Tagged with "NFl"
Musings From The Hoodwood 4-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL PGA NBA

Heres to you Mr. Robinson…Hoodwood salutes you.

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where are favorite golfers are named Boo, Tiger and Bubba and feel like one of our own won the Masters on Sunday…more on that later.

Im in my 3rd year writing this column and I will admit there are times where I struggle to put together a piece that is coherent and topical. This wont be one of them since I have lot of musings.

The Line You can draw from Jackie

As I mentioned at the end of last weeks column, my grandfather celebrated his 90th birthday last Sunday. My Grampy is a simple quiet man, very reserved and so low key its often hard to hear him. He is a very passionate baseball fan and knows the game well. We often went to ballgames and he would have the section we sat in enthralled with his simple story of watching Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers throw a shutout at old Crosley Field, or Jackie Robinson scoring a run with a walk, a stolen base, a fielders choice and worrying the pitcher so much while at third he’d score on a balk.  Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color line and the Dodgers had fans in every city they played at. A heated discussion developed when my Grampy stated in his low-key way that while Jackie Robinson was the first, he wasn’t the best player to come from the Negro Leagues  and it wasn’t even close. Many of the white patrons at that game were shocked to hear him say that. I knew where he was going with his point, so I let the patrons continue their shocked disbelief while Grampy pointed out players like Josh Gibson, Cool Papa and Ray Dandrige never played in the majors but were stars in their own right, Satchel Paige was well past forty when he started playing for the Indians in 1948 and though is prime years were behind him was able to pitch effectively for the last Indians team to be crowned World Series Champs. When one of the patrons argued that he had never heard of these players except for Paige, I stepped in and challenged him to look all the players up and note that they each have their own plaque in Cooperstown.  Now the reason that Robinson was the first was because of where he had came from , he was college educated, he was a military vet and of the right mentality to take the merciless abuse he would get. With Robinson not only proving that he could play, but play well he opened the door for many other talented Negro League players as well as players from the Caribbean, but keep in mind with out Robinson you don’t have Brown v. Board of Education, you don’t have Rosa Parks, you don’t have freedom rides, a civil right bills isn’t celebrating it golden anniversary of passage . Martin Luther King Jr. was still a sociology student at Morehouse when Robinson broke in with the Dodgers. Over the last 67 years, the US has had tremendous growth in civil rights, and still has much progress yet to be made. But I dare say that none of that progress would have been made or would be severely stunted had Robinson not taken the field that overcast day in 1947. We’re all better for it.

PGA: Bubba does it again!

Its hard not to like Gerry Lester Watson Jr. The people call him Bubba and hes the 2014 masters champion. He won his 2nd green jacket on Sunday with an -8 score, besting young Jordan Spieth by 3 shots. The simple, earthy Watson is fast becoming a fan favorite for his unorthodox play, laid-back dare we say it aw-shucks manner and humble attitude.  Many people considered his 2012 Masters win a fluke, the lucky dog finding the biggest of bones, but this win you couldn’t write off as luck. Watson played it aggressive from the hilt, in the final round where many thought he would lay up, play it conservative and not try to do anything foolish on the brutal Augusta course, Watson with a three shot lead went for and got the green in two on the 15th when the experts all clucked their collective toungues and openly questioned Bubba’s aggressive style. But when it was all said and done, the roles were reversed and Aussie Adam Scott was putting the jacket back on Watson as Watson had put the jacket on Scott last year. And what did Bubba do to celebrate? Fancy dinner with wife and toddler? Welllll, if you call hitting a Waffle House early Monday morning after the win a fancy dinner. Watson becomes only the 7th golfer to claim his first two major wins at Augusta the first since Jose Maria Olazabal claimed his 2nd green jacket in 1999.  But that’s just our Bubba. You damn right Hoodwood claims him as one of our own, your humble scribe owns three Bubba Golf Shirts (damn, I miss Steve and Barry’s…lol) and with Tiger missing from the field, it was only right that the most down to earth guy wins the Masters.

