Tag Archives: Nick
Nick Reed was one of the Pac 10′s all-time sack leaders as a star for the Oregon Ducks, but he didn’t hear his name called until the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. The Seattle Seahawks took the undersized pass-rusher there, and after one season in the dumpster fire that was the Jim Mora “era” in Seattle, Reed received an injury settlement and moved around the league, trying to stick somewhere. He signed a futures deal with the Chicago Bears and made the team, went to Tampa Bay after his release, and was cut by the Minnesota Vikings in August of 2012. That release led Reed to a calling he had seen coming for a long time — he wanted to be an Air Force pilot, and that’s what he’s training to be now.
“When I was a kid my dad was in the Navy,” Reed told CBS’ Jason La Canfora during the fourth week of his current training at the Air Force Academy, “and he was flight surgeon — a doctor for the pilots. So he would come home and talk about that stuff with me, and I think that’s how I kind of got into it and knew that was something I wanted to do. Most kids want to be an astronaut or a pilot. I guess I never really got out of that stage.”
Reed almost made that move the year before. The Bears told him that he made their team on Sept. 1, 2001. 10 days later, he received word of his acceptance into the Air Force.
“It kind of put me in a tough position, because it’s hard to pass up the NFL,” Reed told La Canfora, “but this is also a job I always wanted to do. So I decided this would be here for me in a couple of more years and I was still young enough that it wouldn’t pass me up.”
Now, Reed gets up every day at 4:30 in the morning, and he’s hard at work in a process that rivals or exceeds anything he ever saw when he was trying to make the NFL. He began a nine-week “Super Boot Camp” last month, and though he’s all in for his new life, there are still pangs when he thinks about how his football career turned out.
“There’s not a lot I really miss, maybe the free time it affords you,” Reed said. “But I was jaded by the whole experience. It’s maybe still too soon to be asking me that question. I’m proud to say I played and got to do it and had that opportunity and I was lucky got to play. But I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Not that I regret this track I’m on. But I still felt like I had some good ball left.
“That will always be my question — what happened? I felt like wherever I went I had success when I got to play. I know I was small and slow, but I got the job done. But once you’re gone, you’re gone. When they’re not answering your phone calls anymore you have to move, and everything happens for a reason, so I am sure there was something.”
Now, he gets the job done in a different way. He’s got all the standard physical demands anyone would see as they prepare for military service, and hours upon hours of class work and homework as well. If he makes it through his current training, Reed could begin a year of pilot training in June. He would like to be a fighter pilot, but as he told La Canfora, Reed understands that the selection process is very rigorous.
“Flying jets is cool and I would love to do it, but it’s very competitive and depending on when I graduate there might not be any spots available. You need a lot of skill and luck to make that happen. If that doesn’t work out then I will have a pilot’s license and I’m excited to fly.”
We hear enough sad stories about former NFL players who turn to a dark path when their football dreams go up in smoke. Kudos to Nick Reed for not only understanding that there’s life after the game, but going after a dream that may be even tougher to reach.
The NFL world is in shock, as one of the least mobile QBs in this year’s draft, USC QB Matt Barkley, was just drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Selecting1st in the 4th round and 98th overall, the Eagles traded up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, sending them a 7th rounder in the process.
Barkley is a smart QB who can make adjustments at the line of scrimmage and command the huddle, pushing the pace in an up-tempo spread offense. Yet, it seems odd for head coach Chip Kelly – who also enjoys keeping defenses guessing as to whether or not the QB is going to run with it – to take a thrower as statuesque as Matt Barkley.
Chip Kelly has been acclimating his offense to the tempo necessary to run his offense, contouring nutrition and conditioning so they can get used to not huddling and to the extra plays.
In my rankings, Barkley was right behind Ryan Nassib as the most pro-ready QB in this year’s draft. Michael Vick turns 33 this summer, and has not played all 16 games in a regular season since 2006. I could see Barkley sitting this year, and getting a chance to win the job in 2014.
A two-QB system is a remote possibility.
Michael Vick is the strongest-armed and most experienced QB on the roster and I believe is entrenched as the #1. Should there be a lot of zone-read, it would make sense to keep QB Dennis Dixon on the roster and not have to throw that part of the playbook out if Vick gets injured again. That would leave QB Nick Foles, a 3rd-round pick from 2012, as the odd man out. I could see whatever team that wants Nassib in this round but doesn’t get him to trade for him, as Foles has better arm talent than his old teammate Matt Scott, Landry Jones, and the rest of the top prospects left.
The Eagles also shocked some by taking another dynamic TE in Stanford’s Zach Ertz, as they already have Brent Celek and James Casey.
Hit “Like” if you are ready to see what this offense looks like in August!
