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.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

BOSTON – With the night’s outcome all but a foregone conclusion, Al Horford’s last basket of the night got a sarcastic round of applause and a few jeers from the few fans that decided to stick it out for the final few seconds of Boston’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks.

Horford finished with a season-low five points for the Celtics (26-16).

Connecting on just 2-for-14 (or 14.3 percent) of his shots also represented the worst shooting night percentage-wise in Horford’s nine-plus NBA seasons.

“I struggled bad offensively,” said Horford who still managed to dish out a game-high 10 assists. “I tried to do anything I could to help us. It just wasn’t going for me.”

But as poorly as Horford shot the ball, he was more bothered by his defense and for that matter the Celtics’ team defense.

New York came into Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of its last 13 games and spent most of the night playing like a team that’s thirsty for a win.

They shot 50.5 percent from the floor, 40 percent on 3’s and dominated the glass 57-33 which helped fuel New York’s 24-12 advantage in second-chance points.

“We have to do a better job of holding teams to one shot,” Horford said. “That’s the first thing. I have to do a better job at protecting the rim. I know I can recall a couple instances where I needed to be there and I wasn’t impacting the ball as much as I would like to. I know I have to be better on the defensive end.”

Horford’s struggles on many levels mirrored the problems experienced by the rest of the Celtics.

“They punked us,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who led all scorers with 39 points. “They were the harder playing team on both ends of the floor. That was the definition of this game; they played harder than us.”

For most of the night, the New York Knicks were making all the big plays defensively and clutch shots offensively while the Celtics consistently failed to get that one defensive stop or knock down the one jumper that could have at least shifted the game’s momentum closer to being in their favor.

Boston rookie Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics didn’t take the struggling Knicks as seriously as they should have.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Brown who came off the bench to score 12 points for Boston (26-16). “It’s a game we should have won. We underestimated our opponent. We are a better team than that even though we played bad we still had a lot of opportunities to win the ball game.”

Horford had a different take on how things went down on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we overlooked them,” Horford said. “But I think we kind of … consciously or not, we felt we were going to win this game like, ‘We’ll struggle a little bit, but we’ll figure it out and win it.’ It didn’t work like that. In the fourth, we were right there. They made a couple shots. They deserved to win. They played better.”

And as the Celtics found themselves on multiple occasions having a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, it would have been fool’s good if they somehow managed to squeak out a win on Wednesday night.

“We didn’t deserve it,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder who had 21 points. “When you don’t deserve it, the basketball gods don’t bless you.”

But there’s plenty of season left to be played, and the Celtics – as we saw on Wednesday – have plenty of room for improvement.

Especially Horford, particularly when it comes to getting back on track shooting the ball.

“It was at the point where I didn’t have it,” he said. “That was tough. So I tried to impact the game in other ways whether it was setting screens or giving people shots, stuff like that. That was definitely tough for me because they were good looks. They just didn’t go in.”