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Aaron Rodgers is a Super Bowl champion and is generally regard as one of the best two or three quarterbacks in the NFL, but has he underachieved in Green Bay over the years?

On Thursday’s episode of “The Herd”, Colin Cowherd explained why Packers fans complaining that Rodgers doesn’t ‘have enough help’ don’t have a valid argument.

Aaron Rodgers has one of the NFL’s elite coaches

“Among my football sources – I’ve got six scouts in my phone, I’ve got a couple GMs, and I’ve got them, by the way, anonymously, so if I lose my phone Andy Reid will not get a call.

“Basically, when I talk to coaches, this is who they tell me are the best coaches. Belichick No. 1, obviously. [Mike] McCarthy No. 2, Andy Reid No. 3, Pete Carroll No. 4.

“Here’s the thing. For years and years, I have said Aaron Rodgers is great. But all I ever hear about from Packer fans is ‘well Tom Brady’s got Belichick!’

“Pete Prisco, according to all his NFL sources, and he’s been covering this league for 30 years, they put Mike McCarthy of the Packers second.”

Lambeau Field gives Rodgers more of an advantage than any other stadium would

“So Aaron Rodgers, nine years as a starter with the second-best coach in the league? Four times [he]’s one-and-done or missed the playoffs.

“All I’m saying… when I bring Greg Cosell on and he says ‘I love Aaron but sometimes he ad-libs out of a play.’ That’s called ‘not coachable.’

“I know Aaron’s wonderful and I’ve said it before…. Rodgers has arguably the second-best coach in the league. I would argue the best home-field advantage in the league. Last year, I thought they had the third-best pass protecting offensive line in the league after Dallas and Oakland.

“And he’s had, I would say, better receivers – on average – than Brett Favre had. On average.”

Stop with the ‘Rodgers has no help’ argument

“I like Aaron, and the one year he had a great defense he won a Super Bowl. It’s not a criticism, but there are certain fanbases – and they’re often the small-market fanbases, Oklahoma City and Green Bay – where they’re almost collegiate. Where you have kind of a back-rubbing local media that tells you what you always want to hear.

“Stop with the ‘Rodgers has no help.’ That is arguably the best home field in the league, and four of his nine years he doesn’t make the playoffs or he’s one-and-done. McCarthy is an absolutely fantastic head coach.”

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When your dad is a Hall of Famer, it can be kind of tough to live up to expectations.

“It’s probably a little late in the game to get in the Hall of Fame,” Chris Long said with a laugh. “My dad was a hell of a player and I’m very proud of him.

“I’ve always separated myself and just done my own thing, (been) my own man. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in the league.”

Long has 58 1/2 sacks in nine seasons, the first eight with the Rams and last year with the Patriots. From 2011 through 2013, his 33 sacks were eighth-most in the NFL.

But the last three years, injuries limited his playing time and effectiveness and he’s totaled just eight more sacks. He signed a two-year, $4.8 million deal with the Eagles hoping to jump-start his career.

He said he doesn’t mind the pressure and expectations that come with being a Hall of Famer’s son, since there have always been more positives than negatives.

“It’s never easy, and expectations are certainly always there, but there’s a lot of positive with that pressure, too,” he said. “I’ve always embraced it. I think my dad’s made me a better man and a better football player, so the positives outweight the negatives of the pressure.”

Howie Long, a second-round pick out of Villanova in 1981, was an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end and a two-time first-team all-pro in a 13-year career with the Raiders.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, when Chris Long was 15 years old.

Long was the second pick overall in 2008, behind only Michigan tackle Jake Long, taken first by the Dolphins.

Chris Long was in Philadelphia Friday and said his dad’s only advice for him during the free agent signing period was that he would love playing in Philly.

“My dad always supports me in everything I want to do,” the younger Long said. “He’s got a great football mind. I’ll bounce things off him, but obviously he’s very supportive of it, and (playing in Philly) is one thing we can both agree on.”

Chris Long’s first game in college was a 44-14 Virginia win over Temple at the Linc, and his first game as a pro was a 38-3 Rams loss to the Eagles, also at the Linc.

