"He told us he just wanted to play."
- Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp on Chad Johnson
Two years with no incentives, that's all it took to get Chad Johnson back in professional football. The beleaguered 36-year-old has had a tumultuous three years since the last time he played football, including an arrest on domestic battery charges and a jail stint for patting his attorney on the butt. Now he wants to put aside his personal drama and get back to what he did best for 11 NFL seasons.
The Alouettes could use the help. After winning consecutive Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010, the franchise has fallen on hard times, culminating in an 8-10 record last season. There is an excellent opportunity for both sides of the two-year deal to save face. Certainly, there will be a lot of people looking north to see whether Johnson will show flashes of his former talent and panache.
"All I'll say about QB Tom Savage is this: the NFL interest level is real, this isn't simply a draft rumor."
- CBS Sports' Dan Brugler
The NFL's silly season is dragging on an extra three weeks thanks to a Rockettes production that may never even see the light of day. Naturally, the extra space is being filled with pure, unfettered speculation, the latest piece being that Pitt quarterback Tom Savage is edging into the first round on many draft boards. Savage, to this point, had rarely been mentioned among the top quarterbacks in his class. He is currently ranked as the No. 147 overall player and 10th-best quarterback on SB Nation's top 200 big board.
Potential is powerful thing, and Savage has it, standing 6'4, 228 pounds, with a strong arm and a tight spiral. He also put up numbers that, while good, hardly put him among college football's elite. He completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,958 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. His 7.60 yards per attempt ranked 51st among FBS passers.
In related news, this has happened to Teddy Bridgewater.
this has been crazy to watch pic.twitter.com/DEsqlXEiB2— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) April 17, 2014
Keep in mind that the college football season has been over for a long time.
"I don't expect sympathy from people. Life is not about sympathy."
- Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley
Dominique Easley arguably should have been a surefire first-round prospect in the 2014 draft class. He tore his right ACL and meniscus last September, however (he tore his left ACL in 2011), and has had to work his way back to being able to show off for scouts. He claims his knee is still just "80 percent," but that didn't stop him from impressing at his pro day Thursday.
Whispers from team scouts at the workout had the defensive tackle going in the second round of this year's draft. That's encouraging news given where Easley was seven months ago. It helps that interior pass rushers are en vogue in the NFL. More than anything, he proved he is still an explosive athlete. Teams will be willing to overlook his injury history and relative lack of size if it means more sacks off his high motor in a pass-happy league.
"They can't just double Clay anymore, he's going to wreak havoc over there."
Jarrett Bush says that Julius Peppers is "a force to be reckoned with" and he helps make the Green Bay Packers a "championship-caliber team," according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The addition of a future Hall of Famer certainly can't hurt, even if he is somewhat past his prime as a pass rusher.
Peppers dipped to seven sacks last season, perhaps in part because he was tasked with carrying too much of the pass rushing responsibility on his own. Paired opposite Clay Matthews, he could bounce back significantly next season. Matthews too, after he turned in a 7.5-sack season muddied by injuries.
"It turns out there's already a dating website for Packers fans. It's called THE ENTIRE STATE OF WISCONSIN."
- SB Nation's Rodger Sherman
When everyone in your state is already a Packers fan, it seems a bit superfluous to create a dating site dedicated to honing in on that one characteristic. Then again, there's probably a sharp divide between those who are and are not willing to put cheese on their bratwurst.