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Peter King on M&M: ‘I just fear Colin Kaepernick a lot more than I would the San Francisco defense’

02.01.13 at 2:30 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday about HGH testing in the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell’s State of the League address, the 49ers offense and the Ravens defense.

King said he thinks the idea of the Ravens as a “team of destiny” that will be driven to victory by intangibles isn’t the Super Bowl’s best storyline.

“I think the emotion’s a silly angle. Maybe the emotion helps you for five minutes, but you’ve got to play football,” King said. “I think we get these comfortable storylines – great defense versus an old defense – that’s the storyline down here, and I just say, have you watched the games? I don’t see, when I watch the San Francisco, a peerless defense. They’ve got eight sacks in the last five games. That’s a great pressure defense?

Aldon Smith, Justin Smith – no sacks in the last five games. Aldon Smith had a good game in the championship game, but I don’t know, I think we lapse into storylines too easy, and I pick the Ravens, too. I just fear Colin Kaepernick a lot more than I would fear the San Francisco defense.”

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On whether Ray Lewis‘ legacy will be affected by the SI story: “Not making any accusations, just stating a fact, but there is not currently a test in the NFL for HGH. So if there’s not a test, how do we know that 800 players don’t use HGH? So I’m not charging anybody with anything, but there’s a lot of things right now the NFL can’t test for, and so there are people who are going to believe what they want to believe and that’s it.”

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Steve Young on M&M: Deer antler spray sounds like ‘foolishness,’ ‘the stupidest thing there is’

02.01.13 at 1:57 pm ET
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NFL Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Steve Young talked with Mut & Merloni on Friday about Ray Lewis‘ legacy, the 49ers’ chances, and Randy Moss‘ recent declaration that he’s the best wide receiver of all time.

“You don’t declare yourself a leader, you have people follow you,” Young said of Moss. “You don’t declare yourself the greatest of all time, you have other people tell you. If you need to say that, then there’s a problem, and I said, Jerry, don’t even respond.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to play with some of the best players to ever play the game,” said Rice, widely considered one of the best receivers of all time himself. “Just my body of work and my dedication to the game, I leave it up to the fans to say if you’re the best player to ever play the game.”

Young was also unconvinced of the benefits of the deer antler spray Lewis allegedly used to aid his recovery from a triceps injury.

“This is foolishness,” he said. “It sounds like the stupidest thing there is, I think. Anyone that’s going to go out to somebody and say, ‘Here, I have some deer antler juice for you’ – it’s like you’re going to grow an extra eyeball. Who needs this stuff?”

Rice said the accusations won’t affect Lewis’ place among the all-time greats.

“Seventeen years and he’s playing his best football right now,” Rice said. “The last three playoff games, I think he has around 44 tackles, so he’s getting it done on defense. The guy would have to be in the top five defensive players to ever play the game.”

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the full interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Tim Brown’s complaint about Bill Callahan ‘sabotaging’ the Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl:
Jerry: “I think it was all about the game plan. I think sabotage might not be the word, but when you practice all week long and you want to run the football, you’re averaging over 300-some yards, and you’ve got great running backs like Tyrone Wheatley, Zach Crockett, and the plan is to run the football and then you change it on a Friday, you can attach whatever name you want to it, but I just felt like we were at a disadvantage going into that game.”

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Heath Evans on M&M: Deer-antler spray ‘nothing, and I mean nothing’ like PEDs

02.01.13 at 12:00 pm ET
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NFL Network analyst Heath Evans spoke with Mut & Merloni from New Orleans Friday about his own use of the velvet deer antler substance Ray Lewis reportedly used, how it differs from traditional steroids, and how the Ravens can beat Colin Kaepernick.

Evans said he has been taking the deer antler substance in tablet form, which is stronger than the spray, and that it’s made a significant difference in his cognitive function since he retired from football.

“I’ve had ADD since I was born, but probably only in 2009, 2010 – I would be lying if I said I didn’t have concern about maybe some of the cognitive stuff, just stuff you shouldn’t forget,” Evans said. “And over the last six months since I’ve been taking the velvet deer antler tablets, I sleep. I rest. I recall on-air on NFL Network, being sent downstairs at night by Beth and not forgetting what she sent me down there for.”

“I’m, like, the least psychosomatic person in the world,” he went on. “The chips that [SWATS co-owner Mitch Ross] put on people’s wrists so they run faster and bench more, they didn’t work for me. And I think there are a lot of psychosomatic athletes, and I would not represent that product of his. But the deer antler was something I was introduced to in 2008 by a good friend of mine that runs Garden of Life, the multi-hundred billion dollar company, and I saw some good, actual things come out of it.

“I don’t use notes on air anymore. If I do, it’s once a week or it’s a longer-working subject. Last year, I was almost strapped to my notes at times.”

Evans said if Lewis did take the deer antler spray, it’s not worthy of the PED discussion it’s drawn.

“The PED word, steroids and all that nonsense – this is nothing, and I mean nothing, like that,” Evans said. “If that helped Ray recover, it was minimalistic. It probably did have some effects, but it was because Ray dieted perfect. He rested perfect. He did everything else they told him to do. He had surgery and he took care of his body, and he probably wasn’t out drinking and smoking and doing a lot of the stuff other NFL players do, and his body responded, because our bodies are amazing when we treat them right.”

