Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Victorino and Bourn both head to DL

The Phillies placed outfielders Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn, both injured in Monday's 4-1 win over the Cubs, on the 15-day disabled list.Victorino was diagnosed with a strained right calf muscle while Bourn suffered a low left-ankle sprain. The club is hopeful that both will return in 15 days.

To replace them on the roster, Chris Roberson was recalled from Triple-A Ottawa and Jayson Werth will be activated Wednesday from his rehab stint in Clearwater.

Meanwhile, pitcher Clay Condrey was designated for assignment to make room for the newly acquired Kyle Lohse, who will make his Philadelphia debut on Thursday.

Eagles training camp injury update

Andy Reid on injuries:

“[As far as injuries go], [LB Dedrick] Roper has a foot strain, we’ll see how he does. [WR Bill] Sampy has a quad bruise that he got yesterday in the morning practice. [DT Montae] Reagor came out and did some things. His knee was bothering him a little bit after the run, so we pulled back off of him today and we’ll see how he does tomorrow. [TE] L.J. [Smith] came out and did a nice job—we just had him do the individual period and seven on seven. We held him out of the team period. It looked like he performed pretty well.”

Reid on Donovan McNabb:

“For the most part, he’ll do everything tomorrow. He did everything this afternoon, and he’s getting stronger every day. If I see something in there I don’t like, I won’t hesitate to pull him out. If I think his leg is getting tired, or whatever it is, I’ll pull him out. Right now, he feels good about doing everything. Nobody is going to touch the quarterback, so he’ll be alright.”

Rawlings spikes Vick

-Couresty of Rawlings

"Rawlings is disappointed about the charges brought against Mr. Vick for his alleged participation in a dogfighting operation," the company said in a release. "Dogfighting is illegal and entirely unacceptable to Rawlings.

"Rawlings recognizes that Mr. Vick has not been convicted of the charges stemming from his recent indictment. However, we have determined that ending our relationship with Mr. Vick at this time is necessary."

La Salle to play in San Juan Shootout

La Salle will open the annual San Juan Shootout in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico against Clemson on December 20.

The Explorers will also face Mississippi on December 21 and DePaul on December 22.

Deadline roundup

By John Gottlieb
The Phanatic Magazine

Finally, John has returned to the Phanatic Magazine.

And with my return comes the end of baseball's non-waiver trading deadline. After all the hype of relievers, White Sox and Pirates rumored to be changing addresses there was relative quiet leading up to the deadline.

The Braves, Red Sox and Rangers were the ultimate winners. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had no where to play so it only made sense to package him for a legitimate middle-of-the-lineup hitter in Mark Texieria, who won't be a free agent until after next season. Then the Braves went out and got Octavio Dotel to build up the back of their bullpen. This changes a recent trend of John Schuerholtz and Bobby Cox standing pat in recent years.

Everyone knew the Red Sox would be involved in a lot of trade talks but who could've imagined that Boston would get Kevin Garnett and Eric Gagne on the same day. What a coup. Theo Epstein gave up very little except pitcher Kason Gabbard, who was used in emergency duty.

Even though the Rangers sold off two of their best players they helped rebuild their farm system by getting Saltalamacchia, 18-year-old shortstop phenom Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones, Gabbard, David Murphy, and Engel Beltre.

Teams that did well include the Phillies, Mets, Padres, Brewers, and Devil Rays. The Phillies didn't wait long to replace Utley with Tadahito Iguchi and then picked up the only major league starting pitcher dealt in Kyle Lohse.

The Mets added Luis Castillo for their second base hole, but did nothing to improve their starting pitching. Castillo was a good move since he's having one of his best offensive seasons and he's a superb defender.

The Padres did a lot of work to their bench in acquiring Scott Hairston, Rob Mackowiak, and Morgan Ensberg, but also traded reliever Scott Linebrink to an NL-plyoff contender in the Brewers.

The Devil Rays are usually all talk and no action around the deadline but not this year. They shipped out Ty Wigginton and Jorge Cantu and got back Dan Wheeler, Calvin Medlock, and Brian Shackelford. The Rays need arms and got a few in return.

The goats for the deadline are the Yankees, Reds, Pirates, White Sox, Giants, Astros, Nationals, Reds, and Angels.

The Yankees are in desperate need of relief help but never appeared to get close on Gagne and the only move they made was to get rid of a reliever (Scott Proctor) for a backup infielder hitting .230 (Wilson Betemit).

The other teams ended up on this list for their inabilities to do anything to better themselves for a playoff run or the future. The Astros (Mark Loretta, Chad Qualls, Mike Lamb), Nationals (Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch), Reds (Adam Dunn), Pirates (Jack Wilson, Damaso Marte, Shawn Chacon, Salomon Torres), White Sox (Jermaine Dye, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez), and Giants (anyone on the miserable team) all had players to deal but remained stagnant in trying to build a better ballclub.

The deadline just doesn't pack the punch it once did, which is a casualty due to the revenue sharing. More teams stay in the race longer, while the bottom feeders ask for exorbitant prices on players they feel they don't need to get rid of.

The trading deadline used to be a day you remembered during baseball season. It was the last day of the season to make a significant upgrade to your playoff hopes. Gone are the days that Randy Johnson, Bartolo Colon, and David Cone can be obtained. Now you're lucky if you get one big player to switch teams at the deadline.

That coupled with the fact that ballclubs are more reluctant to part with prospects, especially young arms, spells for a fairly uneventful trading deadline. General managers ask for the world in return for marginal players because that's the only way it's worth shipping out a useful player.

Something needs to be done to restore the luster to baseball's trading deadline.

Bud Selig and the MLBPA should get together and push it back one month to August 31 when the real pretenders have realized that the campaign is over.

It's gotten a little easier to squeeze a deal through waivers, but why not just do away with it and give GMs and teams another month before the deadline.

It will only drive up more interest in the sport when the best teams can position themselves better for a World Series title with a key addition.

Phillies acquire P Mateo for Double-A shortstop

By Dave Walter
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired troubled relief pitcher Julio Mateo from the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday in exchange for minor league shortstop Jesus Merchan.

One day after upgrading their starting rotation with the acquisition of Kyle Lohse from Cincinnati, the Phillies turned their attention to their bullpen prior to the non-waiver trade deadline by bringing in Mateo.

In nine games with Seattle this season, Mateo went 1-0 with a 3.75 earned run average. On May 7, he was suspended 10 days without pay for missing a game against the New York Yankees without permission.

Mateo missed the contest after authorities confirmed that he punched, bit and choked his wife, Aurea, because of an argument in a New York hotel.

Mateo was arraigned in New York on a third-degree assault charge, a class A misdemeanor, and released on $3,000 bail.

Phils pick up minor league pitcher

The Associated Press is reporting that the Phillies acquired right-handed pitcher Gary Knotts from the Newark Bears Tuesday.

Knotts was 7-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 16 starts for the Bears, who play in the independent Atlantic League. He was assigned to Double-A Reading.

Knotts takes the roster spot of Matt Maloney, who was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds Monday for Kyle Lohse.

Knotts does have some major league experience. He was 13-16 with a 5.45 ERA in 86 games for Florida and Detroit from 2001-2004.

Phils lose Victorino, Bourn

Phillies right fielder Shane Victorino strained his right calf while trying to beat out a fourth-inning double play Monday. He said he felt a pop in the leg as he sprinted to first base and will have an MRI Tuesday.The next inning his replacement, Michael Bourn, hurt his ankle on the bullpen mound while chasing a foul ball. Bourn finished the fifth inning but left the game in between frames. He is scheduled for X-rays Tuesday.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John McMullen at 11:20 p.m. (et) tonight on Matthew Ross' Game Points show at The Team 990.