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The NFL combine is a place where players are laid bare, physically and mentally if not necessarily literally. Teams want to find out everything they can about a potential multimillion-dollar investment. And sometimes, that runs counter to traditional workplace laws of privacy and boundaries during interviews.
Of note this week is the question of Manti Te’o's sexual preference, or, more specifically, whether teams are permitted to ask about said preference. Generally, such topics are off-limits to interviewers, though laws differ by state, and it’s possible to get around a direct inquiry with some canny around-the-edges questions.
Or, according to Colorado tight end Nick Kasa, they can come right out and ask. Speaking to CJ and Kreckman of ESPN Radio in Denver, Kasa said NFL teams are doing all they can to dig deep under the combine players’ skin:
“I think the whole point of the week is to play with your mind to see if you stay focused and stay driven,” he said. “There was a couple of questions by coaches … they try to catch you off guard or try to say something you wouldn’t normally say … to see if they can get a reaction. They’re trying to see how badly they can get in your mind.”
As for those specific inquiries? “They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?’” Kasa told the hosts. “Those kinds of things. It was kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience altogether.”
[Related: Best combine performances ever]
The gold standard for idiotic questions remains Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland’s 2010 inquiry to Dez Bryant of whether Bryant’s mother was still a prostitute. So far, there are no reports that anyone’s come close to that ballpark. But the sooner Te’o gets himself drafted and can start making headlines for his play on the field, the better for everyone involved.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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Barnett tweeted: “I was told I’ll be released today by the Buffalo Bills. Thanks to all the great Fans and friends I have met in Western New York.. It was truly a pleasure being apart of that organization and culture.. Very unfortunate we didn’t get the Bills to the playoffs but I know you.”
Barnett signed with Buffalo in 2011 and was due to make $ 3.5 million in 2013.
On the heels of the Barnett move, the team also said so long to safety George Wilson.
“Moves like the ones we’ve made today are never easy, but we have to do what’s best for our team and keep moving forward,” Bills general manager Buddy Nix said. “We’ve got some good young players on our roster who we feel are ready to take the next step and they will now have the opportunity to do so. We thank both Nick and George for everything they’ve given the Bills’ organization and wish them nothing but the best for the future.”
By Stephen Schindler
As the 2012 season comes to a close, in what seems to be an annual practice, big change is expected in Cleveland. With new owner Jimmy Haslem and new president Joe Banner running the show, they will almost certainly bring in their own head coach and general manager.
This would signal the end of Tom Heckert’s tenure as Cleveland’s GM. Despite his impeding discharge, Heckert has vastly improved the talent base of the Browns. The former Eagles GM came in with a bare cupboard, thanks to the poor personnel decisions of his predecessors Phil Savage and George Kokinis. Heckert did a nice job in the last two drafts in obtaining some much-needed building blocks, yet his moves haven’t carried over to the win column as the Browns have posted double digit losses in each of his three seasons.
It appears as if there will be another changing of the guard at a position that has served as a perpetual revolving door since Cleveland returned to the NFL. At the top of Haslem and Banner’s list for general manager is current NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi. Undoubtedly, this raises several questions. What would be the draw of Lombardi for the job? What will he be able to do differently from the myriad of GM’s this franchise has seen since its reincarnation? How will he fit with the Browns?
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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid announced on Monday that rookie quarterback Nick Foles played the second half of Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins with a broken right hand that will keep the third round pick out of Arizona out of the regular season finale against the New York Giants.
Specifically, Reid said that an MRI revealed that Foles suffered a hairline fracture of the second metatarsal of his throwing hand.
“Nick will obviously not play”, Reid said according to the team’s official website. “This was something that showed up on the MRI this morning, it wasn’t present on the X-ray.”
Foles completed 32-of-48 pass attempts for 345 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss. In six starts since replacing an injured (and often ineffective) Michael Vick, Foles completed 60.8 percent of his pass attempts for 1,699 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 79.1. Foles had a passer rating of 85.0 or higher in four of his six starts and is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job in 2013.
With Foles out, the Eagles could turn back to Vick for the season finale, though a final determination has not been made.
“There’s a pretty good chance Michael will be the starter,” Reid said. “That’s what we’re looking at right now. That’s the direction I’m going as we speak right now.”
That may be the direction Reid is going, but the front office may want to go in a different direction. Vick is due $ 15.5 million in base salary next season, $ 3 million of which is guaranteed for injury. If Vick is on the Eagles’ roster two days after Super Bowl XLVII, that $ 3 million will become fully guaranteed. Avoiding that potential contract obligation is believed to be the reason behind the team’s previous decisions to not only name Foles the starter for the remainder of the regular season, but to make Vick inactive even after he was medically cleared to play.
