Report: McKinnie kicked off Pro Bowl team

Bryant McKinnie is the latest player to back out of playing in the Pro Bowl on Sunday.

In his own special way.

McKinnie, the Minnesota Vikings left tackle, has actually been booted from the NFC squad, according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. McKinnie was told to take a hike after blowing off practice and the team photo on Friday and then no-showing for the walk through this morning.

It’s not like McKinnie hasn’t been busy. He’s shared the details, or some details, of his nightlife the last few days. He did some clubbing Thursday night and then started at a barbecue at the Clevelander on Friday night before heading to KOD’s which stands for King of Diamonds, a gentleman’s club. Fortunately, there has been no report of rain.

So, now McKinnie can begin plotting where he’ll be hanging Sunday night, because it won’t be in uniform for the NFC squad. And feel free to include your own Lake Minnetonka joke here.

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Report: McKinnie blows off practice again

It must have been one hell of a party. Again.

Because Bryant McKinnie has managed to blow off the NFC Pro Bowl practice for a second consecutive day, this according to a report this morning from Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

McKinne no showed on Friday for the practice and team photo, and he is absent again this morning. His personal Twitter account reported that he was out clubbing late Thursday and into the wee hours Friday.

On Friday night, McKinnie tweeted that he was headed to a barbecue at the Clevelander. Later, he tweeted that he was leaving the beach area for KOD’s, which presumably is the Miami Beach Gardens strip club known as King of Diamonds. Somewhere there is a very clever Lake Minnetonka joke in this. Go ahead and provide it yourself.

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Report: Saints release more Super Bowl tickets

The New Orleans Saints released 600 more Super Bowl tickets to their season ticket customer base on Friday, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported.

The club announced that the next 300 season ticket holders in the weighted lottery system conducted by the organization were being notified immediately by phone and email. They will be eligible to purchase a pair of tickets to Super Bowl XLIV. The face value of tickets is $800 each.

The deadline for customers to pick up the tickets is Monday. The weighted lottery system, according to the report, is based on the number of years a person has been a season ticket holders and by the number of seats they purchase annually with their account. The Saints previously made 4,000 tickets available to their season ticket holders.

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Biggs: Payton downplays comments made by Williams

Much too much is being made out of the “remember me” comments that Gregg Williams made to a radio station earlier this week.

That is what New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said on Friday. Plenty has been said about the remarks made by the defensive coordinator, particularly in light of the illegal hits the Saints made on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game. The league handed out four fines to the Saints, and three of them were for shots on Favre.

“This guy’s got a great clock in his head,” Williams told 104.5 The Zone earlier this week. “The big thing is that he throws the ball so early that we’re going to have to do a good job of finding ways to get to him, and when we do get to him we’re going to have to make sure he gets a couple ‘remember me’ shots when we get there.”

Payton doesn’t think there is anything out of the ordinary.

“I think both defensive lines want to get to the quarterback,” Payton said, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune. “That starts in training camp. So yeah, I think much is made of that. Obviously we want to have a good pass rush and get pressure on the quarterback. I think that’s a great example of Super Bowl week.”

Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner had the daylights knocked out of him by the Saints. Both of those playoff games were played in the Superdome. It is going to be a little more difficult for the Saints to generate that kind of pressure on the natural grass surface in Miami. But rest assured, Williams will have his defenders coming after Manning. You can bet on it.

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Report: Ware will have surgery for bone spur

Give DeMarcus Ware credit.

He’s playing in the Pro Bowl. With an injury.

The Dallas Cowboys linebacker will have surgery to shave a bone spur in his left foot shortly after he returns from Sunday’s game, reports Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News.

“This is sort of like a treat for you, and you just take it in,” Ware told Archer of his fourth consecutive all-star appearance.

The pass rushing ace played for the majority of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. He had a wrist fracture and suffered a neck injury in a scary incident vs. San Diego.

If more players adopted Ware’s attitude when it comes to the Pro Bowl, the NFL might not have so much angst when it came to its all-star game. More players would, you know, actually show up to play in the game.

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Biggs: McKinnie was clubbing night before missing practice

Bryant McKinnie spent Thursday night and the early parts of Friday morning at the Mansion Miami night club, according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

That would explain, at least in part, why McKinnie was unaccounted for at the NFC’s Pro Bowl practice on Friday and why he missed the team photo as well. McKinnie resurfaced later Friday, saying on his personal Twitter account that he was headed to a barbecue. Given Miami’s proximity to Minnesota, and given the frigid conditions in the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s safe to rule out that McKinnie was boating on Lake Minnetonka, as he’s been known to do in the past.

McKinnie is subject to a fine from the NFL. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2008 season for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Craig reports that a person at the club said McKinnie left with friends without incident.

Perhaps he’ll surface with a football helmet today.

