Pancakes In the Age of Enlightenment- The Redcoats Are Coming!

LEADING OFF

These Tour de France riders look like they enjoy their pre-tour physicals a little too much.

On another note, I know this isn’t the TV Zone, but, if you didn’t get the chance to check out Morgan Spurlock’s (the Supersize Me guy) new show on FX, you have to. The show is called “30 Days” and each week follows somebody as they are forced to drastically alter their lifestyle for one month. The premier episode followed a very red-blooded, very Christian Amerkan from West Virginia as he lived with a devout Muslim family in Dearborn, MI, and studied Islam and the Koran and lived life as a Muslim for 30 days.

30 Days is on Wednesday nights at 10/9 Central on FX. It is, by far, the best thing on television right now.

NFC EAST
The Terrell Owens contract saga continues. The Eagles are denying that coach/GM Andy Reid has been in contact with TO’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, regarding renegotiating the remaining 6 years of Owens’ contract. The Eagles’ position is that they will not renegotiate, and it is up to Owens whether he wants to play or sit out this season. Rosenhaus has told the Philadelphia Daily News that he and Reid “have a dialogue”. The Eagles claim the extent of that dialogue is Reid accidentally answering a cell phone call from Rosenhaus, then promptly ending the conversation in a matter of seconds.

On the other end of the good guy/douchebag spectrum, Giants RB Tiki Barber is spending this week in Israel, as a guest of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Tiki is visiting the country as part of a peace mission. He will be speaking at a sports school where Israeli and Palestinian children play soccer and basketball together.

The Cowboys are relying on former Bears running back Anthony “A-Train” Thomas to shoulder some of the ball carrying workload this year and keep second year back Julius Jones fresh. Bears GM Jerry Angelo had this to say about Thomas in a statement on the Bears’ website, “Anthony just didn’t feel like we appreciated him. In the end, that was the bottom line. I could see where he could have gotten those feelings. He just didn’t feel like he was the right fit here. Did we feel that way? No. We liked Anthony. We felt like he would have been fine. But in terms of his attitude, he felt that it was in his best interest to move on. We understood that, and we wish him well.”

A man was shot at a party hosted by Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington last Saturday night. The man, James Sidney, was working as a security guard that night, and was shot in the back after trying to break up a fight. Arrington’s statement released by the Redskins said, “Over the weekend, there was an unfortunate incident where a security guard was injured following a party I hosted in Gambrills, Md., to conclude a series of charity events. I had no involvement in the incident, and to my knowledge neither did any of the guests at the party. I feel terrible about the injury to the guard, who was only doing his job and pray he recovers quickly and fully.”

The ninth player selected in this year’s draft, Carlos Rogers, has been in a walking cast with a stress fracture of his right foot. The rookie corner may not be healed in time for the start of Redskins’ camp.

NFC CENTRAL

The Packers are having contract problems with two key components of their offense. As I mentioned last week, the first is WR Javon Walker. Walker feels he should be one of the highest paid receivers in the league, and wants his contract renegotiated to make him one. The second is tight end Bubba Franks. Franks was tagged as a transition player, which means he can sign an offer sheet with another team, which the Packers would have the right to match. If Franks is still a free agent as of July 22, he can then negotiate only with the Packers.

This is a make or break year for Vikings RB Michael Bennett. Bennett has been injury prone throughout his career, but has shown flashes of brilliance when healthy. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season. A good year will translate into big bucks next year, another injury could mean he will be relegated to journeyman status for the remainder of his career.

The ruling has come down from the mountaintop on what Vikings coach Mike Tice’s penalty will be for scalping his Super Bowl tickets, and the news is not good for Tice. He must now pay a $100,000 fine. Ouch.

New Lions QB Jeff Garcia was asked for his take on the Lions’ quarterback situation at a recent charity golf outing, his response was, “It’s Joey Harrington’s job to lose. But I’m going to be right there nipping on his heels.” Kinky.
Also out of Detroit, Lions DE Kalimba Edwards was placed on probation after pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge, and failing to produce a driver’s license during a traffic stop. Edwards reportedly refused to show a Michigan state trooper his license after being pulled over. He then was asked to step out of his car. The trooper attempted to handcuff Edwards, but he resisted. Local police then came in for backup, and Edwards was subdued with pepper spray. In all fairness, the state trooper could have been cool about Edwards not having his license. I’ve been pulled over before and I didn’t have my license on me for whatever reason. The officer didn’t try and handcuff me or mace me or anything. This sounds like DWB to me.

