Sunday at the Post

QUOTE/STORY OF THE WEEK...

“If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.” -- Theodore Roosevelt, “The Strenuous Life”

“The Strenuous Life” is the title of a speech given by Roosevelt in Chicago on April 10, 1899. Based on his personal experiences, he argued that strenuous effort and overcoming hardship were ideals to be embraced by Americans for the betterment of the nation and the world in the 20th century. It happens to be one of my favorite speeches by Roosevelt, slightly nudging “The Man in the Arena” speech. Roosevelt was an incredible leader and president. Here at the Sunday Post, in honor of Presidents Day, I’d like to honor our 26th president -- Teddy Roosevelt, the great writer, great leader, great soldier, great environmentalist and a great American.

THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE NFL LAST WEEK…

“Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.” -- Thomas Jefferson

1. NFL owners vote to award Roger Goodell a five-year deal (Source: NFL.com)

NFL owners have shown their support for Commissioner Goodell by unanimously voting to award him a new five-year contract, through 2015. His original contract was due to expire in September 2011. The vote occurred last December at a league meeting in Dallas. “Commissioner Goodell and his staff have done an outstanding job, and this is a statement of confidence in Roger’s leadership,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank, chairman of the NFL’s compensation committee. “NFL ownership recognizes his already significant list of accomplishments and is fully behind his strategic vision for the future of our league.”

2. Dolphins must wait three weeks to release LB Joey Porter (Source: Sun-Sentinel)

After first announcing they had released linebacker Joey Porter, ending his tenure in South Florida after three up-and-down seasons, the Miami Dolphins were forced to restore him to their roster due to NFL salary cap rules. "The release of Joey Porter was determined to be an invalid termination," the team said in a statement. "Therefore, at this time, Porter reverts back to Miami's roster." The Dolphins apparently will have to wait three more weeks before officially cutting ties with Porter. He’s due a $1-million roster bonus shortly before the new league year opens on March 5, and it now appears the Dolphins will have no choice but to pay him that sum.

3. Bengals sign WR Matt Jones to a one-year deal (Source: Cincinnati Enquirer)

Even though the official signing period does not begin for three weeks, the team has signed former Jacksonville wide receiver Matt Jones to a contract in a deal first reported by ESPN. It’s a one-year deal for about $700,000.

4. Cardinals working to extend coach Ken Whisenhunt's contract (Source: AZCentral.com)

The Cardinals are in negotiations to extend coach Ken Whisenhunt's deal beyond 2011, when his original contract is scheduled to end.

5. Shahid Khan thrilled at chance to own Rams (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Shahid Khan, who has entered into an agreement to purchase the St. Louis Rams, issued the following statement Friday afternoon: "I recently signed an agreement with respect to the purchase of the St. Louis Rams. The proposed transaction is subject to approval by the National Football League and its owners. To that end, I am excited to begin the approval process and will, in accordance with league policy, proceed on a confidential basis and refrain from public comment. As a long time Rams fan and supporter of the City of St. Louis, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be considered by the NFL and am extremely grateful for the trust placed in me by Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez."

THINGS I HEARD AROUND THE NFL LAST WEEK...

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” -- John Adams

1. The Dolphins will find a way to cut Joey Porter this week. All they need to do is terminate a vested veteran, thus creating the cap room, and then re-sign the player 24 hours later. Not really a hard problem for them to solve, but this is not the way new cap manager Dawn Aponte wants to get started.

2. Many teams will join the Steelers in operating with an internal cap and reducing the amount of spending for the 2010 season. Committed cash is the real cap, and if teams have committed cash to players on the roster, this will limit their spending and reduce their interest in free agency. I talked to teams last week, and most are working on the draft, not free agency.

3. Double check the restricted tender market closely. If a team tenders a perceived good player with a first right of refusal tender, they probably do not want him back next year. I suspect the restricted market will be very busy. Do you think the Chargers would match on Shawne Merriman? Or the Broncos on Brandon Marshall? My hunch is they would take the picks.

4. If the Raiders don’t get Sebastian Janikowski signed to a long-term deal, they still have the transitional tender to place on him, thus allowing them a first right of refusal. They have to keep their franchise tender open for Richard Seymour, for whom they gave up a first-round pick in 2011 to the Patriots.

5. Why would the Eagles have to extend Kevin Kolb’s contract? They own his rights for at least two more years as a restricted free agent, so there’s no reason for the Birds to give him any more money. Just like the Broncos won’t give Elvis Dumervil a new deal as he’s restricted as well. In this market, these deals make no sense.

LEADERSHIP IMPROVEMENT IDEA...

