and 2007 and, assuming the Bengals exercise the option for 2011, a total of $35.5 million. That's a whopping $10.75 million in "new money" for the extension portion of the contract.

Johnson will receive a $5 million signing bonus, a $250,000 reporting bonus, a $250,000 workout bonus and a base salary of $2.75 million for 2006. That base salary is the same as he was scheduled to make under his previous contract. In 2007, he is due a $3.5 million option bonus, a reporting bonus of $1.5 million, a $250,000 workout bonus and a $2.5 million base salary.

The base salaries for the balance of the deal are as follows: $3 million (for 2008), $4.5 million (2009), $5 million (2010) and $6 million (2011). There are workout bonuses of $250,000 in each of those seasons. If the Bengals do not exercise the option for the 2011 campaign, they must make Johnson a non-exercise payment of $3.5 million.

Said coach Marvin Lewis: "This is a key development for our team. It further secures our future with one of our top players, in the prime of his career, and I want to commend Chad for his efforts in making it happen. He is showing his commitment to what we have going here."

Earlier on Thursday, before signing the new contract, Johnson joked to ESPN.com that he was ready to deal with the rules against excessive end zone celebrations that league owners approved at the annual NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla, last month.

"Get yourself real close to the TV, because I'll have some good stuff planned," Johnson said, laughing. "I still plan to be the greatest entertainer in the league."

The five-year veteran, selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2001 draft, certainly has developed into one of the NFL's greatest playmakers. The former Oregon State star has posted three straight seasons with 90-plus receptions and four straight campaigns with over 1,000 receiving yards. In 76 appearances, 63 of them starts, Johnson has 379 receptions for 5,556 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

Matt Leinart - Party Boy Loves The Camera, But Can He Focus in The NFL?

There's a school of thought that once Matt Leinart hits the grind of the NFL, he'll not post the same remarkable numbers that he did at USC. While I do disagree with that -- I think Matt will be one of the best -- I do think his first two years will be a bit hard. He's not going to be able to run the streets as he did at USC.

Look, as a Cal-grad who was getting his master's degree there at a time when most my age were still undergrads, I can identify with Matt's love for parties and the ladies. But now millions of dollars are on the line. Will Matt dump all of this fun?

I got these photos from various blog sites. Matt loves the camera and apparently his cocktails. Cool. Where did I get these? Well, there's www.boifromtroy.com for the one with Matt and the women behind him as he's stooping. And the one with the girl is all over the place on Google's image search.

It didn't take long to find them -- 7 minutes tops.

I wondered if RB Reggie Bush, got around as much as Leinart did, but I didn't see anything like the Leinart picks. Not even close.

What I did see was a lot of picts of Reggie running and wearing a suit. A nice image. On the other hand, Matt's got a life made for Hollywood. Gee, that seems a bit more fun to me, but then I went to Cal!

Wait. Reggie's from USC too. Somehow, he managed to keep his fun under wraps.

Smart guy.

All of this will be forgotten when Leinart lifts the Lombardi trophy over his head. I'm confident of that.

Party on Matt! Enjoy life! Just learn when it's time to cut it out stay away from the camera!

Pac-10 Held That Matt Leinart Broke A Rule When He Worked Out With "Air 7 Academy" Owner - CAA Signed Air 7 Later

I found this on Kevin Donahue's blogsite

Pac10 says Leinart broke rules

The Matt Leinart era may be over for the USC football team and coaches, but the Leinart legacy apparently isn't.

The Pac10 has determined that USC broke NCAA rules this year by allowing Leinart to work out with the owner of the Air 7 football academy.

According to a memo issued by the Pac-10 and received by USC, "an outside consultant can not work with a (student-athlete) on the institution's facilities unless the individual is counted against the applicable coaching limits."
As a result of the incident, Leinart, USC coach Pete Carroll and staff members were required to undergo a rules review session.

Leinart signed with CAA as his agents, who then signed to represent the Air 7 football academy as well.

So the USC coaches will watch a rules video or something, no big deal as far as punishments go. It does make you wonder where the oversight was on letting Leinart work out with his own private coaches, though. That's a known no-no and it doesn't appear that USC ever tried to put a stop to it.

Air 7 is a kind of NFL Traning Academy. CAA did sign up to help them with marketing and sponsorships. Note that in the article from www.onlypubjam.com is there no mention of the person who was then Leinart's agent, Leigh Steinberg and this was back in January.

Here's that article:

CAA to Also Represent Premier Football Training Academy Air 7

Publish Date : 1/9/2006 1:41:00 AM Source : Sports News Onlypunjab.com

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world's leading talent and literary agency, now represents Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart, in addition to Air 7, the nation's premier football academy.
CAA will represent Leinart in all off-field business ventures, with the initial focus on endorsement and licensing relationships. The CAA Foundation, the philanthropic service arm of the agency, will help Leinart develop his charitable initiatives.

"Football is my focus," said Leinart. "So, it is tremendous to have in place CAA to handle my marketing and philanthropy efforts, in conjunction with my management team at Air 7." Utilizing its deep relationships with the world's leading consumer brands, CAA represents the marketing and endorsement interests of many of the most high-profile figures in the world.

"Matt is a truly exceptional individual with enormous potential as a personality who transcends his achievements on the field," said CAA President, Richard Lovett.

