Speed Read: Terrell Owens Released Into the Wild

The Worldwide Leader dropped the bomb around midnight that Terrell Owens, whose given name could be Mercurial T. Owens, has been let go by the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly, anticipated chemistry issues with Jon Kitna forced the move. Kitna is on the record as preferring Sweet’n'Low while Owens is all about the Equal.

Jerry Jones Terrell Owens

(”Ha ha ha ha… pack your stuff.”)

On SportsCenter last night, ESPN’s Michael Smith reported there would be significant financial penalties for the Cowboys to cut Owens as much of his 4-year, $34 million contract signed less than a year ago is guaranteed cash. We hope this means Owens will continue to have at least twenty million reasons to come back to camp this summer.

Terrell Owens and Candace Cabrera

(Note to ESPN: Neil Everett is monumentally awful at ad-libbing. Never tell us how cool it is to be the one on the dais when news breaks. When a big story hits, break the glass on Bob Ley.  Surprisingly good: Stuart Scott. Also, how did Ed Werder not break this story?)

(Note 2 to ESPN: Please remind Keyshawn Johnson that Charlie Manson comparisons may be a bit dated, not to mention a little racy.)

LeBron James

In brighter news, the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed the first musical chair in the Longines Symphonette that is the NBA playoffs with a 91-73 triumph at home against Milwaukee. The Cavaliers move to 48-12, which is exactly how LeBron James hopes his Knicks career starts in two years.  (We kid, Cleveland, we kid.)

LeBron posted a silent but deadly 23-8-4 on 7-of-11 shooting Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, his most offensive move isn’t necessarily the one he unleashes on the court:

On the other end of the spectrum, Shaquille O’Neal has been letting everyone know that his excrement does not emit a malignant odor. First, he somehow thought he could pull off the Divac Dive against DwightTime Warner Intellectual Property HereHoward.


Then, when the Van Gundy with the honest living fussed about the sad little move, there was a Shaqhissy, captured on Miami’s 790 THE TICKET by Jorge Sedano and reproduced below in the popular MP3 format:

None of this, of course, helped the Suns win in Orlando or Miami. The Suns dropped their second Florida game in the “He Hate Me” series of former O’Neal teams last night in Miami, 135-129. No defense in here anywhere.

Shaq with Renaissance Faire groupies

(Perhaps the only men left who will fight for Shaq’s honor)

We feel compelled to note again that Shaq’s a complicated fellow. We recently saw him encourage his kids post-game to say hello to a fragile 7′ 6″ teen that sat near courtside after being featured on the local news the previous night. This was done under the stands with little fanfare, maybe a few dozen witnesses and none from the media.

When his young son was too shy to do so and tried to hide under Dad’s massive jacket, Shaq gently insisted until his son shook the adolescent hand. Shaq could relate to the teen’s condition better than nearly anyone on the planet and made sure that young man felt welcome. Also, Shaq showed his own son the importance of graciousness.

Shaq makes that gesture damned near every day of his life, often without credit. He’s also the same man that made the comments to the media above. He may have been compared to a meteorite by this author yesterday, but not in the most important way: Shaquille O’Neal is a force of nature. Try to comprehend him at your own risk.

Same for Terrell Owens. Same for LeBron James. Maybe not so much for Jon Kitna.

And now the proverbial hail of bullet points while saving a parking spot with your life

Where will Terrell Owens go next?

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Speed Read: Gruden Notre Dame Rumors Persist

So where does a 45-year-old guy with 11 years of NFL head coaching experience and a Super Bowl title under his belt want to go next? Apparently, to a team that went 7-6 and won the mighty Hawaii Bowl this year. At least that’s what COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK has been saying, citing Jon Gruden’s ties to South Bend and rumors that he was up for the job when it was previously open.

Jon Gruden Notre Dame

In that post, CFT basically dares Notre Dame to come out and deny the rumors before they get off the ground. Irish football media relations guy Brian Hardin did just that, and with force:

“It’s ridiculous that this rumor has even gained the traction it has over the past few days. I hesitate to respond to it at all because by dignifying this ‘report,’ I set myself up to be forced to set the record straight on future rumors. But it’s obvious that some people out there are trying to sabotage our recruiting efforts and it’s unfortunate that their agenda has been published and reproduced in recent days.” 

So, Gruden’s name isn’t coming up because it makes sense, but because of some sort of conspiracy to interfere with Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts? Hardin made this statement to BLUE AND GOLD ILLUSTRATED, which then posted a story discussing some of the other unsubstantiated rumors surrounding the program (Lou Holtz? Really?).

