Tag Archive | "nflpa"

Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

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Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you’ve read this one before.

Nestor Aparicio and I spent the last four days at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis for the annual National Football League Scouting Combine. Indy has been a bit of a second home for us over the first two months of 2012. I don’t know I could ever express just how awkward that is.

CBSSports.com NFL writer Pete Prisco stopped by our set Friday afternoon to record an interview that would air later on “The Reality Check”. We talked about a number of subjects, one being the status of Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice. Let me make sure I state this. I GREATLY respect Pete Prisco as a writer and football mind. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he’s been with CBS for over a decade covering the league and has covered football even longer than that. The following are quotes from Prisco regarding Rice…

“I wouldn’t pay any running back.”
“I’d franchise him…that’s it.”
“You don’t pay running backs.”
“If you’re building your team around a running back you’ve got problems.”

Prisco rightfully pointed out that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl despite finishing 32nd in the league in rushing. He also rightfully pointed out that the Jacksonville Jaguars won just five games despite being home to the league’s top rusher (Maurice Jones-Drew). They’re relevant points, even if he ignores the fact that the Giants upped their rushing average to 116.5 yards per game in the postseason and that the Ravens had the league’s second leading rusher (Rice) and were a Lee Evans drop away from playing those Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

Of course the NFL is more of a passing league. We’re all aware. It doesn’t mean running backs aren’t still dressing for games and making an impact every now and then.

I’m not beating up Pete Prisco here. I’m pointing out an opinion about Rice that has been popular both around Charm City and for many throughout football. There are a number of fans and analysts alike who simply don’t think the Ravens should bother giving their free agent running back a long-term extension. Local writers/bloggers/talk show hosts (including even our own Thyrl Nelson) have pointed out that economically the team would probably be better off just having Rice play under the franchise tag each of the next two seasons.

The numbers would work out to the team having to pay the back between $16-17 million combined in his fifth and sixth NFL seasons, and would not involve any sort of signing bonus. The team will certainly have to hand out much more than that should they extend Rice, even if they come in short of the “Adrian Peterson money” his representation is reportedly interested in.

I promise the next part of this column isn’t meant to be any sort of “I told you so” moment. I’m just glad we can stop discussing that ridiculous thought process anymore.

As I chased Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome out of the media room at LucasOil Stadium Friday afternoon, we had this exact exchange.

“As far as Ray Rice is concerned, it’s definitely the thought process to get an extension done-is it not any thought to franchise him for a year and go from there?” I asked.

He responded “No. We have used the franchise tag only so that we can get a long term deal. We would like for Ray Rice to have a long career in Baltimore. If we have to franchise him, that would be the reason why.”

Nothing wishy-washy there. No posturing at all. That’s about as straight of shooting as a General Manager can possibly offer.

I’m so freaking glad it was Newsome who said it this time so that I don’t have to bother fighting with anyone about it anymore. You DO NOT give the franchise tag to a player if you don’t have interest in keeping him around.

At least…you don’t do that if you’re a competent, well run organization.

(Continue reading on Page 2…)

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Wrapping Up A Week at Radio Row in Indy

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Wrapping Up A Week at Radio Row in Indy

Posted on 04 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

It was another incredible week of Super Bowl coverage for us here at AM1570 WNST.net. Both “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones as well as “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark emanated from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis every day. “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio was also part of the daily fun.

In case you missed anything we did, here is a list of the guest segments available for your consumption right now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

-Adam Sandler (Actor)

-Matt Birk (Baltimore Ravens C)

-Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, former Ravens DC)

-Curt Schilling (Former Baltimore Orioles/Boston Red Sox/Arizona Diamondbacks/Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher)

-Shannon Sharpe (Former Baltimore Ravens/Denver Broncos Hall of Fame TE, CBS)

-AJ Green (Cincinnati Bengals WR)
-Ingrid & Sarah Harbaugh (Wives of John & Jim Harbaugh)

-Jim Schwartz (Detroit Lions Head Coach)

-Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons Head Coach)

-Marcus Allen (Hall of Fame RB)
-Larry The Cable Guy (Comedian)

