You think Sunday’s Detroit Lions-Dallas Cowboys game is going to have a little extra juice? First there was the announcement that Ndamukong Suh’s one-game suspension for stepping on Aaron Rodgers had been rescinded. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] Then Cowboys safety Barry Church sent out word that Lions receiver Golden Tate might want to have his head on a swivel. As a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Tate delivered a massive — and dirty, Church said — crackback block on Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee in a game back in 2012. Tate switching teams hasn’t caused Church to forget what he did, and he’s plotting his revenge. Legally, that is. On his weekly radio show in Dallas, Church said he plans to help out his teammate Lee, who is on injured reserve for a knee injury he suffered back in May, by paying back Tate for what happened that day more than two years ago. “That was the dirtiest shot I’ve ever seen,” Church said on 105.3 The Fan, via ESPN Dallas . “We were talking about it on the way back from Washington, me and Sean. He was just like, ‘Man, I wish I could play so bad in this game just to give a little payback for what he did in Seattle.’ “Obviously he can’t play, but we’re definitely going to keep our radar out for [Tate] because that was a dirty shot. We’re looking forward to seeing him. We’ll definitely get him back after that, but it will be within the rules, within the rules.” Tate’s peelback block on that Russell Wilson run cost the receiver a fine of $21,000. What made it illegal — even though no penalty was called on the play — was that Tate struck Lee with the crown of his helmet and left his feet, launching to make the block. Adding insult to injury, Tate flexed his muscles and celebrating his big hit, enraging the Cowboys. Especially Church, whose memory has not faded. The week after the hit occured, Lee ripped Tate for the hit. “Crackback hits, that’s not a definition of toughness,” Lee said the next week. “A definition of toughness is hitting, squaring up, being able to do your job as hard as you can every single play. That’s at least what I believe. Anybody can crackback block.” Church also took time on his show to comment on the Suh fine, which was $70,000, and the incident of him stepping on Rodgers in the fourth quarter game between the Lions and Green Bay Packers in Week 17. “Yeah, you’re trying to deliver a painful blow, as legal as possible — but when the guy is down and you’re stepping on people …” Church said. “And like you said, he had a track record of that, stepping on people when they’re down. That’s uncalled for. We don’t need that in our game. But hey, I guess if you can pay the money, you can play.” And if you play, Golden Tate, you might want to keep an eye out for No. 42 who apparently has a blood oath legal form of payback in mind. – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
It’s too bad Ndamukong Suh wouldn’t talk about stepping on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last week, or his appeal that led to a one-game suspension being lifted, because his reported excuse was quite a doozy. Suh, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter , said during his appeal that his feet were numb from the cold. The Detroit Lions defensvie tackle said that he couldn’t tell the difference between Rodgers’ leg and the ground. Oh. The NFL didn’t necessarily buy that creative excuse, but it decided the correct punishment wasn’t a one-game suspension. Instead of missing this week’s playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, which was the original ruling, the suspension was rescinded and Suh was fined $70,000 instead. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] Whatever Suh thought about what happened, the original suspension, the appeal or being able to play is a mystery because he refused to talk about it. He started by using the already-tired Bill Belichick model of just repeating the same answer about the next opponent (Suh said over and over he was “getting focused to play Dallas”) before he simply moved on to “next question.” Suh probably said “next question” 15-20 times, including to one question asking if he really couldn’t feel his feet. Suh’s, um, interesting excuse is humorous because of his past. He has had plenty of on-field incidents, but he got a bit lucky with this one. The NFL removes a player from the repeat offender list after 32 games without an incident, including a maximum of two preseason games. Suh reached his 32nd game without an incident two weeks ago. So Suh stepping on Rodgers (or that he couldn’t control his cold feet, whatever you’d like to believe) was considered on its own and not in regard to his previous history. Whatever happened, it’s settled. Suh will play. He’s on to Dallas. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
