Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eagles' Andrews Dazed and Confused

By Steven Lienert

The Phanatic Magazine

Is everybody named Shawn Andrews messed up in the head?

Shawn Andrews (the actor) starred in the 1993 movie “Dazed and Confused” and, after filming ended, he married his 16-year-old co-star in Las Vegas. The girl's mom had to get the marriage annulled, and Andrews has done two fringe films since.

The Eagles' Shawn Andrews and his “no-show” at training camp combined with the fiasco that has followed makes me think that maybe there's something wrong with the name.

The fan in me wants to believe that Andrews just doesn't want to come to training camp. He doesn't want to go through the two-a-days in the heat and humidity, perhaps risking injury and, thusly, his earning potential. Andrews signed a 7-year, $40 million contract a little over a year ago, but it's not all guaranteed money, which means if he gets hurt, he doesn't get paid.

If that's the case, though, why wouldn't he just come to camp and suddenly get a mild hamstring strain or a groin injury?

The journalist in me, on the other hand, smells smoke and expects fire.

Andrews has sent text messages to at least two members of the media, both of which were ramblings at best. In one text to football writer Peter King, Andrews typed “my journey is just rough right now.” In another text to ESPN 950, Andrews wrote, among other things, that he “was prayed up right now and trying to get right.”

Has Andrews found Ricky Williams' stash? Does he want to wander the earth searching for himself like Kane in “Kung Fu”?

Meanwhile, Andy Reid is pissed, Jon Runyan ripped him and Max Jean-Gilles has become the most popular guy in Lehigh. The Andrews situation has actually but Brian Westbrook's contract demands and Lito Sheppard's unhappiness on the back burners. Hell, even Donovan McNabb is currently controversy-free.

I believe this isn't about the contract or money or anything like that.

I believe something is really wrong in the young man's head.

If he's depressed, let the doctors talk to him and handle it accordingly. He wouldn't be the first one to fall into depression, and he certainly won't be the last. But keeping people in the dark only fuels the speculation Andrews is trying to avoid.

“You can let them know all the rumors are not true,” Andrews wrote in the text to ESPN 950. “From contractual to retirement, and GOD knows whatever else.”

Only you can put the rumors to rest, Mr. Andrews. Come clean and let people in on what's going on.

In the meantime, I hope Shawn Andrews gets things straightened out. That's the only way the Birds will get 'The Big Kid' back.

Steve Lienert can be reached at

Judah-Clottey press conference

Three St. Joe's Alums headed to Olympics

-Courtesy of St. Joseph's University

PHILADELPHIA - Three Saint Joseph's alumni - Renee Hykel (rowing), Mike Teti (rowing) and Tim Mulqueen (soccer)- will represent the Hawks in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China from August 8-24.

Hykel, a 2001 graduate, is the lone competitor in the trio. A member of the U.S. Women's Rowing Team, she will compete in the lightweight double skulls. She won that event with partner Jennifer Goldsack at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. A five-time national team member from Haverford, Pa., she is considered one of the nation's top female rowers. A member of the U.S. National Team, she competed at the World Championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2005, while winning a silver medal at the 2005 World Championships.

Hykel, who joined the SJU crew as a walk-on, rowed for the Hawks for four seasons and was team captain and MVP her senior season.

Teti, a 1978 SJU graduate and Hall of Famer, is the head coach of the U.S. Men's Rowing Team. He has served on the U.S. coaching staff at the World Championships and the Olympic Games since 1996 and became the head men's coach following the 2000 Olympics. At the 2004 Games in Athens, he directed the men's eight to a world record in its heat, and an eventual gold medal, marking the first time the U.S. captured the men's eight since 1964.

A native of Upper Darby, Pa., Teti was recently named the head men's rowing coach at the University of California, Berkeley and will assume those duties following the Olympics.

As a rower, he was a 12-time national team member and three-time Olympian, winning a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics. He was inducted into the inaugural Saint Joseph's Athletic Hall of Fame class in 1999 and is also a member of the U.S. Rowing Hall of Fame.

Mulqueen, a 1987 Saint Joseph's graduate, is the goalkeeper coach for the U.S. Men's Soccer team in Beijing. After graduation from SJU, he played in the American Professional Soccer League and then served as an assistant coach at Rutgers University, which reached the NCAA Final Four three times during his stint there. He then spent a total of nine years with Major League Soccer, serving as an assistant coach and backup goalkeeper for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and then as an assistant coach for the Kansas City Wizards. He joined U.S. Soccer in 2005 and was named to the National Team coaching staff in the Fall of 2007.

The native of Fords, N.J. starred for the Hawks in goal, earning MVP honors in 1986 and 1987. He still ranks among the Hawks' top 10 leaders in career goals against average and shutouts.

Sixers re-sign Sweet Lou

The Philadelphia 76ers agreed to terms Thursday with restricted free agent guard Lou Williams on a five-year contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Additional terms of the deal were not known.

"It's a good deal for Louis," Williams' agent, Merle Scott, told the newspaper. "It gives him a chance to grow with a team that's building and allows him to stay with the team he came into the league with."

