And now, your questions …
Dr. Andrews seems to be everywhere. What does Washington think of that?
Andrews has considerable influence. There are a few NFL team doctors who did their fellowships with him in Birmingham. He has performed surgeries on a who’s who of professional athletes, including Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson and now Griffin. He is the “go-to” doctor for second opinions and consultations, as top NFL agents want to bring their client to “the best” in the business. And, as a final aside, Andrews is a medical consultant to both Auburn and Alabama.
Washington is obviously comfortable with his multiple duties and, like the agents, Snyder wanted the most well-known doctor in the business tending to his players.
How do teams feel about players getting second opinions?
It is the players’ collectively bargained right and most teams accept it as part of the business. The bigger issue, in my opinion, is a growing mistrust or distrust of team doctors by players, something I have noticed especially in recent years. I continue to hear of stories of players not trusting team doctors to look out for their best interests. This is something to watch.
With veteran kickers Rian Lindell and Dan Carpenter both released in the past week, are teams going with young kickers to save money?
That is part of it. Teams are seeing equal or perhaps even better performance by the younger (and cheaper) player and thus moving on from the older, more established kicker. With the recent success of young kickers such as Justin Tucker in Baltimore, Greg Zuerlein in St. Louis and Alex Henery in Philadelphia, more teams are wading in with unproven kickers, and saving money in the process.
Why was Von Miller suspended six games and what will he lose?
The details of a potential suspension under the NFL Policy for Substance Abuse are kept highly confidential, and we may never know the full story of his transgression. His statement read in part: “Although my suspension doesn’t result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules.”
Without a positive test, I would sense—and I admit to speculating here—that there was a “diluted sample,” which would set off discussions of Miller trying to mask a positive reading of his sample, as well as testimony from the collector regarding irregularities in the collection process with Miller. Last season, D.J. Williams was suspended six games (per the Policy on Anabolics) for providing a nonhuman sample, but failed to persuade the NFL to reduce the penalty on appeal.
Miller will forfeit six games of his $2.28 million salary, or approximately $806,000. In addition, the Broncos are entitled to recover a prorated portion of 6/17th one of the four seasons of his $13.77 million signing bonus—for a forfeiture of $1.215 million—as per their right under the CBA. Thus, Miller’s transgression may cost him more than $2 million.
The Broncos are probably now wishing they had received that fax back in March confirming the renegotiated contract of Elvis Dumervil and didn’t have to release him.