NFL Franchise Notes: Chargers Hosting, Paying For Public Tribute To Junior Seau
In San Diego, Brent Schrotenboer reports the Chargers “are hosting -- and paying for -- a public tribute to Junior Seau Friday at Qualcomm Stadium, an event that could draw a capacity crowd.” Stadium Manager Mike McSweeney said that the Chargers “are paying the city the standard $10,000 one-day rental fee for use of the stadium, plus all expenses incurred from use of police, first aid, traffic and other costs.” McSweeney said, “We’re preparing for a capacity crowd. We have to because we have no idea what it’s going to be.” Schrotenboer notes admission and parking “will be free for the event.” Staff for the city-owned stadium “will have a production meeting Wednesday to get a better estimate of the crowd size, cost and infrastructure required” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/8).
BAD TO THE BONE: In New Orleans, Mike Triplett noted Packers DE Anthony Hargrove, a former Saints player who was suspended for his role in the ’09 bounty scandal, released a statement to the NFL yesterday and “it looked bad” for the Saints and the league. Hargrove gave a “detailed account of how he was instructed by coaches Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt to ‘play dumb’ and deny the existence of bounties.” His testimony “hurt the Saints.” Although it may “strengthen the claim that players were just following orders, it doesn't help the organization or the coaching staff as a whole.” A source said that the “NFL has also misrepresented what Williams said in interviews with the league.” The source said that Williams “never admitted a ‘bounty program’ was in place and that the league ‘rephrased his statements to satisfy its needs’” (NOLA.com, 5/7).
BRING BACK THE FANS: In Oakland, Monte Poole wrote the Raiders “would be well served by having a liaison whose sole purpose is to engage the community, to wring the most out of the relationship between the franchise and the locals.” The team “might even consider lifting parts of the comprehensive community outreach program utilized by the Green Bay Packers, where new general manager Reggie McKenzie spent 17 years.” McKenzie, however, “has to focus on the football” and he is “doing that, rapidly overhauling the entire football operation.” That task, however, “is years in the making and even further away from producing actual results.” The Raiders “have a relatively clean slate.” They are “filling in after the loss of the franchise icon,” late Owner Al Davis, “who was one of the truly polarizing figures in sport” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 5/7).