"After executing the contract, I then gave DeSean the money that we agreed to give him. I gave it to him in the [Louis Vuitton] bag."
-Drew Rosenhaus, players agent
Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson is suing his former agent Drew Rosenhaus in federal court after Rosenhaus was found to be owed $516,415 by Jackson, per an arbitrator's ruling. Rosenhaus loaned Jackson money while the wide receiver was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, leading the agent to seek a sum of $777,793.
Jackson is arguing that the money was not loaned in good faith but as an inducement to sign with Rosenhaus. If that is the case, Rosenhaus would be in violation of NFLPA rules. However, the arbitrator decided that the money was not intended for that purpose, thus causing Jackson to pay Rosenhaus back.
In the summer of 2011, Jackson held out of Eagles training camp in an effort to gain a more lucrative contract. The negotiations did not go as Jackson wanted, something that had the receiver threatening to fire Rosenhaus, as Jackson claimed the holdout was Rosenhaus' idea.
Reportedly, Jackson told Rosenhaus he would be fired. Rosenhaus then paid Jackson $143,088 to remain his agent, a no-no in the NFLPA's eyes. The money was allegedly paid out with $50,000 cash in a Louis Vuitton handbag at a gas station, followed by a $90,000 check and a $200,000 interest-free loan. Rosenhaus claims that money only exchanged hands after midnight of the day in question (a day after the new contract was signed with the Eagles), making it a legal transaction per NFLPA rules.
"People criticize us for referring to him as a backup. That's what he is."
-Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns head coach
Mike Pettine is in his first year running the Browns, trying to turn around a franchise that has known only one playoff season since being reintroduced to the NFL back in 1999. This May, the team drafted Johnny Manziel with the 22nd overall pick, but Pettine is not ready to hand over the starting job yet, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Manziel comes into the Browns with a massive profile and an unprecedented college career. The former Texas A&M star was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy award. That same season, Manziel led the Aggies in an upset win over the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road before earning a Cotton Bowl victory.
After a sophomore season in which Manziel threw for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns, he finds himself penciled in as a backup to Brian Hoyer. Hoyer started three games for Cleveland last season before tearing his ACL on a Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.
"I don’t think it really matters if USA Today put us first, last, somewhere in the middle. It’s not going to change how we prepare."
USA Today picked the Colts to play in the Super Bowl this season, squaring off against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Nate Davis, the writer in charge of such predictions, has the Colts riding the golden arm of Andrew Luck and an improved defense past Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.
All that said, Colts players are not overly giddy about the prognostications, per the team's official site. While the players have embraced the high expectations, it does not appear the mindset within the locker room has shifted much from before the picks being put out to the public.
"It’s just a whole bunch of guys that want greatness, want championships and really believe and bought into this program," Arthur Jones says of the Colts.
"That’s one of the main reasons why I’m here, to help win and do whatever it takes to get another championship and hoist that trophy again. There’s no better feeling, I’ll tell you."
"I'm in favor of anything that increases opportunities for guys to grow and develop."
-Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach
Of the four major North American sports, only one does not have a minor league as a feeder system: the NFL. That could be changing in short order, with the league talking about developing a proving ground for younger players, according to the Associated Press.
While many of the NFL's stars are ready-made out of college, there are others who could benefit from another year or two in a lesser league. Currently, a whopping 31.4 percent of NFL rosters are consumed by undrafted players. Many of them are buried on the depth chart and are special teams aces, but imagine if they had a little more time to cultivate their skills with ample playing time.
"It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game," said Troy Vincent, the head of football operations.
NFL Europe used to provide a minor-league setting, but folded in 2007. Vincent says a developmental league could serve many purposes including the testing of new rules and the training of coaches.
Generating interest with regard to television rights is not anticipated to be a problem considering the NFL is involved, along with the league running during the spring, a traditionally slower time for sports programming.
"I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona," said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. "Anywhere from four to six teams; I don't think more than eight.
"I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don't think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it's a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL."
"I’m going to get a fine, period. I’m going to go to my coach and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to get a fine. I’m going to do something crazy.’"
-Nate Burleson, Cleveland Browns receiver
Burleson is entering his first year with the Browns after spending the previous four seasons with the Detroit Lions. The two teams are slated to play in the preseason this summer, and Burleson plans on getting into the end zone and doing a celebration that is fine-worthy, per Waiting For Next Year.
The Lions decided to move on from Burleson, letting him walk as a free agent and signing Golden Tate to replace him. Burleson had 39 catches for 461 yards in nine games last season, after playing in only six the year before.
The two teams meet annually for their "Battle for the Barge" preseason affair. Burleson plans to make this one something special.
"I plan to get off that game," he said. "It might be the best game of the year for me. Guarantee it. I’m going crazy that game. Probably like 200 yards. Fantasy points through the roof, man."
"He's going to be back better than ever doing things that the 35-plus years olds shouldn't be allowed to do on this earth. He's a freak."
-Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts quarterback
After tearing his ACL against the Denver Broncos last October, Colts receiver Reggie Wayne is working his way back for the 2014 season. At 35 years old, Wayne still projects to be the top target of Andrew Luck along with T.Y. Hilton and the newly acquired Hakeem Nicks.
Wayne has not participated in OTAs and is not expected to get on the field until training camp, per ESPN.com. Last season, Wayne caught 38 passes for 503 yards in six games before getting injured.