Williams, the 45th pick in the 2005 NBA draft out of South Gwinnett High School in suburban Atlanta, averaged a career-high 11.3 points in 80 games with the Sixers last season.

The athletic guard also averaged 12.0 points in the Sixers' six-game playoff loss to Detroit.

Flyers to play preseason game in Spectrum

The Philadelphia Flyers will remember the Spectrum when they return to their former home, the Wachovia Spectrum, for a preseason contest against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, September 27 at 1:00 p.m. Comcast-Spectacor recently announced that this will be the last year of the Wachovia Spectrum at the conclusion of the Philadelphia Phantoms and Philadelphia Kixx, hockey and indoor soccer seasons.

"This will be a wonderful opportunity for thousands of our fans, who used to attend our games at the Spectrum or watch them on TV, to come back one last time and see the Flyers in our old home," said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. "It'll also be the last chance for others who may have never seen the Flyers play at the Spectrum. It will be a highly emotional game for me, personally."

"Bringing the Flyers back to the Spectrum for a preseason game will be the perfect start of a season-long celebration of the Spectrum," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter A. Luukko. "We will continue to bring events to the Spectrum this year to celebrate the wonderful memories and proud tradition of the famous arena."

The Spectrum opened on September 30, 1967 with the Quaker City Jazz Festival. After nearly 40 seasons of Philadelphia Flyers hockey and Philadelphia 76ers basketball, the Spectrum gave way to the Wachovia Center in l996.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Soul celebration info

The Philadelphia Soul announced on Wednesday additions to the team’s Championship Celebration that is being thrown by the City of Philadelphia at City Hall’s Dilworth Plaza on Thursday, July 31, including an exclusive partnership agreement with Virgin Mobile to be the presenting sponsor of the event.

Among the many additions, the Mayor’s Press Secretary Doug Oliver, filling in for the vacationing Mayor Michael Nutter, will proclaim July 31, 2008 Philadelphia Soul Day throughout the City. The result of that will be the City lighting all the bridges and the fountain in Love Park Soul blue, as well as having the PECO building read a special message for the Soul’s Virgin Mobile ArenaBowl XXII win this past Sunday.

It was also announced that Soul radio play-by-play man Ari Wolfe and the Soul’s in-arena voice Vinnie The Crum will emcee the event.

Finally, there will be a post-Celebration party at Chickie’s & Pete’s in Northeast Philadelphia.

On Tuesday the team announced it was celebrating its first ArenaBowl title with Championship Celebration that included appearances by co-majority owners Jon Bon Jovi and Craig Spencer, as well as minority owner Leo Carlin Jr. and team president and minority owner Ron Jaworski. Bon Jovi will not perform at the celebration, but Jon will address the fans. In addition to coaches and players, including league MVP and ArenaBowl MVP QB Matt D’Orazio, being in attendance, the Soulmates and Soulman will also be there. The Soul Band and Drumline will also perform.

Players will arrive at City Hall at approximately 3 p.m. via police escort as Saturn of Philadelphia will provide Saturn Skys for transportation. Flatbed trucks will also carry players to the event.

The Soul celebrated their fifth anniversary this season with a 59-56 win over the San Jose SaberCats in Virgin Mobile ArenaBowl XXII.

Soulfood: Sunday’s Virgin Mobile ArenaBowl XXII win for the Philadelphia Soul was the most watched Arena Football game in the history of the franchise, recording a 5.3 rating and an 11 share within the local market.

On Monday, a 4.8 rating and a 10 share were released to the public, but did not reflect viewership after 6 p.m. (et). The current figures include the entire game, which ended just past 6 p.m. (et).

The 5.3 rating compares favorably with post-season ratings for Flyers-Caps (8.5) and Sixers-Pistons (3.0), both played in April.

Philadelphia did a 1.0 in 2007 when the Soul were not in the ArenaBowl.

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Nutter congratulated the Soul Wednesday.

“It’s great to have a championship team in Philadelphia again,” said Nutter. “The players, coaches, staff, fans, and families of the Soul all deserve a big congratulation for their dedication and hard work.”

Eye on Lehigh; McNabb actually throws a fade!


During full-team drills at this morning’s practice, the offense scored touchdowns on three straight plays in goal line situations, highlighted by a beautiful fade pass from QB Donovan McNabb to WR Hank Baskett.


Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg keyed in on the ‘play of the day’ combination of Donovan McNabb and Hank Baskett during today’s press conference. On McNabb, the coach said, “Of all the great players I have coached, Donovan, I think, has a chance to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I really think that.” Likewise, when asked about the fade route that Baskett ran so well, Mornhinweg said that, “He does many things well, and that’s one of them. He also does multiple other things for us that most fans don’t see. He’s a big, physical man who does quite a few different things for us.”

Hank Baskett is no stranger to acrobatic leaps as he holds the New Mexico high school high jump record of 7’-0’’. Baskett captured the Mountain West conference championship as a junior at New Mexico. It’s a skill that he continues to apply to the football field. “High jumping taught me body control. Especially in those jump ball situations.”


