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Phoenix – Woody Johnson addressed the media today at the NFL Owner’s Meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, and I thought he did a real solid job.
No matter how many times some reporters tried to get him to slip up, he didn’t.
I call them “banana peel questions.” In other words, try to get the interviewee to slip on a banana peel and mess up – make news.
He didn’t fall for any.
A lot of the questions revolved around the tampering charges leveled at the Jets by the Patriots regarding cornerback Darrelle Revis
Like the first question out of the box – “When did you decide to target Darrelle Revis in free agency?”
“After he became available, he was a target of not only us, but I suspect other teams as well,” Johnson said.
“Good answer” like they say on Family Feud.
If he slipped up and mentioned it was earlier than the official start of free agency, it could have been used against him by the NFL investigator.
A few questions later he was asked, “Are you surprised at the tampering charges?”
“I really don’t want to comment on it because the league is looking into it,” Johnson said.
Then there was this exchange late in the press conference between a Daily News writer and Johnson.
Daily News – “Was there ever a doubt Woody, when the opportunity became available, that Revis would not be a Jet again?”
Johnson – “Was there . . . (interrupted at this point)”
Daily News – “Was there ever a doubt that you would get him?”
Johnson – “I don’t know what you mean by that. He was a free agent. He was out in the market.”
Daily News – “But obviously your organization had the financial resources.”
Johnson – “Yeah, but other teams have finances as well. When you negotiate with any free agent, there is competition.”
Johnson did a nice job staving off the banana peels.
Personally, I think this investigation is frivolous.
Right after the season, Johnson fell on a banana peel when he said, “Darrelle is a great player, and if I thought I could have gotten Darrelle for [what the Patriots paid], I probably would’ve taken him. And it was our best judgment to do what we did. Darrelle is a great player. I’d love for Darrelle to come back.”
Look, I understand based on the letter of the law, this quote is out of bounds.
But do you really think he was looking to tamper here? He just screwed up.
And now to give this investigation more legs, the Patriots are also accusing the Jets of doing more tampering before free agency officially began.
Once again, this is frivolous.
The Patriots weren’t even in the running to keep Revis, once they heard he wanted $40 million guaranteed. So for them to feign outrage, when they really weren’t legitimate suitors for him, is a little disingenuous.
I think this is bull.
And kudos to Johnson for not falling on any banana peels today.
March 23, 2015
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