Friday, August 31, 2007

Divers continue to search for Nelson's father

The U.S. Coast Guard along with searchers on the ground continued looking for Floyd "Pete" Nelson, the father of Orlando Magic guard and Chester native Jameer Nelson, in and around the Delaware River.

The 57-year-old Floyd Nelson was working on Thursday in a dry dock area and was last seen walking toward a tug used as a break room, according to the owner of Hays Tug & Launch Service.

The search was suspended around 4 p.m. (et).

"We didn't see nothing or hear nothing, and the boys on the dry docks heard nothing, seen nothing. So it's a mystery to all of us," Hays told the Associated Press Friday.

Eagles cuts accidentily leaked

The Philadelphia Eagles inadvertently posted their final roster cuts on the team's official site.

The Eagles quickly removed the information but here is who was listed:

RB Nate Ilaoa; FB Jason Davis; FB/LS Jeremy Cain; WR Jeremy Bloom; WR J.J. Outlaw; WR Michael Gasperson; WR Zac Collie; TE Lee Vickers; T Jonathan Palmer; C Jasper Harvey; G Jacob Hobbs; T Pat McCoy; DE Marques Murrell; DT Mauricio Lopez; DT Ian Scott; LB Akeem Jordan; LB Dedrick Roper; CB Dustin Fox; CB Nick Graham; S Marcus Paschal; S Erick Harris; and P Dirk Johnson.

Go REAL Big - College teams at

Beckham's injury puts nail in American soccer's coffin

By Michael Rushton
The Phanatic Magazine

Much like preordering a copy of Britney Spears' future albums, the Los Angeles Galaxy's signing of David Beckham was seen as a huge gamble because of the money involved.

And much like double zeros in roulette at the Jersey shore, the house won. Or in this case, Beckham. Tom Cruises' good buddy was diagnosed with a sprained right knee on Thursday and could miss the rest of Los Angeles' season.

He is expected to be out six weeks and best-case scenario has him back in action with three games left on LA's schedule. But by that point, your average soccer fan, the ones the MLS was trying to rope in with Beckham's signing, won't care about England's golden boy anymore.

Read the rest at The Phanatic Magazine.

This week in college football history

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

DALLAS -- August 31, 2007
- As part of an on- going series throughout the fall, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame posts in advance This Week in College Football History, which takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 139 years. During the season, many of these events are featured in a changing exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.


Sept. 5, 1906: Saint Louis QB Bradbury Robinson throws the first legal forward pass in football history to Jack Schneider as the Billikens down Carroll College 22-0 in Waukesha, Wis. Bradbury gets instructions to throw the ball from head coach Eddie Cochems, and the initial try in the first quarter falls incomplete.


Sept. 4, 1982: Georgia edges Clemson 13-7 in a tussle between the two most recent national champions -Georgia in '80 and Clemson in '81. DE Stan Dooley runs back a blocked punt for the Bulldogs' lone TD of the contest while NFF College Hall of Fame PK Kevin Butler adds the decisive six points on a pair of field goals.

Sept. 6, 1997: Florida QB Doug Johnson ties a NCAA Division I-A mark by throwing seven touchdown passes in the first half of a 82-6 victory over Central Michigan in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators pile up over 500 yards via the air and bolt to a 5-0 start before closing the year at 10-2.

Sept. 7, 1989: Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer begins a streak of throwing a touchdown pass in 35 consecutive games, but the Cougars drop a 46- 41 decision to Washington State in Provo, Utah. Detmer ends the evening with 537 yards, four TDs and 34-for-53 in the aerial department.

Sept. 8, 1973: Future NFF Hall of Fame head coach Tom Osborne in his first game as head coach succeeds Hall of Famer Bob Devaney and leads Nebraska to a 40-13 win over UCLA. It also was the initial contest after 1972 NU stars Johnny Rodgers (Heisman Trophy) and Rich Glover (Outland) finished their careers.

Sept. 9, 2000: TCU records a NCAA-record 15 quarterback sacks as the Horned Frogs score a 41-10 victory at Nevada.

Sept. 10, 1994: All-America Alcorn State QB Steve McNair has one of his best individual performances with 646 yards of total offense in a 54- 28 win at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He passed for eight TDs and 491 yards and rushed for 155 yards and one score.

Feeley undergoes surgery

Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback A.J. Feeley underwent what the team described as successful surgery Friday morning to repair a fractured third metacarpal in his left hand.

The procedure was performed by Dr. John Taras in Philadelphia and Feeley’s status for this week’s opener at Green Bay will be determined at a later date

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time to Believe?

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

I’m speechless.

(Good thing I have a keyboard)

I’m broke, juggle several jobs (including this one), yet spent most of the past 4 hours and 9 minutes bypassing necessary productivity, instead engaged in an emotional roller coaster.

I didn’t mind one bit.

I just witnessed the most exciting baseball game I’ve watched since probably Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship, when the hackneyed Red Sox curse was on its way to being exorcised and the choking bum Yankees put a new crease into the word “fold.”

Putting it in local terms, it was perhaps the most exciting game I’ve seen from the Fightins’ since the 1993 World Series.

The 9th inning alone was not for the weary of heart: Fan fiend Billy Wagner, nasty as it is and well-rested to boot, against his former team. A seeing eye bloop by the unconsciously hot Jayson Werth (does anyone recall that Shane Victorino is actually healthy now, yet still on the bench?). Werth, showing off his big brass pair, steals two bases on the fireballing Wagner with nary a throw from the catcher.

And instead of sulking as so many in his position would, career starter and recent odd-man-out Tadahito Iguchi then comes through on another clutch pinch hit, a ballsy stolen base himself, topped off my a dramatic slide at the plate for the winning run.

The best part about the inning was that it had “team” written all over it. No one person carried them over the top. Best yet, the pitifully small dimensions of Citizen’s Bank Park were rendered moot when small ball took over.

The rest of the game had its own share of storylines. The Pat Burrell Redemption Tour continues, with two more jacks, including one off Wagner – who you may recall had his share of criticism for “The Bat” in the past. Ryan Howard breaks out of his concerning slump in a big way. On the flip side, 5-0 and 8-5 leads by the Phils unmercifully ripped away from them, the latter time by a excruciatingly painful performance by Antonio Alfonseca.

They battled back. And battled some more. I’ve done nothing for most of the afternoon and yet I’m the one who’s exhausted.

There’s really nothing to say that makes sense of this team. In simple terms, they’re friggin maddening.

This can’t be a healthy relationship. Just last weekend, I publicly lambasted them for showing no heart against the Padres. Well, in Grinch-like fashion, it seemed to grow ten sizes against the Mets.

Like a stubborn atheist who just witnessed a miraculous act of God, I can’t say that I’m all in at the table just yet. I still need to see that string of success. I still need to see momentum carried from one season to the next. I still need to stop taking those cold showers.

Trust me when I say that after watching this game, I want to believe. I’m ready to believe.

My biggest issue which remains: I really, really, REALLY don’t know how this can continue if the Phils have to battle their own pitching staff as well as their opponents. With Cole Hamels still on the shelf, the rotation is as follows: Kyle Lohse, J.D. Durbin, Adam Eaton, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick. For the record, that’s two journeymen, one senior citizen, one complete bust and a rookie who played Double A not two months ago. Plus, don’t get me started on the bullpen.

If you were presented with that rotation in April, admit it: You vomit a little bit and then begin preparing for 2008.

Don’t get me wrong: 1993 was magical. From Opening Day, there was something special taking place. This year defies all logic. Roster moves and statistical data don't equate for an alleged playoff contender. Every day seems to present a whole new set of circumstances and expectations. Every come from behind win (in which they lead the National League) has fans thinking October, every supposedly debilitating injury initiates the funeral.

I have no idea how they’ve made it this far. So perhaps it’s almost time to throw logic out the window.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tiger vs. the PGA

By John Gottlieb
The Phanatic Magazine

I know it's a little late, but how dare Tiger Woods skip the Barclays as the PGA tries to institute its new playoff system.

Tiger complained about the toll taken on his body playing in the previous two tourneys, but the PGA is the reason why Woods has a beautiful wife, millions upon millions of dollars, and will most likely hold every golfing record when his career is done.

Seriously, why is Tiger so tired? Because he collected over $2.6 million by winning the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship.

But, Tiger should suck it up, get out there, and throw some legitimacy to the FedEx Cup, PGA's new playoff system that awards points to golfers through the final four tournaments of the season. Less and less golfers are allowed to take part in each successive tourney until a champion is crowned.

