The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Full Disclosure? It'll Never Happen

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The NFL requires its teams to abandon their secrecy about injuries to some degree.

Teams are required to issue injury reports during the week, listing injured players' practice participation (no participation, limited participation, full participation) and, at week's end, playing status for the game (out, doubtful, questionable, probable).

The idea is that this puts all outsiders, including opponents and gamblers, on a fairly level informational playing field.

But from there, it can get silly.

You have coaches like the Patriots' Bill Belichick and the Jets' Eric Mangini who prohibit their players from talking publicly about injuries.

You have injury dramas like last week's with Tony Romo. On Monday, the news came out that the Cowboys quarterback had a broken pinkie on his throwing hand and could be sidelined as long as a month. By midweek, the reports were that Romo was throwing and practicing and hoping to play without missing any time. On Friday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on the radio and said it was very likely that Romo would play two days later. On Sunday, Romo stood on the sideline and watched backup Brad Johnson stumble and bumble his way through an ugly loss in St. Louis, having determined in pregame warmups that he couldn't play. Last night, Romo went on the radio and said he doesn't expect to play this weekend and probably will miss another game after that as well. That takes us right back where we started: Romo being out a month.

Believing what people in the NFL says about injuries is a little like believing what people in the NFL say about what they're going to do in the draft.

No one, it seems, tells the truth.

I've always wanted to see a coach stand up at his Monday press conference and say, "Bob is hurt. We could stand here and tell you that we don't know if he's going to play this week and it will be a game time decision Sunday. We would do that because we think it would keep our opponent guessing all week and that would affect our opponent's preparation. But really, we know that's silly. We know Bob is not going to play. So we're going to play his backup. We have confidence in him as a player and we know that whether we win or lose Sunday really comes down to how well we play, not these stupid games about covert injury information that we try to play all during the week."

I'm not holding my breath for it to happen. In fact, if it did happen, you'd have to wonder if it was just another trick.

The worst thing that ever happened to the possibility of an open dialogue about injuries was Belichick winning three Super Bowls. Now, thanks to that, you can't convince anyone that full disclosure about injuries is the right way to go.

By Mark Maske  |  October 22, 2008; 10:45 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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