Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Another Day in Paradise

And on what I hope is not the last day of hockey season, here are many stories about the Dallas Cowboys…and other stuff:
TO Signs for more money

Owens, the Cowboys receiver and Jerry Jones, the owner, were laughing it up at the Texas Stadium Stadium Club on Tuesday as they announced a new deal.

Owens signed a four-year, $34 million contract that will keep him with the Cowboys through 2011. Owens will receive roughly $13.7 million this season.

As the owner and wide receiver smiled and ate popcorn contained in a big silver tub, Drew Rosenhaus, Owens' agent, was reflective.

In 2005, Owens made national news by doing sit-ups and curls in the driveway of his New Jersey home during a nasty departure over salary from Philadelphia.

In his first season with the Cowboys in 2006, Owens feuded with former coach Bill Parcells and wide receivers coach Todd Haley.

And there was the accidental overdose.

There was a belief among some people that Owens wouldn't survive another season with the
Cowboys. But Tuesday, Owens said he will probably retire with the team.

"We're going to get a happy ending," Rosenhaus said.

In some ways, this has gone better than expected for Owens, considering where he was a few years ago.

"I've always been high on myself as far as my character, no matter how people may try to tear it down," Owens said. "I know how I am as a person, and I think that has been misconstrued over the years of what type of person and what type of teammate I've been throughout the years."

Jerry Jones also looked back on Owens' first season in Dallas.

"The only thing in reflecting back is I know the No. 1 area was [the overdose] accident," Jones said. "I know that to be a fact. And then the other aspect coming in and getting used to the personality [Parcells] involved around here.

"I don't really want to give him a D-minus for that. You have to give the blame someplace else, too. It was a challenging situation."

But today, the Cowboys showed how much they believe in Owens, giving the receiver a contract comparable to his peers – something he's always wanted.

This off-season, the New England Patriots gave Randy Moss – Owens' biggest rival at receiver – a three-year contract worth $27 million.

"All that I ever wanted was to just get my market value," Owens said. "People want to bring up my age [34]. But I'm paid just like the top guys in the league and they are younger than me. Like the other 81. That speaks for itself."

Michael Silver not really impressed with the Pac Man Stories

Six months from now, as Jones takes a punt to the house at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day, the young cornerback will have put the 11 Seattle Seahawks giving futile chase and his troubled past behind him. He’ll be heralded as a new man, a model teammate – a leader, even. After the game, everyone in the Cowboys’ locker room from Tony Romo to Terrell Owens will talk about what a great guy Jones is, how he was really just a misunderstood dude who simply needed to be placed in the proper environment to thrive.

You know, like Randy Moss last year.

Now kindly excuse me, the Tennessee Titans and the majority of their fans while we stick our fingers down our throats and make ourselves vomit.

I’m not saying Jones isn’t capable of turning his life around, salvaging his career and fulfilling the promise that had already turned him into one of the NFL’s most exciting players in 2006, a year after the Titans made him the sixth overall draft pick. He certainly should understand by now that he is one slip-up away from blowing his chance at getting paid millions to play football, possibly forever, and screwing up under such circumstances would be truly stupid.

But even if Jones has changed, and I’m skeptical, they’re not shedding any tears in Nashville over his departure. As one of Pacman’s former Titans teammates told me Monday, “By the end (of ‘06), guys were so sick of him and his antics and the uncertainty over whether he was gonna play that they just wanted it to be over. I think the way guys feel about (his reinstatement) is, ‘He’ll be a great fit in Dallas.’ ”

And yes, he was laughing as he said that last part.

Jones was suspended without pay April 10, 2007, less than two months after he was investigated following a Las Vegas strip club incident that left a bouncer paralyzed. Since being drafted, Jones has been arrested six times and has been involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention.

That’s an extended pattern of some very dubious behavior – or, as Jones would call it, bad luck.
Talk to Jones’ former teammates and coaches in Tennessee, and the thing that stands out is the way he consistently failed to take responsibility for his actions. As the previously quoted ex-teammate says, “Every time he got in trouble, he would give his sob story about how he was ‘targeted’ to (Coach Jeff) Fisher, and then he would go and get in trouble again. It was never his fault. He was always the victim.”