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Senior Bowl Countdown

Counting down our top 10 questions that could be answered in today’s Senior Bowl at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium (4 p.m. EST, NFL Network):

10. How will the North’s interior offensive linemen handle the girth and power of Alabama’s Terrence Cody? Cody isn’t a guy whose name you’ll hear much in this game, but he does a great job eating up space on first and second downs, making everyone else around him better.

9. Can USC standout Taylor Mays make up for his unimpressive week of practice with a statement-type game? Mays hasn’t looked real instinctive in coverage and takes far too long getting out of his breaks and closing on the football in his drop. We know he has the skill set, but his ability to at least make plays on the ball in the deep half will be key.

8. Does Mississippi State’s Anthony Dixon get enough opportunities at running back to have an impact on the game, or will he probably see more time as a lead blocker? Dixon is the type of back who’s going to “wow” you with one or two carries, but he has the size and patience to get stronger as the game goes on. It will be interesting to see the type of role he has in the South offense.

7. Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick had a good, but not a great, week in Mobile, Ala. How will he hold up vs. the double-teams inside against some of the bigger South offensive linemen? Odrick is considered a candidate as both a three- and five-technique guy, but if he hopes to play inside in the NFL, he’s going to need to prove he can play with a bit more base than he’s shown at times this year.

6. Speaking of massive offensive linemen on the South, where will Ole Miss standout John Jerry prove to be most effective? He’s taken reps at guard and both tackle spots this week and has been dominant when lined up inside at guard and at right tackle. He doesn’t look nearly as natural on the blind side, but he’s a big, gifted lineman who will quickly find a home starting for an NFL team.

5. Who comes out of this game as the top quarterback prospect? Right now, I feel confident saying that Jarrett Brown would rank as my No. 1 QB prospect from the Senior Bowl. He has the ceiling of a David Garrard type of player if given time, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the QB crop performs when thrown into live game action.

4. Does Arkansas State defensive end come Alex Carrington leave Mobile as one of the nation’s fast-rising prospects? He’s displayed the get-off burst and power to consistently win his one-on-on matchups on the outside, so it will be interesting to see if he’s as effective when asked to read his run/pass keys during live action.

3. Is there anyone on the North who has the ability to stay with Ole Miss WR Dexter McCluster? I’m sure we’ll see McCluster used in a variety of ways on the South offense, but I’m really looking forward seeing him lined up in the slot vs. Boise State corner Kyle Wilson — the two top performers at their respected positions here.

2. How does Florida State safety Myron Rolle handle his first live game action in over a year? He did a decent job all week showcasing some natural athleticism, but he hasn’t looked overly instinctive — which was to be expected after his long absence from the game — and has yet to make a play on the football.

1. Finally, what will Florida quarterback Tim Tebow bring to the table? The guy is a gamer and isn’t the type of prospect you can evaluate during a week of practice. His ability to move the chains and put points on the board — no matter how unorthodox it may be — will be key for him today.

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Biggs: Saints ordered to pay for shots on Favre

If it’s any consolation for the Minnesota Vikings (none), the New Orleans Saints had to pay up following their overtime victory in the NFC Championship Game.

Saints defensive end Bobby McCray has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for two hits in the game, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. McCray hit Brett Favre after he handed the ball off to Percy Harvin in the first quarter of the game. Later, McCray hit Favre in the knees following an interception in the third quarter, a shot that injured Favre’s ankle.

Makes you wonder about Gregg Williams’ comments this week regarding Peyton Manning a little, doesn’t it. The Saints defensive coordinator seems dead set on knocking the opposing quarterback out of the game.

Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove was ordered to pay up $5,000 for unnecessary roughness, the result of a shot in the third quarter when he slammed Favre to the turf. Also, New Orleans’ Jonathan Casillas was fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness. He hit punt returner Darius Reynaud after a punt had been downed.

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Biggs: McKinnie, Peppers blow off Pro Bowl practice

Hey, give Bryant McKinnie and Julius Peppers some credit.

They at least showed up for the Pro Bowl.

Well, until it came to practice this morning. McKinnie, the left tackle from the Minnesota Vikings, and Peppers, the defensive end from the Carolina Panthers, no showed at practice according to Pete Prisco of

McKinnie also skipped out on the NFC team photo, and the report states that both players could be subjected to fines. Hey, maybe that means they’ll really work that much harder for a winning share in Sunday’s game. Think about the benefits.

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League: Refs missed call on low hit to Favre


Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, admitted on the NFL Network’s “Total Access” show this week that referee Pete Morelli’s crew should have called a 15-yard penalty against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game on Sunday when Vikings quarterback Brett Favre absorbed a low hit from defensive end Bobby McCray.

Favre was hit low by McCray and high by nose tackle Remi Ayodele and injured his left ankle on the play. His pass was intercepted by linebacker Jonathan Vilma. New Orleans took over at its own 31 with the score 21-21 but did not score on the ensuing series.

A penalty would have nullified the interception and given the Vikings the ball at the Saints 19. Pereira called it “pretty much a direct shot into the back of [Favre’s] legs,” which isn’t legal because of rules about going after a quarterback’s knees.