Vrabel: NFLPA would have issue with Harrison fine


Vrabel: NFLPA would have issue with Harrison fine

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Mike Vrabel doesn't believe James Harrison should be fined for his verbal strafing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The recently retired Vrabel, who's been deeply involved in talks to end the lockout, said on WEEI's Big Show on Friday that the NFLPA (though dissolved, we all know it never left and will soon return) "would have an issue if (Harrison) were suspended or fined.""I think there are things that you should be able to do and say - more importantly say," explained Vrabel. "(Harrison's comments are) not conduct detrimental to any team other than if (Steelers coach) Mike Tomlin had an issue with the way (Harrison) was referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Roger's got big shoulders," Vrabel observed. "Roger understands. I would say to Roger or anybody else that had a problem with it, I would say what Bill (Belichick) said to us: To (those who) much is given, much is expected. And Roger is given a lot in form of compensation and being in the situation that he's in so there's a lot expected of him. And if that means taking the higher road and calling James and trying to figure out how to get this thing settled between them or whatever issue they have going on."Harrison will probably skate onusing the words "crook," "puppet" and "stupid" to describe Goodell. And you can't fine a man forproclaiming he would refuse to urinate onthe NFL commissionereven if said commissioner was engulfed in flames. But Harrison will probably get whacked for usingan anti-gay slur.The reason?Harrison doesn't work for the commissioner and should be able to express his beliefs, simplistic as they may be, but usinga word in a derogatory manner that offends a group is wrong. Unless you are a member of that group. Then nobody minds. Vrabel attempted to put some context into Harrison's words saying, "Do you think that Roger Goodell is a crook? I don't think that anyone would read that and think that he's somehow taking the money that James Harrison is fined and putting it in his pocket. I don't think anyone believes that. I think it was said as, 'Man, this guy is taking money from me fining me and my teammates and players around the league.' ...You just need to take it at 30,000 feet and move on."I know James Harrison is a heckuva player and one the Pittsbugh Steelers and their fans and coaches really enjoy and are glad he's on their team," added Vrabel. "As long as his teammates are fine with it, we support him as an association." Once this lockout ends, it will be interesting to see whether Goodell and the Steelers decide that, "What happens during the lockout, stays in the lockout."Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward


Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations


PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.