Tomorrow’s weather forecast for Lehigh Valley according to

High: 87 degrees

Precipitation: 20%

Max. Humidity: 65%



· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:45 pm

· Tomorrow’s autograph session: Running Backs and Linebackers


· Tonight head coach Andy Reid will be live with WPVI at 6:15 and KYW-TV at 6:25 pm

· Tomorrow FB Luke Lawton will be live on FOX’s Eagles ’08 at 7:40 am

Freddie Prinze joins WWE creative team

STAMFORD, Conn, July 30, 2008 – Freddie Prinze, Jr., a long-time fan of World Wrestling Entertainment has joined the company's creative team.

Prinze, Jr. will now have a behind the scenes role contributing to WWE’s weekly television and pay-per-view programs.

“Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s passion, energy and creativity make him an excellent fit for WWE,” said Chairman Vince McMahon.

"Bringing on board an experienced Hollywood writer, actor and producer like Freddie Prinze, Jr. will only increase the level of entertainment to millions of viewers and passionate WWE fans every Monday on USA," said Chris McCumber, Executive Vice President Marketing Digital & Brand Strategy, USA Network.

Phills trade deadline rumor roundup

* Clark Spencer is reporting the Marlins "could be closer" to a deal for lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes than a catcher. ESPN's Jsyson Stark says the Mariners are driving a hard bargain for Rhodes, with the Red Sox, Marlins, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, and Rays checking in.

*Stark also says John Grabow, Will Ohman and Jack Taschner are on the Phillies radar.

*Mike Tingle of ESPN 840 in Charlottesville spoke to Rays scout Mike Cubbage yesterday. Cubbage said that he plans to scout Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, and that Werth may be available in the right deal.

*Scott Miller of says the Phillies had the Padres ask Greg Maddux if he would accept a trade there. Maddux told Padres GM Kevin Towers he would not.

Sweet Lou contemplating Cavs

The Willoughby [Ohio] News-Herald is reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers recently talked to restricted free agent Sixers guard Lou Williams.

According to the newspaper, Williams turned down a contract starting at $3.9 million from the Sixers but the best Cleveland would be able to do is $3.65 million and that can't happen until ex-Sixer Eric Snow's impending injury retirement


Writers are a proud breed.

We are often arrogant and ego-driven. I have no problem admitting that, which brings me to the topic of the day -- Brett Favre.

I've had a lot of fun over the years ripping Favre. Usually I was on an island since criticizing "The Great One" was actually outlawed by Janet Reno in the '90s.

Most of my barbs were tongue and cheek and directed more at Lord Favre's minions in the national media, who refused to look objectively at a guy who has morphed from Hall of Fame quarterback to Terrell Owens' Mississippi-bred cousin.

Of course that's all changed over the past three weeks since Favre's latest antics have made him almost impossible to defend even to his most loyal subjects.

At least that's what I thought. Evidently. Favre's fan-club is still as strong as ever.

First, I give you a column I wrote for a national web site earlier this week:

Conventional wisdom says the Minnesota Vikings are just a quarterback away from being a serious Super Bowl contender.

So, that may explain why Vikings head coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were playing footsy with Brett Favre this offseason.

Problem is, Joe Buck's favorite quarterback isn't the answer.

Luckily for Vikings fans, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson will never let Favre play for another NFC North team, saving Childress and Bevell from their own ignorance.

I'm not exactly sure when criticizing Favre became an indictable offense in this country. Somewhere between his vicodin addiction and his many personal travails I'm sure. Still, the endless lovefest has bordered on the absurd.

Today, most feel silly for ever lauding Favre -- a pariah that may even trump Terrell Owens as the most selfish player in the NFL.

He might not be doing situps in the driveway but somewhere along the line he transformed from great NFL quarterback to a narcissistic diva that's held the Packers hostage for the past few offseason as football's version of Roger Clemens.

Sure, he had a nice comeback season in 2007 when he was surrounded by a number of underrated receivers able to overcome his penchant for throwing into double coverage two to three times a game.

But, saving Favre's career, which is exactly what Donald Driver and Greg Jennings did last season, wasn't good enough for the haughty one. Only the best in the game is acceptable to Favre and his revisionist mind.

I'm sure in Brett's world, it was his receivers fault that the game's toughest and grittiest player (according to his followers) couldn't overcome a bad case of the sniffles in the NFC Championship Game.

And, his apologists on the network airwaves looked more and more foolish when defending him at the expense of every other player on his overachieving team -- most of which actually listened to their coaches and attempted to carry out an assignment properly.

Of course the future Hall of Famer's status in the game made it impossible for his own coaches to call him out for his willful ignorance of their game plans -- something every other NFL signal caller would get lambasted for on a daily basis.

In the woeful NFC, the Packers should have been sacrificed at the altar of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII if Favre just managed his own ego in the NFC Championship Game.

Instead of waiting for the patented Manning playoff implosion that never came, every one's favorite gunslinger just hurled the ball to Corey Webster, and watched as his minions blamed his young receivers or his cold..

