"A cornerstone of the program is that a player is responsible for what is in his body."
The NFL typically doesn't respond to agents publicly when its performance-enhancing substance policies are the topic, but the league bucked that trend on Saturday. After suspending Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis four games for violating said policy, Mathis' agent gave a response which claimed Mathis was taking fertility medication and that his doctor incorrectly approved him.
However, Mathis also noted in his response that he did not double-check with the league before doing so. The message also implied that the NFL was being unreasonable in not giving him a different punishment (likely one that did not include missed games). The NFL released a full-on statement primarily in reply to that aspect of Mathis' statement, as noted by Pro Football Talk.
"As Mr. Mathis's agent acknowledged today, his client failed to follow the protocols in the policy that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon to address precisely these kinds of claims," the statement read. "That policy also prescribes the disciplinary consequences of a positive test." The league said that the policy does not -- and should not -- allow the commissioner to override the procedures and change the discipline after the fact. The league also says that Mathis withdrew his appeal initially.
Further, the statement says that the drug Mathis has tested positive for has not been approved by the FDA for fertility in males, and has been "prohibited for years." On top of that, the league lists multiple sources which Mathis could have and should have checked with before taking the substance. "A cornerstone of the program is that a player is responsible for what is in his body," the statement said.
"And if I was a thug or something, I don't think they'd take those chances."
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has had a rough offseason (and a rough career, really) from a PR standpoint. He's a prolific pass rusher on the field, but is dealing with DUI and weapons charges and has another investigation that could turn into a misdemeanor charge over his head as well. On Saturday, Smith gave an interview and had a few choice quotes about what's happened and San Francisco's support of him.
Smith defended his character, saying "a lot" of the things being said about him "are being painted in a picture that's not true." He also said "I'm a good person, and the people who know me know I'm a good person." Smith credits his 17-month-old son as a catalyst for positive change in his life, and said that the 49ers "have supported me."
"As you can see, the option got picked up," Smith said, "And if I was a thug or something, I don't think they'd take those chances." Smith still has a long way to go with his two cases and possible third, and that could cause him to miss time heading into next season. But the 49ers did use the fifth-year option on him and that means he's sticking with the team for the foreseeable future.
"Well, you know, we liked Blake Bortles a lot."
-Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals GM
The Arizona Cardinals did their best to hide the fact that they were going to be targeting a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft -- which was odd given that every single person who cared enough to think about it knew that they'd make an effort to get someone for the future.
What we didn't know, though, is which quarterback they were interested in. Arizona ended up taking Logan Thomas in the fourth round, but it looks like the team had someone else in mind all the way up in the first round: Blake Bortles. General manager Steve Keim appeared on SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio on Friday and said that the Cardinals liked Bortles a lot, as noted by NFL.com.
Keim compared Bortles to Ben Roethlisberger favorably, and it was clear that they thought Bortles could wind up being the team's franchise quarterback. But he ended up going sooner than anyone thought, to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 overall.
"[Jordan Lynch] certainly didn't look out of place by any means today running around out there."
-Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears head coach
The Chicago Bears brought in a couple quarterbacks during and after the 2014 NFL Draft, but one of them was quickly changed to running back: Northern Illinois star Jordan Lynch. A strong passer and rusher in college, Lynch's best chance to make it in the NFL is at another position. The Bears went out and signed him knowing full well that they wanted to make him a running back.
Chicago conducted its first rookie minicamp practice on Friday, and Lynch looked solid. Head coach Marc Trestman said that Jordan is "a real football player," and that he "certainly didn't look out of place by any means today running around out there." Trestman said that Lynch "didn't seem awkward in any way running and catching the football in space." On top of that, Lynch said that he felt good at the position, which is about as solid a start as you can wish for.