SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. ESPN honored a group of Hall of Fame players worthy of playing in the Super Bowl who never made the big game. That list included two San Diego Chargers who lit up the scoreboard in the 1970s and 80s in quarterback Dan Fouts and tight end Kellen Winslow. Check out the link, which includes short pieces on both players written by ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha (Winslow) and Greg Garber (Fouts).
Bill Barnwell of Grantland gives his offensive rookie of the year nod to Keenan Allen over Eddie Lacy in a close vote. Says Barnwell: “I think it’s just about a dead heat. For me, I would say that the tie would go to the player taken later in the draft, which would push the trophy toward Allen. I know that’s entirely arbitrary and unfair, but it’s a sportswriter (fake-)voting for an award; that’s not anything new. I also think Allen will win the real voting because he had a better finish to the season, notably scoring twice in the nationally televised win over the Broncos. But if Lacy wins, nobody needs to riot.”
ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi places Chargers running back Danny Woodhead on his All-Bruschi team, which includes recognizes unheralded players around the league who do the dirty work that helps teams win games, but go unnoticed.
Brushi on Woodhead: “On the roster, the numbers next to Woodhead's name look like this: 5-foot-8, 200 pounds. Others might focus on height and weight, but Woodhead doesn't, and his production comes as little surprise this year. He was a two-time Division II player of the year in college and has made big plays whenever given the chance in the NFL. He's a two-time All-Bruschi performer. Woodhead was signed by the Chargers via free agency this season from New England, and Phillip Rivers sure isn't giving him back. Whatever you ask him to do, he can do it. Woodhead's key stats this season: 76 receptions, 429 rushing yards and 8 total touchdowns. You ask linebackers around the league who they don't want to be in man-to-man coverage against and Woodhead's name will come up. This kid was born to play football.”
The Chargers hired former Buffalo Bills tight end Pete Metzelaars as San Diego’s tight ends coach. Metzelaars played with San Diego offensive coordinator Frank Reich in Buffalo.
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell writes that according to a Harris Poll taken this month, the NFL is the most popular sport in America for the 30th year in a row. Major League Baseball came in second. Per Rovell, it’s not even close -- NFL (35 percent), Major League Baseball (14 percent), college football (11 percent), auto racing (7 percent), the NBA (6 percent), the NHL (5 percent) and college basketball (3 percent).
In this ESPN Insider piece, Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. provide a nice rundown of the top performers for each position at the Senior Bowl.
In Don Banks of Sports Illustrated’s re-drafting of the 2013 draft, Keenan Allen goes No. 2 overall to Jacksonville and D.J. Fluker is picked No. 4 by Philadelphia, leaving San Diego to select offensive tackle Luke Joeckel at No. 11.