Norv vs. Ron Rivera …
While Norv Turner remains the leading candidate to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Wednesday that another candidate has emerged: Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
And in his first public comments since Parcells retired Jan. 22, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he wouldn't have a decision on a new coach until next week. Jones has interviewed eight candidates so far.
"We've got a good football team, and I've got to get this right," Jones said. "We've got to make a good decision when we select the next coach. We're going to have the opportunity and a plan in place that will allow us to do that."
Rivera's contract with the Bears will expire after the Super Bowl, and the Cowboys are interesting in talking to him about their head-coaching job. And Turner has told Jones that Rivera is the man he'd like to hire as defensive coordinator if he gets the Cowboys' top job.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys interviewed Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and 49ers assistant coach Mike Singletary, and indications are that Singletary was impressive in his interview.
Sources say Turner has made a number of stipulations to the Cowboys, including asking for control over choosing his staff and a voice in personnel decisions, including the future of wide receiver Terrell Owens.
Rivera mentioned here as mostly a coordinator …
One NFL source said Rivera would not rule out Dallas, but Rivera hopes to remain a candidate in the Cowboys' head coaching search. His contract with the Bears expires after the Super Bowl. The Bears have a short period of exclusive negotiating rights before Rivera becomes a "free agent."
The Cowboys can't interview a coach from the Bears' or Colts' staff until after the Super Bowl, which includes possible candidates Rivera and Colts assistant head coach/quarterbacks Jim Caldwell. There are no rules preventing Turner from talking to Rivera.
Jones said he might interview more candidates after he arrives in South Florida today for Super Bowl festivities.
Turner is scheduled to fly to Miami to be with his family, including his brotherRon, the Bears' offensive coordinator. San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach/defense Mike Singletary, who interviewed with Jones on Tuesday, is scheduled to be in Miami.
"We've got a good football team and I've got to get this right," Jones said. "We've got to make a good decision for the next coach.... I feel very good. We've spent a lot of time and I know our fans expect me to spend a lot of time in each interview. I've been very thorough. I'm very pleased with and very comfortable with where we are, but if I can, I don't want to leave a stone unturned here."
One stone Turner apparently didn't leave unturned was a defensive name to give Jones during their interview Sunday. Sources said the Cowboys pitched the idea of promoting secondary coach Todd Bowles to defensive coordinator.
Turner, however, has ties to Rivera. Rivera wanted to hire Turner as offensive coordinator had Rivera been offered the head coaching job in Green Bay in 2006.
Rivera would be expensive to add as defensive coordinator. Former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who took the same position in Atlanta, made $1 million last season, and Rivera would likely require a similar figure. The going rate for top-notch defensive coordinators is $1.5 million to $2 million a year; Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams makes $2 million, and Dom Capers of the Miami Dolphins is reportedly making $1.5 million.
The addition of Rivera might require tweaking the Cowboys' 3-4 defense. Under former coach Bill Parcells, the Cowboys drafted and signed free agents that fit the 3-4 scheme. Rivera uses the 4-3 scheme, but did say the day Parcells retired that he feels he could coach the 3-4 and that one defense isn't drastically different than the other.
If the Cowboys don't offer Rivera the head coaching job, he could still enhance his résumé in Dallas. The thinking goes that as the coordinator for the defensive-oriented Lovie Smith, Rivera doesn't always receive the credit. Should he come to the Cowboys and have success with a defense that fell apart the final month of the season, he could boost his image to potential employers.
Does Prince have Norm-hip? …
Reports surfaced about a year ago that decades of dancing in those high heels the ladies love caused serious damage to one of his hips and that he needs a replacement. That's a pretty big deal considering that Prince's stage show has long been a James Brown-styled affair, full of spins, splits and bumping and grinding against pianos, microphone stands, and other inanimate objects. It's pretty tough to do those things with a bad wheel.
It's an even bigger deal considering the significance of the hips to the funk. Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African and African-American studies at Duke University and one of the foremost authorities on black popular culture, says the hips are an essential part of the funk. "In a traditional sense, the word funk was about an odor -- an odor generated by intense physical movement," he says. "By the time J.B. and others were embracing the word to describe their music, it was generally accepted that one had to be seriously shaking their hips, if one was really going to get funky."
