Crabtree To Start For 49ers Sunday … Wait, What?

So Mike Singletary all but confirmed to the SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT that Michael Crabtree would start against the Texans on Sunday. This was a ludicrous notion as recently as 12 hours ago, when Crabs was still wearing the helmet seen below so that teammates could identify him.

Michael Crabtree

Also potentially troubling to 49ers fans: Their team’s playbook evidently can be learned with one night of light cramming. But here’s the lost amazing part of this tale. Crabtree hung around team headquarters over the bye weekend being tutored by fellow receiver Josh Morgan. In other words, Morgan helped Crabtree take his job.

I thought I lived in a land where giant-egoed Terrell Owenses, and Braylon Edwardses roamed in great wide receiver herds, chewing up all the attention and playing time for themselves. Morgan is an entirely different animal indeed. Read more…

Bears QB Cutler Performs Poorly Against Packers

Jay Culter’s debut as Chicago’s QB was completely em-Bear-assing.

Jay Cutler Bears Packers

• A fired high school basketball coach decides to spend her new-found free time suing over the fact that girls have to play on school nights while the boys get to play on weekends.

• We knew the New Jersey Nets were losers, but we didn’t realize it was $50 million worth.

• It’s nice when a mother & daughter work together. It’s not so nice when they’re working together to beat up a cheerleading coach.

• Utah’s Kyle Korver & Deron Williams jazz up a charity event with a little dodgeball action.

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Mike Singletary Trusts In Jesus, Accusplit Timing

Week One of his first full season as head coach of the 49ers has not slowed the growth of the legend of Mike Singletary. When he was handed the job on an interim basis to replace the embattled Mike Nolan, there was doubt in many corners as to whether he was ready for the job.

Mike Singletary

Sure he had great instincts as a player. But great players don’t always turn out to be great coaches — would Singletary have the instincts to coach at the highest level? On a weekend in which some big-time coaches proved that their instincts were suspect, Singletary came through looking pretty good against the Cardinals. Read more…

Manny Being Booed By Bonds-Loving Giants Fans

• Suspected steroid abuser Manny Ramirez gets a rude reception from San Francisco Giants fans - the same Giants fans who were so passionate in supporting suspected steroid abuser Barry Bonds.

Manny Ramirez Giants fan sign

• 49ers coach Mike Singletary makes a mountain out of a molehill, forcing QB Alex Smith to watch the rest of practice from high above.

Bobby Bowden would like to share his prostate problems with you.

• EA sports donates advanced copies of Madden 10 to a U.S. submarine crew who are shipping out before the game’s official release date.

• Would it really kill the NHL to let Jim Balsillie move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario?

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Speed Read: Mike Singletary Is Still Pretty Insane

After hearing about Mike Singletary’s latest motivational move at San Francisco 49ers training camp, we can all be glad of this: he kept his pants on this time. In fact, he did what many 49ers fans wish someone would have done years ago: he sent former No. 1 draft pick and genial bust Alex Smith packing.

Mike Singletary

Unfortunately for those fans, Smith came back, as he wasn’t traded or cut. No, Singletary had Smith watch the last 30 minutes of training camp from the top of a hill overlooking the practice facility after Smith threw a deflected pass into coverage that was intercepted during a scrimmage. Personally, it sounds like a better punishment would have been to give Smith a couple of passes to nearby Great America and tell him to have fun and enjoy the roller coasters.

Alex Smith

Smith tried to force a pass to noted slacker-slash-slugger Vernon Davis, but it was tipped and eventually picked off. Unfortunately for Smith, this came right after Singletary announced to the team that “the next guy responsible for a turnover would have to sit on the hill for the rest of practice,” leading to Smith getting his perch high on a hill.

Again, some one tell me how this is punishment? Instead of working his butt off at training camp and sweating in the summer heat, Smith got to relax and watch the practice from a grassy vantage point - probably under a shady tree while eating a couple of apples as bluebirds sang to him. And I guess that we are supposed to be impressed that his starting offensive line came to sit with him in a “nice show of solidarity,” although I suspect they saw a chance to get out of the last half-hour of practice and made the most of it.

