Lions ink Caldwell to a one year deal

The Detroit Lions added some depth at the Wide Receiver position this week when they inked a member of the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos receiving corp, 31-year old Andre Caldwell to a one year deal.  It’s possible Caldwell was brought in to compete for the spot left by Calvin Johnson, who retired in the offseason.

lions

The Lions will kick off the preseason with a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers before opening the preseason at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.  Tickets for all games are already on sale.  Be sure to secure yours today and help your Detroit Lions get back into the playoffs this season!

 

Lions face Bears for 151st meeting

There are very few teams in the NFL with a rivalry as rich as the Lions and Bears.  They have been playing each other since 1930 when the Lions were known as The Spartans.  The Bears won that first match up, 7-6 and have a lead in the all time series, 83-62-5.

The Lions are hoping to break a two game losing streak, the most recent loss last week in a 9-34 drubbing by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

This year, the Lions (7-4) are the favorites going into the game on Turkey day with the over/under at 47.5 points but will have to get back on track offensively.

Be sure to get your tickets now and help cheer on your Detroit Lions!

 

Lions look to gain respectablity with win over Bengals

Home win would push record to 5-2/Suh fined again

Coming off a win over the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions are looking to get back to business as usual as they take on a talented Cincinnati Bengals team who won a thrilling 27-24 overtime game in Buffalo.

Meanwhile, DT Ndamukong Suh was fined by the NFL a whopping $31,500 for a two hard hits on Bengals QB Brandon Weeden.

“We’re going to aggressively enforce player safety fouls,” Blandino said. “When I looked at the play, I felt that he did make contact with the forehead-hairline. Lowered the head and made contact with the forehead-hairline. Not to the head or neck, but the rule does prohibit that contact to the body.”

Great tickets and seats are still available for this huge match up.

Bush is the key to Lions Super Bowl goals

When the Detroit Lions went after running back Reggie Bush in the Spring, it was a full court press that found Bush sitting in a private plane across from Head Coach Jim Schwartz, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and most importantly Quarterback Matthew Stafford.  It was an offer  hard to turn down but more than that, it was an opportunity to return to greatness.

“We talked the whole plane ride,” Bush said Wednesday as the Lions prepare for the season-opener against Minnesota. “They just kind of showed me how wide open some of these running lanes are because of the way they have to play Calvin and because of the way defenses are so worried about the passing offense.

The addition of Bush to the backfield will force opposing defenses to play honest and not blitz Stafford so much.

“I just feel like this is maybe my best opportunity yet,” Bush said

“He can take a short pass and make a big play out of it,” Schwartz said. “I like what he can provide in the run game but also in the pass game. He’s a weapon … he has the ability to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.”

The Lions take on the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are still available

 

Lions bye week comes at a great time

The Detroit Lions, losers of their last three games, are hoping some time off to nurse their wounds will help and their bye week could not have come at a better time.

While all their losses have been by eight points or less, the continued losses have to take a toll on the players and coaches and, with their next two games on the road against top opponents (the Eagles on Oct. 14th and the Bears on Oct 22nd) things are not going to get easier.

“The bye is about enjoying time away,” WR Nate Burleson said. “But in the back of your mind, understand where we are as a team. We’re not going into the bye feared by every other team in the NFL, we’re going into the bye forgotten. We need to come back angry for Week 6. We have to prove something”

We will see if the Lions can bounce back in Philly. In the meantime, be sure to secure your tickets for the next home game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 28th and help to cheer your Lions to victory!

Jim Schwartz isn’t satisfied with Lions’ record: ‘We have work to do’


Tim Twentyman/ The Detroit News

Allen Park— The Lions are 4-0, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to coach Jim Schwartz.

“We still have yet to play a complete game,” he said Monday. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have talent to do it but still have a lot of work to do.”

The Lions are the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games in which it trailed by at least 20 points in each contest. The Lions erased a 27-3 second-half deficit to defeat Dallas 34-30 Sunday. Last week, the Lions trailed 20-0 and rallied to beat Minnesota 26-23 in overtime.

Both the players and Schwartz know the low-scoring first halves eventually will catch up with them if the trend continues.

“It is a huge issue,” linebacker Justin Durant said of the slow starts the last two weeks. “It’s the NFL. We can’t (win) every game like this. You can’t get down by 20 points at halftime and expect to win every week. It’s not what we’re about.”

Schwartz said reserve safety Erik Coleman will be out “a little bit” after suffering a leg injury Sunday.

