Tag Archive | "Super Bowl XLVII"

Ravens, 49ers look to be at full strength for Super Bowl XLVII

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Ravens, 49ers look to be at full strength for Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — There were no surprises on the final injury report of the week as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are both in excellent shape heading into Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

Neither team listed a player worse than probable as the Ravens listed 14 players with that designation and San Francisco listed a dozen players as probable. Baltimore’s entire 53-man roster practiced fully all week while 49ers linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith were limited in practices all week with shoulder injuries.

The only real injury concern for the Ravens last week was linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who has dealt with an ankle injury since late November. However, the fourth-year defensive player benefited from an extra week of rest and was a full participant in three practices held in New Orleans.

Both teams will hold light walk-throughs on Saturday that are closed to the media.

BALTIMORE
PROBABLE: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe/back), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Abert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (knee/thigh), TE Dennis Pitta (thigh), WR David Reed (thigh), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles/biceps)

SAN FRANCISCO
PROBABLE: LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder), LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), TE Garrett Celek (foot), S Dashon Goldson (foot), RB Frank Gore (shoulder/ankle), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), RB LaMichael James (finger), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (elbow/triceps), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

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SWATS owner Ross evades, confuses even more in aftermath of SI story

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — A week of buildup to Super Bowl XLVII ended on a bizarre note Friday as SWATS owner Mitch Ross addressed the controversial Sports Illustrated article reporting he sold deer antler spray to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to aid in his recovery from right triceps surgery.

Ross provided just as many questions as answers as he evaded countless questions about Lewis and their communication following the injury on Oct. 14 and argued over semantics with reporters gathered outside the media center in New Orleans. Earlier this week, Lewis dismissed and vehemently denied the report saying he acquired deer antler spray from Ross following his triceps injury.

“Ray was right about one thing,” Ross said. “This whole story — this whole slander — was the tactic of the devil.”

Ross said he was “catfished” by Sports Illustrated in how the story portrayed him, but he wouldn’t answer whether he communicated with Lewis on the night he was injured or in the days immediately following that. He later revealed he sent Lewis a text message earlier this week that read, “God bless.”

Confirming that he first met Lewis in 2008, Ross said he didn’t have any proof the linebacker took the deer antler spray that contains IGF-1, a banned substance in the NFL. He would not answer questions over whether he had sent Lewis the spray to aid in his recovery, telling reporters to reference the SI article he was also denouncing throughout the session with reporters.

He spent much of the hour-plus session dodging questions and trying to promote his products, but Ross said Ravens safety James Ihedigbo remains a client of his. He also indicated the Ravens continued to use his products this postseason, though the one specified isn’t banned by the NFL.

“The [performance] chips were used by Baltimore against Denver and the Patriots, and I have text messages in my phone to prove it from James Ihedigbo,” Ross said. “I sent 600 of them in a two-week period. And I have mailing slips from FedEx.”

Ross apologized to the many athletes he’s worked with while also dropping names throughout the interview session.

“Athletes will do anything to improve performance,” said Ross, who claims he’s received death threats from Ravens fans since the SI article was published earlier this week. “The guys that work with me are doing it the right way — not the Lance Armstrong way.”

 

 

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Goodell seems to agree with Flacco about punishment system not working

Posted on 01 February 2013 by WNST Staff

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL

Super Bowl XLVII News Conference

New Orleans, Louisiana — February 1, 2013

 

Opening Statement:

“Good morning.  This Sunday will be the conclusion of an incredible season of NFL football.  Our teams this season gave fans dramatic games and amazing performances.  Think about it, the inspiring comebacks of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson; the extraordinary rookie quarterbacks; Calvin Johnson, Tony Gonzalez catching; Aldon Smith, Von Miller and J.J. Watt sacking; the fantastic final Sunday of the regular season.  Everyone is buzzing about how exciting the playoffs have been.  So wouldn’t it be fitting if we have that one final struggle on Sunday night?  This Super Bowl matchup has it all: the Harbaughs, Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, the Pistol offense, and the list goes on.  Congratulations to Steve Bisciotti, to John, Denise and Jed York.  We really can’t wait to see your teams in the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

 

“There are two important people who are not here, but very much on our minds.  Art Modell, the legendary former owner of the Ravens, who passed away in September.  Art’s spirit is certainly here this week.  And his name will be on the Ravens jersey on Sunday, as it has all season.  And this is the first Super Bowl without Steve Sabol, the creative genius behind NFL Films.  His imprint is all over our game and the Super Bowl.  Steve and Art were innovators.  They inspire us to exceed our expectations.  As a league, we have challenges.  We always do, and we embrace them for the opportunity to do better.

 

“On and off the field in the last couple of years, we have accomplished some remarkable things that have really strengthened the very foundation of our game.  We have the most talented athletes on earth, in a game that those players and fans love.  Our mission is to make it even better and we are doing the work.  The changes we are making are having a positive impact.  The game is exciting, competitive, tough and safer.  We are making the game better while also evolving into a health and safety culture.  That is a big priority.  We are also improving officiating, investing in upgrading the stadium experience and engaging more people in more ways than ever.  Our numbers are up in overall fan engagement, in most cases, dramatically.  So a big thank you to NFL fans, the best in sports.

 

“Interest in the NFL is expanding as we grow internationally.  In fact, today we are announcing that our two games in London next season – the 49ers and Jaguars and the Steelers and Vikings – are already sold out.  It is a sign that the game is growing globally.  But there is more work to do and more ways to improve.  The Competition Committee’s agenda will include looking at eliminating certain dangerous low blocks; further taking the head out of the game and expanding the standards for the quality of our playing fields.  We will take steps to ensure more diversity in our hiring practices.  The results this year were simply not acceptable.

 

“On the health side, we will update our injury protocols and add neurosurgeons to our game day medical resources.  We are going to implement expanded physicals at the end of each season.  Three days to review players from a physical, mental and life-skills standpoint, so that we can support them in a more comprehensive fashion.  We want to pioneer new approaches to player health and safety that  emphasize prevention as well as treatment.  This will include our commitment to supporting our retired players.  Those are some of the priorities.   From the quality of our game, to growing fan interest and engagement, to our commitment to evolve and innovate, we have many reasons to be optimistic about the future.  I could not be more optimistic or ready to go.

 

“It’s also terrific for us to be back here in New Orleans.  Our 10th Super Bowl here, the first since (Hurricane) Katrina.  And it’s clear this city is back bigger and better than ever.  Our very heartfelt thanks to Mayor Mitch Landrieu; James Carville and Mary Matalin; the Host Committee; the 7,000 local volunteers for being truly, truly great hosts this week.  Also, to Tom and Gayle Benson and Rita LeBlanc, for all you have done for this community.  Everybody here has done an outstanding job.  You should be very proud and we are very grateful.

 

“Now we will get to your questions.”

 

The President recently said he would think twice about having a son play football, if he had a son.  He also said that fans need to examine their conscience about football.  Is there a deeper-rooted problem with the game and its safety than the NFL might have realized?  How can the NFL deal effectively with such problems?

 

“Well, the issue of player health and safety has always been a priority in the NFL.  We will continue to make it a priority.  You have our commitment.  The players have our commitment that we will do that. I started playing the game when I was in fourth grade, tackle football in Washington D.C. and I love the game of football.  I started as a fan, but I wouldn’t give back one day of playing tackle football.  The benefits of playing football, teaching you the values, teaching you character, teaching you how to get up when you’re knocked down, how to work with others, teamwork.  They are extraordinary lessons in life that I use to this day.  I welcome the President’s comments because it has been a priority and we want to make sure that people understand what we’re doing to make our game safer, not just in the NFL, but throughout sports.  The changes we’re making in the NFL, I think, are changing all of sports.  There is better recognition of head injuries, of treating them conservatively, and that affects every sport, beyond sports, to your children playing in the playground, to our troops overseas.  What we’re doing is leading the way to try and make sure people understand that you need to treat these injuries seriously.  We can make our games safer, as we have done. I believe that the changes that we’re making to our game will make football better.  It will make it safer.  It will make other sports safer.  We’re proud of our accomplishments and we have more to do, but we will not relent on this.”