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” -- George Washington, letter of instructions to the captains of the Virginia Regiments, July 29, 1759

Lessons from a Larger-than-Life President
From Theodore Roosevelt.com

Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most remarkable figures in America's story. Adventurous, brave, opinionated, a larger-than-life personality, he was a man of action, energy and motion. T.R. loved what he called "the literature of history" -- and wanted to be a key actor in America's great drama.

Roosevelt was not perfect by any means -- but he was an extraordinary man by any reasonable measure. He was among our most consequential presidents, changing America in deep and lasting ways. A century after he served as president, he still has many things to teach us. Among them:

1. It is every American's responsibility to be active in our civic life. "The first duty of an American citizen, then," Roosevelt said, "is that he shall work in politics." T.R. took the title of citizen seriously. He believed freedom could not be preserved without Americans "striving and suffering for it" by defending the nation and participating in the practical work of democracy.

2. Politics should be animated by large, important ideas. For a man who said, "I like big things," politics was about precisely that. T.R. was not interested so much in management or budgeting matters; he wanted to grapple with big issues like America's role in the world, social justice and fairness in competition. Whether it was waging war or waging peace -- T.R. was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize -- he shaped the future of the nation and the course of human events. In doing so, he helped invent the modern American presidency.

3. The United States, while not flawless, is a profound force for good in the world. Theodore Roosevelt led a reluctant nation, largely indifferent to world affairs, onto the global stage. On his watch, America became a great world power. "There comes a time in the life of a nation, as in the life of an individual, when it must face great responsibilities, whether it will or no," he said in 1898. "We have now reached that time. We cannot avoid facing the fact that we occupy a new place among the people of the world ... Our flag is a proud flag, and it stands for liberty and civilization. Where it has once floated, there must be no return to tyranny."

4. Leadership matters. Confident in his own powers of judgment and persuasion, Roosevelt believed in "immediate and rigorous executive action" in times of crisis. And whether they agreed with him or not, Americans knew where this human dynamo stood on the great issues of his time. Driven by a fervent belief in the Declaration of Independence, he drew strength from his faith that all Americans "stand on the same footing" as human beings worthy of respect. And like all great leaders, he inspired those he led, turning his convictions into theirs.

5. A spirited clash of ideas is not only inevitable in politics, but helpful. T.R. didn't just love ideas, he loved to debate them as long as it was fair and straight. The "healthy combativeness" of politics clarified differences and choices. The rough-and-tumble of the political arena didn't bother him. "If a man has a very decided character, has a strongly accentuated career," Roosevelt said, "it is normally the case of course that he makes ardent friends and bitter enemies." T.R. had both. So did F.D.R. So did Lincoln. So did Reagan. So do all consequential leaders.

6. There can be great joy in politics. At the age of 28 and on the verge of losing the New York City mayor's race, he still wrote a friend, "I have had first class fun ..." He relished the thrust and parry of politics, its give and take, the highs and lows. And he knew politics was a noble profession. "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords," he famously said. No man loved being president more than T.R. -- or missed being president as much.

7. Character matters. Roosevelt was a man of extraordinary self-will. Encouraged by his father, he turned himself from a sickly child to a powerful, hardy young man. He overcame common human fears and became a man of great courage. He chose "the strenuous life" over comfort and ease. He was a loyal friend and faithful husband -- and reveled in the company of his children. He encountered heartbreaking losses -- the sudden passing of his beloved first wife and his mother on the same day in the same house and, later, the death in combat of his son Quentin -- yet his life was characterized by passion and zest and a drive to achieve great things.

Roosevelt's fellow citizens loved him, in large measure because they knew how deeply he loved his country. At the start of "a new century big with the fate of many nations," he said America was the "young giant of the West." He strived with all his considerable power to conserve, strengthen, direct and ennoble it. He did all that and more, which is why Theodore Roosevelt holds a special place in the American imagination.

ARTICLES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THAT AREN’T WORTH MISSING...

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” -- Abraham Lincoln

Breaking down the NFL season

All-Decade Team in the NFL

STORIES TO SHARE....

“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” -- Theodore Roosevelt

The Strenuous Life
By Adrea Dorfman

THE EARLY YEARS

1858-83

Born in New York City on Oct. 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt is the second of four children of Theodore and Martha Bulloch Roosevelt. At age 6, T.R., his brother Elliott and friend Edith Carow (who would one day be his second wife) watch Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession from the home of T.R.'s grandfather on Manhattan's Union Square. He graduates magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1880 and marries Alice Lee a few months later, on his 22nd birthday. The next year, he becomes the youngest man ever elected to the New York state assembly. A Republican, Roosevelt serves three one-year terms, one as minority leader. During that time, he publishes his first book, on the War of 1812, which becomes required reading at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also buys a stake in the Maltese Cross, a cattle ranch near what is now Medora, N.D.