Starting safety Amari Spievey wasn’t able to finish the game because of a hamstring injury and Schwartz said he’ll be “day to day.”

Durant missed Sunday’s game with a concussion but said Monday he feels much better and he expects to be on the practice field this week and play Monday night against Chicago at Ford Field.

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Lions’ Suh apparently fined $20,000 for QB hit


The Detroit News

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is used to hitting quarterbacks. Wednesday, he apparently was hit by the NFL with a $20,000 fine.

In Friday’s exhibition game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Suh slammed quarterback Andy Dalton to the turf after Dalton released a pass in the first quarter.

Suh posted on Twitter Wednesday: “$20,000REALLY??? #NFL #BIGFAIL”

Last season, Suh got a $7,500 fine for a hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme during an exhibition matchup and $15,000 for hitting the Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler during the regular season.

NFL players, owners working to close deal


Howard Fendrich and Barry Wilner/ Associated Press

The NFL told club executives they could be schooled in the ins and outs of the new labor contract as early as Thursday, and the players’ association summoned its leadership for a potential vote — the strongest signs the lockout might be nearing an end.

Lawyers for both sides met 81/2 hours Monday in New York, including 31/2 with a court-appointed mediator, to try to close a deal to resolve the sport’s first work stoppage since 1987. Talks were scheduled to continue today.

“Making progress,” said NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, who also represents locked-out NBA players.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith spoke to each other on the telephone Monday and planned to stay in regular contact.

“Nobody cheers for you at Mile 25 of a marathon. You still have to cross the finish line,” NFLPA representative George Atallah said in Washington. “There still are things that can get you tripped up, and we’re going to push through.”

Owners are set to hold a special meeting in Atlanta on Thursday, when they could ratify a new agreement — if there is one. Executives from all 32 teams then would be briefed there Thursday and Friday on how the terms would affect league business, The Associated Press reported.

The clubs reportedly were told Monday that topics would include the 2011 NFL calendar, rookie salary system and guidelines for player transactions.

Any tentative agreement also must be approved by the players, of course, including star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and the other plaintiffs in a federal antitrust suit against the league.

Members of the NFLPA executive committee and representatives of every team were heading to Washington by Wednesday, in preparation for possible decisions on re-establishing a union and signing off on a tentative pact with owners.

Atallah said the players would be gathering “with the hope they have something to look at, and with the hope we can move forward on this.”

Owners locked out players on March 12, when the old collective bargaining agreement expired, leaving the country’s most popular professional sports league in limbo. The sides are trying to forge a settlement in time to keep the preseason completely intact. The exhibition opener is supposed to be the Hall of Fame game between the Rams and Bears on Aug. 7.

The regular-season opener is scheduled for Sept. 8, when the Super Bowl champion Packers are to host the Saints.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick tweeted: “Sound like we gonna be back to work so soon!!!”

One issue standing in the way of a resolution, according to the AP: Players want owners to turn over $320 million in unpaid benefits from the 2010 season. Because there was no salary cap that season, the old collective bargaining agreement said NFL teams were not required to pay those benefits.

On a separate matter, the AP reported a proposal currently under consideration would set up nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years in additional benefits for retired players. That would include $620 million in pension increases, long-term care insurance and disability programs. Representatives of retired players are expected to be in New York for today’s talks; that group complained to the court recently that it had been excluded from negotiations.

In agreement

Areas the NFL owners and players have figured out include:

How the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided, with somewhere from 46.5 to 48.5 percent going to players, depending on how much the total take from TV contracts and other sources rises or falls

A structure for rookie contracts that will rein in soaring salaries for high first-round draft picks

Free agency rules that allow most four-year veterans to negotiate with any team.

A cap of about $120 million per team for player salaries in 2011, with another $20 million per team in benefits.

Each team must spend at least 90 percent of the salary cap in cash each season, a higher figure than in the past.

NFL contract in sight … but not done yet


NFL: Friday’s notebook

Howard Fendrich/ Associated Press

Noting “progress has been made,” NFL owners and players wrapped up a round of intensive talks Friday without a full agreement to end the league’s four-month lockout, but determined to keep pushing over the weekend.

NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith expects to speak with commissioner Roger Goodell in the next couple days while the two sides’ legal and financial teams continue working.

After about eight hours of negotiations in New York on Friday — tacked onto more than 25 hours across Wednesday and Thursday — the league and players issued a joint statement, saying: “The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues.”

They did not reveal details, citing a gag order imposed by the court-appointed mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.

