We cynics have long assumed that player opposition to a proposed 18-game regular season is based as much on finances as it is on health and safety issues. So I thought it was interesting Wednesday to hear Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's view on the subject.
During his season-ending news conference at Lambeau Field, McCarthy was asked if he was in favor of the 18-game proposal. As you might have heard, the Packers finished the regular season with 15 players on injured reserve and had several more suffer significant injuries in Super Bowl XLV.
"I know what the company line is," McCarthy said. "But you are talking to a guy that just barely made it through 16. You can figure that one out for yourself."
Theoretically, a coach doesn't have a financial incentive pulling him between 16 and 18 games. His only concern is preserving his assets -- players -- over the course of the season. The Super Bowl-winning coach has a bit more latitude to speak his mind than others, but I'll be interested to see if anyone else speaks out on the topic as the offseason progresses.
You can read the entire transcript of McCarthy's news conference on the Packers' website. A few other highlights:
Receiver Jordy Nelson, who was on crutches Tuesday at the Packers' "Return to Titletown" event, has a bruised bursa sac in his knee, an injury he played the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on. It's not considered serious.
Linebacker A.J. Hawk will have arthroscopic surgery for a chronic wrist injury.
McCarthy received a congratulatory phone call earlier this week from President Barack Obama. McCarthy said the conversation began with, "This is a tough phone call for a Bears fan to make," but added: "It was a neat conversation. He was very complimentary of our football team and what we endured as a football team. Very complimentary of Aaron Rodgers [and] Charles Woodson."
McCarthy said he had nothing to report on a possible contract extension but reiterated he hopes to remain in Green Bay as long as possible: "My family, we're very comfortable here. We want to be here, and we hope [life] stays the same. I still go to Starbucks every morning. Got a cup with 'Congratulations' on it today. That was nice. But other than that, they still charged me. So everything's staying the same."