John will be discussing the NFL and Bill Walsh..

NFL mourns death of Bill Walsh

Legendary football coach Bill Walsh died at his Woodside, CA home Monday following a long battle with leukemia. The father of the West Coast offense and pilot of three San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl teams was 75.

Here's what people around the NFL were saying:

San Francisco 49ers owners John & Denise York:

"There is not a player at the 49ers or a player in the NFL today that was not touched by the contributions of the legendary Bill Walsh. Without a doubt, Bill Walsh is clearly one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. His achievements during his 10 years as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers are virtually unparalleled in professional sports.

"While he will go down in history as one of the greatest and most innovative football minds of all time, we also will always cherish the close connection we had between our families that developed over the past three decades of our lives. It is with great sadness that we offer our condolences and prayers to Geri and the Walsh family.

"Outside of his family and faith, there was nothing he loved more than the 49ers. Even after he left the organization he still kept up with the team and offered his support.

"Bill exemplified class, and all of us in sports should honor him by striving to perpetuate his standard of excellence."

San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan:

"Bill Walsh’s legacy with the 49ers is well documented. The 49ers remained his team even after he left the organization. He dedicated his life to football and all 49ers fans, current and past, are forever grateful.

"I will miss my weekly talks with Bill each Monday following our games. He was always so supportive and always offered some thoughts to help me in any way he could.

"He was not only an outstanding coach but a tremendous role model for every one associated with the 49ers and our fans.

"Although I never worked for Bill, I always considered him a mentor during my 21 years in the NFL. He not only made a legendary impact on the game of football, but he was also instrumental in issues such as diversity in the NFL and in developing player assistance programs.

"My wife and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the Walsh family in honor of this great man."

Cincinnati Bengals president Mile Brown:

“Bill’s record speaks for itself. He was the top coach in the NFL during his time in San Francisco. During his eight years on our coaching staff (1968-75), he brought imagination and ideas to the game. He was a tremendous part of our staff, and we were lucky to have him. He set a mark on the game that is admired by everyone, and he will be greatly missed.”

Former Miami Dolphins coach and Hall of Famer Don Shula:

“I was sorry to learn about the passing of Coach Bill Walsh. He was an outstanding coach and was a special friend. He was a great competitor and was one of the most innovative coaches in the game. The offensive philosophy that he installed in those great 49er teams more than 25 years ago will remain his legacy and is still very much a part of the NFL to this day.

“My wife, Mary Anne, and I were very saddened when we heard the news and we know we join football fans around the country who feel a deep sense of loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Geri, and their family.”

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie:

“Bill Walsh embodied everything that so many of us love about the game of football - his intellect, his aggressive and brilliant game strategies, quarterback development, risk taking, and franchise-building ideas. And the way he coolly executed them is deservedly legendary. His passion for the game was contagious. All of us who had the fortune to spend significant time with Bill and sought his willing guidance will surely cherish very moment spent with this very special man.”

Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson:

“On behalf of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Hunt Family and especially those of us who knew Bill Walsh personally, our deepest condolences to the Walsh Family. The word great isn’t used too often but I would personally say he was a great football coach and established himself in this league as one of its all-time greats.

“Moreover, he was a wonderful human being with a great sense of human and he had a great way with people. I got to know him even better when he became the general manager and president of the 49ers. We honored him several times at the 101 Banquet – Kansas City’s annual salute to pro football. But he will always be remembered without question for his philosophy and method of coaching which will have an impact on our league and our game for a long time to come.”

Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards:

“The thing that I remember the most about Bill Walsh was he gave opportunities to players after their careers were over. His fellowship program preceded the NFL’s. He was way ahead in giving young minority coaches an opportunity in our craft. When Tony Dungy got done playing Bill had him working in San Francisco. He was there for a year or so and he gave him one of his earliest opportunities to learn the profession. Coach Walsh was like that. He had great vision on what the league could become.

“Growing up on the West Coast I knew of Bill Walsh. When he was coaching in high school I was told he didn’t have a whole lot of good athletes so what he did was he found a way to move the ball by throwing short passes. He considered them like runs. As he grew in the business and got great athletes this became known as the West Coast Offense.

“The thing you learned about his teams is they were very, very fast. How he practiced them is how they played. When you played the 49ers they always seemed as they were fresh. The offense was rhythmic and they were in and out of the huddle fast. They were always on the attack and his whole theory worked off a script and while everyone thinks his teams were passing teams they passed early and got the chains moving and a lead, but then they ran the football in the fourth quarter. They were a very balanced.”

Phils get starting pitcher

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Righthander Kyle Lohse was acquired by the Phillies from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for minor league lefthander Matt Maloney Monday.

Lohse, 29, was 6-12 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 starts for Cincinnati and had the fifth-worst run support in the National League at 3.69 runs per game. In his last five starts, Lohse is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA, a .231 opponents' batting average and a 9.0-inning complete game. He pitched at least 6.0 innings in 15 of his 21 starts, including seven of his 12 losses.

"Kyle is a durable righthanded starter who has postseason experience," said general manager Pat Gillick. "We feel that with our offense and his ability to keep us in games, he will add pitching depth to our rotation."

Lohse pitched in the postseason with Minnesota in three consecutive years (2002-04) and went 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in five games (one start).

A resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, Lohse was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 29th round of the 1996 draft and was traded to Minnesota in 1999. He made his major league debut with the Twins in 2001. In his career, Lohse is 60-74 with a 4.83 ERA, six complete games and four shutouts for the Twins (2001-06) and Reds (2006-07).

Maloney, 23, was 9-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 21 starts for double-A Reading. He was 5-1 in his last six decisions. Maloney was a third-round selection by the Phillies in the 2005 draft.

Bourn for Reyes?

The Wilmington News Journal is reporting that the Phils are interested in the 1-10 Anthony Reyes and may move Michael Bourn to get him.

Mornhinweg talks McNabb

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb set off a few alarms over the weekend when he pegged his health at 75 percent. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talked about DMac this morning at Lehigh.

“We go day by day. It’s as simple as that," Mornhinweg said. "He sure has looked sharp, and he’s done an excellent job in the rehabilitation it appears. Our medical staff and training staff have done a super job of that, so we’ll take it day by day.”

Shoot the messenger

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

When prosecutors run into trouble, it's usually because their witnesses have flipped and are often uglier human beings than the scum being prosecuted.

It's a common problem when trying to win a conviction. No one likes a rat but when you are involved in illegal activity, be it racketeering, dogfighting or steroid abuse -- who do you think is going to have first hand knowledge of it, Father Flanagan?

Too often these "rats" are dismissed with nary a thought and I'm becoming more and more convinced average people have no interest in the truth, especially when its ugly.

For instance, I often tell my colleagues at The Phanatic Magazine that Major League Baseball is still awash in a sea of illegal performance enhancing drugs. That's usually not all that well received among a group of individuals that, for some reason, feel compelled to play the role of Bud Selig and bury their collective heads in the sand -- at least when it's someone they like.

When I "recklessly" say Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada or Ken Griffey Jr. probably had some help along the way -- people cringe because they are "good guys."

It's OK to rip Barry Bonds or Gary Sheffield -- after all their Grand Jury testimony in the Balco case was leaked so they are "proven steroid abusers." Perhaps more importantly, they are jerks.
But, it's time to turn off the common sense and ignore obvious neon signs when the guy is well-liked.

Forget that A-Rod is bigger than most NFL linebackers....

