The Hit King

Congrats to Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio for his record-breaking ability to get hit by pitches. Yesterday, in the Astro's game against the Rockies Biggio set the modern career record for the number of times hit by a pitch at 268. The MLB baseball record was set by Hughie Jennings, who was hit 287 times.

For an interesting blog on Biggio's quest to break this record check out PlunkBiggio.blogspot.com. The arm guard Biggio was wearing when he got hit by the pitch will be sent to the Hall of Fame.


From the "A fool and his money are soon departed" file

Just two days ago I was joking about how the only news for the next month would be if Dwight Smith made it into the police blotters . . . and what does Smith do but make it into the police blotters?

This time though Smith was the victim of a crime. Smith was at a family member's home in Detroit Sunday night when he was robbed by gunpoint. The thieves made off with some $100,000 in jewelry and $4,000 in cash.

My first impression? Man, that's a lot of bling. Especially if your just hanging out on the front porch with family. Smith is from Detroit, so I'm sure he knows how bad the city can be. Which is why it makes no sense to be wearing that expensive of jewelry.

No word on if Smith will track the thieves down Sean Taylor style, brandishing guns and baseball bats with a few dozen of his closest friends. (actually, now that I think about it that's more of the Warrior's style, best Coney Island gang out there)

Drew Rosenhaus must have shat himself

Good article in the Orlando Sentinel by Chris Harry about Ronde Barber and his uncommon sense of humility. Harry makes an excellant point that Barber is the best cornerback on the #1 pass defending team, yet he is the 27th highest paid corner in the league (also the average corner's salary is higher than the average quarterback's salary).

Agent Drew Rosenhaus probably spit coffee all over his computer after reading Barber's quotes this morning. Rosenhaus, who represents more than 90 players, has kept stars such as Terrell Owens, Edgerrin James, Javon Walker, Sean Taylor and Reuben Droughns from offseason workouts in hopes of angling new deals. Barber has a better case than any of them, but he's here.

Good points all around by Harry. I haven't made a point of regularly reading the Sentinel but if they continue to produce fine columns such as this I will have to change that.

X-Box Live Baseball, Version 2.0

Off the bat, let me say I made a mistake last week "reporting" on the Kansas City T-Bones/MVP Baseball game. The T-Bones are in the independent Northern League, and thus there is almost no reason to watch any baseball game they play, especially now.

After the furor that was created by their announcement, the T-Bones have rescinded their decision to allow the first two innings of baseball on July 16th against the Schaumburg Flyers to be decided by two video game geeks. The commissioner of the venerable Northern League reversed his decision to allow the promotional event to occur.
"Any promotion that could affect the outcome of a regular-season game is not permissible, "[commissionerr Mike] Stone said. "Ultimately, such an event could have an influence on the final standings, and this certainly challenges the integrity of the league."

Ahh, yes the ol' Northern League baseball games. I fondly remember my grandfather reminiscing about the historic Schaumburg team. With what's-his-name at first base
and who-the-hell-is-that in the outfield.

Seriously though, Commissioner Stone, grow some balls. This is the second most pub your league has received since the guy who plays Leon from the Bud Light commercials started pitching for the Flyers. Your league doesn't have a lot integrity to begin with, embrace this PR move and run with it. Attendence for T-Bones games is averaging 5,100 but three weeks before the game they have sold 6,000 tickets. I'll go out on a limb and bet that Isiah Thomas could run the league better than this schmuck.


"That's the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque!"

Hungry Hungry Homer

So the Saints won't be moving to Albuquerque, L.A. or any other city. Louisiana has ponyed up the money to pay to the owner of the Saints according to the website theredzone.org. The state has borrowed $10.5 million to pay the $15 million which is due by July 5. The Louisiana legislature is currently in recess which meant it was impossible to raise taxes to generate the revenue to pay the Saints. There is currently no plan on how the state will repar its debt.

State governments despise having to borrow that much money without having a plan for how to repay it. The more money a state has to borrow, the worse interest rates the state receives, which means the state has to eventually raise taxes to keep from going into the red.

This is a prime example of how NFL owners screw over the local communities with their demands for government welfare. This $186 million that the state of Louisiana agreed to pay to the Saints should have been directed towards helping the rural poor, the sick or other much more deserving causes. I would love to see someone in the MSM (mainstream media) pick this story up, but sadly I doubt anyone would.

And finally, on a side note, I found out about the redzone website through the St Pete Times. The only thing is that the Times lists the website as theredzone.COM (as opposed to theredzone.ORG) which is actually a website for an escort service. So papers throughout the Bay area today will have a free advertisement for an escort service in them.


Thanks for the update Bill

Former Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica had surgery last week to repair tears in his lower abductor and lower abdomen, both on the right side according to the Tribune. Martin has been bothered by this injury for two and half years according to his brother, Bill. Now Bill claims that people knew his brother was hurt but I'm kinda doubting anyone else knew how bad the injury was except for Martin and his family.

Of course, it would have been nice if Martin could have told the Bucs how bad his injury was instead of having to suffer through two seasons of dreadful kicking. I can understand why Martin would keep his injury private (a fear of being cut), but if he divulged more information a year ago it would have been far easier to fix this injury earlier.

Bucs Cuts

The Bucs announced 5 cuts today: cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Dominique Morris, linebacker Richard Glover, tackle Matt Martin, and running back Fred Reid. I'm pretty sure I had the same collective reaction as you did, which was . . .


These where all pretty much guys the Bucs had signed as undrafted free agents following the draft. The cuts come as a move to cut the Bucs roster down to 90 by the time training camp starts. The Bucs currently have 97 players on their roster following the cuts.

"I am the Law"

Ty Law

According to Peter King's (aka Fatty McButterpants) latest column the Bucs offered former Patriots corner Ty Law a contract:
"Now Miami wants me to come back and visit. But if you can't afford Patrick Surtain [who was dealt to Kansas City in April], how can you afford me? The Jets are interested. Kansas City called again. Tampa Bay faxed an offer. Indianapolis is in it. I got an offer, sight unseen for $2.5 million for one year. If I wasn't ready, I'd just take it. But I'm going to be ready to play and that's not the kind of contract I should get. Before they signed Surtain, the Chiefs gave me, like, a $42 million offer. But it was structured so bad that I'd probably only make $10 million before they'd cut me. So I didn't do it.''

If the Bucs could pick up Law for the veteran's miminum for one year he would be a steal. As it is Law is prob looking for a figure closer to $4 million. Law was one of the top five corners in the league before injuries forced him to miss games.

And as long as where talking Pats and Fatty King, let me rant on how biased his coverage is. I was having this argument with my buddy this weekend, over whose bias is worse King or Bill Simmons. My buddy is no BS fan (especially after his article saying Reggie Miller should not be in the Hall of Fame), and argued that BS is worse 'cause all he ever talks about are the Red Sox, the Celtics, or the Pats. Fair point.

But BS is upfront with his bias, he grew up a Boston sports fan. Additionally, BS is not a reporter, he only offers his opinions. King, on the other hand, gets paid to cover the NFL. Using his unbiased he is supposed to cover the league and report back on what is going down. And if that's what he did you could make the argument that King was the better columnist. Emphasis on the word "if".