NBA: Messed up playoff set

This just aint right. The Atlanta Hawks clinched their 7th straight playoff appearance, which is stunningly the 2nd longest active playoff streak in the NBA to the Spurs. Wait let that sink in the Hawks have meandered their way to the playoffs and I was stunned to see that indeed that they have made the playoffs 7 years running, with 3 different coaches, they ran off Mike Woodson and Larry Drew who were pretty capable coaches and if you can name the Hawks coach without looking it up you are a lie (No Sully, you aren’t eligible) But the Hawks will make the playoffs and wont be close to a winning record (they are 37-44 after losing to Charlotte Monday) but they edged out the sorry Knicks for the final playoff spot and will likely be ran out the playoff by the Pacers (maybe) who clinched the first seed in the east with the Heat tanking, errrrr losing to the Wizards which I think that seeing the easier playoff path at the bottom half of the East, they’ll run out the aforementioned playoff neophyte Bobcat-Hornets in the first round then get more playoff neophyte in the winner of the Toronto-Washington winner.  Even worse, the Pacers get the winner of the Brooklyn-Chicago winner in the top half of the East draw. You think the Heat will even break a sweat for a month before the East Finals? Meanwhile out west, there will be a team that will win at least 47 games…and go home. The Suns and Grizzlies are battling for the last playoff spot and the right to get executed by the 62 win Spurs, put either one of those teams in the East and they have home court in the first round, in the West you could have 7 teams that will have 50 wins. 50 wins in the East locks a 3 seed up. 37 wins in the west puts you in 11th…Am I the only on that thinks that a losing team shouldn’t get in the playoffs if there are other teams that have better records? Am I the only that thinks that either the Suns or Grizzlies will get sent to the sidelines with a better record in four playoff teams in the East? Should there be some playoff restructuring? Food for thought

NFL: Content Cowboy mediocrity

The Cowboys are so full of themselves. Really. I guess I have an inherent hatred of the team, but its messed up that their owner Jerry Jones is so deluded that he thinks that even though the Pokes are 136-136 since their last Super Bowl appearance in 1996, he is convinced that the Pokes are stlll a good draw and are good TV. The Cowboys are on TV all the time, and have been the Sunday night finale each of the last three seasons and have lost to their other three divisional rivals. Jones doesn’t care he just cares about the ratings. Jones was quoted in Vegas as saying “As you know, the Cowboys have not gone to the playoffs in several years. We have not gone. Yet we're the most popular TV show there is on television. We lead all teams in TV ratings. We lead, 24 out of the last top 25 shows were NFL games, and any time your Cowboys play, they're up there at the top and leading." Leading? Leading in what? Ratings is the only thing that seems to matter to Jones and being at .500 with only 1 playoff win in the past 18 years isn’t something you want to be known for. The Pokes are a joke and the sad thing either their owner doesn’t know it or doesn’t care.

Phat Dap Head Slap

Phat Dap

Phat Dap to Union College who won their first national title in school history by downing Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four. Union College in upstate New York made their first appearance in the Hockey National semifinals in Philly, after downing Boston College Thursday the Dutchmen scored three times in a 1:54 span in the 1st period to down the Gophers, who I was rooting for to take their 6th national title. But you have to give it to the tiny 2000 student college for whom Hockey is the only D-1 sport in taking their first national title.

Head Slap

To the 49ers Aldon Smith who thought it would be funny to say that he was carrying a bomb in LAX.  Smith was annoyed that he was being  randomly targeted for a secondary security search. Smith got arrested after he became belligerent and refused to be cooperative with the airport authorities. Smith needed to get checked, you don’t play with airport security…ever. Smith has numerous run ins with the law over the last few months and is walking on a thin line with the lack of discipline.

I might add some more random thoughts later, but until next post fellow sports fans!

Quarterbackarama!
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL quarterbacks

 

What a time to talk football. The draft hasn't happened yet. Kickoff for the season is 5 months away. So what are we going to do? Talk football, of course.

It's a quarterback's league, or so we're told. Probably has been for years anyway. So why not check what's going on at each team's premier position? There are things happening already. Here and there.

