I'm leading these links with a non-Titans story because, basically you need to know just how special Brian Cushing is. How special is he? In a league teeming with thousands of the greatest athletes in the most athletically accomplished nation in the world, full of players who go their entire career benching twice their own weight and a body fat percentage smaller than a ten year-old's shoe size, only Brian Cushing trains so hard and is so fit that it actually causes his body to fail a drug test. See, you just re-read the last part of that sentence, didn't you? After failing a performance enhancer test, after which he first claimed he might have cancer despite a complete bill of health, Cushing has found some quack to invent a health condition. They're calling it 'over-trained athlete syndrome'... I couldn't even put that in caps because capital letters are reserved for proper nouns, not insultingly stupid flights of fancy. From Peter King:
In an interview here Friday, Cushing said he thinks he knows why he tested positive for elevated levels of hCG. "Everything points to that overtrained athlete syndrome,'' Cushing said, walking back to the Texans' locker room after their afternoon practice. "I'm pretty sure it is. I'm pretty positive. I didn't take anything. It's not a tainted supplement. So all roads lead to that.''
The syndrome results from athletes training intensely for a long period, with the possibility of a testosterone imbalance resulting when an athlete stops training. I must stress the word "possibility,'' because no player in the history of the NFL substance-abuse program before Cushing tested positive for the higher level of hCG. The widespread belief in NFL circles was that a player who tests positive for hCG would be a steroid user trying to re-start regular testosterone production after it has been interrupted in a cycle of steroid use.
Leadership has been the big buzzword ever since it became clear that Vanden Bosch, Bulluck, Harper and Mawae wouldn't be back this year. Teresa Walker of the AP says, so far, the likes of Vince Young, Stephen Tulloch and Ahmard Hall are emerging . Somehow I find it surprising that Hall, a former Marine who walked on to U of Texas and won a National Championship, hasn't been mentioned more as a natural choice to take on a more vocal role within the locker-room and in front of the media.
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The NFL is finally taking substantive steps to try to reduce the damage players sustain when a concussion is suspected. The biggest step in the right direction this year includes new rules that expand the 'defenseless player' rules with the hope of limiting head shots in the secondary. I'm still waiting for what would be the biggest and best thing the NFL could do to protect linemen: ban starting a play with your hand on the ground. If you make offensive linemen start every play like they already do in the shotgun formation, you'll stop a lot of the unneeded abuse these guys take on a play-in play-out basis.
David Boclair takes a look at possible changes to the preseason set-up as the CBA talks move to the forefront, but he's lobbying for a change we can all get behind: cheaper tickets!
Here’s a thought, Rog: You want to take care of the fans? I’m talking about the real fans here, not the corporations that buy the high-dollar seats and dole them out to clients; not the club-level set who know more about tax law than blitz protection.
If that is indeed the goal, then keep the schedule as it is, only take the preseason games out of every team’s season ticket package. Then offer every seat to every preseason contest to the public at large at reasonable prices, say $10 up to about $50 for the best seats in the house.
That way, fans (again I’m talking real, hardcore supporters here) who otherwise have no opportunity to see a game in person actually can take their kids to the stadiums and get a sense of NFL football.
I know it's tempting to get to the stadium real early for the first home preseason game on August 23rd, but if you do you'll have to listen to Bo Bice sing the national anthem.
Jim Wyatt takes stock of the free agents the Titans added over the offseason, with special attention on Will Witherspoon and Jason Babin, whom the team needs to see significant contributions from right away.
David Climer is starting to believe that Kevin Mawae is being blackballed because of his role as the NFLPA President. I'm only buying that the position matters more in the equation than Mawae's age and declining skills if he still doesn't have a job when the season opens on September 9th.
Former-Titan Tuff Harris is back on the streets after he was waived by the Steelers in the wake of a shoulder injury.
Keith Bulluck sounds like he's in good spirits with some renewed enthusiasm as he starts the first training camp in his post-Titans career.
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