 

More on the same issue – Joe Flacco on Media Day said the current fine system isn’t working. It’s not changing the way that defensive players are playing.  He’s going to get hit no matter what, and all that you’re doing is taking money out of their pockets.  Steve Bisciotti said that he thinks maybe intent needs to be taken into consideration.  Flacco also said maybe suspensions, but with pay, might get through to some of these guys.  I wonder what you think about their comments and about maybe whether suspensions is where you need to go?  I know that the league did try to suspend Ed Reed.

 

“I’m glad that you reminded yourself of that.  This is something that we have seen, an escalation in the discipline, because we are trying to take these techniques out of the game.  I think it was about four years ago at this very press conference, I said, ‘We have to take these hits out of the game that we think have a higher risk of causing injuries.’  The focus was on defenseless players, and I stand by our record because I think we have made those changes and made the game safer.  I think we’re going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders. It’s not just the player, the defenseless player, that’s being protected; it’s the person doing the striking.  We see in the injury rates that the defenseless player and the defensive back are having a higher injury rate.  Taking these hits out of the game can be positive.  The most effective way of doing that, and I’m not for it because we want to see all of our players on the field, is when they are repeat offenders and they are involved with these dangerous techniques, that we’re going to have to take them off the field.  Suspension gets through to them. It’s gets through on the basis that they don’t want to let their teammates down, and they want to be on the field.  We want to see them on the field.  We’re going to continue to emphasize the importance of following those rules.  When there are violations, we will escalate the discipline.”

 

I know that the system for discipline for on-field violations, the way the system exists now, you have neutral arbitrators in Art Shell and Ted Cottrell.  Also, my understanding is that in a new drug policy, the league would be willing to have neutral arbitration in that, too.  If you can confirm that, fine, but also, the NFLPA said yesterday that it is seeking to have neutral arbitration for off-the-field discipline issues.  I’m wondering if you see a connection with that demand as another component to the standstill in negotiations for HGH testing?

 

“Well interesting, Jarrett, to that point, you are correct. In our Collective Bargaining Agreement that we signed two years ago, we did agree to HGH testing.  As part of that, we agreed to neutral arbitration for drug cases.  We will do that as soon as we reach agreement on the HGH, which I expect and hope will be very soon.  We have moved down that path in an effective way.  On the field, we have a system that I think has worked quite effectively.  I don’t agree with all of the decisions, but I don’t expect to.  Off the field, beyond the drug issue, it is very important for us to maintain our integrity and our brand.  We expect that the people that are involved with our game from the commissioner to the players to the coaches will uphold those standards.  We have three great young men here today that are finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.  I’m proud of our players.  I’m proud of what they do, but we always have to make sure that we’re reflecting positively on the shield.  When there are violations along those lines, they impact on the integrity of the game.  That is something that the commissioner has had the  authority on for several decades, several versions of the CBA, and that is not something that we’re going to relent on.  We’re going to always uphold the standards of the NFL because the fans deserve that, and I believe the players deserve that.  That is the commissioner’s role, and you can hold me accountable for it, and I will stand by my decisions.”

 

I wanted to ask you about your comment about minority hiring in coaching, and you saying that you weren’t satisfied with it. What do you think are some of the issues that continue to make this a problem and what’s going to bring about real change?

 

“First, the Rooney Rule has been very effective over the last decade, but we have to look to see what the next generation of the Rooney Rule is.  What’s going to take us to another level?  We’re committed to finding that answer.  That’s going to have to come from conversations with a lot of people in this league to find out exactly what can be  most effective  in allowing our talent to excel.  And that’s what it is – we want to make sure we have the best people in the best possible positions, and give everybody the opportunity to do that.  We want to focus on how do we get to a Rooney Rule, or an extension of the Rooney Rule, or a new generation of the Rooney Rule, that will allow us to do that?  There was full compliance with the Rooney Rule.  There were, in fact, I believe, a record number of interviews.  But we didn’t have the outcomes that we wanted, and the outcomes are to make sure that we have full diversity throughout our coaching ranks, throughout our executive ranks, and throughout the league office.  It’s very important to the success of the league to do that, and we’re committed to finding those solutions.”

 

I know you highlighted player safety in your opening statement. What was your reaction to the NFLPA’s study yesterday that said 78 percent of players do not trust their team’s medical staffs?

 

“I did hear that yesterday.  Last week, we met for four hours with union officials.  Several players were there.  Several owners were there.  They did raise the issue of making sure we have proper medical attention, but they didn’t raise those statistics.  That was news to me as of yesterday.  I’m disappointed, because I think we have tremendous medical care for our players.  These are not just team doctors.  These doctors are affiliated with the best medical institutions in the world – the Cleveland Clinic, Stanford, Hospital for Special Surgery.  The medical care that is provided to our players is extraordinary.  Now, we will always seek to improve it.  We will always seek to figure out how we can do things better, provide better medical care, but I think it’s extraordinary.  And as I talk to players – including one yesterday – they feel the same way, but we’ll have to address that and we’ll have to figure out what we can do to try to improve it.  One of those I also mentioned in the opening.  We’ll add a neurosurgeon on the field that can be there for consultation, that can be there for another set of eyes on the field, and to support the doctors in making the best possible decisions on the field, and off the field.  And I believe our doctors do that.”

 

You went to owners meetings in Dallas last year and met with MADD. How disappointing is it that so soon after Jerry Brown’s death that his teammate is arrested for DWI, and is there something else that the league can do to tell the players that this is unacceptable?

 

“Well, Charean, I think we have to go beyond telling players or telling executives.  The reality is we have to do a better job of educating people in the NFL that this is a priority.  This is for your safety, for the safety of the people in your car, and for innocent people that are out there.  There are services designed to help them make better decisions before they leave their homes.  We have to make sure that they understand those services, and most importantly, take advantage of them, use them. We did meet with MADD, and I met with MADD last week.  We’re going to engage in a number of programs to help educate all of our clubs – players, coaches (and) executives – on what we can do.  Victim impact programs have been very effectively used with several clubs over the past several months.  We’re going to do that because this is a high priority, not only for the sake of safety, but it’s part of our responsibility in the communities that we live.”

 

Yesterday, the NFLPA was very vocal about singling out dissatisfaction with Dr. David Chao, the Chargers’ team doctor, and said it requested the league find a ‘suitable replacement’ for him. What is your response to that request and also comments that NFL players deserve better than Dr. Chao?

 

“In the CBA, at the union’s request, we entered an agreement that is called Article 50.  Article 50 states that if there is an issue with any medical decision, or the medical professionals of the club, there can be a solution by engaging with independent doctors, I believe three neutral doctors, including an NFL attorney, and they will review the matter.  As I understand it, that is exactly what is going on in San Diego. We’ll allow the process to unfold. I’m confident our doctors make the best possible decisions for the players, and we’re going to stand behind that. We’ll engage in the process and let it unfold.”

 

The Rams and local stadium authority are waiting for an arbitrator’s decision on stadium improvement proposals there. Are you confident that the parties can resolve their differences and that the Rams will stay in St. Louis?

