NFL

NFL AM: Rex Ryan Signs Geno’s Jaw Breaker

on

Buffalo Bills claim IK Enemkpali:

At first glance, the headline barely catches your attention. Sure, it was a surprise that Enemkpali got another job so quickly, but it’s the NFL, and people have been given opportunities after far worse. However, the moment it hits you that it’s Rex Ryan’s Bills making the move, you get a bit of a grin on your face.

The motives, while Ryan claims are all football related, are hard to figure out. Enemkpali was a sixth-round pick who had three tackles a season ago. He’s not exactly the kind of player you rush to sign after he’s been released.

While this signing is probably more of an indicator of what Ryan thinks of Enemkpali, it has to leave you wondering what Ryan thought of Geno Smith. If Ryan had a strong relationship with Smith, would he really jump to sign the player that broke his jaw in a locker room incident? Ryan is a players coach, and would likely give a guy another shot, but the timing of this move was eye-brow-raising.

Ryan spoke about bringing Enemkpali in, and said the player made a mistake, but deserves another chance.

“We all know what happened, obviously it was a terrible thing that happened, but IK, he made a mistake,” Ryan said, referring to the Enemkpali punch that broke Smith’s jaw in two places. “There’s no question about that. But instead of listening to this person, that person, or whatever, we had IK last year, a lot of us were around IK, and he was a good teammate. Simple as that.

“This isn’t just a bad guy,” Ryan added. “I think he’s clearly made a mistake, no question about that. I just know firsthand being around this young man for a year that I feel very confident that he’ll be just fine here.”

Tom Brady settlement conference settles nothing:

Come back in a week.

That’s where we’re at.

After over seven hours Wednesday, we’re seemingly no closer to the end of the national nightmare known as “Deflate-gate.” Actual football games will be played Thursday night, but we’re still talking about ball pressure and court hearings between the NFL and one of its greatest players of all time. Somehow the absurdity seems to be lost on the league who can’t seem to get out of their own way and just put this thing to rest.

Yesterday, the league was hammered by New York Federal Court Judge Richard Berman over not having any direct evidence that Tom Brady was involved in the deflating of footballs, and Brady was questioned about his failures to cooperate with Ted Wells during the investigation.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing in this whole story is that the NFL is allowing this mess to go on so long. How is the most successful league in sports embroiled in a court hearing that is the equivalent of Major League Baseball suing Nolan Ryan for using pine tar?

After seven hours in a court room Wednesday, all we’ve learned is that not all sketch artists are created equal. Perhaps that’s the perfect result in a situation so absurd.

Judge Berman, whose time is being wasted on this ridiculous matter, didn’t seem impressed by the NFL’s finding that Brady was  “generally aware,” and took issue with the phrase, “more probable than not,” claiming, “I don’t know what that means.”

After turning the sides away, the judge suggested the sides come to an agreement before they waste more time on the issue next Wednesday, August 12th.  Sadly, the NFL and NFLPA have both seemed to have dug in, and we’re likely to continue this ridiculously stupid saga until just before the season.

“We won’t be making a formal statement other than to say that we had a productive day in court, and we’ll get back to work on the issue. Thank you,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said after the conference.

Cleveland Browns express some interest in Ray Rice:

The Cleveland Browns aren’t thrilled with the way their running backs have been performing in camp, and the team has discussed possibly signing Ray Rice, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Rice continues to look for a new home after being released by the Baltimore Ravens following his domestic abuse situation with his, now wife. While he hasn’t received much attention around the NFL, it’s very likely as much about his age and position as it is about the issues that got him in hot water.

If Rice was a pass rusher, he’d likely be employed somewhere just like Greg Hardy is. By all accounts, Hardy’s assault on his former girlfriend was much more horrifying than Rice’s incident, despite not being caught on video.

Cleveland may be Rice’s best shot to land with an NFL club this season, as both Pettine and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery worked with Rice in Baltimore.

Pettine spoke with SI.com, and said that the Browns had discussed Rice, although they were not ready to make the move at the moment.

“Of course it’s a natural question here because of Wilbert, and because I was with Ray when he was a Ravens rookie and know a lot of people in Baltimore,” Pettine told SI.com. “Obviously Wilbert was his position coach for Ray’s first six years in the league. I’m not going to say it didn’t come up in discussion, but at this point we’re not there yet.”

The Browns might not be there yet, and they may be better off not ever getting there. Of course there will blowback for the team that signs the former Pro Bowler after he was seen knocking out his then fiancé, now wife on tape, but that’s just half of the equation. From a strictly football stance, Rice may not be a better option than the Browns young backs.

While Montgomery has tried to motivate his group by stating that nobody wants the job, Rice went from averaging at least 4-yards per carry over his career to just 3.1 yards per attempt in 2013. Rice is 28, and his best football appears to be behind him. The Browns will have to decide if that kind of lackluster production is worth the scrutiny of signing a player with Rice’s past.


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.