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Steve Young on OM&F: ‘Surprised’ Tom Brady won case against Roger Goodell, NFL 09.17.15 at 2:16 pm ET
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Former players and ESPN NFL analysts Steve Young and Jerry Rice joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to discuss the Deflategate case and also Rice allegedly using “stick’em” when he played. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Young said he was surprised Tom Brady won his case against Roger Goodell and the NFL.

“I understood that the judge was going to be ruling on a procedural, not on [an evidence] issue so my thought was, ‘Well, the league is going to be under scrutiny for procedure and there is a lot of back-and-forth, but in the end procedure is such a wide open interpretive thing,'” Young said. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that they are going to say [they] went outside of that.’ So I was surprised and I’m also surprised they went to appeal now. I’m sure this isn’t over. The league must feel very, very firmly that they went exactly as did procedures that were laid out in the CBA and off you go. I was equally surprised the league pressed the appeal.”

The former quarterback did say what Brady and the Patriots have been accused of is just a “traffic citation.”

“I think in proper context this will take its place amongst something that — there was something that said you shouldn’t have them lower than a certain inflation, which is fine, but it’s a traffic citation,” he said. “In terms of proper context over a long period of time, Tom Brady is embarking this season to do something never done before and if he wins a sixth one will be extended beyond anyone else who ever played and it will speak for itself. That’s just a fact.”

Rice was pressed on using “stick’em” during his playing days, but the Hall of Fame receiver never directly answered the questions.

“Guys look, 1,549 catches, 22,895 yards — that speaks for itself,” Rice said. “When you are the guy defenses are trying to take you out of the game — they are going to plan for you. I still have to catch the football. I still have to run with the football. I have to score touchdowns. My body of work really speaks for itself.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Jerry Rice, Steve Young,
Rodney Harrison on MFB: Tom Brady ‘doesn’t trust that offensive line’ 09.23.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots’ rocky start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots improved to 2-1 with Sunday’s 16-9 victory over the Raiders, but the offense continues to struggle, as evidenced by the single touchdown against a low-ranked Raiders defense. The finger has been pointed at the offensive line as the main culprit.

“It’s a big concern, because I’m sitting there with coach [Tony] Dungy and we’re watching them, and they’re just getting their butt kicked,” Harrison said. “The tackles, the guards, they’re just getting their butts kicked and getting pushed around. They just look so big and stiff, no knee bends, anything. It just looked bad. And Tom [Brady], you could just tell, Tom never felt comfortable, he doesn’t feel comfortable, he doesn’t trust that offensive line.

“They really need to either get that run game going, they need to do something. If it was one guy, like coach Dungy pointed out, then you can shift and you can use the running back and you can run some screens, stuff like that. But unfortunately it’s not just one guy, it’s a multitude of guys. This is a big concern for me, because if Tom gets hurt they’re in trouble.”

Richie Incognito, let go by the Dolphins in the offseason after being suspended for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, remains a free agent. The talented but troubled offensive lineman reportedly is talking with the Eagles this week.

“He can play, man. He can play,” Harrison said. “[Bill] Belichick, he’s one of those guys that can bring certain people in — Corey Dillon and Randy Moss and myself — and people said, ‘Hey, these guys are troublemakers and they’re not good people.’ You can bring him in — he’s the one guy I think in the league that can get a guy to come in and fit in.

“A lot of people deserve second chances. Richie, he seems like he paid his dues. We all make mistakes in life. I think he can still play. I think you get a guy like that, you can get him for cheap, he’s hungry. Why not bring him in? If he doesn’t work out, cut him. It’s not like his salary will be guaranteed anyway.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss
Jerry Rice on M&M: Ravens will edge Patriots 01.17.13 at 1:36 pm ET
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Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice chatted with Mut & Merloni on Thursday to give his prediction for Sunday’s AFC championship game and discuss other NFL news.

“I know you guys are in Boston, but this is going to be a great game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens,” Rice said. “I know the last game was questionable just a little bit. I think Tom Brady‘s going to come out and exceptional like he always does, but I think they’re going to get edged out a little bit by the Baltimore Ravens.

“I think the Ravens right now are just playing exceptional football. I look at Joe Flacco and the thing that really impresses me with him is that he doesn’t have any INTs. Ray Rice is running the ball well, and all of a sudden Torrey Smith — they stretch the ball downfield, throwing it deep, he’s making plays. I’m sure Anquan Boldin‘s going to be a factor. On defense, Ray Lewis and [Ed] Reed, those guys are going to be ready and I think they’re inspired with this might be Ray Lewis’ last football game. They feel like they have an opportunity to do something special, so it should be a great football game.”