If Vick were to be injured in the season finale, and could not pass an exit physical or a physical in February, the Eagles would be on the hook for that $ 3 million, regardless of whether or not Vick remains on the active roster. Since Reid is expected to be relieved of his duties, perhaps as early as next week, it would not be a surprise if the team ultimately decides that starting Trent Edwards is the starter for Week 17.
With the successes of San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh, Seattle’s Pete Carroll, and Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano, it would seem that there’s been a shift in the perception that most college football coaches, no matter how well they’ve done at the NCAA level, would be better off staying put as opposed to making the jump to the NFL. Of course, the future NFL prospects of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who worked under Bill Belichick in Cleveland in the 1990s and was the Miami Dolphins’ head coach in 2005 and 2006, have been discussed more recently as a combined result of this new influx of college coaches, and Saban’s impressive success at Alabama.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe recently spoke with two NFL sources who said that if the Cleveland Browns wanted Saban to be their next head coach, and went after former personnel executive and current NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi (who worked with Belichick and Saban in Cleveland ) to be their general manager, it might actually happen.
Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, asked his week how he would feel if Saban replaced Andy Reid as the Eagles’ head coach, threw fire at the idea.
“I’m not a Saban guy, because I don’t like liars, and I think he lied,” Jaworski said. “I think he lied to the Miami Dolphins, and to the fans of Miami, and he left. And it’s pretty simple, I think integrity is very important, if you don’t have integrity, I don’t know how you can be successful. Yeah, I know he’s great at Alabama, and he’ll probably win another national championship, but I just don’t like people that don’t have integrity, so it’s pretty easy for me to say I don’t want Nick Saban in town.
“Go ask some players on that team — go ask some coaches on that team. The Bobby Petrinos of the world — I have a hard time backing those guys. You don’t have integrity, man … I don’t want to be around you.”
Jaworski isn’t the only one covering the league who would far prefer that Saban stay right where he is — providing a pipeline of draft prospects to the league, as opposed to darkening the NFL’s door ever again.
As Yahoo’s own Mike Silver described him in the NFL Network’s “Top 10 NFL Coaches Who Belonged in College” show, “Nick Saban — the absolute tightest-wound human being ever to coach an NFL game. Utterly joyless, humorless, and lacking the Bill Belichick touch to get away with it. The ultimate liar and contract-breaker. I’m glad he’s out of the pros, because he’s pretty much reviled.”
“He was such a dictator, people would walk the other way in the hall because they didn’t want to cross his path,” remembered long time sportswriter Howard Balzer in that same show. “That’s why they called him the Nicktator. Saban thought it was going to be easy to come to the NFL and do things the way he wanted, but it just doesn’t work that way.”
Former Dolphins tight end and broadcaster Jim Mandich put it more succinctly: “If Nick Saban walked through that door right now, I’d say, ‘Let’s go — let’s start throwing down.’ The biggest two-bit phony fraud I’ve ever known in my life. He was a miserable failure as a head coach in professional football.”
Saban had a real problem with the truth, and that’s what people remember of him in the NFL. He swore up and down that he didn’t want the Dolphins job when he was at LSU, and he swore up and down that he didn’t want the Alabama job when he was at Miami, though he was already negotiating with the Crimson Tide in the second year of his Dolphins tenure. He should probably avoid any more swearing up and down in future.
If Saban were ever to make a success of it in the NFL, he would have to do some serious self-assessment beforehand. I asked Carroll at the end of the 2010 season, his first back in the NFL after unsuccessful stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots in the 1990s, what he had to adjust about himself.
“I’m way different now,” Carroll said. “I’m the same person, but I know more what’s important to me, and what’s important to teach. To represent what’s important to me as the head coach. That’s truly been the change. And it took a lot of years in coaching before I kicked myself in the butt, and got my act together, and figured it out. I thought I knew, but I really didn’t, and I didn’t figure it out until the year between New England and when I went to USC. That was the time when things changes, and I haven’t been the same since. I’ve been more clearly focused on that the issues are and what the philosophy is. The end result is that these guys I work with have a much better sense of how we’re doing things. They have a much clearer picture of what we’re trying to create and the team we’re trying to become. I figured it out better so that I could teach it better, and explain it better, and stand for it more consistently.”
Carroll learned it from the school of hard knocks. Harbaugh learned it through his 15 seasons as an NFL quarterback. Schiano seems to have an innate understanding of it so far, though we’ll see what time tells us. However that knowledge is gleaned, those who know what it really takes to succeed as an NFL coach will tell you that it’s about so much more than putting together an interesting game plan. If Nick Saban wants to return to the NFL, his first challenge will be to re-pave the roads he tore up on his way out.
It’s hard out there for a Cincinnati Bengals fan who also happens to be a boy-band veteran, as Nick Lachey learned Sunday.
