22

February

Cory’s Corner: It’s time for Roger Goodell to get tough

Since Sept. 2013, there have been 17 NFL arrests, and four in 2014 already.

Since Sept. 2013, there have been 17 NFL arrests, and four in 2014 already.

Apparently Roger Goodell is going have shine up his sheriff’s badge.

Off the field, the NFL is getting out-of-control as players with more money than ever before, exert their ego and entitlement on others.

In 2014, which is less then two months old mind you, there have already been four arrests. Add in the Dolphins’ locker room environment, and the recent Ray Rice altercation with his fiancé and Goodell has his hands full.

But that’s not even the worse of it. Former NFL player Darren Sharper was charged with seven rape and drug counts involving four women.

Goodell’s fairytale has suddenly drifted off the tracks. You have players that are getting rich in an instant, oftentimes more money than they’ve ever dreamed of, and then watching as these same athletes commit blatant crimes.

Goodell can talk about more rookie town hall meetings where Herm Edwards gets in front of an overhead projector and talks about how to fill your life off-the-field positively. He can talk about workshops to help curb substance abuse, which are usually the jumping off point to physical violence.

But the time for talk is over. Goodell now needs to get tough and make those players understand how important playing for that NFL shield is. And the quickest way for Goodell to get it in their heads is in through their bank account.

The things that Richie Incognito did would get entire human resources staffs fired. If Incognito did those kinds of things in the real world, he would be at odds to find a job let alone another professional football one.

Rice still hasn’t been charged but at no point is it OK for a man to hit a woman. Period. The video of him dragging out his fiancé because he knocked her out is not only shocking but it’s also very sad. He never thought for an instant what the ramifications of hitting a woman might lead to. At the very least he needs to be suspended, some are saying he should be kicked out of the NFL. Even if his fiancé elects not to press charges, Rice should still be punished by Goodell.

6

February

Green Bay Packers Offseason: Another Veteran Purge Could Be Coming

Packers WR Donald Driver

Packers WR Donald Driver might be a cut Ted Thompson makes this offseason. (Photo: Getty images)

It didn’t take long into Ted Thompson’s reign as Green Bay Packers GM for the unwavering 52-year-old to firmly establish that football moves under his direction would be made without the cling of emotion, void of any sentimental feelings that could effect a given decision one way or the other.

Among Thompson’s first moves as GM in 2005 were the releasing of guard Mike Wahle and safety Darren Sharper and declining to re-sign guard Marco Rivera, three players that were stalwarts for Packers teams that had won consecutive NFC North titles from 2002-04. Despite their undisputed contributions, each was shown the door both because of age and Thompson’s need to manage the Packers’ out of control salary cap.

Wahle was 28 years old and had played in 103 straight games when Thompson released him, but the move saved over $11 million in cap space. Axing Sharper, a 29-year-old All-Pro safety, saved another $4.3 million. Rivera went on to sign a five-year, $20 million contract with the Cowboys after Thompson let him walk at the age of 32.

All three of the moves were spurred by the Packers’ cap situation as he entered the job. No matter how unpopular, each needed to be made to get Thompson back into his salary cap comfort zone.

And while a drastic makeover like 2005 hasn’t been seen since, similar decisions to the ones Thompson made in that offseason have. In the end, making those tough decisions are a big reason why the Packers’ salary cap has never again reached 2005 levels.

Over subsequent years, Thompson released veterans Na’il Diggs (80 career starts, saved $2.9 million) and Bubba Franks (Three-time Pro Bowler, saved over $4 million), traded away an unretired Brett Favre, and let Ahman Green (the Packers franchise leader in rushing yards) and Aaron Kampman (owner of 54 career sacks in Green Bay) walk in free agency.

In 2010, Thompson released cornerback Al Harris, who started seven straight seasons for the Packers but was 36 years old and struggling to come back from a catastrophic knee injury in ’09.

Starting to sound like a broken record?  There was still more roster reshaping to do even after Thompson’s 2010-11 Packers reached the top of the NFL mountain.