Simply put, Favre's play in the NFC title game last season was the ultimate act of selfishness on the football field and forced Mike McCarthy to forget about mapquesting Glendale.

Fast forward to 2008 and you can debate the reasons Favre is still hanging on -- whether it be ego, the record book or staying far away from that loving family his groupies drone on and on about.

Whatever the reason is immaterial -- what is germane to Thompson, McCarthy and Green Bay is that Favre's reason for staying isn't winning. That's why the unproven Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback and Thompson holds a prayer vigil every night, hoping Favre slinks away.

Unfortunately for the Packers faithful, Thompson, while steadfast in wanting Favre out of town, is not secure enough in his own beliefs and is clearly spooked that his nemesis might return to Lambeau Field wearing the Purple and Gold.

In reality, unleashing the Favre virus on an unsuspecting Minnesota team would derail the Vikings season. Favre isn't even a member of the Vikings and has already buried the franchise by admitting he has spoken not only with Bevell, one of his best friends, but also with Childress.

The Packers have already filed tampering charges against Minnesota because of those conversations and confirmation from the cell phone-challenged quarterback they want as their leader will make it very difficult for the NFL to avoid doling out discipline.

If Thompson truly wants to hurt the Vikings, forget about any tampering charges. Take a couple of draft picks from them and gleefully ship Favre across the border to destroy someone else's franchise from within.

You never read that column because it was spiked.

At first, I was told the piece was shelved because it was a non-issue, since the Packers would never let Favre play for Vikings, a specious argument since that very point was actually in the column.

Then I was told it was a non-story at the time the fiasco was page 1 on ESPN, The Sporting News and Fox Sports.

When that was pointed out, I was finally told the truth -- my editor was done tap-dancing and blurted out that it was too anti-Favre!

I was stunned...just like that, another sycophant was flushed out of the brush.

And I tendered my resignation with a smile...

"Sorry, there will be no reconsidering my stance (on the column)," I wrote. "However, I will agree with one point, the column is anti-Favre.

And may I ask you to you look in the mirror and ask yourself why that is a problem?

I have been doing this for 20 years and I'll be the first to admit I have an ego but it's a columnist's job to offer his opinion, popular or not, controversial or not.. The fact you don't agree with it or like it should be inconsequential. It's not an editor's job to force his or her opinion on a writer.

I have no idea if you like Brett Favre or not but after spiking this column, I could make assumptions.

In closing, I point you to the beginning of paragraph five of my piece.

It begins by saying 'I'm not exactly sure when criticizing Favre became an indictable offense in this country'...

Evidently, in some places, it still is."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eye on Lehigh


During the live 11-on-11 session, both the first-team offense and first-team defense worked on the two-minute drill. The first-team offense drove right down the field on two separate occasions, thanks to a 30-yard completion from QB Donovan McNabb to WR Kevin Curtis. The drive was capped off by a 2-yard TD run by RB Brian Westbrook. Later, McNabb found WR Reggie Brown in the corner of the endzone on a 40-yard pass, despite double coverage. The first-team defense then came on the field and forced the second-team offense to go three-and-out, highlighted by a sack by CB Joselio Hanson, and a vicious hit by LB Stewart Bradley.


The Eagles’ training staff broke out a new piece of equipment today for use by players rehabilitating from injury: monster truck tires. The players could be seen flipping the tires end over end on the practice field. Assistant athletic trainer Gordon Williams said, “The tires are good for conditioning, and they’re good for legs; especially for guys with hamstring problems.” What’s more, said Williams, the players were racing with the tires as “They’re good for team building. We had teams of three players racing against each other. One player would flip the tire for five yards, then the next for ten, then fifteen.” The small tires weighed 120 pounds, while the larger tires were between 250 and 300 pounds.


Tomorrow’s weather forecast for Lehigh Valley according to

High: 89 degrees

Precipitation: 30%

Max. Humidity: 60%



· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:00 pm (special teams)

· Tomorrow’s autograph session: Offensive line


· Tonight LB Joe Mays will be live on Comcast’s Daily News Live at 6:10pm

· Tonight LB Joe Mays will be live on KYW’s 6 o’clock news as 6:26pm

· Tonight WR Greg Lewis will be on Comcast’s SportsNight starting at 10:00pm

· Tonight G Max Jean-Gilles will be on FOX’s Eagles ’08 starting at 11:00pm

· Tomorrow LS Jon Dorenbos will be live on FOX’s Good Day Philadelphia at 7:15am

· Tomorrow LB Andy Studebaker will be live on FOX’s Good Day Philadelphia at 7:40am

· Tomorrow WIP’s Athony Gargano and Glen Macnow will broadcast from the practice fields from 10-3:00pm with guests, general manager Tom Heckert, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, QB Kein Kolb, and LBs Chris Gocong and Stewart Bradley together.

Finally a Parade

PHILADELPHIA (Tuesday, July 29) – The Philadelphia Soul will celebrate bringing home the franchise’s first ArenaBowl title in style on Thursday, July 31 at 3 pm as the City of Philadelphia hosts a Championship Celebration at City Hall in Philadelphia.

