Claus from Honefoss, Norway

What is the biggest point of discussion in contract negotiations, the amount or the division between salary and signing bonus?

Signing bonus is usually the big issue in negotiating a contract, because signing bonus is guaranteed money. You can make the total amount as much as you want but it’s meaningless if it goes away when a player is released, but signing bonus is guaranteed and doesn’t go away when a player is released. It must pass through your books and it accelerates if you release the player.

Jack from Chicago, IL

Vic, I think Ted Thompson made the right move by matching the Raiders’ offer to Richardson. Something I’ve noticed this offseason is most of the Packers’ free-agents draw a significant amount of interest. It’s a testament to how strong of a roster we have.

It says something about the depth of your roster that other teams are willing to pay significantly more money than you paid for the same players that backed up your big-money players.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Did you see the Browns’ new uniforms, Vic? I think they should’ve stuck with what they had.

The problem with the Browns’ traditional white uniform, which they’ve worn at home through the years, is it looks like a throwback; maybe it’s the white socks. As a result, the Browns have always tinkered with uniform changes. I liked the orange-pants look during the Sam Rutigliano years; I thought they should’ve stuck with those. The new uniforms are cutting edge. They’re a sign of the football fashion times, which means the Browns are likely to make another change in the future. I don’t like uniform changes. I think the uniform is all about identity. I think the Browns need to find a uniform that’ll create the identity they want, and then stick with it.

Justin from Titonka, IA

Vic, who is your NBA MVP?

I couldn’t name five NBA players.

Court from Butte, MT

Lost my dog today, Vic. His name was Packer. You would have loved him. He was, after all, a Packers fan, too. Do you like animals?

I love dogs. I wish I was a dog.

Don from Albuquerque, NM

What’s to keep a high-round draft pick from saying, “No, I don’t want to go to that lousy losing team in Jacksonville”?

Great golf courses, beautiful beaches, sunshine and warm temperatures in the winter, beautiful homes in gated communities, fresh shrimp, no state income tax?

Kenton from Rochester, MN

Vic, just a shout out to the Packers’ Tailgate Tour. We just got back from (our first ever) in Menomonie and thoroughly enjoyed our Tour experience. Got to high-five most of the Packers there and Mark Murphy as well. Also got Jerry Kramer to sign my original copy of “Instant Replay.” Just a real nice surprise.

The connection between the Packers and their fans is what makes this team and its fan base special.

Matt from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, I didn’t get the sense you answered Scott’s question yesterday. Do you think there will be a struggle between Barrington and Matthews in terms of who runs the defense?

I hope there is because struggle is at the root of the game. This isn’t a comfort sport. It’s not a feel-good game. I hope an intense competition develops to become the star of this defense. Joe Greene was often referred to as the “heart and soul” of the Steelers defense. Jack Lambert once said to me, “I don’t hear any more of that heart and soul (crap).”

Ray from Clark, NJ

Vic, Otis Sistrunk had the best hair in the NFL, hands down, especially when it steamed.

Otis Sistrunk, from the University of Mars.

Bill from Iowa City, IA

The Packers have had some success moving defensive linemen to outside linebacker (Peppers, Perry, Neal). Is that a common transition? What is needed to do it successfully?

A 3-4 defense.

Jake from Franklin, WI

Vic, I am a college student and thanks to you I am noticing a lot of unnecessary use of the word “that” in my textbooks and by professors. You have made me OCD about it.

I’m glad that I did.

Pablo from Oak Creek, WI

Who the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway?

He is the Creator.

Ben from Eau Claire, WI

Best running back of all time, throw all stats out the window? Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, other?

How dare you ask that question? You need to show some respect.

Cody from Rice Lake, WI

Vic, what is the difference between D-1, D-2, D-3 and FCS?

Competition is the difference. A player in the SEC is going to face much stiffer competition than a small-college player, and that makes it easier for the scouts to identify talent. Be that as it may, you draft the player, not the division or the conference. A good scout needs to be able to find talent at any level.

Toby from Newington, CT

Vic, you mention Mel Kiper made the draft what it is today. Are we thanking him or blaming him?

He doesn’t care, as long as you keep watching. Every time you make fun of his hair, he thanks you, from the bottom of his wallet.

Ray from Harrisburg, PA

Vic, I remember when the Packers ran that famous sweep with Jim Taylor. I wonder how Lacy would do running that today?

Eddie Lacy would’ve been a monster running the Packers sweep, but not in today’s game. It doesn’t fit in today’s game, against gap-control, penetrate-and-disrupt defenses. It takes too long to develop. Its day was against read-and-react defenses. The Packers sweep has too many moving parts and takes too long to develop. It was a thing of beauty. USC called theirs “student body right.” I miss that kind of choreography.

Wayne from Marion, VA

Vic, I love your stories from your previous days with the Steelers. What’s your best Terry Bradshaw story?

It was from the final football game ever played at Shea Stadium. It was late in the 1983 season and Bradshaw hadn’t played a down due to arm surgery that would end his career. He decided to come back for this game; the Steelers had to win to make it into the playoffs. It was a crazy, media-wonderful week that began with a magical Mynah bird sitting on Bradshaw’s right arm. The day before the game, I got on the bus to go to Shea Stadium for a brief practice, just to be able to write that Bradshaw threw some passes and is ready to go for tomorrow’s game, which was played on a Saturday. Bradshaw sat down next to me on the bus. I said, “How’s the arm?” He said, “I can’t throw at all.” I thought he was teasing, but he never threw a pass at practice. The next day, they shot his right arm up until he could barely feel the ball. On the first series, he drove the length of the field and threw a wobbly touchdown pass. On the next series, he drove the length of the field and threw a wobbly touchdown pass. That was it. It was the last pass he would ever throw.


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