Leading to the FedEx Cup Tiger had more points than any other golfer, but didn't feel it was necessary to take part at the Barclays.

PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem played nice and said he was disappointed that Tiger decided not to come to New York, but imagine how steamed he really was that Woods backed out?

This is a convoluted, hard-to-understand playoff system, but that all would have been forgotten is Tiger was there.

Instead we were thankfully graced with a Sunday matchup of Steve Stricker and K.J. Choi.

Reportedly, Tiger doesn't enjoy the rowdy New York crowds and that could be the real reason why he skipped the Barclays, which he hasn't taken part in for the last few seasons.

Woods now finds himself in fourth place in the FedEx Cup standings, just over 4,000 points behind Stricker, heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston this weekend.

The PGA should take a strong stance and make it that if you want to take part in the FedEx Cup then you have to take part in the first of the four tournaments.

I wonder if Tim Finchem would've been happier if Tiger hasn't won the PGA Championship?

Tiger is bigger than the sport of golf, but how's about giving something back to the PGA and taking part in the inaugural event of the inaugural FedEx Cup.

College Football Weekly Notes

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

On-Campus Salutes of the Season Slated for This Weekend

2007 College Football Hall of Famers Chris Zorich of Notre Dame and Jeff Davis of Clemson will be honored at On- Campus Salutes this weekend.

Zorich, a consensus All-America in 1989 and a unanimous All-America pick the following season, will be honored on Saturday, Sept. 1, as the Fighting Irish open up their season against Georgia Tech. The game, which starts at 3:30 p.m. ET, will be aired on NBC.

Instrumental in helping the Irish to the 1988 National Championship, the Chicago native amassed 219 career tackles and led ND to four bowl game appearances. He also received Orange Bowl MVP recognition in 1990.

Captain of Clemson's only National Championship team, Davis becomes the third Tiger inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He will be honored during the Clemson-Florida State match-up on Monday, Sept. 3, at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Davis led a Tiger defense that forced a school-record 41 turnovers. He accumulated 175 tackles in 1981 en route to being named the ACC Player of the Year. He finished his collegiate career with 469 tackles and was also named MVP of the 1982 Orange Bowl.

The entire 2007 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be honored on Tues., Dec. 4, during the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner at the prestigious Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.

College Football Kicks Off

College football kicked off in earnest last week with nine NCAA Division II-III and NAIA contests from Thursday-Saturday. Most national teams join these early starters Thursday-Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 3.

There are 620 colleges and universities competing in NCAA football for 2007, an increase of four from 2006. The new NCAA '07 participants are Birmingham Southern (Ala.), Gallaudet (D.C.), St. Vincent's (Pa.) and UNC-Pembroke. In 2006, NCAA Football attendance was 47.9 million for 616 schools, which topped the previous record in 2003 (46.2 million) by 1.7 million fans. FBS squads also snapped the home attendance average mark of 46,039 in 2005 with an average of 46,249 last season. Bowl attendance for 32 postseason FBS contests was 1.7 million with a 53,000 standard. The NCAA Division I Football Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn., was above stadium capacity with 21,000 on hand.

NFF News

The first of seven "Football Fridays" and "Game Day Saturdays" at the NFF College Hall of Fame occurs this weekend when Georgia Tech comes to South Bend. Special events include extended hours at the Hall on Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Georgia Tech-Notre Dame events' schedule at the Hall includes Football Friday from 6-11 a.m. with live interviews and commentary from AM 790-The Zone Atlanta sports talk radio; a 2:30-3:30 p.m. autograph session with 2008 inductee Chris Zorich of Notre Dame; and a 7-10 p.m. Football Fridays tent party in downtown South Bend with live music, food, beverages and giveaways. Game Day Saturday features a 1-2 p.m. live concert by the Georgia Tech marching band on the Hall of Fame gridiron and Hall of Fame tours and special new exhibits throughout Saturday and Sunday. For more information on events at the Hall of Fame during 2007 football weekends, call 574-235-9999 or visit

The NFF San Bernardino County Chapter held its annual College and High School Football Media Day last Thursday at Colton (Calif.) HS. Coaches from around the area addressed the news media along with one student-athlete from each college and high school. Former UTEP PK Hugo Castellanos of Snap, Hold & Kick mentioned the top kicking prospects in the area, and the chapter held a briefing about the Jan. 2008 California Interscholastic Federation Empire Vs. Orange County/San Diego County All-Star game, which has been an annual project of the San Bernardino County Chapter for several years.

The NFF Auburn (Ala.) Chapter held its annual membership barbecue earlier this month and had a special address by Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville before 80 members... College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer also made a surprise visit to the NFF offices in Irving, Texas, last week.

Two-Minute Drill

Florida State will participate in honoring severely wounded war veterans while working with the national Wounded Warriors program when the Seminoles host Duke on Oct. 27. All past and present members of the military also can purchase reduced rate tickets for the game... Florida has introduced programs where $1 million contributors can spend a day with head coach Urban Meyer and his staff, eat a meal at Meyer's home or even run onto the field with the team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium... Richmond football student-athletes and competitors from other Spiders' teams helped incoming freshmen and their parents move into dorm rooms last Wednesday in what has become a traditional assistance day. Rice and LaSalle gridders also helped freshmen and families move into dorms in recent days... UC Davis head coach Fred Arp has announced his retirement at the end of the '07 outing... Nearly 500 Oklahoma student- athletes recited the Sooner Oath on Aug. 22 to pledge to be of good standing in the community and responsible to others on and off campus. NFF College Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer and OU president David Boren were special guests at the ceremony... 59-year-old Mike Flynt, a longtime personal trainer, fitness expert and grandfather has made the 2007 Sul Ross State (Texas) squad... Baylor tri-captain Joe Pawelek spent portions of his summer organizing football team participation in Habitat for Humanity home building and Neighbor-Works Waco (Texas) improvement projects... Western Kentucky has contracted with Russell Athletic for team uniforms and other apparel through 2012... Maine will open the 2008 season at Iowa... Katherine Foust of Texas A&M has been elected queen of the 2007 Brut Sun Bowl in El Paso... NCAA Football has set up new marketing resource links for members at

Ten FBS members will display new helmet designs for 2007. They are Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Texas, Rice, Syracuse, Temple, and UCF... Kansas State will delete its two stripes on each sleeve and go with a triangular pattern near shoulder pads on its newly-designed jerseys... Iowa State has a link on its official Web site ( for fans to vote on three possibilities for its 2008 football helmet logo.

Miami (Fla.) will play its home games at Dolphin Stadium in 2008 after competing at Orange Bowl Stadium from 1937-2007. The Hurricanes inked a 25-year lease at Dolphin Stadium from 2008-32 after winning five national titles and an NCAA-longest 58-game home winning streak at the Orange Bowl... Washington State's first phase of a $47 million renovation at Martin Stadium is on schedule for the '07 opener... Missouri is installing FieldTurf at its Daniel J. Devine Indoor Practice Facility... Rutgers 2007 season ticket demands have helped the university start making preliminary plans to expand its 42,000-seat stadium to 54,000 with luxury boxes in time for the 2009 season... The City of Carbondale passed a half-cent sales tax increase to help provide $20 million for football and other athletics facilities at Southern Illinois... Nevada will begin its Pack Town and Wolfpack Alley attractions north of Mackay Stadium to foster new pre-game fan enthusiasm... North Carolina is shifting part of its student seating into "The Tar Pit" for additional atmosphere and noise... East Carolina has sold out its 22,000 season tickets' allotment... Iowa State has topped its 2006 season ticket sales by 56 percent through Aug. 24 - from 22,400 to 35,076.