I know NFL teams are careful not to push players too hard, but don’t players run laps as punishment any more? Suicide sprints? Something other than sitting down and not training at training camp? Mike Singletary’s training camp is allegedly some combination of the Junction Boys, the Bataan Death March and the training montage from “Rocky IV” from how the media is portraying it, but if that’s as tough as it gets in the NFL, maybe we’re coddling players a bit too much.

I have no idea what a UFL training camp is going to be like; I’m guessing it will be more advanced than teaching the players what the Xs and Os on the playbook mean, even if just barely. But it does seem like the players are going to go through a lot of punishment - at least on the field, thanks to their names and uniforms. That is, if the ones announced on Monday by the Las Vegas franchise are any indication.

Las Vegas Locomotives

First off there’s the name: the Las Vegas Locomotives. Because when I think of Las Vegas, I don’t think of gambling or nightlife or danger - I think of trains. Yup, you really get the high rollers coming in on the train from Barstow to Las Vegas. It’s basically a half-step up from calling the team the Las Vegas Hobos, and unless your team’s offensive coordinator is John Hodgman, that’s not going to fly.

And then there are the uniforms. Now, I’m no sartorial demigod, but…I don’t want to say that it’s hideous, but the USFL called and they are planning on suing you for $1 for ripping off their designs. The whole thing looks horrendously 80s, from the shiny neon aquamarine pants to the blocky numbering. I think I saw MC Skat Kat wearing something suspiciously similar in a video with Paula Abdul back in the day.

Basically, the whole thing is a mess, and even Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel is confused as to the connection between Las Vegas and trains. (But this isn’t the first time he’s been confused in his life.) Plus, the team’s name is sure to be shortened by people to “Locos,” which the owners seem to think is great cross-cultural marketing but just reminds me of how crazy you’d have to be to try and go up against the NFL.

Finally, I have to wonder what Jeff Gordon’s motivation is to keep racing. After all, he could be at home having sex with his Brazilian supermodel wife, playing with his kids or simply climbing up and down one of the giant mountains of cash he presumably has laying around his house from all of his winnings and endorsement deals.

And after yesterday’s race at the Watkins Glen road course in New York, he is probably wondering the same thing himself after being involved in a bad multi-car crash that sent him careening into a guard rail - not a SAFER barrier - at nearly top speed. Gordon walked away unscathed, although he was complaining of aggravating a sore back injured after he’s been involved in several big crashes in the last few years.

After watching that replay again, let me ask Gordon something: hot Brazilian supermodel wife, or smashing the bejeezus out of your car head-on into a guard rail? Your choice.

In other sports news that happened while you thanked God you weren’t the local TV reporter who drew the short straw and had to cover the “Furries” convention:

  • Crocs announced late yesterday that it is pulling out of its title sponsorship of the AVP Tour at the end of this season. But how ever will beach volleyball survive without its association with ugly rubber clogs? Wait, they’ll survive thanks to hot chicks rolling around on the sand wearing next to nothing? I guess…
  • AVP ad

  • This is exactly what you want to hear from a tennis player playing his last season before his retirement: former world No. 1 Marat Safin admits that it’s “impossible” that he’ll win another title. I don’t think he’ll be getting the same teary send-off at the U.S. Open that Andre Agassi did.
  • Former New England cornerback Tebucky Jones is already suing Patriots team doctors for misdiagnosing his career-ending knee injury. Now he’s telling the BOSTON HERALD that NFL teams frequently cut injured players in order to avoid paying them for sitting on the injured reserve. It’s all so shocking, I know. Next he’ll tell me that they also pressure them into playing hurt, and look the other way about steroid and drug use. If only Oliver Stone could make a movie about this…
  • The Chicago White Sox were able to get two-time All-Star Alex Rios on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation (which with the exchange rate means the White Sox made money on the deal). So, do you think the Blue Jays were thrilled to be rid of the $64 million due to Rios through 2014?
  • If there’s ever been someone who should be happy to have a home run overturned by instant replay, it’s the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. Sure, he missed out on a grand slam in the second inning and had to settle for a two-run single. But he needed that single en route to becoming the fifth Rockies player to hit for the cycle in Colorado’s 11-5 rout of the floundering Cubs.
  • The San Francisco Giants are honoring former pitcher Dave Dravecky on the 20th anniversary of his comeback from cancer. Which is great, except it reminds me of the sound his arm made when it snapped like a twig during his comeback, and then I need to throw up.
  • The USL Division II soccer match between the Real Maryland Monarch and Bermuda Hogges was your standard affair. If you consider a player scoring two goals in the first half and then getting arrested at halftime, a coach being ejected from the game and having to watch from the parking lot, and a goalkeeper being forced to play striker as “standard”.
  • There was great line in a SPORTING NEWS post about the terrible level of umpiring seen this season, with umps continually deciding to make themselves the center of attention. It mentions Phillies announcer Larry Anderson responding to umpire Joe West telling him that MLB umps were “the best in the business” by telling the audience that he wanted to respond that “if you guys are the best in the business, you’ve got a really bad business.”
  • I sure hope new Minnesota T-Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis wasn’t expecting Ricky Rubio to be playing for him any time soon, as team president David Kahn said the buyout of Rubio’s European contract is still “very problematic.
  • And there’s really only one way to celebrate Hulk Hogan’s 56th birthday: crank it up, Mr. Rick Derringer!