Asked for an example, the player cited a morning shortly before the start of the ‘06 season on which Jones showed up at the team’s facility and told his coaches he couldn’t participate in practice. “He said he was sick – I don’t know if he was hungover or what,” the ex-teammate said. “He was lying there on the training table looking terrible, so they sent him home. That night he got in trouble at a club at 2 a.m. (after allegedly spitting in the face of a female patron whom he said had taken his wallet). He showed up the next day saying, ‘Oh man, they’re targeting me. She stole my wallet.’ We’re like, ‘Forget who stole your wallet. What the hell were you doing out at 2 a.m. when you were supposed to be sick?’ ”

The Titans sat Jones for that weekend’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons – a move that obviously didn’t change his behavior. He was suspended for the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 5, 2006, after another spitting incident at a nightclub. Shortly after the ‘06 season Fisher, one of the NFL’s most tolerant and player-friendly coaches, finally got fed up with Jones beyond the point of no return when he caught the player in a flat-out lie concerning his whereabouts, according to a source familiar with the situation.

That alone is enough to convince me that Pacman isn’t a guy I’d want on my team, but I don’t blame Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for acquiring him. The most Pacman will cost Dallas – aside from his incentive-laden contract – is picks in the fourth and sixth round of future drafts, and I think there’s a reasonable chance that being banished for more than a year has scared him straight, at least for the time being. One reason Jerry Jones is such a successful businessman and owner is because of his willingness to take risks, and if this one pays off, Dallas will have a supremely skilled player to add to a roster already overflowing with talent.

However, when I hear about the Cowboys’ strong support system and how it will be able to keep Jones out of trouble, I roll my eyes. As the former Titans teammate says, “They can tell him all they want how to handle certain situations, but the only way they can ‘support’ him is if they convince him to stay in at night. If he goes out, trouble will follow.”

We could all be proven wrong, of course, as I was with Moss in New England (at least for one season). The great thing about America – especially if you are a shutdown corner and nimble kick returner with blazing speed – is that second chances abound. Jones may well make the most of his, but in the meantime, I’d love to be spared testimonials about his character from people like Cowboys defensive tackle Tank (Say Hello To My Little Friend) Johnson. When I read that Johnson told Jones, “I will be your right hand,” why do I picture that hand holding a semiautomatic rifle?

For now, I’ll try to swallow my skepticism and brace myself for the inevitable narrative about Pacman’s rehabilitation, one which likely will have as much to do with how many games he helps the Cowboys win as it will with his actual effect on locker-room chemistry.

And I’ll give Pacman credit for one thing: He’s making me feel much less nauseous these days
when I write about a certain Patriots wideout.

Compared to Jones, Randy Moss really is a great teammate.

Terry Glenn headed for the unemployment line?

The Dallas Cowboys want receiver Terry Glenn on their team.
But an NFL source said the Cowboys have told Glenn to either sign the $500,000 injury waiver for his surgically-repaired right knee or prepare to play elsewhere. And that time is growing short for Glenn’s decision.
Glenn is due $1.74 million this season. By signing an injury waiver, if he injures his right knee at any time, that $1.74 million would be nullified and he would be paid a pro-rated $500,000. If he was to suffer any other injury other than to his right knee, he would be paid the full $1.7 million.
Glenn is coming off two surgeries last season that limited him to appearing in the regular-season finale at Washington and the divisional playoff game against the New York Giants. He did not catch a pass against the Redskins. He had two receptions for 30 yards against the Giants.
The Cowboys are not allowing him to participate in their organized team activities or any other practice until he signs the waiver.

Roy is amazing

Williams insists his teammates haven't lost faith in him. Sporting an "I am what I am” bracelet on his right wrist, he finds strength in religion.

"Ever since I've rededicated my life to Christ I've caught way more persecution now,” he said. "But it's a beautiful thing because I know it's a breakthrough coming for me. I welcome it. What makes me any better than Christ? He was persecuted and I've been persecuted. My teammates know where my heart is. They know where my mind is at.”

So, is he saying he is being persecuted because he goes to church?

Is he saying that Christ was persecuted for similar things that he is persecuted for?

Is he insane?
Rangers pitching still struggling …Jamey Wright? What the Heck?

Sure, an offense that might be the most dangerous in baseball continued to roll up runs at an obscene rate, but a patchwork job by a patchwork bullpen made it hold up in a 12-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

It was the third game in a row the Rangers scored eight runs or more, the first of the three they won.

Credit Frankie Francisco and Josh Rupe with making the biggest pitches to help Texas get back to .500 (30-30) on the season. Credit Eddie Guardado with a gutsy performance throwing on back-to-back nights. Still, all the credit in the world won't make the bullpen better or more well-rested.

"We can't keep going like that," manager Ron Washington said. "We're going to have to pitch well and catch the baseball. You can't always outslug people."

Washington said before the game that he didn't plan any moves to support his bullpen. However, after his staff tossed 189 pitches Tuesday, Washington declared, "We've got to get something in here tomorrow."

Over the last three games, the Rangers have thrown 599 pitches and have pretty much worn out their entire staff.

