Chat with Chris Mortensen
Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and one of the most respected and accomplished reporters covering the NFL, joined ESPN in 1991 and appears on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter.
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:00 AM)
Happy Super Bowl! You'll probably have been saturated or oversaturated with Super Bowl talk but, then again, there are 30 teams who already are thinking about 2013.
As a longtime Niner fan, I fully stand by Rice's label as the greatest. Was a little dissappointed though at his reaction to Moss yesterday.
Chris Mortensen (11:02 AM)
Bob, I'm not sure why you were disappointed with Rice's reaction but mine was this - Jerry really does not have to defend himself. The "greatest" label is not something one should put on himself. We'll do that for you - unless you're Muhammad Ali.
Martin (New York)
Mort - do you think teams with a late first round pick could potentially make a play for Victor Cruz this offseason? Or do you fully expect him to return to the Giants?
Chris Mortensen (11:03 AM)
I expect Cruz to be a Giant and I would expect a long-term contract to get done. You can't let weapons like Cruz get away from Eli Manning.
In your view was the Pro Bowl enough this year to save it? I think it's nice to acknowledge, but with no weight in the game it has no value since it's at the end of the year.
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
My belief is NOBODY makes ANYBODY watch the Pro Bowl, yet I just looked at the TV ratings for the week and the Pro Bowl rated 4th behind the American Idol shows and NCIS (?). I do think the Super Bowl players should be given the opportunity to participate in the Pro Bowl. I think there's a value in seeing the torch passed from the older stars such as Peyton Manning to the younger guys like Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson this year.
This superbowl coming up puts a great defense vs a great defense, a young QB in Flacco vs a younger QB in Kaepernick, and brother vs brother! What do you see being the difference maker in this game?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Can the 49ers defensive front put enough pressure on Joe Flacco. The Ravens O-line stoned the Broncos with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. If Flacco is afforded with the same near-flawless protection then I imagine the Ravens will spread out the 49ers and attack them where they have some vulnerabilities in the secondary, as we saw against the Falcons.
The timing of the deer antler story seems curious. How long has the investigation been in the works? What are your thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
I don't like the timing of the story - on Media Day - but Im quite aware that there is a strategy to give stories their fullest focus. I don't know the details of the "investigation" - this sound more like a narrative with the allegation. It has surfaced previously. I have mixed feelings. If a player is coming back from an injury - is it a lot different than Joe Citizen seeking holistic or other remedies that may be unconventional to conquer a disease? I don't know the answer. I do ask the question.
Mort - could you see the Patriots letting Welker go and going after Mike Wallace?
Chris Mortensen (11:14 AM)
Interesting question, Ben. Having an explosive receiver to allow the field to breathe with guys already on board like Lloyd, Gronk, Hernandez wouldmake that tempting. But my guess is Wallace will want top market dollar in that $10-$11 million per year range and I don't see that happening.
What would hurt more, Cruz leaving the Giants or Welker leaving the Pats?
Chris Mortensen (11:14 AM)
Cruz leaving Giants because the Patriots have so many more weapons.
Any word on how rehab is going for RG3?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
I don't have an update but it would be slightly slower pace because there was an LCL surgery, not just the ACL. As it's been explained to me many times, it's very important for RG3 to strengthen his quad muscles as much as he can.
Do you and Schefter ever actively work together on stories, or do you have independent sources and verify with each other after the fact?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
Andrew, we work independently for the most part but obviously we are on the same team and there are stories when we work together and help each other, especially when there is a story of magnitude. We have different backgrounds, different personalities but we are very good friends. Adam is the hardest-working reporter I have ever encountered. I tease him sometimes - he needs an intervention!
Armin (St Louis MO)
Are there any rams players in New Orleans for the super bowl visiting? who are the rams looking at for DC
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I haven't seen any Rams players but it's early. Dick Jauron is the leading candidate for defensive coordinator as of Tuesday.
With 22 free agents in 2013, who do you think its the biggest name leaving the Ravens for next season?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
Ed Reed, if he leaves. Even though he will be 35 on Sept. 11, he still is admired and feared at some levels for his ball skills and awarness.
Has Brian Urlacher played his last game as a Chicago Bear?
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
Based on what I read from Urlacher the other day, he sure sounds like a guy who wants to remain with the Bears and a willingness to restructure his contract but I don't know the strict answer to the question of whether he will remain with the team.
Mort, Do you think Matt Barkley will end up being a TOP 10 pick in Aprils draft?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
NFL teams don't really have a top 10 grade on Matt but QBs always get elevated in the draft because of the need so he's one of about four or five guys who should benefit.