 

“I haven’t gotten an update on the arbitration process. I expect the possibility of a decision in the next couple of weeks.  It is, as you know, a clause and a part of a contract that they initially agreed to when the Rams came to St. Louis 12-15 years ago. That is something we are engaging in. We want to make sure that the team gets the stadium issues resolved because they need to have the type of stadium that will help support them for the long term in St. Louis. I believe that the business community and the officials in St. Louis want that outcome. I believe Stan Kroenke wants that outcome.  They’re all working together to try and get there. Again, the process is unfolding and I hope they’ll be able to reach that agreement.  I’m optimistic they will.”

 

If they cannot pass the renovations, is the NFL willing to provide any stadium funding for those improvements?

 

“We’re willing to do that in any market where there is a public/private partnership, to allow the other 31 clubs to help contribute to financing the stadium that will help solve the problem for the long term.  If we can get to the point where we have the structure of a deal, I’m very confident that the league will support that and participate.”

 

The 18-game schedule is still on the table. Is that a reality?  And, HGH testing. is that going to happen or not?

 

“Let me start with the second portion of your question.  I believe that HGH testing is going to happen prior to the 2013 NFL season.  It’s the right thing to do for the players, for their health and well-being long-term.  It’s the right thing to do for the integrity of the game. It’s also the right thing to do to send the right message to everybody else in sports.  You don’t have to play the game by taking performance-enhancing drugs.  The science is there. There is no question about that.  Baseball, Olympics, everyone believes that the science is there and are utilizing the tests, so we need to get to that agreement.  On the first part of your question, we’re always going to reevaluate our season structure.  We’ve been very open about the fact that we want to address our preseason. Do we need four preseason games?  Do we only need two or three? How do we continue to develop talent? How do we continue to evaluate players?  The fans’ reaction to the quality of preseason is a big concern.  So, we have to do that collectively.  That’s what our CBA does. If we wanted to implement an 18-game schedule, we could have done that in the prior CBA.  The ownership and management agreed that we would do that collectively and we would consider and balance the player health and safety issues with that.  So, we’ll continue to evaluate that. I think the changes we made in the CBA, particularly in offseason training, the training camp period and even during the regular season – eliminating contact, allowing players to get away from the game – that’s been great for the players.  They deserve that.  Every player I talk to tells me they feel better at this time of the year than they’ve ever felt in the past.  I think that’s a direct result of some of the changes in the CBA.  We will continue to figure out how we can improve with our season structure, but we will not make changes  if we can’t do it in a safe and effective way.”

 

The union yesterday advocated the appointment of a chief safety officer to overview all player safety, and that would be mutually agreed upon, whoever that person is. Also, advocated credentialing for all team doctors and trainers.  Do you see anything that could stand in the way of those kinds of advancements with player health and safety?

 

“Well again, Albert, let me start with the fact that we spent four hours last Friday meeting with union officials, including many players and owners, and that issue did not come up.  It was not raised during that entire four hours. That being said, I would tell you that I believe safety is all of our responsibilities.  I can’t appoint somebody who’s going to make the game safer as an individual. That’s all of our responsibilities.  I’ll stand up, I’ll be accountable. It’s part of my responsibility, I’ll do everything.  But the players have to do it.  The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it.  Our medical professionals have to do it. All of us are going to have to do that.  All that being said, since I just heard this in the last 12 hours, I’ll do anything that’s going to help us make the game safer and better. They have my commitment on that, so I’ll be happy to engage in the dialogue in a meeting where we can talk about the plusses and the minuses and how we make the game safer.”

 

First of all, I have been to 41 Super Bowls.  I don’t want to brag on that, but here is what I want to ask you for all of these people.  The first ticket to the Super Bowl only costs $12 and that was in Los Angeles. Now, the tickets cost $850, $950 and $1250.

 

“It sounds like the prices went down.”  (Laughter)

 

Well yeah, they are down in a certain manner.

 

“I hear you.  I understand your point.”

 

The thing I wanted to know, and I have asked you before, is there some way to put a cap on this thing so the ticket only sells for a certain price?  The other thing I was going to say is about the Pro Bowl and that you will still leave it in Hawaii except come after the Super Bowl.  A man makes the Pro Bowl, and he might make the Super Bowl, but the way it is with this arrangement is I still think it would be better after the Super Bowl the way it was before.

 

“OK, well let me start with your question because the second was a comment.  The first part of your point was, ‘Could there be a cap on the Super Bowl ticket prices?’  I would tell you that we have worked very hard to try to keep them reasonable and to try to give access to people so they can attend the Super Bowl.  It is very difficult because, as you know, they are being sold on the secondary market at multiples of the face value.  So, a couple of years ago, it may have been five years ago because it was the first year I was the commissioner, we put a cap on a certain number of tickets so that they could go to the fans.  I think we capped it at $500.  We found that a lot of times, most of the time, those tickets ended up on the secondary market at multiples.  I want our fans to be able to attend NFL games.  I want them to be able to come because they want to enjoy the experience and enjoy the event  and it’s affordable and that it’s safe.  But the realities are that there is a market demand, and there is a limited number of tickets.  Only 70,000 people are going to get into that Superdome, but there are hundreds of thousands of people here in New Orleans that are celebrating and part of the event.  We work hard to try to engage fans, create the NFL Experience and allow people to be able to come and be part of the event, but there is only a limited number of seats.”

 

Looking back, do you have any regrets on how the Saints bounty investigation was handled?  Even though the player penalties were overturned ultimately, do you feel like the message was still sent to the teams and to the players to avoid this type of behavior in the future?

 

“Let me just take a moment and get back and make sure everyone is clear on the record.   There is no question there was a bounty program in place for three years.  I think that that is bad for the players, for the game, and I think the message is incredibly clear, and I don’t believe that bounties will be part of football going forward.  That’s good for everybody.  I do think that message has come through clear.  As it relates to the regrets, I think my biggest regret is that we aren’t all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get them out of the game to make the game safer.  Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility.  That’s what I regret, that I wasn’t able to make that point clearly enough with the union, and with others.   That is something we are going to be incredibly relentless on.”

 

How do you define innovation to improve the NFL?  Whether it’s consumer marketing, digital media, player safety, game operations, or the fan experience, is it solving a problem or satisfying a need in a glamorous way that increases value?  Within the NFL, is innovation primarily viewed as an ideology or viewed as a process that is less glamorous but more productive?

 

Well, innovation is something that we are proud of.  I made that point in my opening remarks. It’s a philosophy.  It’s about you can always get better and it’s your responsibility to seek solutions.  I like solutions.  I believe in solutions.  You have to identify problems and find those solutions.  But you also have to have a commitment to finding a better way, and that is part of innovation.  What is tricky in an organization like the National Football League is we rely a lot on our tradition. That is important to us.  We believe in it.  It’s what we are all about.  I said this when I became commissioner, I said it to the owners when they fortunately selected me for this job.  I said, ‘Our biggest risk is being complacent.  We cannot assume that our success is going to continue just because we have been successful.’  I think the last six years, we have continued to find ways to improve. Whether it’s player health and safety, whether it’s making the game better or more exciting, whether it’s giving the fans more opportunity to engage with the game of football closer. The NFL Network is now fully distributed.  People are engaging with the NFL on their cell phones. We have more ways for fans to engage, and that’s why I  like to say that there has never been a better time to be a fan.  Innovation is not just some theme.  ,It is something that  we feel in our core and something  where we are always going to live, to try to make things better.”

 

You’ve mentioned on previous occasions that the Competition Committee will revisit blocks toward the knee so we don’t have situations like Brian Cushing with the Houston Texans losing a season on a block like that.  Is the long-term goal of player safety to create a baseball-type of strike zone, which is mid-chest to just above the knee?  Have your studies shown that this is the safest way to avoid the head injuries and maybe some of the lower-limb extremity issues?