Bears second year defensive lineman Tank Johnson has been charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and there could be repercussions from the league office in the from of a suspension to start the season.

More happy news for Bears fans, as it appears certain that rookie running back Cedric Benson will be a training camp holdout. This could ensure that Thomas Jones will retain his starting job for at least the first few games of the season.

NFC SOUTH
Falcons QB Ron Mexico got some good news regarding his throwing shoulder/boating arm. He had an MRI performed to assess his recovery from an injury suffered in a game vs. Carolina last year, and the procedure showed no damage to the shoulder. Mexico is excited about the upcoming season, but not about his scorching case of herpes.

Still, Mexico has to be happy that he’s not former Panthers RB Fred Lane. Because if he was, he’d be dead. The woman responsible for his unfortunate condition, Deidra Lane, this week learned she will be given credit for time served for the 3 years she spent awaiting trial for the voluntary manslaughter of her husband. Ms. Lane offed her old man in 2000 by shooting him in the stomach with a 12 gauge shotgun during a domestic dispute. Prosecutors argued that she shouldn’t get credit for time served because in addition to being held for killing her husband, she was also being held for conspiring with a bank teller to steal $41 thousand from a Charlotte bank in 1998. Fred Lane was indicted a few days before his death on a misdemeanor drug charge. If I was married to this crazy bitch, best believe I’d be doing drugs too.

Deuce McAllister will soon become the highest paid New Orleans Saint ever. He and the Saints are in the process of negotiating a long term contract extension. McAllister rushed for a so-so 1074 yards last season in 14 games. By way of comparison, Emmitt Smith rushed for a comparable 937 yards for the Cardinals last year, and he’s retired now. In an unrelated story, the Deuce is loose, in my pants.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that free agent CB Ty Law was faxed a contract offer by the Bucs. This is an interesting development because the Bucs seem to be set at the corner position with Ronde Barber and Reggie Kelly. However, Barber has expressed dissatisfaction with being the 27th highest paid corner in the league, and wants to renegotiate. This could be the Bucs’ way of sending a message to Barber. If so, it is the wrong thing to do. Barber has been a good soldier despite his contract status and attended the team’s recent minicamp rather than missing as a holdout.

NFC WEST
Seahawks CB BJ Tucker led NFL Europe with 5 interceptions this season. Good for him.

Isaac Bruce will be handled with a great amount of care in this year’s Rams training camp. The veteran WR was diagnosed with a heart abnormality earlier this month. It is thought to be minor, and he has been cleared to practice, but you can’t be too careful when it comes to summer football practice and heart issues.

The Sporting News has named Cardinals QB Kurt Warner as the #1 “Good Guy” in the NFL. The award is given to the NFL athlete who has served the community the most in the past year. The award is puzzling, because Falcons RB Warrick Dunn was named the #1 “Good Guy” in all of pro sports. Which, I would think, would actually make Warner the #2 “Good Guy” in the NFL.

After signing Johnnie Morton last week, the Niners continued to attempt to give #1 draft pick QB Alex Smith someone to throw to, signing former Ravens WR Javin Hunter to a 2 year contract. Hunter, whose best season saw him catch 5 passes, joins an uninspiring crew of Morton, Arnaz Battle, PJ Fleck, and Rashaun Woods.

AFC EAST
Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave Russian president Vladimir Putin a nice gift this week, his Super Bowl XXXIX ring. Kraft gave Putin the ring to try on, Putin pocketed it, thinking it was a gift. To avoid embarrassing Putin, Kraft, who does business in Russia, quickly explaining he had given the ring as a gift to Putin. By Russian law, the 2 men are now married. American president George W. Bush was said to be shattered by the news saying, “I can’t believe this. I told Vladimir I could see into his soul.”


“Yoink!”

This week the Patriots signed former Redskins and Jets kick returner Chad Morton. Morton is recovering from a torn ACL suffered last year. He is one of only 5 players in NFL history to return 2 punts for touchdowns in one game, a feat he achieved in 2002.

The Jets signed inactive linebackers Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones to contracts, enabling them to retire as Jets. Now their souls can finally stop haunting the men’s room in the Meadowlands east end zone, and rest in peace.

The Bills will be wearing throwback style uniforms for at least 2 games next year. Nate Clements models the new/old look in the picture below, and I have to say, they are MUCH better than the disastrous post-modern ensemble they usually wear.

