Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mike Silver On Vince Young

SI's Mike Silver's got a great take on Vince Young's draft stock and why it's not really falling at all. You can read all of it with a click on the title of this post. Here's the first page below:

Still the one
No reason for Young's stock to fall since Rose Bowl

Posted: Friday April 14, 2006 12:04PM; Updated: Friday April 14, 2006 5:11PM

"The trouble with you is the trouble with me. You've got two good eyes but you still don't see...."
-- Grateful Dead, "Casey Jones"

Back when he was at UCLA, my father took a final exam in which the professor presented only a single hypothetical question requiring a yes or no answer, with the addendum, "If yes, explain."

Reasoning that the basic setup of the query begged for an affirmative response, each of my dad's classmates began scribbling furiously -- but my father simply sat at his desk and stared at the test. After a couple of minutes he went with his gut, wrote "No" in his blue book and, to the amazement of his fellow students, walked out of the room and headed straight to Santa Anita to bet on the Daily Double.

It was a hell of a gamble, and it spoke to a basic premise that applies to the NFL's bizarre courtship of former Texas quarterback Vince Young: If the available evidence tells you something is so, there's no need to overthink the question.

Or, to put it another way: Why do so many teams at or near the top of the NFL draft seem to be going to such great lengths to talk themselves out of picking Young?

Yeah, I know, Reggie Bush is fantastic, and his fellow ex-USC backfieldmate, Matt Leinart, is a ballsy leader who's probably going to be a heck of an NFL player. And while I can't say I've watched a whole lot of North Carolina State football recently, I'm sure 6-foot-7 defensive end Mario Williams has the potential to be a pass-rushing beast for some lucky team.

I'm also well aware that at the combine, Young reportedly had a subpar showing on the Wonderlic test, the same faithful measuring stick of intelligence that rated Ryan Leaf 11 points ahead of Dan Marino. And no, Young does not fit the traditional drop-back profile of a classic NFL quarterback, and he'll certainly have to adjust to the speed and complexity of pro defenses and may take some lumps in the process.

Fine. All of those points are valid. Now let me start by offering a two-word rebuttal: Rose Bowl.

Oh yeah, remember that game? My new friend LenDale White does -- more on our burgeoning relationship later -- and the ultra-confident former USC running back is still haunted by the sight of Young snatching a national title from the Trojans by the sheer force of his talent, will and poise.

Did CAA Give Leigh Steinberg "Six Figures" To "Walk Away" From Filing A Greivance Against The CAA / Tom Condon Team?

More on the Matt Leinart Matter. It seems that Chuck Price may have been the agent acting inappropriately. According to Florio at Profootball talk....


The source that has been feeding us all sorts of interesting tidbits regarding the recent upheaval in the representation team handling USC quarterback Matt Leinart tells us that, while Leinart will replace Leigh Steinberg with Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency, relative novice Chuck Price has strengthened his position significantly, and could be listed as the lead agent.

Indeed, it was Price's growing influence over the situation that prompted Matt Leinart and his father, Bob, to take a close look at adding a replacement other than Condon. Most observers believed that Leinart's existing relationship with CAA made the choice of Condon a no-brainer, but we're hearing from multiple sources that Ryan and Bruce Tollner, who currently are colleagues of Steinberg, also were under consideration for the Leinart representation. Steinberg, we're told, made a strong push to keep Leinart, and at least one other firm was in the mix.

Word is that the Tollners would have partnered up with Price, if Leinart had chosen to add the Tollners to the team. In fact, we hear that there's a still a possibility that the Tollners will join Price's shop. Some league insiders believe that, if this happens, there's a possibility that the Tollners will carry with them Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. (Of course, the Tollners might want to have a brief chat with David Dunn before trying to leave Steinberg's shop and taking with them one or more of Steinberg's existing clients.)

The winner to date in this process is Price. Widely regard as a wannabe, Price successfully has parlayed relationships with Steinberg and Leinart's personal quarterbacks coach, Steve Clarkson, into the prime spot in the representation team. We're told that Clarkson has now surprisingly been cast aside, too. Some league insiders are convinced that Price intentionally worked to undermine Clarkson with an eye toward getting him dumped.

We're also told that CAA has paid a six-figure sum to Steinberg in order to get him to go away without a fight. In theory, Steinberg could have filed an NFLPA grievance against CAA and/or Condon for tortious interference with the Steinberg-Leinart relationship. There's talk in league circles that Steinberg already has exercised his prerogative to file such a claim against Gary Uberstine, based upon the recent decision of USC offensive tackle Winston Justice to switch from Steinberg to Uberstine.

We've been trading phone messages with Steinberg over the past couple of days, and we hope to talk to him on Monday in order to clarify some of these issues. Stay tuned.

I too will check in on this. Whatever the story, it reads as sleezy acting on CAA's part. I think the NFLPA should step in and take action, period. Moreover, I think Leigh should get seven-figures for damages, not six. But I wonder if this really offer happened. It may have, and it may be that Leigh decided to reject it.

More soon.