After last season's breakout campaign, the Tony Romo bandwagon is full of supporters praising his skill and potential.
But Denver coach Mike Shanahan is one of the few who can say they admired Romo when he was unknown and undrafted after his senior season at Eastern Illinois in 2003.
Shanahan, also an Eastern Illinois product, said the Broncos "tried to sign him very hard."
But Romo chose to come to Dallas for less money because of a more appealing depth chart.
"I really liked him coming out of school," Shanahan said Wednesday after a joint workout between the teams at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch training complex.
"We offered him $20,000 and [the Cowboys] offered him $10,000. To show you my recruiting ability, [they] beat me.... That really disappointed me at that time."
Shanahan had signed Jake Plummer to be his starting quarterback, while the Cowboys had Quincy Carter.
"It's never been about money," Romo said. "It's just about playing the game and having fun doing it. This was just a good situation. Denver was, too. It really came down to Denver and Dallas. I think I made the right choice for right now."
Shanahan is officially 0-4 when it comes to recruiting current Cowboys.
Denver was the first team receiver Terrell Owens visited when he was a free agent last year. Shanahan took Owens to dinner and had him come by his house. But that was before Owens signed a three-year, $25 million deal with the Cowboys.
"Yeah, there was an opportunity there.... Denver was the first team that kind of stepped up to the plate to consider me being part of their organization," Owens said. "But I'm happy here with the Cowboys, and we're looking to do some great things here."
Backup quarterback Brad Johnson visited Denver after the 2006 season and considered signing there before agreeing to a deal with the Cowboys.
The story was the same for tackle Flozell Adams, who used a visit to the Broncos to
drive up his price tag before signing a five-year, $25 million contract extension in 2003.
In more important Cowboys news, Is there a trade on the horizon? ….
The Cowboys are set at every position, but that doesn't mean they are comfortable with every position.
And, looking at their depth, they are decidedly uncomfortable in at least two areas: nose tackle and defensive back.
The Cowboys are in the market for both positions, and have assets to move if the right deal comes along. Finding the right fit, however, will take some luck.
Team sources confirmed the Cowboys are looking for an experienced backup to nose tackle Jason Ferguson. They also would like a nickel back who could start if an injury occurred. The former is more attainable than the latter, but neither will be easy to obtain.
The Cowboys do have assets to trade -- namely, quality linebackers.
"I certainly wouldn't be surprised if they did do something," third-year linebacker Kevin Burnett said. "That's just the nature of the business: If you need something, go get it."
Akin Ayodele, Bobby Carpenter and Burnett have upside, and salaries that would make them easier to trade than Bradie James or Anthony Spencer. Based on salary, the most "movable" is Burnett; his salary-cap figure is $776,790, a figure most NFL teams could live with.
Although the Cowboys have said they will be able to rotate their surplus of linebackers, some players will see less time than others. It's not an automatic that James will be an every-down linebacker the way he was last season. The Cowboys would like to see Carpenter in more third-down situations because he is strong in pass coverage.
One of the Cowboys' linebackers could be traded to fill the team's biggest need, at defensive back.
Donaghy up for a maximum of 25 years …
Tim Donaghy left the basketball court as a disgraced former NBA referee in July and left a federal courtroom Wednesday as an admitted criminal, a conspirator and a gambling addict.
Donaghy's downfall and the resulting scandal that has threatened the NBA's integrity, came into focus when Donaghy, 40, surrendered to federal authorities and pleaded guilty to two felonies during a hearing at the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
For four years, Donaghy bet on NBA games, including some that he officiated. For at least five months — starting in December 2006 — he advised professional gamblers about which teams to pick, through telephone calls and coded language.
And he violated one of the primary tenets for referees by providing the gamblers with information about referee assignments, relationships between referees and players, and the health of players.
Those details were disclosed in Judge Carol B. Amon's court. Speaking in code during phone calls, he tipped off gamblers with inside information and recommended teams to bet on. When his picks hit, he was paid $5,000.