SMU brothers and student-athletes Don, Lance and Lott McIlhenny joined AT&T Cotton Bowl Fox TV voice Pat Summerall as featured speakers at the SMU Football Kickoff Luncheon in Dallas... Rutgers RB and 2007 Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice is being featured in Times Square in New York on the Astrovision Panasonic message board in a "See Ray Run" video clip... ESPN is producing a "25 Hours of College Football Presented by TiVo" on Wednesday- Thursday prior to its Thursday night opener when LSU travels to Mississippi State. Host Rece Davis, a former quarterback at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) HS, will be bedecked in a tuxedo, and Hawaii will be featured in a live practice at 3 a.m. (EDT)/9 p.m. (HDT) Thursday along with live blogs and other activities... ESPNU, Disney and Time Warner have agreed to terms on distribution areas, which will increase ESPNU's viewing capacity to 20 million homes... HBO Sports will broadcast a documentary on the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry on Nov. 13... The Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-10, and Southeastern Conferences have partnered with XM Radio for all satellite broadcasts of all their members' contests this year on XM Channels 144, 193-203... The NFL Network's "College Football Now" program will include bloggers assigned to specific teams. It's the network's first show totally devoted to college football coverage... Southlake (Texas) Carroll HS meets Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) on Sept. 15 at SMU's Ownby Stadium on ESPNU in a bout of USA TODAY's no. 1 and no. 2 nationally ranked high school squads. It's part of a 22-game slate of nationally- televised cable games on ESPN networks and FSN in '07... Retired coaching veteran Sam Wyche will be analyst on six Southern Conference telecasts in '07... Lowell Galindo has replaced Mike Hall (who moved to The Big Ten Network) as signature anchor on ESPNU... Mike Stowell has been named sideline commentator for Tennessee radio broadcasts... Midwestern State (Texas) has launched a new athletics' Web site, which highlights Midwestern's new mascot, the Mustang, and new logo... Ouachita (Ark.) has expanded its radio network with new outlets in Arkansas cities El Dorado, Magnolia, and Hot Springs... released the first of its weekly Webcast journals by selected Oklahoma players last week.

NFF Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal and former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe will receive the History Making Texan Award from the Texas State History Museum Foundation at a banquet in Austin on Mar. 3, 2008... A statue of NFF Hall of Fame member Ernie Davis of Syracuse will be unveiled at halftime of the SU-Washington game Friday at the Carrier Dome. The statue later will be moved to a special campus location... 1979 NFF Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Lattner of Notre Dame had his Chicago (Ill.) Fenwick High School number (34) retired in a ceremony last Sunday at Soldier Field. He is the first FHS player ever to have a uniform number retired... Phil and Penny Knight have pledged $100 million to Oregon athletics - the largest private donor gift in school history... Former Texas Tech LB and State Rep. Rob Junell (1966-68) will receive the school's Heritage Award for football at Tech's Athletic Hall of Honor ceremonies in October... Ohio State and NFL standout Alonzo Spellman had the second of a series of Alonzo Spellman Defensive Lineman/Linebackers Academies in Tulsa, Okla., last Sunday.

Ronnie Andrews, 41, son of longtime Florida State assistant head coach Mickey Andrews, died on Aug. 19 in Killearn Estates, Fla... Longtime New Hampshire administrator and coach Gerry Friel, 64, died last Tuesday... Herman Mitchell, 17, who had committed orally to Oklahoma for 2008 and who starred at Spring (Texas) Westfield HS, died last Friday in Houston.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Eagles send Holcomb to Vikings

Clearly confident with A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb as Donovan McNabb's backups, the Philadelphia Eagles traded quarterback Kelly Holcomb to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick in 2009.

Philadelphia acquired Holcomb, along with linebacker Takeo Spikes, from the Buffalo Bills in March in exchange for defensive tackle Darwin Walker and a conditional draft pick in 2008. He
became expendable when the Eagles used their top selection in thisyear's draft on Kolb. Philadelphia re-signed A.J. Feeley in the offseason to be the backup and Donovan McNabb appears to have recovered from a torn ACL.

In other team news: Philadelphia placed defensive tackle Jerome McDougle, running back Ryan Moats and offensive lineman Stefan Rodgers on injured reserve and released kicker E.J. Cochrane, wide receivers Dereck Faulkner and Jermaine Jamison, tight end Kyle Hunt, safety Chris Smith and guard Chris White.

Utley's back!

The Phillies activated 2B Chase Utley from the 15-day DL just in time for tonight's game against the Mets.

Utley, who has missed 28 games since breaking a bone in his right hand July26, cleared the final hurdle in his path to the starting lineup, receiving medical clearance from hand specialist Randall Culp on Monday afternoon. He is hitting in the second slot in the lineup, behind Jimmy Rollins and ahead of Pat Burrell (That's right Pat is hitting third).

Utley, a two-time All-Star, was hitting .336 with 17 home runs, 41 doubles and82 RBI before the injury. He completed a three-game rehabilitation stint with Double-A Reading in which he went 1-for-10.

Tadahito Iguchi has hit .301 in Utley's absence but will move to the bench.

Philadelphia went 15-13 without Utley in the lineup and enters this series six games behind NL East-leading New York.

To make room for Utley on the roster, the Phillies designated infielder Russell Branyan for assignment.

In other team news: RHP Freddy Garcia (strained right shoulder) is scheduled to meet with orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday.

Phils show their true color

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

So those showers have been quite icy lately, as per my last article.

And since writing it, the Phillies – Sunday’s offensive outburst notwithstanding – had lost five of six, as well as the respect of many fans.

That’s because this weekend, they were shown up on their own turf.

First, an overreacting and childishly whiny Marcus Giles gets in the grill of Carlos Ruiz after his takeout slide. Ruiz not only stands down then, but also an inning later when Giles participates in a staredown and apparently says a few parting words at the plate.

Then, everybody’s least favorite board game, Milton Bradley, showboats after hitting a home run, then subsequently trashes the fans and later the stadium itself.

A fair response for any team and manager with a backbone is to whiz one at the batter. It happened. To Ruiz from the Padres staff, making their statement (which was pounded home with a 14-3 Saturday pounding) clear.

Like a bully who now gets his lunch money direct deposited by his smaller prey, the Padres came in with a bone to pick with their closest wild card rivals and entered Sunday with a cocky strut and – worse yet – no fear.

The Phillies, through all their injury excuses this season used to justify – and celebrate – any semblance of contention with its fanbase, had a chance to truly give them something to cheer about. They had a chance to show its heart by standing up for themselves and showing the gritty character we come to expect from a winner.

Instead, they showed their true colors – or more accurately, true color: Yellow.

Contending teams don’t turn the other cheek. They don’t play the nice guy role. They fight back. They go for the jugular.

This is especially integral in this town, where we’ve always embraced grit over glamour, substance over style, attitude over athleticism. The only bullies we know around here lived on Broad Street some 30-plus years ago.

It’s why the fans got so excited when the benches cleared Friday night, hoping that one swing of the fist could perhaps lead to a turnaround swing to the season. Or one pitch to the ribcage of a weasel like Giles or a bitter tool like Bradley. It’s why the anticlimactic letdown will be something we won’t soon forget.

That the coach nor players made a stink of things afterwards also speaks volumes. And trust that the Mets heard the nothing loud and clear.

It’s also safe to assume that they’re chomping at the bit to be the next in line to bitch slap the Phils come today.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Falcons owner responds to Vick suspension

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank:

“Today, Michael Vick admitted his guilt to very serious charges related to his earlier indictment. His admissions describe actions that are incomprehensible and unacceptable for a member of the National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons.

“We respect and support the Commissioner’s decision today to place Michael Vick on an indefinite suspension. As with other actions he has taken this year, the Commissioner is making a strong statement that conduct which tarnishes the good reputation of the NFL will not be tolerated.

“We hope that Michael will use this time, not only to further address his legal matters, but to take positive steps to improve his personal life.”

Dalembert leads Canada past US Virgin Islands

Samuel Dalembert scored 15 points, pulled down eight rebounds and swatted five shots to lead Canada past the U.S. Virgin Islands, 93-83, in the opening round of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Britt Reid jailed

Britt Reid, the son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was jailed Friday for violating his bail after he was stopped Thursday on suspicion of driving while impaired.

Police allegedly found 33 pills on the 22-year-old Reid, including the prescription painkiller hydrocodone,

Reid was free while awaiting sentencing for a January road-rage incident in which police say he brandished a gun at another driver. As a condition of bail when Reid pleaded guilty to weapons and drug charges, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill ordered him to remain drug-free and limit his driving to his community college classes.

The angry judge revoked the bail after Reid's latest incident.

Andy Reid refused to discuss the matter at a press conference in the NovaCare Complex earlier in the day. "If you can stay away from the questions on my family, I'd appreciate it. This is about football and our football team," the coach said.

Britt Reid faces a possible six-to-14 month jail sentence for the original charges.

NFL suspends Vick for indefinite period

-Courtesy of the National Football League

Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Michael Vick today that he is suspended indefinitely without pay from the National Football League, effective immediately.

Following are excerpts from Commissioner Goodell’s letter to Vick:

· “Your admitted conduct was not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions.”

