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Doc’s NFL Notebook

Let Peyton-Palooza begin! Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning stood before the cameras on March 7 and bid adieu to one another. The Colts are expected to take quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 draft pick, and stir a feeding frenzy for the four-time NFL MVP.

The top contenders to land Manning’s services include Washington, Arizona, Miami, Seattle and the New York Jets. But some Miami fans couldn’t wait until March 8, the day Manning is due a $28 million bonus from the Colts. They paid for a billboard featuring Manning in a Dolphins uniform and the website ManningToMiami.com. Nothing wrong with a little wishful thinking at QB in a city that has seen only one playoff win since Dan Marino retired in 2000.

Jaws Left Ashore
Ron Jaworski will remain on ESPN for the next five years, but it won’t be from a Monday Night Football broadcast booth. “Jaws” was removed from MNF in February, though he will continue to provide NFL analysis on the network’s other programs. This move leaves Monday Night broadcasts in the hands (and voices) of Mike Tirico and John Gruden, the first time since 1997 that ESPN has gone with a two-man booth for its primetime football telecasts. It puts a lot of pressure on Gruden as the lone color commentator, having only joined the broadcasting business in 2009. The former coach has garnered criticism for his game analysis, including his near-constant use of “that guy” and “this guy.” I guess we’ll just have to see how this guy does.

Steelers in the Hall
Two retired Steelers will join the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton this summer. One is a name all Steelers fans will know: Dermontti Dawson. Dawson was unquestionably photo by MIke Fabusthe best center of the 1990s, garnering six straight First-Team All-Pro honors and playing a remarkable 170 consecutive games, the second-most in Steelers history. But another name is less familiar: Jack Butler, who was voted in by the Seniors Committee. Butler, 84, played cornerback in Pittsburgh from 1951 to 1959, and had the third-most interceptions in pro history (52) at the time he was forced to retire due to a leg injury. The two will be joined in the Hall by: defensive end Chris Doleman, Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, Jets running back Curtis Martin, and left tackle Willie Roaf.

Expansion? Unlikely
Sports commentary often includes a bit of sensationalism. I mean, how many people really think Mike Wallace won’t remain a Steeler? And so came about this exciting AP lead: “Commissioner Roger Goodell says if the NFL puts a team in Los Angeles, it is probable the league would expand to 34 franchises.” Wow, two new franchises, that is big! If it were true. But Goodell’s comments came in the context of a larger interview with NBC’s Bob Costas. In discussing the possibility of adding an L.A. team, Costas made the offhand comment that 33 teams would be “unwieldy,” and Goodell agreed, the league would go to 34 if it expanded. But that’s a big “if,” and the commish never really suggested that expansion was likely. Sorry Los Angeles, it may not be as easy as expansion.

Should’ve Known
There’s nothing funny about DUI, over 10,000 people were killed last year in alcohol-impaired crashes, according to the CDC. But there is something to be said for foolish irony. Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno was pulled over for suspected driving under the influence on Feb. 1. His Bentley was going 25 miles over the speed limit, according to KWGN in Denver. Moreno did not pass a breathalyzer test and was arrested for DUI. Okay, so a young athlete gets arrested for drunken driving at 1:30 a.m. It happens far more than it should, but it’s not unusual. Okay, so ready for the irony? The personalized license plate on Moreno’s Bentley reads “SAUCED.” Rarely do police get such an obvious clue.

Princely Sum For Albert
Let’s all take a moment to remember one of the shrewdest investments in NFL history. Just before the 2009 offseason, the Washington Redskins signed DT Albert Haynesworth Getty Imagesto a seven-year, $100 million contract ($41 million guaranteed). It seemed like a good move at the time, but now we seeā€¦ it was a GREAT move! Over his two seasons in Washington, Haynesworth provided 6.5 whole sacks. Wow! Of course, that was before he was suspended in December 2010 for “conduct detrimental to the club,” and traded the next offseason. For 20 games of mediocre play, the Redskins got him for the low price of $35.6 million! What a steal! Now that Haynesworth has been cut by the Buccaneers and his career possibly over at 30 years old, Dan Snyder should bring him back. What’s a few million between friends?

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