Curran: NFL better open its doors


Curran: NFL better open its doors

By TomE. Curran
For two days, the NFL has played (to borrow a phrase from Frank Curran) Mickey The Dunce. They pretended they didn't know what Judge Susan Nelson meant when she told them to end their lockout of the players. "She doesn't mean 'now,' does she?" seemed to be the owners' approach. "Let's do nothing and see if she changes her mind. Maybe she'll allow us to keep them locked out while we appeal her ruling to lift the lockout."Well, Wednesday night, Nelson told them again that "lift the lockout" means "lift the lockout." While the players' antitrust case against the NFL proceeds, the players must be allowed to work, says Nelson. Now we'll see if the NFL tries again to play dumb and refuses to let the players work while they appeal to the 8th Circuit Court. Most people processing Wednesday night's clarifcation by Nelson figure that's exactly what the NFL will do. But everyone has to remember there is a case pending here. Brady vs. The NFLhasn'teven gotten underway in earnest. The only thing Nelson has told the owners is the players have a "fair chance of winning the case" and that the players' interests are being irreparably harmed. So how do you thinkNelson and any other robe-wearer will regard the NFL if they again refuse to follow a court order? How much will the damages be then? How will courts look on the damages they'll assess to the NFL over the lockout insurance case? How hard will it be for the NFL to argue its case to Judge Nelson? If any team pulls what the Browns did Tuesday and refuses to let players enter the facility, bad idea. If the cell phones of select free agents don't ring at all now that they are officially free, we'll hear the word "collusion."This isn't about who's right and who's wrong in the labor squabble. This is about how arrogant and shortsighted the NFL might be in ignoring a court order. Or trying to. And what the fallout will be. Does this mean free agency starts now? And offseason workouts and coach-player contact? Ummm, yeah. And if the owners decides to keep players out after Wednesday night's development, they will cost themselves a few billion more than they stand to lose already. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.