· “Your plea agreement and the plea agreements of your co-defendants also demonstrate your significant involvement in illegal gambling. Even if you personally did not place bets, as you contend, your actions in funding the betting and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL Player Contract and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player.”

· “You have engaged in conduct detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.”

· “I will review the status of your suspension following the conclusion of the legal proceedings. As part of that review, I will take into account a number of factors, including the resolution of any other charges that may be brought against you, whether in Surry County, Virginia, or other jurisdictions, your conduct going forward, the specifics of the sentence imposed by Judge Hudson and any related findings he might make, and the extent to which you are truthful and cooperative with law enforcement and league staff who are investigating these matters.”

· “I have advised the Falcons that, with my decision today, they are no longer prohibited from acting and are now free to assert any claims or remedies available to them under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or your NFL Player Contract.”

McNabb to play first half vs. Steelers

Andy Reid announced that Donovan McNabb will play the first half in the team's third preseason game at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

"Donovan will go the first half; then I’ll see about the rest of the quarterbacks after that in how I rotate them," Reid said at a press conference at the NovaCare Complex .

The coach also adressed the injury situation. "These people will not play in the game: [G] Chris White, [G] Shawn Andrews, obviously [LB Craig] Kobel, [DE Jerome] McDougle, and [RB Ryan] Moats. Then, [DT] LaJuan [Ramsey] with a high ankle sprain will not play, but he is getting better. [G] Stefan Rodgers will not play; [WR] Bill Sampy will not play, and then [DT] Ian Scott is a gameday decision as we go here. "

Reid and the Birds' public relations staff have already ruled all questions regarding the coach's family off-limits so Britt Reid's latest embarrassing actions were not addressed.

NHL can’t be judge and jury when legal system fails

By Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

We only know these two facts for sure: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Bell was sentenced to six months in prison during the off-season for a DUI and hit-and-run incident last Summer, and former Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet pled guilty to gambling charges and was sentenced to two years probation.

The rest of the story is a stunning reversal of the usual cries for legal intrusion when the NHL becomes as violent as any two-minute segment on the nightly news.

Yes, both men committed crimes and will be punished for such. But it’s of no consequence to the league, which employs both, to add sanctions for actions taken outside the bounds of the sport.

Any call for reprisals within the game itself – from the lowly fan blogger to team
owners – unfairly puts commissioner Gary Bettman in the unenviable position of having to act, and doing so under the spotlight of instant media opinion and criticism.

Bell’s incident occurred in the summer and off the ice, and there is no evidence Tocchet placed bets from his team office or on the game itself, so you can’t suggest a league penalty for conduct detrimental to their respective teams.

Bettman shouldn’t be forced into the position of high school disciplinarian, charged with meting out punishments that serve as examples to the rest of the community. For all his failings with running the NHL, he should never be charged with righting a wrong done by the failing of the legal system.

At one time, jurisprudence could take care of these fatal mistakes, because hockey players were not the public figures they are today. In 1984, then-Bruins forward Craig MacTavish left a nightclub in Lynn, Massachusetts, drove under the influence, then hit and killed 26-year-old Kim Radley in nearby Peabody. MacTavish pled guilty to a lesser charge of vehicular homicide, yet spent the entire following season in jail.

Of course some sweet came from the bitter, as MacTavish turned his life around, was given a second chance to re-establish his career in Edmonton and won four Stanley Cups over the remaining 12 years.

Still, that penalty seems so harsh compared to Dany Heatley, who acted irresponsibly with speed and his recklessness resulted in the death of teammate Dan Snyder back in September, 2003. Although alcohol did not factor into the crash (rather driving too fast on rain-slicked roads) Heatley pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and received three years of probation.

The young forward didn’t get his new start until two years later, in a trade to Ottawa, after his time in purgatory on a year rehabbing from injuries sustained in the crash plus the cancelled 2004-2005 season.

Besides the passage of time and shifting of community and legal standards, the presence of alcohol and degree of bodily harm seem to be the deciding factors in both cases. The actions of both players directly resulted in the death of another, and one served his debt to society behind bars, while the other carries what is known as “blood guilt.”

In the two recent examples, there are too many mitigating factors, too many ways to split hairs for Bettman to be fairly evaluated if and when he decides to hand down judgment.

California is a moderately-budgeted B-movie reality compared to the rest of the United States in many respects, and the sentence given to Bell for his hit-and-run is too bizarre and lenient for this die-hard East-coaster to stomach. It sends the diametrically opposed message that what Bell did was criminally wrong, but not enough to have his life and livelihood affected.

In Tocchet’s case, he rightfully slipped past the typical prosecutorial trick, which, in polite society is termed as: throw anything against the wall and see what sticks. It certainly fed the papers, network news, radio and sports programs with all sorts of lurid tales of connections to organized crime, but petered out into nothing more than a small-time operation funded by big-time money makers.

So, I strongly disagree with anyone playing up the situation as another crossroads in the growth of the NHL, or as some kind of moral test for the game’s head honcho. There are enough internal factors which are far more important to the league’s overall health.

Let the NHL decide what to do about the salary cap, the unbalanced schedule and an increase in the number of season-ending injuries. It may be run by a cadre of lawyers, but there is not a robe and a gavel to be found among them.

Vick signs plea deal

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has signed a plea agreement where he admits to conducting an enterprise including gambling and the sponsoring and transporting of dogs in dogfighting operations.

He is expected to formally enter his plea on Monday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia.
The former Pro Bowl selection did not admit to killing any dogs personally or gambling on the fights. The summary of facts accompanying the plea agreement said Vick was aware four dogs were killed in 2002 and six to eight dogs were killed this past April as a result of the "collective efforts" of Vick and two of his co-defendants.

According to the agreement, Vick and his co-defendants -- Tony Taylor, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace -- "rolled" or "tested" Bad Newz Kennels dogs in 2002 by putting them through fighting sessions to determine which ones were good fighters.

"Vick was aware that Phillips, Peace and Taylor killed a number of dogs that did not perform well in testing sessions around this time," the summary states. "Vick did not kill any dogs at this time."

As for the gambling allegations, the summary said Vick did not gamble "by placing side bets on any of the fights" and did not receive any of the proceeds from the purses. But the summary also states that most of the Bad Newz Kennels' operation and gambling monies were provided by Vick and the quarterback and his three co-defendants claimed purses when their dogs won fights.

The maximum penalties for Vick are five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, full restitution, a special assessment and three years of supervised release but he is expected to receive less jail time for signing the deal.

Vick is expected to receive 12 to 18 months in prison according to multiple media sources.

Nine to Five

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Andy Reid's return to work after his well-documented family problems may finally shine a spotlight on one of the NFL's more mundane but perplexing problems.

The fact that most of the league’s coaches have 80-plus hour work weeks and often sleep on office couches may be dull to most fans who care about little, save winning. And I can understand why -- it’s a silly problem that has its roots firmly planted in ego.

To be fair, in the word of professional sports, football is calculus. Piloting a baseball team is about getting that killer tan, while coaching hoops is all about managing egos (sorta like being the managing editor here at The Phanatic Magazine). I’ll leave it to the puck heads to explain what hockey coaches do -- I’m still trying to figure that one out.

So, NFL coaches from this generation wear their work ethic like a badge of honor and look down at members of the fraternity who have the gall to feel a more well-rounded lifestyle might actually contribute to success and longevity.

Owners have picked up on that disdain and have made it almost mandatory for coaches to be on call 24-7. Of course, legendary mentors from the past snicker at it all. No matter how much you respect Reid, he’s never going to be compared with legends like Lombardi, Shula and Noll.

Still, some say you can’t compare each era and that’s probably true, so let’s go back to the recent past and look at a coach that didn’t believe in the hype, Barry Switzer.

I doubt anyone could muster up a case to compare Reid and Switzer as coaches but Barry and his questionable work ethic has the Super Bowl ring Andy is still chasing. Why?

Talent trumps coaching and that’s tough for any megalomaniac to accept. Surely, if they spent more hours watching the game tape they could expose a bozo like Switzer. Jerry Jones' caddy would probably be on his 10th gin and tonic when Reid or one of his brethren figured out that the left tackle was opening his stance and telegraphing each play during their 27th viewing.

Ecstatic and validated, the exhausted coach would gleefully tell his important defensive players about his find and then watch them ignore his “genius” on Sunday when the real bullets were flying.

