Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Tank is Coming

Tank Johnson - Dallas Cowboys …I would like to get all fired up about this, but honestly, I would suggest to you that this happens so often in our sports world that it has become normal. If a human can play a sport better than another, then he is forgiven so much faster than another…

The Cowboys will bring in suspended and troubled defensive tackle Tank Johnson to Valley Ranch today for a physical, multiple sources said.

With depth concerns at nose tackle, the Cowboys are contemplating signing Johnson, but it comes with a risk. He is serving an eight-game suspension without pay for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Cowboys owner and general manger Jerry Jones was unavailable for comment. Johnson and his agent, Jerrold Colton, were also unavailable.

Johnson, 25, who spent his first three seasons with Chicago, is in the third week of his suspension. He spent two months in jail for violating probation on a gun charge. Chicago released Johnson on June 25, three days after he was pulled over by police in Gilbert, Ariz., for driving while impaired. The charges were eventually dropped.

Any team that signs Johnson must make room for him on the 53-man roster for at least one day even though he's suspended, according to NFL rules.

Johnson, before he was suspended by the NFL and released by the Bears, was scheduled to earn a base salary of $510,000.

Under terms of his suspension, Johnson must undergo counseling, have no further adverse involvement with police and not work out at any team facility. Johnson is working out in Tempe, Ariz. If Johnson is reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the earliest he could play for the Cowboys would be Nov. 4 at Philadelphia.
Dallas lost starting nose guard Jason Ferguson for the season with a torn right biceps muscle in Week 1. Jay Ratliff is the starter, with Remi Ayodele as the backup.

More on the Tank

Johnson was cut by the Bears in June after several off-the-field incidents, the last of which was a drunk-driving charge that was later dropped.

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having six unregistered firearms in his suburban Chicago home last December. That was a violation of his probation from an earlier gun charge.

Two days after Johnson's house was raided, his bodyguard was shot and killed in a fight while he and Johnson were at a Chicago nightclub. In March, Johnson went to jail for violating his probation.

Character issues aside, the Cowboys are looking at Johnson for two reasons:

No. 1: Listed at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Johnson comes closer to the prototypical 3-4 nose tackle than current starter Jay Ratliff. Although Johnson, 25, has never played nose tackle, he could at least provide depth and size at the position.

In three seasons with the Bears, the former second-round pick had 63 tackles, four passes defensed, nine sacks and one forced fumble in 46 games.

No. 2: The Cowboys think they will be playing meaningful games in December. The team likes what they've seen from Ratliff thus far, but they want a proven body either for depth, or possibly to start.

Oh, Too Bad! Eagles are 0-2

Donovan McNabb likes to say it's not about the numbers. He likes to say it's about the wins and the losses.

After two games of this Eagles season, the numbers are bad, the record is worse, and there are countless reasons for head coach Andy Reid, his players, and the fan base to be deeply concerned.

The Eagles' offense played poorly in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers but could not even match that effort last night in losing, 20-12, to the Washington Redskins in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field.

Choruses of boos rained down from the cheap seats as well as the expensive ones at different junctures during the evening.

For the first time since 2003, the Eagles have lost their first two games. That team rebounded to win 12 of its final 14 and make it back to the NFC championship game. There is little reason to believe this team can accomplish a similar feat.

The Eagles will try to avoid going 0-3 for the first time since Reid's rookie season as head coach when they play the 2-0 Detroit Lions on Sunday at the Linc.

"We're sitting at 0-2, so something has to change," McNabb said after a second straight pedestrian performance. "There were opportunities on the field that we left out there. Field goals are something as an offense that we're not excited about."
And that's why there was no excitement from the offense, which settled for four David Akers field goals.

The Redskins improved to 2-0 and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.

McNabb may not like to talk about the numbers, but there was one statistic that was most telling on this disturbing night. The Eagles converted just 4 of 16 third-down attempts. The last failure in that department proved to be the fatal one.