Ignore that Clemens and Tejada were already fingered by The Los Angeles Times in the Jason Grimsley case...

Close your eyes to the fact Griffey hasn't been able to walk down the street in the last five years with straining or tearing something...

And, shoot the messenger.

Well, it's time to reload because baseball's biggest rat is about to resurface and make another splash.

Obviously Jose Canseco has an agenda. The former slugger was in desperate need of cash when he released his book "Juiced" in 2005. So when he threw some fellow steroid abusers like Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire under the bus, it was easy to attack him.

Heck, baseball's ultimate fraud, Curt Schilling did it in front of Congress even though Ed Wade's favorite pitcher knew Canseco was telling the truth.

History is about to repeat itself. Evidently some bills are due at the Canseco house and he is getting ready for the sequel. More big names are about to be exposed, most notably the game's best regular season player -- A-Rod.

Canseco told WEEI Radio in Boston Friday that he has "other stuff" on the Yankees slugger, who he called a "hypocrite" who "was not all he appeared to be."

When asked flat out if A-Rod had used steroids, Canseco told WEEI, "Wait and see."

So you will all have to pony up the $26 to read about something -- if you were being honest with yourself -- you already knew.

Meanwhile, dozens will gather in defense of A-Rod while vilifying a deeply-flawed individual that is telling the truth for all the wrong reasons.

Yep, it's time to shoot the messenger again.

Co-defendant flips on Vick

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick received more bad news Monday when one of his co-defendants pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to federal dogfighting charges.

According to CNN, Tony Taylor reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities, and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture,

He will be sentenced December 14 and was not promised any sentence in return for his cooperation.

The charges stem from an operation allegedly conducted at a house owned by Vick in Smithfield, Virginia. Vick, Taylor and two others were indicted.

If convicted of the travel part of the conspiracy charge, it carries with it a statutory maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and full restitution. If convicted on the dog fighting charge, the defendants could face either one year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

According to the indictment, the defendants were involved in an ongoing animal fighting business based out of Vick's property from early 2001 through sometime in April of this year.
Since Vick purchased the property in June 2001, the defendants formed a dog fighting enterprise known as "Bad Newz Kennels" and used the property for housing and training pit bulls used in dog fights. From at least 2002, the defendants and others sponsored dog fights on the property and brought dogs from several states to participate in the events.

During the fights, the participants would place bets ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. The fights would last until either the death or surrender of the losing dog, which would then sometimes be put to death by drowning, hanging, gunshot, electrocution or other methods.

Also, the indictment said the defendants participated in dog fights in North and South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere in Virginia.

Vick is set to stand trial on November 26.

Pacman to pro wrestling

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Nashville's WTVF is reporting that suspended Tennessee Titans star Adam "Pacman" Jones has agreed to sign with the Total Nonstop Action pro wrestling group.

Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season on April 10 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for numerous run-ins with the law in just two NFL seasons, including some type of alleged involvement in a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club during the NBA's All-Star weekend in February. That incident left an employee of the club, ironically a former pro wrestler, paralyzed from the waist down.

Since entering the NFL, Jones has been questioned by police 10 times and has been arrested five times.

The TNA wrestling promotion is based in Nashville and is owned by Panda Energy but is a distant second in an industry ruled by World Wrestling Entertainment. The company is run by Dixie Carter and longtime pro wrestler Jeff Jarrett.
The signing of Jones is an effort to garner publicity for a fringe company in an industry already stained by implications of steroid and other drug use coming off the highly-publicized Chris Benoit murder-suicide case.
The deal will be officially announced on Tuesday.
"Pacman is talking with TNA at this time and we expect an announcement to be made in the next several days,'' Jones' attorney Worrick Robinson told The Tennessean. "It is not anticipated that he'll be wrestling, but discussions are taking place for him to have some role in their profession. But details have not be finalized.
"Pacman remains dedicated to returning to the Titans and any other interests are just that, interests.''

Madson heads to DL

The Philadelphia Phillies placed reliever Ryan Madson on the 15-day disabled list after he left Sunday's game with a right shoulder strain. Madson described the injury as feeling like a tear.

The Phillies called up Geoff Geary from Triple-A Ottawa to take Madson's spot on the active roster.

Madson will have an MRI Monday in Philadelphia to determine the severity of the injury.

Who cares about ‘Now?’ Who’s ‘Then?’

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Before getting started on this week’s topic, a few Phillies points heading into the Trade Deadline (even though Pat Gillick made far more moves after that point last year):

  • As far as current members of the roster go, send Rod Barajas down to Ottawa and have Jayson Werth join him when (if?) he gets healthy. Neither free agent acquisition has done anything this year accept collect a paycheck and take up space. Plus, this allows for far more deserving players such as Chris Coste and Gregg Dobbs to get more face time in the field.

  • Either extend Aaron Rowand’s contract this week or trade him. Because if this season ends with him in the open market, start planning the bon voyage party now.

  • Regardless of Rowand’s fate, hold onto Michael Bourn. He’s young. He’s improving each game. He’s good insurance. And there’s jack in the farm system right now, so you might as well invest what you have in the future.

  • If all you can get is a #4 or #5 starter, don’t. We have enough of those already.

Now back to our regularly scheduled column topic…

It’s official: We have become a society living in an age of instant gratification, materialism and fixation with celebrities – just look at VH1’s Sunday night programming.

You can also refer to ESPN.

At one time the central source for sports news coverage, consider it now a sell out along with VH1 and its slutty younger sister, MTV (yes, I know MTV was around first, but its obviously geared toward a younger, more promiscuous audience). ESPN currently features its share of mindless entertainment, once filled with a diverse array of sporting events and intelligent debate, presently replete with reality shows, award festivities and… okay, seriously, what is the d-e-a-l with annual ritual of covering a spelling bee?

And if you are going to run it, at least make it relevant - have athletes participate. Who wouldn’t love to see someone like Dexter Manley get put on the spot, or the following dialogue to occur:

Moderator: Mr. Owens, your word is “egomaniacal.”

Terrell Owens: Can you use it in a sentence?

Moderator: Seriously? Sure, you’re entitled. Let’s see…Because of your selfishness and disregard to authority, your teammates, the fans and humanity in general, you possess the qualities of an egomaniacal bastard.

(By the way, for those who don’t remember Dexter Manley, feel free to google him to understand the joke reference.)

ESPN has also had a summer project known as “Who’s Now,” a tournament-style showdown, featuring a cross-section of contemporary athletes left in the hands of the viewer to determine who truly has the most pop-culture pedigree.

Who’s “Now?” Who cares!

A far more interesting experiment, I believe, is to figure out which currently employed athlete has fallen completely off the recognition radar. Yes, that’s right: Let’s find out “Who’s Then?”

ESPN started with a superfluous list of 32. For the basis of time, word count expectations and sheer laziness, let’s skip right to the quarterfinals. No ranking necessary. Why? Because, apparently, that’s what they do “now.”

  • Sammy Sosa. How the mighty have fallen. Once credited (along with fellow home-run hitting outcast Mark McGwire) as the man who saved post-strike baseball, his unreal series of 60+ jacks and quirky – but endearing – hops and hand gestures were followed by a steroid scandal, an “accidental” corked bat and a premature clubhouse exit. He’s now living in obscurity as a Texas Ranger. Yes, the baseball version, not as Walker.

  • Kerry Wood/Mark Prior. These guys have to be lumped together because of the uncanny similarities. Both Cubs. Both touted as franchise pitchers. Both quick out the gate to take baseball fans – and fantasy owners – by storm. And both injured so damn often that they are considered mere afterthoughts now.