There were plenty of big stories in the NFL world in 2014, and we can probably expect a few more in 2015. Looking ahead to the next calendar year, what are some of the things we should be keeping an eye on in the NFL? Glad you asked … 1. Who is the biggest free agent on the market? Let’s assume Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant gets re-signed or stuck with the franchise tag. It’s very hard to believe he’s hitting free agency. Even if he did, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh might still be No. 1 on the list. His franchise number is obscene ($26.7 million) so it’s unlikely the Lions tag him, and he’s come this far so why not test the open market? Yes he can be a bit dirty at times, but finding a disruptive force like this on the defensive line is just about impossible. Also battling Suh for the top spot: Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, fresh off a 22-sack season. 2. For the teams that can’t sign Suh, who will be next on the free-agent priority list? Bryant, in the unlikely chance he reaches free agency, is a big one. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is a really interesting case in this era of not investing in running backs. Will a guy who won the rushing title by almost 500 yards really not get a big deal? The Denver Broncos have two stars, receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas, who they haven’t locked up to extensions. Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (isn’t that interesting?) and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are also big names about to hit the market. Though, with all players whose contracts will expire, teams have a bit of time to work out a new deal. NFL free agency begins on March 10 at 4 p.m. ET. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] 3. Who will be the biggest name currently under contract that will be added to that free-agent list? Darrelle Revis. The New England Patriots got the star cornerback as a nice one-year rental, although technically it was a two-year deal. He has had an exceptional season, but with a massive option looming he would have a $25 million cap hit next season. So, yeah, add Revis to that list of free agents. Although, like with all pending free agents, there’s time to work things out before Revis hits free agency. 4. What about trades, will any big-name quarterbacks be moved? Jay Cutler is the most fascinating possibility. If some team takes him, it’s basically a “get out of jail free” card for the Bears just one year into his massive contract. Would a team like the St. Louis Rams or Tennessee Titans do it? Don’t underestimate teams’ desperation at quarterback. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III finished the season well enough that you’d think trading him would be off the table unless Washington got a great deal, but with that franchise, who knows? 5. Will Jameis Winston be the most hotly debated draft prospect ever? It’s hard to think of anyone else who will reach the level of craziness we can expect for Winston. Maybe Johnny Manziel had more pre-draft debate, because he was a huge star in the social-media era and there were more on-field questions than we’ll see with Winston. But whatever off-field stuff we heard about with Manziel was not to the same level of what we’ll hear about with Winston. if Winston never had been in trouble through college, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be the first pick. Now? We’ll see on April 30 in Chicago, the site of this year’s draft. 6. Will there be any big-name coaching hires? With so few openings (only five at the moment), and many hot assistants available, it seems unlikely. Adam Gase, Todd Bowles or Dan Quinn might be great hires but they aren’t big names, at least not yet. The one name that has come up a couple times early in the process is Mike Shanahan, and for better or worse, that would be a big-name hire. 7. Will Roger Goodell survive another year? Don’t forget, former FBI director Robert Mueller’s report on Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice ordeal has yet to be released (but let’s plan on it being released at 4:58 p.m. ET on some upcoming Friday, as is the NFL’s wont). The results of that report or any other major misstep could put him in danger, but keep in mind that it certainly doesn’t appear that the owners who are making a ton of money under Goodell’s watch want him out, and they’re the only ones who matter for this question. 8. Will anyone have an Odell Beckham-like breakout in 2015? There are a few good receivers like Alabama’s Amari Cooper and Louisville’s DeVante Parker in the draft that could be instant stars, as could Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon or Georgia’s Todd Gurley if he’s healthy. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Winston should start right away. But one returning player to watch is Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. His great December after the Vikings were off the radar (72.3 completion percentage, a fantastic 9.2 yards per attempt and a 99.8 quarterback rating) gives hope that he can be a legitimate star in the NFL. 9. What will happen with Peyton Manning? Manning slowed down late in 2014, to the point the Denver Broncos started building their offense around running back C.J. Anderson, a virtual unknown two months ago. Manning’s December numbers of three touchdowns, six interceptions and 76.8 rating point to something being wrong, whether it was undisclosed injury, aging, a common slump or just a small sample size. It will be very interesting to see how he performs in the playoffs. He’ll turn 39 in April of 2015, and it’s no secret the NFL’s biggest star is closing in on retirement. We just don’t know when that will happen. 10. Who will win the Super Bowl? New England Patriots. Though nobody would be surprised if the Seattle Seahawks won it again. If any of the other 10 playoff teams took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy, it would be a fairly surprising result, though not impossible. But it would be an upset. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
