Ever watched an NFL game and thought a running back might have stepped out of bounds to avoid a hit for fear of getting injured? ”A lot of people make ‘career decisions’ all the time,” Miami Dolphins defensive back Michael Thomas said with a laugh. In an Associated Press survey conducted this season and released Sunday, 71 of 100 NFL players said they’ve seen other players allow injury concerns to affect what happens in a game.
Michael Bennett did his best imitation of Deion Sanders on Friday. Bennett, a Seattle Seahawks defense end and member of Team Rice for Sunday’s Pro Bowl, did a little bit of everything at Friday’s 45-minute practice session on Oahu’s north shore. Bennett later lined up next to Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles as dual punt returners during special teams drills and was the recipient of a reverse from the latter on one return.
Todd Monken spent the past three seasons changing the culture of Southern Mississippi’s football program. Now, he’s eager to help Dirk Koetter turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a winning team, too. Koetter hired the former Golden Eagles coach as his offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach this week, a move Monken found attractive even though he won’t be calling plays for Pro Bowl quarterback Jameis Winston in his new job.
Think about how close Seattle Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse was to being immortalized. David Tyree’s name will be recognized forever. His circus catch in Super Bowl XLII is one of the most famous moments in NFL history. Kearse had a catch that was about as amazing — and arguably even more difficult. With about a minute left in last year’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, Kearse had a crazy catch off a tipped pass that bounced off his legs, he juggled and hauled in while he was on the ground. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime catch, the kind of play that should have been played on Super Bowl highlights montages forever. And it would have been … if the Seahawks would have gotten one more yard and won the game. Instead, Malcolm Butler’s interception is the indelible play from a great Super Bowl. Kearse’s play went from an all-time highlight to a footnote in just a couple minutes. Kearse isn’t the only one to have his Super Bowl glory taken from him. For every Santonio Holmes, there’s a Larry Fitzgerald. In some bizarro world, there’s a non-stop highlight reel showing these Super Bowl moments that have been forgotten or were just missed, robbing these folks of a shot at NFL immortality: Larry Fitzgerald: I always think about how Fitzgerald was robbed of his Super Bowl legend status. In that alternate universe, every year we’d see that clip of Fitzgerald majestically outrunning the Pittsburgh Steelers right down the middle of the field, winning a Super Bowl for the Arizona Cardinals. Too bad it didn’t turn out that way. Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments: • 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50 • NEXT (Jan. 28): No. 7 It was a great play. Fitzgerald took a short pass, turned up field, split Pittsburgh’s safeties and ran all the way for the score with 2:37 left in Super Bowl XLIII. It was a highlight that should have lived on forever, with Fitzgerald running right at the NFL Films camera, winning a championship for the Cardinals. Then Santonio Holmes took over. Holmes had a long catch to get the Steelers into field-goal range, then a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to win it. That’s the highlight we’ve seen a million times. When you go to NFL.com to see Fitzgerald’s long touchdown , you get a message: “We’re sorry, but this video is no longer available.” So it goes. Randy Moss: Moss, one of the greatest receivers ever, actually had two thisclose moments in Super Bowl XLII. With 2:42 left, Moss ran a nice route, the cornerback fell down and he caught a go-ahead touchdown pass. It wasn’t an unbelievable catch, but the great Moss catching the game-winning touchdown to cap a 19-0 season would have lived on forever. Then the Tyree catch happened, Plaxico Burress caught his own go-ahead touchdown (which in itself is as big of a lost highlight, because all we ever see is Tyree’s catch), and we all forgot Moss even scored that touchdown.