King can not go an article without mentioning the Pats, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. From the FIRST paragraph of King's article:
As we enter the real offseason (when only hard-liners like Tom Brady will be working out at facilities now -- and I'm not kidding about that one)

You hear that America, Tom Brady is the only hard working player in the NFL. No one else in the NFL even deserves to carry Brady's jockstrap? Of course, nothing I can say can compare with this zing from Raven's GM Ozzie Newsome when King visited the Raven's clubhouse:
"You mean the Patriots let you come down to see another team?"

Jamboree Weekend

So I am still recovering from this weekend's festivities out in rural Virginia (if anyone has ever been to Strausburg you know what I'm talking about). One of my fraternity brothers has cabin out in the middle of no where, in a spot closer to West Virginia than it is to civilization.

It was an odd mix of people, a bunch of William and Mary grads hanging out with rednecks from rural Virginia. Still, it was a good time, with plenty of botchy ball and beer pong action going on.

It's the slow part of the football season, with a break in the action until training camp begins on July 28th. The only news to report for the next month will signings and cuts, unless of course some player makes it into the police blotter (where is Dwight Smith when you need him?).

Charlie Garner has been resigned for the veteran minimum making it highly unlikely that he will be cut. Garner's resigning will have little impact on the team, since Garner has relied on his speed thoughout his NFL career. Multiple injuries and the aging process tend to slow most people down. Garner's biggest impact will be to help tutor Carnell Williams.

There has been a lot of talk about Kenyatta Walker, with rumors flying that he will be cut. But Gruden has come out in support of Walker, making it less likely he will be cut. But the Bucs still have to find a way to clear up $5 million in cap room to sign their rookies, so the next few weeks will be spent figuring out how to do that. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before Stinchcomb and Steussie are given their pink slips


X-Box Live Baseball

July 16th the Kansas City T-Bones minor league baseball team will play against the Schaumburg Flyers, but only for seven innings. The first two innings will be played virtually on an X-Box using EA Sports MVP Baseball. Through out this month and the next gamers will compete against each other to represent the T-Bone and the Flyers in the X-Box game.

This is a pretty cool idea, one which I would love to see other leagues pick up. For example, the NHL could latch onto this idea, but use the NHL games for Sega from like 1993. Hell, I could take the Lightning to a perfect season if they ever decided to play the entire season by video game. That would be a great way to get fans back into the game.

The Simeon Rice Movie: the greatest story ever told

More details are emerging regarding the movie that Simeon Rice has been writing. From an article in the Tribune today, Rice had this to say about himself:
"If I can't speak the truth, I might as well not speak. In the role that I'm cast in the NFL, I'm not a great good guy. I'm a better bad guy, and I can live with that."

So Rice would play some kind of misunderstood bad guy, along the lines of Michael Corleone from Godfather, Darth Vader from Star Wars or Mr. Freeze from Batman and Robin? Gruden has indicated that he no intention of inhibiting Rice's artistic spirit:
"Simeon Rice is going to lead in his own way,'' Gruden said. "He's creative and off- beat, and you don't try to hinder that. You try to let him spread his wings and be who he is, a free spirit."

As I said yesterday, I eagerly look forward to watching Rice's life story as told by Rice. I have no doubt that Rice's production will be the best movie since Godfather III.

Runningback Roles

It looks like Carnell Williams will be eased into the primary back role on the offense, while Michael Pittman will become the third down back. Both runningbacks have been running plays with the first team offense during practices in the offseason.

Pittman is much better suited to be a third down back, since he has always been better at catching balls out of the backfield than running the ball. Pittman is a tough matchup for most linebackers due to his size and speed. He is too strong to be covered by an outside linebacker, but too fast to be covered by an inside linebacker. Additionally, he is a reliable reciever for a runningback.
"They're letting me play a little bit more wide receiver," said Pittman, who caught 134 passes in his first two seasons with the Bucs. "They've added more receiving routes for me to add to my arsenal. I asked the coach if I could do that last year, and they're finally letting me do it. ... Me and Cadillac are working together to get better, having a lot of fun."

The key word in that quote is "fun." It would be really easy for Pittman to give into his ego and sit and pout while Williams began to take away his carries. But Pittman, despite everything that has been said about his character, appears to be handling the transition well, so far.

It remains to be seen if Pittman will have the same kind of attitude half way through the season when his touches have been reduced by a third.


Simeon Rice: Super Bowl winner, Pro Bowl player . . . movie producer?

The St Pete Times reports that Simeon Rice is writing his own movie script based on his life. What I want to know is if Rice will also play himself in the movie, a la Antwone Fisher. Additionally, what is keeping Rice from taking a few liberties with his life story? And more importantly, who would go to see a movie about Rice? Ok besides myself who would pay to watch Rice's movie? These are the questions the Tribune and the Times should be answering.

Saints add another WR

Az-Zahir Hakim

The Saints have signed Az-Zahir Hakim to compete for the 3rd receiver spot behind Joe "I need a new calling plan" Horn and Donte Stallworth. Hakim played for the Lions for the past three years but experienced his greatest success in St. Louis as the 3rd reciever behind Issac Bruce and Torry "I make my own nicknames" Holt (seriously though, Holt proclaims that his nickname should be "Big Game" and nobody in the media bats an eyelash? instead they proceed to use the nickname every chance they get? wtf!?!)

Hakim was cut from the Lions after they drafted ANOTHER receiver in the first round (Mike Williams) in addition to the two other first round receivers they have drafted in the past three years (Charles Rogers and Roy Williams).

The addition of Hakim does make the Saints offense potentially much more dangerous, assuming he still has the speed he had 4 years ago. The Saints have one of the better, if not erratic, offenses in the NFL, and I believe that a good third receiver is the key to having a dangerous offense. When Hakim played for the Rams, St. Louis had one of the best offenses the league had seen in years. Peyton Manning and the Colt's offense enjoyed one of the most successful seasons by an offense because of the emergence of Brandon Stokely and Reggie Wayne to compliment Marvin Harrison. There is far more depth at receiver than there is at corner in the NFL, which means that if you have a good third receiver you can typically exploit your opponent's third cornerback.

So here's hoping Hakim has lost a step or two.

Barber will not hold out

Cornerback Tiki Barber will thankfully not hold out, even though he has every right to. Barber will make $3.25 million this year, while the top corners in the NFL make about $10 million a year. Barber is the 27th highest paid corner, while his teammate, Brian Kelly, is the 34th highest paid corner, making $2.356 this year. Contracts for corners have gone up dramatically in the last couple of years.
"It's crazy. Me, as well as (Kelly), we were unfortunate we weren't on that wave," Barber said. "The demand started the year after he was a free agent, and it's gone pretty rampant since then. But I think we've got to be men about it or try to be men about it as best we can and accept the contract we signed unless somebody or some party is willing to deal with it.

"What do you want me to say? You look at my peers, and you tell me. You look at our play over those past couple years, and you tell me. That's all I can do about it. I continue to do what I do. It starts to get to you as you get a little bit older, but I'm a football player. It's either this way or you take away something you really love, and that's playing the game. Such is life."

Barber and Kelly are both underpaid, considering that they are two of the better corners in the league. Barber is a good character guy, who is a benefit to the community as well as to the team. He deserves to rewarded with a bigger contract when the Bucs have some money to spend. Or at least, the Bucs should be willing to offer him a front office job when he's ready to retire (after all Barber did graduate from UVA).

