NFL owners' meeting get underway


NFL owners' meeting get underway

By Tom E. Curran

NEW ORLEANS - A whole mess of baseball kept me (happily) from reporting to New Orleans for the NFL Owner's Meetings until this morning. Now I'm here at the Motel 6 on the outskirts of Slidell Roosevelt Hotel (a Waldorf Astoria joint) in downtown New Orleans, settling in to hear owners 'splain themselves and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gum flap on Tuesday for the first time since the Pro Bowl. You can't swing a polo stick without hitting someone of NFL note. Just walking from the front door to get my credentials, I saw Jerry Jones, Ken Whisenhunt, John Elway, Mike Smith and Chan Gailey and Pete Carroll. These meetings are going to be "compressed." Usually, they run into Wednesday when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell brings the curtain down with an address to the media. This week, they are slated to end Tuesday afternoon. The entire labor situation has cast a pall over the atmosphere here. Still, I may be an idiot optimist, but I have sensed a cooling-off in the rhetoric between the owners and players since Goodell fired off his "Dear NFL player" letter. It's as if both sides have shouted their points from the rooftops, name-called and accused and they're all set with that. Troy Vincent, the NFL's VP of Player Development and a finalist for the executive director's job now held by DeMaurice Smith, agreed there's been some creeping civility and genuine interest in dialogue that's emerged.I wouldn't be at all surprised if major progress is not made among the owners this week. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy just told me we'll have some of the NFL's all-star lawyer revue coming out in the next couple of hours (fascinating). There may be a chat with Goodell today as well. Currently, I'm hanging out in a high-back chair outside a ballroom where the owners are trying to catch a word with any of the Patriots' principals. Don't move a muscle, we'll keep you updated.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."

Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots


Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots

FOXBORO -- Seems as though the Bills don't quite have their stories straight. 

On the one hand, you have Bills players, who say that they won't hesitate to retaliate if a Patriots player gets near one of their pregame warmup drills, as Jacoby Brissett did in Week 4. 

On the other hand, you have the Bills coach, who sounded less eager for there to be any kind of scrap before this weekend's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. 

"No, I mean with us, just go out and warm up," Ryan said in a conference call Wednesday. "That’s what you do, but any of the extracurricular things, you know, there’s absolutely zero focus on that, and shouldn’t be any focus on that. It’s just about playing games.

"I mean if people want to show how tough they are, put the boxing gloves on and get in the ring or something. That might be more impressive -- I don’t want Gronk by the way.

"But I definitely don’t want to see that happen, and our focus is 100 percent on the game and doing the very best we possibly can."

It's an interesting comment from a coach who has made it very clear that he wanted to build a "bully" in Buffalo. His team shut out the Patriots after trying to intimidate New England's rookie quarterback before the game. Did his team not benefit somehow from what occurred before kickoff that day?

He doesn't think so.

"It had nothing to do with our team . . . Absolutely nothing," he said. "You know, those things happen every now and then but it was no big deal. It did absolutely nothing for us."