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


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

By Tom E. Curran

"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 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 Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14


Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”