Zennie62 on YouTube

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Titans QB Steve McNair Testifies Before Arbirator; Decision On June 1 - AP and NFL Wire

Steve McNair testifies; decision expected by June 1
NFL.com wire reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 16, 2006) -- An arbitrator heard more than seven hours of testimony on whether the Tennessee Titans breached quarterback Steve McNair's contract by barring him from working out at the team's headquarters.

McNair, who parked his sport utility vehicle in the lot for visitors and not the players' gated area, left the hearing along with agent Bus Cook without making any comment.

Richard Berthelsen, general counsel for the players' union, said arbitrator John Feerick hoped to return a decision by June 1. The union argued that McNair should be allowed to work out or be released.

"Every player has a right, we believe, to be on club property to participate with his teammates. That's the only place where a player is protected in terms of if he's hurt and gets his salary," Berthelsen said.

"For a team to say, 'You can't be on our property because we don't want to have that risk,' then the risk is unfairly shifted to the player."

The Titans want protection from the potential liability of an enormous salary-cap hit if McNair is hurt, or they want a new, cheaper contract to reduce that cap number. The team issued a statement expressing confidence the arbitrator understands the issues in the case.

"We will not issue any further comment on the issue until a decision has been rendered," the statement said.

Negotiations between the Titans and Cook have been nearly nonexistent. Cook worked out a deal with Baltimore last month after being given permission to talk with the Ravens during the NFL draft. A trade fell through when the Titans said Baltimore's offer was insignificant.

The Titans drafted Texas quarterback Vince Young with the No. 3 overall pick.

Berthelsen said McNair testified he would prefer to remain with the Titans until he decides to retire. The 11-year veteran was the NFL's co-MVP in 2003, has won more games for this franchise than any other quarterback and led the Titans to the playoffs in four of five seasons through 2003.

Most of the hearing was spent with the Titans cross-examining McNair about his offseason workout habits, according to Berthelsen.

"It was mainly irrelevant things like, 'You weren't here much in the past, were you? So why do you want to be here now?' But it wasn't really to the point," Berthelsen said.

Asked if the Titans appear to want McNair back, the attorney said:

"It's a pity a player who has meant as much as he has to this franchise being told in his 11th year he can't be on club property, especially since he's under contract. I can't think of a player who's done more for this franchise. It is a shame that things have come to where they've come."

The Titans must either rework McNair's remaining year or release him to create enough salary-cap space to sign their rookies. They traditionally don't begin signing rookies until July.

Both McNair and his agent have said the quarterback is healthy enough to play another three or four years. But he has missed 10 games over the past two seasons because of injury, and the Titans have shown no inclination to take expensive risks with veterans.

Tennessee released Eddie George, the team's all-time leading rusher, in July 2004 only after the running back declined a pay cut and asked to be waived.

The Associated Press News Service

Fomer Raiders QB Rich Gannon Flies Down To Tampa To Help Coach Jon Gruden With Chris Simms - Tampa Times

Gannon puts hurtful past aside to aid Bucs QBs

By JOANNE KORTH, Tampa Times Staff Writer
Published May 17, 2006

Ex-NFL quarterback Rich Gannon, right, in town to help Bucs quarterbacks, chats with Jon Gruden, his former coach.
TAMPA - Retired quarterback Rich Gannon still hasn't gotten over the beating the Bucs gave his Raiders, and him especially, in Super Bowl XXXVII. Nor has he forgotten the hit by Derrick Brooks that essentially ended his career.

But he's here to help.


Gannon, who ran Jon Gruden's version of the west coast offense with precision in Oakland, is spending two days in Tampa tutoring the Bucs' crop of young quarterbacks. Gannon attended meetings and a light practice Tuesday and will do so again today as the team continues with offseason workouts.

"It's good to be here and good to get a chance to work with the quarterbacks a little bit," said Gannon, who played 18 seasons before retiring in August 2005.

"Jon asked me to come down and talk to them a little bit and share some things that have helped me play the position over the years. You pick up valuable tips and keys that can help these guys, I hope. I'm happy to do that."

Gannon has more NFL experience than the five quarterbacks on the Bucs bloated offseason roster combined. Starter Chris Simms, whose father, Phil, was a Super Bowl MVP, values Gannon's insights because Gannon excelled in Gruden's offense.

"It's awesome," Simms said. "If there's anybody who's perfected this offense in the last 15 years, you'd probably say him and Steve Young. It's just tremendous to hear his view on things and I look forward to picking his brain because he has so much to offer."

Gannon, 40, played three seasons under Gruden in Oakland and three under Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett when Hackett was the offensive coordinator in Kansas City in the 1990s. Those ties were enough to overcome any discomfort he felt being at One Buc Place.

"I walk in the building and there's pictures of me getting sacked in the Super Bowl," Gannon said. "It will always be a sore spot. ... But it's funny, I was just showing Monte Kiffin my notes from the game. I told him it's unfortunate we couldn't get to some of this stuff because of the way the game went."