I need to watch a football movie to pump myself up for the season. What should it be?

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Frank Gore On Vernon Davis: ‘Time To Be A Man’

So this is probably the year when Vernon Davis either earns his wings for the 49ers, or jumps off the bridge in Bedford Falls. Chosen sixth overall in 2006 draft, it looked at first as if the tight end was a wise choice. But three years and nine TDs later (along with 103 receptions and 1,132 yards), I’m seeing more J.J. Stokes than Brent Jones (and yes, I know Stokes was a WR; just sayin’).

Vernon Davis

We may just have a budding Terrell Owens on our hands here in SF, only without so much talent. As RUMORS AND RANTS points out, Davis told the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS that he’s sworn off fighting in practice. But then on Saturday, he was at it again.

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New Raiders Coach Takes Gentle Camp Approach

When Al Davis plucked Tom Cable out of relative obscurity and make him head coach last year, there were concerns that he wouldn’t be up for the task at hand and might be in over his head. Reading this story about his his first training camp as a head coach in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE isn’t exactly inspiring confidence, as he’s decided to take a revolutionary approach to training camp: no contact.

New Raiders coach Tom Cable

(Tom Cable gets back to basics by telling players what a football is.)

And I don’t mean “limiting contact drills,” either. For the first four days of training camp, players are getting “back to basics” by spending two-a-days hitting the books and walking through drills designed to reinforce fundamentals. Basically, it’s training camp except without all of those nasty things like training, working out, or anything above a mild level of physical exertion.

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Maria Verchenova On Par As One Gorgeous Golfer

• Meet Maria Verchenova, on course to be the Maria Sharapova of golf.

Maria Verchenova

Glen “Big Baby” Davis had Orlando Magic fans in tears last night after sinking the game-winning shot - and running over a kid on the sidelines. But now the youngster’s peeved papa demands satisfaction.

• Not taking too kindly to the taunting of her son, a Little League mother attacks one of the name-calling kids and calls him “white trash” in return.

• Speaking of matriarchs in sports, Mark Cuban gets into it with Kenyon Martin’s mom, telling her her son is a “thug“.

Dennis Rodman reportedly dines & dashes from a Miami restaurant, but not before one of his men mauls the manager.

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Mike Singletary’s Wife “Wishes He Was White”?

Ann Killion of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS on Saturday had a puff piece on Kim Singletary, wife of NFL legend & current 49ers head coach Mike. Predictably, Killion tells us that Kim is there to temper her husband’s insane intensity, which also applies to everyday endeavors like folding laundry. (God, I feel for their kids.)

Mike and Kim Singletary

But in the midst of the piece, Kim, who is white and met Singletary as a freshman at Baylor, breaks off a rather bizarre line. Read more…

49ers Psychologist DQs Stafford From Draft Board

The 49ers are desperate — desperate! — for a starting quarterback. So when it comes to Matthew Stafford, perhaps the closest thing to can’t miss QB in this year’s draft, why does it seem like they’re doing everything they can to come up with an excuse to not take him?

Matthew Stafford

From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED comes a look inside the combine, and San Francisco’s team psychologist’s meeting with Stafford. The word out of 49er camp is that he was too reticent to talk about his parents’ divorce. But can you really blame a 21-year-old kid for not wanting to discuss his personal issues with someone he’s known for a matter of minutes?

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