The Soul won the title in New Orleans on Sunday, 59-56, against the San Jose SaberCats.

Many notables will take part in the festivities on Thursday, including co-majority owners Jon Bon Jovi and Craig Spencer, as well as minority owner Leo Carlin Jr. and team president and minority owner Ron Jaworski. Bon Jovi will not perform at the celebration, but Jon will address the fans.

Two-time ArenaBowl MVP QB Matt D’Orazio and the rest of the players will arrive at City Hall in style as Saturn of Philadelphia will provide Saturn Skys for transportation. The coaching staff, play-by-play announcer Ari Wolfe, the Soulmates, Soulman, the Soul Band & Drumline and the Foster Trophy will also be there.

The celebration will start with a procession that will begin at 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, and with a police escort the owners, players, coaches and Soulmates will make their way to City Hall.

Sixers sign Rush

The Rush brothers tandem in Indiana will not materialize next season, as reserve guard Kareem Rush has agreed to terms on a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Terms were not disclosed.

Rush, a fifth-year guard, averaged 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game for the Pacers last season, his only campaign in Indiana.

"As we continue to build our team, we're fortunate that we were able to sign a player as talented as Kareem Rush," Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski said. "We feel his abilities on both ends of the floor and his range as a three-point shooter will be assets to us this season."

Brandon Rush, Kareem's swingman brother, was drafted 13th overall in June by the Trail Blazers, who then dealt him to Indiana, briefly putting the brothers on the same team.

The 27-year-old has averaged 6.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per
game with the Pacers, Bobcats, and Lakers over his career.

Eagles' Clemons hospitalized

Defensive end Chris Clemons was hospitalized Tuesday after suffering from dehydration during the morning's practice.

Meanwhile, defensive end Victor Abiamiri underwent surgery on his injured wrist .

Former Nittany Lion to play in Olympics

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., July 29, 2008 – Former Nittany Lion basketball standout Jan-hendrik Jagla will become the first Penn Stater to compete in men’s basketball at the Olympic Games when he suits up with the German National Team at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. He will join NBA standouts Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Clippers as one of 12 members of team Deutschland.

Jagla, a native of Berlin, Germany, will compete in Olympic play at Wukesong Indoor Stadium in Beijing, Aug. 9-24. Germany is one of five European teams in the 12-team Olympic field, which includes defending champion Argentina. Led by Nowitzki’s 32 points, Germany grabbed the last Olympic qualifying spot with a 96-82 victory over Puerto Rico in the final game of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens last week. Germany has never won an Olympic medal in basketball, but did claim bronze at the 2002 FIBA World Championships.

The 12 Olympic qualifying teams are split into two preliminary round groups of six teams each with the top four teams from both groups qualify for the knockout stage which will determine advancers to the medal rounds. Germany is in Group B along with the United States, host China, Greece, Angola and Spain. The Germans open competition vs. Angola on Aug. 10 and will face the U.S. team of NBA stars, including Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, on Aug. 18.

A seven-footer with the perimeter game of a two guard, Jagla played three seasons for the Nittany Lions from 2002-04 before leaving after his junior season to play professionally in Europe. He led the team in scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg) in 2004 while earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection. Jagla scored 813 points and pulled down 549 rebounds during his Penn State career, posting career averages of 10.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg while starting 71 games in a Nittany Lion uniform.

Jagla went on to play with Turk Telekom B.K. of the Turkish Premier division and currently is under a two-year contract with Joventut Badalona of Spain.

Scouts rate the Birds

The Sporting News' digital daily was back at work today, this time asking NFL scouts to rate the league's defenders. Here's how the Eagles fared:

Trent Cole was the eighth best defensive end in the league. Asante Samuel was the second best corner behind Denver's Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins was tied for fifth among the league's safeties.

The Steve Lienert Show

After 15-plus weeks of spending quality sports time following the Soul, Episode 15 of The Steve Lienert Show begins with a celebration of a Philadelphia professional sports championship. Now granted, the Soul's ArenaBowl win over the SabreCats is on par with the Phantoms' Calder Cup titles and the Wings' MLL crowns, but it's still worth a shot a whiskey, right?

Lienert and The Pickleman also talk about whether Jimmy Rollins should be trade bait, Jayson Werth and his shirt sleeves, Shawn Andrews' MIA, Brian Westbrook's money problems and if should we start talking about the Liberty Belles. It's 20-plus minutes of your life you'll never get back, so why not spend it listening to The Steve Lienert Show?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Eye on Lehigh; Booker shows big play ability


Wide receivers Greg Lewis, Jamal Jones, and Jason Avant made impressive grabs in one-on-one sessions pitting wide receivers against defensive backs in this morning’s practice.

On a sweep to the left, RB Lorenzo Booker wove in and out of defenders and broke multiple tackles on the way to the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown.

“I think that they [coaches] are going to use Lorenzo in a big way, “said Brian Westbrook in his press conference this morning. “From everything that I’ve seen he’s a talented guy. He had a long run today that 11 people missed, and he scored a touchdown. He’s a talented guy and as his teammate, you want to have the best 11 players on the field at a time. I’m happy to have him as a teammate.”

