NFL AM: Disgraced Stars Back in the Headlines


Peterson Will Not Report

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer he will miss this week’s voluntary mini camp practices, according to the Associated Press. While Peterson missing voluntary practices is not a huge deal — he has missed such practices in the past, including prior to his 2,000-yard season — his absence has added meaning given his stalemate with the franchise.

Peterson’s absence could cost him a $250,000 workout bonus. However, this is more about intention than compensation.

Prior to the draft, Peterson’s agent (Ben Dogra) insisted his client be traded out of Minnesota. Dogra has softened that stance since, as the Vikings refused to seriously consider any offers for their star running back.

“One of the things that I appreciate with the Vikings is their resolve to say ‘we’re not trading him,'” Dogra told USA TODAY Sports shortly after the draft. “That tells me they value him not only as a football player, but what he’s done for the organization.”

It’s a good sign Peterson’s camp is finally feeling respected, because claims that the Vikings did not properly support Peterson during his suspension were ridiculous from the jump. The Vikings held a press conference just hours after Peterson’s indictment to pledge support for their embattled star. Minnesota also paid Peterson his entire 2014 salary ($11.75 million) despite the fact he appeared in just one game.

Most importantly, the Vikings are extending Peterson the opportunity to rebuild his image with the only franchise he’s ever known. All the other teams who dealt with disgraced stars last season (the Panthers with Greg Hardy, the Ravens with Ray Rice and the 49ers with Ray McDonald) have already cut bait and run.

Nonetheless, Peterson’s continued absence shows he is not ready to play nice … not yet, anyway. He is still holding out hope for a trade, with Dallas appearing to be the only serious suitor still in the running. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has indicted he would be willing to trade his 2016 first-round pick for a player of Peterson’s caliber.

“I’d be reluctant to, but certainly if the right situation came along that could improve us now, with where we are with Romo, his career and where we are with what we’ve put together, it’s a good time to go for it,” Jones told 105.3 FM The Fan.

Perhaps Peterson’s latest no-show is a last-ditch effort to get traded back to his home state of Texas. Or perhaps it is just an attempt to rest up for a long season and stay out of the spotlight for a while. Either way, what Peterson does from here on out will be one of the most interesting stories of the remaining offseason.

More Critics for Hardy

Speaking of disgraced stars, Greg Hardy is the headlines again, this time through no fault of his own.

Cowboys Hall of Famer Roger Staunach shared his feeling about Dallas’ marquee offseason pickup in an interview with KTCK-AM 1310 on Friday.

“I don’t have any tolerance toward domestic violence,” Staubach said. “If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn’t have been good for the Cowboys.”

Hardy signed a one-year contract that pays out on a per-game basis. That deal is looking more affordable than the Cowboys ever imagined at the moment, as Hardy has been suspended for 10 games as a result of his actions (allegedly hitting his then-girlfriend and then paying her a financial settlement in exchange for her lack of cooperation during the appeals process).

Staubach played 11 years in the NFL, so there is no doubt he shared a locker room with players who did worse things than Hardy. The difference is that in today’s social media driven society, players’ private lives often become public.

“I’m sure it happened though, we just didn’t know about it,” Staubach said.

Hardy can only wish his case remained in the shadows. Everything has played out in the public eye, up to and including his placement on the commissioner’s exempt list, where he remains to this day. He has an appeal scheduled for May 28, at which point he will seek to have his suspension reduced and his active status restored.

That appeal is the next step towards Hardy getting back on the gridiron. But as Staubach makes clear, not everyone in the Cowboys community is excited by that prospect.

“I would have really had a hard time with a teammate that you look at as a courageous, tough guy on the football field … to abuse a woman in any shape or form, there’s just no excuse for it,” he said.

‘Free Tom Brady’ Rally Underwhelms

A group of Patriots fans staged a “Free Tom Brady” rally at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. And just like their team’s performance in the AFC Championship game, their efforts fell flat.

The rally, which was organized on Facebook, had more than 600 people committed to attend. Not only is that a small number, but less than a quarter of those committed actually turned out, Foxborough police sergeant John Chamberlin told the Boston Globe.

The rally comes shortly before commissioner Roger Goodell hears Brady’s appeal of a four-game suspension stemming from the Deflate Gate fallout.

Pablo Munez, one of the event’s organizers, explained the rally’s intentions to the Boston Herald.

“Money can’t buy legacy, and that’s what’s being tainted right now,” Munoz told the paper. “If you take that away from him he could live his whole life with money, but at the end of the day if he goes in the Hall of Fame with an asterisk next to his name, that’s going to be more than defamation. That’s to be just terrible.”

The Patriots are the most polarizing team of this generation. The team’s fans dismiss all their critics as jealous “haters.” Meanwhile, everyone outside of New England can’t get over the fact that New England has been caught with two major rules infractions over the last decade. In reality, both sides of the argument are correct. The Patriots are purposeful cheaters — plain and simply — but there are about 28 other franchises that would swap histories with New England in a heartbeat.

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About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.