Barber admitted that he does not want to leave the area, and undoubtedly Keenan McCardell's contract holdout last year is fresh on his mind.

"Other people have got different agendas, have different ideas in mind," Barber said. "I love Tampa Bay. I love what this defense has allowed me to become as a player. Having to re-establish that would probably be a little difficult. It's not something I'm really willing to do unless I have to."

The Rumor Mill

Katherine Smith at the Tribune confirms what I wrote yesterday, the rumors have been flying about Kenyatta Walker being cut from the team.

A fair point is raised that the same rumors where out there at this point last season, but (as I mentioned in my previous post) the cap numbers dictate that the Bucs cut someone else besides Stinchcomb, Stuessie and Garner.
"I'm still standing,'' [Walker] said. "I think last year I proved a lot to myself. Everything was against me. Everyone had turned their backs on me. I just had to go deep inside and learn to fight. There's a lot of things from last year that I don't want to be. It angered me a lot, which keeps me going. "

To his credit Walker's play did pick up last season, and he was one of the most consistent guys on the o-line. Of course, that has more to with the poor quality of play on the o-line, than it does with Walker's ability. If the Bucs can't restructure his contract then Walker will most likely be cut.

Additionally, both Garner and Stuessie where excused from practice on Tuesday. Garner is still rehabbing from a knee injury and Stuessie was excused for personal reasons. Now I don't know the details behind these situations, but Clayton, Galloway and Brackins all showed up for practice although they where recovering from injury. Contact is banned from these practices and neither of these three guys went full speed. Maybe Garner's knee injury is worse than the injuries Clayton, Galloway and Brackins suffered or maybe Garner was already filling his unemployment papers out, either way I don't see Garner sticking around for another week.

As for Steussie, Mike Alstott was also excused for personal reasons from the morning practice, but he showed up for the afternoon practice. Once again, I don't know the details behind Steussie's situation, but I wouldn't be surprised if his agent was already shopping his client around to other teams.


Cuts by the end of the week

The rumor mills are a buzz after Cummings' article today. You can expect guard Matt Stinchcomb, tackle Todd "Steroid" Steussie and running back Charlie Garner to all be cut by the end of the week.

Right now the Bucs are only about $1 million under the salary cap. They need to get to $6 million under the cap. Cutting Steussie and Stinchcomb will clear up about $2.5 million and cutting Garner will clear up $800k.

The Bucs need to rework Kenyatta Walker's deal so that he makes the veteran minimum. His current deal is for $3.5 million. If the Bucs trim roughly 2 million from Walker's contract they can then go ahead and sign all their rookies. If Walker refuses to restructure then the Bucs could end up cutting him.

(hat tip to nitey for the numbers)

Training Camp Schedule

Fri., July 29: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Sat., July 30: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Sun., July 31: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-5:00 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 1: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-3:55 p.m. (ST)
Tues., Aug. 2: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-5:00 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 3: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-5:00 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 4: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-3:55 p.m. (ST)

Fri., Aug. 5: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-5:00 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 6: 8:30-10:45 a.m., No PM Practice
Sun., Aug. 7: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-5:00 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 8: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-3:55 p.m. (ST)
Tues., Aug. 9: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 10: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 11: Walk-Thru – 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Fri., Aug. 12: Tampa Bay at Tennessee, 8 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 13: Players Day Off
Sun., Aug. 14: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:30 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 15: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 16: 8:30-10:45 a.m.; 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 17: 8:30-10:45 a.m., Camp Breaks
ST - Special teams


Bucs add another runningback

The Bucs signed rookie runningback Derek Watson to a three year contract yesterday afternoon. Watson has played for South Carolina and South Carolina State.

Watson participated in three day rookie mincamp held by the Bucs this past weekend. Watson impressed Gruden and the coaching staff enough to get a contract at the end of the rookie minicamp.
“He blew it up at the minicamp,” [Watson's trainer Emery] Williams said. “All three days, he shocked the fool out of them.”

Watson was one of 20 players participating in the minicamp.
“There are four or five guys who are here who we’ll find a way to get on our roster, I believe,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said at the conclusion of the minicamp on Sunday morning. “This was a strong cast of players.”

Of course, Watson's signing makes Charlie Garner's departure from the Bucs all that more likely.

Watson does have a troubling past that includes several criminal and misdemenor charges, including assault, driving without a license and possession of marijuana.

Choke Jobs

Heimlich manuever

Watching the U.S. Open and the NBA Finals this weekend you where witness to a whole range of choke jobs. From Retief Goosen, who had led going into Sunday at Pinehurst, to Rasheed Wallace doing his best Chris Webber impersonation.

Even Tim Duncan and Tiger Woods got in on the act, making mentals mistakes at key moments.

Goosen, who has played so well in other high pressure U.S. Opens, fell apart on the last day. He had a three shot lead going into Sunday, but then shot a miserable 81 after shooting 68, 70 and 69 the first three days.

Wallace made two key mistakes at the end of Game 5 last night. First, he called a timeout when the Pistons had no timeouts to call. Fortunately, the clock had run out by the time Wallace attempted to pull a Chris Webber. If there had been one more second left everyone would be talking about how Wallace handed the game to the Spurs. Second, Rasheed left "Big Shot" Robert Horry open at the end of overtime to help double Manu Ginobili. Big mistake. Rasheed is destined to go down in basketball history the same way as Chris Webber, both are talented big men who had the athletic ability to be considered among the best power forwards to have ever played the game, but mental mistakes will have prevented them from reaching that level.

Tiger Woods played very well at the U.S. Open, finishing second behind the eventual winner, Mike Campbell. But on the 17th hole when Tiger was just three shots back and putting for a birdie he made two crucial mistakes that sealed his second place finish. Tiger three putted the par 3 hole to move too far back to catch up with Campbell, finishing with a bogey.

Tim Duncan made several mistakes in the last few minutes of the game that could have cost the Spurs a win. He missed an easy tip-in in the closing seconds of regulation that would have won the game the for the Spurs. He also mishandled a pass in overtime that resulted in a turnover. Duncan also went 4-11 for the game from the free throw line, and made only one of six free throw attemts in the fourth quarter. But Duncan's team won the game and Duncan put up big numbers leading his team in points, rebounds and blocks.

Of course, that's what seperates great players like Duncan and Tiger from good players like Rasheed and Goosen. Great players can put up good numbers even when they make crucial mistakes. Great players don't let a missed basket or a three putt hole affect the rest of their game. They are able to mentally block out the mistakes, concentrating on what they need to do next to succeed. I know that Tiger and Duncan will play at an outstanding level at the next opportunity they get, I can't say the same about Goosen or Rasheed.

And I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the clutch perfomances of Campbell and Horry yesterday. Campbell had ice water running through his veins, making big shot after big shot to take the lead and hold onto it at Pinehurst.

Finally, Horry's nickname should be changed. Last night, Horry admitted he did not like the nickname "Big Shot Bob." Apparently the rest of his teammates (including Duncan) tease him about it. So I move that Horry's new nickname should be "Big Cajones Bob", because he certainly had the biggest pair last night.



