Video: Del Rio Refuses To Explain Late Timeouts

After the Tennessee Titans drubbed the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-3 on Monday night in Jacksonville, Titans coach Jeff Fisher indicated during his postgame press conference that he had been encouraged by a representative from ESPN or the NFL to take some of his remaining timeouts in the waning moments of the game because the necessary commercials had not aired during the game telecast.

Jack Del Rio refuses to explain late timeouts in blowout against Titans

(Even when pressed by reporters, Del Rio wouldn’t budge)

Fisher also strongly implied that Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio took two such courtesy timeouts in the final two minutes of the game, despite being down 23-3 at the time, in order to fulfill the NFL’s TV commercial obligation to ESPN.

Fisher later backed off the statement, claiming that he was joking. ESPN also subsequently denied exercising influence on the coaches.

But late Tuesday Fisher told Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com that he was indeed approached by an NFL official during the Monday night game about the television timeout situation.

Fisher:

“At the two-minute warning in every game in the fourth quarter, there are conversations that go by. There’s conversations that take place at the two-minute warning before the first half. But there’s conversations that take place, and it’s the official’s responsibility to give the head coach a status of commercials and TV timeouts.

“Yesterday, I was told that they were two short. And they looked at me and smiled, and I said, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’ (NFL official) Mike Carey came across and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We’re two short.’ And I said, ‘Mike, I can’t help you. I’m trying to get a first down and I’m gonna kneel on it.’”

Fisher on Del Rio:

“Jack used his timeouts. Whether Jack used his timeouts because the official said we’re two commercials short, or he used them to stop the clock to get his quarterback Trent Edwards some reps remains to be seen.”

Meanwhile Paul Bond of the THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER noted of the NFL’s reaction to Fisher’s comment and the league policy on refunding TV broadcast partners for commercials that do not air in-game:

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league and all of its broadcast partners leave it up to coaches to determine when to use their timeouts.

Del Rio has not commented on why he called the late timeouts.

There are supposed to be 20 commercial breaks during a football telecast, and if ESPN sold commercials that did not air, refunds could be owed to the advertisers. Neither ESPN nor the NFL would say Tuesday who might be responsible for paying such refunds, nor did they say whether all of the ads planned for Monday’s game aired.

“We’re looking into it,” McCarthy said.

Finally Del Rio addressed the subject on the record late Wednesday, though he was in no mood to divulge exactly why in the dying moments of Monday’s game he took two timeouts while on the business end of a Titan blowout. Read more…

ESPN Denies Asking Fisher, Del Rio For Timeouts

After his Tennessee Titans shredded the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-3 last night in Jacksonville, Titans Coach Jeff Fisher was asked during a postgame press conference why he wasn’t more proactive in running out the clock at the end of the game.

Jeff Fisher

(Video of Fisher comments: Joking?)

In his response Fisher claimed, with what appeared to be a straight face, that ESPN had asked both teams at the end of the game to take their timeouts in order to allow the network to air more commercial spots.

Fisher:

“(Jaguars Coach) Jack (Del Rio) used his timeouts. My understanding is they (ESPN) needed network timeouts, and that’s why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, ‘I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.’

“You can check with Jack. I believe that they asked them to use them. It’s the first time I’ve heard of it. I just said I would have a hard time using them, because I’m ahead. Honestly, I have no issues with Jack or how he managed the end of that game.”

Del Rio took back-to-back timeouts after the two-minute warning with his Jags down 23-3. Del Rio has yet to comment why he took the timeouts but is scheduled to meet the media again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Fisher has reportedly backtracked on his seemingly serious stance. Read more…

Bellotti Had ‘Welt On His Face’ From Blount Punch

Earlier today PORTLAND OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano reported that LeGarrette Blount once accidentally punched former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti in the face during a practice scuffle.

Mike Bellotti

Though acknowledging a practice “scuffle” involving Blount, Bellotti today denied that he was struck by Blount during the altercation. Bellotti to ESPN Radio’s Scott Van Pelt (audio):

LeGarrette Blount never hit me, not accidentally nor on purpose …. I do remember where I had to break up a scuffle during practice … LeGarrette was an offensive player and there were a couple defensive players and I stepped between them. … LeGarrette Blount never struck me.

After Bellotti’s denial, I contacted Canzano for a response. Canzano replied with this statement via email: Read more…

Blount Once Punched Oregon Head Coach In Face

Prominent PORTLAND OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano reports this week that LeGarrette Blount once punched former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti in the face during a practice scuffle.

LeGarrette Blount Punched Mike Bellotti In The Face

Two football seasons ago. Closed practice. Autzen Stadium. Running back LeGarrette Blount was carrying the football on a play that swung wide when he was met by two University of Oregon defenders.

Defensive back Jairus Byrd and linebacker Jerome Boyd grabbed Blount and shoved him toward the sideline. A scuffle broke out, facemasks were grabbed, bodies tangled and then Ducks head coach Mike Bellotti hurried toward the mess, trying to break up the players.

Blount threw a punch.

It missed Byrd and Boyd, but caught the side of Bellotti’s face — square.

