Thursday, May 11, 2006

Matt Leinart Rags On The Media - ESPN.Com

Matt's a little upset with the media and bloggers like me. But what he doesn't understand is that he's public figure and that anything he does -- especially in an Internet world -- gets reported immediately and often.

What he also fails to mention are the perks he gets for being "Matt Leinart:" the free dinners, the killer table at Spago, the loaner cars, and so on.

When I headed the effort to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland, I worked a 14-day stretch with about four hours of sleep per night. Then, after a "Master Of The Universe" type day, I went out and had cocktails -- lots of them. The end result was that I fell asleep at the wheel of my car and almost ended up in an accident because I went the wrong way up a freeway ramp.

The story was in the Oakland Tribune. I offered to resign, but the City Manager, Robert Bobb, didn't take it, saying "I guess you understand that you're a public figure now."


Here's Matt

Leinart feels image is blown out of proportion

By Matt Leinart
Special to

Editor's note: Former USC QB Matt Leinart gave an exclusive look into his life leading up to and following the NFL draft.

My draft party in Las Vegas last week was great. I had been looking forward to it since I was in New York City for the NFL draft. It wasn't meant to be a spectacle. It was meant to be a place where I could get away and enjoy myself one last time with my close family and friends. That's all it was. I had a great time. My family had a nice dinner. It was an intimate setting. It was a celebration.

People can make whatever they want about it. It amazes me what went on in the media in regard to Paris Hilton following my party.

There are people in the media who just want to see what they want to see and write what they want to write. "Oh he's linked with so and so." No, I'm hanging out with someone who's a friend.

It's all this media attention. I guess you could say it's my fault, but at the same time, I'm just being a normal dude. It's hard because people who are close to me know who I am and how I act. I'm hanging out and having a good time with friends. I have my circle of friends who I've known since I was younger and trust. Then there are people who I've built relationships with in the L.A. world. There are guys in my situation that would've been a hundred million times worse than me. I didn't take advantage of anything. I haven't done anything other than be a normal person.

Celebrities have no privacy. When I was growing up, I used to look at them differently because of their fame. They're always in the tabloids. When something is said about them and you don't know if it's true, you just choose to believe it's true because it's written. It's entertainment. They're stories. My life has almost become a part of that for whatever reason.

Celebrities are really just normal people. They're just as normal as any other human being. The media portrays them in a certain way. It constantly involves their private life and it sucks. It really does. I've gotten a taste of that. It's always: Who am I dating? I'm not dating anyone. I'm really not. There's no time for me to date anybody. I hang out with people. I have a good time. I turned 23 years old today. What people don't even realize is that I was in a relationship for a year that just ended a few months back. It's a joke.

Everywhere I go and everybody I talk to gets out in the media. It makes me look a certain way when in reality I'm just a normal guy. I'm having a good time. I realize I have to make good choices and I've done all the right things. It just sucks. I'm not going to sit in my house every night, play with my thumbs and not go out.

Some of these people in the media are just a joke. I realize people are doing their jobs, but there are some people who aren't doing a good job of it. They like getting involved in people's business. They like making people miserable and bending the truth just to make their stories look good. That's all the gossip magazines are. That's what the draft became. I was really disappointed in the process because it takes away from the football. It gets to all the other little technical stuff. I realize that's part of it, but what does me being too "Hollywood" or being from L.A. have to do with me playing football? It doesn't make sense. These people have nothing else to say. I had a great three years. There's really nothing bad to say, so of course they want to say something bad. They just want to find the negatives.

My No. 1 priority is football. It always has been football. Look at my résumé. Look at the last three years. I still had to deal with all the media and "Hollywood" stuff that's going on. It didn't affect my play. I can guarantee you there were thousands of football players out there doing worse things than me. No one even gave a crap about what they were doing. It's dumb, if you ask me.

I put all my time and effort into being a football player. I want to be the best quarterback I can possibly be. I want to win the Super Bowl. I want to be in the Pro Bowl. I have goals and expectations.

When my teammates in Arizona get to know me, they're going to see I'm just a normal dude that came from L.A., loves football, and is going to be a leader.