-Priest Holmes (Former Baltimore Ravens/Kansas City Chiefs RB)

-Vanilla Ice (Musician/Actor)
-Will Forte (Actor/Comedian/Saturday Night Live alum)

-Lynn Swann (Former Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame WR)
-Greg Ballard (Mayor of Indy)

-Dustin Keller (New York Jets TE)
-Jason Taylor (Former Miami Dolphins DE)
-Frank Caliendo (Comedian)

-Jay Mohr (Actor/Comedian)

-David Feherty (Golf Channel)

-Mike Haynes (Former New England Patriots Hall of Fame CB)
-Brian Billick (Former Baltimore Ravens coach FOX/NFL Network)
-Herm Edwards (Former New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs coach, ESPN)

-Dick Vermeil (Former Super Bowl winning St. Louis Rams coach)
-Marv Levy (Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame coach)

-Joe Theismann (Former Washington Redskins QB, NFL Network)

-Lorenzo Neal (Former Baltimore Ravens/San Diego Chargers FB)
-Rich Gannon (Former Oakland Raiders QB, CBS)
-Antonio Pierce (Former NY Giants LB)

-Jack Youngblood (Los Angeles Rams Hall of Fame DE)

-Dhani Jones (Former Cincinnati Bengals LB)

-Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears Kicker)
-Morten Anderson (Former New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons Kicker)
-Bonnie Bernstein (ESPN/University of Maryland alum)
-Peter King (SI/NBC)
-Lesley Visser (CBS)
-Sal Paolantonio (ESPN)
-Laura Kaeppeler (Miss America 2012)

-Chrissy Teigen (SI Swimsuit Issue model)
-Will Witherspoon (Tennessee Titans LB)

(More on Page 2…)

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Part 2 of 5: How does WNST measure up to other Baltimore media?

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Part 2 of 5: How does WNST measure up to other Baltimore media?

Posted on 28 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog was originally published two years ago. We’ll be revisiting this with a three-part series and updating these thoughts with a new WNST “State of Baltimore Sports Media” survey next week while we broadcast live from Indianapolis all week. This is Part 2 of 5: The State of Baltimore Sports Media (circa 2010).

A friend of mine in San Franciscio has an awesome bar called Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant on Geary Street in the Richmond District. It’s one of my favorite places on earth. Full of chips, salsa, guacamole and stiff margaritas, the night before the AFC Championship Game in 2001 we hung out there with more Ravens fans than the place can hold. I was there three weeks ago and have shot several video segments for wnsTV from Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant over the years.

Over the Bay Area’s largest tequila bar, my pal Julio Bermejo (the U.S. Ambassador & world expert on 100% agave tequila) has a bunch of fun signs with slogans and axioms.

Here’s my favorite:

“Tommy’s encourages you to visit our competitors!”

I just love that. Because it’s exactly how we feel at WNST.net. Go ahead and scan the dial, surf the web, Facebook and Twitter away with our competitors – you’ll come back to us.

It’s our solemn goal and daily mission to make it mandatory that you come back to WNST.net every day for your Baltimore sports news, information and conversation because we think our content and observations are the best in the market.

The sign at Tommy’s is a symbol of excellence and the ultimate statement of self-confidence in one’s own product/expertise/value. It ain’t bragging if you can back it up, right?

It says we’re so good, you’ll remember us — and you’ll be back because we have the best information, the most accurate information and the most informed opinion, analysis and insights in the marketplace.

Oh, and unlike the others who are being paid “hush money” to cough and look the other way by the teams that they’re ostensibly asked to assess, evaluate and analyze with “integrity,” you always know you’re always going to get the truth from us.

For the first time in the history of WNST as a company dating back to 1998, we’re finally getting a fair shake on the measurement of our product on the web to know just how many people really are “coming back” each day.

I’ve been doing sports radio for 18 years. I have never read an Arbitron report that says we have more than 500 listeners. Most times, it lists us as the 52nd radio station in the market and sometimes we’ve fallen to ZERO listeners in their antiquated and useless monthly surveys. One local advertising agent has spent the past two decades calling us a “little station with a ‘cult’ following.” (After 18 years, nothing could be more insulting or further from the truth.)

