NFL notes: Making things right

Travis Henry. (REUTERS)

Travis Henry. (REUTERS)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:31 PM ET

There is a perception that professional athletes are:

a) Self-centred

b) Uncaring

c) Overpaid and oversexed.

d) All of the above

You don’t have to look far before finding an athlete who has left behind a string of single mothers. Former Bills’ running back Travis Henry: 11 kids, 10 women and one cocaine problem. Former NBA star Calvin Murphy has 14 kids with nine women. The Ravens’ Ray Lewis is renowned for his charitable activities, but also has six kids with four different mothers — a clear case of charity beginning at home. Willis McGahee, in just two years in Buffalo, became the illegitimate father of three kids. Guess there isn’t a lot to do in Buffalo.

On the other hand, there is Shelton Quarles.

The former Tampa linebacker recently held his third annual celebrity fundraiser for the Quarles Impact Foundation, which has raised more than $600,000 to help single mothers.

“I was raised by a single mother,” said Quarles, who played linebacker for 10 seasons. “My mother had me when she was 15 years old, so I know what the struggle is when it comes to a single mother and raising a family. Being in that atmosphere and living with my grandmother and my uncle ... not having a room to call my own, that made me have a heart for single mothers.”

The foundation helps single mothers make their homes livable, funding repairs and makeovers.

“My mom struggled,” Quarles said. “But she made sure that I had everything I needed to succeed ... education. That’s something they could never take away from you. She (helped) me go to Vanderbilt University and, ultimately, make it to the NFL.

Former major leaguer Tino Martinez was there. So, too, were Giants’ receiver Michael Clayton and the Bucs’ Ronde Barber.

Attendees paid $250 a plate. But the money wasn’t so much for what showed up on their plate, but rather, for what it could put on the plates of others.

JAWORSKI SACKED

ESPN has taken Ron Jaworksi from the Monday Night Football booth. Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden become a two-man team on MNF. Not that Gruden sounded all that enthused about the decision. “I understand there are times when players have to put their faith in the coaches and other decision-makers who are trying to position a team for success, and that’s what I’m doing here,” Gruden said. “I have faith in the people I’m working for here.”

The network attempted to colour it as a move up for the former NFL quarterback, giving Jaworski a five-year contract “extension” to be a studio analyst.

But, somewhere, Dandy Don Meredith is warming up a refrain of “Turn Out The Lights”.

CATCHING FLAK

Cris Carter doesn’t believe Hall of Fame voters have anything against him.

He just doesn’t believe they have any appreciation for NFL receivers.

“I think the modern-day wide receiver, I would say that his skill level is not appreciated,” Carter said after having the Hall doors slammed for a fifth time.

Only seven receivers who started their careers after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger have been elected to Canton: Michael Irvin, Steve Largent, James Lofton, Art Monk, Jerry Rice, John Stallworth and Lynn Swann.

ADVERTISING 1-WHOA-1

The Broncos are getting a glow on — and the neighbours are not happy.

A Denver residents group has gone to city hall to protest a giant 10-by-178-foot red neon sign displaying the name of new stadium sponsor: “Sports Authority Field.”

“I am afraid those signs will be brilliant red and shining into our bedroom for the rest of our lives,” said Rick Whitney, who owns a condo three blocks from the stadium. “Not only that, everyone in the city will have to see that.”

Tim Tebow and a red-light district. Now there’s something we didn’t ever expect to put in the same sentence.

QUICK HITS

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the consensus No. 3 quarterback in the draft, will be at next week’s combine, but won’t participate in on-field drills. He’s recovering from foot surgery while working out with quarterback mentor Chris Weinke, who tutored Cam Newton last year ... Colts’ owner Jim Irsay plans to meet by “next week” with quarterback Peyton Manning about staying in Indianapolis. Blah, blah, blah. Just call us when it’s over! ... The Vikings appear locked in to another season at the Metrodome, with a team executive saying the club had no plans to file a notice of relocation by Wednesday’s deadline. Just to show how out of the question a Toronto franchise really is, clubs such as the Rams and Vikings haven’t even tried using the city as a lever to gain new, or improved, stadiums ... The Buccaneers, with Gerald McCoy returning from injury next season, saved $7.2 million in salary cap space by cutting defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. This will come as a surprise to nobody, except maybe somebody sitting on the Haynesworth family sofa.

JETS MENDING FENCES

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez wants Santonio Holmes to be his Valentine.

Whether Holmes again becomes his go-to receiver next season is entirely another thing.

Sanchez is trying to repair the rift that resulted when Holmes publicly ripped the quarterback after the Jets failed to make the playoffs. The two played all season as though head coach Rex Ryan had failed to introduce them to each other. Statistically, they had the lowest success rate among any quarterback-receiver tandem.

Wednesday, Sanchez injected a little humour into the fence-mending. He used his Twitter account to write: “santonio10 you want to be my Valentine?” — complete with a picture of a heart-shaped box of shortbread cookies.

Cupid would be pleased. No word on whether Holmes is.


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