January 2013 - Football Wiretap

Falcons GM Pleads With Tony Gonzalez Not To Retire

Jan 31, 2013 9:14 PM

Tony Gonzalez is expected to retire this offseason, but Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is lobbying for him to return.

"A guy who is 36 (years old) catching 100-plus balls (including the postseason), it just doesn't seem like it's time for him to move on," Dimitroff said on Thursday.

Gonzalez said late in the season he was 95 percent sure he would retire. 

Dimitroff said there is no firm timetable for a decision.

"We don't have a deadline at all," Dimitroff said. "But let's face it that it's important for us to know sooner rather than later because we have to move forward on all our decision making."


Pat Yasinskas/ESPN

Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Misc Rumor

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Cowboys Earn America's Team Moniker Based On Facebook 'Likes'

Jan 31, 2013 5:39 PM

Data from Facebook 'Likes' confirm that the Dallas Cowboys are the most popular NFL team in the United States.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders round out the top-10.

The San Francisco 49ers rank 11th behind the Raiders, but have 50 percent fan loyalty in the Bay Area compared to 28 percent for the Raiders.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills are in the bottom-three.

Ben Blatt/Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Driver To Retire After 14 Seasons

Jan 31, 2013 1:39 PM

Donald Driver is retiring from the NFL after 14 seasons.

"I'm going to officially put the cleats on the shelf. I'm going to walk away from the game," said Driver.

Driver was named to four Pro Bowls.

"I played my entire career in Green Bay and have always enjoyed a special bond with the fans," Driver said in a statement released by the team. "I can think of no better way to retire than to celebrate with them and the Packers organization."

ESPN

Tags: Green Bay Packers

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York: 49ers Can Afford To Keep Alex Smith

Jan 31, 2013 1:11 PM

Alex Smith is scheduled to make $8.5 million in 2013, a number that makes his return to the San Francisco 49ers unlikely.

But Jet York wouldn't rule out the possibility of Smith returning.

"You figure out what's best for guys, what's best for the team," York said. "And you figure out, is there a spot on the team for him from a cap standpoint? Yeah, absolutely, there's a spot for him on the team.

"From a need standpoint? It's pretty nice to have two quarterbacks that you feel you can win with. Is there going to be a demand for a quarterback that's played as well as he has the last couple of years? Yeah. Does he want want to go start and play? So there are a lot of things that go into it. And we'll sit down after the Super Bowl and figure out what's best for everybody and how to move forward."

Matt Maiocco/Comcast

Tags: San Francisco 49ers, Misc Rumor

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Marino Fathered Child With Production Assistant In 2005

Jan 31, 2013 11:02 AM

Dan Marino fathered a child with a former CBS Sports production assistant and subsequently paid her millions to keep it quiet.

The daughter was born in 2005.

“They had an affair, and she had a baby,” said a source. “Everything was on the down-low and secretive.”

Marino admitted to the affair on Wednesday.

“This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then,” he told The Post in a written statement. “We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved.”

Ian Mohr/New York Post

Tags: Miami Dolphins

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Reed Can Envision Playing For Belichick

Jan 30, 2013 7:57 PM

Ed Reed could play his final game with the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl as he will become an unrestricted free agent in March. 

The New England Patriots have long been known to covet Reed.

Tom Brady joked a few years ago that Bill Belichick wanted to adopt Ed Reed.

"Yeah, oh yeah, man, I could definitely play for Coach Belichick," said Reed. "He is a great coach. I'm sure he can help me to expand my football knowledge even more as a player and as a coach, so if I'm ever able to be around him, just like I was at the Pro Bowl, it's huge." 

Reed even said he borrows from Belichick's fashion sense.

"It's the reason why I wear my sweater cut off a little bit," Reed said. "He's the first guy I saw like, 'That's cool.' You know, that's cool. He cuts those sweater sleeves, and he'll be comfortable. So there's a reason why. Most people will tell you around the facility that's how I look. It's just a blessing to even have met, to know Coach Belichick." 

Jamison Hensley/ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor

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Nate Silver Predicts Super Bowl Win For 49ers

Jan 30, 2013 7:16 PM

Nate Silver predicts the San Francisco 49ers will defeat the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl.

Silver said the 49ers have the better defensive team and that side wins the Super Bowl approximately 70 percent of the time.

Silver, however, erroneously predicted that the Seahawks would meet the Patriots in the Super Bowl before the playoffs started.

Ellen Huet/San Francisco Chronicle

Tags: San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens

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Culliver: Gay Players Not Welcome On 49ers

Jan 30, 2013 7:14 PM

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was asked on Tuesday if there were any gay players on the team.

“No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.

“Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah … can’t be … in the locker room man. Nah.”

The 49ers released a statement about Culliver's comments.