Cummings reports today that Michael Pittman has been working on securing the ball in practices this offseason. Running backs coach Art Valero blames the fumbles on Pittman's straying from the basic five points technique taught to all running backs.
"When you're in high school you're taught to carry the ball by emphasizing five points of leverage - your fingers, your palm, your biceps, your armpit and your chest,'' Valero said. "For whatever reason, Michael wasn't doing that. He'd sort of lost it, and it wasn't only that. When he was cutting and changing direction, he wasn't taking the ball with him. He was kind of leaving it out away from his body like a rudder."

Pittman holding the ball away from his body
Essentially, what was happening was Pittman would remove one of the points of contact, his chest, when he was running. The three most important points of contact are the body, the arm and the hand. If you remove one of those three, which is what Pittman did last year, you make it significantly easier to have the ball stripped. Of course, this is a problem which should have been corrected last year.

Pittman had six fumbles last year, in the previous four years he has had 17 fumbles, which amounts to 4.25 fumbles a year. The fumbles seemed worse this year because the Bucs played in so many close games that they ended up losing.


Just because I can

As good a reason as any to cheer for USC,
USC Cheerleaders

USC Cheerleaders

Only a matter of time . . .

until the Bucs cut Stinchcomb and Steussie.

The Bucs have quietly signed offensive linemen over the past three weeks, first Lance Nimmo, and most recently guard/center Chris Watton. Watton just got done playing for the Arena League champion Colorado Crush. On a side note, I think the Arena League does a better job of cultivating QBs and linemen than NFL Europe. The Arena League game is more fast-paced than the regular NFL game, and it forces linemen and QBs to make quick decisions.

I would like to see the Bucs pick up one more experienced offensive lineman, possibly Scott Gragg or Marcus Price. Both these guys could provide depth at the tackle position for the Bucs.

The additions of Nimmo and Watton make Stinchcomb and Stuessie more expendable. At some point the Bucs do have to cut these guys if they want to clear up the cap room to sign their rookies.

UPDATE: I just realized Earthwind Moreland is on the free agent market. The Bucs should pick this guy up just so I have some entertainment when I watch Bucs games. I couldn't watch a Patriots game last year without laughing every time the announcers mentioned his name (and then proceded to make some horrible joke about bands from the 70s).

What does this Walsh guy really know?

Walsh and Gruden

"The players play for each other - they don't play for the coach, for the school, for their family or for their fans,'' Bill Walsh said. "They play for each other. You need that bonding, and Jon has that bonding. That's what I talked about.''

Bill Walsh stopped by the Bucs practice yesterday to evaluate the team and offer any insight that a three time Super Bowl winner. Walsh is also the person who made the West Coast offense famous from his time spent in San Francisco with Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Additionally, Walsh wore a Bucs visor and proclaimed:
This will be my team for the rest of the year. I have a lot of mutual friends on the coaching staff, in the scouting department, among the players. It's terrific to be around it, and I just think this will be my team the rest of the year, so they'd better do well. I'm all for them. I'm part of the family.

Walsh indicated he would be available to Gruden to help advise him as the season progresses, and I have no doubt that his advice would be invaluable to Gruden. I'm sure Walsh, who mastered the West Coast offense the Bucs base their offense on, has a few insights he could share with Gruden and the Bucs coaching staff. Of course, listening to Walsh you would think that the Bucs don't need his help:
Jon's on the cutting edge of offensive football. I don't think there's anyone more innovative than Jon Gruden and, consequently, I think he has a real edge on a lot of his opposition. Now, he has to have people who can effectively perform and can execute. That's what it takes. It appears this year is a lot better year. Does he have it all together right now? I'm not sure of that. I wouldn't know. But I do know I was very impressed (Wednesday).

Of course this is coming from the person who thought Shaun King was one of the best, if not the best quarterback in the 1999 NFL draft. That's the same draft that produced Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper and Aaron Brooks.


Bucs to play in UK?

The folks at BucPower.com think there's a good chance that the Bucs could play in the UK at some point in the next couple of years. Apparently the NFL is considering bringing the American Bowl to the new Wembley Stadium in London. The last time a NFL team played in the UK was 1992.

BucPower.com beleives that there is a good chance that the Bucs would be one of the two teams to play in the UK, since Malcolm Glazer already owns the Manchester United. While that makes sense to a certain extent, I'm not sure how warm a reception the Bucs could expect in England. I could see die-hard Manchester fans who would associate the Bucs with their owner. It might make sense to send over a team that would be less potentially controversial than the Bucs.

How 'bout them Nats?

Brad Wilkerson

Let me explain one thing before I get into how well the Washington Nationals are doing. I'm originally from Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg), but I've been living in Northern Virginia, right outside of Washington DC, for the past six months. It's been interesting to see how the community has adopted the Nats as their own, embracing the team to a far greater extent than the D-Rays where embraced by Tampa Bay in their first year. Now part of that is because the Nats are playing better than the D-Rays ever have but I think where the team plays is a big factor.

The Nats play at RFK stadium which is right in Washington DC and close to the metro. The D-Rays play in St. Pete, which, with the exception of Bradenton, is the worst possible spot in Tampa Bay to place a professional sports team. Not that many people from Tampa are going to drive half an hour or more across the Bay to see what is essentially a AAA baseball team. If the D-Rays played in Tampa they would have much higher attendance figures and would be able to earn more money to make the team better.

But yet, I digress.

Going back to the Nats, they have exceeded everyone's expectations this season, as they lead the NL East. Part of that is because the team brought in players such as Jose Guillen, Vinny Castilla and Christian Guzman. But the biggest reason is simply because the Nats are now playing for a city that appreciates what they do.

The Nats have united the city in a way that no other team has been able to do. Baseball, more than any other sport, appeals to every type of sports fan. Players of all races and colors play for the Nats, and in a city as diverse as Washington, the Nats appeal to all types of fans. Additionally, baseball plays some 162 games a year. On just about any day you can turn on the T.V. and watch a Nats game. Quite simply, the Nats have become the talk of the town, uniting young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican.

And the Nats appreciate the support they are now receiving from the fans. The players and the coaches no longer have to deal with the stress of traveling 3/4's of the season, or wondering where they will live and work next season. Instead they can finally concentrate on their jobs.

Frank Robinson is the kind of manager who has been able to light the fire in his players, getting them to play at their best. Under Robinson the Nats have become a come from behind team that relies on its middle relief and superb closer, Chad Cordero, to keep them in games. The Nats have won a lot of games this year in the last three innnings. For example, the Nats scored 5 of their 6 runs in the last two innings to come from behind and beat the Angels.

Additionally, the Nats rely on good defense and smart hitting to win games. Typically the teams you see succeed late in the season are teams that rely on solid pitching and good defense. I don't know if the Nats will win the division, but I know they can. And if they do I can guarantee they will be the talk of the town.

"I am God"

So says Wyatt Sexton, the FSU player expected to start at quarterback for the Seminoles this season. Sexton was arrested by Tallahassee police who found him lying in the middle of the street. When asked by the police what his name was Sexton responded "I am God." He then got down on his hands and knees and proceeded to yell obscentities at the police. Now I'm not a real church-going type of guy but I'm pretty sure God would not have done that.