I'm not going to let the media and all these other people control my life. I'm better than that.

I've Never Heard Of A Divore Party Until Now

I was riding with my godmother and Mom while here visiting Atlanta, and my godmother mentioned something about a "Divorce Party." I'd never even knew that existed, so I did some research. Click on the link to this post for more information.

What's funny to me is the "Whom To Invite" section:

"Whom to invite

People who have been through divorce are usually the best guests to invite to your divorce party. Your divorce lawyer will probably appreciate being invited but probably won't come. Most women I know invite only other women, and most men I know (who are far less likely to throw divorce parties) invite both genders. Because of the probability you're going to get stupid, you probably should avoid inviting anyone from your workplace or others whose impression of you would change if they see you in a (ahem) state.

Unless you and your spouse are really cooperative, your divorce party is no place for your children, even if they're adult children. Your children need to maintain as good a relationship as possible with both their parents, and inviting them to your divorce party is unlikely to help.

I'm going to scare many of you when I say this, but you shouldn't think it heretical to invite your STBX. For many of you, the whole idea of this is to celebrate not being with your spouse, and if so, you shouldn't consider inviting your STBX. But knowing as I do that most couples who divorce don't hate their spouse, I understand that far more divorcing spouses get along with their STBX than the culture realizes. If you and your STBX still have friends and interests in common and would enjoy spending the evening together, by all means throw a party together."


More On The Houston Texans / War - A Motherload Of Rumors Of "Backstabbing" Fears In The Texans Organization

Forio at knows how to stoke the fires of ire. This time, he's obviously got the hairs of Houston Texans representatives standing on end with a constant flow of rumors about Charley Casserly. Forio's good at communicating what he's told, but should note it as rumor until confirmed. Writing "a league source tells us" can only work for so long.

But with this post it's apparent that's launching a kind of nasty attempt to throw all of the possible Texans-related heresay rumors out in one shot. This could backfire. I do agree with Forio regarding how the Houston Chronicle covered the Casserly story, but there's also a fine line of access to the team they have to protect. Forio -- it seems -- doesn't have such concerns.

I mean it's not a CIA-level issue, so some level of care should be excercized. But that written, I love Forio's work.

Here's the latest:


Renowned and respected NFL journalist John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who has drawn our ire of late with his decidedly un-journalistic approach to the dissolution of the relationship between Texans owner Bob McNair and G.M. Charley Casserly, finished the job in grand fashion in the paper's Thursday edition with a headline proclaiming that "McNair Rejects Reports That Casserly Was Fired."

Since we're the only quasi-publication that ever reported that Casserly was getting the heave-ho -- and since we received multiple communications from the team's front office disputing our report -- it's clear that McClain was referring to us.

McClain says that McNair "emphatically" denied that Charley got the pointy-toed boot. "No, he has not been fired, so you can forget that," McNair said during the press conference announcing Casserly's departure.

McClain also writes that Casserly is not happy with reports that his exit wasn't voluntary. "Yeah, I am upset about that," Casserly said. "I'm glad that question was asked and Bob answered it. I have not been fired. There's absolutely no truth to it. I could have stayed on but chose not to."

Apparently, however, NO ONE has asked McNair or Casserly whether there will be a buyout of the final year of Charley's deal. As we've recently explained, G.M.'s and coaches who get fired are entitled to continue to be paid. G.M.'s and coaches who quit on their own with no input or pressure from the organization are not. If (as we've heard from multiple sources) Casserly received a buyout, the implication is that the move wasn't truly a resignation.

There's more objective evidence to suggest that this wasn't Charley's decision. He wants to become the NFL's vice president of football operations, a position that was vacated earlier this year by Art Shell. But Charley hasn't applied for the job yet.

So who in his right mind quits the job he now has before finding out whether he'll get the job that he desires?

With the NFL currently in the very early stages of a search for the next Commissioner, don't you think that the folks at Park Avenue might decide to wait on permanently filling that position until, you know, the guy who'll be running the place after Paul Tagliabue steps down has a chance to provide his input? So it would have made sense for Casserly to stay put for another year, see how the Commissioner selection process plays out, work subtly behind the scenes to figure out who will likely be the next Commish, throw support and effort behind that person, and let nature take its course.

