Curran: NFL better open its doors


Curran: NFL better open its doors

By TomE. Curran
For two days, the NFL has played (to borrow a phrase from Frank Curran) Mickey The Dunce. They pretended they didn't know what Judge Susan Nelson meant when she told them to end their lockout of the players. "She doesn't mean 'now,' does she?" seemed to be the owners' approach. "Let's do nothing and see if she changes her mind. Maybe she'll allow us to keep them locked out while we appeal her ruling to lift the lockout."Well, Wednesday night, Nelson told them again that "lift the lockout" means "lift the lockout." While the players' antitrust case against the NFL proceeds, the players must be allowed to work, says Nelson. Now we'll see if the NFL tries again to play dumb and refuses to let the players work while they appeal to the 8th Circuit Court. Most people processing Wednesday night's clarifcation by Nelson figure that's exactly what the NFL will do. But everyone has to remember there is a case pending here. Brady vs. The NFLhasn'teven gotten underway in earnest. The only thing Nelson has told the owners is the players have a "fair chance of winning the case" and that the players' interests are being irreparably harmed. So how do you thinkNelson and any other robe-wearer will regard the NFL if they again refuse to follow a court order? How much will the damages be then? How will courts look on the damages they'll assess to the NFL over the lockout insurance case? How hard will it be for the NFL to argue its case to Judge Nelson? If any team pulls what the Browns did Tuesday and refuses to let players enter the facility, bad idea. If the cell phones of select free agents don't ring at all now that they are officially free, we'll hear the word "collusion."This isn't about who's right and who's wrong in the labor squabble. This is about how arrogant and shortsighted the NFL might be in ignoring a court order. Or trying to. And what the fallout will be. Does this mean free agency starts now? And offseason workouts and coach-player contact? Ummm, yeah. And if the owners decides to keep players out after Wednesday night's development, they will cost themselves a few billion more than they stand to lose already. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven


Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment


Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.


“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."