In response, the police pepper-sprayed Sexton and brought him to the hospital. At the hospital Sexton said he was God and the son of God. Sexton must not be a Catholic since he did not say he's also the Holy Ghost. Sexton has earlier attended a Dave Matthews concert.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that somebody gave this guy to much acid, or some other drug. This entire story reminds me of the scene in "Almost Famous" where Russell Hammond eats too much acid and declares he's a Golden God before jumping off the roof.
Russell Hammond

Anyway, Bobby Bowden can't be too happy to read this story in the newspaper, unless Bowden sees this as Sexton simply expressing his religious beliefs. In which case Bowden should have no problem with what went down.

I would like to see Bowden step up and get rid of this guy, but I'm not so sure that will happen. Instead Sexton will get hit with a one or two game suspension, and will come back half way through the season when FSU is struggling and nobody outside of Florida is paying attention to Tallahassee. Unfortunately, FSU's 1st game of the season is against Miami.


1st Bucs cut is . . .


What? You don't recognize Akili Smith, the 3rd overall draft choice in 1999?

Akili Smith has been cut from the Bucs. Smith played in the NFL Europe for the Bucs, but with the signing of Jared Allen was considered expendable. The Bucs currently have 4 QBs on their roster: Brian Griese, Chris Simms, Luke McCown, and Allen. You can expect Allen to be sent over to NFL Europe to gain some playing experience and clear up some roster room.

Road Trip!

Road Trip

Word is that the Player Formerly Known as Ricky Williams is driving from Grass Valley, California to Miami, Florida. I'll give you one guess why Ricky decided to live in Grass Valley (and it's not because of the golf).

According to mapquest that is a drive of 3,146 miles, and on the way Ricky will most likely drive through Salt Lake City, Utah; Lincoln, Nebraska; Jefferson City, Missouri and Columbia, South Carolina.

Ricky has officially captured the title of "The Most Enjoyable Trainwreck", taking the title with the retirement of Mike Tyson.


Season ticket sales at two year high

Not Buc ticket sales, but Manchester United ticket sales.

Season ticket sales at Manchester United have already exceeded last year's 40,700 with about 2,000 applications waiting to be processed.

So much for those threats by Man U fans who threatened to boycott the season.


The Pistons are dcwn 2-0 and the media has already written them out of this series, although that could change in the next week.

The Pistons have played their last three games on the road, but they head home for the next three games. The home crown will re-energize the Pistons, and they will come out firing in Game 3. The Spurs tend to get complacent when up two games going into a road game. If the Pistons can win the next game they will have some momentum heading into the last two games at home.

This series is far from over, and I expect the Pistons to play with more energy the next three games. The bench players (i.e. Antonio McDyess and Lyndsey Hunter) play better at home than on the road, and the Pistons desperately need more point production from their bench right now. I still expect the Spurs to win this series, but the next three games should be interesting.

Sweet Lou rips into Naimoli

Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella has ripped into D-Rays owner Vince Naimoli for not spending enough money to make the team competitive.

"I'm not going to take responsibility for this," Piniella said in pregame remarks to reporters. "If I had been given a $40 million or $45 million payroll, I'd stand up like a man and say it's my fault. Well, I'm not going to do it. So if you want answers about what's going on here, you call the new ownership group and let them give them to you."

If the D-Rays don't get a new managing general partner to replace Naimoli in the off-season, then it's inevitable that Piniella will force his way out of the franchise. Piniella is unhappy with the amount of money spent by the team, which can pay it's entire payroll with the money it receives from the luxury tax (i.e. Yankees).

Piniella wants to win now, and he has rushed the development of some of the D-Rays younger players. Piniella gives guys like B.J. Upton a couple of chances and then when they eventually make a mistake he pulls them from the lineup. Sweet Lou needs to decide on a lineup and stick to it, sending the younger guys down to the minors to get playing experience if necessary.

Additionally, check out D-Rays Bay for in-depth analysis of the D-Rays.


Wallace's Championship Belt

Wallace's Championship Belt

I've seen Rasheed Wallace carrying around this giant belt lately that looks like something Hulk Hogan or The Rock would be more likely to wear. Now that it's the finals I finally decided to figure out what the hell that belt is for, and well, it's Rasheed's championship belt.

Apparently after the Pistons won the championship last year Rasheed wanted to do something unique.
"That's one thing I always said, even when I was in Portland - if I ever win a championship, it's cool to have the ring, but I'm going to try to come with something different."

I'll go out on a limb here and say Rasheed has been successful with that goal. Apparently, Rasheed's cousin knew a guy that worked at World Wrestling Entertainment (aka the WWE, not to be confused with the World Wildlife Fund, WWF) and a few weeks later Rasheed received the belt in the mail. My only question is, does Rasheed have to hand the belt over to Duncan after the Spurs beat the Pistons?

(yeah, I know, I stole that joke from Bill Simmons, but he stole it from the Swamp.)

(and yes, the picture at the top is the wrong Wallace)

Spurs-Pistons: Game 1

The Wallaces

You gotta like how the Spurs responded to the Pistons after the 1st quarter if you're a San Antonio fan. As expected the Spurs started out lethargic, falling behind 17-4 in the first seven minutes of the game. But Tim Duncan came through for the Spurs by making a couple of key shots early in the game and giving his team the confidence to catch up with the Pistons.

Manu Ginobili played out of his mind in the second half, scoring 22 of his 26 points in the last two quarters. At one point he was even driving straight at the defensive player of the year, Ben Wallace, and scoring baskets.

If the Pistons want to win on Sunday they need Rip Hamilton to make more shots. Hamilton was 7 for 21 last night, despite getting open shots from the multiple screens Larry Brown ran for him, a la Reggie Miller. Credit Bruce Bowen's defense for throwing Hamilton off, but Bowen was having some difficulty with the double screens the Pistons were running, and if Hamilton can hit more shots Bowen will be seeing a lot more double or staggered screens.

And I'm not buying the argument that Rasheed Wallace needs to step up his offensive production for the Pistons to win. Rasheed is playing against Duncan for most of the game, which means he spending most if his energy on defending Duncan. Additionally, Rasheed isn't going to find many open shots with Duncan covering him. Hamilton has to step up and start making shots for the Pistons to stand a chance in this series.

Glazer receives death threats

In a story that comes as no real surprise the Tribune reports that Malcolm Glazer has been threatened by Manchester United fans on various websites. A group of excitable soccer fans calling themselves the Manchester Education Committee have threatened Malcolm Glazer, his sons and any "collaborators."
Do the Glazers really think they will ever be allowed to enter Old Trafford to take possession of their prize? Do they even imagine they can fly into the UK without us being alerted? If so, then they are as stupid as they are greedy. And no matter how large the phalanx of bodyguards you bring, Joel, we will always outnumber you.

This is from a statement released by the Manchester Education Committee on the Buc's original message board. The Manchester Police have taken these threats seriously and are looking for the people responsible for the threats. It's worth noting that these immature soccer hooligans do not represent the majority of Manchester fans, as evidenced by this response on the message board.
I live over here in the UK - the Manchester Education Committee are about 3 18-year-olds who sit in front of their computers all day and think they're tough. The first time one of them talks to a girl, it'll be front page news.


Anyway, I hope that the Manchester Police have some kind of scared straight program where they can lock up these pansies with hardened criminals. In fact, that would be an apporpriate for any soccer hooligan who starts a riot after their team loses a match. Lock them up with an inmate who's looking for a new girlfriend. I'm pretty sure that would cut down on the number of soccer-related riots.