And if you check the latest Arbitron numbers – we lovingly call them the “arbitraries” – you’ll see that once again NONE of you seem to listen to WNST.

Yep, we’re back at “zero point zero” – kind of like Bluto in “Animal House.”

But to the amazement of everyone in the Baltimore media world, suddenly, we’re so far ahead of the pack in every WEB measurement that it defies all of the “millions of dollars of research” that Arbitron has invested in proving that places like WNST-AM 1570 and brands like WNST.net aren’t effective.

But somehow, we have well over 40,000 people in our sphere here in Baltimore (at least that’s how many we’ve been able to account for so far) and displaced local sports fans across the country who’ve been kind and trusting enough to give us their email, mobile number, Facebook or Twitter access. We’ve got over 10,000 on our registration to the website and more 12,000 in our Facebook sphere alone! And there are certainly thousands of other folks who just “lurk” in our sphere, reading but never commenting, registering or playing any of our games for cash and prizes. Just like the thousands of you who have been listening to WNST-AM 1570 for years and have never received a dairy to fill out.

Every day thousands of you are coming regularly to WNST.net – via our website, Twitter, Facebook or a myriad of other connections — for any of the variety of media and information we offer.

Against the marketplace over the past dozen years, WNST has been cheated out of millions of dollars of market revenue but the game is “fixed” — at least as far as radio is concerned. Arbitron’s reporting is so fundamentally flawed and skewed that it’d be laughable if it didn’t cause me to fire people and lose money on a measurement system that is so antiquated I find it hard to believe that anyone could take it seriously.

For the first 17 years of my radio existence and as recently as last spring, Arbitron was sending out a paper diary in an envelope with a stamp via snail mail and the USPS to various (and random) home mailboxes with a $1 bill (and later $2) inside asking you

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 16 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Wake Forest @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), Maryland @ Duke (Sunday 3:30pm from Durham, NC live on ESPNU); Golf: PGA Tour Humana Challenge (Thursday & Friday 3pm Saturday & Sunday 4pm from La Quinta, CA live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour Mitsubishi Electric Championship (Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Ka’upulehu-Kona, HI live on Golf Channel); Boxing: Eddie Chambers vs. Sergei Liakhovic (Saturday 9pm from Philly live on NBC Sports Network); High School Basketball: Woodlawn @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Milford Mill @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm)

10. Dru Hill (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Taproot (Saturday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Jimi Haha (Thursday 8pm 8×10 Club); Aimee Mann (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Ozomatli (Saturday 9pm 9:30 Club); Bryan Adams (Monday 8pm Strathmore)

For those of us in Charm City, Sisqo and the boys from Dru Hill are a bit of royalty-even if they’re not really all that famous anymore.  They were so freaking awesome in the mid-90′s…

I heart Jimi Haha-and not just because I beat the Jimmie’s Chicken Shack/Jarflys frontman a few weeks ago in “Everybody Beats Glenn”…

You’ve probably heard some Ozomatli, even if you don’t think you have…

I love Bryan Adams. So sue me.

9. Adam Carolla (Saturday 8pm & 10pm Fillmore Silver Spring); “Haywire” out in theaters (Friday)

Adam Carolla is a funny hombre. I LOVED him with Dr. Drew on “Loveline”, but I think I loved Crank Yankers even more…

I don’t know if you’d call me “excited” about the pending release of Haywire, but I AM excited about posting another new picture of Gina Carano…

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Ravens Right to Honor Mackey Friday, But Fans Also Right To Want More

Posted on 17 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Tuesday afternoon on Sports Talk 1570 WNST I asked a question that had an answer I felt was fairly simple.

“Do the Baltimore Ravens owe it to the community to honor late Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey in a public way this season?”

When I asked the question, I had the benefit of knowledge on my side. As I reported Tuesday, the Ravens will recognize Mackey’s passing with an in-game tribute Friday during their preseason home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. The tribute will not include a moment of silence, as the team determined it would be inappropriate.

