Kuechly sounding like a pro already

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Kuechly sounding like a pro already

It would be interesting to see Luke Kuechly rattled. As of now, it's tough to imagine.

The former Boston College linebacker, a projected first-round NFL Draft pick, changes direction in interviews as smoothly as he does on the field. Kuechly held court for over 10 minutes during Wednesday's Pro Day. Reporters set questions up and Kuechly felled them, with an efficiency more resembling a machine gun than an axe.

In certain instances the 21-year old sounded like he was schooling veteran media members on the Combine and Pro Day processes.

"Each room's kind of different," Kuechly said of February's interviews in Indianapolis. "But they can only meet with you for 15 minutes so they can't get a whole bunch of stuff done. It's a lot of quick background stuff -- where you're from, who your family is -- some teams watch a little bit of film with you. But it's 15 minutes at the end of the day it's snapsnapsnapsnap and you're out the door."

Was New England one of the 18-20 teams he met with at the Combine?

"Yeah."

Who from the Patriots did he talk with?

"Everything kind of washes together."

So that interview just melted right into a chitchat with, let's say, Tampa Bay? Sure.

To think about it, Kuechly's cold calm in handling interrogation suits him. He doesn't waste a minute during workouts. Kuechly answered questions about his speed by posting a 4.58 40-yard dash at the Combine.

On Pro Day he worked head-and-shoulders above the rest: cleaner direction changes with a quicker burst, smooth through the hips coming out of breaks. A textbook tackler showing how it's done.

Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, who directed the group of four linebackers at Alumni Stadium, was likely pleased. Kuechly has been linked to the Eagles for weeks and said Caldwell called him last week to say he'd be in Boston.

But has the flirtation been tempered by the Eagles' recent signing of DeMeco Ryans? Kuechly appeared unbothered by the idea.

"One of my buddies told me about the Ryans deal," Kuechly smiled. "He's a good player."
Completely unfazed. No rambling declaration of why he's still worthy of Philly's Number 9 pick. Just a grin.

Kuechly similarly dismissed a question regarding Pro Day injury concern. Why risk tweaking a knee when you're a first-round lock, anyway?

"When you're playing it's the last thing you think about," he said. "You've got to go out there and do what you've been doing forever and let your body take care of itself. It's not something that goes across my mind really.

"You just got to get out there and do it. Just another opportunity for people to see you."
So it's back to what Kuechly calls "The Waiting Game." To Carolina, to Cincinnati, and back to IMG Training Academy in Florida. He doesn't have many visits planned yet but "that will pick up," he assured.

"That's the weird part right now is you don't really know what your schedule's going to be. I just found out today that I'm going to be going back to Cincinnati on Saturday.

"You live it day by day and kind of see what they throw at you and go from there."

One would expect nothing less.

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

The second BU’s season ended, Bruins fans were champing (it’s champing, not chomping; look it up) to get sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy to the NHL. 

So when word emerged from Bob McKenzie that it’s looking like McAvoy will join Providence on an amateur tryout, eyes rolled. Why not sign McAvoy to his three-year entry level contract, have him stay in Boston and get some NHL experience. After all, we hear over and over that as long as you don’t play 10 NHL games, a year doesn’t get burned. 

The answer is because that 10-game thing doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies when talking about teenagers who are coming from the CHL, which is when the issue most commonly pops up, a la Tyler Seguin in 2010-11. 

Yet much like it didn’t apply to Torey Krug when he signed with the Bruins in 2012, it doesn’t apply to McAvoy now. The reason some kids can play nine games and then go away without a year being burned is because their contract slides. Players who are 18 or 19 years old as of Sept. 15 of their signing year see their deal moved back a year as long as they don’t play 10 NHL games, including the playoffs. 

For players who are 19 as of Sept. 15 of the year they sign (not season) and turn 20 between Sept. 16 and Dec. 31, their contract does not slide. This is all explained neatly here. 

If you’ve fallen asleep by this point, wake up right quick. McAvoy is 19 and will turn 20 on Dec. 21. That means that if McAvoy and signs and plays an NHL game this season, one year will be burned off his entry-level deal, making him up for a new deal after the 2018-19 season rather than the 2019-20 season. Same goes for Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, who already is 20. 

The Bruins actually used this drawback to their advantage when they signed Krug. The B’s let the 20-year-old Krug play in an NHL game after he signed, which got him to restricted free agency a year earlier. The promise to play him and burn that year was likely a reason Krug chose to sign with the B’s as an undrafted free agent. 

So for now, yes, an ATO is the safe play for the Bruins if they want to maximize the value of McAvoy’s entry level deal. His NHL career might have to wait until the fall. 
 

Felger: 'The Oakland Raiders are garbage, and they always have been'

Felger: 'The Oakland Raiders are garbage, and they always have been'

Want a classic Felger rant? Or forget Felger; a classic rant, period?

Watch the video above as Michael Felger eviscerates the Oakland Raiders.

"You know what the Oakland Raiders are? And their fans, and their city? A bunch of dirtbags," Felger said Tuesday on Felger & Mazz. "If that's not the most overrated team and organization in the history of sports, I don't know what is . . . That is a garbage organization and it has always has been.

"And the way people are treating them now, like . . . the Green Bay Packers or the Boston Celtics or the Montreal Canadiens or the New York Yankees are moving, is laughable. Laughable! The Oakland Raiders are garbage. And they always have been."

There's more . . . ,much more. Watch the video to hear the full treatment.