"By having this non-public information, I was in a unique position to predict the outcome of NBA games," Donaghy told Amon, without being specific. "Some of my picks included games I had been assigned to referee.
"I would use a telephone or cell phone to make calls around the country ... so that bets could be placed with professional bookmakers."
Donaghy, who was released on $250,000 bond, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce. He also must pay a $500,000 fine.
Investigators believed Donaghy made at least $30,000 from December to April, an amount he has to forfeit to the government.
Once implicated in the probe carried out by the New York squad of FBI agents assigned to cover the Gambino crime family, Donaghy provided information to the FBI that led to the arrest of two suspects, the records indicated. The probe is continuing, a law enforcement source said.
CJ Wilson – Closer, Texas Rangers …
No one was more thrilled to see Eric Gagne show up in a Rangers uniform this spring than C. J. Wilson. And no one has taken better advantage of Gagne's exit to Boston than C. J. Wilson.
Wilson, the Rangers' free-spirited left-hander, loves to pick the brains of the game's great pitchers. It started when Jim Palmer walked into the Nordstrom's where Wilson was working at 17.
It continued this season with Gagne. Wilson tried to soak up all he could learn about becoming a successful pitcher, even changing to baggy pants in honor of the former Dodgers closer.
Then Gagne was dealt to Boston. And with Akinori Otsuka on the disabled list, the Rangers turned to Wilson as their closer by trial.
On July 31, Wilson recorded his first big league save. Including that night, the Rangers are 7-7 and Wilson has saved six games, including Wednesday's 4-3 win over Kansas City.
Wednesday was the first real dent we have seen in Wilson, and it wasn't much. Although he gave up two runs (one earned), they came via a bad-hop double over Michael Young's head and a single off of Wilson's glove by the speedy Joey Gathright.
Until Wednesday, Wilson's hitless streak had spanned nine games and 13 innings.
Wilson contends that pitching a scoreless ninth is no different from pitching a scoreless seventh – possibly even easier.
Did the Rangers get Borbon in the fold? …we won’t know until today…
Deal/no deal: More than an hour after the deadline to negotiate with 2007 draft picks had passed, the Rangers had announced only one signing: High school right-hander Neil Ramirez of Virginia. Ramirez, the 44th pick in the draft, had reportedly been seeking a $1 million bonus, which would have been about $300,000 more than his recommended "slot" by Major League Baseball.
It still wasn't clear if the Rangers had lost the rights to Tennessee outfielder Julio Borbon or were merely awaiting the approval of paperwork by the commissioner's office. Team spokesman Gregg Elkin said the club had the Ramirez signing to announce but declined to comment when asked if the team had lost the rights to Borbon. GM Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine were unavailable for comment.
The other draftees that were still up in the air were high school left-hander John Gast (the fifth-round pick) and high school lefty Drew Pomeranz (the 12th rounder).
Newberg Report looks at the last 2 months in Rangers Land …
May 25, 2007 Newberg Report:
All teams make trades and draft picks. But these are unusual circumstances of strength in those two areas for Texas. The next decade could be shaped heavily by what happens in June and July. Jon Daniels talks occasionally of the importance of maintaining (and staying faithful to) both a one-year and a five-year plan. The middle third of this season stands to impact a lot more than that.
How Daniels and his crew handle this opportunity to restock and revitalize the organization’s assets will probably define his legacy, and will almost certainly impact the ball club’s foreseeable future more than any two months in memory.
So how did it go?
June 7: Drafted RHP Blake Beavan, RHP Michael Main, CF Julio Borbon, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Tommy Hunter, IF Matt West, RHP Evan Reed, CF Garrett Nash, and LHP John Gast.
June 8: Drafted another 45 players, including C Jonathan Greene, RHP Andrew Laughter, 1B Mitch Moreland, and LHP Ryan Falcon.
June 19: Signed Main and West.
July 3: Signed Reed.
July 16: Signed Hunter.