In an unparalleled college football career, Leinart won back-to-back national championships with the University of Southern California Trojans. He has also been a finalist two years in a row for college football's prestigious Heisman Trophy, earning the award in 2004. Among his many honors, he has been a first-team All-American for two years, Associated Press Player of the Year, Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl MVP, 2-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, Walter Camp Award Winner recognizing the nation's top player, and Sporting News Sportsman of the Year.

Air 7, where Leinart has trained for 10 years, is the nation's premier football academy for youth, high school and college players, with alumni reaching Heisman Trophy and Pro Bowl levels. Air 7 was founded by Steve Clarkson, perhaps the most accomplished of a new breed of private athletic coaches.

Working with more than 100 quarterbacks a year, Air 7 counts among its alumni multiple Heisman winners -- including Leinart -- plus Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback and 2004 NFL Rookie of the Year Ben Roethlisberger. In 1999, Clarkson, along with Chuck Price, created the annual CaliFlorida Bowl High School Football All-Star game.

For Air 7, CAA will identify potential marketing partners and sponsors, as well as other opportunities.

Leinart's Reason For Dumping Steinberg Hints At Who Talked To Whom

ESPN has posted Matt Leinart's Diary today. In it, Leinart explains to some extent why he changed from agent Leigh Steinberg to Tom Condon. But it seems to imply that a guy named Chuck Price has unusual pull with Leinart, and could have been the person that engineered the switch. Regardless, it seems like some violation of NFLPA rules did occur. The question is will the NFLPA look into the matter.

Here's what Matt wrote:

My relationship with my former agent Leigh Steinberg wasn't bad by any means, but it just didn't feel right. As hard as it was, I felt like the best thing to do was part ways. My family, the people close to me, and I want what's best for me, my career, and everything that has to do with it. The relationship with Leigh wasn't going that way.

It was nothing against Leigh, but it was something that had been on my mind for a little while. I decided if I'm going to do something like this, it is best to do it at this time. Things will be better because of it. It just didn't feel right.

My other agent, Chuck Price, is my right hand man. Everything goes through him. He's my day-to-day guy. I talk to him about everything. People obviously don't know that. They're just thinking that he's just some family friend. He's extremely smart. He's extremely good at what he does. A lot of agents are just business guys and want to make money. He's completely opposite. He's obviously going to make money because it's his job, but he wants what's best for the player. He loves to establish a relationship. The fact that we had a great relationship in the first place makes it that much easier on me.

Chuck and Leigh had completely different roles. Leigh was brought in to handle the contract because Chuck doesn't have experience with that. It's something that he'll openly admit. He doesn't have experience handling a contract for a top pick. It's something that I realized also.

I surround myself with the best possible people. They are people that I trust. It relieves a lot of pressure and stress off of me. I have a lot of great people working their butt off for me while I am working my butt off on the football field.

Tom Condon will take over for Leigh. I love Tom. He was one of my first choices when I was picking an agent, but I was unsure about the whole situation with IMG. I think Tom is a great agent. He's got a great reputation. He's a great guy. I feel a better connection there. The fact that he's with Creative Artists Agency now and they are all under one agency makes it easier as well.

CAA is the type of agency that can handle my marketing and endorsements for the long term. After I get established as a player, they can help me off of the field. People need to understand that my number one priority is to get established as a football player. CAA will maximize my opportunities off the field.

The most important thing for me to focus on right now is the next week and a half.

I wanted to try to relax this past weekend.

I went to my Aunt's house on Sunday for Easter. We had an Easter egg hunt. My family usually splits up $50 between the eggs. They didn't tell us, but this time they stuck $100 in one of the eggs. I found that egg. I gave my brother Ryan $5 out of generosity. That's courtesy right there. He showed a lot of effort in his Easter egg hunt, but he just couldn't cut it.

I had to learn the Jets' playbook this past weekend since I worked out and met with them on Monday and Tuesday. I studied it a lot because I wanted to prepare myself. I look at it as if it's a job interview. You want the hard work you put in to come across.

I went out to Staples and bought a little grease board so I could visually test myself with the Jets' plays. I was able to learn the Jets playbook in a few days. Then, I was able to process it in my mind and draw it up on the board for the coaches. It's just something that has come easy to me especially in a football sense. My brother thinks I have a photographic memory. I guess maybe it is photographic -- I do have a pretty good memory. I've learned to process things quickly and retain the information.

Monday night, I went to dinner with the Jets. Coach [Eric] Mangini, coach [Brian] Schottenheimer, GM Mike Tannenbaum, and I were at the dinner.

Following dinner, all of us went to the meeting rooms and just talked football. I was up on the board for like two-and-a-half hours. They were grilling me with questions. Even though they were grilling me, it was real comfortable because there were a lot of jokes. They wanted to get to know me as a person, see how smart I am as a football player, and if I took the time to look at the stuff they gave me or if I just blew it off. We even talked about me getting Punk'd on MTV in March (it hasn't come out yet). They are all younger guys so it was pretty easy to relate. We met until 11:30 p.m Monday night.

Tuesday, I picked up the coaches. They were staying at a hotel right next to my apartment. I drove over to USC and met with them for another hour and-a-half talking football again. I then walked on the field and worked out. We were making jokes and I told them I could throw right-handed, so I rolled out and did it. It was a little wobbly, but looked alright.

I love learning football and new things. I think I impressed them and did a good job.

I left for New Orleans early Wednesday morning to meet with the Saints. Thursday, I will meet with them a little more and then I have a flight out to Oakland in the afternoon. I finish the meetings with the Raiders on Friday and then come home. I'm off for a few days and then I go to New York.

I can't wait for the draft to come.

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