There are laws that limit the about of time airline pilots, truck drivers and doctors work for good reason.

Common sense should limit Reid’s.

Walk Away

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

-This column was originally published on February 9, 2007. With Britt Reid in trouble again, The Phanatic Magazine decided to re-run the column for all our new readers.

Money doesn't solve life's problems -- it just creates new ones.

Just ask Andy Reid -- who is currently dealing with a pair of morons he just happened to sire.

This column is not an indictment of Reid's coaching prowess. We all know Andy has his detractors who are constantly champing at the bit for anything to use against him. I'm not a part of that group and believe "Big Red" has earned the right to stick around the Philadelphia Eagles as long as he wants too.

Of course, that doesn't mean he should want to stick around -- in case you haven't noticed, his kids are out of control and could use a patriarchal figure right about now.

In our politically correct society -- Reid has already benefited from plenty of apologists quick to hand the coach a pass and offer up any number of excuses for a father who has clearly failed his sons. If I take heat for that statement -- so be it.

I don't want to hear about his children being grown men -- understand, Britt and Garrett Reid lived under Andy's auspices. And, we are not talking about a couple of kids with failing grades in school or some reckless thrill-seekers stealing a Playboy from the local newsstand.

Britt allegedly had a Remington shotgun, a magazine containing twelve 45 caliber bullets, two boxes of shotgun shells, eight OxyContin pills, cocaine and pot in an SUV registered to Andy and his wife Tammy. Meanwhile, Garrett Reid reportedly was high on heroin, had unidentified pills, a BB gun, a scale commonly used by people who deal drugs and nearly killed a woman with the SUV he was using.

Now put yourself into that situation... If you had the financial means to step away from a ridiculously time-consuming and demanding job to focus on your two troubled sons would you do it?

Most wouldn't even hesitate... So, I'll leave the rationalizing to others and will expect to see Andy where he wants to be -- on the sideline at the Linc.

Children be damned.

South Jersey man sentenced in Tocchet case

Swedesboro's James Ulmer, 42, was sentenced to two-years' probation Friday.

Ulmer was one of three men, one of whom was former Flyers star Rich Tocchet, who ran an illegal sports gambling ring in New Jersey. Ulmer was charged with conspiracy and promoting gambling and faced six months to a year in county jail under a plea agreement for his role in the bookmaking operation.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Utley, Eaton to begin rehab assignments

Philadelphia Phillies Second baseman Chase Utley and pitcher Adam Eaton witll both start rehab assignments with Double-A Reading on Friday.

Utley, who had surgery on his broken hand July 27, is scheduled to play first base in the first of a twin-bill against Akron and then be the designated hitter in the nightcap. Utley is expected to play second base on Saturday.

Eaton, who has been out with shoulder inflammation, is earmarked for 40 pitches in the opener.

Britt Reid in hot water again

Britt Reid was treated at Mercy Suburban Hospital after he allegedly caused a scene at a local shopping center.

NBC10 is reporting that a drunk and badly behaved Reid, the son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was asked to leave a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Plymouth Meeting just before 4:00 p.m. (et). Police were called and witnesses said Reid got into his pickup truck, drove across the parking lot and hit a shopping cart. No one was reported injured but a police source told the television station that Reid failed a field sobriety test. More >>

Trotter in Tampa is reporting that former Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Totter will visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.

The Bucs placed two middle linebackers -- Antoine Cash and Sam Olajubutu -- on injured reserve this week. On paper, The Tampa-2 defense seems like a terrible fit for Trotter but Jon Gruden has made strange decisions before.

DiMichele to start at QB for Temple is reporting that Adam DiMichele will be announced as Temple's starting quarterback later today. More >>

Racism 101

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Most people don't understand what racism is.

Simply put, it's a hatred or intolerance of another race -- a belief that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

Today, it seems like any criticism hurled at someone outside one's race is automatically labeled as racism.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth but the specter of racism is often used by educated con-men on a bully pulpit concerned with padding their own egos and power. More >>

Eagles surgery update

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

A number of Eagles underwent what the team described as successful surgeries in the past couple of days.

On Tuesday, defensive end Jerome McDougle had his right triceps repaired at HealthSouth in Birmingham, Ala. Meanwhile, running back Ryan Moats underwent a procedure to repair his left ankle fibula fracture and ligament damage in Indianapolis, Ind. Also, offensive lineman Stefan Rogers had a Lis Franc sprain in his right foot repaired in Philadelphia by Dr. Steve Raikin of the Rothman Institute.

On Wednesday, linebacker Craig Kobel had a procedure to repair a sports hernia performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coach, conference generate hope for Temple football

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic) - Nestled between Happy Valley and a resurgent Rutgers sits the Delaware Valley‘s only FBS (Division I-A) football program, Temple.

You can make all the jokes you want about the Owls, who have not had a winning season in 16 years and haven’t topped four wins since 1990, but they are finally set to make some noise under second-year coach Al Golden. More >>

Hamels to DL; Victorino back

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Lefthander Cole Hamels was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mild left elbow strain and outfielder Shane Victorino was activated from the DL, the Phillies announced today.

Hamels, who was scheduled to start tonight's game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park, underwent an MRI earlier today which showed no structural or ligament damage. His DL stint is backdated to August 17, making him eligible to return on September 1.

Victorino had been placed on the DL on July 31 with a right calf strain. He played in three minor league games during a rehabilitation assignment with double-A Reading and single-A Lakewood, hitting a combined .273 (3-11) with an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored.

Forsberg may come back to Flyers

The Camden Courier Post is reporting that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren would like to see Peter Forsberg return to the team and Forsberg told a Swedish newspaper that a second stop in the City of Brotherly Love is a possibility.

Forsberg told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that if he returns to the NHL it would likely be with one of his former teams – the Nashville Predators, Flyers or Colorado Avalanche.

Trotter to Denver?

The Denver Post is reporting that the Broncos will consider signing linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who was cut by the Eagles on Tuesday...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NBA names Pedowitz to review gambling, officials

-Courtesy of the NBA

NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2007 - NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that the NBA has named Lawrence B. Pedowitz, a former Chief of the Criminal Division in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and current partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, to lead a comprehensive review of the league's rules, policies, and procedures relating to gambling and its officiating program.

Pedowitz, a former law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., and members of his law firm will conduct a broad examination of the NBA's league-wide anti-gambling efforts, including its rules, its policies regarding disclosure of confidential information, its methods of monitoring and enforcement, and its efforts to educate NBA personnel. In addition, the review will include an analysis of the current hiring and development processes for NBA referees, and the systems used to monitor their off-court behavior and on-court performance, all with the aim of improving the overall effectiveness of NBA officiating and of bolstering the league's efforts to detect and deter betting on its games.

"There is nothing as important as the integrity of our game and the covenant we have with our fans," said Stern. "In order to preserve their trust, we will make every effort possible to ensure that our processes and procedures are the best they can be. With his background as a Federal prosecutor and his vast experience in criminal law and risk management matters in almost 25 years of private legal practice, Larry Pedowitz is an ideal person to lead this independent review."

Pedowitz said, "With full recognition of the seriousness of the task and the careful scrutiny required, I accept the responsibility placed on me by the Commissioner. I have received a broad mandate from the NBA, including the authority to retain the additional experts and consultants needed to complete a searching review. We intend to thoroughly examine those areas of the NBA's operations that could affect the integrity of the game."

David B. Anders, who joined Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz after serving more than seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will be assisting Pedowitz. As part of the review, Pedowitz, Anders and their team will work with all constituencies whose views can lead to improved policies and procedures, including the referees union, players union, and law enforcement. They will conduct interviews with referees, players, coaches, owners, and other team and league personnel, among others.

Pedowitz has been a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz specializing in corporate litigation, regulatory and white collar criminal matters for more than two decades. During his years in private practice, Pedowitz has frequently been selected by major corporations to review their compliance systems to ensure that they have state-of-the-art policies and procedures, training and audit/detection systems to manage the legal and reputational risks inherent in their businesses.

Pedowitz's 35-year legal career includes significant experience serving as Chief Appellate Attorney (1976-1978) and Chief of the Criminal Division (1982-1984) in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

Up in smoke

By John Gottlieb
The Phanatic Magazine

Well it was a nice run. They gave it their all but in the end, as always, it was just not enough.

With the news the Phillies ace Cole Hamels will miss his next start with a mild strain of the elbow (UGH) the Fightin' Phils can kiss their fledgling playoff hopes goodbye.

