Sports Outside the Beltway

Denver Bronco WR Kenny McKinley dead at 23

It is believed he committed suicide. Very tragic and RIP.

For the third time in four years, the Denver Broncos are dealing with the death of a teammate.

Wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home Monday in an apparent suicide.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial at 3:35 p.m. local time and found McKinley’s body in the second-floor master bedroom. He said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson said authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his young son. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.

“It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” he said.

McKinley was on injured reserve after hurting his left knee in August for the second time in eight months. He was known for his infectious smile and good sense of humor.

McKinley’s agent, Andrew Bondarowicz, said family and friends are at a loss to explain the death of a young man “who had such a love for life.”

“Everybody has their explanations, their own theories. Whether it was injuries, no one’s going to know for sure,” Bondarowicz said. “It’s a tough situation all the way around.

“Some people speculate that it was his being injured, some said it was financial challenges. … It’s a tragic situation.”

Bondarowicz said funeral arrangements were pending. He also said he’s been in touch with team and the players’ association about setting up a trust fund for McKinley’s son.

McKinley’s death is the latest in a series of tragedies for the Broncos in recent years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He remains South Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards. He returned to the school earlier this month, watching the Gamecocks beat Georgia 17-6 and visiting with his college coach, Steve Spurrier.

“Had a wonderful smile just like he always did,” Spurrier remembered.

The news of McKinley’s death spread quickly at the end of South Carolina’s practice Monday. Players who normally sprint off the field upbeat walked slowly with their heads down.

“Kenny was certainly one of my all-time favorite players. It’s hard to figure out why it happened like this,” Spurrier said.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement: “Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”


New York Jets WR Braylon Edwards arrested for drunk driving

Some pro football players can’t avoid getting into trouble during the regular season. From ESPN-

New York Jets receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested on a drunken driving charge in New York early Tuesday morning.

The Jets expressed their disappointment in the receiver in a statement from general manager Mike Tannenbaum on Tuesday.

“We are very disappointed in Braylon’s actions this morning. The Player Protect program is in place for our organization to prevent this situation. Braylon is aware of this program and showed poor judgment,” Tannenbaum said.

“We are reviewing the information with the league and will impose the appropriate disciplinary measures.”

The 27-year-old Edwards was pulled over for having overly tinted windows in his Range Rover. He was arrested at 5:15 a.m. after police smelled alcohol and administered a breathalyzer. According to the New York Post, Edwards blew .16 on the breathalyzer — a blood-alcohol content that is twice the legal limit.

Edwards has had a previous run-in with the law(during the regular season) and the NFL didn’t hand down a suspension. This time I don’t think he will be so lucky.


Where are my heart medications? Miami Dolphins beat Minnesota 14-10

I rarely have seen a football team try to lose a game so many different ways, and not succeed. Today’s game between the Dolphins and Vikings was a classic but in a bad way.

With a little over 6:00 to go in the 3rd period, Miami was up 14-0. The Dolphin defense had shut down Minnesota’s offense, and had scored a touchdown also after recovering a Bret Favre fumble in the end zone.

As for Miami’s offense, they scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game. The Dolphins also had no turnovers for the first 38 minutes of play.

Chad Henne was 9 for 15 with no interceptions. Brandon Marshall hauled in a 46-yard pass on the Dolphins first play from scrimmage. Brian Hartline caught three passes, one of which was Miami’s only touchdown.

Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ran for 110 yards combined against one of the best rush defenses in the 2009 NFL season.

That’s the good news offensively. Miami only controlled the football for approximately 24 minutes in the game and other than the opening drive, scored no points. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both made critical fumbles. The one by Ricky set up the Vikings touchdown.

Bottom line- Miami’s win was defensively based even though Adrian Peterson ran for over 140 yards against them. They intercepted Bret Favre 3 times, and made him fumble one more. These were the most turnovers by Favre in a single game since the 2008 NFL season finale–against the Miami Dolphins. Favre was with the Jets then.

Miami stopped the Vikings at the 1-yard line. They intercepted two of Favre’s passes inside the five.

Minnesota drove inside the Dolphins 30 twice in the last three minutes of the game and were unable to score.

Cornerback Jason Allen was on the receiving end of two Favre INTS. Is Allen who I and most everyone else have regarded as a draft bust(He was the Fins 1st round selection in 2006) for real or was today a mirage. Favre is a 40-year-old QB and has looked it so far this season.

Miami plays the New York Jets at home next weekend. So far the fins are 2-0 but I remain skeptical about this season.


