I must be honest, I am pleased with a few of the stories trickling out of Valley Ranch. Bruce Read – Gone. Adam Jones – now, gone.
You know, all you ask in this business is that a player be worth the trouble. That could mean a draft pick. In could mean salary. And it could mean a security detail. But, if he is worth the trouble, then he is worth the trouble.
But, if you are Pac Man Jones, you spent an entire year in our lives, and the sum total of his stay on the field was: A couple 12 men on the field penalties that we blamed on him. A couple pass break-ups. And a more than a couple odd decisions on punt returns.
Not worth the trouble. Not worth the babysitting. When Orlando Scandrick looks like he may already be as dependable a CB as you are, and the normally average punt return skills of Patrick Crayton look superior to yours, well…here is the door, Adam.
And what might be the best part? The pipeline between Deion Sanders and the Cowboys locker-room just got cut off a bit more. 81, anyone?
The other Jones era ends …
The Cowboys announced they will release cornerback Adam Jones, ending a brief and turbulent run in which Jones was suspended for six games and missed another because of a neck injury.
The Cowboys can officially release Jones on Feb. 9, the first day teams are allowed to waive players.
"Surprised? Yeah, I was surprised," said Jones, reached at his Prosper home. "All I can do is keep working hard, keep my nose clean and hope for the best."
Staying out of trouble, however, is still an issue.
The Cowboys looked into rumors Jones was partying at a Dallas club the night the Cowboys lost to Baltimore and attended a bar in Miami on New Year's Day.
ESPN reported Wednesday that three Atlanta-area men have alleged Jones arranged for someone to shoot at them two months after he was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in June 2007.
The ESPN story said NFL security and the Cowboys didn't know about the shooting prior to Jones joining the team or being reinstated by the league.
Jones angrily denied the report.
"It will be a lawsuit in a week against ESPN," Jones said. "That's stupid. It's so
stupid I have no more comments."
Jones said he thought he performed well for the Cowboys and hopes to get a chance with another team.
His in-season suspension and other legal issues – he has a March 2 court date in a case in which he must testify against a man involved in a triple shooting that left a bar bouncer paralyzed – could have led to his release.
"I don't know," Jones said. "I got suspended for a couple of weeks, but I don't want to talk about it."
Jones deflected questions about letting people down with his suspension during the season.
Former Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders said the pending legal drama could have influenced the Cowboys.
"Now, he has a trial coming up and not many people want to have a Dallas Cowboy going to trial," Sanders said.
Jones said he plans to stay in the Dallas area and will work out at Sanders' Prime U camp next week in Carrollton.
During two interviews Wednesday, Jones was at various times calm, angry and even laughing about things said about him.
"If I beat myself up, who will take care of me?" Jones said. "Football means a lot to me, but it's not everything. It's not like I'm taking it pretty good. I love me some me."
Good Idea? …Lions tattoo to celebrate 2008…
Meanwhile, the main event of the college football season is tonight in Miami. Sooners v. Gators, and let’s hope that someone can slow the SEC down. I am interested to see if Stoops can pull his way out of his most recent BCS slump. I really don’t have much of a prediction for you, since I honestly have seen the Gators play twice this season, but I anticipate that OU will have their hands quite full. Let’s hope for a fun game…
Speed will be the story …
Sooner teams for more than half a century have been known for their speed. From sprinting halfbacks (Greg Pruitt) to speed linebackers (Rod Shoate) to blazing quarterbacks (Charles Thompson).
But tonight, in a very familiar place, the Sooners find themselves in a very unfamiliar role.
Under the palm branches of Miami and in the national championship game, stages that have been second homes to Oklahoma football, OU plays to relieve the burden of four straight BCS bowl defeats and a month of defending its right to be here.
And the Sooners are the tortoise to Florida's hare.
"They'll be the fastest team we've seen," said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
Florida coach Urban Meyer arrived in Gainesville four years ago wanting to make the Gators the fastest team in America. Darned if he hasn't done it.
Here's how fast are the Gators. Flanker Louis Murphy, who covers 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, says wingback Percy Harvin has the "fastest 10 yards I've ever seen, and he keeps getting faster and faster as he runs."
Yet Harvin is no better than the third-fastest Gator, behind tailbacks Chris Rainey
(4.24 40) and Jeff Demps (10.01 100 meters).
"They're fast," said OU d-end Jeremy Beal. "They're real fast. That's our main concern."
But before we hand the BCS trophy to Florida's rabbits, remember the fate of the tortoise.
"There's a lot of equalizers out there on the field," Venables said. "Playing smart, playing disciplined. Talent isn't what wins."
Heck, witnesses as varied as Bob Stoops and Vance Bedford scoff at the tortoise label anyway.
