One of the oddest stories leading up to the this year’s NFL Draft has been the possible positive drug tests of former Boston College DT B.J. Raji and several other high-profile NFL prospects, as reported earlier by SI.COM and NFLDRAFTBIBLE.COM. While coverage of the story has been muted from, say, the front page of ESPN.COM, it’s been the cause of intense speculation on the part of columnists, bloggers, and NFL draftniks. Could it really be that such high-profile players screwed up so monumentally as to test positive for performance-enhancing or other drugs, so close to the NFL Draft?
Well, no. Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that the list of positive drug tests is out, and none of the players whose names have been thrown around in recent weeks — Raji, Vontae Davis, Clay Matthews, or Brian Cushing — are on it. How did so many media outlets, including and especially the august SI.COM, get it wrong? Read more…
With the NFL Draft approaching, the Detroit Lions are still looking to trade the first pick but aren’t finding any takers, and aren’t likely to. It’s not that they aren’t interested in Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, it’s just that they would rather trade down and take him because quarterbacks are expensive enough, but when you take them number one overall they get really expensive.
Considering that the position is the hardest to predict success for in the NFL, it’s a lot of money to invest in a player that’s more likely to be a bust than a success. So what can they do? Do they just pass on Stafford and take a safer pick? They could, but that would be a bit of a cop out. No, if the Lions have balls they’ll just opt not to pick anybody.
It was an incredibly tumultuous night in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers losing to the Wizards was the least shocking news of the night. (Although as the WASHINGTON POST’s Michael Lee points out, Washington joins the Lakers and Celtics as the only teams to beat Cleveland twice this season.) Yes, it’s not often that the best team in the league loses to the worst team in the league, but the Wizards are a unique case, with Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood finally back playing after missing almost all of the season with injuries.
No, most of the evening drama in Cleveland involved the Browns. First came some fallout from Jay Cutler’s trade to the Bears, specifically reports that Cleveland had tried to work out a three-way deal with the Broncos and Redskins that would have sent Brady Quinn to Denver and Jason Campbell to Cleveland. Browns coach Eric Mangini spent Thursday night denying these reports; expect Quinn to demand a trade because the Browns tried to trade him sometime within the next week.
And later in the evening, there was news in the DUI manslaughter case against Browns WR Donte Stallworth, and it was more than just his first appearance at a court hearing. It turns out that Stallworth was already in the NFL’s substance abuse program at the time of his arrest, which opens him up to a whole range of punishment from the league. Of course, he’s facing charges that could land him in jail for at least eight years, and having a history of substance abuse issues is not going to help his case, so I’d say that Roger Goodell is the least of Stallworth’s problems right now.
Meanwhile, there were no problems at the opening of the Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium yesterday, just a lot of unintentional comedy as reported by MLB.COM. What do I mean? How about Yankees’ Executive Vice President Hal “The Pretty One” Steinbrenner joining rock stars/C-list celebs with nothing better to do Ace Frehley of KISS, Scott Ian and Frank Bello of Anthrax, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Bernie Williams and members of the Seminole Nation to smash guitars instead of cutting a ribbon. And yes, this means rock and roll is officially dead.
(Oh yeah, “Late Show With David Letterman” band drummer Anton Fig was there, which only means one thing: even Paul Shaffer had too much dignity to show up to this thing.)
Other news while you were rioting in the streets of State College to celebrate Penn State’s NIT victory:
As PUCK DADDY notes, it must be like getting their hearts ripped out all over again for Hartford Whalers fans to see a Hurricanes jersey with the Whalers’ logo (and a God awful color combination). Although I’d love it if the Ravens wore Browns jerseys for “Turn Back The Clock” day against Cleveland.
While the Jay Cutler trade solved one long-running NFL saga, the Anquan Boldin/Arizona Cardinals mess continues to fester. The latest comes from NFL.COM which reports that Boldin told a Florida radio station that he would “love to” play in his home city of Miami.
I had hoped that the America’s Cup had gone the way of 1980s fads like The Lambada, Swatches and The California Raisins. But apparently it’s still happening, and it’s now the focus of lawsuits involving people with more money than they know what to do with. The AP has the latest news, as software tycoon Larry Ellison and his boat “Oracle” have won the right to challenge the current Cup holders, Judge Elihu Smails and his boat “The Flying Wasp” (seen below at its coronation):
If you’re a former NFL player who gets arrested on drug charges, you would hope that the headlines wouldn’t call you “forgettable.” But that’s just how NBC DALLAS FORT WORTH described former Cowboy Leonardo Carson, arrested yesterday on intent to sell charges, and I’ll be damned if they aren’t right.
Now that Tim Floyd has turned down Arizona, TUCSON CITIZEN columnist Anthony Gimino wants to know if there’s anyone left who wants the Wildcats’ coaching job. May I make a suggestion: Former Baylor coach Dave Bliss is available and ready to talk. Sure, he’s got a checkered past, but the guy knows how to win. Barring that, perhaps Jerry Tarkanian is available.
I can’t imagine why parents in Shenendehowa, NY are upset to find out that a part-time track coach had his teaching license revoked 11 years ago after an alleged sexual abuse case. WTEN-TV says that while Don Paretta was not convicted, he admitted to giving a former student a note at graduation saying he would “miss the student’s face and body.” And this guy coached pole vaulting: let the jokes commence.
According to the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, Boston College DT B.J. Raji - a projected Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft - committed a crime worse than scoring single digits on the Wonderlic test: he reportedly flunked a drug test at the NFL Combine.
Finally, HOME RUN DERBY sends a hearty congratulations to Manatee Community College, which defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 yesterday. Yes, those Pittsburgh Pirates, as in the “allegedly major league Pirates.” Bill Mazeroski would be rolling in his grave, if he were dead.