That's how we do it in Florida

So yesterday Thomas Stefanelli of Tampa gets robbed at gunpoint. The catch is that Stefanelli was robbed in the middle of delivering pizzas for Hungry Howies. In the struggle that ensued Stefanelli was shot in the leg. So what does he do?

Delivers the next pizza before calling his boss.

Seriously, I don't know if this guy is incredibly stupid or tough, but reading this article made me hungry for Hungry Howie's pizza (is that wrong?).

On a sidenote, I just found out about the Dave Barry blog. There's a good possibility Dave's blog could make it into my top five rotation of websites I visit.

Experienced Rookies

Good article at BucPower.com that highlights the experience many of these rookies are bringing into the locker room. Most of the guys the Bucs drafted played in Senior Bowl (which Gruden helped to coach) and come in with more experience than your average rookie.

Cadillac Williams, Barrett Rudd, Alex Smith, Dan Buenning, Anthony Bryant all played in Mobile under the watching eye of Gruden. So these guys already have two things going for them, more experience than your average rookie and Gruden is already familiar with them.

Sure you can make the argument that with the exception of Williams, none of these guys are going to be great players since they don't possess the physical tools to be all stars. But for a club that is rebuilding these are exactly the kind of guys that you need. It's fun to have a guy with a lot of upside at rookie camp, such as Larry Brackins, but Brackins is a much bigger gamble than the other receiver drafted two rounds later Paris Warren. With Warren you know that you're getting a guy who can play that 4th or 5th receiver spot and will contribute on special teams. Brackins, on the other hand, is just as likely to succeed as he is to fail, since he is coming out of a community college.


"I'm gonna gut him like a fish"

Today at Howard University in Washington DC Mike Tyson threw out that verbal barb about his opponent, Kevin McBride.

Pretty good insult by Tyson there. It will be interesting to see if McBride (who apparently is from Ireland) is intimidated by Tyson on Saturday.

Alexander to Jaguars

RB Shaun Alexander

Rumor is Seattle is willing to trade runningback Shaun Alexander to Jacksonville in exchange for a 3rd round pick. Problem is that Jacksonville does not want to give Alexander the big new contract he has demanded from Seattle. Alexander was going to be an unrestricted free agent before the Seahawks placed the franchise tag on him.

This deal doesn't make a lot of sense for Jacksonville, with Fred Taylor still on the roster. Why pay starters money to 2 runningbacks? Unless Jacksonville can trade Fred Taylor this deal doesn't make a lot of sense.

(hat tip to briandtw)

Agents need more love

So ESPN.com decides to run a 4-part series on the working man that is the sports agent.

Let's be honest here, it's a pretty slow right now sports news-wise. So I decide to venture on over to ESPN to see if they have any news today. I open the webpage and the lead story is about . . . the love between agent Matt Sosnick and Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis?

Apparently, Willis had the logo for Sosnick's company tatooed on his arm. It bears stating that Sosnick has shown the same loyalty to Willis, being the first person at Willis's side after suffering a severe car wreck that almost killed Willis. But, what happens if Willis decides to get a new agent? Or Sosnick decides to get a new logo? Obviously, Willis did not think out the decision to get a tattoo.

And what the hell is ESPN doing running pub for sports agents? This is like when The Morning Show was excited because Steve Wynn let them have a "sneak peek" of his new casino. The talking heads on The Morning Show acted as though they were excited that Wynn let them broadcast from his new casino, as though Wynn was doing The Morning Show a huge favor, instead of merely providing free advertising for Wynn.

Well that's what is going on here. ESPN is providing free advertising for agents while acting as though we, the readers, are fortunate to hear these tales of intrigue from the world of the sports agents.

Maybe ESPN ran this story because the summer is always slow for sports news. Maybe they ran the article because Evil Incarnate has been in the news lately. Maybe they ran the story because the only other front page story was about Pedro Martinex throwing a 2 hitter for the Mets. But, spare me some dribble on how sports agents are just like Tom Crusie in Jerry Maguire, only looking out for the best interests on the players they represent. I'll believe that when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet.


E.I. Chat

Drew Rosenhaus (aka Evil Incarnate) just held a live chat on ESPN.com. Since the chat transcripts are only available to ESPN Insiders I figured I would mark some of the highlights. Additionally, a full copy of the transcript is available here at the Sports Frog

On a side note I asked about 20 questions (about half involving the word douche bag) and not a single one was answered. Anyway, on to the highlights:

Mark (Minneapolis): Do you have a set of criteria athletes must meet for you to be willing to represent them?
Drew Rosenhaus : (5:12 PM ET ) My criteria is a player with ability. I want to represent the most talented players out there. But I also want to represent guys with high character that I am proud to associate with.

Jason (Maryland): What's the deal with Sean Taylor? Aggravated assault? What's next for him?
Drew Rosenhaus : (5:19 PM ET ) What's next is training camp. He will be in camp. He will have a great year and go to the Pro Bowl. I'm confident the present issues will be handled professionally and he will be able to focus on football.

Nate (philly): Hey Drew,I heard you have no soul.... is this true?
Drew Rosenhaus : (5:24 PM ET ) That is absurd. I am successful because I have a big soul and big heart. I love the NFL and respect the fans. I was a fan before I was an agent. I care deeply about my clients and my committment to them and their families. I hope I enhance the product and help players with their careers. I certainly have a soul. I'm a very caring person with a very close knit family.

My favorite question has to be the soul one. It would have been great if he could have answered honestly and just responded, "That's correct Nate, I'm a heartless bastard who is loyal only to money and I enjoy eating the hearts of puppies in my spare time."

Now, E.I. strikes me as pretty smart guy, and he does a fairly good job in interviews, but he puts out so much B.S. you can't really believe anything he says. He basically says everyone of his players is gonna make the Pro Bowl, which is B.S. The oddest thing about E.I. is that he collects comic books. Well that and he has no soul.

"Gun-shy 'Skins to Taylor: Stay Away"

I'll admit it, I'm jealous. That's prob the best headline I've seen so far with this whole Sean Taylor crime drama that has unfolded. Kudos to the folks at Sportsline for the clever headline.

SIDENOTE: The article (which I linked to) is worth the read.

Finding Nimmo

Lance Nimmo

The Bucs have signed OL Lance Nimmo, who was released by the Pats last week. Nimmo was originally drafted by the Bucs in the 4th round of the 2003 draft. He was released by the Bucs September 2, 2003, and has played for the Jets.

Nimmo's signing makes it more likely that Steussie will be cut some time soon, since both Steussie and Nimmo play left tackle. Nimmo was most likely brought in to backup either Chris Colmer or Anthony Davis on the o-line.


Sean Taylor likes crime

In fact he majored in crimonolgy at the U. Additionally, Taylor's father is a police officer in Florida. And, Taylor is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, aka Evil Incarnate. This story just keeps getting better and better. Not for Taylor though.

Taylor turned himself in to the police after a 3 day search. Word is Bob Woodward knew where Taylor was.

Apparently Taylor pointed a gun at a couple of people in another car, and punched somebody in the face. The gun charge is worse charge since the Florida legislature has cracked down on gun violence the last couple of years. If convicted Taylor could spend 3 years in prison.

