Quick hits from NFL owners meetings

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Quick hits from NFL owners meetings

PALM BEACH - It'll cost you 900 a night to stay at The Breakers Hotel here in Palm Beach. They'll leave the light on fer ya!

During NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's press conference Tuesday evening, there was a question about whether it was appropriate for Sean Payton to have a hand in hiring his interim replacement. I don't get that - the guy's suspended for coaching for a year but he can't have involvement in deciding who runs his team? Suspended from coaching means suspended from coaching not suspended from picking a replacement coach.

Donte Stallworth can still play says his former coach in Washington, Mike Shanahan. "He's really a team guy. Can still run. Very physical. That was a good get for the Patriots," said Shanahan on Tuesday. Stallworth has only caught 41 balls since leaving New England in 2008. He caught 46 in his one season with the Patriots in 2007. "I'm happy we have Donte Stallworth back in our offense," Robert Kraft said. "We really liked it when he was there with us so we're excited about that."

Another free agent pickup by the Patriots was former Raiders linebacker Trevor Scott. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie had this to say about the player he never worked with directly but did make a personnel decision on. "He came off of an ACL injury and played last year. We just felt like he was one of those guys, if he was available later on in free agency we would have considered him but we decided to move on from him. Prior to his ACL injury he had some production. Hard working guy. Tough guy. You'll like the way he plays. I'm sure he'll do well in New England in a rotation-type situation."

I spoke with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and he felt that, given a little more time, Peyton Manning would have been in Arizona. The reason it didn't happen? Manning wanted to go through all his options and make a very deliberate decision. The Cardinals had a looming option they had to pick up on Kevin Kolb. If they didn't pick up the option and didn't get Manning, they ran the risk of entering the season with just John Skelton as their experience at the position. The Cardinals had to play it safe. They picked up the option. But if they were still in the race when Manning was done his research? He might not be a Bronco.

When the player suspensions are handed down to the Saints, you have to figure the most egregious offenders will get at least eight games. If a PED suspension is four games and an Albert Haynesworth head stomp in the heat of battle is five games, an orchestrated betrayal of their peers' health and safety for a few hundred bucks and some "attaboys" warrants at least half a season.

I think its fair to say that non-contract bonus payments have been happening throughout the league more frequently than we would like, and that is going to be discontinued, Goodell said during his Monday press conference. That, folks, is referring to big play pools for sacks, picks or touchdowns. Not attempting to knock out and injure opponents.

On Sunday, Woody Johnson spent 12 minutes asserting and reasserting that Tim Tebow is a backup. "I look at him as a versatile . . . as a backup quarterback No. 1. Mark Sanchez is our starter. He's a backup quarterback that can do a lot of things. Whether he's like Brad Smith or you can compare him to whoever you like. But I think he gives us a versatility particularly in our division in our conference that will be helpful to us. He's gonna be hard to prepare for, one would think, along with our team." Then, about an hour later, you have Rex Ryan putting an actual play count on Tebow saying he could play upwards of 20 plays a game at quarterback. Teams run about 1,000 plays a season (the Pats ran 1,082 last year, most in the AFC; the Jets ran 1,030). So about 320 plays? 32 percent of the offensive snaps? He's not going to play 320 snaps. So why even say it? What a mess.

It will be interesting to see what the Patriots have planned for the fullback position in 2012.The signings of Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta make you wonder if their role will be to take the ball security and goal line carries of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. As terrific as BJGE was in taking care of the ball and inside the 5-yard line, he was not a great fit as a bellcow back because he just didn't make the first tackler miss often enough. That showed up clearly in 2011.

I think the league is going to regret docking the Redskins and Cowboys for 36 million and 10 million against the cap this season. It's gonna get messy.

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."

 

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.