So Sunday on ESPN’s “NFL Countdown,” as if a broken jaw is the same as a head cold, Ryan, with malice of forethought — he held up a marshmallow — again cheap-shotted Smith, twice saying he has “a soft chin.”
Yes, nothing funnier than Smith having his jaw broken and career interrupted by a sucker-punch thrown by a teammate. But had Ryan been known as a sportsman, a gentleman instead of a creep, ESPN would’ve had zero interest.
It’s tempting to declare that Aguayo’s NFL story is done, sealing his fate as a second-round draft choice gone terribly wrong. But sometimes NFL kickers are best educated by the school of hard knocks. Maybe Aguayo will get another chance and do better with that opportunity.
Single round of cuts… Teams had to deal with only a single round of roster cuts this year. Roster limits went directly from 90 to 53 players, eliminating the previous in-between reduction to 75 players.
Manning’s retirement appears to be all but a certainty, considering he turns 40 next month and limped through his 18th NFL season with an awful 67.9 passer rating. There is also the specter of a league investigation into allegations he obtained human growth hormone through his wife, which conveniently would go away if Manning hangs up his cleats.
Johnson, meanwhile, reportedly plans to retire this week. The Lions star, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection, is just 30 but is said to be ready to walk away because of nagging injuries to his knees, ankles and hands.
Johnson’s departure would free up an estimated $11.1 million under the salary cap for Detroit. It also would leave a huge void in the Lions’ receiving corps after Johnson had 1,000 or more receiving yards in seven of his nine seasons.
The Packers losing Aaron Rodgers made the NFC North wide open. Their offense is patched together with Case Keenum and Latavius Murray in for Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, but their defense is a monster.
Remember the protests? Vick went from one of the league’s more popular players to one of the most reviled for his role in a dog-fighting ring that eventually led to a federal prison sentence for the quarterback. Vick missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons before returning with the Eagles, and the protests continued. He has repaired his image, but no star player has ever faced that level of hatred during his playing career.