July 27: Traded Kenny Lofton to Cleveland for C Max Ramirez.
July 31: Traded Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for C-1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Elvis Andrus, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Neftali Feliz, and LHP Beau Jones.
July 31: Traded Eric Gagné to Boston for LHP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy, and OF Engel Beltre.
August 1: Recalled DH-OF Jason Botts.
August 14: Signed Beavan and RHP Kyle O'Campo.
August 15: Signed Ramirez. Outcome unclear at the moment with regard to Borbon, Gast, and LHP Drew Pomeranz.
(And if Borbon didn't sign, Texas will get the 36th pick in next year's draft as compensation -- since Borbon is the highest unsigned pick from this draft.)
It will be years before we can say how much this summer's work will have impacted the success of the big club, but the system, without question, has been emphatically restocked, and revitalized.
Tattoo Chaos in Nascar Land …
Gentlemen, start your tattoo guns.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start completely anew in 2008 -- new team, new sponsors and now, new car number.
Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports officials confirmed Wednesday in separate e-mail statements to ESPN.com that they were unable to reach an agreement with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to bring the No. 8 to HMS with Earnhardt.
"We've been working hard to secure the No. 8 for Dale Jr.'s car number next season," Hendrick GM Marshall Carlson said. "Obviously, he has a tremendous history with that number, and we know how important it is to his fans. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach a point where the terms made sense, and now we have to move forward with other options.
"We appreciate the efforts of Max Siegel and his team [at Dale Earnhardt Inc.], and are excited about unveiling our plans for 2008 in the near future."
Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Junior's sister and business manager, echoed Carlson's thoughts.
"Our hope was to carry the No. 8 with Dale Jr. to his new team, but the last proposal Hendrick Motorsports received from DEI just wasn't viable," Elledge said.
"It was a difficult decision, but all of us agreed that it was best to move in another direction. There's disappointment, of course, but we look forward to working with Hendrick Motorsports on what will be a great program for Dale Jr. and his fans in 2008."
Elledge said there is no specific timetable on announcing Earnhardt's new number. What number his car will carry has not yet been determined, but Earnhardt has told ESPN on multiple occasions his preference is 81. He has run 81 at times in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Earnhardt has driven the No. 8 his entire Nextel Cup career.
Beckham Scores a Beauty …
David Beckham, starting for the first time since he limped across the Atlantic Ocean on a sore left ankle last month, scored a goal, orchestrated another and saved soccer in America on a sweltering summer evening in Carson.
OK, he didn't save soccer Wednesday. Not yet, anyway.
But he might have saved the Galaxy's season.
He certainly showed what the fuss over his arrival was all about, a $250-million man turning a ragged, 39-cent field into his personal playground with the kind of savvy performance the Galaxy and MLS are praying is the first of many.
"It was a good feeling in the locker room to be buoyant and happy," Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop said, "because we haven't had a lot of happiness this season.
"David in the team makes a big difference."
Insistent on playing despite lingering pain from the injury he suffered while playing for England and Real Madrid, Beckham was on the field for more than 62 minutes of the Galaxy's SuperLiga semifinal game against D.C. United.
He made the 2-0 victory a night to remember, displaying his storied ability to bend a ball to his will and energizing a team that had sputtered and stumbled and was in danger of falling apart before he could get his new career going.
"It was very important for me to actually get on the pitch and play some minutes," he said after receiving treatment on his ankle for more than an hour and taking the time to dress in a natty suit, crisp white shirt and red tie.
"Once I'm on the pitch I know I can play well and help the team, and that's all that was on my mind, helping the team get to the final and getting our season going."
He got the Galaxy going Wednesday when he curved a free kick around a wall of defenders and past a frozen goalkeeper in the 27th minute. His first goal in a Galaxy uniform touched off a celebration on the field and a rain of confetti from the surprisingly small crowd of 17,223. It even drew a few hand claps from his wife, Victoria, though she still wore her huge, dark sunglasses and a blasé expression in her luxury-suite perch.
