Curran: On Newton, Moon, Brady and more . . .

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Curran: On Newton, Moon, Brady and more . . .

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

"Operation Beer Liberation 2011" didn't go as planned for Mike Vrabel. And at some point, he's going to be sitting across the table from NFL owners figuring how to divvy up 10 billion while both sides know he got pinched for trying to abscond with 10 worth of sauce. Let he who has never made a sketchy beer-related decision at 5 a.m. cast the first stone. Still, that dustup is bad for business. Meanwhile . . .MOON RAKERWarren Moon is doing Cam Newton more harm than good. Hired as a mentor for the Auburn Heisman Trophy winner, Moon has been ever-available to share his opinions -- biased though they may be -- on all things Cam. Last week, he alleged racism after Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki offered a scathing review of Newton's off-field persona. That ignored the fact that Nawrocki's hammered plenty of white prospects in similar fashion. This week, he told USA Today's Jim Corbett that the Panthers are sold on Newton with the No. 1 pick as a player but thatthe Panthers "just need to talk to him more about who he is and get to know him a little bit better." Actually, they probably need to know just how often guys like Moon or Newton's agent Bus Cook (advisor to prima donnas Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Adalius Thomas) are going to get their hands in the soup and stir things up. Here's a media conundrum. It's great for us when there's an oracle like Moon who'll spout off. But in considering whether a team or a player is well-served by guys who'll make our jobs easier . . . they usually aren't. Moon isn't under the Panthers' control. And will Newton be in a position to ask him to quiet down? Moon's the mentor, right? The layers of hangers-on and people whose interests are served by seeing Newton succeed are going to make teams wary. Consider a scenario. It's Week 10. Newton hasn't mastered the playbook enough to unseat Jimmy Clausen, yet the Panthers are 3-6. Someone asks Moon what he thinks of Newton sitting behind Clausen. Moonexplains that Newton's getting a raw deal. Maybe he plays the race card again. Media chaos, the Rev. Al Sharptonpicketing in Charlotte and a week of wall-to-wall analysis ensues. Do the Panthers want or need that? It's already proven that Cecil Newton is a wild card; now there's a braying Moon in the mix? Proceed. With. Caution. HOW WILL 'BRADY vs. NFL' SUIT QUARTERBACKNice idea by Ian Rapoport at The Boston Herald to track down some sports business folk and ask them how the players suit against the NFL will impact Tom Brady's popularity. The general consensus is, not much. Brady has been under radio silence since well before the lockout began. So we haven't heard from him on why he put his name to the suit, whether he felt "conflicted," as Jonathan Kraft hoped, or how he felt about Robert Kraft describing his playoff pick as a "lazy" play. When it comes to the suit, it's hard to imagine having his name as the lead plaintiff will have any lasting damage. Tom Glavine and Patrick Ewing were two luminaries in baseball and basketball, respectively, who were at the forefront of player causes during work stoppages and they came through fine. Just as long as he steers clear of telling fans who think NFL players are spoiled to kiss his behind. That's what Jeremy Roenick did during the 2004-04 NHL lockout and the taint remains. OWNERS SERIOUS ON HGH?I'm not sure I'm buying NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's insistence that HGH testing be a part of the next CBA. The players have long insisted they won't submit to blood tests for HGH, maintaining that they are too invasive. And -- despite progress -- no reliable urine test for HGH has yet been released. My take? Goodell is insisting onHGH testingpubliclynow so that when the two sides get back to the table and negotiate, it will appear to be a major concession if the NFLlets the players skate without it. TELL IT TO THE JUDGEI was an English major. Yessiree, Saint Anselm College, 1989. One of three males in a program with 30 students in it. Good number. So even though I've tried really, really hard to keep up with the legalities involved in the current labor situation, I know when I'm over my head. By a lot. Hence, may I recommend reading Michael McCann's piece on SI.com. It's a FAQ style thing and goes through a lot of what you may be wondering about. The only thing it doesn't answer is the question I keep getting from everyone I see: "How long?"PFT LIVE ON TUESDAYI'll be on PFT Live with Brother Florio Tuesday around 12:20 p.m. We'll be talking draft, labor, a little Cam Newton and trying to suss out what Vrabel was thinking. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)

[H/T NESN.com]

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.