With just 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the game and the Eagles trailing by a touchdown and a two-point conversion, wide receiver Kevin Curtis ran an out pattern and was open with a chance to score.

McNabb, however, threw a ball so far to Curtis' right that the receiver could not have stretched far enough to reach it even if he had 20-foot-long arms.

"I was hit on the play, but I still have to be able to make the throw, and I threw it just a tad bit too far," McNabb said. "I'm always hard on myself when we don't win the game, so I didn't play well at all."

On fourth and 6, McNabb tried to go over the middle to Curtis for a first down to keep the game alive, but Redskins rookie safety LaRon Landry arrived the same time as the ball to force a game-sealing incompletion.

Reid, as he always has, defended his starting quarterback.

"It's not all Donovan," Reid said. "It's me getting him in the right position to do some things and him knocking the rust off himself and the guys around him."

Now, on to college football. Looking ahead to the weekend ..we find one game in Miami, and that is about it….

Four-star games

Texas A&M at Miami (Fla.), 6:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN –Chance for national respect for Aggies – even if Hurricanes aren’t like Miami teams of old.

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Fox Sports Net –Graham Harrell should feast on leaky OSU pass defense.

Three-star games

Oklahoma at Tulsa, 7 p.m., Friday, ESPN –Much scoring expected as two of the nation’s top four teams in total offense meet.

Two-star games

Miami (Ohio) at Colorado, 2:30 p.m. – Sputtering Buffaloes get a break after early scheduling gauntlet.

Rice at Texas, 2 p.m. – Longhorns have won 36 of last 37 games in series.

Iowa State at Toledo, 6 p.m. – ISU’s Cy-Hawk euphoria might be short-lived against gritty Rockets.

One-star game

Ball State at Nebraska, 11:30 a.m., Fox Sports Net PPV –Cornhuskers can lick their wounds by charging through the nation’s No. 115 rush defense.

Illinois State at Missouri, 1 p.m. – Tigers’ last tune-up before Nebraska game.

Baylor at Buffalo, 5 p.m. – Bulls are 13-81 since returning to Division I status in 1999.

Florida International at Kansas, 6 p.m. – One more buffet station left on Mangino’s pastry wagon.

Texas has some issues with behavior these days

No matter the quality of Mack Brown's reputation, no matter how often he tells us how great his kids are, Texas can't afford that national headline.

Another Longhorn arrested.

Tyrell Gatewood was the latest just last week, picked up and charged with misdemeanor counts of drug possession. Ben Wells, who was in the car with Gatewood, was given a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Never mind that, with the exception of aggravated robbery charges against two Longhorns, this isn't exactly the "rapin' and dopin' and shootin' " that got Barry Switzer run out of Norman, as he once so elegantly put it.

But when you've had seven brushes with the law in less than four months – Robert Joseph got picked up twice – severity isn't the issue.

Perception is, and that's what Brown doesn't get, even as three players return from suspensions this week.

Brown argues that the three-game suspensions served by Woodrow Wilson's Sergio Kindle, Henry Melton of Grapevine and Billy Pittman, who broke NCAA rules by borrowing a friend's car, were "the harshest penalties of anyone in the country," and he might even be right.

He was certainly correct when he said at Monday's news conference, "There's probably more attention on the day they get charged than when they get dropped."

But Brown quickly veered off course. He turned defensive, claiming, "Austin and this state are as hard on kids as I've ever seen."

And when the string of arrests creates a snowball effect and draws national media attention?

"Everything we've got is public, and most people's aren't," he said. "And that's why I don't read it."

Coaches like to say they don't read newspapers, as if it's supposed to hurt our feelings. Maybe they really don't read. But their bosses and benefactors do, and sometimes they react accordingly.

Here's what Brown should have said Monday: I'm embarrassed and sorry that this has happened again. Even if there haven't been any convictions yet, even if college students all over the country are frequent guests of the county, even if the local authorities don't cut us any slack like they used to, we shouldn't keep putting ourselves in this situation. I'm doing all I can to prevent it. If you're arrested and charged with a felony, you're out. Not everywhere is that true. I've brought in law enforcement to talk to the team as well as representatives of a women's shelter. Just last month, after community service, I imposed on a couple of players, I brought in a woman who testified what a drunk driver did to her son. Paralyzed at 3 and dead before he was 20. I made them look at the pictures.