The team will not publicly salute former Colts DE Bubba Smith, who also passed away this summer. That determination was made because Bubba did not achieve Hall of Fame status as a player and “did not stay connected to Baltimore”, according to a team source.

My question was brought on by something written by former Colts DL Joe Ehrmann, who I talked to on Tuesday’s show. In a press release issued last week by the Baltimore Colts Alumni group before he officiated Mackey’s public memorial service Saturday, Ehrmann suggest the entire National Football League should take time this season to honor the life of Mackey.

“To truly honor our fallen teammate and leader, I hope the NFL players will demand — and the league and union will agree to — at least one game this season where every player wears a “88” patch on their jersey and each team airs appropriate public service announcements aimed at educating coaches, parents and young athletes on the prevention of head traumas.”

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Ehrmann: NFL Players Should Honor Mackey With “88″ Patch This Season

Posted on 11 August 2011 by WNST Staff

From the official Baltimore Colts alumni release…

I will be officiating the Memorial Service of NFL Hall of Fame player John Mackey this Saturday, along with his brother, Rev. Elijah Mackey. Having been in pastoral ministry over twenty-five years, I have learned that when someone has led a relationally successful and meaningful life, it is an easy and celebratory service to lead and participate in. None should be easier than John Mackey’s – but it is not.

As a player, John is arguably the greatest to ever play his position. As a man, he is one of the most respected teammates, opponents, and men to ever play the game. He was the first President of the NFL Players Association and organized the NFL’s first player strike that led to increased player health and pension benefits. He helped lead and win a court challenge to end the “Rozelle Rule” which set the precedent for true free agency and the salaries enjoyed by current players. And for all he accomplished, his greatest legacy will be as a husband, father, family member and friend – and as a role model of authentic masculinity.

Yet, John Mackey will also be remembered as the most visible face of sports’ growing epidemic of traumatic brain injuries. In 2000 John was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia that eventually led to his spending the last five years of his life in a full -time assisted living facility, unable to communicate, to recognize loved ones or to care for himself. With a push from John’s heroic wife Sylvia, his Baltimore Colt teammates and their advocacy group Fourth & Goal, the NFL and the NFLPA started the “88 Plan” named after John’s jersey number. The 88 Plan provides $88,000-a-year for nursing home care and $50,000 annually for adult day care for players suffering from various forms of degenerative brain damage.

I find it providential that after more than a decade of suffering, John Mackey’s life would end during the NFL’s longest work stoppage as the players and owners reworked their Collective Bargaining Agreement with new guidelines for health, safety and post-career benefits. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, upon learning of John’s passing said, “He worked closely [with] our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund. He never stopped fighting the good fight.” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, expressed similar sincere and heartfelt thoughts, “John Mackey has inspired me and will continue to inspire our players and define our institution. He will be missed but never forgotten.” I hope so.

John Mackey’s last sacrificial gift to the NFL and its players is the opportunity to lead the world of sports in educating athletes, parents and coaches of all ages and all sports on how to prevent, diagnose and treat concussions. While football is the most visible of concussive related sports, every game must address and work through the avalanche of evidence pointing to long term mental health issues related to head traumas. Yet, when Commissioner Goodell began changing the rules on hits to the head and imposing fines and suspensions, it was the players who pushed back. All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher represented the opinion of many players and fans when he said the NFL should rename itself “the NFFL – The National Flag Football League.” Kevin Mawae, the President of the NFLPA who represented current players at the recent negotiations, ridiculed Goodell’s crackdown stating, “The skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices.” They represent the decades of players coached to make and celebrate the head-rattling hits that too many fans cheer and applaud.

