Friday, January 31, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Almost there.
The players on the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks can now focus fully on football after they completed their Super Bowl media availability requirements Thursday. Yes, even the not-so-chatty Marshawn Lynch.
Last up: the coaches. Denver's John Fox and Seattle's Pete Carroll were scheduled to hold their final news conferences Friday morning, the last time everyone will hear from the teams until after the Lombardi Trophy is awarded.
"I think it's been what it was expected to be," Seahawks running back Robert Turbin said. "A lot of media, a lot of questions, a lot of cameras, a lot of questions that have nothing to do with the game. You know what I'm saying? It doesn't surprise me at all."
The Broncos moved their practice indoors Thursday after working earlier in the week on the turf field outside the Jets' training facility in Florham Park, N.J.
"We just came indoors because it was softer," Fox said. "So, really, it was more for the players' legs more than anything. The field got a little hard (Wednesday)."
Meanwhile, the Seahawks again worked in the Giants' indoor practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J. Lynch was a full participant after getting Wednesday off, and the team is as healthy as it has been all season.
"Everybody is fine," Carroll said. "No issues at all."
Here's a quick look at a few of the other Super Bowl story lines from Thursday:
HOLDING PATTERN: NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that testing for human growth hormone is still being delayed by a disagreement with the NFL over whether the commissioner or a neutral arbitrator will handle certain types of appeals.
The league and the players' union originally paved the way to check for that drug in August 2011. But the union wants someone other than Commissioner Roger Goodell to rule on cases that involve violations of the law or demonstrated use of a performance-enhancing substance without a positive test.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said another outstanding issue is whether a second offense will draw a suspension of eight or 10 games.
HEADS UP: The NFL announced that the number of concussions in the game dropped 13 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Using information collected from team doctors during preseason and regular-season practices and games, the NFL also said there was a 23 percent decrease over the past two seasons in the number of concussions caused by helmet-to-helmet contact.
"Our perspective is that rules changes, culture change, the enforcement of the rules and the elimination, over time, of dangerous techniques is leading to a decrease in concussions," said Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior VP of health and safety policy. "Now all of that said, we're talking about a small sample size of only a couple of years.
"This is an ongoing and important culture-change event, and so we're going to continue to analyze it and I think that there's room for continued growth."
QUACK, QUACK: Richard Sherman and Peyton Manning share a similar scouting report on the Denver quarterback's arm.
Sherman recently wrote in his regular column for MMQB.com that Manning is the NFL's smartest quarterback, but also criticized his arm. "His passes will be accurate and on time," the Seahawks cornerback said, "but he throws ducks." Asked about the "ducks" comment on Wednesday, Sherman reiterated that he still felt that way.
Manning took no offense to the comment and offered a clever quip Thursday.
"I believe it to be true," he said. "I do throw 'ducks.' I've thrown a lot of yards and touchdown 'ducks.' I am actually quite proud of it."
When told of Manning's response, Sherman said: "I agree. That's exactly what I said."
LOOK WHO'S TALKING: Waiting to see whether Seattle's elusive running back would talk — and for how long — was one of the main focal points this week.
Lynch took questions for about 7½ minutes during his last session before the Super Bowl, his longest such stretch this week. He talked for less than 7 minutes at both media day on Tuesday and the media session at the team hotel on Wednesday.
"It's going to be good to get back to football," Lynch said. "Real good."
Lynch limited his answers to football-related questions, and his teammates were supportive of their teammate wanting to stay quiet.
"I think he shouldn't have to do everything that he doesn't feel comfortable with," Sherman said.
BUYER BEWARE: Watch out, or you might get Super duped.
Authorities announced that during an eight-month operation, investigators seized more than $21.6 million in knockoff souvenir football jerseys, caps and other merchandise, shut down illegal websites and made dozens of arrests in a crackdown on Super Bowl counterfeiters.
Anastasia Danias, an NFL senior vice president, said in a statement that the league and law enforcement "are working hard to prevent fans from being scammed by criminals seeking to profit from the public's passion for the NFL, their home teams and the Super Bowl."
AP Pro Football Writers Howard Fendrich and Barry Wilner, and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth and Rachel Cohen contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org