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Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, Heath Evans, Ray Lewis

Boomer Esiason on D&C: Ravens are ‘team of destiny,’ but 49ers have better players

02.01.13 at 9:26 am ET
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Boomer Esiason called in from New Orleans to talk with Dennis & Callahan about the state of the 49ers and Ravens as they head into the Super Bowl, and whether the Ravens’ intangibles or the 49ers’ talent will prevail.

In a week filled with off-field news items about Ravens and 49ers players, Esiason said he doubts the accusations of PED use will slow down Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, but that 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver seems shaken up by the media attention he’s gained this week for an anti-gay remark.

“Given all that Ray Lewis has been through, from the double murder back in 2000 to all of his gyrations during games and all of the publicity that’s he’s gotten, that’s the last thing that they worry about,” Esiason said.

“Now, on the other side, Culliver, who made the anti-gay statement, he was really uncomfortable and really felt badly about what he said. I don’t necessarily know that he understood the enormity of what he said. His situation’s a little bit different, and he’s probably going to carry that a little into the game, because I really felt that he he looked very very embarrassed and overwhelmed by the whole dust-up that his comments created.”

Asked about Ravens safety Ed Reed, whom Bill Belichick admires, Esiason said he could see Reed aiming to play with a quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning assuming he leaves the Ravens as a free agent this offseason.

“I’m sure that Ed Reed probably loves this experience that he’s having with the Baltimore Ravens right now,” Esiason said. “I would think he’d be willing to take a little less money — I imagine, I don’t want to put words in his mouth — to play for one of those franchises for a chance at a Super Bowl ring.”

Esiason’s Super Bowl prediction was a tight, defense-dominated battle: “This game should be a fourth-quarter game. It should be a relatively tight game. It should stay in the 20s. I’d be really shocked if somebody scores 30 points in this game, unless there’s some breakdown on special teams, which I really don’t expect.”

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Read More: boomer esiason, Chris Culliver, Colin Kaepernick, Ed Reed

Audio: Chris Price, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders talk Patriots

02.01.13 at 1:18 am ET
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In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price and Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders break down the 2012 Patriots, including a look at some key statistics about the New England team, and also discuss some possible personnel moves going forward, with a focus on Wes Welker and Aqib Talib. Chris and Aaron conclude the conversation talking about different items around the NFL, including the impact of Chip Kelly in Philly with the Eagles and Super Bowl XLVII. To listen or download, click here.

Linebacker Dane Fletcher signs one-year deal with Patriots

01.31.13 at 3:33 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher has resigned with the Patriots, inking a one-year deal to remain with the team.

The 26-year-old Montana State product, who was an rookie free agent, has done a very nice job providing depth at the inside/middle linebacker spot the last two seasons, as well as working as an occasional special teamer. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder, who was slated to become a restricted free agent,  has 55 tackles (36 solo), with two sacks and a pair of passes defensed in 23 career games with New England.

He spent the entire 2012 season on the shelf after suffering a torn left ACL in New England’s preseason opener.

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Rob Gronkowski on M&M: ‘It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out’

01.31.13 at 11:45 am ET
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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his silence on Thursday when he checked in with Mut & Merloni and provided an update on his broken left forearm.

“The arm’s doing all right. Just casted it up,” he said. “Got a lot of time to heal now. So, there’s no hurry, no rush. Just taking it week by week and day by day, and just getting it stronger every day. So, I’m improving every week. It’s the offseason now, so, no time to rush it. Get it 100 percent before camp starts.”

Gronkowski broke his arm for the second time early in the playoff game against the Texans when he used the arm to brace himself while falling after an incomplete pass.

“Right when I landed obviously I was in huge pain,” he said. “I knew there was something wrong right when I hit. I just wasn’t sure what it was. Because sometimes you get a stinger, sometimes you get a charley horse and they go away after two minutes — they just hurt real bad, real quick for like two minutes. So, I was just hoping it was that — like a quick stinger, hitting your joint in your elbow or something where it just numbs your arm real quick. I was just hoping it was one of those. But the pain wasn’t going away, obviously, and obviously it broke.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out. Definitely it wasn’t. It is what it was. That’s what happened.”

Despite it being the second time the arm broke this season, Gronkowski said he doesn’t feel that he came back too soon.

“I couldn’t really tell you if it was healed or not. It felt good,” he said. “Just going into the playoff game I felt ready, I felt confident about it. Like I said, it was just a freak accident. It didn’t go the way I planned. It broke in a different spot. It just happened. Obviously I wasn’t planning on that.”

Gronkowski originally broke the arm in the final minutes of a 59-24 rout of the Colts on Nov. 18, while blocking on an extra point. He said there was no injury prior to that play, and he doesn’t regret being on the field late in a blowout win.

“It happened on the extra point,” he confirmed. “I mean, it’s football. You’ve got to be out there. It’s a team game. You’ve got to be out there for your team. it doesn’t matter when it happened. It can happen at any time. It’s just a freak accident. Just got to get it 100 percent now.”

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