NO TERMS OF ENDEARMENT: Plaintiff attorney in NFL concussion suit calls Jerry Jones a “hard-ass”
There was a humorous, Dallas Cowboys-related moment today during a media conference call to announce terms of the concussion lawsuit settlement between the NFL and 4,500 former players.
Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, was asked if he is concerned the players left money on the table by settling the suit.
“I think you all can assume that the NFL and the NFL owners are pretty tough individuals,” he said. “In fact, you’ve got one down in Texas who I would call a hard-ass. I think that’s a fair characterization.
“These are not easy people to negotiate with, and these were contested, hard-fought battles. And I believe we got everything we could possibly get out of the NFL in this litigation.”
Seeger was asked to clarify the Texas owner to which he was referring _ not that there was much doubt about the answer. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a power-broker on several key owner committees, so it seems likely that he was directly involved in negotiations.
“Oh, oh, oh, sorry,” Seeger said. “I don’t even know who the owner in Houston is, frankly. I hope I didn’t offend him. I’m talking about the one in Dallas.”
BACK IN TEXAS: Former Dallas Cowboy QB Stephen McGee signs with the Houston Texans
Former Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Stephen McGee has signed a future contract with the Houston Texans. McGee was not on a roster this season after the Cowboys cut him Sept. 1, days before the season opener.
The former Texas A&M standout, a fourth-round pick in 2009, had tryouts with several teams during the season, including the Packers and the Patriots. But no one signed him, and he spent the season working out in College Station.
The Texans also signed former University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who was on their practice squad this season. Their two returning quarterbacks are starter Matt Schaub and backup T.J. Yates. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is a former A&M quarterback, like McGee.
McGee played in three games in his three seasons in Dallas, with one start. He completed 46 of 82 passes for 420 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Cowboys went with only two quarterbacks this season. Tony Romo started every game, and Kyle Orton served as his backup.
TWELVE SEEDS SET: Road to Super Bowl XLVII
After 17 grueling weeks, the playoffs are finally here. The seeds are set and the field is stacked.
A quick look at the 12 teams that survived to play another game. Here’s a case for and against each squad in the race to Super Bowl XLVII:
1) Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
How do they make a deep run? The Falcons continue to be an excellent home team. The running game provides just enough balance to complement a potent passing attack, and the defense routinely baffles elite quarterbacks, producing several turnovers.
How do they get eliminated? The Falcons struggle to rush the passer, and they become too one-dimensional on offense. In their three losses this season, they produced just two sacks and were out-rushed, 487-146. A team like the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers could pose a huge problem.
2) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
How do they make a deep run? The defense dominates the line of scrimmage and Colin Kaepernick produces three or four big plays per game. Receiver Michael Crabtree continues to emerge as a top-shelf talent, and the running game benefits from the fresh legs of rookie LaMichael James.
How do they get eliminated? The49ers’ defense can be attacked; the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks provided a blueprint for doing so in Weeks 15 and 16. The 49ers’ offense, meanwhile, is capable of stalling for long stretches of time. The poor play of kicker David Akers could also end up costing San Francisco a game.
3) Green Bay Packers (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? Led by Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ passing attack gets hot and puts up huge numbers, outscoring every opponent. A different receiver steps up every week and a healthy Clay Matthews closes out games with pressures and sacks.
How do they get eliminated? The offensive line can’t protect Rodgers and the running game fails to provide the necessary balance. The Minnesota Vikings match up very well against the Packers; they’re fully capable of quickly ending Green Bay’s postseason.
4) Washington Redskins (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? The Redskins’ unique offense controls the clock, shortens games and piles up just enough points. The defense covers up some soft spots by sending lots of pressure and creating key turnovers. Relishing their postseason opportunity, steady veterans DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher produce game-changing plays.
How do they get eliminated? Robert Griffin III’s knee injury makes the offense more predictable, and a talented defensive opponent manages to take away Alfred Morris. The Redskins’ defense struggles to create a pass rush, and the safety play is exposed by a top-notch quarterback.
5) Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? They carry their momentum right through the postseason. Russell Wilson continues to play clutch, mistake-free football, while Marshawn Lynch grinds out tough yards. The defense continues to create high numbers of turnovers and finds the end zone a few times, as well.
How do they get eliminated? An opponent stacks the box to take away Lynch, and the athletic Wilson is contained. The lack of a true No. 1 receiver ends up being an issue, and the offensive production takes a nosedive.
6) Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? Adrian Peterson continues to carry the entire offense, and Christian Ponder protects the football. Jared Allen gets hot; his pressures create sacks and turnovers. Kicker Blair Walsh hits a long, game-winning field goal along the way.
How do they get eliminated? An opponent sells out to slow down Peterson, and Ponder is unable to make them pay for it. Peterson puts the ball on the ground, and Ponder struggles to play from behind. The defense allows a mobile quarterback to create plays with his legs.
