Favorable ruling for players likely won't 'end' lockout

Favorable ruling for players likely won't 'end' lockout

By Tom E. Curran

For the 13 of you still digesting lockout talk right now, one thing needs to be clear as the NFL players court case against the owners gets going Wednesday in Minneapolis. If the players win, business as usual is probably still a looooong ways off. The reason? Even if Judge Susan Nelson rules in favor of the players that the NFL is in violation of antitrust law and that the lockout must be lifted, the owners are absolutely going to appeal. And it would be crazy for the court to allow an immediate return to normalcy - the start of free agency, players returning to their facilities, bonuses being paid out - if an appeal could potentially put the lockout back in place. What then? Recollect bonus money and unsign the free agents? Internet strongman Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk did a nice job putting together 10 FAQs about the court case on Wednesday. He predicts that Nelson will "stay" the injunction ruling against the owners pending appeal. He also notes that, in order for Nelson's possible injunction to be overturned on appeal, the appelate court won't start the case from scratch, they'll only review whether any obvious mistake was made by Nelson under the "abuse of discretion" standard. In other words, it will be hard for the owners to win an appeal. Still, the appeals process could take a couple of months (nobody knows exactly how long) so don't expect free agent signings to begin next week even if the players win.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury


Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.