Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Posts about Professional football

Monday (Dimitrius Underwood flashback) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 3, 2014 - 9:01 AM

Former Vikings first-round draft pick Dimitrius Underwood has become such a punchline in Minnesota sports history that it de-humanizes the very real and scary saga of what went on in 1999 when he left the team in training camp amid all sorts of personal problems.

Underwood shows up on those "all-time draft bust" lists for good reason, but the human element of what happened nearly 15 years ago came flooding back to us recently with the saga of another similarly troubled player. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The former San Diego State running back who went missing this week after leaving the NFL Scouting Combine for religious reasons has been found safely, telling friends he spent days alone in a Florida airport because God advised him to, sources said Friday.

Adam Muema was found Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, ex-Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson said.

The airport is near the athlete performance facility where they spent the past two months training for the NFL. Muema had been there since Monday, when his Southwest flight from Indianapolis landed at about 1:30 p.m. ET.

Muema called Nelson on Thursday to ask for a ride. When Nelson arrived, he said Muema was still dressed in NFL-issued combine gear. When asked to describe Muema’s demeanor on Thursday, Nelson said the running back seemed “focused, cheerful and very wise.”

“He said he was at the airport for three days straight,” Nelson said. “He was telling me when I picked him up that God told him to stay at the airport and don’t do anything. Just stay there. That’s what he did for three days straight.

"On the fourth day, he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He decided to call me.”

Maybe it's just us, but if there is one encouraging thing between Underwood and Muema, it is this; there seems to be more compassion with the story now than just a quick-trigger football reaction. We'll try to avoid being too cynical in attributing that to the fact that Muema hasn't been drafted yet.

Pro golfer tweets about Michael Sam leading "handbag throw" at NFL combine

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 25, 2014 - 12:20 PM

PGA golfer Steve Elkington might enjoy building a time machine and going back 20 years to a point where A) he was a relevant player and B) his jokes had a marginally better chance of being deemed funny by, say, 3 percent of the population.

Instead, he's stuck in 2014 and he's getting hated on -- rightfully so -- for this tweet:

If you'll recall, Elkington is the same golfer who had a really FUNNY tweet about a fatal helicopter crash. Hey, Steve, maybe just sit out the next 10-20 years of social media?

TFD: The Browns reportedly nearly acquired 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in a trade?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 21, 2014 - 5:11 PM

Say what now?

Per Pro Football Talk:

The Browns’ unpredictable head-coaching search nearly finished with what would have been the most unpredictable outcome of any head-coaching search since Jon Gruden was traded from the Raiders to the Buccaneers a dozen years ago.

Per multiple league sources, the Cleveland Browns nearly pulled off a trade with the 49ers for the rights to coach Jim Harbaugh.

A deal that would have sent multiple draft picks to San Francisco was in place between the teams.  But Harbaugh ultimately decided not to leave the 49ers.

Can't imagine why you would leave that team and that city unless something is really messed up with your relationship with others in power ... or if you crave total power over in an organization.

Interesting. With Harbaugh, nothing would surprise us.

TFD: Johnny Manziel is either a prima donna or a top prospect, draft experts say

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 17, 2014 - 5:02 PM


Two NFL draft "experts" (we use quotes not because these guys aren't learned, but because being an expert in guessing is difficult to fathom) released reports today with greatly diverging messages about QB Johnny Manziel.


Mike Mayock of NFL Network simply released his top 5 prospects at each position; Manziel was No. 2 in his book behind Teddy Bridgewater and ahead of Blake Bortles. There was no other comment aside from that.

So that's one approach to Manziel and this draft.

Nolan Nawrocki, who works for NFL Media, the same heading as Mayock's byline, has a much different approach. He has a list of his biggest red flags in this year's draft, led by Manziel. He has this to say about the Texas A&M QB:

Suspect intangibles -- not a leader by example or known to inspire by his words. Carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood. Is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. ... Has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great, adjust his hard-partying, Hollywood lifestyle and be able to inspire his teammates by more than his playmaking ability.

If those "suspect intangibles" allow him to still be there at No. 8, it would be a beautiful thing.

TFD: Incognito's attorney issues strange statement in light of report

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 14, 2014 - 4:28 PM

We spent a good 45 minutes today reading the report from the independent investigation of the Dolphins' locker room culture, with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin at the center of a harassment claim.

It was abundantly clear, at least in our mind, that Incognito went far beyond anything that could be construed as good-natured razzing and, along with others, ventured into the territory of harassment and bullying.

You can read the report for yourself (plenty of NSFW words in there, by the way), but we found it to be fair, well-constructed and well-considered.

In light of everything in it, perhaps it would have been wise for Incognito to just lay low (as his name amusingly suggests), but instead his attorney released a statement to several outlets, including Pro Football Talk:

Mr. Wells’ NFL report is replete with errors. The facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin’s mental health, drug use, or on-field performance issues were related to the treatment by his teammates. It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising. The truth, as reported by the Dolphins players and as shown by the evidence, is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins Offensive line.  We are analyzing the entire report and will release a thorough analysis as soon as it is ready.”

Even for your standard-issue denials, this one strikes us as absurd. Your thoughts, please, in the comments.


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