“I wouldn’t dare speculate on where we are,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, one of six members of the owners labor committee participating Friday.

But people familiar with the discussions told the Associated Press that Friday’s talks moved beyond economic issues to cover other remaining areas where gaps need to be bridged to finish off a deal. That included player health and safety matters, such as offseason workout rules.

The aim was to build upon the significant steps made Thursday, when the framework for a rookie salary system was established, including that first-round draft picks will sign four-year contracts with a club option for a fifth year.

On another financial matter, the per-team cap figure for 2011 will be in the range of $120 million in salaries plus about $20 million or so in benefits, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations aimed at breaking the impasse are confidential.

One person said owners first learned Thursday the NFLPA set up $200,000 in “lockout insurance” for each player if the 2011 season were lost entirely, a policy that cost at least $10 million and was taken out nearly a year ago.

That policy was first reported by SI.com.

The NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987 began in March, when owners locked out players after negotiations broke down and the collective bargaining agreement expired.

Now the preseason is just a few weeks away.

The Hall of Fame game that opens the exhibition season is Aug. 7 between the Rams and Bears in Canton. The teams hope to be in training camp by next weekend.

Yet, camps won’t start before a new CBA is in place.

Boylan, who has been on vacation, ordered both sides to meet with him in Minneapolis early next week, and the owners have a special meeting set for next Thursday in Atlanta, where they potentially could ratify a new deal — if one is reached by then.

Any agreement also must be voted on by groups of players, including the named plaintiffs in a class-action antitrust lawsuit pending in federal court and the NFLPA’s 32 team representatives.

“We made some progress; we continue to have a lot of work to do,” Smith said as he left Friday’s session at a Manhattan law firm. “I know everybody is frustrated, and they want a definitive answer. I hate to disappoint you; you’re not going to get one right now. We’re going to continue to work, and I think that’s a positive sign.”

Retirees want say

Carl Eller , the Hall of Fame defensive end, is unhappy about how he and his fellow retirees have been treated as owners and current players negotiate a new deal to split more than $9 billion in revenue.

That deal, of course, will include retirement benefits for the former players of this dangerous sport.

Eller and other retirees have sued both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, complaining that they’ve illegally been left out of the latest talks after taking part in court-ordered mediation sessions earlier this year.

As loudly as they’ve raised their concerns, they’re not interested in derailing a deal.

“We’re not looking for a fight. We’re just looking to make things right. If football stops on our account, we don’t want to be left holding the bag. We just want what we’ve earned,” Eller said. “We don’t want to do anything to hurt the game.”

Court upholds NFL owners’ right to lock out players


Barry Wilner/ Associated Press

New York —The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out a judge’s order lifting the NFL lockout, possibly giving the league leverage in talks aimed at reaching a new labor deal.

The ruling was issued shortly after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith opened a second straight day of negotiations at a law firm in Manhattan.

The court vacated an April 25 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson that the lockout should be lifted because players were suffering irreparable harm. The appeals court had already put that order on hold and said in its ruling that Nelson ignored federal law in reaching her decision.

The appeals court ruling allows the players’ antitrust lawsuit to move forward, but the court did take issue with the NFL Players Association’s decision to decertify on March 11, a move that cleared the way for players to file their still-pending antitrust lawsuit against the league.

“The league and the players’ union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement for almost eighteen years prior to March 2011,” the appeals court said in its 2-1 decision. “They were engaged in collective bargaining over terms and conditions of employment for approximately two years … Then, on a single day, just hours before the CBA’s expiration, the union discontinued collective bargaining and disclaimed its status ….”

“Whatever the effect of the union’s disclaimer on the league’s immunity from antitrust liability, the labor dispute did not suddenly disappear just because the players elected to pursue the dispute through antitrust litigation rather than collective bargaining.”

Judges Steven Colloton and Duane Benton backed the league Friday, just as the two Republican appointees did in two earlier decisions. Judge Kermit Bye, appointed by a Democrat, dissented both times, favoring the players, and he did so again Friday.

Bye had urged settlement of the dispute to avoid a ruling “both sides aren’t going to like.”

The two sides have been meeting for weeks to try to reach a new labor pact. On Friday, NFLPA executive board President Kevin Mawae and owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys joined Goodell and Smith for more negotiations.

On Thursday, talks stretched on for more than 12 hours, deep into the evening. Some training camps are set to open in two weeks and the first exhibition game, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, is Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio, between Chicago and St. Louis.