For a man so known for getting pungent, a hip replacement would be like what a microfracture procedure is to a jumpin' jack on the basketball court. Sure, he could play after the surgery, but he wouldn't be nearly as explosive.
However, it's not known whether Prince actually had or will have the replacement. Prince became a Jehovah's Witness in the mid-90s, and that religion does not permit blood transfusions, which are necessary for a hip replacement surgery. The faith also prohibits dancing that mimics sexual acts, but not dancing in general.
A representative for the William Morris Agency, which handles Prince's affairs, said he was "not privy" to whether the surgery actually took place.
But whether he did or he didn't, Prince isn't likely to be 100 percent, even if he gives 110 percent of what he's got. So what can be expected from this middle-aged man with an elderly hip?
Not too much.
A replacement would come with its own risks. Dislocation is a risk following surgery, one that would preclude a wise man from doing much of anything, let alone dance.
"If [Prince] has had the replacement, [dancing is] very unsafe," Beatty warned. "It would take the hip to a range of motion where it should not be pushed. He could still do the moves, but it would not be smart."
It would be even dumber considering Prince's penchant for pumps. According to Beatty, high heels change the body's line of gravity by pushing the hip forward and causing "suboptimal mechanics."
Without the procedure, the pain would be ridiculous. Needing a replacement means any way used to avoid the pain, from shifting one's weight around to changing movements, has proven futile. And, as Beatty noted, "the man can move. He can come up with all kinds of shifts to compensate."
In recent years, Prince has toned down his stage shows, which have been more about guile than athleticism. The acoustic sets from the 2004 "Musicology" tour showed he's become more like the cerebral Jordan of '96 than the aeronautic phenomenon of '86. He put on a great show, but it wasn't the sweaty affair his earlier tours were. Plus, his religious conversion prompted him to remove some of his raunchier numbers from his set lists (although "Little Red Corvette" and its references to soiled condoms were somehow still fair game as recently as 2004). And much to the FCC's delight, he's unlikely to wear those butt-out pants.
So who doesn't hope that, for the few minutes he'll have the stage in Miami, Prince can do something extra for the Super Bowl? Maybe, just maybe, he can hop in a time machine and party like he would have at Super Bowl XX. Considering that Michael Jackson, Prince's rival since "Purple Rain," brought the house down at Super Bowl XXVII, it would be sad if Prince's body wouldn't allow him to provide a smashing response, even if his rebuttal comes 14 years after Jackson made his case.
Bill Simmons mentions Gil Brandt on his trip to radio row…
Anyway, now it was suddenly 2:20 and I was looking at a pace of two shows per hour. Not good. The Memphis producer couldn't find his host, the Comcast producer was nowhere to be seen, and nobody else was grabbing me to come on. (Here's where the handler really could have helped.) My grand idea was going up in smoke. I made a quick lap around Radio Row, hoping somebody would recognize me … no dice. Meanwhile, Le Batard and his crew were heckling me and saying that I was walking around "looking like Gil Brandt." "What did that mean?" I asked. That nearly caused a riot with Le Batard's crew as everyone raced to tell their favorite Gil Brandt stories. If you don't remember, Brandt built the Cowboys dynasty during the Tom Landry era, then got unceremoniously dumped when Jerry Jones bought the team. Now he's in his early 70s and makes a living as … well, we're not sure what he does, but he's always introduced as "former longtime Cowboys GM and NFL expert Gil Brandt."
And he's a mortal lock to show up for every Super Bowl, then perform laps around Radio Row – almost like a long-distance runner – waiting to be grabbed by any radio show that will have him.
"Gil Brandt doesn't walk around Radio Row," Le Batard explains. "He meanders."
"We call him The Frog," his producer Hoch chimed in. "When he meanders around, he has the haphazard movements of a frog. You never know when he'll go left or right."
Le Batard's crew even claimed that Brandt rides up and down escalators hoping to get noticed by someone heading in the opposite direction. Now I was delighted. Where was The Frog?
Derian Hatcher – Can’t be possible …
Don't expect to see Derian Hatcher back in a Stars uniform any time soon.