“I lined up in front of Tra (Thomas) and I was like, ‘What the hell did I get myself into?'” Long said. “I was chasing around Donovan McNabb all day. I think they hung 44 on us (actually 38).

“But all I could remember was the fight song, and I just remember thinking throughout my career, ‘I really would love to play in a city like that, that’s got that kind of atmosphere.

“And my dad was able to drive that home. He was like, ‘You will love Philly, you’ll love the people, you’ll love the mentality, and having played in college there and having spent a lot of time there and played against the Eagles a lot in the NFL, he was like, ‘Man, you’ll love that city.'”

When it came to finding a good fit for his skill set, Long did all that work himself.

When it came to finding a city he would love to play in, that’s where Howie got his point across.

“I figured out the football part to have my dad to drive home, ‘You’re just going to love Philly,'” Long said. “That’s kind of where he came in and gave me a little insight there.”

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Tony Romo is headed to the broadcast booth, at least temporarily, and he won’t be coming to the rescue of the Houston Texans. He won’t solve their long-standing quarterback problem and he won’t be the final piece of their Super Bowl puzzle.

So what do the Texans do now?

[The Texans are the loser as Tony Romo heads to the CBS broadcast booth]

They could stand pat at quarterback. That would mean making an inconsequential move or two to round out a roster that now includes a pair of QBs, Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden. It would mean entering the season with the hope that Savage, who has some promise but zero career touchdown passes, develops into a quarterback worthy of a team with a Super Bowl-caliber defense and some decent ingredients on offense.

But that’s not good enough. The Texans need to do more.

They can’t continue to waste the best years of J.J. Watt’s career without giving him a quarterback capable of making this a Super Bowl team. They can’t waste the efforts of a defense that was outstanding last season even without Watt, and could be as good or better with him back.

That could mean signing Colin Kaepernick or Jay Cutler, the most prominent quarterbacks still available in free agency.

Yes, the Texans took their shot last offseason and it didn’t work out. They signed Brock Osweiler to an $18 million-per-season contract, only to bench him in favor of Savage late in the season, hand him back the starting job for the AFC playoffs after Savage suffered a concussion, and then part ways with him last month by trading him to the Cleveland Browns. That was an admission they’d made one of the biggest free agent blunders in history.

Even so, the Texans have to take another shot at getting a quarterback capable of getting them to a Super Bowl. That guy probably is not Savage, not yet. It almost certainly is not Weeden. It’s probably not Ryan Fitzpatrick or Robert Griffin III, also available as free agents.

Could Kaepernick or Cutler get the Texans to the Super Bowl? Perhaps not.

It shouldn’t be about politics with Kaepernick, it should be about football. It’s still a difficult evaluation. He was decent last season for the 49ers, with 16 touchdown passes, four interceptions and a passer rating of 90.7.

But he has not demonstrated clearly that he can return to the level that once made him a Super Bowl starter. He had trouble unseating Blaine Gabbert from the starting job in San Francisco. He played for a team that went 2-14.

[Are NFL teams on their way to blackballing Colin Kaepernick? Perhaps. But it’s too soon to know]

As for Cutler, the Chicago Bears finally had enough of his inconsistency and moved on. He never has fulfilled the promise of his ability and arm strength, and now he’s about to turn 34 and coming off shoulder surgery.

But he was a pretty decent in 2015 in Chicago with Adam Gase as the Bears’ offensive coordinator. If the Texans somehow could coax a 2015-like performance out of Cutler, who threw for 3,659 yards and 21 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions that season, that would be plenty good enough. That would be an upgrade, presumably, over what they would get from the quarterbacks currently on their roster. But could they get that version of Cutler?

It’s not an easy decision. It’s not the ideal situation for the Texans, but it’s what they now face. It says here that the Texans should decide which of the two they prefer, sign him and at least give him a look through the offseason, training camp and the preseason. There is much at stake.


1. Broncos’ QBs … The Denver Broncos were also denied a chance to pursue Romo but they should be okay with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.