Unless, of course, Casserly was pushed.

And we firmly believe, based on everything we've heard, that he was.

An industry source informed us on Wednesday that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan warned new Texans coach Gary Kubiak that Casserly would try to claim credit if/when Kubiak turns the team around. Thus, the thinking is that Kubiak concluded that Casserly needed to go. The source also told us that Casserly still wanted the team to select Reggie Bush with the first overall pick in the draft, and that it was McNair and Kubiak who came together and decided that Mario Williams was the right call -- especially since Kubiak's offenses in Denver churned up plenty of yards with no-name tailbacks.

Why do we care about any of this? Because we've got a low tolerance for bullsh-t. And we think that's precisely what the Texans have cooked up -- and what McClain has been serving with a side of home fries.

Finally, some might wonder why McNair would be so adamant that Casserly wasn't fired. Here's our theory. McNair feels genuine gratitude for Casserly's efforts, and McNair wants him to be able to leave on a positive note -- regardless of anything that was said or done behind closed doors. Besides, successful sports franchises don't fire key employees, because successful sports franchises don't hire employees who later should be fired. We've actually heard this week that McNair didn't want to fire coach Dom Capers, and we believe that the "firing everyone will make us look stupid for hiring them in the first place" dynamic played a role in McNair's thinking. In McNair's mind, poop-canning the team's original head coach and original G.M. after a 2-14 effort in the franchise's fourth season of play could be seen as an implicit admission that, to date, the Texans have failed.

Of course, they have failed on the field. (In the bank accounts, it's a different story.) Regardless, the last guy who should be declaring defeat at a time the team is launching a new era with Reggie, er, Mario Williams is the dude who owns the joint.

Rumor - Ex- Houston Texans Casserly Reportedly Believed Bush Wasn't Telling Truth About Agent Problems -

Another Charley Casserly-related rumor from This one has sting and gives some look into why Reggie Bush didn't become a Texan. But if this is the case, why did the Saints feel obligated to take the Heisman Trophy-winner with the second pick? What did Bush say? Did the Texans have a PI looking at Bush? Or is just being fed a rumor to put the Bush story back into play?

Here's what was on


A league source tells us that former Texans G.M. Charley Casserly believes running back Reggie Bush was not truthful in a pre-draft interview with Casserly and Texans owner Bob McNair regarding reports that Bush and/or his family received benefits in violation of NCAA rules during his career at USC.

The source contacted us on this point in specific response to our recent suggestion that Casserly wanted to select Bush with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, even after McNair and coach Gary Kubiak had decided to focus on Mario Williams.

Per the source, Casserly and McNair both concluded after interviewing Bush regarding the reports that they did not believe him. Thus, they decided that they didn't want Bush to be the face of the franchise moving forward.

We're also told that Casserly, a member of the competition committee prior to his official Wednesday resignation, had been arguing vehemently against allowing Bush to wear No. 5 as a member of the Saints, and that Casserly's position was influenced by the belief that Bush had not been truthful -- and by his opinion that the situation surrounding Bush embarrassed the league in the days leading up to the draft.

Officially, the league and the competition committee have taken no action regarding Bush's request, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. "The jersey numbering system, which is reviewed and modified from time to time, is on the [competition committee's] agenda," he said in a Thursday morning e-mail. "Whether it will be presented for a vote at the league meeting in Denver on May 23 is TBD."

Most of the league insiders to whom we have spoken believe that Bush's request ultimately will be rejected. When one player can dictate NFL rule changes, where does the process stop? And what kind of a message does that send to guys like Edgerrin James, who has wanted to wear No. 5 since joining the league in 1999?

Also, the notion of the league bending for Bush could imply to the casual observer that Bush is somehow bigger than the league. When the USFL changed its jersey rules in the mid-1980s as an inducement to get Michigan receiver Anthony Carter (who wanted to wear No. 1), the move was further evidence that the "other" football league was a chicken sh-t operation.