For now, Charlie Weis is still the head coach, though Gruden probably has healthier knees. Gruden has long been respected as a coach, but his results have been wildly inconsistent. He went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl in his first year with the Bucs, but is just 45-51 (and 0-2 in the playoffs) in six seasons since.

Getting back to that whole inauguration business just one more time, the SEATTLE TIMES has an article this morning about what the inauguration means to the Pac-10’s black basketball coaches. And while I’m sure it has some meaning to the likes of Lorenzo Romar and Ernie Kent, I think it might be hard to top Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, who hung out with the new president all day, since he’s his brother-in-law.

Craig Robinson

(”Do I really look like a personal assistant?”)

Unfortunately, NBC’s Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw didn’t get the memo about who Robinson is, because they first mistakenly identified him as Obama’s personal assistant, then erroneously reported that the orange and black scarf he was wearing in the parade viewing box represented his alma mater, Princeton, and not his current school. The OREGONIAN’s John Canzano was not amused.

It appears as if Kobe Bryant is not going to miss any time after dislocating the ring finger on his right hand in Monday night’s game with the Cavs. Bryant said it was the most pain he’d ever played with on a basketball court. As someone who plays his fair share of hoops, I think it’s the injury I fear most. I’m wincing and doubling over as I type this.

Kobe Bryant

(You sure it’s your finger that’s hurting, Kobe?)

I have to get my mind off that. Let’s get to some links:

• Russian figure skater Ekaterina Rubleva had a bit of a problem with her top falling down at the European Championships (I’m not using the phrase “wardrobe malfunction). Unfortunately, it didn’t impress the judges all that much as she and her partner are only in 12th place in the ice dancing competition. The full NSFW picture is available here.

Russian figure skater loses her top

• The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that a Blackhawks fan won $1 million last night when Martin Havlat scored at exactly the 10-minute mark of the 2nd period. The Hawks had to score at that exact moment in order for the prize to be awarded. It was the only goal Chicago scored in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota.

• Panthers linebacker Jon Beason may have been looking past that playoff game against the Cardinals, especially when he’s saying things on his personal blog like:

We want another shot at the Giants to prove we can beat them. But it would be great to play the NFC Championship Game at home. It’s the biggest game you can have at your place because the Super Bowl is at a neutral site, and we’re playing really well at home this season.”

• The NY DAILY NEWS says that Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari isn’t all that happy that the team plays songs like “That’s Amore” when he scores, and that the PA announcer uses a thick, fake Italian accent when saying his name. Whattsa matta Danilo? Let’s a go havva some zeppoles!

• You can probably cross Kansas City off of Anquan Boldin’s wishlist if Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley ends up as the coach of the Chiefs, as is cited as a possibilty by REVENGE OF THE BIRDS.

• An Aussie Rules football player is recovering from being stung by a stingray, says Australia’s HERALD SUN. The guy suffered the injury during a personal training session. Which, for some reason, was being held on a beach frequented by stingrays.

• Here’s a shocker: the Dallas Cowboys weren’t particularly disciplined this year. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that players held up the team’s charter flight on five of eight road trips this year, and were only fined $100 each for doing so. The same transgressions under Bill Parcells would’ve cost $5,000, but Jerry Jones wouldn’t let Wade Phillips raise the fine to encourage on-time departure.

• NEWSDAY reports that Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. He’s had a myriad of injury problems as of late and doctors aren’t entirely sure that he’ll ever be 100% again. Good thing he only has 12 years left on his ridiculous contract.

• So, a guy who ran his team into the ground in the regular season is being replaced in the Pro Bowl by a guy who waited until a home playoff game to destroy his team. Meanwhile, the top-rated passer in the AFC is still not going to Hawaii. HATER NATION is as incredulous as I am.

• AWFUL ANNOUNCING brings word that Miller High Life has bought one second of advertising time for the Super Bowl to run a spot featuring that beer delivery guy. Only one of the following ads will air during the game:

Who should be coaching Notre Dame next season?

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Blogz: Scott Van Pelt Wishes Will Leitch The Best

• DEADSPIN rolls tape, as outgoing head honcho Will Leitch gets a very special goodbye message from the one & only Scott Van Pelt.

Will Leitch Scott Van Pelt

• BRAHSOME shows the Knicks fans’ response to their team drafting Danilo Gallinari - laughter, then booing, then chants of “U-S-A!

• Tom Fornelli of AOL FANHOUSE hurls up video of just-ejected White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper throwing something in disgust - and he ends up pulling his hamstring.

• WITH LEATHER huddles up to share news of some English rugby players getting in a scrum with an 18-year-old stripper.

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