Booker will also get his chance to shine on specials teams this season as the Eagles number one kickoff returner.

“He’s got really good speed up the field,” said Rory Segrest, special teams coordinator. “He can see the creases there. Same thing from a running back position, he knows how to read the scheme, he knows where to be and he’s got the ability to get there.”


Tomorrow’s weather forecast for Lehigh Valley according to
High: 89 degrees
Precipitation: 10%
Max. Humidity: 53%



· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:45 pm

· Tomorrow’s autograph session – Defensive backs


· Tonight Chris Gocong will be live on Daily News Live at 6:10

· Tonight Kevin Curtis will be live on Comcast SportsNet’s Sports Nite at 6:30 and WTXF at 10:00 pm

Sixers officially add Ivey

The Sixers officially signed free agent guard Royal Ivey Monday afternoon.

In four NBA seasons, Ivey (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) has appeared in 263 games with 109 starts, averaging 4.0 points, 1.5 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game while shooting 42.1% from the floor, 33.1% from 3-point range and 71.4% from the line. He has averaged just 0.7 turnovers for his career.

Last season for Milwaukee, Ivey saw action in 75 games with 20 starts, averaging career-highs of 5.6 points, 2.1 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game. He hit 35 3-pointers in 2007-08 after having just 12 3FGM total his first three seasons combined. Ivey scored in double-figures 15 times last season after doing so a total of 14 times his first three seasons.

"We're happy that we were able to add Royal Ivey to our roster," said Sixers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski. "As we continue to add to our team, we feel that his versatility, ability to handle the point guard duties and defensive strength will bolster our depth and provide us with additional options in our backcourt."

Ivey was originally selected by Atlanta with the 37th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He played his first three seasons with the Hawks and made 66 starts for them in 2005-06. That season, Ivey committed just 23 turnovers in 73 games played.

A four-year starter at the University of Texas, Ivey helped guide the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament each season, including three consecutive Sweet 16 berths and one Final Four appearance. He was a two-time Big 12 Conference All-Defensive team selection and was named third-team All-Big 12 by the media his senior season.

Oh What a Rush!

WIP's Howard Eskin is reporting that the Sixers will sign sharp-shooting guard Kareem Rush on Tuesday...If true that backcourt is getting really crowded. If the team signs restricted free agents Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams amd moves Iggy to the 2 spot to make room for Thaddeus Young in the starting lineup, the Sixers will have Iguodala, Andre Miller, Willie Green, Lou Williams and the newly signed Royal Ivey and Rush on board.

Phillies send Eaton to minors

The Phillies announced that veteran pitcher Adam Eaton accepted an optional assignment to the team's minor league system Monday.

No specific classification has been determined, however, and the Phillies will continue to work out his schedule.

The struggling right-hander was just 4-8 with a 5.80 earned run average in 21 games (19 starts) for the Phillies this season. His last two appearances came in relief.

A corresponding roster move to fill Eaton's spot on the 25-man roster will be made prior to Tuesday's game against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.

Abiamiri out with broken wrist

Eagles DE Victor Abiamiri dislocated a bone in his right wrist during Sunday morning's practice and may miss a significant amount of action in training camp, according to coach Andy Reid.

The former Notre Dame star has consulted with team physician Peter DeLuca and team hand specialist John Taras On Monday.

An update on further treatments and Abiamiri's status will be announced later.

Scouts rate the Birds

The Sporting News' new digital daily asked NFL scouts to rate the top offensive players for Monday's edition and here's where the Eagles rated.

Donovan McNabb was tied for sixth with Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees.

Brian Westbrook was third at running back behind LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson, while holdout Shawn Andrews was third at guard behind Steve Hutchinson and Alan Faneca.

Also mentioned were Jamal Jackson, who finished in a tie for seventh amongst the league's centers and David Akers, who was rated as the NFL's seventh best kicker.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Eye on Lehigh; Westbrook excites


During the “live” portion of today’s practice, RB Brian Westbrook carried the ball off right tackle and exploded through the line for a 70-yard touchdown.


Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson spoke highly about nine-year vet DE Darren Howard at today’s press conference, saying,

“I think Darren Howard is in the best shape he’s been in since he’s been here. I think his weight is down, I think he’s healthy…I anticipate a good year. I see a player who is in much better shape. His weight is down and he looks quick to me. I think he had a great offseason.”

During the 2008 offseason, Howard used a variety of alternative training methods, including mixed martial arts, which helped strengthen his core and improve his balance, and boxing, which helped improve his hand speed, fitness, and explosiveness.


After being acquired in a draft-day trade with the Miami Dolphins, RB Lorenzo Booker has enjoyed his first two days of practice with live hitting. "This is a dream come true for me," said RB Lorenzo Booker, "because (the offense) is spread out. The wide-open play suits my style, which is living in space. I really feel like a kid in a candy store."

