Jonathan Vilma’s response to his one-year suspension

After the NFL suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma yesterday for his alleged role in New Orleans’ bounty program, Vilma issued the following statement:

I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the NFL’s decision to suspend me for the 2012 season. Commissioner Roger Goodell has refused to share any of the supposed evidence he claims supports this unprecedented punishment. The reason is clear: I never paid, or intended to pay, $10,000, or any amount of money, to any player for knocking Kurt Warner, Brett Favre or any other player out of the 2009 Divisional playoff game, 2010 NFC Championship Game or any other game.

I never set out to intentionally hurt any player and never enticed any teammate to intentionally hurt another player. I also never put any money into a bounty pool or helped to create a bounty pool intended to pay out money for injuring other players. I have always conducted myself in a professional and proud manner.

I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed, to the detriment of me, my teammates, the New Orleans Saints and the game.

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Related
Scrutiny of the Bounty: An Epilogue
Scrutiny of the Bounty: Chapter 2 – The Pretension
Scrutiny of the Bounty: A prequel

The NFL kicks off in less than two hours

Two months ago, who would’ve thought there would be a season this year? Well, probably everybody who actually thought about it. The NFL never was going to cancel this season, just like the NBA won’t miss theirs, and from the fan’s perspective (if not the media’s), the work stoppage wasn’t that big of a deal. But who would’ve thought the 2011 NFL season would look like this?

Probably not too many of you. Moreover, if told that, as work resumed and the season approached, Brett Favre was in talks with another NFL team, who would guess that the once-retired, greybearded quarterback starting in week one would be Kerry Collins?

Keep reading…

“The Ballad of Kerry Collins”

Ethan Trex wrote that “if Tom Waits ever writes a sad song about an exhausted journeyman quarterback, it will almost certainly be called ‘The Ballad of Kerry Collins.’”
Bubbling up in the bloggochatter since the announcement this week that the former Titans, Raiders, Giants, and Panthers quarterback was going to join the Indianapolis Colts have been comparisons between Collins and former Packers, Jets, and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, and that’s unfortunate for everyone.

I first noticed it when a reader pointed me to Jim Wyatt’s post on the Titans Insider blog, and I saw it again in Trex’s post on The Triangle, quoted above. Wyatt hit the theme heavily, opening his post with,

Quarterback Kerry Collins insisted back in July he wouldn’t pull a Brett Favre. “No, no,” he said. “I’m done.”

Yet on Wednesday he pulled a Favre, coming out of retirement and agreeing to terms with the Colts. Collins said in July he was retiring after 16 NFL seasons, including the last five with the Titans. A call from the Colts, who are dealing with lingering injury issues with quarterback Peyton Manning, changed his mind.

Trex started out with a Favre theme as well, although, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to coin a phrase when he lamented:

Great, now we’re going to have to put up with the Great Kerry Collins Un-Retirement Watch every August until the end of time. We finally get Brett Favre’s career put in the ground, and you job us like this, Kerry?

Admittedly, Collins shares some things in common with Favre, like persistent, gray, stubbly facial hair. But we shouldn’t be so quick to apply the “pulling a Favre” label every time a player unretires. What’s important to remember about Favre is how he went about his “retiring” and “unretiring,” if it even can be called that. He never really shut the door at the end of a season. He kept himself in the spotlight through strategic PR moves. In short, he milked it. And he did it multiple times.

If we have to talk about “pulling a Favre” every time a player comes out of retirement, we unfairly cast a negative light on something that need not be negative at all, and we diminish the magnitude of the terribleness that was the actual Favre’s retirement process. To even approach Favre status, Collins is going to have to do this a few more times and make a bigger stink about it. Until then, he’ll just be the next guy to try to “pull a Testaverde.”