 

“There are several things. First, we’re going to review all low blocks.  In working with our Player Advisory Committee that Ronnie Lott and John Madden chair we talked about that earlier this year shortly after the Brian Cushing injury.  We need to review all of those low blocks.  It’s important for us to try to find ‘Is there a better way of doing what we’re doing?’  We are focused on that with the Competition Committee.  As it relates to what you call the ‘strike zone’, there is no question that there is a focus to try to get back to the fundamentals of tackling.  The number one issue is: take the head out of the game.  I think we’ve seen in the last several decades that the players are using their head more than they have, when you go back several decades.  There are several theories on that. The helmets are better; they feel safer using their head.  The facemask.  You can come up with a lot of theories that we’ve discussed. But the reality is we have to get back to  tackling, using the shoulders, using your arms properly to tackle.  And there is a strike zone, and that’s where we are encouraging our players to focus and our coaches to coach that way, and it’s made a difference.  We have seen a dramatic change in the way that’s happening over the years, so we’ll continue that.”

 

Vincent Gray, the Mayor of Washington D.C., recently said if the Redskins were ever going to entertain the idea of coming back to the District, there would have to be discussion about the name issue.  Recently, the most recent “Indian Country Today” polls, the largest Native American magazine, they dispute and contradict everything Sports Illustrated or the NFL  did about 10 years ago.  They say that the overwhelming number of Indians, American Indians, do not like the name, they feel it’s offensive:  Does the league try to absorb the legal costs for the team when they are sued over trademark infringement by American Indians?  And, as a progressive commissioner, how do you feel about the name, and do you have any problem with it going forward?

 

“Well, the first part of your question, I couldn’t answer.  I have no idea who pays the legal costs.  I do know that, growing up in Washington, I do understand the affinity for that name with the fans.  I also understand the other side of that, and I don’t think anybody wants to offend anybody, but this has been discussed several times over a long period of time.  I think Dan Snyder and the organization have made it very clear that they’re proud of that heritage and that name, and I believe the fans are, too.”

 

The various committees that are down here for next year’s Super Bowl have talked a lot about feeling a little bit of pressure carrying the banner for cold-weather cities.  Is what they do next year, and the success or problems of the logistical challenge they have, will that affect your future decisions or consideration of other cold-weather sites?

 

“The answer is undoubtedly the game next year is going to have an impact on future decisions for open-air, cold-weather sites.  We believe, though, in the New York/New Jersey market.  We think it’s going to be a fantastic event.  I have said many times before, and I believe that the membership has supported this through their vote of awarding the Super Bowl there, that not only is the community prepared for this – they have a great stadium with two teams.  The plans that have been developed for the Super Bowl, I think, are extraordinary, and they’re just beginning to be released, and we will be prepared for the weather factors, and this community can do that, but the game of football is made to be played in the elements.  Now, we hope they’re not extreme on one hand, but we’ll be prepared for that if that’s the case.  Some of our most classic games in our history were played in extreme weather conditions.  We know them all, the ‘Ice Bowl,’ some of the games that I look back as a fan and say, ‘That was fun.’  So I’m confident the people of New York and New Jersey, the two teams, the host committee are going to do an extraordinary job next year, and we’re looking forward to it.”

 

The largest attendance in the history of the league is in Mexico.  The first game outside the U.S. was in Mexico.  I wanted to ask you why hasn’t the NFL gone back since 2005.  Why?

 

“I’m proud to say I was at that game, and it was a great event. And you could see the passion of the fans in Mexico for that game, and we would like to be back there.  Our focus in the last couple of years has obviously been on trying to prove the model works in the UK.  We have to make sure that whenever we do come back to Mexico, and I expect we will, that we do it successfully,  with the right kind of television support, fan support and sponsor involvement.  The stadium will be the kind of stage that we want for that game. So I would expect if we are   successful in the UK, where we thankfully are continuing to grow, that we’ll have the opportunity to get back there.  And the sooner, the better for me.”

 

Any time frame?

 

“No.”

 

Yesterday the union talked about filing multiple grievances against the NFL, and it recently appealed its collusion loss in the Minnesota federal court to the eighth circuit.  Are you disappointed the relationship with the union has remained so litigious?

 

“Well, Dan, let me start with, the point is I don’t really control that.  What I think disappoints me is that we reached a very comprehensive agreement a couple of years ago for 10 years to take the game to another level, and unfortunately we’re spending most of our time focusing on issues that we had agreed to.  As you point out, collusion charges, which were very clearly dealt with in the agreement.    HGH was agreed to and we should have gotten to the point where we solved our differences and gotten that resolved.  Commissioner discipline – I can go on.  These are things that were resolved and are clear in the document and in our partnership.  What we need to do is get back to focusing on how do we all work together to make the NFL better?  I understand we’re going to have differences, I understand why there are grievances, I understand why there are lawyers, but we have to find solutions for the best interests of the game, and that’s my commitment and that’s what we have to work towards.”

 

Addressing the player safety issue, you said it’s a shared responsibility.  Well, earlier this year Alex Smith sustained a concussion, was forthcoming about his condition and while he was out, he lost his starting job.  My question for you is, how concerned are you that going forward players are going to be less honest about their condition after seeing a situation like that?

 

“I  believe very strongly that there’s a difference between a medical decision and a football decision.  I’m glad that he came forward and identified that he had an injury.  That wouldn’t be in the best interest of Alex in the short term or the long term, so players need to do that.  I also believe, and he’s been healthy for several weeks, that those are football decisions that the coach has now made.  He’s healthy enough to return to play, but the coaches made a decision that they’re going in another direction, and that’s something that the coaches have to do.  So while I understand somewhat the dilemma, the highest priority you can have is for players to make sure that they raise their hands when there’s an injury and so that they can get the proper treatment, because they’re not going to be effective as players if they have lingering problems, if they have lingering issues with a concussion.  They need to be as healthy as possible to compete in this league, and we all want to see the players on the field, but we let the coaches make the football decisions and the medical personnel make the medical decisions.”

 

First of all, do you feel welcome here in New Orleans given the way people feel about you in light of the bounty scandal?  We have establishments that have your picture that say, ‘Do not serve this man,’ or do you feel somewhat like you’re behind enemy lines?  Secondly, Saints fans want to know why you won’t return that second-round draft choice in the next draft?

 

“Let me take the first part of your question first.  I couldn’t feel more welcome here.  You know when you look back at it, my picture, as you point out, is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade.  We got a voodoo doll.  I’m serious, really, the people here have been incredible.  The last couple of nights I’ve been out with a lot of the people that I worked very closely with following the Katrina tragedy, and we celebrated the work that we did then, but what we did is we all reflected on how great that was that we worked together, and they couldn’t be nicer.  They couldn’t be more welcoming, and the same is true with fans.  Now, I understand the fans’ loyalty is to the team.  They had no part of this.  They were completely innocent in this.  So I appreciate the passion.  I saw that for myself when we were down here for Katrina, and it’s clear that that’s what they’re all about.  So I support the fact that they’re passionate in supporting their team.  On the last point, the reason there won’t be any change in the second-round draft choice is what I said earlier.  There are clear violations of the bounty rule for three consecutive years.  That’s not going to be permitted in the NFL.  That’s not just my judgment. Commissioner Tagliabue reviewed this, and had his own process and came to the same conclusion that there were violations.  So, the reason why we’re not returning any of the draft choices or any of the discipline is because it occurred, and it should not have occurred.”