Booker also takes great pride in working with his uncle, Musa Ramen, to develop a charity called African American Reading Room, which encourages kids to learn about ancient African and Egyptian history. "It's something that is very important to me. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about his or her heritage." Booker has a tattoo on his left shoulder in African hieroglyphic characters that means "life." Around it is a pyramid shape with his mother's initials in the top corner and his brother's and sister's initials in the bottom left and right corners, respectively.



· Tonight LB Stewart Bradley will be on KYW’s Sports Zone at 11:30pm

· Tonight T Jon Runyan will by on NBC’s Sports Final at 11:30pm


· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:45 pm

· Tomorrow’s autograph schedule – QBs, TEs, Specialists

Soul win Arena Bowl

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Soul

NEW ORLEANS (July 27, 2008) -- The Philadelphia Soul capped a pressure-packed season with its first Arena Football League Championship, knocking off the defending champion San Jose Sabercats, 59-56, in ArenaBowl XXII Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.

Before a sold out crowd at New Orleans Arena, the Soul got key contributions from defense and special teams in a momentum-changing second quarter sequence to take a lead they would never relinquish. The Soul maintained control until the latter stages of the fourth quarter, when San Jose scored 14 points in 11 seconds to close within three points with :15 seconds left.

The anxiety subsided when Philadelphia’s Rod Davis recovered the onside kick, enabling D’Orazio to eat up the final seconds with three deep drops and tosses into the sideline spectator seating.

Philadelphia’s big-play offense was the biggest difference, as the team answered the pre-season challenge of majority co-owner Jon Bon Jovi and team president/former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski that the only acceptable result for 2008 was the league championship.

Bon Jovi and Jaworski went out and made two critical off-season acquisitions in wide receiver Chris Jackson and backup quarterback Matt D’Orazio. Both turned in all-league performances as the Soul proved to be the class of the league, posting a 13-3 regular season record while receiving the best fan support in franchise history.

D’Orazio, brought in to backup standout signal-caller Tony Graziani, ended up as the league’s top QB when injuries sidelined Graziani for most of the campaign. Sunday, D’Orazio was one of several stars for the Soul, completing 26 of 43 passes for 302 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He was named the Game MVP for the second time in his career (Arena Bowl XX, Chicago Rush).

Jackson, arguably the greatest wide receiver in the history of the league, had 11 catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns and he captured his first AFL championship in a nine-year career.

The pivotal second quarter sequence started with Philadelphia’s Clifton Smith making a highlight-reel tackle for the kickoff coverage team with the score tied 20-20. The defense then notched the game’s first stop when Gabe Nyenhuis’ pass rush forced an incompletion on fourth and four, giving the Soul possession at the Sabrecats’ 20 yard line. On the next play, D’Orazio hit Larry Brackins for the touchdown and the Soul took a 27-20 lead.

The Soul defense finished with five stops, including an interception by Eddie Moten, fumble recoveries by Phil Bogle and Kevin Carberry and a two-point safety by Raheem Orr and Carberry, which gave the Soul its biggest lead of the game, 46-27, in the third quarter.

Brackins finished with six catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns and Brent Holmes contributed five catches for 69 yards and one touchdown. Bogle, an offensive lineman, chipped in with two catches for 12 yards and the Soul’s final touchdown.

San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb, twice the Arena Bowl-winning quarterback and game MVP, kept his team alive throughout, finishing 27 of 44 for 299 yards and eight touchdowns. San Jose’s Rodney Wright set a new Arena Bowl record with 13 catches, accounting for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Jason Geathers added eight catches for 101 yards and five touchdowns for San Jose.

The victory gave the Soul a final 2008 record of 16-3 and the first title in its five year history. The Soul converted its third straight playoff appearance, winning two home playoff games at the Wachovia Center before going to New Orleans to capture Arena Bowl XXII.

San Jose, winners of three of the previous six Arena Bowls, finished the season at 13-6.

Jim Johnson talks about Asante Samuel's hamstring

“Of course you’re concerned about anybody getting an injury," the Eagles defensive coordinator said. "He’s staying in the meetings and from what I saw this camp, earlier, before he got injured, I saw him really learn the defense. I think he’s comfortable with the defense. He’s having a good camp. He’s been in this league for a while, as long as he stays up and learns the defense, I think he’s going to be alright.”

Sheppard, Birds talk turkey

Pro Football Talk is reporting that disgruntled Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard and agent Drew Rosenhaus held a sit-down with Eagles coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner Saturday.

A source described the meeting as calm and productive to the Web site.

Sheppard still wants a trade or a new contract, however.Sheppard is signed through 2011, at salaries of $2 million, $3 million, $3.7 million, and $4.25 million, respectively over the next four seasons.

A hamstring injury to Asante Samuel might change the Eagles hardline thinking on Sheppard, who is signed through 2011, at salaries of $2 million, $3 million, $3.7 million, and $4.25 million, over the next four seasons.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Eye on Lehigh; Samuel hurts hamstring


Cornerback Asante Samuel hurt his hamstring during morning practice and Andy Reis updated things this afternoon: “He felt better once he got inside. He’ll probably have a MRI tomorrow. It was more positive after he left.”