It's unfortunate too because this team has really played well. That's right after a horrendous start this team is still in the mix for a playoff spot. But it's all over now with the loss of the National League's Cy Young. More >>

Former Roman Catholic star Griffin dead

Former Roman Catholic basketball star Eddie Griffin died last week when his sport utility vehicle collided with a freight train.

Griffin's body was so badly burned in the crash that investigators needed dental records to identify the 25-year-old forward, who began his pro career with the Houston Rockets after being taken with the seventh pick in the 2001 NBA Draft out of Seton Hall. More >>

Morelli named to O'Brien & Manning Award watch lists

-Couresty of Penn State University

Penn State senior Anthony Morelli has been named to the watch lists for a pair of national quarterback honors.

A team tri-captain, Morelli is a candidate for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Manning Award, both of which are presented to the nation’s top quarterback.

Two Nittany Lion quarterbacks are previous winners of the O’Brien Award -- Todd Blackledge in 1982 and Kerry Collins in 1994. Michael Robinson (2005) and Zack Mills (2002) are recent Nittany Lion semifinalists for the O’Brien Award.

A Pittsburgh product, Morelli is one of only three Big Ten quarterbacks among the 35 Davey O’Brien Award candidates and one of four candidates from Big Ten schools among the 35 Manning Award candidates.

The 6-4, 231-pound Morelli is entering his second season as the Nittany Lions’ starting signal-caller. Last year, he led Penn State to wins in five of its last six games and broke the school season records for pass completions (208) and attempts (386). His 2,424 passing yards were third-highest on the school season list. Morelli had 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions and posted the school's seventh-lowest season interception percentage in leading Penn State to a 9-4 record.

A probable candidate for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as well, Morelli ended the season with a very strong performance, going 14 of 25 for 197 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions, in directing the 20-10 Outback Bowl win over Tennessee. The former Penn Hills High School All-American threw for a career-high 281 yards and two scores in a win at Minnesota and had three scoring strikes against Akron, becoming the first Nittany Lion quarterback in the Big Ten era with a trio of touchdown passes in their first career start.

The O’Brien Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in the nation for collegiate quarterbacks and is named in honor of the late Davey O'Brien, the All-American and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for Texas Christian University, who led the Horned Frogs to the 1938 national championship. The O’Brien Award has been presented annually since 1981 to the nation’s top quarterback.

To honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, the Allstate Sugar Bowl created the Manning Award. First presented following the 2004 season, it is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates’ bowl performance.

Hamels to miss Wednesday start

The Phanatic Staff

The Phillies received another injury blow Tuesday night, as the club announced ace southpaw Cole Hamels will miss his scheduled Wednesday start against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a tender left elbow.

Hamels (14-5) was already pitched 167 1/3 frames this season, striking out 156 batters and posting a 3.50 earned run average. The southpaw last pitched on August 16 against Washington, winning the game with 6 2/3 scoreless frames.

The Phillies staff ace will undergo a precautionary MRI on Wednesday.

Team doctor Michael G. Ciccotti also updated the injury status of several other injured Phillies. Second baseman Chase Utley hit off a tee Tuesday and will begin a rehab assignment in the coming days with a targeted return sometime next week. Outfielder Shane Victorino could be back with the big club sometime later this week, according to Ciccotti, and Michael Bourn is still 2-to-3 weeks away from returning with a sprained ankle.

Some charges dropped against PSU safety

A Centre County, Penn. judge dismissed five of the seven charges pending against Penn State safety Anthony Scirrotto Tuesday for an April off-campus fight.

Judge Charles Brown Jr. dismissed felony counts of burglary and criminal solicitation; two misdemeanor counts of criminal solicitation; and one misdemeanor count of simple assault because the judge felt there was no evidence indicating Scirrotto started the fight.

Brown did let a felony count of criminal trespass stand and Scirrotto also faces one count of harassment, a summary offense.

Eagles release Trotter

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles released veteran middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Tuesday.

“Jeremiah is one of my favorite guys,” said head coach Andy Reid. “There’s no question that this is the toughest part of this job. He and I met about this last night and it was very emotional for the both of us. Jeremiah and I have been together for many years and he’s played a vital role in helping this team win a lot of football games. He developed himself into a Pro Bowl middle linebacker through a lot of hard work and desire. In my mind, he will always be a Philadelphia Eagle and I’m sure he feels the same way. I wish he and his family nothing but the best in the future.” More >>

Monday, August 20, 2007

Casamayor signs with Oscar de la Hoya

-Courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

Two-division World Champion Joel Casamayor has fought and beaten the best from his days as one of the greatest amateur boxers to his stellar stay in the professional ranks. Now, the current WBC Lightweight Champion wants the big fights to cement his legacy and has enlisted Golden Boy Promotions to help him reach those heights in the coming years.

“Joel Casamayor is a brilliant boxer and one of the most underrated champions of the last 25 years,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “We are honored to have him on our team and with his talent and our promotional ability, we will get Joel the big fights he deserves and let the world see just how good he is.”

“Oscar and his company know what I can do in the ring and I know what they can do for me outside of it to get me to where I want to be in this sport,” said Casamayor. “I want to fight the best and be in the biggest events possible and I trust Golden Boy to get me there.”

A date and opponent for Casamayor’s return to the ring will be announced shortly. A native of Guantanamo, Cuba and now resides in Miami, Florida, Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor (34-3-1, 21 KO’s) was one of the greatest amateur fighters to ever lace up his gloves, claiming numerous titles and accolades to his name, including a Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

On the eve of the 1996 Olympic Games, Casamayor defected to the United States and as a professional, continued his commitment to excellence, compiling a record of (34-3-1, 21 KO’s), and winning world titles at 130 and 135 pounds while defeating the likes of the late Diego Corrales, Nate Campbell and Roberto Garcia. Although he has three losses (Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales and Acelino Freitas) and a draw on an otherwise stellar record, ask any true boxing observer about those fights and many will admit that the controversial decisions in each bout should have gone the Cuban’s way.

Now, the 36-year-old Casamayor is not focusing on the past, but instead concerned with his future and putting together the biggest fights possible as he looks to further solidify his Hall of Fame credentials.

2007 Season Preview: Quarterbacks

**Over the next week, Phanatic Magazine College Sports Editor Jared Trexler breaks down the three-team pigskin ensemble -- including position-by-position analysis and overall season breakdowns. Next Friday, the Phanatic Magazine will unveil its season predictions for Penn State, Rutgers, Temple and the national championship picture**

By Jared Trexler
The Phanatic Magazine

They are the poster boys. The front line of criticism. Glorified heroes. Scapegoats and shining stars.

Under the Friday night lights, each was the "man" with the talented supporting cast and 100% Grade A beef offensive line. On some nights -- despite dropping back to pass or hand off 30-plus times -- the uniform still smelled like fabric softener with nary a grass stain to be seen.

They were that much better than the competition, and they played at big schools surrounded by big-time athletes, racking up mind-boggling statistics against lesser opponents. More >>

Delaware ranked 21st in FCS coaches poll

Delaware is ranked 21st in the 2007 Preseason Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly I-AA) Coaches Poll.

The Blue Hens returns 10 of its 11 starters on offense, including preseason All-Conference selections in running back Omar Cuff, wide receiver Aaron Love and offensive lineman Mike Byrne.

Utley given clearance to swing the bat

Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley has been given clearance to increase his workout routine, including swinging the bat. Utley received the clearance after visiting with Dr. Randall Culp Monday.

The amount of swinging Utley does will depend upon his tolerance level along with comfort and strength in his right hand. He will also increase his throwing program without wearing a splint.

Utley's return date will be determined later in the week.

In other Phillies injury news, left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski (right hamstring strain) and right-handed reliever Yoel Hernandez (sore right shoulder) underwent MRI exams today. Results are expected tomorrow.

Catcher Rod Barajas will continue his rehab assignment with the Lakewood BlueClaws tonight. In his first two games there, Barajas is 4-for-4.

Outfielder Shane Victorino is also scheduled to play tonight in Lakewood. Rain washed out his assignment yesterday. The BlueClaws are hosting Hickory in a doubleheader tonight, weather permitting.

Penn State names football captains

-Courtesy of Penn State University

A trio of seniors have been elected captains of the 2007 Penn State football team.

All-America linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford, PA), wide receiver Terrell Golden (Norfolk, Va.) and quarterback Anthony Morelli (Pittsburgh, PA) were elected tri-captains by their teammates.