1) Denver Broncos (13-3)
How do they make a deep run? Peyton Manning will have two weeks to prepare for his first opponent. The Broncos are the NFL’s most complete team, ranking in the top five in virtually every important statistic. This balance will make Denver very difficult to eliminate. The pass rush can take over a game, giving Manning’s offense a short field and allowing the Broncos to pile up points quickly.
How do they get eliminated? If the weather is horrible in Denver and the Broncos’ rushing attack is unable to get on track, they could struggle offensively. A matchup against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the snow would pose a very formidable challenge.
2) New England Patriots (12-4)
How do they make a deep run? Recently returned tight end Rob Gronkowski sparks an offensive explosion. Brady benefits from a solid ground attack, utilizing his tight ends to produce chunk plays down the field. The young secondary allows some big gains, but comes up with a few key turnovers.
How do they get eliminated? A physical Baltimore Ravens team pushes around New England’s offensive line, or the Pats simply run into a red-hot Denver team on the road and lose a shootout. I don’t see any of the other AFC teams giving New England much of a problem.
3) Houston Texans (12-4)
How do they make a deep run? They forget recent struggles and recapture their early-season form. Arian Foster shoulders the load on offense, and the defensive line creates numerous sacks and turnovers. The secondary avoids giving up the big play.
How do they get eliminated? Matt Schaub fails to make enough plays to outscore either the Patriots or the Broncos. Facing constant double-teams, J.J. Watt is unable to dominate the game.
4) Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? A well-rested Ray Rice carries the ball more than he has during the regular season, and the Ravens physically pound their opponents. Tight end Dennis Pitta and receiver Torrey Smith produce big plays in the passing game. The defense is sparked by the return of Ray Lewis. Paul Kruger plays the role of unsung hero, making several impact plays.
How do they get eliminated? The offense features too much Joe Flacco and not enough Rice. Baltimore allows too many sacks; opponents manage to strip the ball from Flacco in the pocket, creating turnovers. The defense struggles to contain the run.
5) Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? Andrew Luck continues to excel on third down, and the veteran pass-rushing duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis steps up to make several impact plays. Cornerback Vontae Davis keeps playing at an elite level, picking off a few balls.
How do they get eliminated? The offensive line is overwhelmed and Luck doesn’t get any time to throw the football. The defensive front is pushed around, giving up too many rushing yards to a back like the Ravens’ Rice or the Patriots’ Stevan Ridley.
6) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? Receiver A.J. Green gets hot, producing several big plays through the air, and the pass rush dominates on the other side of the ball. Geno Atkins finally gets credit for his outstanding play after collecting several sacks and tackles for a loss.
How do they get eliminated? The running game is unable to provide balance, and Andy Dalton turns the ball over too much. The defense is on the field too often, and the unit runs out of gas late.
FORBES MAGAZINE: Dallas Cowboys tops NFL list, first to be valued at over $2 billion
The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s first and only $2 billion franchise, Forbes Magazine announced today as it released its annual team value list.
Michael Ozanian, Forbes’ executive editor, said the Cowboys’ value, which the magazine tabs at $2.1 billion, is "a conservative estimate."
Ozanian said the magazine took into account the Cowboys’ $80 million in sponsorship income, their state-of-the art stadium and the fact that they are the only team in the NFL that distributes its own merchandise to retailers.
Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. That’s roughly a 715 percent increase to today’s value, factoring in inflation.
While the Cowboys stood atop the list for the sixth consecutive year, the New England Patriots (worth $1.63 billion) passed the Washington Redskins ($1.6 billion) for the second spot.
The New York Giants, valued at $1.46 billion, landed in fourth while the Houston Texas rounded out the top five at $1.3 billion.
Despite playing in the same stadium, the magazine estimated the net worth of the New York Jets at about $200 million less than the Giants.
"We have the Giants bringing in $27 million more in revenue, plus they’re getting the Super Bowl bump on ticket prices," Ozanian said.
Despite the threat of concussion litigation that could eventually cost the NFL billions of dollars, the magazine doesn’t have a single franchise losing value from last season.
"There wasn’t any loss of value reflected in the recent Cleveland Browns sale," Ozanian said. "The investment bankers we spoke to told us that prices haven’t dropped in terms of what people are offering for small or large shares of teams."
Forbes stated that 20 NFL teams are worth more than $1 billion, the most of any league. That number is up from 15 teams last year.
The Cincinnati Bengals, worth $871 million compared to $875 million last season, are the only team that lost value.
Forbes projects only two teams had operating losses last year — the Pittsburgh Steelers ($1.1 billion), due to a higher payroll, and the Oakland Raiders ($785 million), thanks to having the lowest revenues in the league.
The magazine concluded that the two teams that had the biggest jump in value were the Minnesota Vikings ($975 million) and the San Francisco 49ers ($1.17 billion), whose values jumped 22 and 19 percent, respectively, as a result of their new stadiums being built.
The Cowboys’ $2.1 billion value matches that of the Los Angeles Dodgers purchase by Guggenheim Partners. Forbes says only Manchester United is worth more. The magazine said the soccer team was worth $2.23 billion, but the team’s recent offering on the New York Stock Exchanged valued it at $2.9 billion.