The loudest ovation of the day came when Brian Dawkins batted down a pass in the one-on-one drills during the morning practice. Later, Dawkins also pleased Eagles fans by signing autographs for over an hour following the practice.

“It’s very satisfying," Dawkins said. "Fans plan this years in advance, financially, sometimes or a lot of times, to come out and have a good time out here. For me to be able to spend just a little time over there and sign some autographs and have a good time with them, it’s a good thing…If this is my last ride, I want to make sure everybody is happy with the outcome of the season, whether it’s signing autographs or holding up that trophy in the end.”


Today marked the first practice with players in full pads with “live” hitting situations. One player, in specific, turned heads today with his thunderous hits. Rookie LB Joe Mays stands only 5-11, 245 pounds, but packs quite a punch when it comes to stuffing the run. Understandably, he was very excited to show his stuff in the morning practice.

“It felt pretty good [to get out there and hit],” said Mays. “I’m anxious every day. I play for the Eagles. It’s been a dream of mine and it’s coming true, so it’s a great day for me.”


QB Kevin Kolb threw a perfect 40-yard pass to WR Greg Lewis for a touchdown in today’s morning practice.



· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:45 pm

· Tomorrow’s autograph session – Wide Receivers

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John Gottlieb and John McMullen Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (et) for another edition of Johns on Sports, coming to you live from the studios of WTBQ 99.1 FM in New York.

The trading deadline is Thursday and the Yankees welcomed two new additions on Saturday as Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte were brought in from the Pirates. Are the Yankees done or will they bring in a starting pitcher? We'll talk about that and more with Newsday's Jim Baumbach at 8:05.

The Bombers are doing it with the arms lately and have won seven in a row coming into Saturday's action...will they be able to keep it going to bring home a division title?

The Mets are equally as hot and are waiting to make a splash in trying to obtain a corner outfielder. Jim Baumbach will talk about the latest trade rumors surrounding the Metropolitans.

Then there is the Jets and their flirting with Brett Favre. Is this a good move or is this bound to end disastrous like everything else they do. We'll speak with Bergen Record Jets beat writer J.P. Pelzman at 8:30 about Favre, Chris Baker, Vernon Gholston and more.

That's tonight on Johns on Sports. Join the program on, calling in at (845) 651-1110, or writing an e-mail to

EliteXC weigh-in highlights

Antonio "Big Foot" Silva ( left) and Justin Eilers will battle for the first-ever EliteXC heavyweight title in the main event on SHOWTIME Saturday night. The one-hour SHOWTIME telecast begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Rafael Feijao (left) meets Travais Galbraith in a 205-pound match on SHOWTIME.

Wilson Reis (left) faces Bryan Caraway in a 140-pound scrap on SHOWTIME.

Robbie Lawler (left) defends his EliteXC middleweight belt against Scott Smith in the highly anticipated main event on CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS on the CBS Television Network (9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET/PT).
Thomas "Wildman" Denny (left) and Nick Diaz will clash in a featured CBS fight.

Nick "The Goat" Thompson (left) and Jake Shields collide for the vacant EliteXC middleweight crown on CBS.

Shayna Baszler (left) and Cris Cyborg will fight during a two-hour CBS broadcast.

Photos: Tom Casino/EliteXC

Cotto-Margarito weigh-in

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito World WBA Welterweight Championship July 26, 2008 MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada Photos By Tom Hogan

Friday, July 25, 2008

Eye on Lehigh; Eagles day at camp


The Eagles placed guard Shawn Andrews on the Reserve/Did Not Report List and filled the roster spot vacated by Andrews by signing guard Cameron Stephenson.

Stephenson (6-3, 314) was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft with the 156th overall selection. He went on to spend the 2007 season on Green Bay’s practice squad, only to be released earlier this week.

The Hawthorne, CA, native starred collegiately at Rutgers after spending two seasons at Los Angeles Harbor College. Stephenson earned all-conference honors as a defensive tackle at HarborCollege, and played both offense and defense at RutgersSydney, Australia. before settling in on the offensive line in 2006. He went on to earned second-team All Big East at guard that year.


QB Kevin Kolb connected with WR Reggie Brown on a 50-yard flea-flicker TD pass, one of a handful of impressive catches by Brown on the day.

This past offseason, Brown incorporated swimming into his workout regimen. He also used underwater boxing to help improve his hand speed which he feels will help him to get off the line of scrimmage in games.


Saturday, July 26th from 6:00 am–2:00 pm the Eagles will host the first annual Eagles/American Red Cross Blood Drive at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena. The blood drive aims to benefit areas around the country in need of blood supply. Each donor will receive an Eagles gift bag, and 150 randomly selected donors will receive two VIP Sideline passes to watch Saturday’s morning/afternoon sessions. Six grand prize donors will win a pair of tickets to a home game this season. The Eagles contact on-site will be Erica Seidner. The American Red Cross contact person is Chris Englerth (215) 275-3017. Blood drive location:

Stabler Arena

Lehigh University

124 Goodman Drive

Bethlehem, PA 18015

· Tomorrow's practice times – 8:15 am and 2:45 pm