X-Mas in June

The Bucs still have not made any cap cuts, most likely because they have been trying to renogiate a couple of deals first. Since the players they have been trying to renogiate with (Rice, Barber and Brooks) have been unwilling to receive less money this year the Bucs will be forced to cut more players than they would like to. And as I've said before most of the players cut will be offensive lineman (Steussie, Stenchcomb, Walker).

Don't be surprised if the Bucs resign one or two of the players that they cut. 3 of the 11 players who have been released by NFL teams so far are also offensive lineman. And if more offensive lineman are cut by their respective teams, we will be looking at a market that is flooded with offensive linemen. The Bucs would love to resign Steussie or Stinchcomb at a lower price, and the only way that would be possible is if no other team can exceed Tampa Bay's offer. Assuming the Bucs organization makes an offer to who ever they cut, it makes sense for a player to resign with the Bucs rather than relocating to a new city.

Love Day 2005

So the Bucs fanfest went down on Saturday, drawing some 23,000 to Ray Jay for a chance to see a member of the Bucs. All the fan favorites where there, from tackle Todd Steussie to executive vice president Bryan Glazer, to sign autographs.

I was unable to attend but judging from the articles there was more love flying around than a hippie jam band concert. And kudos to the St. Pete Times for writing more than just another Bucs fluff piece (*cough, Tampa Tribune, *cough).


Sanders still unable to find television job

Neon Deion plans on returning to the Ravens for another year. Deion Sanders returned from a three year retirement job to go onto the Injured Reserve for the Baltimore Ravens last season after he was fired from his job at CBS. Previously, Sanders got paid by CBS to talk about himself in the 3rd person, but now the Ravens plan on paying Sanders to do this.

Of course, Sanders has a lot of work to do if he wants to be the most disruptive force in the Raven's locker room considering Jamal Lewis's time spent in a federal pound-you-in-the-ass prison and Ray Lewis's demand for a $50 million signing bonus.

SIDENOTE: Can you imagine what would have happened if T.O. had joined the Ravens last year? VH1 cameramen could have put Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, T.O., and Deion Sanders in the same halfway house, eliminating the player who demands the least amount of money each week.

Good stuff, good stuff

Spoiled Crybaby
Spoiled Crybaby

Hilarious work done by the good folks at Bang who put together a cartoon that accurately sums up the whole T.O. situation.

Bring out your dead

Monty Python

Good article by Cummings on the dead money on the Bucs roster. Dead money is leftover money from players no longer on the Bucs roster which still counts against their salary cap. For example Martin Gramatica counts for $1,797,145 and Brad Johnson counts $4.3 M against the Bucs salary cap. In total the Bucs have $9.6 M in dead money that counts against their cap this year. And if the Bucs cut Steussie he would count $1.6 against their cap this year or next year.

Dead money comes from the signing bonus part of a player's contract. A player's contract has 3 parts: basic yearly pay, signing bonus and incentive money. Teams will frequently give older players big contracts but if you examine those contracts more closely you notice that the money is backloaded into the basic yearly pay. Green Bay did this with Brett Favre a couple of years ago.

The only part of the contract that is guaranteed money is the signing bonus. Which means that if a team cuts a player before the that players contract ends the team still has to pay the signing bonue money. A good GM can either spread out the dead money over a couple of years, or absorb all the dead money in one year. The 49ers went through salary cap hell for a year between Steve Young and Jeff Garcia.

The article has more details on the Bucs dead money numbers this year. On a side note, another fine article by Cummings who continues to put out high quality work.

And yes I've been rambling throughout this post, and yes the picture above is not actually from the bring out your dead scene in Holy Grail.

Man U fans are brilliant idiots

The St Pete Times ran a story yesterday about the most recent measures by Man U fans opposed to the Glazer takeover of their club.

They are currently working on an effort to legal action against Malcolm Glazer's eventual decision to take the club private. I'm not a lawyer, and certainly can't claim to know anything about British law but I'm willing to bet such an effort will be a dismal failure, considering Glazer can afford the lawyers to win the case.

Manchester fans have also unleashed the "Phoenix Fund", a collection of money designed to buy back the club. The Man U fans are assuming that Glazer's ownership of the club will be a titanic disaster. I'm willing to bet that a year or two from now, somebody is going to get arrested for embezzling the money from the "Phoenix Fund."


Most Underrated Great Athletes Part II

Curtis Martin

Sports Center this morning ran a top ten list of the most underrated athletes which ran Tim Duncan as #1, which got me thinking, what other great athletes are underrated?

Curtin Martin and Jerome Bettis can both make good arguments here. They are #4 and #5 respectively on the NFL all-time rushing list. Which means they are in pretty exclusive territory.
  1. Emmitt Smith . . . . . 18,355
  2. Walter Payton . . . . . 16,726
  3. Barry Sanders . . . . . 15,269
  4. Curtis Martin . . . . . . 13,366
  5. Jerome Bettis . . . . . . 13,294

One of the most difficult things to do in the NFL is rush for a lot of yards year in and year out. There's a reason you don't see many runningbacks over 30 still playing big minutes for their team. Runningbacks take more punishment than any other position, with the exception of lineman. But lineman can lose a step and still be productive because of their knowledge of blocking schemes. If a runningback loses a step he loses a lot of value, just look at Eddie George.

And, Martin shares Duncan's team first attitude. Both are quiet guys, who only make headlines when their teams win games. It very easy for the media to underrate guys who don't draw a lot of attention to themselves. That doesn't mean they deserve to be underrated.

I'm not buying the argument that Allen Iverson is underrated. True, he's been underrtated this year considering all that he did to carry a young and inexperienced team to the playoffs. But considering A.I. has been named MVP and has not won a championship, it's not fair to say he's underrated.

Finally, I would agree that just about any female athelete is underrated. Not great, but underrated.


Dade County police want to talk to Sean Taylor

In fact, the Dade County police want to talk to him so bad, they put out an arrest warrant for Taylor. Now why didn't Coach Gibbs think of that?

An NFL source tells ESPN's Chris Mortensen that the league has gotten a communication from the Dade County Police Department, which says there is a warrant out for Taylor's arrest in regards to an alleged assault with a weapon.

Officially, the Dade police have refused to say whether Taylor is a suspect, or simply a witness or victim of the alleged assault.

Wow, the Redskins offseason just went from bad to worse. The Joe Gibbs honeymoon in Washington ended awhile ago, and now the 'Skins fans are the hung-over newly married husband, waking up next to his wife and thinking to himself, "what the hell did I get myself into?" Here's a good article by John Czarnecki that details the Redskins offseason woes. Here's a highlight from the article:

There is this faith attached to Gibbs because of his Hall of Fame status and three world championships won when the NFC was the game's dominant conference. A lot of that has changed and fans are starting to wonder what strides Gibbs will make this season on top dog Philadelphia. And will they be enough for him to keep on coaching in 2006.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this situation with Taylor unfolds.

A whole lotta Sapp-hating going on

I assume most people have heard about Panthers DT Chris Jenkins hatred of Warren Sapp. Apparently Sapp drove Jenkins to drink (which in my opinion makes Jenkins a whiny wussy boy) and recently Jenkins decided to run his mouth off about Sapp.

