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Harrell has a chance to prove critics wrong


Mitch from Wichita, KS

With respect to college players entering the draft before completing their college football careers, why doesn't the NFL self-regulate and not accept any college players for the draft before they have completed four college football seasons?

That's the way it used to be. A player wasn't eligible for the draft until either he had expired his college eligibility or, in the case of a player who had left or never attended college, until his college class graduated. I can't remember if it was a court case or the threat of a court case that changed that. The NFL has always been very skittish about going to court on matters involving the draft; they would rather lose a little than lose it all.

Kris from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, what are your thoughts on teams opening the doors to anyone who wants to try out, like the Eagles did?

If you're referring to the Vince Papale story, it dove-tailed with the arrival of Dick Vermeil as the Eagles' coach and Vermeil's intent to introduce an ultra-aggressive, no-holds-barred approach to winning that would include a training camp that is legendary for the severity of its regimen. Public tryouts were a publicity stunt aimed at changing the Eagles' image. Papale helped sell it. By and large, public tryouts are a waste of time. The scouts know where the players are.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, have you seen any of the Rodgers and Braun commercials, yet? How worried should Packers fans be that Aaron will decide to retire early to pursue an acting career?

I'm not worried about it, but it can happen. Jim Brown retired early to do "The Dirty Dozen." Lynn Swann retired early to become a TV analyst.

Paul from Spencerville, IN

The rookie camp just ended. What were your impressions of this class? Who stood out?

The media was only permitted to attend one practice, the first, and I wouldn't even attempt to make any kind of judgment based on that. First of all, it was a non-contact practice, and football without contact isn't football. Cornerback is the only position I watch for any purpose of making a judgment. If a corner can flip his hips, mirror and close on the ball in non-contact drills, he can probably do the same in game action, but I need to see more than one practice. As I watched Friday's practice, I was struck by this thought: The combine drills were intended to imitate football; now, football is beginning to imitate the combine.

Dale from Madison, WI

As a casual fan, I want to be entertained. So I think players should use more performance-enhancing drugs. Enhanced performance, enhanced entertainment. Just think of it; guys jumping 15 feet in the air to snare a rocket of a pass thrown 100 yards on a rope. Bone-crushing hits that would shake the ground enough for the fans to feel it in their seats. Point totals could reach well into the 100's. Now that's entertainment. Thoughts?

I don't like sarcasm.

Jake from Tucson, AZ

Vic, what's your take on the Arena Football League?

Competent football players on a different kind of stage playing a game that was ahead of its time.

Jerod from Milwaukee, WI

Any players, coaches, team officials or other staff members going to attend your golf outing?

I'll invite some headliners, but I don't think anybody should register for the golf with the expectation that Aaron Rodgers is going to show up and play his guitar at the post-golf reception. I did find out yesterday, however, that we're going to be giving every golfer a great-looking Packers hat, so they'll have that going for them, which is nice.

Sean from Fort Hood, TX

Vic, have you ever considered retiring? Please leave and never come back. Who do you think you are? You talk like you know everything there is to know about football and, to be honest, you just look like a skinny old man who got run out of Pittsburgh and even Jacksonville, lol. Please go somewhere else and never come back again.

My plan is to either retire or expire, whichever comes first.

Steve from Hazelwood, MO

I can't make your golf tourney, but was struck by the legal disclaimer. I think the death of the NFL will not come from loss of fans or concern for injuries, but excessive invasion of the lawyers. They will ruin the game, the league and the fan spirit with their protective and litigious mentality. I think the nation, as well as the sport, are in critical danger from the lawyers. What say you?

This is nothing new. I can remember the impromptu news conferences Pete Rozelle would do in the back of the press box when he attended games. One of the questions he always seemed to face concerned the latest round of lawsuits. I especially remember him speaking of a lawsuit by Memphis to join the NFL, after its WFL franchise signed Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, Paul Warfield and collapsed the Dolphins dynasty. Imagine the absurdity of that twist: You raid the NFL of three of its biggest stars, and then you sue the NFL because you want to be a part of it.

Bobby from Minneapolis, MN

The Packers will be the first team the Vikings beat in the new stadium. Vic, would you like to come to Minnesota, where you can be warm all season? Comfort, baby, comfort.