Texas has used 14 different pitchers for a seven-man bullpen and has thrown more relief innings than any team in baseball this season.

"We have a lot of faith in our pitching," said shortstop Michael Young. "No one is in here saying everything is on the bullpen. We're a team, we've got to go out there and score runs. They've got their work cut out for them, and we have to support them as best we can."

The Rangers are trying to piece together their starting pitching this week. A.J. Murray took a spot start in place of Vicente Padilla and left in the third inning with a shoulder problem. Sidney Ponson will start tonight on three days' rest, and Kevin Millwood will pitch Thursday.

"Some of this is things that are out of our control and we've got to deal with it," Washington said. "The people we're going with the next three days have to pick us up."

The key, it appears will be relying on the offense. In what is becoming a typical Texas outing, the Rangers finished with 16 hits and five home runs. Milton Bradley had two, and Josh Hamilton, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Murphy had the others. Murphy ended up with four hits.

"We're just doing what we're capable of," Bradley said. "We've got a potent lineup."

Another day, another feature on Bacsik

On Saturday, I went to talk about the Bonds home run and got a dissertation on the game. For a half hour, Bacsik, 30, offered an array of opinions on baseball’s problems and what could be done to make them better. I’m telling you, the guy could be commish some day.

“Well, I could get things a lot better,” said Bacsik, who is having a fine year in relief for the Clippers. “I really believe that. I just did a blog on how to improve the major-league draft. There’s so many things wrong with baseball. It’s a beautiful game, a great game, but there’s so many things, money and revenue- wise, they don’t take advantage of. They don’t do anything inventive and new.”

Some pitchers might have seen the Bonds homer as a curse. For Bacsik, it was a blessing. It gave him a name, but more important, it gave him a voice. He took the moment and embraced it. He was funny, self-deprecating, respectful of Bonds. The media loved him for it. The ESPN crowd gushed over him. They even gave him a gig during the playoffs. Bacsik created a stir by predicting that the Angels had no chance against the Red Sox and ripping Cubs manager Lou Piniella in the NL Division Series.

“I took a lot of heat on ESPN,” he said. “People were saying, ‘Wow, can he really say that about another manager or organization?’ Sure, because it’s my opinion and I believe in it. I hate it when someone comes on those channels and they just say great things about everybody.”

Bacsik has opinions that might offend the baseball hierarchy and the union alike. He thinks they should shorten the schedule to 144 games and increase the playoff field to 16 teams. Make it like hockey and basketball. Give more teams a chance and make the late-season games more exciting for fans in smaller markets. As for the statistics, they’ve already been tainted by steroids, so who cares?

He says baseball should find a way to make its draft more relevant. Let teams trade picks, the way they do in other sports. Put it on TV. Shut down the league for the day. Do more to promote college baseball. He also thinks they should slot draft picks by salary and take the sport back from the agents.

Agree with him or not, it’s refreshing to hear a pro athlete who has provocative opinions and isn’t afraid to share them. That’s what endeared Bacsik to the public after he gave up Bonds’ home run. He was honest and genuine, a welcome contrast to the home run king.

Some good Shield stuff …Sept 2 is coming!

George Lucas’ daughter is bloody

The Force is strong with Amanda Lucas daughter of legendary Hollywood filmmaker George Lucas who made her mixed martial arts debut in Auckland on Saturday.

Amanda, who featured in three of her father's Star Wars blockbusters, slipped unnoticed into New Zealand last Sunday with a US all-female fight team.

The Americans took on an Australasian side in the Princesses of Pain event at the Auckland Boxing Association Stadium. Amanda, 27, was pitted against Kiwi kickboxer Nicole Kavanagh in the 73kg MMA contest.

Footage of the bout should end up on a reality TV show planned around the formation of a women's international fight league.

Current affairs show 20/20 also covered the event.

Princesses of Pain promoter Belinda Dunne said Amanda's arrival created a buzz among martial artists but the billionaire's daughter had fitted straight in.

Hitler sings Jefferson’s theme very well


Jake said...

I like the Grieve-Lewin duo for the Rangers but we need a "ya know" tracker on Grieve's "boy" references during each game. Kill me.

Roy Williams, Jesus Christ Superstar. Is this guy for real?

Go non-flying bird, need more hockey.

Joe said...

Is Roy saying that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilat because he couldn't cover John the Baptist in the open field?


Let's not compare ourselves to Jesus Roy.

developdaly said...

Bob, thought you might want to let listeners know about a newish site I just wrote about, Hulu.

Mike said...

Is it just me... or does jerry look translucent in that picture with TO?

Kinda eerie, like maybe he has no soul?