Danny Stone (Tenn)
As much as Peyton loves football, do you think it's pretty likely he could be on the sideline when he does retire, and where would you rank him all-time?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
No, Peyton has no plans to coach when his career is over. I could see Peyton in a John Elway role after he enjoys some time away from football and he will really want to enjoy being a father. I don't want to do the ranking thing. It's in the top 10 all-time, that's for sure.
Could you see either Chicago or Atlanta going after Jared Cook next year to help strengthen their offenses? (assuming Gonzo retired in ATL)
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
If Cook is a free agent and not franchised, he will be pursued and those are two teams that certainly would look at him. However, I think the Falcons will be patient in hoping they can lure Tony back someimte next August while developing young TEs.
Chris Mortensen (11:33 AM)
sorry, had to take a quick phone call...back to you questions.
Do you think Titus Young will be a Lion next year?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
I don't see how or why but I do believe Titus has put himself in a position where the Lions won't do him any favors.
any thoughts on Alex smith and 2nd round pick to NY Jets for Revis?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
My thoughts are that it won't happen because I'm not sure the Jets hold Alex in the same esteem as Sanchez.
Danny Stone (Tenn)
Colts are turning into a defensive team, thank god, the draft is coming up. Dwight Freeney will be a free agent and I'm pretty sure will be in another uniform. Will we replace him with a draft pick or go that route in the secondary? Also, who's high on their list. I know you know.
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
Danny, it's just too early to know. I think the Colts and GM Ryan Grigson - who was just named executive of the year - have big challenges ahead of them. They have real needs on defense and they have to fix the O-line to protect Andrew Luck. I do think new OC Pep Hamilton's scheme will be more pass-protection friendly but at what cost in terms of big plays Luck can generate.
How much does not having a top rated QB in tis years draft hurt the trade value of the top 2 picks?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
Let's put it this way: There's no team trading three No. 1 picks-plus to go up into those two slots.
So if Kaep exploited the outside run against GB, and handed off inside to Gore most of the time against ATL, what's Harbaugh & co. thinking for Sunday? Somewhere in between?
Chris Mortensen (11:42 AM)
One thing that we have seen in the playoffs is that you can take away one element of the 49ers offense but you have to give something up and if Kaepernick is playing well - especially in the passing game- then they're tough to stop. They already had some very creative run-game designs and they have great run blockers, whether it's the O-line, tight ends or even wide receivers.
Is "Reaching" for a guy you think is a franchise QB not a big deal anymore because of the rookie wage scale? If the Bills like Nassib, why risk him not being there in round 2?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
I do think the rookie wage rules do make teams feel less restrictive in their QB evaluations. Your Bills question is a good one. No doubt they like Nassib. No doubt the 2nd round makes more sense but if you really believe in him as your future QB, it would make you nervous to pass up on him early. They have 3 months to figure this out.
Do you think the NFL should consider allowing players to take steroids in order to recover from injuries, perhaps with oversight from a group of doctors not tied to either the NFL or NFLPA?
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
I think that does happen to an extent but I'm not a medical expert and there would have to be a some real safeguards against a sham treatment. I'm just more open to the conversation, as long as it does not end up jeopardizing a players' health, short-term and long-term. I'd like to see a more transparent conversation on this topic.
Rob (San Antonio)
How much do you think Manti's stock has been effected by all this controversy and would he be there for the Steelers to draft and would they?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
I don't see him as a Steeler but, again, let's see how the evaluation goes. He is considered undersized for an inside LB but he can be a 3-down linebacker based on those 7 interceptions as a senior. The "hoax" story is one that will be explored by seriously interested teams because they will want to be sure there's no underlying psychological issues that diminish the intangibles that were perceived to make him a special player, too.
So why am I not hearing more about Akers in this Super Bowl? All it will take is a Scot Norwood-like kick for the 49ers to lose and they'll wish they kept Cundiff instead. They can't always score TDs and I know Akers isn't Vinatieri but one small aspect could destroy a season.
Chris Mortensen (11:54 AM)
Eric, we will be paying attention to this by game time.
If you was KC gm what would you do with the pick
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
I'd explore every QB that rates up there and if there is one I felt real good about, I'd take him. If not, I'll take one at the top of the second round and maybe another later. Remember, GM John Dorsey comes from a Packers organization that always stacks QBs, as does Andy Reid, who spent time in that same Green Bay organization.
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
Time to run. Thanks again. Give us a watch on NFL32 weekdays at 5 ET through the entire year (not just in-season) on ESPN2. We are on a pretty good pace of touching on all 32 teams during the 60-minute show. Follow me on Twitter via @mortreport. Super Sunday NFL Countdown at 10 a.m. God Bless!