The confetti hardly helped the condition of the field, which had new sod installed only a few days ago after playing host to the X Games and resembled a do-it-yourselfer's bad installation of cheap plank flooring. But Beckham adapted well, setting up teammate Landon Donovan for a pass that took a fortunate deflection and allowed for a nice run that ended with the team's second goal, in the 47th minute.
"If this was him at who knows what percent of himself, I can't wait until he's fully healthy," Donovan said.
Nice Sports/Jorts Story ….
Accusing another fan base of wearing jorts is the atomic bomb of SEC insults. As penetrating and debilitating insults go, it makes accusing LSU fans of smelling like
corndogs seem like a "Knock, knock" joke.
Believe me when I tell you there is no insult that makes SEC fans more incensed. No insult that is so rapidly attacked as lacking in any basis of truth.
If you talk about somebody's momma it tends to get sloughed off; if you talk about somebody wearing jorts, you better be ready to fight. If you talk about somebody's momma wearing jorts? I can't even go there. It's SEC nuking time.
For the unaware, according to my good friend Wikipedia, jorts are "short for "jean-shorts" ... a garment worn by women or men that covers the pelvic area, the buttocks, and the upper part of the legs (typically the part above the knee.) Jorts are types of shorts that are made only from denim."
I'm not exaggerating when I say this, there is no single article of clothing that an SEC man could be accused of wearing that would make the accused wearer angrier or provoke more rage. Not one.
But how did this happen? As a kid, everyone in Nashville wore jorts -- black people, Asian people, straight men, gay men, illegal immigrants. Basically, if you could wear jorts you did. I'll admit it, I wore jorts. And so did you, or you're lying. They combined the comfort of jeans with the airiness of shorts. Plus, man, they let your knees breathe.
There was no culture of idiocy being espoused by their wearing. But then, amazingly, circa 1995, jorts came in for ridicule in Nashville. It happened suddenly and without warning. Like 9/11. One day a kid wore jorts to school and left Algebra II that same day on the verge of tears. I knew how he felt because the fashion tides had similarly turned on me a year earlier for wearing a pink shirt.
Here today, gone tomorrow. That's the fashion world. Suddenly Nashville, like Paris and Milan, became a jort-free zone. At least for white people.*
*Interestingly, black men have escaped universal derision for wearing jorts. After deep contemplation I have two hypotheses for why this is: 1. Black men's dark legs look better in denim shorts than white men's pale legs; 2. White people are afraid to make fun of black people.
In the ensuing decade jorts continued their fall from grace. Each year they become more detested. The only way George W. Bush could decrease his approval ratings? Be photographed on his summer vacation wearing jorts. They're the denim-clad kiss of death.
I truly had no idea how hated jorts were in the Southeast until I started the Dixieland Delight Tour last year. As I traveled through the Southeast, without fail, the jort bomb was tossed with anger and derision from one fan base to another. Recklessly, without fear for the innocents, usually wearing khaki, incinerated along the way.
And it's not just one fan base accusing another. Ole Miss says Mississippi State fans wear jorts. Alabama says Auburn fans do, Arkansas says Kentucky fans do. And vice versa. It's really uncanny.
No fan base comes in for jort accusations more frequently than the Florida Gators. The Gators are the crown prince of the jort monstrosity. So much so that when I visited Gainesville last year, my friend Neville, a Gator grad, kept saying over and over again, "No jorts here. See, no jorts here." And he was pretty much correct.
As much as I wanted to see an entire stadium wearing jorts (after all, fashion ridicule flows most strongly when you yourself used to violate the fashion rule), they really weren't that common at Gator games. At least not any more common than they would be at Wal-Mart or Waffle House or any other place in the South.
After the SEC season ended, I let these jort insults pass into the recesses of my memory and forgot about them. Until football season emerged anew, less than a month away, and I received an e-mail featuring Florida's Tim Tebow clad in, you guessed it, jorts and a football jersey. Once more the cycle of jort derision had been reborn. And that's when it hit me, Georgia fans are the ones who have turned jort-wearing into the modern day equivalent of sleeping with your first cousin.