  • Steve Francis. Remember “Stevie Franchise?” Remember when he was so highly regarded that it took the likes of megastar Tracy McGrady to pry him out of Houston. Now go back to last month, when he was a throw-in to the Zach Randolph-to-New York deal, followed by NBA doormat Portland Blazers buying out his contract just to let him go. Now he’s back with the Rockets and nobody really cares.

  • Eric Lindros. We here in Philly know far too well the pain of his demise. We also believe that Colorado owes at least one Stanley Cup and a thank-you card. Once coined “The Next One,” now just one of many living in NHL anonymity.

  • Brett Favre. Speaking of pain, it’s starting to become painful watching him extend his brilliant career, in apparent denial of his obviously deteriorating skills. The three-time MVP seems to find more cornerbacks open than his own receivers. It’s okay, Brett. Let it go… let it go…

  • Randy Moss. What’s sadder than Favre and his fading talent is that Moss could probably still be one of the best in the game – if he really wanted to. Somewhere along the way – while he was still en route to flirting with some records – he decided that it was much easier to simply become a pouting jerk who takes plays off. He’ll have a chance at revival in New England, but frankly, he doesn’t even deserve it.

  • Oscar de la Hoya. The “Golden Boy” was just that. One of the few whom even a casual observer of the sport could instantly identify, he made boxing cool outside the ring – while continuing to win bouts inside of it. After getting exposed a few times, he may be beginning to realize that - like the token ugly chick on Rock of Love - personality only gets you so far.

  • Andy Roddick – He once hosted Saturday Night Live and dated Mandy Moore. He was supposed to bring extended tennis dominance back to America and become its face after Andre Agassi rode off into the sunset. Instead he gets beaten by a CANADIAN this weekend and has become just as obscure as the sport itself in either country. Somewhere right now John McEnroe screams that I can’t be serious. I’m sorry, John. I am.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bears acquire former Birds DT

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Chicago Bears acquired veteran defensive tackle Darwin Walker from the Buffalo Bills Sunday in exchange for an undisclosed pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In 2006 Walker started 15 of 16 regular season games for the Philadelphia Eagles at right defensive tackle and tied for second on the team with six sacks. He also added 56 tackles last season and his first career interception.

For his career Walker has compiled 264 tackles with 27 1/2 sacks and 71 quarterback hurries in 88 career games with Philadelphia and Arizona.

Walker was originally acquired by the Bills in March of this year in a trade that sent linebacker Takeo Spikes and quarterback Kelly Holcomb to the City of Brotherly Love.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John Gottlieb and John McMullen Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (et) for highly-rated, award-winning Johns on Sports emanating live from the Stay-Puft Studios at WTBQ.com.

You can join the program by calling (845) 651-1110 or writing an e-mail to johnsonsports@gmail.com.

Friday, July 27, 2007

McNabb to wear brace

Nothing earth shattering coming from the first day of Eagles camp. Andy Reid did say that quarterback Donovan McNabb will start camp wearing a brace on his surgically repaired right knee and tight end L.J. Smith will start it on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Reid tried to quell distractions by making it clear he won't be answering any questions on his family.

Here's what Reid had to say:

On McNabb:

"We’ll keep a close eye on him and just see how he does. He’ll probably start out with a brace on his knee for precautionary measures. It is his right leg, his plant leg, so we’ll see how he does with it these first three days. I’m going to take it slow with him. It’s good that [QB Kevin] Kolb got signed and will be in and get some reps- quite a few reps- as we go into these three days here."

On Smith:

"L.J. Smith is the only one of great concern once the veteran players get in. We’ll just take it nice and slow with him and see how he does, how he progresses. We’ll probably keep him out of contact for the first few days, but he is progressing very well and he has been working out."

On his family:

"As far as my family goes, I’m not going to answer any questions on that. Even if I could, I can’t do that, and I’ll maintain that throughout the season. I’d appreciate it if you [the media] held up your end and don’t go there."

Celtics waive former 'Nova star Ray

-Courtesy of the Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has requested waivers on guard Allan Ray.

Ray was signed as an undrafted free agent on July 6, 2006 out of Villanova University. Ray averaged 6.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game during his rookie season. The 6’2” guard scored a career-high of 22 points twice this past season against Indiana (April 7) and against Atlanta (January 15). Ray was tied for fourth in three-point field goal percentage by a rookie shooting at a clip of .414. The former Wildcat scored 10 plus points 14 times, including three 20 or more point games.

Phils acquire Iguchi

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi was acquired by the Phillies from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league righthander Michael Dubee, Senior Vice President & General Manager Pat Gillick announced today.

Iguchi, 32, was hitting .251 with 17 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 31 RBI in 90 games for the White Sox this season. In 16 games against National League teams this season, he hit .311 (19-61). A native of Tokyo, Japan, Iguchi batted .281 last season with 18 home runs and 67 RBI in 138 games and appeared in 12 playoff games for Chicago in 2005.

Prior to coming to the United States, Iguchi spent eight seasons with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League, where he was a four-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves as a second baseman. With Fukuoka, Iguchi hit .271 with 149 home runs, 507 RBI and 159 stolen bases.

In 363 career games in the U.S. – all with the White Sox – Iguchi has a .273 average with 39 home runs and 169 RBI.

Dubee, 22, was 4-4 with one save and a 3.88 ERA in 30 relief appearances for single-A Lakewood. He is the son of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee.

The Phillies also made several roster moves today.

Righthander Brett Myers was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Myers originally went on the DL with a right shoulder strain on May 25. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, lefthander Mike Zagurski was optioned to Ottawa.

Myers, 26, was 1-2 with six saves and a 5.50 ERA prior to going on the DL. In 18 relief appearances, he was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 20.2 innings (13.9 SO/9.0 IP). Zagurski, 24, went 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 23 appearances with the Phillies.

As previously announced, second baseman Chase Utley was placed on the 15-day DL with a broken right hand and infielder/outfielder Joe Thurston had his contract purchased from triple-A Ottawa to replace him on the 25-man roster. To make room for Thurston on the 40-man roster, infielder Danny Sandoval was designated for assignment.

Yankees, Orioles stars can rest easy for now

A federal magistrate Friday rejected a request by The Associated Press to reveal the names of players allegedly implicated in oerformance enhancing drug use by former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley.

"Disclosure at this time may compromise the ongoing investigation in several ways," U.S. Magistrate Edward C. Voss stated in his decision..

Former Baltimore Orioles player David Segui told ESPN in June of 2006 that he was one of the players named by Grimsley. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times reported that Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were fingered as users by the veteran reliever.

Congress wants McMahon to turn over steroid records

Rep. Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and one of the congressmen responsible for conducting steroid hearings into Major League Baseball, has asked World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon to provide substantive records pertaining to the WWE's testing policies and practices.

"The tragic deaths of World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit and his family have raised questions about reports of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional wrestlers," Waxman wrote in a three-page letter obtained by ESPN's Shaun Assael.

"These allegations -- which include first-hand reports of steroid use by prominent former wrestlers -- have swirled around the WWE for over a decade. Investigations by journalists have described a culture of performance-enhancing drug use in professional wrestling, high fatality rates among young professional wrestlers, and an inability or unwillingness of WWE to address these problems.

"WWE has a responsibility to do everything possible to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- or the perception of such use -- by its wrestlers."

Interestingly, the WWE received the letter through the media which may indicate Waxman is not all that serious about his request and simply looking for publicity.

"The media has provided us with a copy of a letter from the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform," WWE officials said in a staement. "We are reviewing this letter and will respond accordingly."