Bedford, who played against the Sooners almost 30 years ago as a Texas defensive back and coached against the Sooners this decade as Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator, said anyone who touts Florida's team speed over OU's is blowing smoke.
"They have some guys that can flat fly," said Bedford, now Florida's cornerbacks coach. "They have three or four receivers, they touch the football, they can be in the end zone. It's going to take a full team to slow 'em down."
Stoops said that until you're on the field, you can't gauge team speed, although I would assume he makes individual exceptions for the likes of Demps and Harvin.
Stoops pointed out a Miami trip of recent vintage. OU came to the Orange Bowl eight years ago and heard all about Florida State's speed. The Sooners won 13-2 and the game could have lasted into the next morning without the Seminoles sniffing the end zone.
Stars and Wings tonight, at the Joe …
The Stars have won six of their last nine games (6-2-1) and ten of their last 16 (10-5-1) and have been inching up the standings and closer to a playoff spot. The Red Wings sit second in the West and third overall in the league behind San Jose and Boston.
"They are at the top of the league so it's a big challenge for us," said defenseman Trevor Daley.
The last time they faced the Red Wings - December 12 in Dallas - the Stars measured up well, beating the Red Wings 3-1. The situation then is the same now. The Stars are still desperate for points as they try to climb up the standings and into a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"Every game is big for us right now," said Stars coach Dave Tippett. "The last game we played against Detroit we played very well as a group and we're hoping to go up there and do that again."
The Red Wings have been on a roll lately. They've won four straight, have points in five straight and are 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Among those wins were a 6-0 rout of San Jose and a home-and-home sweep of Chicago, another one of the top teams in the league so far this season.
"We need points. It's going to be a dogfight," said goalie Marty Turco. "They are a tough team to play against, but we know if we play well to a man we can win up there."
In fact, the last time the Stars did play up there they won. That was Game 5 of last year's Western Conference Finals when the Stars won 2-1 at Joe Louis to force a sixth game in Dallas.
Jarkko Ruutu bites Andrew Peters
Jarkko gets 2 for biting …
The National Hockey League has suspended Ottawa Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu two games following a biting incident Tuesday night in Buffalo.
Although the video evidence appears to conclusively show Ruutu bit the gloved thumb of Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters, after the Sens 4-2 loss Ruutu denied that to be the case. The altercation took place in the first period after Peters started an exchange with Ruutu by rubbing his glove into Ruutu's face.
"It's a pretty goofy thing that happened," Peters said. "It's not the injury, it's the incident. Just the fact that happened it's unfortunate. It's not good for the game of hockey."
Ruutu, who was suspended for two games in November, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
He forfeits more than $31,000 in salary with the money going to the Players'
Emergency Assistance Fund.
Ruutu will miss Thursday's game at Boston and Saturday's game against the Rangers. He will be eligible to return Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Checking in with Bill Guerin …
There may still be plenty of Islanders action prior to the March deadline, but it likely will not involve the status of Bill Guerin.
The captain has a no-move clause in his contract, and during the NHL season that usually means a player is not moving.
Sure, no-trade and no-move clauses have been waived before, most recently in the cases of Bryan McCabe and Dan Boyle. But those were off-season deals, giving both McCabe and Boyle plenty of time to make important life decisions and move their families.
I don’t see a trade for Guerin coming together in-season. As much as some contenders would love to have Guerin on their rosters, most teams don’t like the complicated nature of acquiring a player with an NTC. They don’t like having to woo their potential acquisition in the middle of a hockey season. They don’t like the assets they would relinguish in the deal getting out in the press, only to see the trade crater.
(The only other Islander to have a no-trade clause in the last decade was Miroslav Satan. At last year’s trade deadline, not one NHL team wanted the hassle of acquiring Miro for a draft pick and convincing him to move.)
The now 38-year old Guerin won a Stanley Cup in New Jersey at age 24 and has played for 7 NHL teams. He has worked on both coasts, at home (for the Bruins), in the heartland and in Canada. Two years ago, he had the experience of being a “rental” for the San Jose Sharks. Guerin is not done, but he has done it all.
If Peter Chiarelli came knocking on the door with an invitation to help bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston, I assume the Islanders captain would be flattered and at least listen. If the Bruins offered Snow their 2009 very late first round pick and gave Scott Gordon one player of his choice off the Providence roster, the Islanders would listen. Other than this scenario - a longshot - Guerin is probably staying in New York.
Bill Guerin earned a no-move clause in his two-year Islanders contract with an all-star body of work on the ice and impeccable reputation off it. It’s not a leap to say he pushed for it in negotiations because he was tired of moving and hoped the Islanders would match his commitment to them. The team thought so much of the player, they named him captain before Guerin ever played a game in their jersey. Guerin has done everything the organization expected of him.
Whalers v Canucks and Razor on the call? 1996
Souray knocks out Ohlund