Reed and his fellow defensive backs will attempt to shut down Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. Welker had eight receptions for 131 yards in this past Sunday’s win over the Texans.

“I don’t like him breaking my records,” Rice joked. “I had an opportunity to meet this guy, he’s such a great individual, he’s a hard worker and you just cannot cover this guy one-on-one. He’s going to continue putting up big numbers like that if you try to line him up with a linebacker or safety because he’s just too quick off the line of scrimmage and he’s too explosive and he’s going to make plays.

“He can pretty much take over a ballgame, and that’s really what you ask for in a playmaker that’s a receiver on the football field, and he’s capable of doing that. Like I stated, he is not going to be covered and I know Tom Brady is always going to go to him. He’s like that security blanket for him and he knows that this guy is going to get open and make plays. So, I think he pretty much has earned his money and they should pay him a lucrative contract.

“I think he’s in the top five [receivers in NFL] without a doubt. What he brings to that team, and also he sets the standards. The way this guy prepares, his preparation, his hard work during practice, and that carries over to the game on that given Sunday or that Monday. Those are the types of guys you want to give the big contracts and you want the other guys to look at these guys and say, ‘Wow, this is the way to be a professional and this is how you should conduct yourself.’ ”

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Wes Welker
Rob Gronkowski continues his march into history 10.28.12 at 9:59 pm ET
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As Rob Gronkowski marched in the end zone, his attempt to pay homage to the Changing of the Guard — in his words to reporters, ‘€œThat little nutcracker dude that’s guarding the house’€ — more closely resembled a mechanical toy soldier. And in some ways, his mechanical march perfectly embodied what the third-year tight end has become.

Simply put, he is a touchdown machine. In 2½ NFL seasons, he’€™s established himself as one of the foremost scoring threats in league history, someone who has assumed end zone residence as no one else at his position in the modern history of the game.

That notion was underscored on Sunday against an overmatched Rams team, as Gronkowski delivered one of the most dominating games of his career. He matched a career high with eight catches and two touchdowns while amassing 146 receiving yards, the second most of his career. He nearly had a third score, in fact, getting touched down at the 1-yard line on a tremendous diving catch at the end of the first quarter.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the performance — aside from the celebration and charming absurdity of its explanation — was the fact that it was almost unremarkable. It simply represented what has become a characteristic romp over NFL defenses, which have yet to identify a defensive grouping — defensive linemen are too big and slow; linebackers too small and slow; safeties and defensive backs too small — to prevent Gronkowski from getting to the end zone.

The result? Gronkowski has scored 34 touchdowns in 40 games in his career, and he now is marching through end zones and into history books in a fashion befitting his robotic Sunday celebration.

Gronkowski now has 11 games with multiple touchdown catches in his career. He joins Jerry Rice as the only players in NFL history with that many multi-TD games in his first three seasons; but Gronkowski, of course, still has eight games left this year to set a new standard. No tight end has come remotely close to such a figure. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Antonio Gates, Ben Coates, charlie sanders, dave casper
Wes Welker on the bye week: ‘It’s not like it’s Spring Break’ 10.19.11 at 12:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Wes Welker is heading back to Oklahoma for a few days during the bye week, but don’€™t expect him to cut loose when he gets there.

‘€œIt’€™s not like it’€™s Spring Break, like we’€™re in college or anything like that,’€ he said with a smile. ‘€œIt’€™s more of everybody understanding that you still have to work out and do some of those things.

‘€œYou’€™re not out there running routes and doing all those things you do on a daily basis, but (it’€™s about) making sure you’€™re getting a lot of reps and a lot of sleep and making sure you’€™re not staying out late and a lot of those things,’€ he added. ‘€œ(Just) really kind of taking advantage of your time.’€

Welker enters the bye week as the NFL’€™s leading receiver — he has been targeted 75 times and has 51 catches for 785 yards. He’€™s just off the pace to shatter the league records for most catches, but can still break the record for most receiving yards in a season. (At this rate, Welker will have 136 catches and 2,093 receiving yards. Marvin Harrison holds the single-season reception record with 143 in 2002, and Jerry Rice tops the single-season yardage mark at 1,848 in 1995.)

The receiver, in the final season of a five-year contract, said the bye comes at a good time.

‘€œI think the answer to that, no matter where you are in the season, would be yes. Just not only from a physical standpoint but a mental standpoint a lot of times. It’€™s kind if nice to get a few days to kind of relax and get away,’€ he said.