Rutgers' Greene named to Thorpe watch list

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Rutgers junior free safety Courtney Greene was named to the 2007 preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award. The Thorpe Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college defensive back.

A Second Team BIG EAST selection in 2006, Greene finished second on the team with 82 tackles and led the squad with four interceptions last season. Greene has started all 25 games of his career at Rutgers and has recorded 198 tackles in two seasons of play.

Utley has surgery; will miss a month

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia Phillies star Second baseman Chase Utley underwent surgery to repair the fourth metacarpal in his right hand Friday. During the 20-minute procedure, performed by Dr. Randall Culp at Methodist Hospital., Utley had a pin inserted into the hand.

The MVP candidate's expected recovery time is up to four weeks.

Utley injured the hand after being hit by Washington starter John Lannan in the fifth inning of yesterday's game at Citizens Bank Park. He remained in the game and got two more at-bats despite obvious swelling of the hand.

Utley is hitting .336 with 17 home runs, 41 doubles and 82 RBI this season. Entering play today, Utley leads the National League in doubles, is tied for the league lead in hits (134) and extra-base hits (61), ranks second in total bases (232) and third in RBI.

To replace him on the roster, the Phillies purchased the contract of utilityman Joe Thurston from triple-A Ottawa. The 27-year old Thurston has hit a combined .278 with three home runs and 44 RBI in 105 games between double-A Reading and Ottawa.

Popular Flyers front office personailty retires

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

After 40 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Joe Kadlec, the team's first publicity director, is retiring. Kadlec, who joined the club in its initial season in August of 1967, had been serving the team as Director of Fan Services since 1997. He will remain a member of the organization as an Ambassador of Hockey for the Flyers.

"Over the 40-year history of this hockey club, Joe has been an integral part of the team," said Flyers Chairman Ed Snider. "While we will miss all of Joe's charm, energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of our franchise, it is comforting to me to know that he will continue to spread Flyers hockey throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region as one of our Ambassadors."

"I'd like to personally thank Ed Snider for providing me the opportunity to be a part of the greatest organization in professional sports," said Kadlec in making the announcement. "Winning the two Stanley cups (1974 and 1975) and later a Canada Cup (1991) were some of the greatest moments of my life. I will cherish the many friendships I have made with every player who has ever donned the 'orange and black' and worked for the team."

Former Delaware QB has Columbus on brink of Arena Bowl title

-Courtesy of the Colonial Athletic Association

Matt Nagy, an All-American quarterback at the University of Delaware in 2000, led the Columbus Destroyers to a 66-56 win over the Georgia Force in the Arena Football League Division Championship Saturday, July 14, vaulting the Destroyers into their first-ever trip to the ArenaBowl.

The sixth-seeded Destroyers will take on the American Conference champion San Jose SaberCats in ArenaBowl XXII on Sunday, July 29, at the New Orleans (LA) Arena at 3 p.m. (EST) on ABC.

Nagy, a first-year member of Columbus squad but a six-year veteran of the league, led the way over his former Georgia Force teammates with an outstanding effort. Nagy previously led the Georgia franchise to a berth in the ArenaBowl in 2005.

Nagy completed 23 of 34 passes for 209 yards and five touchdowns, threw just one interception, and scored touchdowns on his only two rushing attempts for the game.

During the regular season, Nagy completed 341 of 544 passes for 3,557 yards and 75 touchdowns with just 15 interceptions and also scored six touchdowns. He led Columbus to a 56-55 Wild Card playoff victory over the Tampa Bay Storm June 30 when he completed 19 of 26 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns to earn Arena League Player of the Week honors.

On July 7, he led Columbus to a second round playoff win as the Destroyers downed the Dallas Desperados 66-59. Nagy completed 20 of 32 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.

Nagy's name still appears in the league record books dating back to 1998 when he wracked up the third-highest single-game passing yard total in league history. In just his second season, Nagy threw for 556 yards against Connecticut, Nov. 11, 1998, which is also the best-ever single-game passing total for a sophomore.

A native of Manheim, Pa., Nagy set over 20 career passing records while at Delaware, including marks for pass completions (502), yards (8,214), and touchdowns (58). He earned First Team All-Atlantic 10, First Team All-East and Third Team All-America honors as a senior in 2000 when he led the Blue Hens to a 12-2 record, an Atlantic 10 title and a berth in the NCAA I-AA semifinals. He threw for 3,436 yards and 29 touchdowns that season.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ruling in Grimsley steroid case coming Friday

A federal magistrate is scheduled to rule Friday on an application by The Associated Press to have prosecutors reveal the names of players implicated by former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley as using performance enhancing drugs.

Former Baltimore Orioles player David Segui told ESPN in June of 2006 that he was one of the players named by Grimsley. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times reported that Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were fingered as users by the veteran reliever.

Penn State's King named to Thorpe award watch list

-Courtesy of Penn State University

Penn State junior cornerback Justin King has been named to the Watch List for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the nation's top defensive back.

A year ago, in his first full season focusing exclusively on defense, King quickly established himself as a premiere shut down corner. Versus top-ranked Ohio State, he put together a breakout performance, holding explosive receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. to just two catches for 15 yards and picking off future Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith for the first interception of his career. In the Nittany Lions’ 20-10 win over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl, King limited All-American receiver Robert Meachem to four catches for 33 yards.

Instrumental in helping the Penn State defense rank in the top 15 nationally in several categories, King recorded 30 tackles (22 solo), six pass break-ups, and one interception. In honor of his standout season, King was selected second team All-Big Ten and is a pre-season first team All-Big Ten candidate.

Vick pleads not guilty

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges of sponsoring an interstate dogfighting ring.

The charges stem from an operation allegedly conducted at a house owned by Vick in Smithfield, Virginia. Vick and three others were indicted with travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

"I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name," Vick said in a statement read outside the courtroom by his lawyer, Billy Martin. "I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown. Above all, I would like to say to my mom I'm sorry for what she has had to go through in this most trying of times. It has caused pain to my family and I apologize to my family."

Hundreds of protesters booed Vick, who showed no reaction, as he walked into the courthouse building as police, homeland security and federal marshals secured the area.

Neither Vick or Martin would answer questions from reporters after the plea, entered before US Federal Court Judge Henry Hudson.

Vick and his three co-defendants were released without bond pending a trial set to begin November 26.

Utley breaks hand

Philadelphia Phillies MVP candidate Chase Utley broke his right hand after being hit by a John Lannan pitch in the fifth inning. Utley finished the game, a 7-6 Phillies loss, but will be shelved for the foreseeable future. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list immediately following the game.

Utley's spot on the roster will probably be taken by pitcher Brett Myers, who is expected to come off the DL shortly.

Myers hasn't pitched since May 23 because of a shoulder injury.

Sixers announce preseason schedule

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers announced their seven-game preseason schedule today, highlighted by the opener on Monday, Oct. 8, against the New York Knicks at the Colonial Center in Columbia, S.C. In addition, the Sixers will host games at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 12 vs. New Jersey and Oct. 14 vs. Washington.

The preseason opener at the Colonial Center is located on the campus of the University of South Carolina and is managed by Global Spectrum, the public assembly facility management subsidiary of the 76ers parent company, Comcast-Spectacor. This marks the second time the Sixers will make the trip to Columbia, as they defeated San Antonio 100-88 back on Oct. 12, 2005.

"We're excited to bring the Sixers back to Columbia for an entertaining night of NBA Basketball," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. "This game allows us to expand our fan base and expose new fans to 76ers basketball while at the same time enabling the facilities we manage (through our management subsidiary Global Spectrum) to enhance their event schedules with top-notch sports and attractions."