The 98 Degrees star was hanging at the Chargers-Bengals game in San Diego, being a good fan, cheering on his team, and all of a sudden THE MAN sweated him and threw him OUT of the stadium. (Video via TMZ, which is WHY we are capitalizing RANDOM words.)
You can’t quite see in the video what happens, but clearly something went awry between Lachey and security. And after he was escorted out of the stadium, Lachey took to Twitter to tell his side of the story:
“Just got kicked out of the chargers stadium and couldn’t be prouder!” he wrote. “Go Cincy Bengals! #whodey.” He followed that with “Bengals win again. i’d talk trash to everyone in SD, but what’s the point? you already had me kicked out of the stadium and you still lost.”
But with the dawn of a new day, and perhaps a little more perspective, Lachey backed off a bit and tried to offer perspective. “For the record, i was not kicked out of the chargers game for excessive ‘trash talking’. no, that honor belonged to the guy in front of me!” he wrote. “i simply don’t appreciate someone turning around and putting their finger in my face. call me crazy, but that deserved a reaction. again, aside from a few exceptions, i had a great time hanging with Charger fans all afternoon. honestly, some of the nicest fans around.”
We really hope the San Diego crowd chanted N’Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” at him as he left. That would’ve been some serious next-level trolling.
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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has named rookie Nick Foles the team’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 regular season.
“It gives one of your players the opportunity to play here, the next four games, as a starter,” Reid said via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Each week, he’s been the replacement guy. Now he is the starter, we’ll see how he does with that on his plate, see how he handles it. I don’t expect much change there with him.”
Foles was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Arizona and has completed 60.9 percent of 133 pass attempts for 793 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in the three-plus games since replacing Michael Vick, who suffered a concussion in a Nov. 11 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In Sunday night’s 38-33 loss to the Cowboys, Foles completed 22-of-34 attempts for a career-high 251 yards with one touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 96.9, his highest rating of his four-game career.
Foles being named the starter for the final month of the regular season could mean that Vick’s career with the Eagles is over. Vick has three seasons and $ 47.5 million remaining on the five-year, $ 80 million contract he signed on Aug. 30, 2011. Vick’s contract includes $ 15.5 million in base salary in 2013, $ 3 million of which is currently guaranteed for injury only. If Vick is on the Eagles’ roster on the second day of the 2013 waiver period, which normally begins the day after the Super Bowl, the $ 3 million will become fully guaranteed. The Eagles could avoid paying that $ 3 million by releasing a healthy Vick before that clause is triggered and not playing Vick in the four remaining games would ensure that he is at optimum health for his exit physical.
“I did speak to him, and he was very positive about it. He completely understood. He’s on board,” Reid said of Vick’s reaction to the decision.
In addition to the quarterback announcement, the Eagles also relieved defensive line coach Jim Washburn of his duties on Monday.
“Jim is a fine football coach and we appreciate the efforts he gave to this team over the past two years,” Reid said in a statement released by the club. “However, I determined that it was in the team’s best interest that we move in a different direction in terms of trying to maximize the production of that position group. We look forward to having Tommy Brasher back on board to work with the defensive line.”
Hired in 2011, Washburn brought the “Wide-Nine” and 2010 Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin with him to Philadelphia. With 18 sacks, Babin led the Eagles’ pass rush that got to opposing quarterbacks 50 times, but the front four alignment gave up too many big plays in the running game. This season, Philadelphia’s pass rush has produced just 20 sacks through 12 games and Babin, who has a team-high 5.5 sacks, was released last week. Washburn was reportedly “livid” that Babin had been waived and had threatened to quit over the transaction, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Replacing Washburn will be Tommy Brasher, who coached the Eagles’ defensive line from 1999 until his retirement in 2005.
The $ 100 million QB of the Eagles couldn’t keep up with the Falcons’ score festival, as Matty Ice and company scored more points (30) on the Eagles defense in Todd Bowles’s debut as DC than any non-Brady/Belichick offense did vs. Juan Castillo in his final 14 games as defensive coordinator.
Reid dropped to 13-1 after the bye, which likely won’t be an ominous sign if they win a postseason game or two.
Afterwards, Vick said that Reid “obviously” was thinking about demoting him and, if that were to happen, he would support his coach.
“You know, obviously, I think there’s a lot of things that I can do better,” Vick said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to put the ball in the end zone … I don’t know if playing like a franchise quarterback means three or four touchdowns week-in and week-out and doing everything right. But I know I’ve been there before and despite it all, I still feel like I do a lot of positive things out there, and that’s all I can ask.”
The Eagles will play the Saints at New Orleans on Monday Night Football next week.
Hit “Like” if you think Michael Vick should be given at least one more start.