Where Nothing Much Changes

The majority of teams have nothing monstrous to report, at least pre-draft, and from what we hear probably won't after the draft either. Manziel has gotten more negative press, perhaps deserved, perhaps not, over the past months than he did in his entire college career. Same for Bridgewater. Bortles has been mentioned lately as the top pick. Anybody know what's going on? I don't. How'd you like your franchise QB to be named 'Bortles'?

So, dissing the draft for the time being, we see nothing earthshaking in the places where we'd expect nothing much.

New England: Tom Brady is back. What, you hadn't heard? What you might have missed is the Pats dangling sub Mallett for a while as trade bait. Either there were no takers or something they wanted dried up, but he's back too it seems.

Denver: Peyton Manning will have to retire before the Broncos replace him.

Seattle: Rumor has it that Russell Wilson has kept his job.

Green Bay: Word is Aaron Rodgers has the inside track.

San Diego: Phil Rivers was just short of magnificent last year, and it's his team again.

Miami: Ryan Tannehill may not have set the world on fire but Miami really has no options right now. Plus, he's got upside. We think. Anyway, Matt Moore is an insurance policy more than a threat.

Baltimore: With Nick Stephens and Tyrod Taylor for competition, Jump Ball Joe will have to pull off a real stinker this year to see bench time.

Pittsburgh: Ben is Pittsburgh. Nuff said.

Cincinnati: It's Dalton's job to lose. He may some day, but not this time around.

Indianapolis: The Colts didn't tank a season to land a throwaway.

Kansas City: Alex Smith may not be Johnny Unitas, but he's pretty good and he's the best the Chiefs have had in a while.

NY Giants: Eli Manning may go from bum to hero to bum over and over, but while he sells seats he stays in New York. His political capital is on a par with Coughlin's. Beating New England twice does that for you.

Philadelphia: Mark Sanchez may be in the house but Nick Foles will be on the field unless Chip blows a main seal.

Chicago: Jay Cutler may be just what Da Bears don't need, at least when he's not healthy (which is often), but he's da man.

Detroit: The Lions stunk last year and so did Stafford, but with just Kellen Moore as a serious alternative the Lions are banking that new coaching gets the talented screwball's head on straight. He's not their only such project.

Atlanta: Matt Ryan has to be thanking the football gods that he didn't play for Houston last year.

Carolina: After a fine season of team play, Cam reverted to Cam late and down went the Panthers. Same ordeal for Rivera again this year.

New Orleans: Drew Brees owns the team as long as he's upright. Of course, there's always Ryan Griffin or Luke McCown. Like I said...

Arizona: Carson Palmer found a home in the sun, and it's not going to dry up before this season starts.

Now the Interesting Stuff:

Not everybody's got a boring situation. Even some teams with the position cast in stone are having the odd issue here and there. Some have no situation to speak of at all.

Cleveland: Brian Hoyer had the Browns looking like a contender in the subpar AFCN last year... for about two games. That was how long it took for him to get crunched. He's back, but is he such a lock based on two games that the Browns would dump Weeden? It's hard to predict what a team that plays musical administrations will do. Make that futile.

Oakland: Terrelle Pryor has been proving just another athletic QB flop. Matt McGloin is ok but isn't exactly turning heads sideways. Enter Matt Schaub. Just two years ago he was the leader of the best team in football. For a while. What a bringdown. He's got to be wondering how Matt Ryan skates and he gets pitched into the express chute. He didn't even get a stop at purgatory.

Dallas: Why are they here? Well, not long ago folks were pitching the idea that Romo might be headed to Houston for their top pick. Apparently those folks were in Dallas. He'll be back, but it's not like the Boys are stone deaf to alternatives anymore.

San Francisco: So why put the Niners here? They were one pass from a Super Bowl that they almost surely would have won over the Floppos. Well, recent stories give the suggestion that all those concerns about Kappy's stature as a solid citizen may have had some merit. If he's not in jail, he'll start.

Washington: And why these guys? Well, in case you didn't notice, RG3's comeback wasn't exactly a glittering success. And after sitting all year, Kirk Cousins gave a less-than-inspired mop-up performance. It's doubtful they're looking, and it's doubtful Griffin doesn't start. What's doubtful is how rosy the Redskins' situation really is.

Minnesota: Christian Ponder's star may have flamed out. Then again the alternative is Matt Cassel. Judging from Minny's offseason activity, Matt's the guy. Is that good? Is that permanent? Check with me around November.

Tampa Bay: Amid rumors of this and that, Mike Glennon remains a decent bet to at least show whether or not he's developing at a fast enough pace, but that could change if Josh McCown shows the same stuff he did for the Bears. Either way things are a bit iffy.

St. Louis: The team with never-ending promise --- because they never attain it. Sam Bradford heads the short list of suspects. It seems the job is his to lose, and this year he just might succeed --- at losing it, that is.

New York Jets: This is a goody. Mark Sanchez is gone to Philly. Mike Vick is come from Philly. If you ever thought that putting your hopes on Vick is a bad idea, feel free to feel justified. The Jets signed him. What more do you need?

Houston Texans: Here is the mystery that keeps the draft interesting. With a perceived need to replace Matt Schaub, the Texans pulled off step 1 --- they dumped Schaub. May have been a little premature. Well, they did bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick. They still have Case Keenum and T.J. Yates. That's good depth. Which will be where they're headed (again) unless something else happens.

Jacksonville: Gone is Blaine Gabbert. Another whiz kid goes bust. In all truth, Henne has been a good quarterback whose foibles can be excused by looking at whom he's played for. But calling him a lock is a little iffy. They must have plans. He's the insurance policy.

Buffalo: Musical Quarterbacks won't get it done for the late Ralph Wilson's team. At this point you're either wondering whether EJ Manuel is a lock or one of several mediocre contenders. It would be hard to believe they're not planning something, but how many years in a row can you expend a high pick on a quarterback, and where does it get you? Seen the Browns?

Tennessee: Jake Locker is joining Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert (and maybe RG3) on the flash in the pan list it seems. Which leaves them with nobody, basically. Maybe they're going to take the NFL by storm with a wing-T?

 

Sports Friday with Hal: NFL Notes Aplenty
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Happy Friday!

 

Another week gone bye and it started off with a bang as the UConn Huskies won both the men’s and women’s NCAA (or NAACP if you saw the Fox News faux pas) Division One Basketball Championship. Baseball is back and the season is rolling along inspiring excitement (Milwaukee) or panic (Boston...yes, after an early season three game sweep by Milwaukee there was panic on the airwaves...yeesh!).  

 

The NBA season is closing out and likely another Miami Heat romp through the playoffs is nigh. Meanwhile, the NHL is closing out the year and teams are locking down spots in the playoff picture. With the NHL regular season ending it kicks off the best playoffs in any sports: the NHL Playoffs. No team is safe. Seven game series that go back and forth. Upsets every year. Incredible intensity night after night. It is just fantastic.

 

NFL NOTES:

 

The big news in the NFL is once again superstars running afoul of the law in that CBA-negotiated time that keeps players away from their teams. First, let me say that the NFL is a full-time job.  This is not 1950 with professional sports players working a regular job in the off-season and then using training camp to get back into shape.  Players work-out all off-season long: coaches are at the facility researching, prepping, planning and preparing. Let the off-season camps run all spring and summer long.  The more the players are under team control the less bull**** off-season trouble goes on.

 

This week had San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick looking at his first off-field black eye as news broke about his being investigated by police for an alleged sexual assault. Of course, with many journalists needing to “break stories” TMZ--who broke the news--may have taken out of context in the report.  At this time there is the potential of a crime having been committed with Kaepernick a possible--but not charged or arrested--suspect.

 

This “suspicious incident” included 49ers and Seahawks wide receivers Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette as well. Personally, I hope the players did not do anything wrong as I am tired of “sports stars behaving badly” stories. I think the 49ers/Seahawks Kaepernick/Russell Wilson rivalry is the best in the NFL and could be for at least another 5 or more seasons if there are no idiotic episodes to derail it.

 

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Speaking of San Francisco, reports are that the 49ers are desperate enough to call former San Francisco, Washington Redskin, New England Patriot, St. Louis Ram, Denver Bronco, and Chicago Bear wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd had probably the least productive 900 yard receiving season in NFL history in 2012 for New England and was out of the league last year when the wide receiver needy Patriots let him walk. The fact that he burned bridges badly in so many cities is a huge flashing neon sign to stay away.

 

The 49ers have tons of draft picks (just like they did last year) and are in position to draft a wide receiver early and trade for a veteran to shore up their biggest weakness on offense. A player that would fit in San Francisco is Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson.  He is talented and obviously sick of all the losing up North. The Bills have invested heavily in the draft at wide receiver and could move the mercurial Johnson for more draft picks.

 

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The Bills are in the news again as with the passing of owner Ralph Wilson last week comes news that his will is stipulating that his surviving family sell the team. This immediately sets off theories of who will buy and where the team will play. There are already reports of rocker Jon Bon Jovi being the face of a group willing to buy the Bills and move them to Toronto.  Expect whispers of moving the team to Los Angeles with the lack of a long-term stadium deal.

 

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New England Patriots had some fun this week with new Buffalo Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes. Spikes left New England in a huff after being dumped into injured reserve during the playoffs for being late to practice in a snowstorm. Spikes is a great run-stuffing middle linebacker--a two-down backer in today’s NFL.

 

He went on a Twitter madcap adventure talking about beating New England twice and then sparring with trolls, umm, I mean...fans. He started unfollowing and blocking Patriots fans from his Twitter...pretty funny stuff. Then, his worst tweet followed, which was “Four years a slave” referring to being paid millions of dollars in New England.  What an idiot. Enjoy the snow and the 6-10 seasons, Brandon.

 

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The Cleveland Browns--with gallons and gallons of salary cap space--did not franchise their talented center Alex Mack allowed an opponent to sign him to an offer sheet that if the Browns did not match would cost them nothing but money.  The Jacksonville Jaguars--another team with scads and scads of cap space--wisely put in an offer to Mack which is reported to be for five years and $42 million.


The Browns are idiots not to match it and keep him.

 

The Browns had an offensive line that was 40% fantastic and 60% crap last year: Mack accounted for 20% of the fantastic. The Browns front office--whoever the hell is running it this week--would be idiotic to let him go and further weaken an Achilles heel last year. For Jacksonville, it would be a coup to add Mack to former Broncos guard Zane Beadles on the interior offensive line. To lose Mack and young Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward in the same off-season is a kick to the groin of Cleveland supporters.

 

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O H Thursday
Category: FEATURED
Tags: MLB NFL

 

Spring is finally here!

 

Stats for the day, The HC QB combos with the most wins in NFL history looks like this

Belichick /  Brady    149

Shula / Marino          116

Noll / Bradshaw        107

Levy / Kelley             99

Reid / McNab            92

Reeves / Elway          89

Landry / Staubach      84

Shula / Griese            82

Fisher / McNair          76

Walsh / Montana        75

Holmgrin / Farve        74

Dungy / Manning       73

 

MLB

 

Early season top five Teams:

Detroit

San Fran

Miami

Atlanta

Seattle

 

 

Derek Jeter moved into 9th all time with his 3321st hit

Next up and possibly in reach are Carl Yaztrzemski 3419 and Honus Wagner 3420

Boston’ Jon Lester had his second quality start wasted by lack of hitting support and fell to 0-2  2.57

 

Fellow Boston Starter John Lackey is 2-0 1.36. Lackey is in the last year of his contract at $16 million and the Red Sox have a club option to keep Lackey in 2015 for a mere half  million. The Sox brass should be talking to Lackey about next year now. Lackey, two years removed from Tommy John surgery has never looked better. A 95+ fastball and a nasty slider that John admits he never had before makes him at age 36 a quality top of the rotation pitcher.

 

Omar Infante of the Royals took a Heath Bell fast ball to the face and suffered a broken jaw and a concussion. Bells 2 seamer was recorded at 88 on the gun. Infante will miss a little time but should be ok.

 

Tankology

NBA… getting down to lottery pong…

Bottom eight

8. Detroit

7. Sacramento

6. LA Lakers

5. Utah

4. Boston

3. Orlando

2. Philadelphia

1. Milwaukee

 

NHL…playoffs getting closer

The bottom of the playoffs is still a battle with only __games to go

East

7th       Detroit 88

8th       Columbus 87

With 3 games to go these teams are on the outside looking in…

New Jersey 84

Toronto           84

Washington     83

 

West

Stars         87

Coyotes    86

 

In other news…

 

Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is still missing, searchers have failed in reacquiring the pings heard the other day by the Chinese search ship.

Patriot DB Alfonso Dennard was released from prison in  Nebraska after serving 35 of a 60 day term for a probation violation. He was quickly heading back to Boston as instructed by HC Bill Belichick. Dennard has 100 hours of community service to take care of and it’s rumored that he enjoys spending time with kids at various Boston hospitals. Dennard still has to face the wrath of Roger Goodale and may face a short suspension for his off field antics.

NCAA

Womans final, U Conn (40-0) 77-59 over Notre Dame (37-1)

 

Congratulations to the U Conn men’s basketball team in winning their 4th title in the past 15 years.

The National Champion U Conn Huskies’ fans celebrated the unexpected win by lighting several small fires, breaking tables and chairs, and breaking windows in the Student Union and Field House. There were about 30 arrests according to Stores police.

Celebrating your teams victory with drugs and alcohol in a party type setting usually results in some sort of destruction.

 

Sorry for the lightweight blog today.

We lost a very close friend to a chronic lung disease on Tuesday.

My friend Orville was like a brother to both my wife and I. We are saddened by our loss but we are happy that he no longer suffers and has been reunited with his wife and daughter in Heaven.

 

Have a great day

 

 

Sports Friday with Hal: April is the Cruelest Month
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news PEDs baseball booing

Happy Friday!  

 

March is finally in the rear view mirror and with it I can finally put away the snow shovels and be free of winter for another few months. With that, there is Major League baseball on the television, the Final Four teams are left in the NCAA Tournament with March Madness winding down, the NFL is about done with major free agent signings and turns towards the NFL Draft, and the NBA and NHL wind down the regular season and ready for the playoffs.

 

I had a great Wednesday night of sitting on the couch watching TV and working the remote with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics all on the same night locally.  Had some half-price pizza and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers at the local watering hole with my buddy and the kiddos (no beer for them!) before that. The only downer being the lovely Mrs. B. was stuck working that afternoon and missed all the fun.

 

FAST BALLS:

 

A quick shout-out to O.H. whose blog yesterday got the wheels turning in my head--which is the reason we blog, right?  He touched on the return of Milwaukee Brewers outfield Ryan Braun from his 65 game suspension for P.E.D.’s.  Braun in Milwaukee, like Barry Bonds in San Francisco, received a powerful ovation from the home crowd and will soon be coming to the friendly confines of Fenway Park in Boston.  

 

I had commented that I would not be among those booing Braun if I were at Fenway that night.  Part of that reason is I am a big fan of Braun--a large part of that from him carrying various fantasy baseball teams of mine over the years.  Another reason is he is a player who really seems to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to play baseball for a living.   But another part of me has another reason not to boo him.

 

I was at Fenway for Roger Clemens’ first game back to Fenway as a Blue Jay where he dominated Boston’s lineup and famously pointed to General Manager Dan Duquette’s box as he left the mound. I was booing my lungs out at the Texas Con Man that day. Loudly and lustily. Not only because he was pitching so well for the opposition after having a few rough years allegedly out of shape here, but mostly due to rejection. He rejected the Red Sox. My team!

 

Fans boo for various reasons.  Some is due to simply not liking the player/coach, etc for some reason or the other.  Sometimes it is just the opposing team itself.  Sometimes it is the player who scorned the team/franchise/city, etc. It may be respect for the player doing well against your team. Or it could be due to something the player did or did not do. There are countless reasons for booing.

 

But for Ryan Braun, he cheated the system and was caught and paid the price, but that is not the real reason for booing. He was so outspoken in his own defense prior to this suspension that it had a bit of a Lance Armstrong effect. Personally, I would think the fans of Milwaukee would be more likely to boo him: he hurt their home team last year with the stupid suspension.  

Ryan Braun never did anything to me personally. In addition, he never hit a home run to knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs (Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone); he never wasted my hard-earned money by taking the field overweight and out-of-shape (Roger Clemens); he never left the team in a messy divorce that came out before the biggest game in franchise history at the time (Bill Parcells); he never beat the home team with a game winning baby hook in the NBA Championship (Magic Johnson); and he never opened his big mouth and bad-mouthed the franchise I root for either (Rex Ryan).

 

Ryan Braun is an idiot. But I cannot boo him for using P.E.D.’s. In a way, it makes him a tragic figure.  He was tempted and he gave into the temptation. As such it is very hard to fault him.  If I were approached and told that taking something would allow me the opportunity to potentially secure my family financially for life and allow me to excel at the game I love for the price of some health issues many years down the road, it would be a difficult thing to say “no” to.  

 

It is a deal with the devil, but everyday there are thousands of people give up so much more for so much less each and every day.  

 

I guess I think of it now, and its not that I’m angry at Braun, or even feel upset that he succumbed to the P.E.D. pressure, but more sad for him that he gave in to the demon and was not strong enough to say “no”.

 

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NFL NOTES:

 

The free agent signings are finally slowing down in the NFL, but as always there is plenty of NFL news each and every week.

 

The New England Patriots made an interesting move in bringing back safety Patrick Chung on  Thursday after he signed in Philadelphia last year. Chung did not burn bridges on his way out of Foxboro, MA (cough-cough Brandon Spikes cough-cough) and after one injury plagued season miscast as a free safety playing deep centerfield on defense, Chung is back as a back-up and special teamer.

 

Per ProFootballFocus.com, Chung missed 13 tackles and allowed five touchdowns in only twelve games (ten starts). Opposing quarterbacks had a 129.8 quarterback rating throwing at Chung, who was paid $3 million last year in the first year of a back-loaded deal.

 

Chung lost his job in New England in 2012 as he fell hard after the team benched him in the playoffs. Primarily a strong safety for the Patriots, the 2009 second round pick had an up-and-down career in his first run in New England. He was likely cheap (no contract details released) but he knows the defense, has some perspective after a year away, and will be competing for a job.

 

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Speaking of the Eagles, Philadelphia finally had enough and released their mercurial and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson was raked across the coals with a report of gang ties in an NJ.com story right before his release which does not help out much in free agency. Either way, he found a home in the NFC East in a hurry with Washington. For the Redskins, they are able to get two motivated games from Jackson at least (visiting Philly and Philly at Washington DC), but even more importantly he upgrades a wide receiver group in need of another playmaker for franchise quarterback RGIII.  Will he behave? Will he produce? That is the big question. Three years for $24 million and $16 million guaranteed means presumably the ‘skins get a year of Jackson before he starts moaning about wanting a new contract.

 

For Jackson, the best landing spot would have been San Francisco with the 49ers top defensive unit and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.  San Francisco with Jackson and Seattle with Percy Harvin and their defense would have made the best match-ups in the NFL into absolute must-see prime-time games. What a pity.

 

For the Redskins, having new head coach Jay Gruden get a new toy is a big deal. Pierre Garcon gets a little less attention and fellow new receiver Andre Roberts gets more single coverage as these three wide receivers should give running back Alfred Morris a few less defenders in the box as well.  I understand where Philadelphia is coming from with all the issues off-the-field with Jackson despite his excellent on-field talent.

 

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The New York Giants continued a busy off-season of moves in free agency as they grabbed offensive tackle Charles Brown and defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Zack Bowman to shore up the defense at value prices. Earlier in free agency, the Giants made a splash signing underrated cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and took a flyer on former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond. Adding further to the secondary they brought in safety Quintin Demps from the Chiefs. They also brought back wide receiver Mario Manningham on offense and signed Dolphins guard John Jerry and Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz. The Giants even brought in return specialist Trinidad Holliday from the Broncos.

 

For all the talk of teams like New England, Denver, and Seattle loading up in free agency the G-men have flown under the radar this offseason. They have a number of solid veterans to step in and the team back into the playoff picture. Their offensive line and secondary were their Achilles heel last season, and they are reloading there with a vengeance.

 

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OK, that’s all I have for this week. Have a great weekend, all!

 
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