Woman in 'Nova rape scandal won't press charges

Radnor Township police said that the woman who brought rape allegations against three Villanova freshman football players does not want to press charges.

After interviewing the woman, police believe a forcible sex assault and rape occurred in her dorm room July 14.

Investigators also believe the case should be investigated further but said they would respect the woman's wishes and not pursue charges.

Eagle Joe's Joy Ride

By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine

Eagle Joe answered the phone poolside, where he had been reading football magazines through blind eyes.

It was at this very spot where he had received the call weeks prior, the one that brought a 57-year-old man to tears. The one that made him the luckiest man on the planet.

Ironically enough, Joe’s journey was born out of a distaste for travel. He never cared much for long trips, preferring instead to stay local during his week vacation from ACME. With this in mind, a friend back in 1975 suggested that Joe take a short drive to Widener during his time off to watch an Eagles practice.

That was it.

“Call it love at first sight, call it what you want,” Eagle Joe said. “It was one of the best times I’ve ever had.”

Joe came to an immediate conclusion – he would schedule his vacation around Training Camp, and join the Birds every summer as they prepped for another season.

He has been there every season since.

Getting to his favorite destination has been harder and harder in recent years, however. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa 25 years ago, a condition that strikes at peripheral vision and impairs night vision. Things have worsened lately, and in March Eagle Joe was deemed legally blind, forcing him to quit the job at ACME that he had held for 41 years.

“I’m not one to give a sermon,” Eagle Joe quipped, “but they often say that the man upstairs closes one door and opens up another. That’s what happened to me.”

Only this door was a luxury model.

Determined to still make it to camp this season, Eagle Joe wrote a letter to Andy Reid and contacted members of the organization, telling them of his dilemma. In class fashion, the Eagles responded with optimal news: They had arranged a limousine service to pick Joe up in the morning and drop him off at night for four different days of Training Camp. Said they couldn’t have their training camp without Eagle Joe.

“I was out here by the pool, like I am now,” Joe said. “I sat here with tears running down my face, and I almost fell through the floor.

“How many football teams or Fortune 500 companies, if that’s what you want to call them, would do something like this for anybody? They’re busy putting a football team together and getting ready for the season, and they found time to think of me.”

So just like he has for so many years now, Eagle Joe will be at Lehigh to get a sneak peak at the talent. As in years prior, they will lift the velvet rope for him, giving him access to the field and players that most fans will never be granted.

And don’t think it goes unappreciated. As Eagle Joe sat poolside outside his Exton apartment complex, with his trip to camp just days away, he conjured up the image that has come to define gratitude in the midst of struggle.

“I consider myself…because of what these people have done for me, how they accepted me and brought me in as one of their own…I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

You can contact Tim at tmcmanus@phanaticmag.com

Britt Reid to stand trial

Garrett Reid pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another motorist, driving while under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and minor traffic offenses Thursday.

Meanwhile, his 22-year-old brother, Britt Reid, requested a jury trial on charges stemming from a traffic dispute in which police allege he brandished a gun at another motorist. The younger Reid son faces a felony count of carrying a firearm without a license and misdemeanor charges of assault, terroristic threats and drug possession.

Britt Reid's trial was set for mid-August.

Three 'Nova football players dismissed over rape allegations

Three freshman Villanova football players in the midst of a sexual assault investigation had their admission to the university rescinded late Wednesday.

The trio was involved in a campus incident with a female student on July 14, which was subsequently reported to Villanova's public safety department the next day. Security logs listed the incident as "rape by force."

The three players were told to leave campus last Friday and the university then decided to rescind each admission.

"Our primary concern has been the welfare of our students and particularly the students who have been involved in this situation," said Villanova coach Andy Talley. "We've tried to move forward with a great deal of respect for them and we trust that everyone else will do that as well."

NBC 10 reports that the three players were enrolled for one summer class and knew the woman who reported the assault. The alleged victim, whose name has not been released by the school, has not gone to the police, however.

"Ultimately it is the students' decision whether or not to notify local authorities," University mouthpiece Liz Kennedy Walsh said. "Villanova's policy is not to notify without the consent of the student."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Phillies trade rumors

The Miami Herald is reporting that the Florida Marlins are looking for a long-term solution in center field. Franklin Gutierrez of the Cleveland Indians, B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Phillies' Michael Bourn are names under consideration.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Nationals relievers Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero along with outfielder Ryan Church and first baseman Dmitri Young are on the trading block. The Phils are one of four teams that have been heavily scouting the Nats.

Bills sign former Penn State star

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Buffalo Bills signed linebacker Paul Posluszny Wednesday.

The 34th pick overall last April, Posluszny was Penn State's all-time leading tackler and won the 2005 Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker in 2005 and the Bednarik trophy as the nation's top defender in both 2005 and 2006.

Posluszny is expected to take the starting middle linebacker role for the Bills this season.

"I know that nothing is going to be given," Posluszny said. "I'm going to have to earn it through hard work in practice, but I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Flyers re-sign forwards Cote and Kane

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have re-signed 6'1", 210-pound left wing Riley Cote and 6'2", 225-pound left wing Boyd Kane each to a new contract, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren. Cote signed a one-year contract, while Kane signed a new two-year contract. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

"Riley is in his third season with the Flyers organization and he continues to improve," said Holmgren in making the announcement. "We look forward to Riley having a good year for us."

Boyd brings stability and depth to our organization and also tremendous leadership when he is playing for the Phantoms."

Cote, 25, was scoreless with 11 penalty minutes in eight games for the Flyers last season. He posted five points (1G,4A) and 125 penalty minutes in 37 games for the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. He was third on the Phantoms in penalty minutes with 125.

In three seasons with the Phantoms (2004-05 through 2006-07), Cote has recorded eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points and 664 penalty minutes in 168 regular season games. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cote was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on August 23, 2004.

Kane, 29, posted two assists and 28 penalty minutes in 15 games for the Flyers last season. In 57 games for the Phantoms, Kane recorded 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points and 98 penalty minutes. He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on July 13, 2006.

In 27 career regular season games over three NHL seasons with the Flyers (2003-04 and 2006-07) and Washington Capitals (2005-06), Kane has registered three assists and 37 penalty minutes.

Over parts of the last nine seasons (1998-99 through 2006-07), Kane has recorded 122 goals and 192 assists for 314 points and 1,170 penalty minutes in 633 professional games. In 532 career AHL games for Hartford, Springfield, Hershey and Philadelphia, he has registered 98 goals and 154 assists for 252 points and 999 penalty minutes. He has been a member of two Calder Cup Championship teams, as he was the captain of the Phantoms' Calder Cup Championship team in 2005 and was a member of the Hershey Bears' Calder Cup Championship team in 2006.

A native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Kane has played three seasons for the Phantoms (2003-04, 2004-05 and 2006-07), recording 91 points (32G,59A) and 387 penalty minutes in 188 regular season games. Kane was originally signed as a free agent by the Flyers on July 14, 2003.

Former Fox News correspondent admits selling 'roids to WWE stars

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Former Fox News correspondent Claire Godfrey pleaded guilty Tuesday in Albany County District Court to criminal diversion of prescription medicines. Godfrey avoided jail time, however, by agreeing to cooperate with Albany district attorney David Soares' ongoing steroids investigation.
The 36-year old Godfrey worked at an anti-aging clinic in Orlando, Fla. and was arrested in March for issuing prescriptions for steroids with Signature Pharmacy, the center of Soares' investigation.

