Peter King Summarizes the Last 2 Months of NFL News

The NFL news cycle hasn’t missed a beat since the end of last season

A Look Back On What Has Been A Hectic Period During the NFL’s Offseason – For one reason or another, stories have continued to break at lightening speed during what is usually a dead news period for the NFL. In his Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated, Peter King gives us a brief look back on what has been the busiest off-season in the history of the NFL:

  • March 2 — The NFL says the Saints ran a sophisticated bounty program with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams the ringleader and between 22 and 27 defensive players willing participants.
  • March 7 — Colts release Peyton Manning.
  • March 9 — Within eight hours, the following three stories break: Manning, a free agent, covertly flies to Denver, where Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs two months earlier … The Redskins trade three first-round picks and a second-rounder to St. Louis to acquire the second pick in the April draft, so as to take Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III … The Jets sign quarterback Mark Sanchez to a stunning contract extension, with $40.5 million in new money. (Much of it, we find out within days, is not guaranteed.)
  • March 11Brandon Marshall is accused of punching a woman during a skirmish at a New York nightclub.
  • March 12 — The NFL announces salary-cap sanctions against Washington ($36 million) and Dallas ($10 million), for what the league says was dumping salary into the league’s 2011 uncapped year to gain a competitive advantage. The Redskins and Cowboys say they’ll appeal the ruling. Randy Moss comes out of retirement to sign with San Francisco.
  • March 13 — Miami trades Brandon Marshall to Chicago, where, apparently, there are no nightclubs, for two third-round draft picks … Secretly, at night, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman work out Manning at Duke University.
  • March 14 — Detroit signs wide receiver Calvin Johnson to a $132 million contract, the largest deal in league history. That’s $12 million more than the entire team’s salary cap for the 2012 season.
  • March 15 — Mario Williams, the most attractive defensive free agent on the market, stuns the league by taking only one trip and signing with Buffalo.
  • March 17 — Free agent quarterback Alex Smith, upset the 49ers haven’t stepped up to the plate in negotiations, flies to Miami on a red-eye to investigate jumping to the Dolphins. A Seahawks blogger on the flight breaks the story on Twitter.
  • March 18 — Free agent quarterback Matt Flynn signs with Seattle, ostensibly to start at quarterback.
  • March 19 — Peyton Manning agrees to terms with Denver.
  • March 20 — Newsy day in the Keystone State: Hines Ward retires … Houston defensive captain DeMeco Ryans is traded to Philadelphia.
  • March 21 — Roger Goodell suspends Saints coach Sean Payton for the season, departed defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely, GM Mickey Loomis for eight games and defensive assistant Joe Vitt for six games, all for their roles in the bounty scandal.
  • March 22 — Tim Tebow, three months removed from being the most famous player in the league, is traded from Denver to the Jets.
  • March 27 — Bill Parcells, seriously considering taking the one-year Saints head-coaching job for his friend Sean Payton, plays golf with Payton and Loomis to see if they’d be able to work together.
  • April 5 — Videographer Sean Pamphilon releases a tape of a Saints team meeting the night before a January playoff game in San Francisco, with some graphic detail of Gregg Williams seemingly urging his players to injure 49er players. “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore‘s head,” Williams says.
  • April 9 — Goodell denies appeals by Saints coaches and Loomis.
  • April 12 — The Saints announce Joe Vitt will be the 2012 interim coach, with Payton returning to coach the team in 2013. One problem: They don’t announce who will coach the team for the six games Vitt is banned.
  • April 17 — In yet another example of the league making news out of thin air, the NFL spends three televised hours releasing the 2012 schedule. Foes were already known for each team. Dates were released here. Denver has five prime-time games. Someone in the league office must be a medic, with Manning coming off four neck procedures in the previous two years.
  • April 20 — Goodell visits Minnesota to tell legislators, in essence, that if they don’t approve funding for a Vikings stadium, the team could go to the highest-bidding city (read: Los Angeles). Very soon.
  • April 24  Colts announce they’ll pick Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft.
  • April 26 There are 19 trades in the first round of an NFL draft that is as speedy (three hours) as Usain Bolt.
  • April 29 The NFL announces that 39 million people in the United States have watched at least one minute of the three-day draft.
  • May 2 Within two and a half hours, the NFL planet shakes. One: Goodell suspends four players for their roles in the bounty scandal, including a one-year ban for middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma … Two: Junior Seau is pronounced dead in his San Diego home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Mind you – NFL training camps don’t open for well over two months from now, yet we’ve already been hit over the head with a season’s worth of storylines. Needless to say, this has been one of the more eventful off-seasons any sport has ever had

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