"I hate him. Everybody says I'm supposed to be polite when I talk to you all, but I hate him," Jenkins said. "He talks too much, he doesn't make sense, he's fat, he's sloppy, he acts like he's the best thing since sliced bread. He's ugly, he stinks, his mouth stinks, his breath stinks, and basically his soul stinks, too. Not too many people have personalities like that and survive in life. I don't know how he does it."

Most of the people (besides Bucs fans) are kinda taking Jenkins side on this. Which leads me to wonder, why would you take the side of the worst type of alcoholic there is, the kind who blames his problems on others?

Jenkins is a good player, but he is not close to the level Sapp was at in his prime. And now that Sapp has gotten older, and a step slower, Sapp-haters are coming out of the woodwork, using the Jenkins quote as an excuse to attack the Hall of Fame player. Maybe I'm just blinded by what Sapp has done for the Bucs, but I don't see what Jenkins is talking about.

E-bay sponsored fan fest


The Bucs are holding a meet and greet Saturday from 9:30 until 2 at Ray Jay Stadium. Coach Gruden and GM Bruce Allen will be availbale and apparently around a dozen players will be available. No word on which players will be available, but I'm guessing Steroid Steussie is not one of them.

You can actually get autographs for free if you show up and get a voucher. And considering that the entire event is free this a great chance to make some money by selling the autographs on E-bay.

Which players would you like to get an autograph from? My list would include, in no specific order:
  • Mike Alstott (older guy I respect)
  • Derrick Brooks (ditto)
  • Ronde Barber (smart guy, would be interesting to talk to)
  • Michael Clayton (young guy who's the future of the franchise)
  • Carnell Williams (ditto)

Side story, probably the classiest guy to get an autograph from is John Lynch. Back in his early days with the Bucs he stopped by one of my high school football teams practices and talked to us about the importance of football and working hard at whatever a person does in life. Made a hell of an impression on myself and all the other guys. The cool thing is that he spoke highly of my head coach, an older guy who had been coaching at the school for a number of years and was a good coach, but not really well known. The one surprising thing about Lynch is that he's a lot shorter in person (6 foot or so), which led to the eventual "I think I could tackle Lynch" from a bunch of under-sized high school football players. I could sit here all day and blabber on like a schoolgirl about Lynch so I'll just shut up and advise you, if you're going to the Bucs fan fest, to ask Gruden if he's gonna follow Michael Clayton's lead and fly in one of MacDill's F-16s.

Update: I can't believe that I forgot to mention that there would be cheerleaders there also. I was so caught up in my man-crush that I forgot about the cheerleaders. I'm an idiot.

Also the following is straight from the Buc's web site regarding players attending:

The first wave of Buccaneer players will sign autographs from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Included in this group will be Mike Alstott, Brian Griese, Anthony McFarland, Shelton Quarles, Alex Smith, Greg Spires, Cadillac Williams and many more.

The second autograph session will run from noon to 2:00 p.m. and will feature such Buccaneers as Ronde Barber, Anthony Becht, Michael Clayton, Derrick Deese, Michael Pittman, Chris Simms, Ellis Wyms and many more.


Props to Shaq


Not only did he devote his game tonite to George Mikan, but he offered to pay for the funeral since the family is having financial troubles.

I'm not sure how PC it is to call out someones financial troubles, but it says something about Shaq's character that he's willing to make the offer on national television. I'm rooting for Shaq to face Duncan in the finals.

And so it begins

Koren Robinson

News is that Seahawks WR Koren Robinson has been cut, along with Chiefs WR Johnnie Morton.

Robinson had a solid year in 2002 (his sophmore year) with 1240 yards and 5 TDs, but his numbers have dropped the last couple of years. Robinson has been accused of dropping balls and he has been replaced as the go-to receiver by Darrell Jackson.

Johnnie Morton was cut for many of the same reasons as Robinson, except nobody ever expected Morton to be an outstanding player.

Also, I was mistaken earlier when I said you should be on the lookout for cuts starting June 1. The first day to cut players is actually June 2. This hasn't been made clear by most other people.

No Fun League

The media and the NFL has made way to big of a deal about this 49ers PR video that was leaked to the public (link to video here). This is a video that was created to warn young 49ers players about making potentially bad PR moves, which is kinda ironic since . . . well, the video has been a PR nightmare for the 49ers.

If you watch the video it does a good job of catching a player's attention, which some boring and stiff video would be unable to do. The guy who made the video, PR Director Kirk Reynolds is going to lose his job. Which is unfortunate because his only mistake was preventing the video from being released to the public.

Additionally, while the media has been quick to jump all over this guy, the 49ers players have been just as quick to defend him.

It wasn't meant to harm anybody or be any kind of negative message at all. It was supposed to be an in-house thing,'' linebacker Julian Peterson said at the 49ers' Santa Clara facility, where the team gathered for an off- season practice. "I know Kirk personally. I know he has not addressed anybody with racial slurs. I'm just so upset this got out of proportion like this."

I'm betting this guy gets a better job fairly quickly, most likely at a PR firm in San Francisco.

Garner expects to stick around


Charlie Garner's agent said he expects Garner to stick around until training camp and compete for a backup role. Garner is slotted to make only $800,000 this year compared to Pittman who stands to make $1,342,000.

No cuts have been anounced.

Random Musings

Spicy Paris

  • Shame on the Phoenix fans who left the game early last nite.

  • Kudos to the Phoenix fans who stayed a little later to cheer for the best Suns team ever.

  • If Ichiro breaks the all time hits record can people stop talking about Pete Rose? Or will that just spur more Rose in the Hall of Fame talk?

  • I agree with Mike and Mike on this one, Tim Duncan is the most underrated great athlete right now.

  • Check out the "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel if you enjoy good reality television. It's worth watching if you have any interest what-so-ever in knowing how that Alaskan snow crab goes from the bottom of the Bering Straight to your plate.

  • At what point did golf surpass tennis as the more popular sport in America?

  • The burger commercial with Paris Hilton is a rare mixture of the offensive and marketing genius.

  • It would have been much more interesting if Deep Throat had been Nixon. I know it's highly unlikely, but it would have been more interesting.

  • When is it too early to have a fantasy football draft? I say any time before the start of training camp.


You want numbers? I'll give you numbers

Courtesy of a Cummings article today in the Tribune I give you the cap numbers as of this morning before any players have been cut.

The Bucs are only $1.3 million under the $85 million cap. But the Bucs have up to $6.037 million to spend on rookies as mandated by the NFL. Since none of the rookies can be signed until cap room is cleared, the Bucs are looking to clear about $5 million starting today.

While the Bucs are not in the same level of salary cap hell as the Titans, they are in bad shape compared to other teams. You can pretty much expect older offensive players to be cut, mainly guys who where brought in last year, i.e. Garner and Steussie. The only young guy who could be cut is Kenyatta "First Round Bust" Walker.

The Bucs are still looking at restructuring some contracts, notibly Brooks, Rice and McFarland. Brooks counts $9 M against the cap, Rice $10 M and Booger $4 M. None of these players are eager to rework their contracts (would you be excited if your boss came to you asking for a paycut of a million or so?), so it's unlikely you will see any contracts restructured.

Of course, as I hear of any cuts I will post the news ASAP.