Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chuck Bednarick Hospitalized, Lockout Shenannigans

Chuck Bednarik has been admitted to a Bethlehem-area hospital after feeling short of breath. While this doesn't sound like that much of a problem, there has to be more to it, as Bednarik was still listed as being in "serious condition" as of this afternoon. This news comes has many in Eagles Nation worried, as many grew up (like I did), hearing stories about "Concrete Charley" (or "Cement Charley" after a few beers) and his tenure as an Eagle. Bednarik is a true Philly guy, playing football for Liberty High School in Bethlehem, then UPenn in Philly before being drafted by the reigning 1948 NFL champions. As a member of one of the most dominant periods of Eagles history, Bednarik helped propel the Eagles to the first back-to-back shutout championship in NFL history, a record that is still held by the Eagles. Bednarik is a celebrity in Eagles nation, being the last of the 60-minute men, from a time when players played both offense and defense. The former Eagle became a legend after laying a near career-ending hit on the Giants' Frank Gifford. While Bednarik has had his ups and downs with the Eagles, famously for supporting the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XXXIX due to a feud with owner Jeffery Lurie. Still, it's hard to hate Bednarik, responsible for some of the best football in Philadelphia and who had a hand in two NFL championships for the Birds. His recovery will hopefully be swift.

The NFL lockout has affected people in different ways. Fans have taken sides, generally with the players or against the NFL and the players' association. Now the players, with varying degrees of frustration, have begun to speak out, and not always in the best way. Recently, Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson said that the NFL was like modern-day slavery. The comments, as any comment regarding slavery, was received very negatively by many, including Green Bay Packers' running back Ryan Grant. While many voiced their disagreement with Peterson's comments, but Peterson has also had his supporters. Rashard Mendenhall was chief among those supporting Peterson, tweeting that there are parallels between the slavery of colonial America and the NFL's practices. Also echoing Peterson's words was Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver. Immediately following the comments, Weaver received criticism from all corners of Eagle Nation, with fans and beat writers weighing in on the controversy. Yesterday, Weaver tweeted that he would be doing an interview explaining his words, and apologized if he offended anyone. Later, he tweeted a retraction for using the term slavery. The term is a strong one, and shouldn't be used to describe the working conditions of anyone making...well, any money. The players need to refrain from making these kinds of faux pas, otherwise it will erode the fan support players now enjoy.

Moving on to happy misfortune, the Dallas Cowboys were fined for illegal offseason activities. Echoing the fears of many that new coaches need to get in sync with their players soon, the Cowboys' new defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, tried to do just that. Before the lockout began, the league was in a "dead period" where the actions of players and coaches are limited. Four other teams violated the rule and have been fined by the NFL, the fact that the Eagles were not one of these teams could be a good sign. Despite having a new defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo has been with the team and knows the players. Hopefully, this lack of breaking the rules is a vote of confidence in Castillo and his ability to pick up when the season begins. We'll find out when these fellas figure out how to split $9.3 billion. I have a few suggestions.

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