Siemian actually was decent last season with 18 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, an 84.6 passer rating and 3,401 yards passing in his 14 starts. If he makes reasonable progress in his second season as a starter, he’ll be a playoff-caliber quarterback.

The Broncos traded up to get Lynch in the first round of last year’s NFL draft. Few — if any — observers thought he’d be ready to start as a rookie. But plenty like his potential for Year 2 and beyond. If he develops as expected, the Broncos will have an interesting decision to make.

2. Romo’s next task … Romo is being handed a very high-profile job, with CBS having pushed aside Phil Simms for the game analyst position on its No. 1 team with Jim Nantz.

What Romo will be doing isn’t easy. He will be a rookie broadcaster working high-profile games. If he struggles to make the adjustment, that will happen in front of the entire football-watching country. There will be no coming along slowly, as Romo did as an undrafted rookie. As a broadcaster, he is a No. 1 overall draft choice, with the accompanying expectations of immediate success.

[Tony Romo’s waffling on retirement means there will be Favre-like speculation whenever there’s a QB vacancy]

Romo has not completely ruled out a return to the field. Since he was released by the Dallas Cowboys, he’s a free agent if he does opt to come back from retirement.

Much could depend, it seems, on how quickly and seamlessly Romo adjusts to his new job, and whether there are any attractive starting jobs that become available during the season.

3. Opinions needed … One thing that Romo will need to learn quickly, it appears, is to offer an opinion when prompted. He was asked during last week’s conference call with media members what he thinks the Texans should do at quarterback now that he’s not an option.

“I would love to pretend that I’m the GM for the Houston Texans,” Romo said. “But since I’m not, I’m gonna let you ask him that question.”

[Amazon reaches $50 million deal with NFL to stream Thursday night games]

The quarterback of the Cowboys should pass on that question. The lead NFL analyst for CBS shouldn’t.

It just goes to show that the transition might not be quite as easy as some think.

4. Jones’s role … So Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as it turned out, did right by Romo, after all.

As the Romo saga dragged on without the Cowboys releasing him, it appeared Jones was intent upon trying to get a draft pick from the Texans or the Broncos in a trade. But as it turned out, Romo was weighing much more than which team would be a better fit for him. Jones’s delaying tactic gave Romo the time and space to make that decision.

And releasing Romo — at his request, according to the Cowboys — gives his the option to pick his team if he does return at any point.

5. On Simms … There was a certain euphoria by some fans, it seemed, at the CBS decision to oust Simms in favor of Romo. The dislike for Simms as an analyst was odd. He was perfectly competent, and no one should be applauding his professional misfortune.

[Phil Simms offered lead analyst job (for a day) by minor league baseball team]

6. What about Fitzpatrick? Last offseason, remember, Fitzpatrick’s free agent status was a big story. He was coming off a productive season for the New York Jets and he didn’t re-sign until the eve of training camp.

Now, no one seems to care that Fitzpatrick is available. He almost certainly will be forced to sign a modest contract. But he could be a viable veteran backup whose availability shouldn’t be forgotten or completely dismissed.

7. What about Griffin? Griffin, too, has been out of sight, out of mind since the Browns opted not to bring him back for a second season. The former offensive rookie of the year for the Washington Redskins almost certainly will not land in a spot where he can vie for a starting job.

But a year or two out of the spotlight might serve Griffin well. He could try to learn how to make the transition from improvisational quarterback in a gimmick offense to reliable NFL pocket passer without the pressure of needing to start and be productive right away. He can sit and watch and learn.

Maybe Griffin’s days of NFL prominence are over. Maybe they aren’t. But he probably is down to one last chance as a No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback somewhere, and he’d better be ready to take advantage.

[Robert Griffin III, done with the Browns, probably is not quite out of NFL chances. Yet.]

8. Peterson’s situation … Running back Adrian Peterson, still a free agent, has visited the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. He reportedly will visit the New Orleans Saints next. But with the draft nearing and a highly regarded class of running backs available, it might make sense at this point for him to wait to see which teams remain needy at the position.