Dolphins saftety Quintin Williams was released the day after he was arrested on DUI and drag racing charges. Riding with Williams in the car was safety Travares Tillman, who is expected to compete for a starting job in camp. Tillman was not released.

AFC NORTH
For the first time in 35 years, Myron Cope will not be doing radio broadcasts of Steelers games. The 76 year old mainstay announced his retirement.

Ravens LB Terrell Suggs was acquitted of assaulting a man whom he said “used to be his best friend”. A playground basketball game escalated into a brawl between Suggs’ accuser, Jeryme Cook, Suggs, and Suggs’ brother Donald. Apparently Cook hit Terrell Suggs over the head with an iron rod, causing Suggs and his brother to put the beatdown on Cook.

If Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer survives the preseason without injury, he will be the first Bengal quarterback since Jeff Blake in 1996 and 1997 to start back to back opening games for the team. Since then, the illustrious list has included Neil O’Donnell (98), Blake (99), Akili Smith (00), John Kitna (01), Gus Frerotte (02), and Kitna again (03).

The Browns are excited about having a lot of depth at the running back position. Lee Suggs, William Green, and Rueben Droughns all figure to play important roles in the offense this season. New Browns coach Romeo Crennel told a team reporter, “When you have three good players, you are going to use them. If you feel they are good enough to play and help us win, you’ll find a role for them.”

AFC SOUTH
Colts RB Edgerrin James is reportedly unhappy with being slapped with the franchise tag by the team. Still, he plans to be in camp on time, rather than hold out.

The next few days will reveal a lot about the status of Jags RB Fred Taylor. Taylor is set to step up his rehab work on his injured knee. If his knee does not respond well, expect the Jags to intensify their pursuit of a trade for disgruntled Bills RB Travis Henry.

This is a crucial year for Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich. In his third season, he is expected to take his team to the playoffs. Early returns from minicamp show that Leftwich is liking the new offense installed by new offensive coordinator and former USC assistant Carl Smith. The new offense is more pass heavy and geared to take advantage of Leftwich’s arm strength, as opposed to the dink and dunk West Coast offense the Jaguars were running last year under former coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Texans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer is on the hot seat this year. The team wants more out of QB David Carr, but it’s hard for him to give that too him when he’s always being knocked on his ass. Palmer needs to find a way to keep Carr upright and throwing the ball, or else his tenure in Houston will end the same way his head coaching stint in Cleveland did, badly.

Count the Titans among the teams interested in Bills RB Travis Henry. Tennessee’s incumbent starter, Chris Brown, goes on the injury report when someone looks at him funny, so they need a solid #2 option.

Titans WR Tyrone Calico remains a question mark heading into camp. The Titans have him penciled in as one of their starting wideouts, but his slow recovery from knee surgery in October means he might not be ready for the start of camp.

AFC WEST
The Chargers are working very hard to get a vote for a new stadium on the ballot in San Diego. They need 60,000 signatures in order to put the issue to a vote. Then they need to find a partner to work with them and the city government to get the place built, which is the biggest roadblock standing in their way. The Chargers have a lease at Qualcomm Stadium through 2008. If a new stadium deal is not in place by 2007, they are free to talk to other cities, like um, I don’t know, Los Angeles. So by 2010, there is a very good possibility you may be listening to the San Antonio Saints locking horns with the LA Chargers as you are cruising along in your flying car with your robot butler, on the moon.

When you see someone wearing #19 line up at wide receiver for the Broncos this preseason, it won’t be some rookie free agent destined for the Arena League, it will be future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Rice’s number 80 is currently worn by another very accomplished receiver, Rod Smith. Rice decided on #19 because his 9 year old daughter liked the number.

The Chiefs hope CB Patrick Surtain comes back strong after a disappointing 2004 season. The free agent signee will be 29 years old this season, and at his position it’s entirely possible the 2003 Pro Bowler’s best days are behind him.

The most intriguing, albeit craziest, rumor of the week is that the Raiders and Eagles have had trade discussions involving Terrell Owens. Owens, as mentioned earlier, is dead set on renegotiating his contract with the Eagles, and the Eagles have indicated they are prepared to let him sit out the season if he doesn’t want to play under his current deal. The rumor is that Raiders WR Jerry Porter could be headed to Philly for TO. The Eagles dismiss the rumor as ridiculous. Still, if the deal did somehow come to pass, the Raiders having TO at one wideout and Randy Moss at the other would be something to behold.

MLB APPRENTICE
Last week was a shocker on MLB Apprentice as Mets skipper Willie Randolph was given the ax by Trump. What does this week have in store? Hawk, send them in.


YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYESSS!!

Alan Trammell

Jim Tracy

Mike Hargrove


“I’m tired of being cooped up in this boardroom with stooges like you. Tonight we’re doing something different. Tonight I’m taking the three of you out on the town. We’re going to have a 4 way Elimidate, and if you don’t dazzle me, you’re fired.”


“Whaaaaa!”


“That’s right. Go back to the suite where you will find three cocktail dresses waiting for you. Pick out the one you like the best, then meet me back here. We’ll be going to fabulous Manhattan clubs, where two of you will be fired.”

2 HOURS LATER
“Wow, what a fabulous club, is everyone having a good time?”


“So, uh, what’s the REAL reason they call you, “The Donald?”


“I don’t understand what you’re asking me. That didn’t make any sense.”


“Um, this girl needs a bottle of ho remover.”

2 MORE HOURS LATER


“Congratulations, Jim Tracy, you have charmed the Donald, and that’s no mean feat.”


“Yaaaaaaay”


“I luuuuv cotton candy.”

Wow, that was, uh, unsettling. I think we need a break from this. Next week, I give you my MLB midseason awards and All Star Ballots.

NBA DRAFT-O-RAMA

The NBA Draft, to me at least, has become more incomprehensible than the MLB Draft, and almost as bad as the NHL Draft. What with all the international players, I can only take so much of trying to learn about Blizz Blazz or Him Ham only to have them turn out to be the next Darko Mlicic. Check back with me next February, and I’ll have a more detailed report for you on these guys. Until then, a very brief rundown of the lottery picks, and a few other guys you may have actually heard of:

– Milwaukee had the #1 pick and selected Utah center Andrew Bogut. Bogut says he likes beer and cheese and that Milwaukee is the place for him. That probably means he will get fat, which can’t be good.

– Atlanta had the second pick and took Marvin Williams, who was the 6th man on the national champion North Carolina squad last season.

– Utah traded up to select Illinois point guard Deron Williams with the third pick. Williams will be the greatest NBA player from Illinois since, uh, since, er….yeah.

– The Hornets were happy to snap up Wake Forest guard Chris Paul at #4. Dan Dickau then ran into his bathroom and cried.

– Tar Heel point guard Raymond Felton will stay in Carolina as a Bobcat. The Bobcats also took UNC forward Sean May with the 13th pick. The Bobcats are a lock to win the ACC next year.

– High school point guard Martell Webster went to the Blazers at #6. I know nothing about the guy, but I’m sure he’s going to end up getting arrested for something.

– UConn forward Charlie Villaneuva was next to go, getting picked by the Raptors with the seventh pick. Hopefully the dude can buy himself some eyebrows now.

– Arizona center Channing Frye was the next selection, taken by the Knicks.

– The Warriors then took Arizona St. power forward Ike Diogu.

– The second high school player picked was center Andrew Bynum, who will be playing for the Lakers. He looks forward to never having the ball passed to him for the next five years.

– Power forward Fran Vazquez torched the Spanish league for nine points a game last year. For this, the Magic will pay him millions upon millions of dollars.

– Russian forward Yaroslav Korolev should score 25-30 goals for the Clippers next year.

– Sean May was taken 13th by the Bobcats, which I already told you.

– The final lottery pick was another Tar Heel, Rashad McCants. He will be headed to Minnesota. Farmers hide your daughters.

Some of college basketball’s higher profile players went later in the first round:

– Joey Graham, F, Oklahoma St., Raptors, 16th pick
– Danny Granger, F, New Mexico, Pacers, 17th pick
– Hakim Warrick, F, Syracuse, Grizzlies, 19th pick
– Julius Hodge, G, NC State, Nuggets, 20th pick
– Nate Robinson, PG, Washington, Suns, 21st pick
– Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech, Nuggets, 22nd pick
– Francisco Garcia, G, Louisville, Kings, 23rd pick
– Luther Head, G, Illinois, Rockets, 24th pick
– Jason Maxiell, PF, Cincinnati, Pistons, 26th pick
– Wayne Simien, PF, Kansas, Heat, 29th pick

PIMPS UP HOS DOWN
Well that’s it for this week. Be sure to check these fellas out, if you’re not too busy with your Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Party this weekend:

Steve Price has a great recap of the NBA Finals.

Tal promises his column will get bigger and bigger. Just like my weenis.

Patrick Nguyen has a much, much better NBA draft recap than I do.

Happy 4th of July, see ya next week!