What's going on everyone? This week we're diving into the role of a college coach when his players decide to leave for the NFL Draft early, the push for concussion awareness in the NFL, the turn-around Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers made, and the power void in the NFL Players Association and how that can affect the players in the future.

Morrah foregoes senior year for draft

This is the second notable player to enter the NFL Draft early and against the better judgment of his coach, the first being USC QB Mark Sanchez. Pete Carroll walked out before Sanchez’s press conference and publicly decreed his true feelings about Sanchez’s decision, showing a very clear disapproval. Now comes Cameron Morrah, who is going against the advice given to him by head coach, Jeff Tedford. Tedford, however, has accepted and reacted to his player’s exodus better than Carroll, citing his disapproval, but wishing Morrah the best of luck.

Between the two, Tedford clearly took the better route as a college coach, supporting his player rather than bashing him. Part of a coach’s job, whether high school or college, is to market their players to the next level. It is beneficial to both the coach and the program to boast notable alumni playing D1 or playing in the pros. It would seem a no-brainer that they would sell their players to any and all scouts, team execs, and GMs. Enter Pete Carroll who did not fulfill his role as marketer for Sanchez, and instead opted to whine and criticize the decision of his former player. It leads many, and me as well, to believe that Carroll cares more about his program and not for the players themselves. He was at the press conferences for all previous QBs who declared for the draft: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and John David Booty. The caveat is that all of these QBs played through they’re eligibilities and could no longer play for Carroll on the collegiate level. Sanchez is leaving a year early and has left Carroll with no real predecessor at the QB role. In a year when he will lose most of his starting defense, it would have been a major hemorrhage-stopper to have an offense that was in tact instead of going through growing pains on both sides of the ball. It brings me to question the validity behind Carroll’s pitch to do what he can to get his player’s to the NFL.

Once Sanchez decided to go into the Draft, Carroll should have had his back and glorify his huge Rose Bowl performance, rather than declaring him unfit for the NFL. Personally, I think Sanchez made the right decision. He’s coming off a record-setting Rose Bowl performance and is a senior academically. If he had waited until next year, he would be in the limbo with Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Colt McCoy of Texas, and Tim Tebow of Florida, instead of just Matthew Stafford of Georgia. Carroll didn’t go to bat for his player and these actions should be considered by potential recruits.

New Sign of Brain Damage in N.F.L.

Although not good news for the players currently suffering from this ailment, it is good to see that the retired players and the Players Union are putting pressure on the League to consider the damage players are experiencing. Concussions for a long time have been overlooked by players, coaches, and team execs as a minor injury and it has been the norm to pressure concussed players to get back in the game. This has caused many players to return to the field earlier than their bodies are capable of. Many players get pressure from their teammates for “abandoning” them by not playing with an injury viewed by many as nothing more than a bruise.

Now doctors, retired players, and union members are speaking out and it is good to see that there are some people looking out for the safety of the athletes.

Santonio Holmes Says He Sold Drugs as Teenager

It is good to see that someone plagued by a low income neighborhood and many distractions realized the path to a better life didn’t lay in the presence of drugs and violence. Holmes confesses that as a teenager he would cut school to sell drugs on the streets because it was a way of making money.

He quickly learned that spending the rest of your life on the corner or in and out of jail was not a good way of living. It was then that he dropped his job pushing drugs and concentrated on football and school. He is now playing for the Super Bowl contending Pittsburgh Steelers as their best deep threat and return man. He saw that drugs and violence was not the way and he changed.

He told his story with the hopes that more kids in impoverished neighborhoods realize the false dreams that lay with the street life. He hopes that kids will take the practice field and work to succeed rather than hopelessly hustle their way to nowhere.

At a Critical Time, the N.F.L. Players Union Is Left Adrift

The loss of Gene Upshaw has created an enormous black hole in leadership for the NFL Players Association and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The owners and the League notified its players union back in May of 2008 that they will opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement, which could lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010 and a possible lockout in 2011. The absence of a strong leader ready and able to unite the players could destroy the gains that Upshaw made over the years (including a 60% plus revenue share for the players).

A decision needs to be made about who will run the NFLPA and that individual must be able to step right up and battle the tycoons that make up the owners in the NFL. The NFLPA Search Committee, in conjunction with search firm, Riley Partners, is down to 5 candidates for the vacant Executive Director position, and will present the board with 3 highly qualified candidates to select from at the Board of Reps meeting in March.

As always, this blog is for you guys so any questions, comments, or concerns send them to tim@accessathletes.com. Have a good weekend and enjoy the commercials during the Super Bowl.