‘€œI think you kind of put it out of your mind for a few days. There’€™s just so much, every single day, of football, football, football, and so it’€™s kind of nice to get a few days and kind of relax and spend time with family and friends and get away from it for a few days.’€
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Jerry Rice
Some highlights from Wes Welker’s Q&A with NFL Network that aired Sunday morning 10.16.11 at 1:51 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker sat down with Michael Irvin of the NFL Network for a chat that aired this morning, and Welker shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including why he’s been so successful, facing pressure and how he works with Chad Ochocinco. Here are a few of the highlights:

On how he is able to have success, despite his size: ‘€œThe mind can be a powerful thing. I think just believing in yourself and if you go out there every single play with that mindset of hey, I’€™m going to make a play here, if I don’€™t make it, nobody is going to make it, I think ultimately that’€™s the most key thing about being a receiver.’€

On getting cut by the Chargers and going to Miami: ‘€œI was pretty devastated after that and really didn’€™t know what was going to happen. I was kind of lost and next thing you know, I was on a plane to Miami. I was going to be on the practice squad at first there and then ended up getting bumped up.’€

On if he thought he matched Jerry Rice‘€™s record-breaking paces: ‘€œNo, not at all. I thought I was going to return kicks and punts my whole career. I didn’€™t know that it could become this. At the time, I was just trying to keep a job. I was thinking the more receiver I can play, then they’€™ll see I can do that and help out there and they’€™ll keep me around longer.’€

On the pressure of being the No. 1 target on the field: ‘€œIt’€™s definitely pressure, but at the same time I love it. I love being that guy and having that attitude that I have to get this done for us and make sure that I’€™m making the plays necessary for us to win. You know, having No. 12 back there doesn’€™t hurt either and once you get that first play, it kind of takes the pressure off everybody.’€

On how he encourages Ochocinco: ‘€œKeep on encouraging him and keep on bringing him along, talking about different routes and telling him at some point, you’€™re going to have to have a breakout game for us to win. We have all the confidence in the world that’€™s going to happen.’€

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Wes Welker
No matter what you thought of him, Randy Moss was certainly never boring 08.01.11 at 4:34 pm ET
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Love him or hate him, you always had to pay attention to Randy Moss.

With the news the wide receiver has decided to retire after a 13-year NFL career, the image of Moss that remains is an athlete who commanded the spotlight like few others. On the field, he always had to be accounted for, a monster offensive threat who was instantly ticketed for Canton even before he set foot in New England in 2007. A freakish big-play receiver with breathtaking speed, he ranks second all-time with 153 touchdowns, fifth with 14,858 receiving yards and eighth with 954 receptions over the course of a 13-year career.

After stops in Minnesota and Oakland, he joined the Patriots in April 2007, where he and Tom Brady became the football equivalent of Lennon and McCartney, putting together the best combo for a quarterback and wide receiver in league history and sending sportswriters looking for more adjectives. That year, there were moments of real brilliance between the two, as the quarterback won the MVP and had 4,806 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, with Moss accounting for 1,493 receiving yards and 23 touchdown catches. (In three-plus years in New England, he had 3,904 yards and 50 touchdown receptions.)

However, when it came to Moss, it was always complicated. He talked about loving the Patriots, but a bizarre postgame monologue about his contract situation after the 2010 season opener signaled the beginning of the end of his time in New England. His teammates loved him, but nagging incidents like LateGate and an in-game clash with offensive coordinator Bill O’€™Brien left some wondering how deep that commitment to the team really was. In all, there was more than enough sophomoric stuff over the course of his career ‘€” mock-mooning the crowd in Green Bay, nudging a traffic cop with his car, more than a few incidents of loafing, squirting water at a referee, ‘€œStraight cash, homey’€ and declaring that he would ‘€œplay when I want to play’€ ‘€” to keep people talking.

That was true not only for opposing defenses and fans, but for us in the media as well. In New England, the receiver was lockered next to Brady, and as a reporter, even though there were days Moss was clearly not speaking; you always had to stay in the neighborhood just in case the mood struck him. When he did ‘€” and he started by informing the media on almost every occasion ‘€œY’€™all got three [questions]’€ ‘€” he was almost always insightful and interesting.

On the occasion of his retirement, Moss is on the short list with Jerry Rice as one of the greatest receivers of all time, and his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is all but assured. And as was the case when he was a player, if/when he stands up to make his speech while wearing that trademark yellow blazer, we will all be paying attention.

Read More: Bill O'Brien, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Tom Brady



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