While I do not know what conversations took place at the negotiating table upon hearing of John Mackey’s death, I’d like to think participants took a long pause and reflected on the life, legacy and tragedy of John’s death. I hope current players rethought the rule changes needed to protect players and the responsibility to model how the game can and should be played. John Mackey will be celebrated at the Memorial, I am sure. But more than words of gratitude and plaudits should be spoken to carry on the legacy of a man who “never stopped fighting the good fight.” To truly honor our fallen teammate and leader, I hope the NFL players will demand — and the league and union will agree to — at least one game this season where every player wears a “88” patch on their jersey and each team airs appropriate public service announcements aimed at educating coaches, parents and young athletes on the prevention of head traumas. Then John Mackey’s life will continue to inspire NFL players, address the moral responsibility of the NFL and NFLPA to current, past and future players and honor the game. That would make for a truly celebrative Memorial Service for a man who will be missed — but should never be forgotten.

Joe Ehrmann
Baltimore Colts 1973 -1980
Author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives

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In A Word, Todd Heap Was “Steady” in Baltimore

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I kept trying to come up with the word throughout the weekend.

After Todd Heap’s tenure with the Baltimore Ravens officially ended this weekend when he signed a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, I had hoped to come up with a word to describe Heap’s time in Charm City.

When we made a list of the Top 10 players in franchise history last week, both Drew Forrester and I agreed he was deserving of Top 10 status. There’s no doubt that Heap will ultimately return to M&T Bank Stadium to see his name honored along the facade in the team’s Ring of Honor.

That being said, Heap’s career numbers would certainly fall short of being considered “spectacular” during his 10 seasons in Baltimore. He  finished with 700 yards receiving or more in only three of those seasons, never tallying more than 855. He also never hauled in any more than seven touchdown passes in a single season. After achieving Pro Bowl and All-Pro status twice early in his career (2002 & 2003), the former Arizona State Sun Devils star never again reached the same heights.

While perhaps not always “great”, Heap was always good. Usually he was very good.

Heap wasn’t exactly a football highlight reel. There will always be certain plays that will be remembered from Heap’s career, starting with the leaping catch he made over two defenders in the Ravens’ 2002 Monday Night Football win over the  Denver Broncos and ending with the tremendous layout catch he made on MNF in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets in 2010.

There were others in between, but Heap was never a “SportsCenter” staple or must-see YouTube star.

Rarely would the word “spectacular” be used to describe the way Todd Heap played football. On top of that, Heap’s nature as a person was by no means larger-than-life. Unlike retiring NFL WR Randy Moss, Heap was rarely the go-to guy a reporter looked to for a quote, never making controversial statements about teammates, coaches, or frankly anyone.

If “spectacular” wasn’t going to be the word, perhaps the more appropriate word would be just “steady”.

Steady.

During his ten years in Baltimore, Todd Heap’s play could be best described as steady.

When a play needed to be made, it was safe for the Baltimore Ravens to look to Heap.

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Bumpy road ahead to new NFL CBA agreement

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Chris Pika

ATLANTA—As word leaked out that the NFL owners had voted 31-0 on their proposal for a settlement of legal issues and the terms of a new CBA last night, rumors that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith had been on the phone during a prolonged (and unplanned) dinner break by the owners seemed to suggest that there was an agreement in principle in place.

As we found out not more than 15 minutes after the NFL’s press conference at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott announcing their vote and going over the particulars of the league’s proposal, the howls of protest via social media by players and leaking of two NFLPA emails from Smith and NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen seemed to suggest that the players were blindsided by the owners.

It should have been clear (but wasn’t at the time) that the men lined up behind Goodell during the press conference — NFL Executive VP of Labor/League Counsel Jeff Pash, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, New York Giants owner John Mara, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — never once smiled, even wearily, as the months of negotiations were at an end.

They knew what we were finding out. The road to ratification is filled with bumps that could still derail the process. It’s easy (in some respects) to get 32 people to agree to a proposal (the supplemental revenue sharing deal brokered during the day between the owners was a bigger story that got lost in the later events). It’s harder to get 1,900 people to share one vision, especially when there are competing personal interests inside the group.

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For NFL players … this is not time for a two-minute drill

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Rex Snider

You can count me among the millions and millions of pigskin lovin’ Americans who simply want this NFL labor deal to be firmly in the rear view mirror.  I want football, period.