A little more than 24 hours after Black Monday, we have our first idea of how teams will go about replacing their fired head coaches. Five in all — the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers — are conducting coaching searches. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] Here’s the latest, team by team, on how those searches are going: Atlanta Falcons: After firing head coach Mike Smith, the team wasted no time requesting permission to interview five current NFL coordinators, all of whom work for teams in the playoffs: Teryl Austin (Detroit Lions defensive coordinator), Todd Bowles (Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator), Adam Gase (Denver Broncos offensive coordinator), Josh McDaniels (New England Patriots offensive coordinator), Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator). The three youngest candidates — Gase (36), McDaniels (38) and Quinn (44) — can interview immediately because their teams have byes. The two oldest candidates, Austin (49) and Bowles (51), can’t be interviewed until their respective teams are knocked from the postseason. The Falcons also will interview Rex Ryan, per the New York Post, and he’d have to be viewed as a strong candidate for the job. Chicago Bears: In addition to seeking a new head coach after firing Marc Trestman, the Bears also will need a new general manager after also firing Phil Emery. The team has enlisted former Baltimore Colts and New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi to help guide the search. It appears that the order of business will be to hire the general manager first, before signing a head coach, although it’s not clear if the new GM would have input in hiring the head coach if it occured in that order. Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell is reporting that three early candidates have emerged — Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson — who have been recommended to Accorsi by Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten. Ross, Newsome and Dawson each would satisfy the league’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs, as well as top front-office vacancies. New York Jets: Like the Bears, the Jets are seeking both a head coach and a GM — after firing Ryan and John Idzik — and some of the names for those searches, which appear to be going on concurrently, are starting to leak out. According to ESPN New York , there are seven known GM candidates with whom the team has sought interviews: Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner; Baltimore Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton; Houston Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnon; Philadelphia Eagles director of pro personnel Rick Mueller; Cleveland Browns executive chief of staff Bill Kuharich; and Jets senior director of football administration Rod Graves. According to the New York Post , there are at least six known head-coaching candidates the team will speak with: Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; Seahawks offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable; Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak; Jets assistant head coach/running backs Anthony Lynn; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich; and Quinn. Oakland Raiders: Interim head coach Tony Sparano did well enough taking over for the fired Dennis Allen to earn himself an interview for the permanent job, and he’s confident enough in his abilities to have said after the season, “This is my team.” That remains to be seen, and it won’t become his team (if it does at all) before the team goes through a series of interviews with other candidates. Among the known ones, culled from various media reports: 49ers tight ends coach Eric Mangini, Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Bowles. What do they have in common? Head-coaching experience — all of them have been NFL head coaches, with Bowles having served three games as interim head coach with the Miami Dolphins after he — circle-of-life irony — replaced Sparano in 2011. San Francisco 49ers: In addition to his Falcons interview, Ryan will meet with the 49ers, which would be a fascinating match following the Jim Harbaugh era. Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo first reported that the Niners also will meet with Quinn. He’ll be the first outside candidate the team speaks with after interviewing former Harbaugh lieutenant, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. It’s believed, too, that 49ers D-line coach Jim Tomsula, who is well-respected in the team’s locker room, will vie for Harbaugh’s departed post. Other names connected to the search: Quinn, Bowles and McDaniels, who was believed to be a strong candidate in 2011 in case their No. 1 preference didn’t accept the job. That No. 1 choice, of course, was Harbaugh. – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
from Yahoo Sports http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nfl/SIG=14374kahm/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/nfl-coaching-tracker–updating-searches-for-all-five-vacancies-015042341.html
(Reuters) – Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has had a one-game suspension rescinded, making him eligible for Sunday’s NFC wildcard game against the Dallas Cowboys. Appeals officer Ted Cottrell reduced the discipline to a $70,000 fine, the National Football League (NFL) announced on Tuesday. Suh on Monday was suspended by the league for one game for violating safety-related playing rules prohibiting unnecessary roughness. …
NEW YORK (AP) — Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can play in Detroit’s playoff game after his one-game NFL suspension was reduced to a $70,000 fine.