 

Kind of piggybacking off that question, yesterday I talked with NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth, and he said because of the bounty scandal and everything that’s happened, trust has been fractured from the players within the league. How do you fix that considering penalties were levied, and then they were vacated twice by  parties other than you?

 

“Let’s make sure the record is clear that the first penalties were vacated only briefly to make sure that there was a distinction between what was a salary-cap violation and what was discipline on the field.  That body, the panel that was established by the CBA, made it very clear that that’s the authority of the commissioner.  The second issue is Commissioner Tagliabue and I agree on the facts.  There was no difference in the findings of the facts  with respect to the investigation done by the league overseen by Mary Jo White, verified by Commissioner Tagliabue’s process.  The only difference was that he vacated the disciple from the players.  We disagree with that.  I disagree with that.  I believe that we’re all responsible for what goes on in our locker rooms, on the field, as part of our game.  That’s a collective responsibility.  We’re not going to hide from that.  That will be something that – and I said it to our clubs in December when we met – everyone here should understand the responsibility for our rules will be enforced as fairly and as clearly as possible.  So I’m going to have to work harder to try to make sure that we can work together; we can trust one another.  But we also need to make sure that we understand that we’re going to have differences from time to time, and that’s OK.  But there needs to be a fair resolution and move forward in a positive way for the game of football.”

 

Could you tell us what the selling out of two games in London for 2013, what kind of message that says to your ownership with regard to potential UK franchises?

 

“I think the message is very clear.  There are passionate fans that love the NFL in the UK and, I believe, globally, and that there is another step that we need to look forward to in London. We’re already beginning that process.  What’s the next step, beyond the two games?  Should we move to three?  Should we consider other alternatives to continue to accelerate the growth of the game in the UK?  But I think that’s a positive reaction from the fans and our ownership understands this is a market where we need to be more active, and that we need to continue to grow our game.  Thank you.”

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game this season.

Drew Forrester finished 2-0 in conference championship weekend and Luke Jones was 1-1. Forrester is now 168-80 and Jones is 159-89 overall. Their postseason marks are locked, however, with Forrester and Jones each holding a 7-3 record. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.

With the WNST.net crew in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII coverage this week, Glenn Clark joined the Friday segment as a guest prognosticator.

To hear their full explanation, click HERE.

Ravens vs. 49ers: Baltimore 27-17 (Drew), Baltimore 27-24 (Luke), Baltimore 27-23 (Glenn)

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49ers LB A. Smith still limited in Thursday’s practice

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

By John Clayton
Pro Football Writers of America

NEW ORLEANS—First, it’s the Harbaugh Super Bowl. On Friday, it will be the Harbaugh dual press conference. Thursday offered the Harbaugh dual practice.

Preferring to move from the field built on the baseball field at Tulane University, John Harbaugh moved the Baltimore Ravens practice to the New Orleans Saints facility in Metairie, La., putting both John and Jim Harbaugh in the same facility at roughly the same time as they prepared their teams for Super Bowl XLVII.

With the help of the Saints and local merchants, the NFL was able to acquire approximately 100 feet of piping drapes to block the views of both teams. The league covered up all the windows in the weight room. The brothers worked together on the arrangements while the NFL football operations staff did their best to create two separate, secure practice venues in the same site.

“Just cooperating spirits,’’ Jim Harbaugh said.

This isn’t the first time two teams practiced on the same field for a Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers both used the Houston Texans facility, which is located at Reliant Field.

Rain forced the Patriots to spend three days at the Texans facility because of soaked field at Rice University. The Panthers moved a Friday practice from the University of Houston to Reliant Stadium, meaning the two teams shared the facility for one day of practice and a Saturday walk-through.

The 49ers had a 100-minute practice that overlapped with the Ravens by about 10 minutes. The Ravens were scheduled to go on the field around 4 p.m. central.

Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that he would have no problems if the Ravens ended up practicing at the same facility.

“We’re focused on what we’re doing,’’ Harbaugh said. “I’m sure they are the same.’’

For the second consecutive day, the 49ers practiced at a crisp pace. After working indoors Wednesday because of the winds, the 49ers went outside for the first time in New Orleans.

The 49ers worked on their core offense, defense and special teams and devoted some time to situations.

“I thought yesterday was outstanding, but today was a photo copy of that,’’ Harbaugh said. “In some ways, it was maybe a little better. I’m real pleased, real pleased.’’

Harbaugh described his team as loose and focused at the same time.

“You don’t want burnt meat, stale bread or overripe fruit,’’ he said of the two quality practices. “It’s coming along nicely.’’

Linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks were limited in practice for the second consecutive day but did some work.

After 70 minutes, the 49ers moved into the Saints indoor facility. During that time, they tried some field goal kicking. Spontaneously, players started to yell to create crowd noise for David Akers. At one point, Aldon Smith grabbed some kind of an amplifier to further help with the noise as Akers kicked.

“That’s the first time they ever have done that in two years,’’ Harbaugh said of the manufactured crowd noise. “David made all of them (field goals), which was even better. His mechanics are real good. That bodes well. Good things will happen for us in that area.’’

The 49ers did turn on a simulated noise machine to give the team a crowd noise sound, something they could expect in Sunday’s game.

A shorter practice is scheduled for Friday.

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Ravens practice at full strength for second straight day in New Orleans

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

By Peter King
Pro Football Writers of America

NEW ORLEANS—Already on a road trip for Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens took another one Thursday, splitting their second day of full-scale workouts for their game against San Francisco between their NFL-assigned Tulane University FieldTurf practice field and the grass fields at the New Orleans Saints facility in nearby Metairie.

After several players told Ravens officials Wednesday night they’d prefer to practice on grass, the Ravens early Thursday morning asked the league if it could be worked out that they practice at the Saints’ facility. This was potentially awkward, because the 49ers practiced at the same facility, and obviously neither team wanted the other to be able to see their practice sessions. So the Ravens agreed to dress at Tulane’s baseball facility–site of their full Wednesday practice, with a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the artificial-turf outfield–and hold their 30-minute walk-through practice there. Then the players and coaches boarded five buses for the eight-mile trip from Tulane to the Saints’ facility not far from New Orleans International Airport. There, under heightened security, the Ravens completed their on-field work for the day with a one-hour, 25-minute practice coach John Harbaugh called “a very normal, late-season Thursday practice.”

“Just like in high school,” one player said of the commute, “only the buses are nicer.”

All 53 players on the Ravens’ active roster practiced under sunny skies, and none of the players was limited.

“I think our players dealt with it great,” said Harbaugh, who walked off the field afterward with linebacker Ray Lewis. “As Ray just said to me, ‘We work.’ That’s what we do. Our guys don’t flinch at things like this.”

Lewis, in fact, helped carry one of the Gatorade coolers from the bus to the practice field as the team disembarked. And the players seemed happier working on the grass, particularly this late in the season when six months of practice and game wear-and-tear makes the players crave a grass field.

After a special-teams period to start practice, the specialists–kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch and snapper Morgan Cox–adjourned to the Saints’ indoor practice field for their work. On the field, the Ravens regular units and scout teams went through another 60 minutes of work before finishing, sereneded by an eclectic mix of music, from the hard rock of AC/DC to the rap of Soulja Boy and Chief Keef to the metal of Metallica.

After Harbaugh spoke to the team, veteran Terrell Suggs addressed the players for about two minutes.

John Harbaugh and his brother Jim, the 49ers coach, will hold a joint press conference Friday morning at the media center here, their last press obligation of the week. The Ravens will hold their final full practice of the week Friday afternoon, again at the Saints’ facility, before having a normal light Saturday workout prior to Sunday’s game.

