Monday, October 22, 2007

Thee Football Fanatics Are Returning!

After a month long hiatus, the Football Fanatics blog will be back in operation full time.

Only now, multimedia will rule the day. The Football Fanatics Podcast will come back, meaner and more raw than ever. And now it will be on the air three days per week instead of its old slot of once a week.

In addition to the podcast, there will be video, hard-hitting commentary and lots and lots of opinion.

We got a little tame on this blog for awhile, but no more. The podcast will be unedited and in your face. It won't be for the squeamish.

We hope you enjoy the new, improved Football Fanatics Blog.

Take care and God Bless.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harrison Ordered HGH Before Super Bowl

In the days leading up to the Patriots' January 2004 playoff game against the Titans, New England's star safety Rodney Harrison was ordering drugs from a Florida wellness clinic that would later become a target of the Albany County district attorney.

According to law enforcement sources, Harrison requested an order by phone and was issued a phony prescription, signed by a doctor, for what was discovered to be human growth hormone, the Albany Times Union reported in Wednesday's editions.

It was reportedly the first shipment of HGH sent to Harrison, who had a standout postseason that year for the Patriots. New England went on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII in February over the Carolina Panthers.

The NFL suspended Harrison for the first four games of the regular season for violating its substance-abuse policy. Harrison, 34, is not being paid during his suspension. He will be eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster following the team's Oct. 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harrison admitted that he has taken HGH but said he has never taken steroids.

"I want to make it clear," Harrison said before the season began, "that never once did I take steroids. I did admit to the commissioner that I took a banned substance."

The Boston Globe, citing law enforcement officials, reported in August that Harrison made no effort to disguise his name or address when he purchased HGH over the Internet. Harrison is not facing any criminal charges in the case.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Leftwich Close to Signing with Falcons

Former Jacksonville Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich may have found a new home.

The Falcons were meeting with Leftwich on Monday night to determine whether they want to sign the former Jaguars quarterback.

The Falcons were planning to sign another quarterback this week or next, but Joey Harrington's performance in Sunday's 13-7 loss to Jacksonville may have placed more urgency on bringing in an experienced quarterback.

If Leftwich is signed, he will be the third quarterback behind Harrington and Chris Redman. Falcons coach Bobby Petrino wants to bring in a passer who can be developed in his system and ultimately compete for the job, while at the same time securing the depth behind Harrington.

Meanwhile, the Falcons again are turning to Morten Andersen to solve their kicking woes.

One day after Matt Prater missed two field goals in the Falcons' 13-7 loss to the Jags, the Falcons cut him and signed the 47-year-old Andersen.

Andersen, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,445 points, is also the Falcons' leader with 707. He was Atlanta's kicker from 1995-2000 before coming back for a second stint with the team last year.

Andersen was 20-for-23 in field-goal attempts in 14 games with the Falcons last season, including 7-for-8 from 40 to 49 yards.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Belechick Find, Pats Lose Pick

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 Thursday and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000 for spying on an opponent's defensive signals.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also ordered the team to give up next year's first-round draft choice if it reaches the playoffs and second- and third-round picks if it doesn't.

The videotaping came to light after a camera was confiscated from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella while he was on the New York Jets' sideline during New England's 38-14 win last Sunday at Giants Stadium. Goodell will not change the outcome of the game.

New England, strengthened by the addition of Randy Moss and two other first-rate wide receivers as well as linebacker Adalius Thomas, is considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl for the fourth time since the 2001 season. If the Patriots lose their first-rounder next season they still will have a first-round pick, obtained from San Francisco in the deal that brought Moss from Oakland.

NFL rules state "no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game'' and that all video or coaching purposes must be shot from locations "enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."

NFL coaches long have suspected opponents of spying. In the early 1970s, the late George Allen, coach of the Washington Redskins, routinely would send a security man into the woods surrounding the team's practice facility because he suspected there were spies from other teams there.

And coaches like Seattle's Mike Holmgren and Philadelphia's Andy Reid, among others, always cover their mouths when calling plays from the sideline because they fear other teams have lip readers trying to determine their calls.

The action against Belichick is the latest in a series of harsh disciplinary actions taken by Goodell, who took office last Sept. 1, succeeding Paul Tagliabue.

The most notable were the indefinite suspension of Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick after he pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy and the one-year suspension of Tennessee cornerback Adam "Pacman'' Jones after numerous run-ins with police