The former Stars captain, now playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, made headlines Thursday. He told the Philadelphia Daily News that he had heard before the All-Star break that the Stars were looking to acquire him to bolster their defense.
"I haven't heard anything since then, but that was what I heard," Hatcher told the Daily News. "I have a friend there who calls me and he told me that their giving up a lot of goals."
There are several major obstacles to Hatcher returning, including the probably insurmountable issue of his contract.
Hatcher has two years remaining at $3.5 million annually AFTER this season. In the salary-cap NHL, that's a non-starter. The Stars really don't have a contract to match up in return. And Hatcher, 34, isn't quite the dominant defender he was before the NHL changed obstruction rules.
Remember, the Stars looked at Hatcher when he was bought out by Detroit in 2005. They quickly backed away when Philadelphia offered him $14 million over four years.
5 most likely trade deadline rentals …
Philadelphia's Peter Forsberg is the highest profile player believed to fit the "rental player" criteria this year, assuming his health improves to his satisfaction, and to the point where waiving his no-trade clause is a real option, not just something we keep reading about.
Boston's Brad Stuart is unrestricted at the end of the season. At 27, it seems odd to see his name on the "rental player" list, but it's believed he has a keen interest in returning to California. The Bruins won't let him walk away without realizing some value in return. Edmonton is a team with interest, more in term than rental, but when Stuart hits the market, the suitors will be multiple.
The St Louis Blues are sure to feed the "rental player" pool. Veteran forwards Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk, 1-2 in Blues scoring this season will attract deadline inquiries from teams looking to add offensive depth and experience in preparation for the playoffs.
Last, but not least, Blue Jackets winger Anson Carter. Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis isn't big on the "rental player" concept, so don't count on carter returning to pick up where he left off with the Sedin's, unless a short-term contract materializes in the swap. If it's not Vancouver, then another playoff-bound team will add Carter to its mix.
Kevin Durant – looking like Kevin Garnett …
Kevin Durant had a game like no other in the history of Texas basketball.
The Texas freshman scored 37 points and grabbed 23 rebounds to become the first Longhorn and second player in the history of the Big 12 to have a 30-20 game in Texas' 76-64 win over Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
He even impressed Texas Tech coach Bob Knight.
"He's really good," he said. "The guy is 6-9, he is mobile, he's quick, he's fast. I mean what more does he have to do. There's no secret thing that he drinks before the game."
Durant got 24 of his points in the second half and outscored Texas Tech by two points after halftime.
"Who me? Oh, I didn't even know I did that," Durant said. "I really wasn't worried about my stats or my rebounds or points. I just wanted to win."
The only other player in Big 12 history to accomplish the feat was Oklahoma State's Mario Boggan, who had 37 points and 20 rebounds against Texas on Jan. 16. He needed three OTs to do it.
Texas (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) steadily pulled away from the Red Raiders, in part by pounding the ball inside for 30 points. The Longhorns went up 72-58 with 3:37 remaining and Tech couldn't mount a comeback.
The loss was only Tech's second at home this season and prevented the Red Raiders (15-7, 4-3 Big 12) from getting their third-straight win over a Top 25 team in Lubbock.
Aggies announce next 2 years schedule …
A home-and-home series with Miami highlights 2007 and 2008 Texas A&M schedule released by the school on Wednesday. A portion of the 2009 schedule was also finalized.
A&M plays at Miami on Sept. 20, a Thursday nationally telecast game on ESPN. Miami comes to Kyle Field on Sept. 20, 2008.
The Aggies open the 2007 season with three home games beginning Sept. 1 against Division I-AA Montana State, Fresno State on Sept. 8 and Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 15. A&M will play seven home games with Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Texas visiting Kyle Field.
In 2008, A&M finishes off a contract with Arkansas State at Kyle Field, starts a home-and-home agreement at New Mexico, followed by home games against the Hurricanes and Army. The rotation with the Big 12 North includes games at Kansas State and Iowa State and a home game against Colorado.
New Mexico comes to College Station in 2009 as does Utah State, and A&M will continue a 2-for-1 series with Louisiana Tech in Shreveport.
Great Gordo reviews our hotel …pretty close review, I think…
Shooting Sizemore trailer…