Two Ducks teammates and a former assistant coach told me about that punch on Thursday.

Bellotti never publicly talked about it and did not return a call Thursday on the matter. Ducks teammates, aghast on the field as it happened, laughed about Bellotti’s shocked reaction with one another in the locker room after practice.

Blount, Byrd and Boyd were kicked off the field, but were not disciplined.

Former Oregon football players also indicated to Canzano that Blount’s bad act wasn’t limited to that one incident during Ducks practices. Read more…

Titans Sue USC, Kiffin; Cite “culture of violation”

Citing a “a culture of violation and avoidance of respect,” the Tennessee Titans filed a lawsuit today in Nashville against USC and Lane Kiffin for allegedly ignoring the NFL club’s contractual hiring requirements of assistant running backs coach Kennedy Pola.

Titans Kiffin Lawsuit

In the lawsuit filing (pdf) the Titans claim that when Pola took a job with the franchise on Feb. 1, the assistant coach agreed that he would, “not under any circumstance solicit discussions or entertain employment with any other person or entity during the term without given written permission to do so.

Pola was then hired last Saturday by Kiffin as USC offensive coordinator. The move came just one week before Titans training camp was scheduled to open. That despite the USC coach allegedly failing to obtain contractually required written permission to formally approach Pola about a position on the Trojans staff.

Read more…

Assistant, Lane Kiffin Fake Out Irate Jeff Fisher

On July 2, Jim Wyatt of the NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN reported of then-current Titans assistant coach Kennedy Pola, who coach Jeff Fisher had just hired away from Jacksonville:

Kennedy Pola

Just got off the phone with Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola and he sure doesn’t sound like a guy on the move.

He’s still in the process of moving into his home in Nashville, in fact, and said he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. As mentioned below, Southern Cal is looking for a new running backs coach and Pola has been mentioned as a possibility.

“I really enjoy Nashville and being with (Coach) Jeff Fisher and the leadership here, the management,’’ Pola said. “It’s really been a new sense of energy.’’

Today Wyatt reported that Lane Kiffin had hired Pola as USC offensive coordinator. The news reportedly upset Fisher, apparently because he was one of the last to know: Read more…

Report: USC Sends Del Rio Head Coach Contract

UPDATE: (2:40am ET): Wolf’s full story on the Del Rio contract offer. He also throws this in:

Sources said Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin was under consideration Monday.

I haven’t heard Kiffin’s name previously but nothing would surprise me.

Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS, the reporter who first broke Pete Carroll’s resignation and the news of Carroll accepting the Seahawks job, reports on his blog early Tuesday:

Scott Wolf reports USC has sent Jack Del Rio a contract

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was sent a contract by USC tonight to become the next football coach.

Now comes the tricky part: If Del Rio takes the job, he forfeits more than $15 million in salary from the Jaguars. If Jacksonville fires him, they must pay him the money. Why would Jacksonville fire him if they know USC wants him? Should make Tuesday interesting.

Indeed, especially considering  Jacksonville Jaguars beat writer Michael C. Wright of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION reported just before Wolf’s blog post that he’s “99 percent sure” that Del Rio will not go to USC.

Read more…

LA Daily News: Pete Carroll Resigns As USC Coach

Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS, who Friday was the first to report that Pete Carroll had accepted the head coaching job with the Seahawks, is first with the news Sunday that Carroll has resigned his position as USC coach. USCFootball.com follows up by reporting that Carroll handed in his resignation tonight.

LA Daily News breaks that Pete Carroll has resigned

(First)

Two USC administration sources told me today that Carroll actually resigned last night over concerns that a delay in finalizing his new job in Seattle was wrecking USC’s recruiting class. (Which it was.)

So now what is USC looking at? Don’t ask.
Read more…

Tony Dungy: Tim Tebow “Will Be A Great NFL QB”

Tim Tebow probably never wanted to see the day when he’d be lumped in with such damaged goods as LeGarrette Blount, Michael Vick, and - ugh - Jeff Fisher. But here it is and here we are, Tebow: Tony Dungy has come rushing to your aid. Yes, the St. Jude of sports, the patron saint of lost causes and dog killers. Dungy. Accept it.

Tony Dungy Tim Tebow

Dungy’s latest comments came to Dan Patrick this morning when talking about drafting a quarterback for a team with a Top 10 pick. Patrick threw out alternative choices like Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, and Jake Locker. Nnnnnope. Because Tebow’s a winner, you see. Winners win games. Oh yeah.

Will Tim Tebow be a great NFL quarterback?

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Dungy Throws Fisher Under The Bus About Jersey

The day after his team lost to New England 59-0 two weeks ago, Jeff Fisher surprised a Tennessee audience by wearing a Colts jersey to a Tony Dungy charity event in Nashville. Fisher punctuated the appearance by saying, “I just wanted to feel like a winner.”

Tony Dungy throws Jeff Fisher under the bus on jersey flap

(If I was Dungy, I would’ve covered for Fisher. Bad form.)

Yea, it was probably a stupid move by Fisher, but at least he was raising money for charity. Right Tony?

If you were Dungy, would you have covered for Fisher?

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Wrong.

Read more…