But, I also recognize the very sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, especially as members of the NFLPA are at a juncture where ratification and commitment – a 10 year commitment – are mandated.

I’m not suggesting players should drag their feet, toss a lil’ more mud or procrastinate over the small, incidental stuff …..

But, I do think it’s prudent for the entire viewing audience to grant a little understanding of the players’ need to be methodical in their review of ownership’s offer.  From legal jargon to perceived contradictory clauses, the proposed labor deal is probably overwhelming for even the smartest of union members.

Did you understand … and more importantly, did you read the fine print of your most recent vehicle financing agreement?

If you’re a homeowner, did you take the time to comb through every last word of your mortgage, as the lender sat across the table and fed several dozen pages your way?

Many of us just streamline such processes, right?

Well, if you agreed and signed those deals, you’re compelled to abide by the very words of those contracts – even if you didn’t fully comprehend or review a given portion.

This is exactly where NFL players find themselves today.

While a given number of fans are also assuming “a few players are holding this up”, there really is no concrete evidence such a situation exists.  When you’re dealing with a serious, lengthy commitment, a responsibility to be fully engaged and knowledgeable of your future is warranted.

All of us are on the outside periphery of this labor drama, right?

Heck, many of us don’t really care about it …..

We just want football.

That said, if there is EVER a time to sympathize with players, this is it.  They’re being tasked with agreeing to working conditions for the next decade – and it’s a deal they won’t be able to escape, because there is no opt-out clause.

A 10-year deal with no danger of either side opting out is certainly good for fans.  We won’t face the possibility of this stuff for a long time.  And, that’s a great feeling ….

But, just as owners are committed to protecting their investments and the future financial health of the league, players are obligated to ensure they’re making a deal that guarantees their future security, as well as the THOUSANDS of men who will follow in their footsteps.

How many players will still be in the game when this new deal expires?  If you want to consider the Ravens for such a prediction, only SIX PLAYERS were members of the National Football League a decade ago.

I’m not siding with players, nor am I found in ownership’s corner.  I just think it’s responsible and quite sensible to ensure that every last part of this deal is understood and in the best interest of unity.

This is not a time to hurry the process.  However, it is a time to stay focused and devoted to finishing a new deal.  And, we have every reason to believe this is happening.

Don’t overreact …..

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Former Teammates, Others Remember Greatness of John Mackey

Posted on 07 July 2011 by WNST Staff

A number of former teammates and NFL personalities have chimed in with reactions to the passing of former Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey, via AM1570 WNST or press releases. Here are a few of the reactions:

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti:
“We are tremendously saddened to hear about the passing of John Mackey, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sylvia and the entire Mackey family. I was fortunate to get to know John and Sylvia personally, and I was struck by her love and loyalty throughout the difficult times of his illness. John set the standard by which tight ends are measured on the field, and he will be sorely missed not only by his family, but also by the entire Baltimore community.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome:
“I am mourning the loss of John Mackey, and my deepest condolences go out to his wife Sylvia and the Mackey family. John revolutionized the tight end position during his Hall of Fame career, and he laid the foundation on and off the field for modern NFL players.”

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA):
“John Mackey is still our leader. As the President of the NFL Players Association, he led the fight for fairness with a brilliance and ferocious drive. His passion continues to define our organization and inspire our players. His unwavering loyalty to our mission and his exemplary courage will never be forgotten.”

Indianapolis Colts Owner/CEO Jim Irsay:
“I am deeply sorry to learn of the passing of John Mackey. John was as identified at his position as any player who has played in the National Football League.  John combined size, speed and power in being only the second tight end ever voted into the Hall of Fame and earning a spot on the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team.
His statistical numbers have been eclipsed as the game has evolved, but those in football recognize to this day how John impacted the game.  He authored big moments with his on-field ability, such as his memorable 75-yard scoring reception in Super Bowl V. John’s passion for the game extended beyond his playing years, and he is one of the most notable figures in league history. We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to John’s wife, Sylvia, and the entire Mackey family.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
“John Mackey was one of the great leaders in NFL history, on and off the field.  He was a Hall of Fame player who redefined the tight end position.  He was a courageous advocate for his fellow NFL players as head of the NFL Players Association.  He worked closely with our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund.  He never stopped fighting the good fight.  Our thoughts are with Sylvia and the Mackey family on the loss of our good friend.”