Godfrey reportedly wrote illegal prescriptions worth more than $1.3 million for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs last year and sold performance-enhancing drugs to at least two World Wrestling Entertainment stars without examining them.

The wrestlers in question did not include Chris Benoit, the WWE star who murdered his wife and son before committing suicide last month.

Temple to sport new unis; picked 6th in MAC preseason poll

-Couresty of Temple University

DETROIT, MI - The Temple football team will compete in new helmets and custom Adidas uniforms during the 2007 season, second-year head coach Al Goldenannounced today at the Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit.

Cherry helmets will once again feature the text "TEMPLE," which adorned the Owls' helmets from 1972 to 1988.

"There are several reasons for the change," Golden said. "The first is for our current team to discover our tradition. The 2007 uniform brings us back to the most successful TEAM period in the history of Temple Football; a time that produced a 10-game winner and a final Top 20 ranking in both polls. The second reason is quite simply branding. When I was growing up in New Jersey, Temple's uniforms were unique. It was one of the most recognizable uniforms in the East, let alone the country. Somewhere along the way that got lost, so I wanted to bring it back. The last reason has to do with our overall football operation. Our goal is to be first in every endeavor that we believe impacts our football team. We now feel like we have the best uniform, not only in the MAC, but on the East Coast. We have our brand back and it is here to stay."

The jerseys will be solid cherry or white, with collar and sleeve trim in the opposite requisite color. The collars will be trimmed with diamonds to reference Temple founder Russell H. Conwell's "Acres of Diamonds" lecture. The Temple "T" will be featured at the "V" of the collar. As per Golden's directive last season, player names will not be on the jersey backs. The pants will resemble those worn during the Wayne Hardin Era from 1970 to 1982, featuring a white base with cherry blocks down the legs.

The Owls were picked to finish sixth in their inaugural season in the MAC East Division, in voting conducted by the MAC News Media Association. The Cherry and White did receive one first-place vote. Ohio (216 points) was picked to repeat in the East Division, followed by Kent State (203), Akron (171), Miami (163), Bowling Green (130), Temple (64) and Buffalo (61).
Western Michigan (175) edged Central Michigan (173) in the West Division. Toledo (138) was picked to finish third, followed by Ball State (134), Northern Illinois (90) and Eastern Michigan (46).

The 2007 season marks the Owls first campaign as a full football member of the MAC, after playing as an affiliate league member the past two years. With Golden at the helm, Temple signed the highest rated recruiting classes in the MAC in both 2006 and 2007. The Owls are slated to begin preseason practice on August 4.

Eagles ink QB Kolb

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles signed rookie quarterback Kevin Kolb to a four-year contract Wednesday.
"“Oh, I’m pumped. It was getting down to the wire and I think everyone was getting a little bit antsy," Kolb said of his contract. "I’m very excited and I know my family is as well, and I hope the Eagles are just as excited as we are.”
The deal reportedly guarantees Kolb $2.62 million, almost a 12 percent increase from the same slot last year.
“Yeah, it’s been about twelve hours so I’m not sure it’s sunk in completely yet," Kolb said of his financial windfall. "And I’m not sure it ever will. It’s nice, it’s perfect. It is a lot. To me, that shows me that they’ve opened some doors that they weren’t going to open up anymore, contract wise, and it makes me feel special. It shows me what I’ve done here so far and that they respect me, and they want me around for awhile. So, it’s a mutual feeling, obviously, and we’re very excited to be at this point.”

A second round pick out of Houston (36th overall) and the Eagles first pick overall, Kolb completed 292 of 432 passes for 3,809 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions as a senior at Houston.

Kolb was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year and ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (162.72 rating) and sixth in passing yards (3,809). He was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, which is given annually to the best senior quarterback in the nation.

A two-time All-Conference USA selection, Kolb finished his career ranked third in NCAA Division I-A history in total yards (13,715) and fourth in passing yards (12,964). He also finished as the school's all-time leader in completions (964), and attempts (1,565), and ranked second in passing touchdowns (81).

With the signing, the Eagles now have every player from their 2007 draft class under contract.
"I’ve talked to a lot of people including the veterans and people around the city," Kolb said about training camp. "They’ve said, ‘Just get ready.’ It’s exciting, and at the same time it kind of gets you amped up for practice. When you’re doing two a days for 17 days in a row you can get in a lull, and that’s where the fans come in and they help you. You push through those times and realize what you’re out there for and get some energy in the air.”

Destination Glendale; Philadelphia Eagles training camp preview

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Despite a front office that thinks otherwise, the Philadelphia Eagles have significant holes. The Birds certainly don't look like a Super Bowl team and if they toiled in the AFC, "Destination Glendale" would be but a dream.

Luckily the Eagles play in the woeful NFC, where they are a serious contender to play the role of Washington Generals in the big game. Granted, most feel the Birds are still looking up at the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints but it's not like those teams can't be caught.

Last year's Super Bowl sacrificial lamb, the Bears, may have been the worst big game team in history and will still be lining up with the awful Rex Grossman under center each and every week.

Meanwhile, the Saints are a good young team but won't sneak up on anybody this season. People now have a feel for Sean Payton and some think Drew Brees, who is coming off a rather serious injury, had a career year and will not be able to duplicate it. That leaves the door open for the Birds.

Of course, things haven't exactly been all roses for the Eagles this offseason. It all began badly as the team seemed caught up in protecting the ever thin-skinned Donovan McNabb on one front and Andy Reid's family travails on another.

The Eagles let the popular Jeff Garcia walk to placate DMac and gave Reid a leave of absence to deal with his embarrassing offspring. Then, Reid pulled a 180 and seemed to tire of the high-maintenance McNabb, drafting his successor in Kevin Kolb. That forced No. 5 to break free from the flock and began speaking out on his own with the help of ex-Eagles hatchet man Rich Burg.

Now, as training camp is set to begin, Garrett and Brit Reid are back in play and Daddy Dearest will at some point be forced to answer questions about drugs, guns and violence in his own family.

That's the backdrop as the Eagles soar to Lehigh. And here's The Phanatic Magazine's position-by-position analysis of the Eagles on the field:

Quarterback: The Eagles extended A.J. Feeley, drafted Kolb and waived goodbye to one of the league's best backups in Garcia. None of this will come into play if McNabb can recover from his ACL injury and play the entire season. But, if McNabb goes down again, Feeley will get the snaps, the season will be over and Reid will groom Kolb to take over in 2008. The Eagles will likely treat DMac with kid gloves in Lehigh and the preseason to make sure he's ready for the September 9 opener against Green Bay.

Kelly Holcomb is also around as insurance in case McNabb struggles to return. If Donovan is ready to go, look for the Birds to try and get a late-round draft choice for Holcomb from former Reid lackey Brad Childress in Minnesota.

Running back: Despite persistent questions regarding durability, BrianWestbrook finally proved he could carry the load and be the focal point of theEagles offense. While obtuse observers asked McNabb or Garcia last year -- astute fans knew the real question should have been McNabb or Westbrook? Even with the success of similar sized backs like Tiki Barber and Warrick Dunn, the Eagles never gave Westbrook a chance to be the focal point thanks to Reid's obsession with the pass. But, without McNabb, Reid had to temper his game plans and put the focus on Westbrook and things worked beautifully. Hopefully, Big Red recognized that and will keep some balance in the offense with DMac back in the huddle.

Correll Buckhalter actually stayed healthy and did a solid job as the No. 2 back last year but still has the history of severe knee problems so the Eagles drafted Tony Hunt of Penn State. Hunt looks the part and is the big back fans have begged for. That said, he was an underachiever in college and won't see the field unless Buck goes down. Ryan Moats will also return but has not shown the aptitude to be a significant contributor in a complex offense.