Connor has been named a pre-season first team All-American by various publications and is a candidate for the Bednarik, Butkkus, Rotary Lombardi and Lott awards. Last season, he earned first team All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a second team Associated Press All-American. The former Strath Haven High School standout became the 13th linebacker to earn first team All-America honors at "Linebacker U" under Coach Joe Paterno.

Connor was fifth in the Big Ten with 113 tackles last season and has 274 career stops, 98 away from Paul Posluszny's school record. He also recorded 9.0 tackles for losses, 5.0 sacks (minus-39 yards), led the team with three forced fumbles (sixth in Big Ten), made two interceptions and one safety. Connor was the lone junior among the three finalists for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

The lone senior among Penn State's talented and deep receiving corps, Golden has earned praise from his teammates as one of the squad's leaders since off-season workouts began in January. The recipient of the 2007 Red Worrell Award as the offense's most improved played in spring practice, Golden made six receptions for 120 yards last season. He made one of the biggest plays of 2006 with his diving 17-yard reception on third down for a first-and-goal against Illinois, leading to a touchdown, as the Lions rallied from a halftime deficit to a 26-12 win. The former Lake Taylor High School standout has an impressive career 21.7 yards per catch average, with 18 catches for 390 yards and two touchdowns.

During his first season as the Lions' starting signal-caller, Morelli led Penn State to wins in five of its last six games and broke the school season records for pass completions (208) and attempts (386). His 2,424 passing yards were third-highest on the school season list. Morelli had 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions and posted the school's seventh-lowest season interception percentage.

A candidate for the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas awards, he ended the season with a very strong performance, going 14 of 25 for 197 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions, in directing the Outback Bowl win over Tennessee. The former Penn Hills High School All-American threw for a career-high 281 yards and two scores in the win at Minnesota and had three scoring strikes against Akron, becoming the first Lion quarterback in the Big Ten era with a trio of TD passes in their first career start.

College Football weekly notes

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

Legendary Notre Dame Coach to Speak at College Football Hall of Fame:

-The College Football Hall of Fame's 11th Annual KeyBank Gridiron Legends Luncheon Series will continue on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 when legendary coach and College Football Hall of Famer Ara Parseghian will take the stage.

Parseghian, who coached Notre Dame from 1964-1974, compiled a record of 95-17-4 and a .836 winning percentage during the "Era of Ara." The College Football Hall of Fame coach won two national championships and three bowl games while at the helm for The Fighting Irish.

He is currently the National Spokesman for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Niemann-Pick disease. Parseghian served as one of two honorary coaches in the 2007 Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame, along with Lou Holtz.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Becky Hayden at 574-235-5717. Visit the Hall of Fame's Web site at more details.

Nautilus, Inc. Takes Active Role in NFF Chapter

-Nautilus, Inc. , the fitness company that makes Nautilus and Bowflex among several other fitness equipment and apparel brands, has provided financial and product support to the NFF's Clark County (Washington) Chapter for local youth football initiatives.

Nautilus has made its full-size artificial turf football field available as Clark County Youth Football's "home field," and also supplies its 350-seat conference center for the chapter's coaching clinics. Moreover, Gregg Hammann, Nautilus, Inc. chairman & CEO as well as former letterman at Iowa under legendary coach Hayden Fry, also serves as a coach in the youth football league.

"We need to give companies like Nautilus our business whenever we can," said Clark County Chapter President Gery Gehrmann. "They will keep giving back to the NFF and related programs."
Under Hammann's leadership, Nautilus has revamped 95 percent of its product line and launched a new college and professional line, Nautilus XPLOAD Athletic Performance equipment. The company has also partnered with College Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus to encourage proper nutrition and fitness as the alternative to steroid use.

Two-Minute Drill

-Florida is using part of its $6 million athletics' surplus to provide scholarships for deserving non- athletes from the UF student body. Florida athletics has donated $40 million to the university's general fund since 1990... The North Carolina Legislature will provide $500,000 in student- athletes' scholarships for 10 smaller (non-FBS) colleges and universities in 2007-08. Each institution will receive at least two $1,250 grants... Birmingham-Southern officially took the field in varsity football for the first time since 1939 with 126 candidates reporting for head coach Joey Jones (a standout student-athlete at Alabama) last week... The Sports Network's preseason NCAA FCS Top 10 rankings include defending champion Appalachian State, Montana, Massachusetts, North Dakota State, Youngstown State, New Hampshire, Illinois State, James Madison, Northern Iowa, and McNeese State... Illinois took a special "cooling off" trip to nearby Rantoul Water Park last week as a surprise break for the student-athletes during two-a-days... The 9,000-plus members of the John Purdue Club at Purdue contributed $6 million in 2006-07... Fans who ran or walked in the Coach Fran Charities/Citibank 5,000 meters last Saturday were invited to Texas A&M's closed practice last Saturday. Proceeds went to the Lincoln Center for Youths in College Station... Danny White Foundation recently presented $10,000 to the NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter for academic honor scholarships... Brigham Young University will retire the No. 14 football jersey worn by former QB greats Ty Detmer and Gifford Nielsen at halftime of its Sept.1 game against Arizona... The Sun Belt Conference has passed a strategic sports initiative to require all its members to sponsor 15 NCAA Division I sports by 2010-11... Texas is ranked No. 1 in sales of college sports merchandise for the second year in succession in research by Collegiate Licensing Co. Notre Dame is second while Florida climbed from No. 6 to No. 3 from 2006 to '07.

Utah set another school record for season ticket sales with 24,400 (and counting) last weekend and broke the previous standard of 24,250 in 2006... Southern Miss has sold just over 13,000 season tickets... Harvard will host Brown in a rare Ivy League night game at 7:30 (EDT) on Thursday, Sept. 20, and has received night traffic and non-disruption of area neighborhoods' pointers from Boston College officials... Virginia and Richmond have scheduled a four-game series in 2008, '10, '12, and '14 seasons... New Mexico State will wear pink socks, and the coaching staff will don pink shirts to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research when the Aggies host Arkansas- Pine Bluff on Sept. 29.

Notre Dame is honoring five coaches who have produced national championships at the university - Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz - as part of a Gate D exhibit at Notre Dame Stadium... Utah State is in the process of constructing a $14.5 million academic, training, office, and dressing room complex. The project is set for completion in 2008... Wyoming's new $10 million practice facility is almost set for 2007 season usage... Albany has named its practice fields in memory of late New York Giants' owners Wellington Mara and Preston R. Tisch, who brought the Giants' training camp to Albany's campus in 1996... Tennessee also has named its new locker room facility the Bronson-Johnson Locker Room after football standouts and benefactors Tommy Bronson and Bill Johnson. The duo joined UT alumnus and first-term Tennessee U.S. Senator Bob Corker in addressing student- athletes at last Friday's practice.

Nevada head coach Chris Ault has had his contract extended through 2011... Bill Chaves is the new AD at Eastern Washington... Chuck Sullivan has been named the director of communications at the Big East Conference... Greg Blackwell has been named assistant director of the TCU Frog Club and Lettermen's Association... Bill Donoghue been named the volunteer coordinator at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football: How Jesse Harper Made the Forward Pass a Weapon and Knute Rockne a Legend by Frank P. Maggio with a foreword by Jim Harper (Jesse's Harper's son), introduction by Keith Jackson, and afterword by Joe Doyle, is on sale at bookstores nationwide this week... NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) board of director Bob Boyles has co-authored Fifty Years of College Football, which is now available in bookstores. The encyclopedic tome covers college football's 70 leading programs, including all their starting lineups, from 1953-2006... Fifteen Oklahoma graduate students have helped publish Sports By the Numbers: University of Oklahoma Football with a portion of book receipts going to coach Bob Stoops Champions Charity.

The NFF's Southern Arizona Chapter conducted the Tucson Youth Football Coaching Academy on Aug. 10-11 under the leadership of former Arizona, Southern California and Missouri head coach Larry Smith. The program emphasized proper warm-up and stretching exercises, hydration, equipment, and blocking and tackling drills. The clinic also taught strategies to allow kids and coaches to have fun, reap success and develop leadership, teamwork and character. Over 700 coaches attended the event, considered one of the largest free youth coaching clinics in Arizona history.

