Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Miles Austin admits to being out of shape

There wasn't much of an offseason in the NFL last season due to the lockout. The lockout affected some players but not all as there wasn't too much of a dropoff in play.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin was one of the players the lockout hurt. After coming out of nowhere and piling up back to back 1,000 yard seasons, Austin experienced a decline in production because he battled a nagging hamstring injury. After a disappointing showing Austin admitted that he was out of shape.  

“Right now I’m working with the trainers at our facility,” Austin said during a promotional appearance at a Neiman Marcus store in San Antonio. “I feel like last year I wasn’t prepared for the season the way I should’ve been condition-wise, even though I looked and felt it at the time. That’s one thing that I have to keep an eye on. To make sure I’m in the best physical shape I can be.”

Austin said the injuries are behind him and the hamstrings aren't an issue. The Cowboys will need him to be at full strength for them to put together a good season.

Todd Bertuzzi enforces ping pong laws

It’s been an extremely physical NHL playoffs thus far as bitter rivalries continue like what we’ve seen between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and develop like what we’ve seen with the New York Rangers and Ottawa.

Red Wings fans also need to look no further than their own series with the Nashville Predators which got pretty ugly when Shea Weber decided to introduce Zetterberg’s face to the glass. This continued the following game when Todd Bertuzzi decided to get Zetterberg and himself some retribution when he dropped the gloves with the big Nashville defenseman.

But Bertuzzi doesn’t limit his enforcement skills to the ice, he’s also taking it to the locker rooms and under belly of The Joe Louis Arena.

In between the locker rooms at The Joe, the Wings have set up a ping-pong table to enjoy during off days as well as before and after practices (last I hear Darren Helm is the team’s ping-pong champion). However according to the Detroit Free Press, this is a ping-pong table that is strictly off-limits to the likes of the Nashville Predators and Bertuzzi is going to make sure it stays that way.

“I came out of our room, saw some of their guys wanting to play on our Ping Pong tables and told security,” Bertuzzi told the Free Press. “I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t move the table myself.”

Rumors that Bertuzzi had personally packed up the table and wheeled it away swirled around the morning skates today. The Wings host the Predators in Game 4 looking to even the first-round series. No one among the Wings had heard of Ping Pong Gate, but greeted it with delight.

The Free Press report further more states that Predators forward Brandon Yip confirmed that Bertuzzi was not around when he and Roman Josi were denied the opportunity to play Ping Pong by arena security at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Yip said of Bertuzzi being involved. “He wasn’t out there.”

Dominic Raiola says that football is worth the memory loss

The NFL has a class action lawsuit filed against them regarding concussion related issues after they left the game. Two former Detroit Lions Alex Karras and Lomas Brown have joined the suit and Lem Barney says he wish he never played the game.

Lions center Dominic Raiola has a different mindset about playing in the NFL. Raiola knows that it's a brutal game and doesn't have any regrets. He knows what he signed up for and says he wouldn't think of ever suing the league.

 "When you sign up for this job you know what you are getting into," Raiola said on Tuesday. "Granted, the money is a lot more now, but at the same time, you know you are going to get dinged up. You are hitting almost every play.

"But that's their prerogative. That's how they are handling it. I know I'm going to have my day when something is going to happen, whether it be short-term memory loss or whatever. That's the rigors of this job. That's why this isn't for everybody. It takes a unique individual to play this sport."

The fiery Raiola is a different breed of cat. He's not worried about his long term health when he's done playing. This is a person that once invited fans to come over his house and fight him and told Miami Dolphins fans they're number one and that they can suck on a certain part of his anatomy.

 "Those things are going to come," he said. "It's common knowledge people are going to suffer. Memory loss is going to come. I am ready for it. It's worth it; totally worth it. This is the best job in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"I don't know how I could justify suing the league when I am done playing. It's given me 11 years of fun. I have fun every time I step on the field. That's what it's about. I don't think when I am home in my rocking chair when I am 40 years old that I'll be thinking about suing the NFL. I am going to be thinking about all the guys I've played with and how much I loved playing this game."

I can understand why he said what he said. But it is the NFL's responsibility to keep the players safe on the field.

When you watch a Lions game you can see the emotion that Raiola plays with. He's seen a lot of bad in his time with the Lions and now he's starting to see a turn around. For his sake hopefully he remembers the good times.