Chicago Cubs OF Tyler Colvin hospitalized after being hit by broken bat


Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin is in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after being struck by the end of a shattered bat during the second inning of Sunday’s game against the Marlins.

The bat punctured the left side of Colvin’s chest just below the collarbone. He was taken to the trauma center and underwent a battery of tests, a Cubs spokesman said. Colvin had minimal external bleeding.

Colvin was leading off third base when catcher Wellington Castillo doubled to left field. It appeared he never saw the bat coming as he was watching the ball. Colvin continued toward the plate after being struck, scored the run and headed toward the dugout.

Note- My sister-in-law works as a nurse at Jackson Memorial.

Colvin is all right, which is what matters. Someone may use this an argument for pro baseball to switch to aluminum bats since they are used at all amateur levels. On the other hand, there has never been a MLB player seriously injured by a broken bat. I don’t care either way myself.


Fire Wade Phillips Today

I opposed hiring Wade Phillips, who has always been a joke of a head coach, back when it was rumored that he was the top choice to replace Bill Parcells in January 2007.  I called on Jerry Jones to undo his foolish mistake and fire Wade Phillips in October of 2008 after a talented team collapsed toward the end of that season to miss the playoffs.

So, it’s perhaps no shock that I’m calling, again, for Jones to come to his senses now that his team that was widely favored to host the Super Bowl in its own stadium has begun its season 0-2, showing no discipline and crippled by stupid playcalling against mediocre teams.  (To be sure, it doesn’t help that Jerry decided it could go without a legitimate field goal kicker on its roster.)

Get rid of this clown.  Now.  Get a real head coach in there and try to salvage this season.


Bill Parcells no longer Miami Dolphin VP of Football Operations

He had been in the job less than three years. From the Sun-Sentinel-

You knew this day was coming eventually, but nobody saw it coming so soon.

Bill Parcells has given up daily control of the Miami Dolphins’ football operations, according to a statement released by the team Tuesday afternoon.

“Effective immediately, Jeff Ireland will assume full control over all aspects and decisions in regard to the Miami Dolphins football team and support staff,” the statement reads. “This was the intent of the structure put in place in the past. Bill Parcells will remain with the club on a daily consultant basis.”

Parcells, who turned 69 on Aug. 22, had been executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins since Dec. 20, 2007. He has two seasons left on his original four-year contract.

It’s unclear if Parcells or Ireland will alter their official titles in any way, but that appears unlikely at this point.

Whatever the reason for Parcells stepping down, I don’t much change in the Dolphins immediate future. The team still seems to bungle things too much to be more than a fringe playoff team or contender.


Not Standing Pat- Miami Dolphins cut QB Pat White and WR Patrick Turner

They were two of over 20 players the fins cut loose yesterday. It wasn’t surprising news. Especially to Dolphins fans who questioned the selections of White and Turner on 2009 NFL Draft Day.

I wrote this about White last year.


Miami needs a wide receiver but White was a college Quarterback at West Virginia. He’s got good speed, and size is adequate. The need for the Dolphins at WR is indisputable but to draft a player who for it who didn’t play it in college. Yes Miami used the Wildcat last year, but that’s a gimmick offense that was the league was catching to to as the year progressed.

The best WR on the board was Georgia’s Mohamed Massaquoi. I’d gone for him not White.

White is not a factor in the quarterback picture, though I got to guess that John Beck is unlikely to be on the Dolphin roster for the 2009 season.

ESPN writes-

White is yet another player who doesn’t have a great fit at the NFL level. He isn’t tall or accurate enough to develop into an every-down quarterback and he is a raw receiver who is going to have to learn how to run routes before pushing for playing time in that kind of role. On the flip side, he can do a number of different things for your team and is the kind of player you want in your locker room.

This pick is a definite a head scratcher for Miami Dolphin fans.

The most memorable moment of White’s tenure in Miami was the concussion he suffered after a helmet to helmet hit in the 2009 season finale.

White finished his time in Miami 0 for 5 as a passer, ZERO receptions as a receiver, and 81 rushing yards. That and his being a 2nd round draft selection label Pat White as a draft bust.

Now this is what I wrote about Patrick Turner on 2009 NFL Draft Day.

This is another puzzling choice made by Miami. There had been a rush of Wide Receivers before the Dolphins made their pick, but there were much higher ranked(Scouts Inc. had him as the 38th best WR and he was the 14th selected) available receivers out their than Turner. Turner at 6’5 has size, but alot of question marks.

Draft expert Mel Kiper questioned the Turner selection when it happened.

Turner was even less productive than White in the NFL. Not one regular season down played.