Does the NFL really want to be in that same category? We doubt it. Not for Bush. Not for anyone.

Seattle Seahawks Plan New Headquarters in Renton, WA - Seattle PI

Seahawks have grand plans for new headquarters


KIRKLAND -- The image depicts a boat pulling away from a modern and angular facility sitting lakeside.

It's a computer-generated image sharp enough to be mistaken for a portrait. There are even birds gliding above the boat, and on Tuesday, Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke gave voice to the vision behind the graphic.

"As we say, the boat pulling away from the site depicts the most coveted free agent in the NFL pulling away to get on a seaplane having just signed a contract to be a Seahawk," Leiweke said.

That is one of the hopes on which the Seahawks' new headquarters is built, put on the 19-acre site that sits between I-405 and Lake Washington. Paul Allen acquired the land with hopes of locating his technology companies, and in less than two years it will be the home for his football team.

The plans were officially announced Tuesday in Kirkland in a presentation that began when the lights dimmed for a slideshow. It showed the team's original training facility, which was on the water at Carillon Point in Kirkland. Then it displayed the present facility on the Northwest University campus, and finally, the plans for the future facility in Renton, which will be on twice as much land as the current headquarters and include five times as much square footage.

It's a project designed to take the franchise in the upper-left corner of the country and put it in the center of the league's landscape with a facility attractive enough to counteract the handicap of Seattle's geography in the NFL.

"We have to work harder than some other teams because of where the flow of players are and where they're coming from," president Tim Ruskell said. "We have to go above and beyond, do a little bit more in that regard, and we do that for the most part.

"I think the last part of the puzzle was the facility. Not only to attract them, but to keep players here."

Construction will begin in October. The timeline for completion is about 20 months. Training camp will be held at the facility beginning in 2008 instead of at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

Logistics still need to be worked out as to what access fans will have to watch training-camp workouts. Leiweke pointed out that because Qwest Field is fewer than 10 miles from headquarters, it will make it easy to hold preseason events such as a scrimmage at the stadium.

The seeds for a new headquarters can be traced to when Ruskell was hired as president in February 2005. One of Ruskell's first observations, Lieweke said, when he took over was the possibility of expanding the current facilities.

"We realized there weren't a lot of opportunities to do that so we started dreaming the first day Tim was here," Leiweke said.

Ruskell has seen what the lack of a new facility can mean for a franchise. In 17 years with the Buccaneers, the team stayed in the same headquarters. He spent one year in Atlanta before coming to Seattle, and that season showed him the boost a state-of-the-art facility can provide. Falcons owner Arthur Blank modified the Falcons' practice facility in Flowery Branch, Ga., to make it one of the best in the league. A dining room, players' lounge and dormitory all were added to the construction project.

The result was higher participation in offseason training programs, said Ruskell, improving from somewhere around 40 percent to more than 90 percent.

The headquarters became a magnet that didn't just attract players to the team, but pulled guys already on the roster closer.

"It was a facility that players wanted to go to and you had more and more players living in the community," Ruskell said.

Ruskell said he was initially surprised the Seahawks did not have a permanent indoor practice facility given the frequency of precipitation in the area. The team had a practice bubble, a tent-like, inflated structure. The bubble blocks the view of nearby apartment units, and the team can only use the bubble during designated periods.

"That hurt our offseason program in terms of players would have to go over to the University of Washington to make sure they got their workout in in the offseason," Ruskell said.

Ruskell first saw the site for the new facility from the water. He was in a boat with Leiweke.

"I think we were pulling his kids on a 'tube,'" Ruskell said. "We weren't looking for land. It wasn't like we were Lewis and Clark."

But it was clear that even before the Seahawks played in their first Super Bowl last season they were looking at a new frontier of expectations.

Texans Casserly Resigns - Houston Chronicle Report

Well fired or resigning Charley Casserly's no longer with the Houston Texans as of today.