BALTIMORE
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe/back), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Abert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (knee/thigh), TE Dennis Pitta (thigh), WR David Reed (thigh), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles/biceps)

SAN FRANCISCO
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder), CB Tarell Brown (shoulder), TE Garrett Celek (foot), S Dashon Goldson (foot), RB Frank Gore (shoulder/ankle), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), RB LaMichael James (finger), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (elbow/triceps), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

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LB Bowman says he’s Ray Lewis fan

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER NAVORRO BOWMAN

 

(on whether he was a Washington Redskins fan growing up) “No, I was a Cowboys fan. I think that’s because I wanted to go against the grain. Being the youngest in the house, being the baby, my mom, my brother, my aunts, everyone liked the Redskins; so I decided to go to the rivals with the Cowboys. It’s always been a great time whenever those two play each other.”

 

(on whether he remembers a game when there was so many great linebackers playing on the same field) “No. The first game we played against them last year, they were able to get us. That’s the only game I can recall. It’s going to be a great matchup. It’s been talked about for a long time. People have been hoping that the Ravens and 49ers got into the Super Bowl, now it’s here. Both teams have to go out here and put on a show and play lights out.”

 

(on whether the 49ers or Ravens have the best linebackers) “We’ll see on Sunday.”

 

(on the best Ravens linebacker) “I’ll go with Ray (Lewis). Ray’s been doing it a long time. We’ve definitely modeled some of our game after him. He was able to put the linebacker position at such a high standard. It’s helped everyone at the linebacker position. I’m a fan of Ray’s and excited about him and hope that he felt like he gave the game everything he had.”

 

(on his relationship with Patrick Willis) “We’re always by each other, always talking. On the field we do what we do. Off the field we’re brothers. Any time I need to go to him or talk to him about anything, he’s always willing to listen or give me an answer; and vice versa. That’s the type of person you want in a teammate. I admire him off of how humble he is and how down to Earth he is. I tell him all the time that that is going to carry him a long way. If he can just stay the same, stay down to Earth and treat people the way they need to be treated; and he definitely does that.”

 

(on what makes the 49ers linebacker core so dangerous) “What makes us dangerous is our confidence is through the roof. Our work ethic is through the roof. Anything that we have to do in regards to the 49ers, we’re willing to do it. Some teams and coaches may not be on the same page. We’re all on the same page with our coach. We understand what he wants and what he’s trying to get accomplished every single week, and it’s just been working out for us.”

 

(on why he chose Penn State) “I went to Penn State when I saw a video of LaVar Arrington. He mentioned that ‘If you play linebacker you’d be crazy not to go to Penn State.’ I always thought of myself as a really good linebacker, at different levels, but I always thought I was pretty good. I didn’t want to let this opportunity slip up. It always stuck in my head throughout the whole process. I chose Penn State and when I got there it was linebackers, linebackers, linebackers; doing everything right. That motivated me to play my game or pick up little things from guys who had already been there. They put linebackers in the league and that is where I’m trying to go. I hold a standard in my game to represent Penn State and where I come from, and how hard and how much coaching I received in playing linebacker. It’s just been working out for me.”

 

(on the 49ers linebackers) ‘I believe we have to win this game. I think a lot of doors will open for us, all for of us, at the linebacker position. Right now is the game that will solidify any type of talk or hype. It’s kind of like a sense of security. If you want it, if you want to be held at the top, then we have to win this game. That’s what it comes down to.”

 

(on how they will approach the Ravens) “Getting them (the Ravens) off their rhythm. Teams come out and they try to start a rhythm and if they have success then it will be pretty tough for you to stop them. Just breaking their patterns, getting them off their rhythm, making them do something they really don’t want to do and putting them in long-distance situations and I’m sure we’ll be fine. Last year, the game was so amped up, due to the brothers playing in it. It was just a distraction. This year, we’re down here, we’ve been down here earlier this season. We’re familiar with everything and we’re just focusing on the game.”

 

-more-

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Thursday, January 31, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE LINEBACKER NAVORRO BOWMAN

 

(on how the team has handled the postseason ) “The postseason is win or go home. None of us wants to go home yet. I think that’s how we’ve prevailed through the Falcons. The work that we’ve put in and how far we got last year, we just don’t want to let it happen again. We don’t want to feel that feeling again. We’ve definitely zeroed in just a little bit more than the regular season.”

 

(on what Joe Flacco is able to do at the quarterback position) “He’s able to run an offense, an offense with a lot of weapons that he has. Joe does a great job being very patient and realizing the look that a defense is trying to give him, and he finds the guy he wants to give the ball to. We are going to have to be patient also, on defense, disguise as long as we can and see if we can get a big play on them.”

 

(on whether he is concerned with his teammates injuries affecting their play on Sunday) “I’m not concerned. It’s the Super Bowl. At the end of the day, when you wake up that morning, all pain goes away, every pain. You don’t feel anything but your adrenaline rushing and you just want to go out there and give it your all. I’m not worried about it. Half of the guys in this league have been playing hurt since Week 10. It’s part of the game. Pain and all of that will be out of their system by the time Sunday comes.”

 

(on Jim Harbaugh improving his press conference performances) “You guys (the media), probably about eight or nine weeks, have been commenting on his podium technique. I think he’s starting to get the hang of it and being patient with the questions and giving you a good answer. It’s good, now that he’s facing his brother, so you don’t know what the two are going to say on each side.”

 

(on how bad Jim Harbaugh wants to beat his brother) “He wants to beat him. I know he does. If it was me, I would want to beat my brother, especially on such a big stage with such media attention. You know you’re going to have bragging rights for awhile. He’s been coaching very well, not too much talking about his brother, but making sure that we practice well and that we’re focused and that we’re the best prepared the way we need to be prepared.”

 

(on having to see his coach have to congratulate his brother if the 49ers lose) “That’s pretty bad. There is only going to be one person happy in this game, and that’s the Harbaugh family. Jack and his wife will be happy, but someone is going to go home with a sad face.”

 

(on two brothers competing against each other) “Brothers compete the most when their parents are watching. Parents are going to be like, ‘Y’all calm down now,’ and try to break it up to keep everyone happy. At the end of the day, it’s your team versus his team, and you have to win. Brothers always have been competing since day one. He can deny the questions all he wants, but if you have a brother, you know that he wants to win and beat his brother very bad.”

 

(on what impresses him most about the Ravens defense) “They’re a physical football team, just like us. A lot of the Ravens are similar: character, the people that they have on their team is really similar. What’s going to separate us is the commitment we’ve made to this year and their commitment, and who’s going to go out there and play the best.”

 

(on Ray Lewis) “He is respected by me tremendously. Coming from the D.C./Maryland area, I’ve been hearing about Ray since I came out of the womb. I’m a fan of his. He’s coming to his last game. I know he is going to go out there and play his heart out. The guy has really set the linebacker position very high, set it at a high standard. I’m blessed to be in this era and be able to play this game with the things that Ray has done in previous years.”

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Crabtree thinks only 49ers can beat 49ers

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

WIDE RECEIVER MICHAEL CRABTREE

 

(on a good practice on Wednesday) “We had a good practice. I think I had a bad practice. I just cannot wait for the big day.”

 

(on what went wrong for him at practice) “I just feel like I had a slow, sluggish practice. Everybody else was out there flying. I think I need to catch up today and do the job.”

 

(on where the team is offensively) “I think we have stepped up a little bit. We always knew that we could be up here and be in this game. It was just going to take the offense (stepping up). Last year, it was slow with offense but we always knew we could be up here. All we had to do was connect the dots. Make it happen.”

 

(on what they need to do against the Ravens’ defense) “Just win. We just have to go do our job.”