So Turner and White were both mistakes. The thing is, they were avoidable mistakes. It was obvious Miami was reaching on draft day. Other selections made by the new Tony Sparano and Bill Parcells regime are also questionable or works in progress. Take for instance the currently suspended Phillip Merling. He was a 2nd round draft selection in 2008. His legal problems, Achilles tendon tear, and so far unamazing play leave his Dolphin in doubt.

Quarterback Chad Henne, another 2nd round selection in 2008, has been brilliant and erratic. His first year as a starter wasn’t Dan Marino like. Where will he go from this point?

Defensive Backs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith* were 1st and 2nd round selections in 2009 and started every single game. The Miami Dolphin pass defense was ranked 25th in the NFL in 2008 and was worse last year. Are these guys going to step up?

Jake Long is the one unqualified draft success Sparano and Parcells have to date in Miami. I’m not optimistic they have changed the Dolphins much from the disastrous Dave Wanstedt-Nick Saban-Cam Cameron days. My prediction for Miami in 2010- 6-10.

Update- Smith has lost his starting job to 2006 First Round pick Jason Allen. This doesn’t reflect well on Smith. Allen has spent almost all of his four NFL years on special teams and is easily rated as a draft bust. The Palm Beach Post article today went on to say Smith is now 4th on the depth chart.


Arizona Cardinals release QB Matt Leinart

He was the 10th overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. From ESPN-

The Arizona Cardinals have released quarterback Matt Leinart, ending a rocky stint with the team that began with fanfare as he was drafted 10th overall in 2006 and ended this preseason with the former USC star taking a backseat to Derek Anderson.

The team announced the decision to release the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Saturday.

Leinart played in 29 games with 17 starts for Arizona, and threw for 3,893 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Leinart came into this season looking to finally prove himself and show his teammates he was ready to handle all the responsibilities of starting as quarterback.

Leinart started the first two preseason games but was mostly unimpressive.

The Cardinals started Anderson the next two games as rumors swirled about Leinart’s future with the team and he complained to reporters about being left out of the loop.

Leinart’s initial stint as Arizona’s starter in 2007 didn’t go so well, either.

Leinart was coming off a decent rookie season in which he threw for more than 2,500 yards and 11 touchdowns after replacing Kurt Warner in Week 5.

That gave Leinart the edge over the veteran the next training camp and the left-hander opened as starter. He lasted five games, sharing time with Warner while throwing four interceptions and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 61.9 before a broken collarbone ended his season.

To me, this looks like a very dumb personnel decision. Anderson has been horrible(66.5 and 42.1 passer ratings) since 2008.(He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2007) I know he played for Cleveland but he never impressed me. Leinart hasn’t been a whole lot better, but his upside IMHO is better than Anderson’s. After making the playoffs two years in a row, I think Arizona is reverting back to its cellar dwelling days. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals go 5-11 this year.


Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd: Progress Stopping JAGs

In a post titled “If you’re keeping the best players, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd stay,” DMN’s Todd Archer makes a passionate plea for keeping the two veteran receivers on the Dallas Cowboys roster.

And as the final cuts come down this weekend, you’ll hear teams talk about “keeping the best players.”

Sorry, not true. Even in a season without a salary cap.

If it were true we wouldn’t be talking about the Cowboys thinking of cutting or trading Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. If you keep the best 53 players, they are in that group. There can be no discussion.

It’s all about economics. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. It’s just the way it is.

Crayton will make $2 million this season. Hurd will make $1.759 million. Hefty pricetags for backup wide receivers, but there is a peace of mind about having them around. You know what you’re going to get from Crayton. You can’t say that about every other receiver on the roster. Hurd is one of the best special teams’ players on the roster.

Remember Bill Parcells’ axioms about “progress stoppers” and “JAGs.” Crayton and Hurd are very solid players but, ultimately, both are “just a guy.” They’re never going to be any better than they are now. So, I can certainly see trading or releasing one of them to give the spot to a younger, cheaper player with more upside.

Recall, too, that Crayton was given the WR2 spot clean last year and had it taken away from him by Miles Austin. And was arguably outplayed by Michael Crabtree. Guys like Crayton and Hurd become progress stoppers, making it impossible to develop your future stars.

Of course, you’re not going to win a Super Bowl with nothing but superstars and rookies.   There aren’t enough of the former to go around and the latter aren’t going to pan out at high enough rate.   But Parcells was right:  If a guy isn’t showing you something by their 3rd year in the League, they’re likely not going to do it.   And it just doesn’t make sense to keep a lot of older, expensive players on your bench.


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