1 » Perhaps one of the most overlooked stories entering the 2014 NFL season is the health of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. One of the best playmakers in the league over the last five seasons, Harvin has only played in 12 games over the last two years including just three in 2013. But Harvin made an impact in Super Bowl XLVIII when he returned the returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, and he almost won the game’s Most Valuable Player honor for it. Now, the defending Super Bowl champions get a healthy Harvin for presumably the entire season.
“He’s a tremendous threat,” head coach Pete Carroll told the media on Monday. “You can feel his speed and that burst that he has, really challenges you. You don’t know if he’s going to go all the way so just the opportunity to give them that problem makes them stay up a little later, trying to figure out how to stop him.” Added Harvin: “My body is feeling tremendously good. I’ve actually reached some gears that I didn’t know I had. I’m feeling very, very fast right now.”
2 » New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick has been candid this week when discussing the incident last season regarding his then-teammate, Philadelphia Eagles WR Riley Cooper, screaming a racial slur at a concern that was caught on film and disseminated on the internet. “When I’d seen it, I didn’t believe it,” Vick told ESPNNewYork.com about the video. “I couldn’t even see him fixing his face to say that because I’d known him for three years.” But Vick knew how important Cooper was to the Eagles’ success, and it was him who put his reputation on the line to have Cooper’s back despite the rest of his teammates wanting, well, his head. “[It] was going to derail our team. Unfortunately, it was going to derail Riley’s career. It would have ended his career,” he said. While Cooper was appreciative at the time, Vick said he felt like Cooper’s gratitude ended there because “a couple things transpired since [the incident] that I dislike” with Cooper not responding to Vick’s congratulatory text after Cooper landed a five-year, $25 million contract extension. The two made up by phone on Wednesday, however, and Vick called his standing up for Cooper “the best thing I’ve done as a professional athlete, absolutely.” He continued: “I was able to save a young man’s career, and that young man went on to have the greatest year of his career and get a contract that he probably never imagined he would get.”
3 » Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Tuesday that he expects former Florida Gators wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. to start in place of Dwayne Bowe in the team’s season-opener against Tennessee. Hammond, an undrafted free agent who spent the 2013 on Kansas City’s practice squad, has six receptions in three preseason games and is one of the Chiefs’ breakout offseason stars. “He’s done a nice job,” Reid said Tuesday. “He’s a pretty good football player.” Bowe is under an NFL suspension and will regain his starting job when he returns, but Hammond is now a lock to make an NFL roster and should likely stick through the season.
4 » Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis has missed three preseason games while dealing with a groin injury. And he has been none-too-pleased with the development, refusing to speak with the media while he attempts to rehabilitate, get on the field and keep his starting job. The Dolphins were very close to cutting Sturgis and handing his job over to John Potter, who impressed when he was brought into training camp to kick while Sturgis was hurt, but Potter wound up injuring his hip in the third preseason game and getting cut himself. Sturigs resumed kicking on Tuesday, according to the Miami Herald and should be able to play in Miami’s final preseason game. If all goes well, he will remain on the team at the start of the 2014 season.