Wide receiver: Fans and media alike developed quite the man crush on Donte Stallworth last season but you can't question the Eagles' reluctance to get in a bidding war for a guy who was nicknamed "Street Clothes" by the New Orleans media. Stallworth did little to change his reputation in Philly last season. No one questions his ability but you can't pay a guy like a No. 1 receiver if he is going to miss games on a consistent basis. To replace Stallworth, the Eagles signed Kevin Curtis and despite the local media's uneducated stance, Curtis is actually faster than Stallworth but he doesn't have the size or strength to be a No.1 option in the West Coast offense. So, it will be Reggie Brown's job to keep improving and develop into the top option and the former Georgia star looks like he will eventually get there.

The Eagles have gone out of their way to talk up Hank Baskett and Jason Avant and both have above average hands but lack the deep speed to stretch an NFL defense.

Tight end: It's time to admit L.J. Smith is what he is. An average blocker who is a solid receiving threat that will always drop a few more than you would like. Matt Schobel struggled in his first year in Philly and the team expects more consistency this season. Rookie Brent Celek, a fifth-round pick from Cincinnati, looks like a good developmental prospect and should be the third tight end.

Offensive line: The offensive line played great for the Eagles down the stretch but is a little overrated in this town. Shawn Andrews is the one guy who is not overrated. The former Arkansas star is just a tad behind SteveHutchinson in the race for best guard in the game. Jon Runyan and WilliamThomas are both aging on the outside and Jamaal Jackson and Todd Herremans are a tad overvalued in the interior. While, the Eagles have reinforcements on hand with nice pedigrees in second-year players Winston Justice and Max Jean-Gilles, they didn't get on the field last season and there is no guarantee they will be able to step in if needed. I'm surprised a veteran swingman with the ability to play multiple positions was not signed but the Eagles also like Scott Young and Nick Cole.

Defensive line: The Eagles sport impressive depth here but the starters need to stand out more. The team had too much invested in defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley to give up on, so the two underachievers will get every opportunity to play significant snaps. That said, you can tell "BigRed" isn't exactly overflowing with confidence on that happening and signed veterans Montae Reagor and Ian Scott as insurance policies. Reagor is coming back from a serious car accident and is more of a movement like tackle with some pass rushing skills. Scott started in the Super Bowl for the Bears last year and is strictly a run-stuffer. LaJuan Ramsey is also back giving the Eagles excellent depth inside.

Meanwhile, the Birds seem happy with their defensive ends. They re-signed Juqua Thomas to be a member of a four-man rotation that will include Trent Cole, Darren Howard and a returning Jevon Kearse. The key here is the health of Kearse and Howard. Cole is an excellent situational player but gets exposed with too many snaps and Thomas looks like he is cut from the same cloth. Second-round pick Victor Abiamiri is also on hand if Kearse or Howard get banged up. The problem here is that the 10th guy on the Eagles defensive line may be just as good as the first. Somebody needs to step it up and stand out.

Linebacker: This has been the Eagles weakness for years and they finally addressed the situation by acquiring Takeo Spikes and drafting Stewart Bradley. Part of the problem here is philosophy. The NFL has become more and more specialized and the Birds have fought against the tide at this position. Instead of embracing a one-dimensional player that excels at pass-rushing or as a run-stopper, the Eagles expected their linebackers to be well-rounded guys that did all three things (stuff the run, cover and blitz). The results were mediocre guys that were average to below-average at all three skills.

The Eagles would like Chris Gocong to win the strong-side job and for Spikes to take over on the weakside but Gocong looked lost during last year's training camp trying to make the switch from small college defensive end to linebacker. He was so bad the Eagles shut him down for the season after he suffered stinger problems in the preseason and it's laughable to think he learned the position by osmosis. By two weeks into training camp, expect Omar Gaither to be entrenched on the weakside, Spikes to move over to the SAM spot and Jeremiah Trotter to handle the middle. Luckily for the Birds, Spikes is a rock-solid veteran who can play any of the linebacking positions.

Bradley will join Gocong and fan punching bag Matt McCoy as depth. Trotter has balky knees and is on his last legs in the middle but has lost weight and the Eagles hope he to get one more productive year from the former star.

Secondary: The starters are fine, save Sean Considine, but the Eagles need to alleviate some serious depth problems since they lost both safety Michael Lewis and cornerback Rod Hood in free agency. At safety, Brian Dawkins' next stop will be the Hall of Fame but Considine is too undersized to be a stalwart. The Eagles brought back special teams standout Quintin Mikell, who may push Considine.

Jim Johnson has given some lip service to replacing Sheldon Brown with Will James but that is likely just a ploy to light a fire under Brown, a player that underachieved last season. Lito Sheppard is a Pro Bowl level player at the other corner. James should settle in to the nickel spot while rookie Rashad Barksdale and Dustin Fox, a former third-round pick with the Vikings, will push the shaky Joselio Hanson for the dime spot.

Special Teams: David Akers is as good as it gets but the Birds can't keep bringing Koy Detmer back to make him feel good. Dirk Johnson never regained his past form after a sports hernia problem and had a so-so year at punter so the Eagles brought in Australian Rules football player Saverio Rocca as competition.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Blank calls Vick's actions horrific and repulsive

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank talked a big game Tuesday after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did his dirty work a day earlier.

Goodell ordered embattled Falcons quarterback Michael Vick not to report to the team's training camp this Thursday, taking the heat off what had been an impotent owner looking to bury his head in the sand. Instead the superstar turned villain will spend his time being arraigned in a Richmond, Virginia federal court on dog-fighting charges.

Rescued by Goodell, Blank turned up the bluster Tuesday calling the charges against Vick horrific and repulsive and intimating he was was ready to suspend the overrated QB for four games.

"There are things in the indictment that are repulsive to all of us," Blank said. "A quarterback is a leader of the team on and off the field and we have to look at all those things in that light."We had gone so far as to draft the suspension letter. Our preference was for the club to take action but I think this is the right action to take at this time.

"We were prepared to ask for a four-game suspension. We were prepared for Michael not to be in training camp. We will decide in the future if Michael will play during this year or not."

Flyers announce minor league affiliate deal with Wheeling

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers reached a minor league affiliate agreement with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL for the 2007-08 season, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.

"We are excited to be affiliated with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL," said Holmgren in making the announcement. "Moving away from Trenton is obviously something new for us, but we are really looking forward to starting a working relationship with Wheeling."

The Nailers replace the Trenton Titans, who had served as the Flyers' ECHL affiliate for the last seven seasons (1999-2000 through 2006-07). The Flyers will have the opportunity to send two goalies and up to three additional players to Wheeling to play for the Nailers.

In addition to the Flyers, Wheeling also serves as the ECHL affiliate for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Philadelphia Phantoms will continue to serve as the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

Stern denies NBA knew Donaghy was gambling

NBA commissioner David Stern called the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal the worst crisis he has had to deal with during his career but denied the league continued to let the West Chester native work games after they found out he was gambling.

“Mr. Donaghy is the only referee alleged to have bet on NBA games and disclosed confidential information to others,” Stern said at a Tuesday press conference. “I’ll say it again, I understand this is an isolated case."

“We take our obligation to fans in this matter very seriously,” Stern added. “I can stand here today and pledge that we will do every look back possible to analyze our processes and seek the best advice possible to see if there are changes that should be made and procedures that should be implemented to continue to assure fans we’re doing the best we possibly can.”