NFL Sunday: The latest on McNabb, the Vikings, Jason Campbell and more
|10.23.11 at 1:05 pm ET|
The 1-5 Minnesota Vikings are having a tough go of it through the first six games this season, and things have only gotten worse over the weekend. Early on Saturday, cornerback Chris Cook was arrested on domestic battery charges and is being held without bail. Cook will not play Sunday against Green Bay and the Vikings said they will not comment on the arrest until they find out more information.
Aside from Cook’s issues, the Vikings have a controversy on their hands related to quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is being benched for Sunday’s game. Rookie Christian Ponder will start in McNabb’s place.
This is the third team in three years that has benched McNabb, and NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi alleges that the quarterback just doesn’t have the work ethic necessary for an NFL quarterback. Lombardi reports McNabb has shown up late for meeting and practices and does not study the playbook thoroughly.
Former quarterback and current NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner asked McNabb about the rumors regarding his work ethic, and McNabb denied the reports, saying ‘That stuff’s crazy.’ McNabb claims he is doing what the coaches ask him to do in every situation. But on Sunday, doing what his coaches ask of him will be playing backup to a rookie.
Sometimes, being a pro athlete does not necessarily mean a person is more “in the know” than a regular man on the street. Still, when a team trades for one player in order to replace an injured player, it seems only polite to inform the deposed player before telling the public about the trade.
This is what happened to injured Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell, who found out about the Raiders’ trade for volatile quarterback Carson Palmer when the Raiders televised the press conference Tuesday.
“It was kind of a moment of silence,” Campbell said to Oakland radio station 95.7. “My fiancee looked at me to see if I was going to say something. There’s different thoughts that go through your mind but you don’t want to fill your mind with those thoughts.”
Campbell broke his collarbone last Sunday and underwent surgery to repair it on Monday. He found out he would be replaced by Palmer while recovering in bed on Tuesday. Campbell said the Raiders did not even discuss the possibility of a trade with him before announcing the trade to the public.
San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is active for Sunday’s game against the Jets. Gates has been inactive since Week 2 against the Patriots with a foot injury. Although Gates played in the game at New England, he did not touch the ball. Gates has eight catches this season for 74 yards, all of which came in a Week 1 win over Minnesota. The seven-time Pro Bowler is sure to provide a boost to the already 4-1 Chargers.
People who win Super Bowls together do not always have to get along, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Keyshawn Johnson proved Sunday. The former wide receiver had some biting remarks about former coach Jon Gruden, who helped Johnson and the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl Championship in 2002. Johnson said that during the next season, Gruden messed with his psyche, leaving the three-time Pro Bowler desperate to find a way out of Tampa Bay.
“When your psyche is messed with and you don’t want to be around the organization or team, you just want to do whatever you can to get out of there,” Johnson said on Sunday NFL Countdown. “But it was just something about the way I was being coached, talked to, dealt with. Just didn’t want to be there. So for me, I was happy when I got the phone call that said, ‘Hey, we’re going to deactivate you for the rest of the year.’ I was excited.”
Johnson was traded to the Dallas Cowboys after the 2003 season and retired from football in 2007. The former first overall draft pick now works for ESPN.
Running back Marshawn Lynch was a surprise inactive for the Seahawks in their game against the Browns Sunday. According to a team spokesman, Lynch hurt his back during pregame warm-ups, but further information was not available. Lynch leads the Seahawks in rushing yards this season with 58 carries for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Veteran Leon Washington started in Lynch’s place.
The Seahawks’ opponent, the Cleveland Browns, were also missing their starting running back Sunday. Peyton Hillis missed his second game of the season, this time with a hamstring injury, and was replaced by Montario Hardesty. Hillis has 60 carries for 211 yards this season and two touchdowns. He has been the center of controversy in Cleveland because of unresolved contract negotiations, and some in the media accused Hillis of holding out on the team when he missed a game against Miami because of strep throat.