Tag Archives: san francisco 49ers

Trouble in Philly: Sam Bradford Wants Out

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The City of Philadelphia has had a tough go with their professional sports teams in recent years. Most notably, the Eagles have consistently under performed despite having elite talent like LeSean McCoy, Demarco Murray and DeSean Jackson at some point over the past four years. The Phillies have quickly plummeted to the bottom of the MLB and how could we forget the 76ers who have been one of the worst teams in NBA history for the past few seasons. The struggles continued when Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford reportedly requested a trade early Monday morning.

                                                                           Image via http://www.philly.com

The former number one overall draft pick is most likely seeking a trade because of the move his current team made a few days ago. Last Thursday the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to send the no. 8, no. 77, and no. 100 picks in this year’s draft along with a first-round pick in 2017 and 2018 second-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to receive the second overall pick in this year’s draft as well as a 2017 fourth-round pick. After the trade was officially completed, Eagles representatives announced that they planned on taking a QB with the second overall pick. It is interesting that Philly decided to trade away so many picks just so they could draft another signal-caller with the second selection. It is only interesting because this past off-season the team signed Bradford to a two-year deal which included $22 million in guaranteed money while also signing former Kansas City quarterback Chase Daniel to a three-year contract where he is guaranteed $12 million.

It is obvious that the Eagles are trying to solidify what is widely seen as the most important position in football and the trade shows just how desperate they were in doing so. Bradford is upset with the move and he has every right to, why would he tolerate being seen as a stop-gap player?

Earlier in the week, reports were that even after the trade, Sam did not wish to be traded and wanted to prove to the organization that he was “the guy.” But now the complete opposite is being said, the next couple days will prove which report is correct. For now we’re going to pretend that Bradford actually does want to be traded. There are a few teams who are in the market for an experienced quarterback. To name a few, the Denver Broncosand San Francisco 49ers.  With the departure of both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, Denver is in dire need of a player who can lead the team. In San Francisco’s case, the organization has not shown the most trust in Colin Kaepernick and might be interested in making a deal.

Even with his reported request for a trade, Eagles management is supporting Bradford. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman was quoted as saying, “to reiterate our support for Sam Bradford and go back to our statements last week — that Sam is our starting quarterback.” This statement shows that the team is trying to downplay the drama surrounding their quarterback situation, and they are saying the right things.

Even if the former Oklahoma Sooner did request a trade, the media has no room to criticize him. Just like any other player, Bradford wants respect. And if the team does actually use the 2nd pick on a QB, which will most likely be Carson Wentz, why is it wrong for them to plan for the future? The organization is attempting to change the approach they have had the past few seasons, instead of trying to win now, they are figuring out how to win in the future and that means they must have a quarterback who can do that. It would not be the worst idea to take Wentz and let him sit for a couple of seasons allowing him to adjust to a pro style NFL offense. But even if Wentz isn’t thrown into the fire his rookie year, he still has a lot of pressure on him. Philadelphia sacrificed a lot to get this pick and they are counting on Wentz or any other QB they get to make it worth it.

The 2016 NFL Draft will be held in Chicago on April 28th and Eagles faithful as well as media will be waiting patiently to see what their team does. If Philly sticks to their plan and takes a QB, it will take a couple seasons to see who got the best of the trade because now the Cleveland Browns are seen as the clear winners and that is a first.



Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

DEA Stages Surprise Inspections of NFL Locker Rooms

By Nick Muhl

Following a Sunday full of NFL football in mid-November, the sports sections of newspapers nationwide typically highlight the many games with playoff implications. This Monday’s NFL headlines highlighted three surprise DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) raids of NFL lockers rooms, rather than the games themselves.

The three teams tested were the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers. The law enforcement officials for the DEA on site investigated and interviewed all three team doctors and trainers.

John Barr, an ESPN reporter for Outside The Lines, received confirmation from a law enforcement official , that the surprise investigations were linked back to a May 2014 lawsuit that rose concern of the three teams violating the Controlled Substances Act. All three teams fully cooperated with the DEA’s investigation.  According to Sally Jenkins for the Washington Post, the investigation may have had something to do with painkillers and the distribution of them by team physicians outside of their registered practice.

Here is an excerpt from Barr’s article, a statement made by Phil Closuis, one of the attorneys representing retired NFL players in their own lawsuit against the NFL:

“I think it’s great that the DEA is taking this seriously. We alleged back on May 20th that the NFL was issuing these controlled substances and prescription medicines in an illegal manner and nobody has really disputed the factual basis of that claim.”

The fact that many newspapers and other media outlets will lead their NFL coverage with this story is a huge step forward for the NFL and will hopefully improve public relations. It is no hidden fact that the NFL has remained under siege of the media, fans, and others concerning the safety of their athletes and the lawsuits and accusations being made by former NFL players. This investigation is directly related to the NFL changing its enforcement of the safety and health codes it has now put in place in hopes of preventing future lawsuits and keeping the players safe.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy commented on the DEA activities Sunday, “Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found.” While the DEA may have surprised the NFL with its investigation of the three teams on Sunday, the NFL fully cooperated and that shows the NFL is continuing its effort to not only protect its players, but repair the league’s damaged image in the eyes of media outlets, and fans.