No thanks, I hate domes, but I'm really glad you're getting a new one. I think it's great news for all of us that the Vikings are staying where they belong. Congratulations!

Otis from Pearland, TX

Vic, I don't remember seeing tryout players in prior years. Is this phenomenon due to the increase in roster size from 80 to 90 players?

The increase in roster size allows for an increase in tryout players. We had them in the past, but in much fewer numbers. If a team was limited at a position, they'd bring in a guy or two, work him out and decide whether or not to give him a contract. I'm not sure what this mass tryout platform has accomplished. We'll see.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT

We all know the NFL has become a pass-happy league and the Packers were able to win 15 games without an elite running back, but if you could take any every-downs running back in the NFL and plug him into the Packers offense, who would be the ideal fit and who would you choose?

From a run-catch standpoint, LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster are Packers-type backs, but I don't know much about their blitz-pickup abilities; Packers backs have to be able to block the blitz.

Guy from Stevens Point, WI

The only Packers game at County Stadium I ever saw was the final one there against the Falcons. It was very strange. There were pillars blocking the views everywhere. Favre passed into a pillar and Chmura ran out of it. At least I got to see Brett run the ball into the end zone for the win as time was running out. It was an exciting ending to a chapter of football history that had to close.

Poles were a fact of life when I was a kid. It's funny what you remember. I'll never forget the sad and frustrated look on my dad's face when he'd find that our tickets were right behind a pole. I felt so bad for him I tried to cheer him up by telling him it was no problem. People didn't buy season tickets then, as they do now. Buying tickets was mostly a day-of-the-game thing then. He would always wait as long as he could before kickoff, to get a couple of tickets from a scalper as cheaply as he could.

Dan from Rock Hill, SC

Read the waiver for the golf outing. How bad of a golfer are you when I have to agree not to sue the Packers in case of my death?

I get the shanks.

Chris from Pompano Beach, FL

I, too, want to see the game from a coach's view. You can't knock it until it has been tried, Vic. It may be beneficial if the NFL tried it for a few particular games and, meanwhile, also had the broadcast able to be viewed as it is today. I think it really could increase viewership. I know I would record the games as I do now but would enjoy them more thoroughly and re-watch them, etc. Do you think it would really cost that much more to do this? And if so, maybe charge people $5 for the season. The diehards would love it and I truly think it could revolutionize the way we watch/enjoy the game.

A whole $5? Wow!

Neil from South Range, WI

Vic, I'm interested in playing in your golf tourney, but the registration doesn't have enough information for me to make the five-hour trip to do it. Is it a scramble format and do you have to have a team? All my golf buddies are Vikings fans and wouldn't be caught dead at a Packers event. So can you sign up alone? More details, please.

It's a scramble, you can register as a single and you must sign the "Release and Waiver of Liability," in case a bear comes out of the woods and eats you or you get hit in the head with a ball and get a concussion.

Keith from Greenville, SC

"Is the press box air-conditioned?" What's the over/under on how many messages you get calling you arrogant?

Take the over.

Kyle from Grand Forks, ND

How can the league require at least two years of college and a year of prep without getting sued, but can't require four?

It's the Larry Fitzgerald rule. The NFL granted him an exception that set precedent – Maurice Clarett was suing for the same thing – after Fitzgerald had only played two years of college football. It's just a matter of time before a high school kid sues or threatens to sue. Just sue, baby.

Mark from Reno, NV

Do you recall what your opinion was of Graham Harrell when he came out of Texas Tech?

My opinion was the result of what every scout I asked about him told me: He doesn't have a strong enough arm. Graham has a chance to prove us all wrong. He's a good guy. I like interviewing him and I'm rooting for him.

Dan from Tallahassee, FL

I can tell you how it felt being in Lambeau's stands on Dec. 31, 1967. In row 55 of the southwest end zone, it was cold. I was one of the 255,000 people at the game that day. Dad got a phone call that morning and paid $5 total for two tickets to the NFL championship game. One thing nobody points out about the Ice Bowl: Using tarpaulins, the players benches were turned into roofed and three-sided dugouts. To me it seemed as if the wind was blowing into Dallas' opening, which would mean the Packers bench had its back to the wind. It could have contributed to the outcome.

It would not be allowed today. You can hold an awning over the bench to keep the sun off the players' heads, but you can't affix that awning to the ground.

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