JETS TAMPER-GATE, NOW IT’S RAIDER-GATE

September 24, 2009

It must be something in the Bay Area water that’s causing the Frisco guys to go looking to blame SOMEBODY (ANYBODY) for the 49’ers problems. Cam Inman, of the Contra Costa Times from SF Bay Area, wrote that, ”The New York Jets are denying any improprieties with Michael Crabtree, the 49ers’
still-unsigned top draft pick.
Jets coach Rex Ryan called the 49ers’ allegations of tampering “not true” and “ridiculous.” He wishes he could retaliate against the 49ers on the field this season — happily aware that rumble could only happen in Super Bowl XLIV.
Imagine if the 49ers had a coach so outspoken. Oh, that’s right, they do. Or did.
Coach Mike Singletary is suppressing his inner baritone. He and the 49ers are staying mum. He did not throw a “tamper” tantrum.
Give Singletary credit for keeping his emotions in check on this latest development in the Crabtree saga. He has a team to coach, an undefeated one at that.
Crabtree is not part of that team, just an outside distraction.
Singletary did not show up Monday with pie charts, graphs, e-mails and phone records detailing the Jets’ alleged mischievous acts (or those of other possible squads who’ve yet to be identified for similar infractions).
Singletary simply handed this ball off to NFL investigators, appropriate considering the 49ers’ run-oriented operation.
Two weeks into the season, Singletary looks like a calm captain — in bright red Under Armour sweats with matching sneakers. He is driving a once glorious yacht out of iceberg-laden waters.
The 49ers have won six of their past seven games, and seven of 11 since Singletary replaced Mike Nolan as coach last season.
(Sidebar: Nolan is working wonders as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, as Raiders coach Tom Cable attested Monday in previewing their AFC West matchup Sunday in Oakland. Sidebar No. 2: The Raiders have won three of their past four, so kudos to them, too.)
Singletary’s mission is to unify the 49ers. He isn’t about to rip Crabtree, at least not until it’s 100 percent certain the former Texas Tech wide receiver will snub the franchise that drafted him 10th overall and sit out this season.
While the 49ers brass ratchets up this saga by levying tampering charges (thus pointing a finger at Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker), Singletary must protect the interests and inspire those 53 men currently on his roster.
“We need every football player that can help us win — (every one) that is supposed to be here — here,” Singletary said. “As I said before, he is a talented guy, and hopefully it works out when he gets here. If it doesn’t, I feel comfortable with what we have.”
Comfortable? Not exactly a ringing endorsement of a playoff-caliber roster, is it? But it fits what we’ve seen after two games, both of which the 49ers absolutely could have lost.
Next comes a fantastic test: Sunday’s visit to Minnesota, where the 49ers fell 35-7 in 2003 and 40-16 in 1999. It’s where the 49ers’ ever-emerging defense will have to contend with running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Brett Favre.
Speaking of Favre, didn’t the Jets just draw a hefty fine because they lied about his status on their 2008 injury reports? Yep, the Jets never break NFL rules, do they?
While Minnesota is the likely final resting place of Favre’s illustrious career, it hosted the beginning of Shaun Hill’s NFL life, albeit as a bench warmer his first four years. Hill is 9-3 as the 49ers starting quarterback, but Singletary isn’t about to hyperbolize on Hill’s account.
“Is he capable of taking a team and putting them on his back? Hopefully we never have to ask him to do that,” Singletary said. “Hopefully we don’t have to have a quarterback here in position to just take us and put us on his back and take us down the field.”
Zing. The 49ers quarterback throne has never been so downplayed.
Singletary claims Hill’s role will expand as this season unfolds, just as it should. See, you can’t rely every week on last game’s winning recipe: Two marathon runs by Frank Gore and a rib-rattling hit by Patrick Willis near the goal line to knock out the opposing quarterback.
You also can’t spend every week worrying about who is snooping in your yard and tampering with your possible future stars.
Because Ryan’s Jets are the defendants in this tattle tale, a “not guilty” plea was an obvious play call. The 49ers echoed similar words even after they were convicted of tampering two years ago with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs.
Still, you probably want a detailed explanation about Crabtree’s job hunt. You probably want Singletary to scream “I Want Justice (and Winners)!”
Now that would be ridiculous, not to mention “outrageous, egregious, preposterous,” as a savvy New York lawyer might add.
Then Ray Ratto blogged in the SF Chronicle, “So Michael Crabtree isn’t evil. And Eugene Parker isn’t an idiot. They’re just guys playing the percentages in an uttelry amoral industry. Now say you’re sorry to both of them for doubting their acumen.
It is becoming clearer that Crabtree and Parker have had irons in the fire other than the 49ers for some time now, and only a fool thinks that only the New York Jets might be involved in undercutting the 49ers. No other explanation for their contractual intransigence ever made sense, and since the 49ers got caught being clumsier in pursuit of Lance Briggs a year ago, they can’t take the high moral road here now.
No wonder Mike Singletary decided to go with “The league will look into it,” as his sole response to the story from the New York Daily News that the Jets are working Crabtree’s street. He knows what we’ve all suspected for awhile now — that Parker and Crabtree have not been restricted by the take-it-or-leave-it draft rules the NFL finds so heart-warming. They have found the happy medium between a no options and a full-on bidding war, and they’re going to play this for all it’s worth.
As a 49er fan, you may not like it, but hats off to Crabtree and Parker for refusing to play the game as the NFL set it down. Parker certainly knows that there is no honor among weasels, and the league is and has always been full of them. They’re just working the system the way the system has worked so many others, and anyone who has the wherewithal to fight the powers that be should take the opportunity to do so.
Besides, for 49er fans who just finished re-worshiping Eddie DeBartolo Jr., for years of throwing money about for talent, such clever brigandry should be a source of admiration rather than scorn. This is how the game was played when the 49ers were the best team in football, so deal with the backlash like adults.
In two years, this is probably how most NFL business will be conducted — “I have a player here, so who wants to backstab their partners to get him? Just form an orderly line here at the desk.”

