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The NFL is in a funk right now

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You think you have it bad. All those e-mails that are piling up. All the folks at work wanting things done yesterday. All the clothes in the laundry room that won't wash themselves. Kid's stuff. You want bad? Check out the NFL right now. Read on.

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• Last night I turned on the Monday Night Football game. Traditional rivalry. Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers. Two of the NFL's best franchises. Two of the NFL's high profile quarterbacks ... what, wait? Josh McCown and Seneca Wallace?  Yep, those were the two guys under center when I picked up the game. No Jay Cutler for the Bears, he was on the sidelines injured. No Aaron Rodgers (pictured) for the Packers, he was on the sidelines injured, joining a long list of quarterbacks and receivers and players at every position injured. But you expect injuries in football. What you don't expect is coaches falling to the turf at halftime, stricken by a TIA (a stroke-like condition) in the middle of the game. That's what hit Texans' coach Gary Kubiak on Sunday. Or coaches in the hospital following a heart procedure, as is the case with Denver's John Fox. The sad thing is, though, the injuries, the coaches going down, those things are not the worst news the NFL is dealing with. Nope, that's coming out of Miami where former Stanford star tackle Jonathan Martin left the team recently. It's been revealed he was basically forced out by the actions of a "teammate," Richie Incognito, who, I'm sure, wishes he was really incognito right now. This story of bullying, abuse, racial epithets, sick humor and just plain inconceivable behavior is spilling all over the national media. And making a mockery of the old saying any publicity is good publicity. This story is giving the league – already dealing with former player suicides, current player concussions, assorted other major injuries and outdated nicknames – a black eye. As if that was possible anymore. Listen, the game itself is incredibly exciting. The management and peripheral actions? Not so much.

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• WSU: Jacob Thorpe has a few links up this morning and we have a few more. ... The biggest game of the season (up to now) is Thursday night at Stanford. ESPN is going to treat it a bit differently. ... A Tuesday mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. ... Oregon is Stanford's biggest foe, so it's good to get back one of the Cardinal's defensive linemen. ... Colorado has lost a young basketball player. He's transferring.

• Gonzaga: St. Mary's is in the limelight in the Bay Area this morning so we can pass along a couple stories, one about replacing the Gaels' go-to guy and one about the problems coach Randy Bennett faces.

• Preps: It's Tuesday, so we have the football power rankings. These are the last of the season. ... Though Jim Meehan's weekly volleyball notebook is about college volleyball, this week's main subject is a Mt. Spokane graduate playing in Montana, so we decided to link it here.

• Seahawks: The emphasis Monday was on the Hawks' leaky run defense, which has coach Pete Carroll a bit worried. He wants to fix it right away. ... The question this week – besides whether Percy Harvin will play – is whether the struggling Atlanta Falcons can exploit any holes. Doesn't seem likely the way they've been playing. ... The injury list is still pretty long. ... There is more than meets the eye with Marshawn Lynch. ... Dave Boling doesn't think an Incognito-like crud could infect the Seahawks.

• Sounders: Seattle has the toughest assignment facing any of the trailing MLS playoff teams, having to win in Portland. The Timbers just don't seem to lose at home anymore. Of course, neither do the Sounders and they did. ... Eddie Johnson says he's happy in Seattle but he would like a little more money. Wouldn't we all? ... Clint Dempsey has some things to say. ... No one is sure yet who will be available for Seattle on Thursday.

• Mariners: The Mariners seem to have narrowed their managerial list down to four finalists. The guy I have always thought they would hire, Joey Cora, is still on their list. ... Talk about a bad offseason. Felix Hernandez's home was hit with a fire yesterday while he and his family were out of town.

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• That's it for today. It's a snow day at my house. The yard is covered in about an inch of the stuff. But the leaves that have yet to be bagged are still sticking out, so it isn't that deep. Yet. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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