TRAGEDY

1884-85

On Valentine's Day 1884, less than four years after Roosevelt's wedding, his mother and wife die within hours of each other, in the same house. His first child, Alice, is just two days old. That summer he flees to Dakota to mourn, staying for two years (and acquiring a second ranch, Elkhorn), while his sister Bamie rears Alice. During this time, work is completed on Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's spacious home in Oyster Bay, N.Y., which will serve as the summer White House from 1902 to 1908.

A NEW BEGINNING

1886-97

In November 1886, Roosevelt, just 28, loses the race for mayor of New York City. A month later, he marries his childhood friend Edith Carow. They will have five children: Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archie and Quentin. Once settled, he becomes increasingly involved in national politics, serving as a U.S. Civil Service commissioner in Washington and president of New York City's board of police commissioners before President William McKinley appoints him Assistant Secretary of the Navy on April 6, 1897.

THE ROUGH RIDER

1898

In May 1898, less than a month after the start of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt resigns from the Navy Department to become lieutenant colonel of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment -- the "Rough Riders" -- and fight in Cuba. Soon promoted to colonel, he leads two charges in the Battle of San Juan Heights, which he calls his "crowded hour." Roosevelt is later nominated for, but denied, the Congressional Medal of Honor. He finally receives it in 2001.

RISE TO POWER

1898-1901

Not long after being discharged from the Rough Riders, Roosevelt is elected Governor of New York. During his two years in office, he signs nearly 1,000 bills into law, including one desegregating state schools. After being nominated as McKinley's vice-presidential running mate in 1900, he and McKinley defeat William Jennings Bryan and Adlai Stevenson by fewer than 900,000 votes. On Sept. 6, 1901, six months after taking office, President McKinley is shot while touring the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y. McKinley dies eight days later, and Roosevelt is sworn in as the 26th President. Just 42, he is the youngest man ever to hold the office.

THE PRESIDENCY BEGINS

1901-04

Five months into his first term, T.R. launches his trust-busting campaign by suing the Northern Securities Co. He also establishes himself as a conservationist, creating Crater Lake National Park in Oregon (the first of five such parks he designates) and proclaiming Pelican Island, Fla., the first federal bird reservation (he will set up 50 more). Other highlights include his July 4, 1903, "Square Deal" speech in Springfield, Ill., and the treaty with Panama to build the Panama Canal.

SECOND TERM

1904-09

On Nov. 8, 1904, Roosevelt wins the election, saying, "I am glad to be elected President in my own right." His Dec. 6 message to Congress includes the so-called Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which justifies U.S. intervention in Latin America. In 1905, he establishes the Forest Service; gives away his niece Eleanor Roosevelt at her March 17 wedding to distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt; brokers the Treaty of Portsmouth -- signed on Sept. 5 in New Hampshire -- ending the Russo-Japanese War; and persuades colleges to make football games less dangerous. The next year, T.R. mediates a dispute between France and Germany over Morocco and signs the Antiquities or National Monuments Act -- which enables the president to protect sites like California's Muir Woods, New Mexico's Gila cliff dwellings and the Grand Canyon -- as well as the Pure Food and Drug Act and a meat-inspection law.

On Feb. 17, T.R.'s daughter Alice marries Ohio Congressman Nicholas Longworth, and in November he and Edith inspect the partly built Panama Canal -- the first time a president has left the U.S. while in office. On Dec. 10, T.R. wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War; he is the first American Nobel laureate. Finally, on Dec. 16, 1907, T.R. dispatches the "Great White Fleet" on a round-the-world voyage that he believes is "the most important service that I rendered to peace."

T.R.'S LEGACY

1909-19

Soon after the inauguration of his successor, William Howard Taft, on March 4, 1909, Roosevelt and his son Kermit sail to Africa, where they spend nearly a year shooting animals for the Smithsonian. In early 1912, T.R. announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, but the party re-nominates Taft -- even though Roosevelt won all but one primary and caucus. The new Progressive (Bull Moose) Party promptly adopts T.R. as its candidate. That October, he is shot while campaigning in Milwaukee but gives a 90-minute speech before seeing a doctor. Democrat Woodrow Wilson is elected on Nov. 5, 1912; T.R., the runner-up, garners the largest percentage of votes ever by a third-party candidate. In the fall of 1913, T.R. travels to South America, where he gives lectures and explores Brazil's "River of Doubt."

He nearly dies, but later says, "I had to go. It was my last chance to be a boy." After he returns to the U.S., war breaks out in Europe and the Panama Canal opens to traffic. The U.S. enters World War I in April 1917; 15 months later, T.R.'s son Quentin, 20, is killed in France. Devastated, Roosevelt declines to run (again) for Governor of New York. On Jan. 6, 1919, T.R. dies in his sleep at Sagamore Hill of a coronary embolism. He is only 60.Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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