Athlete Development

  • It appears more often than not that each year the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft will be highly scrutinized. While Stanford QB Andrew Luck seems to be the favorite to be selected first on draft day, he has at least one tough critic: former Giants QB and Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms. “I think the hype is a little too much,” Simms said. “I feel bad for him in that respect. I mean, [how's] he going to do to match what they say he can do? There's a lot to him…But the one thing I don't see, I just don't see big-time NFL throws. I don't care what anybody says. I've watched a lot of him. He never takes it and rips it in there…Hey, he can develop it but, even in the USC game, you know, he's very careful with it, guides it a lot. That's what I see.” [Phil Simms: Andrew Luck hype is ‘a little too much’]
  • It’s no secret that many of today’s pro athletes, including the star athletes, are talented. Yet, one factor that appears to fuel their success at sports, and elsewhere, is a motivating factor or a source of inspiration. For Kentucky Forward Terrence Jones, his inspiration came from the role his aunt Ava Mashia played in his life. ESPN writer Dana O’Neil takes a look at how that relationship has helped him currently, and perhaps will help the sophomore lead a Wildcat squad with a talented freshman class back to the NCAA Final Four. [O'Neil: Mature Jones Focused on Taking Next Step at Kentucky]
  • This LA Times article takes an in-depth look at why NFL rookie receivers are having so much success this season. The interesting part in particular is the input from a couple of Hall of Famers at the position. [For Rookies, It's So Much Better To Receive]
  • Imagine having to go to work with the feeling that your employers have little regard for your physical well-being. Well, that’s the scenario Bears RB Matt Forte paints with his comments regarding his current stalemate in contract negotiations: “The running back position is the most physically demanding on the field. Everyone acknowledges that. So to continue to give me the touches I've had since my rookie year but not award me a long-term contract sends the message that you're OK grinding me into a pulp.” [Matt Forte: Bears Are Grinding Me Into A Pulp]
  • New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden feels that Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is “in the top two” at his position. And he may have a valid point: the signal caller has more Super Bowl wins and appearances than every starting QB in the NFL not named Tom Brady. Yet, Big Ben’s off-the-field issues have critics overlooking his success on the gridiron. A classic case of how your personal life can interfere with your work life. [Video: Credit Where It’s Due]
  • There are very few career paths where individuals are expected (if not demanded) to outperform themselves each time they work in a highly pressured environment. Yet, there are even fewer jobs where those same folks are paid millions each year. Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams and Titans RB Chris Johnson discuss the difficulty of having to “prove” they deserve the multimillion deals they received this past offseason. “With more money comes more responsibility. They expect you to come out and do things that you've never done before in your life,” said Williams via “They want you to come out and basically be on the field by yourself and score every time you touch the ball, or pick up a first down. What they fail to realize is the other people get paid too. It's not necessarily whether you get the ball or not. There are other variables in that, the scheme.” [CJ, DeAngelo Williams: Money Changed Expectations]
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik had a very interesting quote about acquiring DT Albert Haynesworth, who was recently released by the Patriots. “He does have history, of course. But at the end of the day, you talk to anyone in the NFL, week to week, and you know you can be the hero one week, and be the villain the next. It's tough for any player under that scrutiny. But that's the nature of our business. He's gonna have a shorter leash, but if he's prepared and ready to play, he'll play.” [Haynesworth On a Short Leash In Tampa]
Human Relations
  • Future college and pro athletes out there reading this: please choose your Halloween costumes wisely! I, along with LA Times writer Bill Plaschke will call you out if a picture of your distasteful costume idea is spread throughout the internet. Tennis legend Andre Agassi said it best: “Image is everything.” [Bill Plaschke: Raffi Torres in blackface is a disgrace to the NHL]
  • “I feel like I’ve made it, I do. This is what I’ve always wanted to do and I feel like I’m doing it, even if it’s not exactly what I had imagined.” The previous quote is not typically the one you would receive from a QB on a NFL team’s practice squad. Yet, for the Giants QB Ryan Perrilloux, it shows a level of patience and humility that may be needed. It's the type of patience and humility acquired through life lessons and personal experiences. [A Giant’s On-Again, Off-Again Role
  • I’ve always enjoyed hearing of pro and collegiate athletes getting involved with veterans. Kudos to Vikings’ DE Jared Allen for doing his part to help wounded soldiers adjust to their lives after war. [Vikings’ Allen Assists Wounded Veterans]
  • In my recent memory I can only think of one pro athlete whose absence created so much buzz like Peyton Manning’s road to recovery from several neck surgeries. The other athlete? No. 23 himself: Michael Jordan. After reading this this article, hopefully the comparison I’ve posed won’t seem so outrageous. [No One in the NFL Can Fill the Void of Peyton Manning's Absence]