A journeyman until he signed as a free agent with Oakland, Gannon was an instant success with Gruden. He threw for more than 3,400 yards and went to the Pro Bowl three straight seasons. In 2002, Gannon was named league MVP for leading the Raiders to the Super Bowl, but they were soundly beaten by the Bucs with Gruden on the opposite sideline.

Gannon retired because of a neck injury sustained in a regular-season game against the Bucs in 2004 during a helmet-to-helmet collision with linebacker Brooks. Gannon was scrambling for positive yardage and slid into Brooks. He never played again.

Gannon said he has no intention of reviving his playing career as a veteran backup for the Bucs or in becoming a coach, prefering the schedule of his current job as CBS analyst to an 80-hour work week.

Among the points Gannon is emphasizing with Simms, Luke McCown, Tim Rattay and sixth-round pick Bruce Gradkowski is the importance of staying healthy. A big part of that is knowing when, and how, to scramble, something that made Gannon effective.

"Your biggest value to a football team as a quarterback is lining up under center every Sunday," said Gannon, citing the durability of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Brett Favre. "That's really your value to a football team, to be a consistent performer and be a guy who takes care of himself physically and mentally, a guy who understands not only his strengths but also his limitations."

Impressed with Simms' physical tools, grasp of the system and command of the huddle, Gannon suggested Simms could round out his game by becoming more elusive in the pocket.

"Adding that dimension to his game can certainly help him," Gannon said. "If it's a point of emphasis, something you work on during the offseason, it's usually something you do better with the following season, whether it's taking care of the football, not turning it over, or helping your football team by pulling the ball down on a couple occasions and maybe running for some first downs. That can make him a more complete player."

In sharing insights gained during his 18 NFL seasons, Gannon was glad to return favors to Gruden and Hackett for the positive impacts they had on his career. He drew the line, however, after a rainy morning practice when he was offered dry clothing.

"They tried to slip some Super Bowl stuff on me," he said. "I thought that was a little bit much."

Mike Holmgren Reportedly Commits To Seahawks Through 2008 - Seattle PI

Mike Holmgren deal imminent
He commits to Hawks through '08


Most of the suspense over Mike Holmgren's future was sapped last week when he said he wanted to keep coaching the Seahawks beyond 2006.

The rest will evaporate when the team announces the two-year extension of his coaching contract, which could be as soon as today.

Holmgren and the team agreed to terms of a two-year extension, according to a source. The news was first reported by the Tacoma News Tribune.

Holmgren has one season remaining on the eight-year, $32 million contract he signed to come to Seattle from Green Bay in 1999. The two-year extension goes through 2008. The terms of the extension, including salary and whether there are any exit provisions, were not known late Tuesday.

The deal formalizes what became clear over the course of last week: Holmgren didn't want questions about his coaching future hanging unanswered over the upcoming season. The team already made it clear it would like to extend Holmgren's contract.

Holmgren acknowledged last Thursday he wanted to stay, and by that time his agent, Bob Lamonte, had been to Seattle at least twice to meet with Seahawks officials and do the heavy lifting in negotiating an extension. Lamonte did not return phone messages on Tuesday.

In the months since the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh, Holmgren talked to reporters at different points about the process of introspection before deciding his future. He said he had asked the team for a little time to decide on what he wanted.

His short-term plans were never in doubt because he had a year remaining on his contract.

Seattle's regular-season record is 63-49 in Holmgren's seven seasons as head coach. The Seahawks have made the playoffs four times -- including the last three seasons in a row -- and in 2005 set a franchise record for regular-season victories (13) and reached the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

Holmgren has a 2-4 record in playoff games with the Seahawks.
The question was what he wanted beyond the 2006 season. After all, he came to the Seahawks as the top man in the football food chain. He had the two-pronged job of coach and general manager and the biggest paycheck of any NFL coach.

He lost the general manager's responsibilities after the 2002 season. It was the first demotion of his career and it stung.

In many ways, the 2005 season was a vindication of some of Holmgren's personnel choices as general manager. After all, his handpicked players were the foundation for the league's highest-scoring offense. He traded for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who made the Pro Bowl. He drafted Shaun Alexander, who was named the league's Most Valuable Player, and left guard Steve Hutchinson, who was named to his third Pro Bowl.

At the league's annual owners' meetings in March, Holmgren admitted there was still an itch to try his hand as general manager again. That fueled speculation about whether Holmgren wanted more responsibility than would be possible in his current job. The Seahawks hired Tim Ruskell as president in February 2005.

Holmgren also talked of his wife's hope that the Seahawks would win the Super Bowl, allowing him to ride off on a white horse as the first man to coach two different teams to Super Bowl victories.

Holmgren took the Packers to consecutive Super Bowls after the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Green Bay defeated New England in Super Bowl XXXI, and then lost to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII.

If he stays for the length of the contract extension, Holmgren will get three more chances to return to the Super Bowl.

Visit the new Zennie62.com

Zennie62 blog net

Google Analytics Alternative