9. Pats’ RB situation … The Patriots hosted Peterson without immediately signing him to a contract. They have not re-signed LeGarrette Blount, at least not yet. Their group of running backs at this point includes Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White and Brandon Bolden. There almost certainly is another move to come. But it’s clear that the Patriots are willing to wait and add a prospective centerpiece runner for the right price whether it’s Blount, Peterson or someone else.

10. Lynch and Raiders … Marshawn Lynch remains retired. He remains contractually tied to the Seahawks. He remains, therefore, not a member of the Oakland Raiders, at least at this point. But don’t the Raiders, headed for Las Vegas for the 2019 or 2020 season, need to make this happen if they’re going to continue to be “well supported” by fans during their remaining time in Oakland, as owner Mark Davis predicted?

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Before they ever dress in NBA uniforms jerseys from china, the University of Kentucky’s latest soon-to-be millionaires should have some business sense about them.

That was the advice offered by Shaquille O’Neal, a Naismith Hall of Fame member who won four NBA championships before retiring in 2011. He was in town as the keynote speaker for the University of the Cumberlands’ 12th annual edition of “The Excellence in Leadership Series.”

“Be prepared to handle your business,” O’Neal said. “Nineteen-year-olds, 20-year-olds making 20, 30 million (dollars), it’s kind of hard to handle. You need to have some sort of business type about yourself.”

O’Neal added with a grin, “One term you must know is FICA. FICA will take all your money.”

He recalled wanting to go pro after his freshman year at Louisiana State University. His mother took him shopping and instructed him to balance a checkbook.

“I couldn’t do it,” O’Neal said. “She said, ‘You’re not ready.’” Eventually O’Neal went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 draft following his junior season. He went 3-2 against UK, a program for which he holds a great deal of respect.

“I love, well, I can’t say I love UK basketball,” Shaq said with a laugh. He went on to mention that the Wildcats are on the list of programs for his son, Shareef O’Neal, a four-star prospect out of Los Angeles who’s considered the 30th-best recruit in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports. That site’s crystal ball prediction has UK tabbed as the favorite to land the 6-foot-7 power forward, but UK hasn’t yet offered him.

“I don’t know where he’s gonna go, but I would love for him to play for a coach like (John Calipari),” O’Neal said. “The fans there are always good.”

O’Neal was selected as the keynote speaker for Cumberlands’ event in part because of his vocal support of law enforcement. Leadership awards in honor of Daniel Ellis and Jason Ellis, two police officers who were slain while on duty in recent years, were presented to their respective widows, Katie and Amy, before O’Neal spoke before a sold-out crowd. Scholarships were presented to Hunter and Parker Ellis, the sons of Jason and Amy, and Luke Ellis, the son of Daniel and Katie, as part of the program.

The 15-time All-Star described himself as a “medium-level juvenile delinquent” as an adolescent. He had two uncles, both policemen, who took him to the local jail and left him there for three days.

“They said, ‘If you keep going down the wrong path, this is where you’re gonna end up,’” O’Neal said. “I didn’t like it. … Cops always looked out for me, so I just love law enforcement. All of ’em.”

His passion eventually resulted in action. While he was with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal graduated from the police academy, and he did so again in Florida after he was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. He’s currently a deputy sheriff in Doral, Fla., and hopes to run for sheriff in Georgia or Florida in 2020.

“Rather than someone just give me a badge, I wanted to earn my spot,” O’Neal. “I wanted to be just like everybody else. So when I run for sheriff, I’m sure I could probably just win off of name recognition, but I’m not looking for that. I want the troops to respect me and understand that I feel for them and I always did the same things that they did. Hopefully it’ll work out.”

Most of O’Neal’s other ventures in life have. The 7-foot-1 hulk has successfully transitioned from basketball star to media personality and businessman; the “Shaq” brand is affiliated with everything from energy drinks to shoes to pain-relief medication.

“Being a player and being on championship teams, I understand partnerships, so I’ve partnered up with people that are a lot smarter than I am,” O’Neal said. “… I wish I could say I was an expert.”