Could Brown do more? A curfew seems like a good idea. As usual, most of the arrests came after midnight.

But five of the arrests occurred over the summer, when NCAA policy dictates that you can't make contact with athletes. And what about those who live off campus? How do you police them?

What about a tighter rein on young students? If you keep up with the jurisprudence column, you'll notice a disproportionate number of allegations involve freshmen.

Urban Meyer thinks a lack of maturity played a part at Florida. Last season, he had 22 seniors; this year, only 10.

Hockey season is here? Stars Blues tonight …And yes, I will be there…

The Stars and St. Louis have decided to also have a junior varsity game at 4 p.m. filled with players who will probably return to junior hockey or be assigned to the minor leagues. The game will give the Stars one more tool to assess future talent and maybe keep a player around a little longer if he shines.

That should make the evening game with St. Louis a tough affair. League rules mandate each team must use at least eight veteran players for a preseason game, but the Stars and Blues could have rosters filled with veterans. Mike Modano is scheduled to sit out, and three players are nursing injuries – Mike Ribeiro (ankle), Stu Barnes (shoulder) and Jere Lehtinen (shoulder). The Stars could use a group that includes 11 or 12 forwards who should be on the opening-day roster. Several will be trying to prove they deserve extended ice time when the season begins.

"People who want to make an impression can get into these games, and they can take it to the next level," Tippett said. "It's a good challenge. Everybody wants to play on the power play, but there's a responsibility to get things done. Can you get the job done?"

The Stars then will send a group to Tampa, Fla., for a game Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and return home for a Thursday game against Colorado. The Stars are expected to make cuts Friday and take about 30 players on a four-day trip to Phoenix, Colorado Springs and Denver. They play the Coyotes (Saturday) and Avalanche (Tuesday) before returning home for two preseason games in a week to prepare for the season opener Oct. 3 at Colorado.

ESPN Radio sends another attack at Bob and Dan …These guys can’t do worse than Dan Patrick…

Mike Tirico, one of the original hosts when ESPN Radio launched in 1992, will take over part of the daily sports-talk time slot previously held by Dan Patrick.

"The Mike Tirico Show" will debut Thursday from 1-3 p.m. ET. Tirico serves as the play-by-play commentator for "Monday Night Football" and the NBA Finals on ESPN.
"It is a thrill to return to my roots in two different ways," Tirico said in a statement, "as radio is the medium where I started my career during my college days at WAER in Syracuse, and I remember being part of the team the first weekend ESPN Radio hit the air in January of 1992. I am really looking forward to returning to the day-to-day sports conversation that is talk radio."

Stephen A. Smith, who previously hosted 1050 ESPN Radio's "Stephen A. Smith Show" from noon-2 p.m. weekdays, will host New York's 2-4 p.m. slot, with the final hour going national on ESPN Radio. Both shows can be heard live, daily, on ESPNRadio.com.
Patrick announced in July that he was leaving ESPN after 18 years.

Glazer gets the video Patriots Cheating Video

Chad Johnson into the Dawg Pound


Jay Callicott said...

Whats so wrong with Tank Johnson? Give him a 1 year deal as a replacement for injured Ferguson. He gets a chance to show he's not a criminal so that he can get a long term deal with somebody. Works for everybody. I'm sure that's what Jerry is thinking.

BACM said...

This could be the start of getting us back to the Boys of the '90's.

Jake said...

^ Or not.

Alonzo Spellman anyone?

Flaco said...

I will be there as well.

Bring on the hockey.

MK said...

Important Announcement:
University of Texas Football practices will now be held at the Travis County Detention Facility.

Congrats Horns. You're a national powerhouse. I must have missed the press release about Barry Switzer taking over the Texas program.