Running backs are fading fast on the NFL’s pay scale

It could be argued that the best contract in history for an NFL player was the three-year, $2.1 million deal O.J. Simpson got from the Buffalo Bills in the 1970s.

It doesn’t sound like much today but at the time, it was close to double the salary of the second highest-paid player in the league, New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning.

While Simpson was making $733,000 a year, Manning was making in the $400,000 to $450,000 range.

Never again will there be that much of a difference between the two highest-paid players.

And it is likely again that no running back will ever be the highest-paid player in the league.

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NFL owners need to stop pushing idea of an 18-game regular season

When will the NFL owners understand that “no means no” when they try to push the players for an 18-game schedule?

The players have rejected it numerous times, but that doesn’t stop the owners from bringing it up.

And the players are right in always rejecting it.

Not only is it a bad idea for the players in an era when player safety is a major concern, but it’s also bad for the game and bad for the fans.

The fact there are only 16 regular-season games a year makes them special. A lot is on the line in every game.

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Steve McNair’s career and life a story of what could have been

The life and times and untimely death of Steve McNair is much more than a sports story.

It has elements of a Shakespearean tragedy because, despite his exploits on the field, there was so much promise unfulfilled.

This is the 20th anniversary season of his lone Super Bowl appearance, when McNair brought the Tennessee Titans back from a 16-0 deficit only to see Kevin Dyson fall a yard short of sending the game against the then-St. Louis Rams into overtime.

And this week is the 10th anniversary of his death on July 4, 2009, when his mistress shot him to death and then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide.

The way McNair died shocked even his former teammates, because it was such a contrast to the image he had as a family man with four sons who was noted for being generous in the community.

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NFL’s needless new interference rules are a recipe for disaster

Here is my tongue-in-cheek suggestion for how NFL coaches should adapt to the new pass interference rules in the last two minutes when the replay official will take control.

They should call for a long pass on every play and instruct the quarterback to throw it deep even if the receiver is covered.

The reason for this strategy is that the replay official may stop the game and call a pass interference penalty even if it isn’t called on the field if the intended receiver and the defender jostle for the ball.

This obviously is not a serious suggestion, but then again, it won’t be surprising if the new pass interference rules cause more controversy than they solve.

Passing the rule was an overreaction to the play in the New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams playoff game where the defender admitted he deliberately interfered to stop a touchdown and the officials didn’t call it.

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NFL labor negotiations appear headed for trouble

In case to you missed the memo, the NFL is all about the money.

It is the thing that obsesses commissioner Roger Goodell and most of the owners.

And the main goal of the owners is to increase revenue and limit as much as possible how much they have to share with the players.

Which is why they locked out the players for four months in 2011 to get a bigger share of the revenue pie than they had in the previous CBA negotiated by Paul Tagliabue with the late Gene Upshaw before he retired.

When Goodell replaced Tagliabue, he was hired to take a hard-line stance against the players and get a better deal.

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