“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”

Katie Dowd/San Francisco Chronicle

Tags: San Francisco 49ers

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Deer-Antler Company Sold Product To Alabama Players

Jan 30, 2013 7:08 PM

The company that produces deer-antler spray that contains a banned substance has sold its goods to Ray Lewis and member of the 2012 Alabama football team.

Christopher Key, the SWATS co-owner, told ESPN's Joe Schad on Wednesday he personally witnessed about five Alabama players spray what he sold them into their mouths.

"I showed them how to use it," Key said.

Key said about 20 players purchased the spray at a hotel room in New Orleans leading into the BCS national championship game against LSU. 

ESPN

Tags: NCAA

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27 Percent Of USA Believes God Plays A Role In Deciding Game Results

Jan 30, 2013 4:57 PM

The Public Religion Research Institute conducted a survey of 1,033 adults and asked several questions about the NFL.

Twenty-seven percent of those polled believe that "God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event."

According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents believe that "God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success."

Minority Christians and white Evangelicals, as well as Southerners, are the most likely to believe God cares about sporting events and athletes.

Barry Petchesky/Deadspin

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Maryland Outpacing California In Super Bowl Ticket Sales
Maryland has comprised 22.5 percent of ticket sales, ahead of California at 18.4 percent.

RealGM Staff Report

Tannenbaum Admits Making Decision On Tebow Trade
Mike Tannenmaum thought Tim Tebow would play a similar role for the Jets as Brad Smith.

Rich Cimini/ESPN

Rams Won't Hire Rob Ryan As Coordinator
The Rams have decided to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator.

Tevin Broner/Turf Show Times

Te'o Was Working On Securing Endorsements Before Scandal Broke
Manti Te'o was in the process of attempting to secure endorsement deals before news broke of his involvement with a fake dead girlfriend.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

49ers Have 15 Starters Predating Harbaugh's Arrival
The 49ers start 15 players who were on their roster prior to Jim Harbaugh's arrival.

Albert Breer/NFL.com

Alex Smith Has 2-25 Record When 49ers Allows At Least 24 Points
Alex Smith has a 2-25 career record as a starter when the 49ers have allowed at least 24 points, while Colin Kaepernick is 3-1 in those games.

Scott Kacsmer/Cold Hard Football Facts

Tebow Working Out In Arizona With British Olympians
Tim Tebow is working out in Arizona with British Olympians and under track coach Dan Pfaff.

Seth Walder/New York Daily News

Greg Jennings Lists Wisconsin Home For Sale
Greg Jennings has placed his De Pere, Wisconsin home on the market.

Josh Alper/Pro Football Talk

Jets Considering JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell is attempting a comeback after leaving the NFL following the 2009 season.

Conor Orr/Star-Ledger

Harbaugh Credits Smith For Coaching Kaepernick More Than Him
Jim Harbaugh credited Alex Smith for his impact in coaching and preparing Colin Kaepernick.

Michael David Smith/Pro Football Talk

Aldon Smith Voted MVP Of 49ers
Aldon Smith was voted MVP of the 49ers by his teammates and coaches.

Matt Maiocco/Comcast

Former NFL O-Lineman Charged With Beating Ex-Boyfriend Over Soy Sauce
Kwame Harris was an offensive lineman for the 49ers and Raiders.

Joshua Melvin/San Jose Mercury News

Pro Bowl Beats World Series In TV Viewership
The Pro Bowl received an overnight rating of 7.7, which means more than 12 million viewers tuned in.

Ed Sherman/Sherman Report

Alex Smith To Seek Release From 49ers Prior To Open Of Free Agency
Alex Smith would be free to sign with any team if released, but he would lose the $8.5 million per season he would earn if traded.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Pollard Doubts NFL Will Exist 30 Years From Now
Bernard Pollard doubts the NFL will be in existence 30 years from now due to the efforts being made to make the game safer.

Clark Judge/CBS Sports

Goodell Receives 61 Percent Disapproval Rating From NFL Players
Roger Goodell has an approval rating of just 39 percent of NFL players.

Mike Garafolo/USA Today

Rudolph Named MVP Of NFC's Pro Bowl Win
Kyle Rudolph was named MVP of the Pro Bowl, catching five balls for 122 yards and a touchdown in the NFC's 62-35 win.

AP

Cowboys Gathering Coaches With Ties To Gruden
The Cowboys have hired defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, offensive line coach Bill Callahan and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.

Evan Hilbert/CBS Sports

Suggs' Achilles Approaching 100 Percent
Terrell Suggs has made a noticeable improvement in his recovery from an Achilles injury.

Larry Hartstein/CBS Sports

Obama Expresses Concerns About Safety Of Football Players
Barack Obama admits some of those changes might make football, in his words, "a bit less exciting" but that it will be much better for players.

ESPN