NFL notes: Big Easy natives try to avoid hard feelings

February 1, 2013 

NEW ORLEANS — Heading back to his hometown, Jacoby Jones couldn't afford to tell the truth.

The All-Pro kick returner for the Baltimore Ravens got 15 tickets for the Super Bowl as a participating player. The demand from family and friends was way beyond that.

"I told my family before I left (Baltimore) I only got nine," Jones said, shaking his head and smiling.

Each Raven and San Francisco 49er player and coach had access to 15 tickets: two complimentary, the rest for purchase. Prices range from $800 to $1,200.

Jones enlisted his mother, Emily, in charge of ticketing. "My mom is old school, no nonsense. ... It will be immediate family."

Jones tried to make up for the shortfall by buying the rest of his family jerseys, about 30 in all.

Teammate Ed Reed was in the same pickle. He's from New Orleans, too. "Honestly, I could fill the Superdome up. I could fill every seat. I would love to, but you can't. So I want my family to know that right now. Things are starting to get a little pricey, but I'm just grateful to go through it."

Driver a Packer forever

No other uniform would fit Donald Driver.

The Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver announced his retirement Thursday, with a public ceremony planned for Feb. 6 at the Lambeau Field Atrium.

"I've always said that I owe it to the fans to retire as a Packer," Driver said. "I feel like I can still play, but if I can't play for my organization, then I can't play for anyone else."

Driver finishes his 14-year career as Green Bay's all-time leader in yards receiving (10,137 yards), catches (743) and 1,000-yard seasons (seven), and is third behind Don Hutson and Sterling Sharpe with 61 touchdown receptions. Only Brett Favre played more games in a Packers uniform.

Asked his favorite memory, Driver said, "All 14 years. Every day. That's a special place to walk out of, and that's something I'll never forget."

Culliver offers apology

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized Thursday for anti-gay comments he made to a comedian during Super Bowl media day, saying "that's not what I feel in my heart."

"They were very ugly comments," Culliver said during an hour-long media session. "Hopefully I learn and grow from this experience."

During the interview with Artie Lange, Culliver responded to questions by saying he wouldn't welcome a gay player in the locker room. He also said the 49ers didn't have any gay players, and if they did those players should leave.

Calling Lange's questions "real disrespectful," Culliver said he realized he was speaking to a comedian and not a journalist.

"That was pretty much in a joking manner," the player said. "It's nothing about how I feel."

More doctors at games

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash says he expects independent neurological consultants to be on sidelines during games next season to help diagnose and treat concussions.

Speaking at a pre-Super Bowl news conference Thursday, Pash explained that the doctors would not be paid by the clubs or hired as team physicians. Pash said "details need to be worked through" with the NFL Players Association.

The NFL is facing concussion-related lawsuits from thousands of former players.

In interviews about head injuries with The Associated Press in December 2011, 31 of 44 players said they wanted the league to have independent neurologists at games.

Rice: Check the stats

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice has no interest in a back-and-forth debate with Randy Moss during Super Bowl week about who's the greatest NFL wide receiver of all time.

Rice has a strong opinion on the matter, yet insists he won't come out and say he is the best ever. The former San Francisco 49ers star turned TV commentator will offer this to Moss: Check the stats.

On Tuesday, Moss declared himself "the greatest receiver ever to play this game."

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