NFF College Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer will host a weekly show on college football and other topics on XM Satellite Radio in 2007-08... Rutgers' 2007 contests will be carried by XM Satellite Radio... Game Plan Technologies of Omaha, Neb., has unveiled a first-ever help program for nationwide collegiate compliance with the new GPCompliance program... Ole Miss has inked a 10-year contract for multi-media athletics rights with TeleSouth Communications... The Big Ten Network will launch its "Friday Night Tailgate" series on Aug. 31 to highlight activities at Big Ten schools leading up to kickoff... Midcontinent Communications has agreed to televise three South Dakota football games live in 2007... Randy Lee will handle lead radio duties for the Western Kentucky network... Phil Woodall of the West Texas A&M radio network also serves as a district judge in Randall County, Texas... CSTV has denoted its on-air talent and studio hosts for 2007 football, and they include Trev Alberts, Tom Hart, Roland Williams, Jonathan Coachman, Brian Jones, Carter Blackburn, Pete Medhurst, and Scott Zolak. Medhurst and Zolak will be the broadcast team for all six Navy telecasts in '07.

Utah State College Football Hall of Fame member Merlin Olsen will receive the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Award for service after his college and pro careers at a Dec. 9 banquet in Newport Beach, Calif... Jerry LeVias, SMU's great and 2003 College Football Hall of Fame selection, has received the 2007 Touchdowner of the Year Award from the Houston Touchdown Club. LeVias also spoke with student-athletes and coaches at Texas A&M- Commerce earlier this month... The Colorado Springs Hall of Fame, administered by the Colorado Springs Sports Commission, has elected Air Force All-America OL Brock Strom and former Tennessee QB Alan Cockrell to its 2007 Hall of Fame class... Former Florida All-America LB and SEC/National Defensive Player of the Year Wilber Marshall will be inducted into the Florida Ring of Honor... Oklahoma standout and 1986 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Waddy Young will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He's also the first OSHOF to be inducted and to receive the prestigious Bob Kalsu Award in memory of the OU football student- athlete who was killed in action in Vietnam... The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation hosted a "Puttin' Away Child Abuse" benefit with several football celebrities in Westminster, Md... Three writers have earned multiple awards in the 15th Annual Football Writers Association of America Writing Contest sponsored by Insight. Christopher Walsh of The Tuscaloosa News, Ian R. Rapoport of The Birmingham News and Pete Thamel of The New York Times captured the FWAA laurels for their variety of stories.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors had seven new members at its August meeting: Frank Brogan, president of Florida Atlantic; Nancy Zimpher, president of Cincinnati; Timothy White, president of Idaho; Edward Ray, president of Oregon State; Charles Bantz, chancellor of IUPUI; Mordechai Rozanski, president of Rider; and Thomas Powell, president of Mount St. Mary's University (Md.).

Bill Ireland, 80, the first director of athletics and head football coach at UNLV, died in Reno, Nev... Former Missouri AD Mel Sheehan died recently... Brandon Ratcliff, defensive back at New Mexico from 1999- 2003, passed away last week in Dallas.

Flyers announce local TV sked

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that all 82 of their 2007-08 regular season games will be locally televised. Comcast SportsNet will televise 60 games, while The CW Philly 57 (WPSG-TV) and CN8, The Comcast Network, will each televise five games. In addition, VERSUS will televise eight games exclusively in the local market and NBC's exclusive coverage of the National Hockey League on Sunday afternoons tentatively includes four Flyers contests.

"We have had a very exciting offseason and are looking forward to the upcoming season," said Flyers Vice President of Marketing and Communications Shawn Tilger. "We are very fortunate to have great local partners in Comcast SportsNet, The CW Philly 57 and CN8 and we are thrilled to be able to bring all the Flyers games to our fans for another season."

In addition to its regular season coverage, Comcast SportsNet will televise the preseason game on Monday, September 24, between the Flyers and the New Jersey Devils at the Wachovia Center at 7:00 p.m. All Flyers home games on Comcast SportsNet are produced in high definition.

Jim Jackson, Keith Jones and Steve Coates make up the Flyers' television team and will call the action for the Comcast SportsNet, The CW Philly 57 and CN8, The Comcast Network, broadcasts. In his 12th season of calling play-by-play action for the Flyers, Jackson has been nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award in the category of Individual Achievement - Sports Play-By-Play/Color Commentary seven times, winning four times (1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003). Jones, in his second season as a member of the Flyers' television team, will be back in the booth as an analyst. Coates, who is entering his 25th season as a member of the Flyers' broadcast team, will again report from rinkside to provide viewers with insight and analysis of the game through interviews and live accounts of the action.

Vick pleads guilty

"After consulting with his family over the weekend, Michael Vick asked that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him," Vick's lead defense attorney Billy Martin said.

"Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

-NFL Response

“We are aware of Michael Vick’s decision to enter a guilty plea to the federal charges against him and accept responsibility for his conduct. We totally condemn the conduct outlined in the charges, which is inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons. We will conclude our own review under the league’s personal conduct policy as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have asked the Falcons to continue to refrain from taking action pending a decision by the commissioner.”

-Atlanta Falcons Response

“We are certainly troubled with the news today concerning Michael Vick’s guilty plea to federal charges. It is our understanding that the terms of Michael's plea will not be available until next Monday, August 27. Additionally, Commissioner Goodell has asked us not to take any action until he has completed his own review of Michael's situation. Accordingly, we will have no further comment until that time."

-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) response

"PETA called—no, bellowed—for strong action on behalf of dogs, and we scored! NFL quarterback Michael Vick has accepted a deal to plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges involving illegal dogfighting. This is the latest in a long line of animal abuse cases involving NFL players. While the speed and efficiency with which prosecutors handled this case is a victory for animals and a sign that the crime of dogfighting is being treated with the gravity that it deserves, the NFL needs to follow suit.

"PETA is again calling on the NFL to add cruelty to animals—in all its forms—to its personal conduct policy. This case has clearly shown that NFL fans are just as outraged by cruelty to animals as they are by any of the other antisocial behaviors outlined in the policy. As these recent examples show, the high incidence of animal abuse cases in the NFL indicates a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed immediately:

"Earlier this year, Vick's teammate Jonathan Babineaux was accused of inflicting blunt force trauma on his girlfriend's dog, Kilo, following an argument. Kilo died after reaching the emergency vet clinic.

"In 2004, NFL running back LeShon Johnson was found guilty for his involvement in a massive dogfighting ring.

"In 2001, former Eagles running back Thomas Hamner was twice convicted of beating his dog and has been convicted of animal cruelty.

"Furthermore, an informant from inside the dogfighting world who spoke on ESPN's Outside the Lines told reporters about "a whole roster of names of professional athletes that we know are involved in dogfighting... I bet not even 10 percent have come to light." Given these disturbing allegations and the numerous recent cases of animal abuse involving NFL players, the NFL needs to act vigorously and with authority to stamp this out immediately."

Reid continues to downplay Andrews injury; four Birds headed for surgery

Here's Andy Reid's daily injury update:

“The people not practicing today: [G] Shawn Andrews with a high ankle sprain, [QB Kelly] Holcomb, [DE] Jevon [Kearse] still has a little bit of swelling on his knee. He should be back here fairly quick, we’re being a little bit cautious with that particularly on a wet field. [LB Craig] Kobel. [DE Jerome] McDougle, [RB Ryan] Moats and [G Stefan] Rodgers are all having surgery tomorrow. [LDT LaJuan] Ramsey will not practice today with his high ankle sprain, and [WR Bill] Sampy with a quad contusion."

Bengals cut former Temple OT

The Cincinnati Bengals waived rookie offensive tackle Elliot Seifert of Temple Monday. Seifert had signed with the team as college free agent on May 2.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Can we believe in these “Scrubs” yet?

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

First some numbers, then some thoughts:

· Brett Myers a) hasn’t started a game since April and b) was out of commission for two months, yet is fourth on the team in strikeouts – and will surpass now “injured” albatross Adam Eaton for third in a matter of a couple weeks.
· Another reason why the Quality Start category is a load of crap: Jamie Moyer has the same amount (15) as Cole Hamels in an equal number of starts (25). More>>

Phils place Zagurski on DL

Following last night’s game, the Phillies placed left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. To fill his spot on the roster, the Phillies recalled right-hander Yoel Hernandez from triple-A Ottawa.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John Gottlieb and John McMullen Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (et) for the latest edition of Johns on Sports, coming to you live from the Levitra studios at WTBQ 1110 AM.

Anthony the engineer is on a well deserved rehab break so things should run smoothly for the two most popular radio hosts in all of New York.

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