Ex-Cowboy LB Bradie James and Texans make it official – he’s signed
Former Cowboys linebacker Bradie James has signed with the Houston Texans.
The terms of his contract weren’t disclosed, according to the team’s official website.
James, 31, had played his entire career in Dallas, starting 111 games in nine seasons for the Cowboys after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2003.
In Houston, he will be reunited with former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, the Texans’ defensive coordinator.
During his final season with the Cowboys, James’ role was reduced as 2010 second-round draft pick Sean Lee became the team’s primary inside linebacker.
As Lee made headlines, James faded into the background. He was on the field for only 414 snaps — fewer than half the total he played the previous season.
Once a fixture in the Cowboys’ lineup, he led the team in tackles each season from 2005 until 2010.
But despite his contributions, the Cowboys didn’t make an apparent effort this off-season to re-sign James, who was an unrestricted free agent. Instead, they acquired Dan Connor of the Carolina Panthers last month, leaving James to go to Houston.
Texans coach Wade Phillips taking medical leave
HOUSTON — Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips says he will have surgery this week to address a kidney condition.
Phillips said Wednesday that he will miss a week to 10 days. He would not specify the condition, but said it is not life threatening, is not cancer, and that doctors recommended that he have the procedure.
Houston (10-3) plays Carolina (4-9) on Sunday.
The 64-year-old Phillips hopes to return in time for Houston’s regular-season finale against Tennessee at Reliant Stadium. Linebackers coach Reggie Herring will run the league’s top defense in Phillips’ absence.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: League Stats
Through 10 games of the season, it’s far enough to start getting a solid gauge on how this team, and individual players rank around the league.
For those who really only care about one stat and one stat only – this isn’t for you. Just take the Cowboys’ 6-4 record and wait until it changes next Thursday afternoon.
But for others who like to see how the team and players stack up, here are a few things to point out from this week’s league statistics.
· The Cowboys one of only two teams to be ranked in the top 15 of the six main stat categories – total offense (6th), total defense (10th), run offense (10th), run defense (11th), pass offense (6th) and pass defense (13th). The only other team with rankings across the board that high is Houston. The Wade Phillips-led defense ranks first in the NFL.
· Tony Romo is ranked fourth the NFL in quarterback rating at 99.4 Romo is behind the three QBs widely considered the best in the game in Aaron Rodgers (128.8), Tom Brady (102.0) and Drew Brees (101.3).
· Romo continues to lead the NFL in fumble recoveries with six.
· DeMarcus Ware regained the sack lead on Minnesota’s Jared Allen (13.5) with his 14th sack on Sunday.
· After a slow start, DeMarco Murray is up to ninth in the NFL in rushing with 747 yards, two behind Steven Jackson (749).
· Of all players with at least 100 rushing attempts, Murray leads them in rushing average at 6.0 yards a carry.
· Dan Bailey is one of two players to eclipse 100 points this year. He ranks just behind San Francisco’s kicker David Akers (102) for first place in total scoring.
· The only stat the Cowboys lead the entire NFL is field-goal percentage. Dan Bailey is 25 of 26 this year, including 24 straight.
· The Cowboys rank 30th in the NFL in red-zone scoring, getting just 13 touchdowns in 32 attempts (40.6 percent).
· The Cowboys are now seventh in the NFL in turnover margin, with a +6 difference.
RIVAL NEWS: Pittsburgh Steelers were hit with a bevy of injuries Sunday
The Pittsburgh Steelers were hit with a bevy of injuries during Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans.
The biggest concern is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said had X-rays following the game on a left foot injury. Roethlisberger, who was wearing a walking boot when he left the stadium, said he didn’t know the results of the tests. He also told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he did not know whether the foot was broken, and said if there was a break, he would try to play through it like he did last season when he played through a broken bone in his right foot.
According to Steelers Digest, Roethlisberger was on crutches as he boarded the team charter for the flight back to Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger said he was injured on the second-to-last series of the game when he was tackled from behind. He remained in the game but had trouble walking afterward in the locker room. He was sacked five times Sunday, hit several other times and hurried throughout the day behind an injury-plagued offensive line.
Tomlin said linebacker James Harrison, who left the game during the second quarter with a right eye injury, experienced double vision but did return to the game. He will undergo further testing, according to Tomlin. Defensive end Aaron Smith (mid-foot sprain) and linebacker Jason Worilds (left quadriceps) were also injured.
TBAB UPDATE: Steelers’ Roethlisberger dealing with sprain, bruising in left foot
Ben Roethlisberger seems to have spent more time on the turf than upright for the Steelers this season, and it appears to be catching up to the quarterback.
Roethlisberger suffered a sprain and bruising in his mid-foot area in Sunday’s loss to the Texans, NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported on Monday, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Steelers quarterback remains under evaluation and could miss practice time this week, but has not been ruled out for Sunday.
If Roethlisberger cannot go in Week 5 against the Titans, Charlie Batch would get the start.