Former Colts WR Raymond Berry:
“He was a combination of a lot things, very intelligent, great personality and one of the most well liked players on the team. He was very unselfish, and had a great sense of humor, so he was a delight to be around.  He was the whole package. I’m thinking his playing days far outshadow, anything he did after his playing days. He was such a performer for so many years for the Colts, to me that’s his legacy.”

Former Colts RB Tom Matte:
“It’s a sad day for Baltimore, but I think overall the quality of life that John had in the end was tough. I don’t think there is any question about it that he should have been in the Hall of Fame a lot earlier than he got in. But John, in my estimation was the first big, fast tight end that could catch the ball, block, and make the big plays.  John Mackey was at the forefront of the leadership. There is a lot of respect out there for John Mackey, and what he did as a player, and what he did off the field in negotiations. He’s a great guy, he will be missed, but he is in a better place than he was.”

Former Colts LB Ted Hendricks:
“I was a rookie coming into the league and there was none any better then him at tight end.  To practice against him I’ve learned a lot of things from him.  To me it made the games easier because there was nobody that I played that had more talent than he did. He was definitely a consummate tight end.  Everything, each attribute that he had.  His blocking ability, his pass catching, and not only that but running with the ball after he caught it.  And you couldn’t ask for anything better in a tight end than that.”

Former Colts DE Ordell Braase:
“The thing (I most remember) was the first time I saw John Mackey, how impressed I was with him. Do you realize that he did not get into the Hall of Fame until the last vote? He should have been just an out and out slam dunk on being into the Hall of Fame.”

Former Colts QB Earl Morrall:
“It’s a very somber day, John Mackey was one of my favorites, he is one that really produced for you, and one of the best during his time playing.  John was a great blocker, good solid, opened up the running game for us. He’d release and then go up the field and catch the ball. Defenses would shiver when he got the ball because he would go through them. He could play any day.  He gave you every bit he could on the field.”

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley:
“Today, we reflect on the life of John Mackey, a great Baltimore Colt and one of football’s legendary players.  His remarkable talents on the football field revolutionized the tight end position and earned him a place in history in the Hall of Fame, while his loyalty, determination and integrity off the field have earned him a place in our hearts.  We are saddened by his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee:
“He’s a great guy. Meant a lot not just to our time, but with our time. He set the pace. It’s our job to continue his legacy.”

Detroit Lions Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders:
“His loss is a tremendous loss, not only for the NFL and what he stood for, but it’s also a reminder of what this game is all about. I didn’t have a hero or idolize anybody growing up, so he was the one player that I idolized and tried to copy more than anyone else throughout my career. I took pride in trying to get to the top where he was. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Former Colts C Bill Curry

“I loved John like a brother and he was a great mentor to me, in addition to being a great player.  When you are with great human beings you usually make the mistake of not appreciating them until you don’t have them anymore.  And I am going through a lot of that right now.  What I remember is his rookie year.  Watching number 88 returning kickoffs and when he came exploding out of the end zone it was terrifying.  I said I have never seen anything like that in my life.”

Former Ravens TE Dan Wilcox

“Rest in piece to John Mackey out there.  I definitely send my condolences to his family as well.  Coming to a town like Baltimore and playing in a city like that, you would love to get a piece of what John Mackey had while he played in the NFL. To be around someone like a John Mackey and all the other Colts that are around Baltimore was an amazing experience. John Mackey was definitely one of the best, one of the all time greatest.  And you hate to lose a guy like that.”

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick

“I was so fortunate that when I first came to Baltimore to have a chance to meet so many of the great former Colts and John was one of them.  …That smile of his, that energy, that orb that he had, his love for the game, his love for the Colts.  To watch Shannon and Ozzie communicate and talk with John and the reverence they had for him and what he represented, it’s a loss for all of us.”

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