New Episode Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT
NEW YORK (Dec. 28, 2011) – On this week’s edition of INSIDE THE NFL, James Brown, Phil Simms, Cris Collinsworth, and Warren Sapp are joined via satellite by Maurice Jones-Drew, running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as he talks about the controversial comments he made in this week’s Associated Press article regarding players hiding their concussions in order to stay in the game.
Plus Michael Lombardi joins INSIDE THE NFL for a special Lombardi Report.
This week’s episode of INSIDE THE NFL premieres tonight, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
INSIDE THE NFL, now in its 33rd season, airs every Wednesday night through the NFL season on SHOWTIME for a total of 23 episodes, with multiple replays each week on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME® and availability on SHOWTIME On Demand.
INSIDE THE NFL is produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. The executive producers are CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and NFL Films President Steve Sabol. Pete Radovich Jr., the Emmy Award-winning Creative Director for CBS Sports, serves as coordinating producer.
Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:
Interview with Maurice Jones-Drew where he expands on his comments made to the Associated Press about playing through a concussion…
JONES-DREW: Long term [effects], I can’t really think about that. All I can really think about is what I can do now for this organization, for my family, whoever I can, to help this team out. That’s just my way of thinking. The other guys think a different way, other guys are looking towards the future but, I figure if I can’t take care of them now there will be no future. So that’s something I continue to work on and try and get better at. Obviously if you do have concussions…they’ve done a lot of protocols to help you get back in and do whatever they can to protect the brain. And I commend the league on doing that but at the same time as a player you have to think about being labeled as a guy who gets concussions and not being able to get a job, or being labeled as an injury-prone type of guy and teams backing away from you. And so at the end of the day this is a multi-billion dollar business and that’s what we’re playing. Let’s be serious. You’re playing this way to be famous and to take care of your families.
COLLINSWORTH: We’ve heard in the past that people fake injuries for a variety of reasons in the NFL. Now you are saying we have to fake health. We basically have to fake the idea that we are OK to go play the game.
JONES-DREW: I don’t see it as faking. In certain situations; an ankle sprain you can play through, a broken leg you can’t. A ding is a ding, a concussion is a concussion. And so there are guys that are going to get dinged up. I play running back. I get hit in the head every play. I think I’ve been face-masked about 100 times this year; I’ve been driven into the ground. And there are all these different things that go on and I don’t have headaches or anything like that, that last a long time. When you get dinged though, off a good hit, it’s a good hit. That’s how I was raised playing the game. There are things that you have to be able to play through in this game and that is why we play football. That’s why we’re called football players.
COLLINSWORTH: The basic premise of what [Jones-Drew] said is true. When you have dings, if you don’t go back out on the field, than you’re not going to play long… It is an interesting dynamic going on here. And that is, the NFL keeps telling everybody how dangerous these concussions are. And I think the players are getting the message and that’s a great thing. One of the problems is a lot of moms are getting this message too. And there are a lot of moms out there that have a lot of influence over whether or not their children are playing football or not. And believe me, there are a lot of people thinking, is this right for my kid?
COLLINSWORTH: You know what’s really interesting is, what Maurice Jones-Drew said, ‘I was raised that way.’ In other words that’s how you play football. If you get dinged you go back in the game. I was raised that way. And it really struck a chord with me. Sometimes it takes the next generation to start playing a different way. He’s right. We were raised to play and throw our bodies around and if you got dinged you went back in the game. That’s how you were a tough guy. But the bottom line of what he said is absolutely true. If you keep taking yourself out of the game, you’re not going to be playing this game for long.
On this upcoming Sunday’s Cowboys vs. Giants game…
COLLINSWORTH: Felix Jones, it is time for him to answer the bell. Here’s a guy that over the years he’s been sort of a, sometimes he’s a factor, sometimes he is not. But it’s all on him now. DeMarco Murray is out; he has that fractured ankle, and now is the moment. Felix Jones was drafted for this moment. If they don’t get the balance, if they can’t slowdown that pass rush a little bit with some form of running game, I don’t think the Cowboys can win it.
SIMMS: I don’t think we can underscore Tony Romo and the hand. You know, one, he plays down in Dallas. It is basically an indoor stadium. Now he’s going outside. I kind of compare it a little bit to Drew Brees. You know, they are not as good on the road because there is something about being in those domes where the passing game just clicks. So that hand’s hurting, the pass rush, even though the weather is not going to be severe, it’s going to be enough. I think it is going to be a problem for Tony Romo.
On Cam Newton…
COLLINSWORTH: You’re talking about a guy [Cam Newton] that may be changing the game a little bit. In that, okay, we’ve all been talking about Tim Tebow this whole time, whatever. But this guy (Newton) has proven that he can stand in the pocket and make some throws. It’s something.
Michael Lombardi’s thoughts on the St. Louis Rams…
LOMBARDI: I think St. Louis obviously has been really a disappointment last year. After winning seven games they come back. They’re going to make a lot of changes. I think St. Louis is going to rebuild their entire organization with new owner Stan Kroenke in there, front office included. I think there are going to be many changes in St. Louis. Jeff Fisher is a logical choice there [for head coach]. The one survivor in St. Louis will be Kevin Demoff, he is the chief executive officer. Kevin Demoff’s father is Marvin Demoff who represents Jeff Fisher so there’s a lineage there between the two.
On this upcoming Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos game…
COLLINSWORTH: Now it really comes down to one guy in my estimation. Tamba Hali is a beast. And he is athletic enough to not only take Tim Tebow and force him to pitch the ball on those option plays, but go make the tackle out there too. He is one of the great talents in this league. And really he doesn’t get a whole lot of help in the pass rush in Kansas City.
On the Cincinnati Bengals…
SAPP: The Bengals are like the Tampa Bay Bucaneers when I first got there. There were a lot of walls that needed to be broken down and they only have one win versus a team that has better than .500 record right now. So when the going gets tough the Bengals kind of cower away from that challenge. So I want to see if they are going to come out this Sunday and meet the Baltimore Ravens at the 50-yard line and fight for four quarters for a playoff spot.
SIMMS: You know this is a new group and Marvin Lewis, the head coach (Cincinnati Bengals), he got a second chance with the same team. How many coaches in history get to do that? And you can see the difference in their attitude, the way they play, the way they look. I did get a chance to talk to him this week and he’s got a young team and you know what he says, ‘I know two things about this game this weekend. I am going to see something incredible from my team because of that young talent.’ But he goes, ‘I also know I’m going to see something incredibly stupid too.’ But it’s exciting. I think that you can hear it when you talk to him how excited he is because he is in control again and the young players buy into what they are doing.