 

(on his opinion of Wednesday’s practice) “I think we had a good practice. It was one of the best practices I think we have had, but one of the worst practices for me personally. It is always challenging with practices during Super Bowl week. I just cannot wait to go back to work today.”

 

(on how the 49ers get ready for their games) “It is football. We just get excited about the opportunity we have—especially right now playing in the Super Bowl. That was the goal from day one. I think that is what motivated us.”

 

(on dealing with the media) “I usually do not even talk to the media in my town. I do probably one or two times a week, but it is what it is. It is the Super Bowl. It is the big dance. Whatever comes with it, I am ready for it.”

 

(on quarterback Colin Kaepernick always having a lot of media around him) “Yeah. It is the Kaep show.”

 

(on his feeling leading up to the game) “I am just taking it easy right now. We know how many days we have left and I am just taking it easy. I am really ready to play, but you have to do what you have to do.”

 

(on his rapport with Colin Kaepernick compared to with quarterback Alex Smith) “I do not like to compare like that. I just feel like Kaepernick came in and did what people really have not seen. I am just running along with it.”

 

(on being the benefactor of Colin Kaepernick playing) “Yeah, it is a difference. The difference is that Kaepernick is just coming in balling. Making plays with his feet, arm and I am just trying to catch everything he throws.”

 

(on his expectations of Sunday) “I expect us to all go out there and do our job. Come out with the ‘W.’ That is the goal.”

 

(on who will be the non-obvious MVP of the Super Bowl for the 49ers) “I have no idea. That is the best thing about the Super Bowl, you never know.”

 

(on who worries him most from the Ravens) “I think we are our biggest concern. Nobody can beat us, but ourselves. That is a bold statement, but I feel like that is how I feel.”

 

(on what it means to be in the Super Bowl) “We always talk about the Super Bowl. We always dreamed about the Super Bowl and it is something you always wanted to do since you were a kid. Just happy right now. I cannot wait to get to the big game.”

 

(on what makes Colin Kaepernick being a special player) “I played against him in college. We beat him, but he put up numbers. I talked to Coach (Mike) Leach about him and Coach Leach was always saying (Kaepernick) should have been in the Heisman race. He got looked over. Always knew we had the weapons and he had the tools to do what he is doing now.”

 

-more-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Thursday, January 31, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE WIDE RECEIVER MICHAEL CRABTREE

 

(on what makes Colin Kaepernick so good) “The arm, how fast he is and he is not just one of those crazy runners either. He slides and goes out of bounds, which is great.”

 

(on how hard Colin Kaepernick throws the ball and trying to catch it in practice) “He has the arm. Some guys are scared, but it is not like that. We do with him what we are supposed to do. When he used to back in the day, his first year here, I do not think he could control his arm and he was just throwing fast every play.”

 

(on having to really focus to catch such hard throws) “Right. That is what I have been telling everybody, ‘We have to focus on this ball. We have to see the ball in.’”

 

(on if Colin Kaepernick has more touch this year) “Yeah but he still throws it. He has not played that many games, but he still is growing. Just like me. The whole team, we have a young team, we are still growing, maturing and trying to be the best we can be.”

 

(on what it is like to have so much attention since college) “I would not say all eyes have been on me, but I feel like I did a lot in college. Did more than most, but still have room to get better. I really do not like the eyes on me like that. I guess that comes with if you want to be the  best, that is what is going to happen. I am still grinding.”

 

(on the pressure that comes with his role) “No pressure. I just believe in my game; rely on my game on the field to get me by. That is all it is, being a football player.”

 

(on if the accusations of last week had messed up this week for him) “No, I guess it comes with the territory. I have talked to a lot of people and it is happened to a lot of people. Just the word allegations—it is just a word.”

 

(on if things have changed in his life this year) “Really the same people and the same things are going on around me since day one. I am comfortable about what I am doing.”

 

(on how things have changed for him on the field) “Quarterback. There has been a big quarterback change, but that is about it. Everything else is smooth. The defense is still balling, guys are still running their routes and Kaepernick is delivering.”

 

(on how the coaching staff has been using him differently) “Really just putting me out there and getting me more targets. It is no secret, when I first came in it was three or four targets to now when I am getting eight. A lot of first downs and getting the ball on third down. It is a football game and I am getting older, but I am still young. That is the crazy part about it. I am just trying to get better.”

 

(on if he feels like he is getting older) “I do not even feel like I am getting older. I have been through so much, it just feels like I am getting older. I am still young. My body feel like I am 19 or 20. It is all good.”

 

(on his mind feeling like it is older now) “Yeah. A little more experienced.”

 

(on if it bugged him being called a diva receiver early in his career) “No, not at all. That is just opinion. I do not really read the media or the news and do all of that. That stuff will bother you, but I know who I am. The guys around me know who I am, so that is all that matters.”

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Willis says 49ers can’t make mistakes against Ravens

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

 

(on in-game communication) “Communication is always valuable. It’s something that we talk about in our defense all the time. We talk about if we communicate well, we feel like we can play well. Sometimes on the headsets, if that thing goes out, I’m looking at my coach, Coach (Jim) Leavitt, and I’m just waving my hands like I don’t have a call because that’s how important it is to have that communication throughout the board.”

 

(on Ravens running back Ray Rice) “I think he’s a good football player because he runs the ball hard. He runs the ball hard. He runs in between tackles well, outside well, catches the ball really well. I’m excited about the challenge. I really am. I’ve heard that he’s been saying a lot of good stuff about us. I’m being sarcastic right now. It’s going to be a good football game. They didn’t get here for no reason. They’re a good football team, but we didn’t get here for no reason either. So, we’ll see on Sunday.”

 

(on injuries on the defensive line) “I’m not worried at all. I’m not concerned at all. Obviously, it’s the longest any of us have played in one season, but Coach talks about it all the time that we have no excuses. We just show up and do the job. We understand what’s at stake this Sunday. This is a game that none of us have played in, but even through the regular season, we understand that when we’re out there on the field, we do our job. We’re doing it at a high level, so we’re certainly going to do that.”

 

(on Baltimore being a very intense and physical team) “I like to say that our division has stepped up a whole lot. At one time, the NFC West was a stepping stone for other teams to play. They kind of licked they’re chops to play us because they saw us as an automatic win, but now I really think we’re changing that. As far as the physicality goes in the game, we played Baltimore last year and it was a physical game. I like to think that we play physical games all the time, so we’ll see on Sunday when it’s over with because we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

 

(on struggling against the St. Louis Rams) “I don’t know. Give credit where it’s due. They won the game. They made more plays than we did and we didn’t make enough. It’s never good to play five quarters, but if you play five quarters, then you must want to win and we didn’t. Just to sum it up, they made more plays than we did.”

 

(on how the team has been since arriving in New Orleans) “Yesterday was probably one of our best practices. It’s something Coach talks about all the time. It’s about us getting better every day. You never want to stay the same otherwise you’re not getting better. Today, we have to come out with that same focus we had yesterday, the same intensity we had yesterday and just put it back-to-back and let this week carry us into Sunday, let the momentum (carry) into Sunday.”

 

(on yesterday’s practice) “We were executing on all cylinders. Our defense was competing. Our look team guys were giving us a heck of a look. Our offensive guys were completing and catching passes, blocking well. It was just an all-around good practice special teams wise and that’s what it’s going to take. Anytime you can have all three phases having a good practice, that’s a good thing. And we have to be able to carry that over from practice into the game.”

 

(on Chris Culliver’s comments about gay teammates) “That’s something I don’t to get into, hypotheticals, questions. He said what he said yesterday and I know that’s not his heart. Culliver is a great kid, great guy. I love having him on our team. He’s really helped our team be what we are. He’s just young and it’s unfortunate that he came off the way that he came off. But like I said, I know he didn’t mean it in his heart.”