It all came flashing back to me as if I were former assassin Jason Bourne. A cavalcade of repressed jort memories.
I recalled passing a Georgia fan in an Athens street and hearing her say the following in the wake of UT's victory over Georgia, "All the UT fans are out right now celebrating in their f'ing jorts."
I remembered standing at an Athens tailgate watching Florida play LSU on television when a Dawg fan sidled up next to me and said, "I hope all the jorts in that stadium catch on fire at the same time."
Thanks to AwfulAnnouncing, Check this cheap shot out.
Today is our 2000th show celebration. If you heard yesterday's discussion about an article about us in the Dallas Sports Page, you know we joked about a listener writing an essay about our show. Well, thanks to this P1, Kevin Jones, someone took us up on the challenge. Enjoy it here, complete with fake quotes, as I assume this will be where it gets most of its exposure:
In the increasingly competitive space of sports talk radio, there are two stars that shine a beacon of light into the homes of sweet clean Metroplex sports fans. The duo of Bob "Sturminator" Sturm and Dan "Well!" McDowell have been bringing Dallas fans the skinny on sports for over eight years. This month, they celebrate their 2000th show together.
"In the beginning, I was a little intimidated by his vast array of sports knowledge. He even followed soccer," said McDowell talking about Bob. "But after a few shows, I realized that we had a real chemistry. You know, the kind that blows up in your face when you mix the liquid from the blue and red test tubes."
"Dan was clearly funnier than me, but I would expect nothing less from a noted small market sports humorist" said Sturm speaking of his airwaves partner.
When asked what makes a good show, McDowell said "We don't know. We've had
2000 shots at it now and we are still trying for that elusive perfect show."
Rather than just drill stats and sports into your brain, the hosts of BaD Radio, heard weekdays from noon to 3 pm on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket, prefer to just be themselves and tackle the issues of the day. Certainly Barry Bonds was a topic of discussion, but so was what to do when you witness a minor accident in a restaurant parking lot. Bad and Dan don't shove their views on you; instead they are like the guys at the work water cooler at work that you just happen to overhear. Their following is due in a large part to their approachable nature on the radio.
"We're just guys," says McDowell. "We get paid to be on the radio and watch sports when we are off the air. Who can beat that? When my wife wants to watch something on the big TV, I can always trump it with sports. Hey, I'd love to sit here and watch Fried Green Tomatoes with you, but I'm really need the big TV to do research for the show."
Aside from their "just one of the guys" approach, Bob and Dan have a collection of regular features that are popular with listeners. These regular "bits" hook listeners and keep them coming back to the show. One such bit, the Irv and Joe Game, is named after two other radio talk show hosts. The game is played when Bob and Dan go out of town for a few days. The goal is for both Bob and Dan to separately call the local sports talk show and see how long they can monopolize the airwaves. Bonus time is given for topic changes and references to inside jokes from their home radio station, The Ticket.
Other regular features include Gay/Not Gay where the hosts determine if certain actions are too effeminate for men to comfortably do or not. Some features like Homer Call of the Week have been copied on occasion by other members of the media because of their comic value.
Bob and Dan had the only weekday show on the Ticket with only two hosts and no sidekick until Donovan Lewis was added to the show from a sister radio station. Far from disturbing the delicate chemistry that was honed over almost seven years of doing the show alone, Donovan has added a third dimension that allows for even more on-air hijinx.
Donovan, an African-American, has brought his own swagger to the show with tongue in cheek segments like Ghetto Jeopardy where three white contestants have to guess answers about African-American culture.
When asked about the future of the show both Bob and Dan are straightforward. "I need a check for at least another twenty years. I've got a kid to get through college," quips McDowell. Bob would also like to see the tandem continue their run on Dallas radio. "As long as he can take his shirt off every once in a while, yeah, I think we can make it work," comments Bob.