 

 

 

Scott Ostler, of the SF CHRONICLE (it is the water, I think) wrote: “The mother of unnecessary-roughness penalties continues to hang over the heads of Tom Cable and the Raiders, like the sword of that old Greek guy who threatened people with his sword.
Any day now, the Napa Police Department will phone Cable and request a sit-down. The topic: Cable’s involvement in a tussle at training camp in Napa.
Assistant coach Randy Hanson claims a Raiders staffer – signs point to Cable – attacked him in anger Aug. 5 and busted Hanson’s jaw.
So far, no call.
“Haven’t heard a word,” Cable said after practice Wednesday, when asked if he has been contacted by Napa police.
But the investigation plows forward, at less-than-warp speed.
“At this point, it’s an ongoing investigation,” Andy Lewis, investigations commander, told me Wednesday. “We’re trying to be as thorough as possible.”
Napa police don’t discuss investigations, but last month the department did say it would be calling Cable.
This would be one of those hilarious only-in-Raider-Nation dramas, except that we’re talking about possible felony charges, and a possible civil suit. And we’re talking about possible action down the road against Cable by the NFL, which has shown interest in the case.
Beware the wrath of Sheriff Roger Goodell.
“It’s still a law-enforcement issue with the Napa Police Department,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday. “We’re awaiting the outcome of that, and where they decide to go with that.”
Hanson had 12 seasons of coaching experience, four in the NFL, when he was hired by the Raiders two seasons ago. Hanson, who once quarterbacked a junior college team in Stockton, reportedly told people that his life’s dream was to coach for the Raiders.
But last season, Hanson ran afoul of then-head coach Lane Kiffin, who suspended Hanson for lipping off after the first game. Team boss Al Davis immediately unsuspended Hanson, and a few weeks later fired Kiffin.
At this year’s training camp at Napa, Cable stripped Hanson of his on-field coaching duties and relegated him to grunt work, breaking down film. Since even high-level assistants are fired every day in the NFL, why didn’t the Raiders – Cable or Davis – simply fire this fellow who seemed to have a special talent for annoying head coaches?
Probably because Hanson was an Al Guy. Davis seemed to like Hanson, for his maniacal work ethic and – some say – his willingness to share inside info about other Raiders coaches and players with Mr. Davis.
In a training-camp meeting attended by three other assistant coaches, Hanson apparently angered a Raiders staffer, possibly Cable. According to published reports, said staffer knocked Hanson out of his chair, bounced him off a cabinet, and Sprewelled Hanson, twice saying, “I am going to kill you.”
Hanson initially declined to cooperate with the police, who dropped the case in its infancy. Although Davis didn’t fire Hanson, he opted not to overrule Cable, so Hanson remained a demoted coach, working in the film dungeon.
So Hanson hired an attorney and told the police he would cooperate in an investigation. Which meant, as they say in sports, It’s on!
When Hanson clashed with Kiffin, Davis had no problem siding with his assistant-assistant coach because Davis was already disgusted with young Lane. But when Hanson and Cable collided, it was different. Cable is also an Al Guy – a true Raiders loyalist.
Besides, had Davis sided with Hanson against Cable, word would have spread that a low-level assistant and owner’s pet had hijacked the Raiders. Davis hates it when that happens.
There is much potential for craziness. Imagine a trial where three top Raiders assistants are called to testify against their head coach, in an organization that holds sacred the principle of absolute loyalty to the Silver & Black.
The national media remains on Red Alert.
“This thing took on a life of its own,” said Napa police’s Lewis. The initial furor “has somewhat subsided, but I still get calls (from media) every day.”
Right now, Cable is getting ready for the Broncos.

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