Sports Outside the Beltway

Green Bay’s Chad Clifton: Under the Radar

ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli put Green Bay Packers left tackle Chad Clifton on his “Under the Radar” team. He writes,

A seven-year veteran, Clifton rarely gets a nod when the subject turns to great left tackles, but the Green Bay stalwart has quietly carved out an excellent, if underappreciated, career as Brett Favre’s blindside body guard. Clifton is technically proficient as a pass protector, extends well to ward off rushers and has deceptively quick feet. Green Bay typically ranks in the top 10 in the fewest sacks allowed, and Clifton, who has 89 career starts, is a big reason why.

Let me praise him as a run blocker. Clifton, along with right tackle Mark Tauscher, are holdovers from the dominating offensive line of the Mike Sherman era. In 2004 the line that included Clifton, Tauscher, Dallas Cowboy guard Marco Rivera, Carolina Panther guard Mike Wahle, and Houston Texan center Mike Flanagan helped the Packers rush for 2558 yards, third in the league. In 2004 the team rushed for 1908 yards. It was a drop, but it still ranked 10th in the NFL. Right now, the Packers are only 20th in rushing. However, we’ve seen the promise of head coach Mike McCarthy’s zone blocking scheme. The Packers had a 100+ yard rusher in four straight games, and against Arizona both Ahman Green and Vernand Morency crossed the century mark. Being able to effectively change blocking technique is an indication of Clifton’s talent.

[Cross-posted to The American Mind.]


Tiki Barber Plans to Retire at End of Season

Tiki Barber the New York Giants’ all-time rusher plans to call it quits after this season:

“I’ve been talking about retirement for years now, and it has nothing to do with being physical or money or Hall of Fame,” Barber said. “It’s all about my desires, and for me to change them would compromise my integrity and would compromise who I am as a person and what I’ve always stood for.”

“I have a lot of interests and I’ve never wanted to be solely defined as a football player,” said Barber, who will earn $4.15 million this season. “I wasn’t that way in high school, I wasn’t that way in college and I won’t compromise my ideals to be that way in the National Football League.”

Tiki’s been very productive the past few years. Last year, he rushed for 1860 yards. In 2004, he rushed for 1518. If he does retire he’ll be like Barry Sanders and leave at his peak.


NYT’s Fantasy Football Weblog

The New York Times has a fantasy football weblog, The Fifth Down…and it’s pretty good. The writers have plenty of humor and don’t geek out too much. The geekiness still reamins. Remember, this is fantasy football.


Mike Tyson: Las Vegas Freak Show

My how a sports great has fallen:

Some crowded around the ring with cell phone cameras in hand. Others sat at a bar not 20 feet away drinking beer. Still others ignored it all and smoked cigarettes and played slot machines.

Mike Tyson used to put on displays. On this day, he was just on display.

Down the street, tourists watched lions and dolphins between breaks at the slot machines. In the Aladdin hotel, they didn’t need to move from their seats at the bar to see another curiosity in a makeshift ring.

The former baddest man on the planet has been reduced to this — just another freak show on the Las Vegas Strip.

The signs said he was in training, and that was enough to lure a few hundred people to the makeshift ring set up just outside the casino’s buffet restaurant. Training for what was a question better left unanswered.

Tyson once made $35 million for one fight and more than $300 million in his career before blowing it all. Now he’s a casino sideshow, trying to make a few bucks the only way he knows how in a sport he no longer can stand.

Exhibition bouts might be in Tyson’s future. It’s like Rocky with the never-ending sequels. What pro wrestler will Tyson take on?


Did the NFL Ban the Spike?’s article on new NFL rule changes has to be wrong. According to their interpretation the league banned the post-touchdown spike [emphasis mine]:

Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official. Previously, players were not prohibited from using props or celebrating on the ground.
Reason for the change: Promotes sportsmanship.

Taking the football and slamming it into ground looks like a violation of the rule to me.

A Hampton Roads (Virginia) Daily Press story puts the rule change this way [again emphasis mine]:

Another rules change will prohibit an individual player, not just two or more, from engaging in prolonged, excessive or “premeditated” celebrations. Players also cannot use a prop, such as the ball, to celebrate – a point illustrated in the video shown Thursday at Redskins Park by Washington running back Clinton Portis’ resuscitation of the pigskin last season.

As a response to Chad Johnson’s hijinks this is quite extreme. What next, banning the Lambeau Leap?

Rule Changes for 2006″

[Cross-posted to The American Mind.]


Jamie Gold wins World Series of Poker

Former Hollywood agent Jamie Gold survived a field of 8,773 to win the World Series of Poker and its grand prize of $12 million.


Report: Peter Gammons Recovering Well

Baseball Musings reports ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons “was walking on his own” and “sounded like his old self.”

That’s great to hear.


Reynolds Fired for Sexual Harassment

Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds tells the NY Post he did get axed by ESPN for sexual harassment:

“This was a total misunderstanding,” Reynolds told The Post. “My goal is to sit down and get back. To be honest with you, I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted.”

That must have been some hug.


Harold Reynolds Fired by ESPN

Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds was fired by ESPN. The network did not give a reason. A source of The Big Lead weblog says it had to do with a sexual harassment complaint:

Over the weekend, Reynolds allegedly took a PA for a meal at Outback Steakhouse. Afterward, he hugged her in a way that may have been deemed inappropriate. Apparently, the PA felt weirded out, and decided to file a complaint.

Deadspin has a source that says the firing had to do with how ESPN would treat Alex Rodriguez.

Expect more details to emerge. As the Deadspin writer put it, “And the longer ESPN pretends like nothing happened, like they’re a corner shop with three employees, believing this stuff can possibly remain private, the more talk there will be.”


Seattle Sonics Sold

Starbucks king Howard Schultz had enough of arguing with Seattle for improvements to an arena and got his ownership group to sell the Seattle Sonics to an Oklahoma City group. The new owners said they’d try to find the agreement with Seattle that Schultz couldn’t, but don’t be surprised to see Oklahoma City with an NBA team all to itself in a few years.


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