NFL AM: NFL Bans Players With Convictions From Combine


NFL to ban players with domestic violence or sexual assault convictions from combine:

The NFL has been making it increasingly harder to remain in the league if you’ve been convicted of violent crime, and now they’re going to make it even harder to enter the league with that kind of checkered past.

In a move that screams common sense and, “I can’t believe that wasn’t a rule already,” the NFL has decided it will ban players with domestic violence and sexual assault chargers from attending the scouting combine.

In a document obtained by USA Today Sports, NFL’s vice president of football operations Troy Vincent alerted teams that players with misdemeanor or felony domestic abuse or sexual assault convictions would be barred from “any league-related event.”

“It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters,” Vincent wrote in the document.

While some will likely criticize the move as too late, it’s a step in the right direction for the NFL. While character was becoming a larger and larger part of evaluation, the uproar in recent years over incidents involving players like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have put a spotlight on the NFL and its policies against violent crime.

Certainly if the league is going to suspend a player like Josh Gordon for drug and alcohol issues for as long as it has, it can’t suspend people who commit violent crimes for just a couple of games. Of course, the league has changed its policies around domestic abuse, but just isn’t enough.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of the league taking a stand. It’s time to prove that Vincent’s words aren’t empty and send a message to men who act like violent animals that there is no place for them in this league.

It’s one thing to suspend players who commit violent acts, but it would send an entirely different message if the league took a real stand against men who can’t conduct themselves like human beings. There needs to be a new standard where teams league wide begin putting character ahead of winning.

There should always be a place for second chances and rehabilitation, but there should also be a point of no return. There should be a standard of what an NFL player is, and if you don’t meet that standard, you should be jettisoned from the league quickly and without recourse.

Super Bowl replay assistant may have been a Broncos fan:

The officials got it wrong Super Bowl Sunday when they let the deep pass pulled in by Jerricho Cotchery stand as called as an incomplete pass after review. Now, Carolina Panthers’ fans and conspiracy theorists alike have a reason to question why what looked like a completion stood as incomplete, as it’s been revealed that the replay assistant that night was a Denver area resident who is almost certainly a Broncos fan.

Jimmy Oldham, who worked the game as the replay assistant is almost certainly a Broncos fan because his wife is clearly a die-hard fan, as evidenced by photos posted by The Lead Sports which show Oldham’s wife in Broncos gear, as well as a photo where she dawns Broncos’ colors with referee Clete Blakeman.

The replay assistant’s wife (That will be the title of the documentary that’s sure to follow) even posted a video of the final seconds of Super Bowl 50 with the caption, “the moment we WON!”

This is really much ado about nothing, as the replay assistant doesn’t have any role in determining whether a challenged play will be reversed or upheld, but you can be sure that a Carolina Panthers’ fan or some conspiracy theorist will try to use this as evidence of a screw job.

The reality is Oldham couldn’t have affected the call even if he wanted to, and the assumption that he’d want to, or at least that he’d actually attempt to, is pretty ludicrous. Like most people fortunate enough to work on an NFL game day, the possibility of losing that opportunity would keep even the devious from attempting something so crazy.

Falcons cut William Moore and Justin Durant, Raiders cut Nate Allen:

The Atlanta Falcons trimmed almost six million dollars off their 2016 cap Tuesday by cutting safety William Moore and Justin Durant. Each battled injuries in 2015, and head coach Dan Quinn thanked them for their determination to work through those injuries.

“We want to thank both of these guys for their commitment and work ethic,” Quinn said. “They battled through injuries to give everything they had for their teammates this season, and I will always be appreciative of that.”

Moore played in 11 games in 2015, and Durant played in 13, so it’s not as if they were injury riddled or that health was the only factor in the moves. Both players have plenty left in the tank and will get an opportunity somewhere next season, but Atlanta likely felt they couldn’t move forward with them at their current numbers.

Moore could be a fit in Tampa Bay where the Buccaneers need safety help, and former Falcons head coach Mike Smith just took over as defensive coordinator under new head coach and former Falcons’ offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

As for Durant, there are plenty of teams that could use an upgrade of talent, or depth at weak side linebacker. While the now ex-Falcons’ linebacker was second on the team in tackles in 2015, Quinn has a good idea of what he’s looking for from his next guy at the position.

“We certainly want to find ways to see our speed and tackling at linebacker [improve],” Quinn said. “I haven’t dug in all the way with the group, but I have a real clear vision of what I’m looking for. It’s the space tackling. In college football right now, there are so many spread offenses. So space and tackling, that’s where so much of the game is.”

The Oakland/San Antonio/Las Vegas Raiders, ok that’s not fair, let me start over. The Oakland Raiders have decided to cut ties with Nate Allen just a season after signing the safety to a four-year 23-million-dollar contract.

Allen played in just five games for the Raiders in 2015, and clearly couldn’t show enough to make the team want to shell out the 4.9 million dollars the safety would be guaranteed if he was still on the roster Wednesday.

In a league where teams like the previously mentioned Buccaneers, New York Giants, and others are desperate for help at the safety position, don’t be surprised if Allen has himself a new home, with a new, more team friendly cap number in the very near future.

About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.