 

(on being an elite linebacker) “Ever since I’ve been a kid, I always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing. But as I’ve always wanted to be the best, I’ve known there is always going to be opinions, opinions of who’s the best. For me, I just want to continue to play the game and continue to play it hard and know that each time I look in the mirror, if I can ask myself, ‘Did you give it everything you had today?’ And if I can truly answer that question because I’m the only one that can, then I’m OK with that. It’s just going out there and just competing, and hopefully some day when I’m done playing and people are talking about linebackers, hopefully my name will be mentioned in that. Some day when I’m done playing, hopefully I get to be enshrined in that Hall of Fame as an inductee. That’s my ultimate goal. It’s not about the fame. It’s not about the fortune. I just feel like if I go out there and play the game and play it in the right way and give it everything I have, the most gratifying thing would be to get inducted because no one can ever take that away from you. Money will go, but nobody can ever take that away from you.”

 

(on how he stays focused this week and not letting comments said to the media distract the team) “Because one, I don’t think it takes us away from our goal, where our mindset is. In this business, it’s always going to be something, and we know those guys. We know those guys hearts. We know that those things that come out of their mouths aren’t intended to hurt anyone or intended to make it about them. We understand what our goal is, and our goal is to win a football game. When there is a whole lot of media involved, it’s easy to take a word that doesn’t mean what they might mean it to mean and make it come off another way or it’s written another way. Our mindset is still what it is. Our mindset is still focusing, and we understand the task at hand.”

 

(on his close relationship with Mike Singletary) “It was a combination of things. When I first got in this league, it was a little bit different. I came from a 4-3 to a 3-4. I was just used to being a middle linebacker and just spilling and kind of getting on the edge of blocks and things like that. Like I said, I’ll never forget my first practice. Frank Gore ran the sweep, and Larry Allen was coming off the block, and I thought I could just make a move on him and go around him. That didn’t happen. I felt like Larry Allen pushed me from one side of the field to the next, but that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was hearing Coach Sing – he didn’t call me by my name, not in the Senior Bowl or training camp. I think it was one of those things you had to earn his respect for him to call you by your name. He called me 52. He would call me 52. He’d call me Mississippi. As a man, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Man, I have a name. Call me by my name.’ But I didn’t know what I didn’t know then, and Coach Sing was one of the types of people that you had to earn his respect. He always said respect was earned. I said that to say that he was a guy that taught me no matter if I weigh 235 pounds, 240 pounds, it’s about coming down and it’s about letting the other man know that you’re not about the run around me. It’s about letting the other man know that you’re coming right down the middle, and he taught me that. He taught me that that’s possible. I worked with him every day. Now, it doesn’t matter who it is, he can weigh 240 pounds or he can weigh 185 pounds. If my objective is to get to that ball, then I guess I have to go through you, find a way to go through you somehow. That was just the physicality of it, and really just mentally having somebody on your back all the time it can be tough. But at the same time you can grow from it.”

 

(on what he learned from playing the Ravens last season) “I just learned last year that it’s going to be a 60 minute game. There is going to be very little room for error. They’re a good football team. We can’t allow them to get up on us, and we can’t allow mistakes to happen. I understand that some things will happen during the game. Make no mistake about it, it’s a football game and some things will happen, but we have to make sure we are able to bounce back from it fast and not let it get the best of us.”

 

(on what about the Super Bowl has surprised him) “Honestly, I really don’t know. People all week have been saying, ‘I bet you’ve been having a blast down there. I bet you this has happened.’ But what they don’t understand is that for me, every game I play in, whether it’s the first game of the season, the middle of the season or it’s the last game of the season, I’m the same person. I still get those same nerves the day before the game, the day before the game, but during the week, I don’t try to do anything different than I would do for a regular season game or a playoff game. I just always want to make sure I’m staying who I am. Who I am is just chilling, laid back, watching film, getting some sleep, eating, and just relaxing. This is the same thing I do during each week. We don’t have so much media, but other than that, I love you guys. You’ve all been pretty good, so I appreciate that. I’m just chilling. I don’t see a big difference other than in the media, per se.”

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49ers WR Moss still pursuing first career title

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

WIDE RECEIVER RANDY MOSS

 

(on advice to kids hoping to play in the NFL) “I think just keeping a positive attitude first and foremost, because as a kid you go through a lot, a lot of ups and downs from school, in the house, just everyday life. Keeping a positive attitude and wanting to get out there and play.”

 

(on Donald Driver’s retirement and his career) “I didn’t really pay attention to a lot Donald Driver or really his career. For him to announce his retirement, I think a lot of people saw it coming. You won’t play forever in this league. There’s high schoolers that are going to get to college and then to the professional level, so there’s always a replacement for you. He won him a Super Bowl. He got to play with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, so I don’t think he can really ask for more.”

 

(on where he would rank winning a Super Bowl in terms of priorities he would like to accomplish in his career) “Well, by (football) being a team sport, it would be sitting right at the top because you play for a championship. I think I said yesterday there’s a lot of people that have played in this league, past and present, and have never been on this stage before. So you really get to enjoy the moment and you prepare all week with media requests and practice and all the other stuff. Then you go out here and you try to relax your mind on Friday and Saturday to get ready for a hell of an event on Sunday. So to do be able to win a championship really would complete my career, but, like I said yesterday, I love the game of football. Who knows what the future holds. I’m just living in the moment right now.”

 

(on what it’s like being at the Super Bowl at this point in his career) “I’m not really overexcited. I’m really not. I’m really not that type of person. I’m blessed, very lucky, very fortunate to be in this position. Just trying to stay grounded and do my work each and every day and just prepare and get ready for Sunday. That’s about all you can do.”

 

(on if he had any memorable matchups with Donald Driver) “No. My memorable matchups are against Brett Favre. That’s about it.”

 

(on reactions to his ranking on the all-time receiving list) “Everybody has their personal opinion. My own personal opinion, you’re going to have two sides and I really don’t care what people think. I just know what I’m able to do and how I dictate and how I think I’ve revolutionized the game of football at wide receiver. A lot of people think that I’m a very cocky person, but I’m not cocky. I’m very confident. I’m blessed to be in this position. Throughout my whole life, I’ve always wanted to play football. None of that football stuff, that’s been very secondary for me. Like I say, I enjoy. I go each and every day, prepare to be the best. That might not always be the outcome, but that’s my motivation, is just to be the best each and every day. I don’t really go and stroke my own ego or anything like that. Like I said, I was blessed to be able to have the talent that I have and I just utilize it the best way I can.”

 

(on what the game of football means to him and what he wants his legacy to be) “My legacy is just more of how I treat people, it doesn’t really have to do with football. Football’s just a game, you know? I think a lot of people, especially the sports fans, really take this to heart. They die for their team. They get tattoos for their team. They’ll fight in the club over their team. I think that the game – the sport itself – I do love the game, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t love it enough to really come out of element to do anything crazy. So, I love it. I do enjoy playing the game, but at the end of the day it’s just a game. I was telling a guy yesterday, for me and him to play a game of Monopoly, it’s just a game and football is sort of similar to that. It’s just a game and people get bent up out of shape over a loss, a sports comment or something like that. Not all athletes in this world are alike, but at the same time we do the same time, we prepare to go out there and try to win. If it’s an individual sport from tennis to golf, or a team sport from basketball, baseball and football, hockey we try to go out there and win each and every day. If you’re not preparing yourself to go out there and win each and every day then you’re in the wrong profession.”

 

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