49ers’ Aldon Smith to Pay to Play in 2014

By Matt Rogers

It was reported on ESPN today that Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro Outside Linebacker, will be paying the 49ers to play in the team’s last seven games of the season rather than returning early, as he reportedly had hoped. Smith is currently serving a 9-game suspension for separate violations of the league’s substance abuse policy and personal conduct policy. For this reason, Smith will be ordered to pay the 49ers for forfeiture of a signing bonus that was agreed to when Smith was drafted by the team in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The amount that Smith will be ordered to pay is determined from his salary, which was $525,000 for the final seven games of the season, and the signing bonus valued at $661,000 . This is substantial because nothing like this has ever happened before in any of the major sports leagues, at least in the United States. This occurrence sets a precedent that athletes, at least in the NFL, will be held more accountable for continuously ignoring not only the policies agreed up by the players’ union and the league owners, but also ignoring the laws.

Smith has had at least two DUI charges that have been reported, which lead to his substance abuse suspension. What lead to his suspension for going against the personal conduct policy was what essentially lead to  such a harsh punishment to be handed down on Smith. It was reported in April 2014 that Smith was detained for allegedly becoming belligerent with airport officials, eventually that he had a bomb in his possession. This is a crime that is taken extremely seriously, especially after the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Ultimately, Smith was not charged, but he was still subject to a lengthy suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The suspension that was handed down was the aforementioned 9 games, which was a result of the multiple DUI charges and the incident that occurred at the airport in April.

Though Smith was suspended, he was not suspended for a whole season, making him eligible to return in the 49ers’ Week 11 matchup against the New York Giants. This would mean that Aldon Smith be paying to play in the final seven games rather than sitting out the entire season and still paying the team back the signing bonus.

A precedent like this is something that professional league’s should definitely adopt in the future because when a contract is signed, and a signing bonus is agreed to, there are certain parameters that are also agreed to by both sides. It was also interesting that this was reported on national TV, especially during a year where the league has seen two of its highest profile players, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, facing criminal charges for domestic violence and child abuse.

What’s up with the Legion of Boom?

By Nick Muhl

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have been the topic of many headlines this season. Unlike last season, this year’s Seahawks have been the subject to trade rumors, locker room disputes and their mediocre start at 4-3.

The Seahawks’ serious issues began with the early headline noise that wide receiver Percy Harvin simply did not fit in to the team, both with coaches and his fellow peers in the locker room, since joining them late March 2013.

In a surprising move, the Seahawks traded Harvin to the New York Jets for what will most likely be a fourth round draft pick. The Seahawks gave up 3 draft picks including a first and third round pick to the Minnesota Vikings to acquire Harvin.

Following the trade, and a 28-26 loss to the 2-5 St. Louis Rams, more headlines were scattered of a divided locker room in the defending champions locker room. As we approach the trade deadline, Seattle’s All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch has been subject to the new trade rumors, a week after Harvin’s trade. While a trade involving Lynch is unlikely to happen this season, reports say signs now point to the 29-year old running back not returning to Seattle next season.

In his article published on ESPN, NFL reporter Chris Mortenson cited the following reasons as to why he believes Seattle will move on from Lynch next season:

“The organization has grown tired of his ways, including pulling a no-show at the White House Super Bowl ceremony, his training camp holdout and his possible contribution to locker-room distractions.”

Later in the same article, Mortenson reported that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had known about the possibility of a Harvin trade a month prior to the actual trade. Earlier in the same week, ESPN also reported the quarterback Russell Wilson was shocked to hear Seattle decided to move on from Harvin, the day before their lose to the Rams.

Seattle’s cornerback denies the team has any discomfort in the locker room or concern regarding the team’s record , “If three losses were to ruin the season, then it would have ruined last year’s season, too, because we lost three then, too,” Sherman said following the press conference after the loss to the Rams.

However in many ways the NFL in recent years has been spoiled by multiple Super Bowl winners including the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and New York Giants. in NFL history only 5 teams have started out 3-0 after winning the Super Bowl. There has also only been 7 NFL teams to ever repeat a Super Bowl championship the following year.

So why are so many headlines and fans shocked by the early mediocre record by the Seahawks? They do play in arguably the best division in the NFC, currently if the season ended today the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals would make the playoffs over Seattle.

Don’t put much into media headlines and articles surrounding distress in Seattle’s locker room. The team still maintains a winning record and we are not even halfway through the season. Writer Ryan Gamble for The Examiner put in his article titled, “Marshawn Lynch trade rumors: ESPN causes a stir with Seattle Seahawks Fans, Gamble cited an article written by Greg Garber of ESPN to be the original source of the Lynch trade rumors that spread through headlines the next day.

Garber, an ESPN NFL Insider writer, hypothetically wrote that the San Diego Chargers would be a great place for the running back to land should Seattle ever choose to move on. Garber went into detail what he believed the Seahawks and Chargers would have to give up to make the trade happen. Shortly following the publishing of his article, Lynch trade rumors began through multiple sources of media.

However, Lynch just signed a new deal and is coming off another Pro Bowl season capped with a Super Bowl Championship. The “downslide in Seattle” is merely another case of the media taking a rumor and running with it. This is a great example of how every source needs to checked and follow through before reporting such rumors, especially in this case the defending champions.

Seattle’s remaining schedule includes 5 of their 6 total division games still. They are also coming off a win last week v. the Carolina Panthers 13-9. The Seahawks take on the winless 0-7 Oakland Raiders next week at home.