My guess on the overall problem with the Texans organization is their are too many "company men" who are seem afraid to really take a position opposite team owner Bob McNair and stick with it. Your response may be "they want to keep their jobs" but I don't think it lead to making good decisions. The result seems to be too much analysis, rather than a mix of gut level "trigger pulling" and analysis. In that case, Reggie Bush or Vince Young would have been a Texan.

But was Casserly fired? This was all fueled by speculation. It may be that Charley just plain wanted out of the GM grind and saw an avenue and took it.

I'll have more on that.

May 11, 2006, 2:57AM
McNair rejects reports that Casserly was fired

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

One of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL became public Wednesday when Charley Casserly resigned as the Texans' general manager to pursue a position as vice president of football operations and development at the league office in New York.

Casserly and Texans owner Bob McNair denied reports he had been fired.

"No, he has not been fired, so you can forget that," McNair said emphatically during a news conference at Reliant Stadium.

Casserly, who will stay on the job until June 1, was angry at reports he was fired.

"Yeah, I am upset about that," he said. "I'm glad that question was asked and Bob answered it. I have not been fired. There's absolutely no truth to it. I could have stayed on but chose not to."

Casserly could have stayed for the last year of his contract. He said the late-season hiring of consultant Dan Reeves behind his back had nothing to do with his decision.

When Art Shell left his job as the NFL's vice president of football operations to return to Oakland as the Raiders' coach, Casserly became interested in the job.

"Charley indicated to me that he would like to pursue some other opportunities and that he has an interest in a position that's open in the league office," McNair said. "I've told Charley that I will support him in every way to secure a position there.

"I've already talked to (NFL executive vice president and chief operating officer) Roger Goodell about it and recommended Charley. I think he would be terrific for the spot."

John Beake has filled Shell's job on an interim basis.

"When I first spoke to Charley about (a contract extension), he made it known to me his interest in the position at the league office," McNair said. "I'm disappointed that Charley won't be with us. I can't thank him enough for all he's done — his loyalty to the organization, his hard work and his contributions."

McNair will wait a week before starting a search for Casserly's replacement. McNair will meet with coach Gary Kubiak before he starts the interview process.

Expect Denver assistant general manager Rick Smith and Green Bay director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie to become the leading candidates.

"I don't foresee any kind of drastic thing," McNair said about a possible front-office restructuring. "Organizations evolve, and as we go forward, we'll look at what our needs are and (find) the best way to organize to take care of those needs.

"This is a big change because Charley's the guy I've been working with all this time. I valued his advice and counsel. He's had a tremendous impact on our organization."

Casserly could have resigned after the season, but he wanted to work with Kubiak to try to repair the damage created by the 2-14 campaign.

"You leave either in December, or you leave in May after the draft," Casserly said. "I didn't feel comfortable leaving at the end of a 2-14 season.

"I thought Gary was a tremendous hire. I wanted to go through free agency and the draft working with him. I enjoyed my time with him. I thought we had a productive offseason, and I think this team's headed in the right direction.

"I don't know that anybody in the league had a better offseason than we did."

Casserly and Kubiak developed a good relationship.

"I hate to see Charley go," Kubiak said. "I worked well with him. I have tremendous respect for him. We had four good months together, and I'm sorry it's not going to be more. I learned a great deal from him.

"This has been a tough day, but I realize this is a business and that we have to move on."

After 29 years with the Washington Redskins and Texans, Casserly said he's not interested in another general manager's job right now.

"This was a difficult decision, but it's a decision that I made based on the things I want to do at this point in my life," he said. "I've enjoyed my time in Houston. I've enjoyed the relationships, especially with the staff.

"I think we have a tremendous staff here. I think anybody that comes in and wants to make any changes is making a huge mistake."

Black Eyed Peas Concert Tickets - Video: Let's Get It Started!

This is one of the best videos produced in my opinion, as it captures what the song's about. "Let's get it started" You can buy or sell "Peas" tickets with a click on the title of this post.

Here's the video.

Video - Pearl Jam In Concert Performing "Betterman"

Just in time for their concert series, Pearl Jam performs "Betterman" in this video.

You can get Pearl Jam concert tickets with a click on the tile of this post.

Here's Pearl Jam: