Sports Outside the Beltway

Drug Dealer Worried about Pacman’s NFL Career

There comes a point when people should realize they have a problem. When your drug dealer is worried about your drug use and career, it has probably reached that point. (As is walking around with $81,000 in cash in a garbage bag only to pour it on a stripper “for the effect” also qualifies)

In March, 2006 Metro Police announced some major drug arrests. A lot of the evidence for the arrests was from conversations police had taped with different dealers. Although Jones faced no charges in connection with the investigation, his name was mentioned in the taped recordings.


Jones’ buddy convicted drug dealer Darryl Moore was the center of the investigation and now his conversations may be very telling of Jones’ own problems.
“We gotta slow down, man. We gotta get him focused on football, man. He’s focused on too much other s****,” Moore said.


Moore, a convicted Felon now facing another round of hard time, actually worried Jones was spiraling out of control.
Moore said he cared about his friend and how all of his habit could affect his career.
“You know, I was talkin’ to him the other day about smokin’, and he was like ‘man, if I didn’t smoke I couldn’t take all the stress that I’m dealing with right now,’” Moore said.
Moore also talked about Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher who he said visited Jones at home.
“Fisher’s being as patient as a m*****f***** as he can. Fisher gotta win. Fisher trying to win…He ain’t putting up with that s***,” Moore said.
The Titans have said in the past they’ve talked to Jones. Lawyers and judges have certainly counseled him as well.
“He gotta concentrate on season…that ******* drug test coming up,” he said. “We telling him he needed 33 days before he took his ******* test; dry-out, and he didn’t…that’s let me know right there that he ain’t taking his ****** job serious.”

Unbelievebale. This sums up just about everything people hate about pro-athletes and really no one in his personal life aside from his drug dealer is telling him he has a problem or at least trying to do anything to help him.


Cyclist Jan Ullrich Retires

German Cyclist Jan Ullirch, most know for the guy always behind Lance Armstrong has retired from professional cycling.

The 33-year-old German, who won the Tour in 1997 and was runner-up five times, announced his retirement eight months after being implicated in a Spanish doping scandal.

“I am ending my active career,” Ullrich said. “It’s not easy, but you have to listen to the voice inside you that the time is right. It was a good time and I would do it the same way again, even the bad times.”

You have to feel kind of bad for Ullrich, he was consistently the only racer to challenge Armstrong during his 7 year run and would of most likely won a fair share of Tours. It’s a shame to see a great career end in scandal, but end it has and only time will tell if he is guilty.


Two picks for the Baseball Hall of Fame

The Veteran’s Committee will announce the latest entrants today.

NEW YORK – Gil Hodges and Ron Santo top the players’ ballot and Doug Harvey and Marvin Miller head the officials’ hopefuls in the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote to be announced Tuesday.

Since the Veterans Committee was revamped for the 2003 election, no one has been chosen by the voters — mostly living Hall of Famers.

Players appear on the ballot every two years, and officials go on a composite ballot every four years. Twenty-seven players are on this years ballot, along with among 15 managers, executives and umpires.

Two years ago, Hodges and Santo each fell eight votes shy of the necessary 75 percent. They both were picked on 52 of 80 ballots (65 percent), followed by Tony Oliva (45 votes), Jim Kaat (43), Joe Torre (36), Maury Wills (26), Vada Pinson (23), Luis Tiant (20) and Roger Maris (19).

Harvey, a former NL umpire, topped the 2003 composite ballot with 48 votes, 12 short of the needed 75 percent. Former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley had 38 votes, and Miller, the former head of the players’ association, had 35.

Lefty O’Doul, Al Oliver, Cecil Travis and Mickey Vernon were added to this year’s players’ ballot, and Elston Howard and Smoky Joe Wood were dropped.

Holdovers also include Dick Allen, Bobby Bonds, Ken Boyer, Rocky Colavito, Wes Ferrell, Curt Flood, Joe Gordon, Mickey Lolich, Sparky Lyle, Marty Marion, Carl Mays, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson and Don Newcombe.

The composite ballot also includes Buzzie Bavasi, August Busch Jr., Harry Dalton, Charles O. Finley, Whitey Herzog, Bowie Kuhn, Billy Martin, Gabe Paul, Paul Richards, Bill White, Dick Williams and Phil Wrigley.

The 84 eligible voters on the Veterans Committee include 61 living Hall of Famers, 14 Frick winners selected for major contributions to baseball broadcasting, eight members Spink winners picked for meritorious contributions to baseball writing and one holdover from the previous Veterans Committee.

The choices to me are pretty simple. The composite ballot has some good choices in Kuhn, Herzog, White, Williams and Wrigley. It also has Bravasi and gag…gag…Gabe Paul. Should I start re-telling 1970′s and 80′s Cleveland Indian jokes?

Like the little girl who is at a custody hearing. The judge asks her

Judge- “Do you want to live with your Mommy?”

Girl- “No Mommy beats me.”

Judge- “Do you want to live with your Daddy?”

Girl- “No, Daddy beats me worse than Mommy.”

Judge- “Who do you want to live with?”

Girl- “The Cleveland Indians.”

Judge- “Why the Cleveland Indians?”

Girl- “They don’t beat anyone.”

There’s more jokes but I’ll spare you the experience.

As to the players, it is an easy choice for me. I’m a Met fan and always have been. The Mets of 1969 were the luckiest team in baseball history and Hodges was the manager. He was a good not great ballplayer. I’m not letting sentimentality rule, but Gil Hodges is not a HOFer. If Gil had played in Philadelphia rather than Brooklyn, he may not have gotten this far.

So who are my choices? Ron Santo and Ken Boyer. Both of whom are are among the top 10 players at third base in baseball history. Up till World War II, 3B was a position for defensive players just like shortstop. Dominated by players like Willie Kamm, Pie Traynor, Ossie Bluege and others. The new era at 3rd base didn’t start till after the war, though Harland Clift, a member of the St. Louis Browns in the 1930′s and early 40′s, was a harbinger of what was to come.

Santo and Boyer were excellent glove men and good hitters. Both had long productive careers. They were also arguably the best third basemen at the time they played either in the National League or all of the majors.(Boyer faces the tougher argument there, he went up against Eddie Mathews for much of his career) Comparing these two players to the others on the ballot shows how clearly almost all the others are lacking.

After Boyer and Santo, the next best choics are Marty Marion(the premier glove man at SS in the 40′s), Joe Gordon(excellent 2B from the same era as Marion), Hodges, Jim Kaat who won 280+ games and Sparky Lyle. Relief pitchers are probably the most subjective position to rate in baseball, the standards are almost non-existent. Lyle was very good for 5-6 years and won a CY Young award. On the other hand, is the New York factor at play again?

Don’t make me laugh by mentioning Lefty O’Doul. He had a couple of good years in the inflated hitters years of the late 20′s and early 30′s. My father, who knew O’Doul slightly after his playing days were over, wouldn’t even be advocating him for the HOF. If we put O’Doul in who is next, Wally Berger? Babe Herman? There are already too many players in the HOF from that overrated era. If you count them up, there are like six or seven players at one postion(RF I think) in the HOF who were starters in 1929.

One last note- I have no objection to umpire Doug Harvey being voted in. He was probably the most respected umpire there was for much of his time in baseball.

Update- The votes are in. No one is being added to the HOF.


Pavano hurt (what’s new?) and Abreu hurt

Pete Abraham reports. And it’s unclear how long he’ll be out. It could be a few days or a few weeks.

Pavano has started 17 games in 2 years with the Yanks. That works out to $1.7 million per start. The worst contract in Yankee history? You decide.

UPDATE: Bobby Abreu will miss at least 2 weeks with a muscle strain. Better now than in July.


Diversity in golf?

Craig Dolch at the Palm Beach Post wrote-

In 2000, there were 19 foreign-born players on the PGA Tour. This season, there are 24 Australians alone.

Want more proof of how international the Tour has become? This year’s Masters, for the first time, will have more foreign players than Americans.

International invasion
Foreign players have steadily increased in number on the PGA Tour this decade:

Year Number
2000 19
2001 48
2002 56
2003 60
2004 71
2005 78
2006 75
2007 76
Source: PGA Tour
More golf
Honda Classic coverage

“That’s an unbelievable stat, for sure,” said one of the foreign players, England’s Justin Rose. “Golf is a growing sport in Europe, and our presence over here is only going to get stronger and stronger.”

The Honda Classic reflects this global shift, with its past two winners non-Americans: England’s Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington of Ireland. That’s quite a change from watching the first 21 Hondas won by U.S. players. Zimbabwe’s Nick Price, now a Jupiter Island resident, ended that streak when he won the 1994 Honda at Weston Hills. Since, six of the past 13 Honda winners have been international players.

So why did the PGA Tour go from being comprised mostly by Americans to a melting pot? Most players say it comes down to two words: world rankings.

In the late 1990s, the PGA Tour started using the world rankings to set the fields for the three lucrative World Golf Championships. This gave foreign players an easier way in to those events, and the prize money that comes with them.

Then, the four major championships soon added world rankings to their entry criteria – anyone in the top 50 gets in. By playing in only those seven tournaments, international players could earn enough money to gain their Tour card and full access to the rest of the events on the PGA Tour.

The money and ease of jet travel have been here for years, so I think the World Golf Championships are part if not most of the cause for more foreign players in the US. Also there are more players like Luke Donald or Carl Pettersson who played college golf in the states. I think that has to have changed the equation also.

In the past players like Greg Norman, David Graham, Bruce Crampton and Bruce Devlin turned pro in Australia and eventually came to the US to play. Australians have been playing the US or European golf circuits for fifty years. Look at five time British Open Champ Peter Thomson. With the exception of Thomson,(Note Thomson only won one US non-senior title in limited play.) career on the seniors tour was suce these Australians were all very sucessful in the US and lived here also at least on a part-time basis.

While the PGA tour is diverse in Europeans and Australians, there is black hole when it comes to players of color. Other than Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, KJ Choi and Shigeki Maruyama, there are few proven Asian golfers on tour and no blacks on tour.(None that I know of, unless any made it through the last Q school) The LPGA on the other hand features over 40 South Korean players alone but has no blacks either. Are the pro golf tours really diverse?

I think we can still safely say golf is still a game for white men.


Levi Leipheimer wins Tour of California

Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, California won the Tour of California:

Leipheimer, a three-time top-10 Tour de France finisher, completed 639.2-mile race with a 21-second advantage over Jens Voigt of Germany.

The Discovery Channel rider took the lead with a 1-second win in the prologue Feb. 18 in San Francisco. He maintained a lead of no more than three seconds until he dominated the individual time trial fifth stage last Friday in Solvang.


NFL 2007 Mock Draft

SI’s Don Banks does the magazine’s second NFL mock draft. Even he acknowledges that it’s a little silly with the combine not yet over and the free agency period not yet begun but, hey, it’s a long offseason.

The big variable is Brady Quinn, who not long ago was considered THE GUY in this draft. Remember all the talk about the “Brady Quinn Derby?”

It’s still way early, but playing the role of Aaron Rodgers in this year’s draft could be none other than Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, whose volatility factor is starting to remind me a little of the sliding Cal quarterback of two years ago.

Rodgers was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick for most of the 2005 pre-draft buildup, but tumbled to No. 24 Green Bay — where he’s still waiting for his turn under center behind a certain veteran who continues to stave off retirement.

While we’re not forecasting quite such a precipitous drop for Quinn, he’s shaping up as the wild card in the first round’s top half, where he could still go anywhere from first overall (Oakland) to 14th, where Carolina resides. I have a hard time buying that teams such as No. 2 Detroit, No. 3 Cleveland, No. 7 Minnesota and No. 8 Houston should pass on Quinn, but if they do, look for No. 9 Miami to catch the falling star and put him in their pocket next season.

The problem with the QB position is that teams are reluctant to pull the trigger because it can take four or five years to find out if they found the right guy; that’s a far steeper learning curve than any other position.

The SI team’s consensus:

    1. RAIDERS QB JaMarcus Russell LSU Jr. 6-6 260
    2 LIONS OT Joe Thomas Wisconsin Sr. 6-8 315
    3 BROWNS RB Adrian Peterson Oklahoma Jr. 6-2 220
    4 BUCS WR Calvin Johnson Georgia Tech Jr. 6-5 235
    5 CARDINALS DE Gaines Adams Clemson Sr. 6-5 260
    6 REDSKINS DE Jamaal Anderson Arkansas Jr. 6-6 280
    7 VIKINGS WR Ted Ginn, Jr. Ohio State Jr. 6-0 180
    8 TEXANS DT Alan Branch Michigan Jr. 6-6 330
    9 DOLPHINS QB Brady Quinn Notre Dame Sr. 6-4 228
    10 FALCONS WR Dwayne Jarrett USC Jr. 6-5 210
    11 49ERS DT Amobi Okoye Louisville Sr. 6-1 315
    12 BILLS CB Leon Hall Michigan Sr. 5-11 195
    13 RAMS DE Adam Carriker Nebraska Sr. 6-6 295
    14 PANTHERS S Reggie Nelson Florida Jr. 6-1 195
    15 STEELERS DE Jarvis Moss Florida Jr. 6-6 250
    16 PACKERS RB Marshawn Lynch California Jr. 5-11 216
    17 JAGUARS DE Charles Johnson Georgia Jr. 6-2 272
    18 BENGALS S LaRon Landry LSU Sr. 6-2 202
    19 TITANS WR Dwayne Bowe LSU Sr. 6-3 220
    20 GIANTS OT Levi Brown Penn State Sr. 6-5 328
    21 BRONCOS CB Darrelle Revis Pittsburgh Jr. 6-0 205
    22 COWBOYS CB Dameyion Hughes California Sr. 6-2 188
    23 CHIEFS WR Sidney Rice South Carolina So. 6-4 202
    24 PATRIOTS LB Lawrence Timmons Florida State Jr. 6-3 230
    25 JETS TE Greg Olsen Miami Sr. 6-5 250
    26 EAGLES DE Anthony Spencer Purdue Sr. 6-3 266
    27 SAINTS CB Aaron Ross Texas Jr. 6-1 192
    28 PATRIOTS WR Robert Meachem Tennessee Jr. 6-3 210
    29 RAVENS LB Stewart Bradley Nebraska Sr. 6-4 256
    30 CHARGERS S Michael Griffin Texas Sr. 6-0 195
    31 BEARS TE Zach Miller Arizona State Jr. 6-5 259
    32 COLTS OLB Paul Posluszny Penn State Sr. 6-2 238

Analysis at the link.


Wade Phillips a People Person

I got a chuckle out of this response from new Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips in a chat:

How is the relationship going with [owner-GM] Jerry Jones and [scouting director] Jeff Ireland?

Phillips: It’s going well. All of us work well with people. All of us are people. So that should work well.

Can’t argue with that logic.


Broncos’ Damien Nash Dies after Charity Hoops Game

The Denver Broncos have suffered a second death in less that two months, with backup tailback Damien Nash’s mysterious death after a charity basketball game last night.

Denver Broncos reserve tailback Damien Nash collapsed and died Saturday night after an appearance in a charity basketball game in St. Louis. Nash, a two-year NFL veteran, was 24.

Agent David Canter confirmed his client’s death, as did Denver team officials.

“The Broncos family has suffered a great loss with the passing of Damien Nash,” coach Mike Shanahan said from Indianapolis, where he was attending the NFL’s scouting combine along with general manager Ted Sundquist. “I am stunned and deeply saddened by this tragedy, and send my deepest condolences to Damien’s family.”

Canter, who is attending the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, was contacted after received reports of Nash’s death from people close to other players who had participated in the basketball game. During a telephone interview, Canter, who was unaware of the incident, received a call from Denver officials confirming Nash’s death. “It’s true,” an obviously distraught Canter said. “It’s true. I don’t know what more to say right now, OK?”

Details of the incident were not yet available, and an official with the St. Louis police said an investigation was in its “very earliest” stages.

The proceeds of the event were to benefit the Darris Nash Find A Heart Foundation, which raises money for heart transplant research. The foundation was created last month after Darris Nash, 25, the older brother of Damien Nash, received a heart transplant.

Former Missouri receiver Sean Coffey was at the event with Nash and told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch there was no indication anything was wrong. “Everything was normal. … We were playing around at the game. … He was fine,” Coffey told the newspaper. “I give my best to his family. This is crazy. I can’t believe this is happening. It was the first time I had seen him in a couple of years. I can’t believe he’s gone. I’m so happy I got to see him one last time.”

Lee Baker, who was teammates with Nash at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, was supposed to have dinner with Nash after the basketball game. One of Baker’s friends received a call that Nash had collapsed a short time after leaving the event. “We still don’t know what happened. He looked in great shape. He had four 3-pointers [in the game]. He had a big smile on his face. There was no indication” anything was amiss, Baker told The Associated Press. “He was a great guy. It’s hard to believe. I want to think I’m dreaming. I was looking at him today, and thinking how proud I was of him. I was so happy for him.”


Nash is the second Broncos’ player to die since the end of the 2006 season. Two-year veteran cornerback Darrent Williams was shot to death in a limousine after leaving a Denver-area nightclub Jan. 1.

Tragic. Given his brother’s recent transplant, it wouldn’t surprise me if it were a heart condition.


Brian Stewart Cowboys New Defensive Coordinator

The San Diego Chargers have relented after several requests and allowed Brian Stewart to leave his job as secondary coach to join Wade Phillips in Dallas as the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator, according to one published report.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune is unequivocal: “Chargers defensive backs coach Brian Stewart has been released from his contract and will become the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.”

There is no word at and the FWST’s Clarence Hill will say only that the process has “moved a step closer” but he acknowledges that “The Chargers granted the Cowboys permission to speak to Stewart and released him from his contract, setting the stage for him to join the Cowboys.” He further qualifies, “According to a source close to the team, either Stewart or Todd Bowles, who coached the Cowboys’ secondary the past two years, will be named defensive coordinator, with the other coaching the secondary.” Likewise, DMN’s Todd Archer notes, too, that “The Cowboys have not spoken to Stewart, who was flying from San Diego to Indianapolis on Saturday, but bad weather delayed his arrival.”

Still, it seems incredibly unlikely that the Chargers would allow Stewart to leave for a lateral move, nor would it make much sense for Stewart and the Cowboys to fight so hard to move from a 14-2 team to a 9-7 team for the same job.


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