The Sunday Blog - Football Notes

Ian Logue
May 16, 2010 at 10:54am ET

NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates
Patriots notebook: Patriots hold bonding time at Children’s Hospital
Guregian: Patriots Hall of Famer Matt Light says there’s more to being a successful offensive lineman than the measurables

I'll never understand NFL players who get busted for using performance enhancing drugs.

I'll also never understand some of the excuses they come out with.  The majority of the time they generally only make themselves look worse, and it just never ever plays out well for the player, his team, or his fans.

I mean, let's face it: if they really did it, there's no talking your way out of it.  I don't ever recall the league letting a guy off the hook and dropping the suspension.  Most of the lip service is generally more about trying to make the best of their public image - which considering the fact most fans are numb to this nonsense is more or less a waste of time. 

Let's be real here.  If they really did it, they should just:

A) Admit it and at least make the effort to come up with a logical reason that is somewhat believable.


B) Just tap out and admit that, "Hey, you got me - I'll serve my four games and try to at least continue on in my career without doing it again."

I also agree with Ross Tucker from Sports Illustrated who pointed out that the athletes who get busted and then say, “they didn't know that substance was in what they were taking" should be forced to reveal the name of both the supplement, and the banned substance.  Following that admission they should also have to file a lawsuit against the supplement manufacturer.  Considering it costs the players games and generally hundreds of thousands of dollars, it would make sense.  I'm pretty sure if the label didn't disclose the substance and I got suspended, I'd be on the phone with a lawyer considering the damage it did to both my reputation and my wallet.

This all stems from the recent mess involving the Texans' Brian Cushing, who was recently handed a four game suspension after testing positive for HCG - which is a fertility drug that is on the NFL's banned substance list.  Now he’s trying to spin the story in the media from being a disgraced player who doesn't deserve the “Defensive Rookie of The Year Award” - into instead making us believe it could have been caused due to a "tumor". 

In a recent report Cushing claims he was told HCG can "get in your body from injecting it or because of tumors".   As a result he told the Associated Press that this information led him to believe he had tumors.

"I personally know I'm not injecting myself with anything," he told the AP. "I played the whole season thinking this could not only be my last season, but my last year."

Cushing also went on to say he is concerned about his health and plans to undergo tests to see "how this got into my body" and to try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Don't get me wrong - I'm fully prepared to listen to people bring up the fact that former Patriot Rodney Harrison was busted for HGH.  After all, I've had to listen to the term "spygate" more times than I'll ever care to admit, so I can deal with hearing about how people feel about Harrison's positive test.

However, unlike Cushing I'll at least give Harrison credit for at least admitting he did it.  He claimed he was trying to recover a little faster from the knee injury he sustained, which sidelined him and almost ended his career.  That was his excuse and I don't care if you believe him – but it's at least a little more plausible then Cushing trying to convince fans and the media that he could be on the verge of potentially being diagnosed with cancer.

Unless of course he really does have something to be concerned about.

Anyone who has a friend or relative, or knows someone who has ever dealt with cancer, you know it's no laughing matter.  Having lost a friend last year from liver cancer, I know it's definitely something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.   I think the concern I have is that if Cushing is trying to use this as a diversion to change the perception from disdain to concern, it's pretty risky.

According to the AP Dr. Gary Wadler, who leads the committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned-substances list, there have been cases of malignant testicular tumors producing HCG.  However, he did tell the AP that those cases are "extremely rare."

"If he had a tumor that produced HCG, he wouldn't be playing football," Wadler said of Cushing. "He would be under treatment for a malignant tumor."

He went on to say that "Malignant testicular tumors producing HCG are rather lethal.  It is a fairly aggressive tumor and you're not playing in the NFL with one."

If that’s the case it would appear Cushing could potentially be on the verge of facing a fight for his life in the coming months.  Obviously this would have any Texans fan extremely concerned just in the same way Boston fans were when we learned that John Lester was battling for his own life.

Needless to say he's playing with fire if he's not telling the truth.  Telling friends or family members you may have cancer is something I just can't see how anyone could lie about.  Especially considering how much it would end up hurting them. 

I wonder how the fans out in Houston will react if what he's just told everyone turns out to be a lie.   I'm guessing those prayers will turn to betrayal pretty quick.


Welker Tore Just ACL, Not MCL

Wide receiver Wes Welker spoke to the Associated Press during his charitable foundation event at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma this week, and revealed that it was just his ACL – and not also his MCL – that he injured in the final regular season game against the Texans back in January.

How that will impact his timetable in terms of being ready for the team’s September 12th opener against the Cincinnati Bengals remains to be seen.  For now Welker says he’s going to see how it goes and will cross that bridge when the time comes.

“We’re just kind of trucking along and trying to get better every day,” said Welker. “That’s kind of my motto of waking up and getting better every day.  Hopefully, we get to the point where we want to be.”

Original reports felt that Welker may start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.  Hopefully this news may find him ready to go sooner, although let’s just hope his rehab continues to go well.

‘Crable Ready to Go’

The Boston Globe reported on Sunday that Patriots linebacker Shawn Crable appears to finally be ready to participate when Training Camp begins two months from now.

Crable was drafted in the third round two years ago but has yet to play a down of football.  There is expected to be plenty of competition at the linebacker position when camp opens, but if he can make the same impact he made at Michigan (16 sacks, and he also set the record with 28 ½ stops behind the line of scrimmage) he could end up being quite a player to watch heading into this season.

“I feel good physically,’’ Crable told the newspaper from the Kevin Faulk Celebrity Softball game to raise money for the United Way.

“I am working on fine-tuning some stuff, but I feel good and ready to go.’’

Kudos to Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick

Kudos to owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick for providing the kids in Lebanon Connecticut with a reward for their participation in the "Fuel Up to Play 60" program, in which they finished first in the state.  The program, which was run by the Patriots and the New England Dairy and Food Council, encouraged students to fuel up on nutritious foods and play for at least 60 minutes a day.   Their hard work earned them a first place honor, but they were disappointed after their health teacher misinterpreted the promotion.  They apparently thought they'd meet Patriots players, unfortunately they instead ended up taking part in a workout video that was put on by a Patriots intern.

After many published reports where it was said the Patriots 'snubbed' the students, Belichick and center Dan Koppen paid them a visit on Wednesday. The team also provided each of the students with a Patriots hat in what ended up being quite an enjoyable experience for the kids who were in attendence.

The mix up was never the team's fault - but give credit to the organization for rewarding a group of kids who worked hard to make themselves healthier, and to Belichick for putting on quite a presentation.  Definitely a classy organization, and they showed that again this week.

A "Must Hear" Podcast

One thing that needs to be brought to your attention if you're a Patriots fan is that a couple of members from the forum have put together a podcast that definitely needs to make it's way onto your Ipod.  You'll hear some of the best football insight along with quite an entertaining exchange between everyone involved. 

You can search for it on ITunes - search "Pats Cast" and download it today - you'll definitely be glad you did.