- First of all, the most common: “Jay, what do you think about the Alex Rodriguez (not touching that nickname) drama?” If you have not had the chance to read “Geez…”, it should answer that question and maybe a few others.
- Next, sticking with the hometown, the New York Giants made several moves this week; the most notable being placing the franchise tag on leading rusher Brandon Jacobs. For those who are unfamiliar with what this tag means, here's a primer from Wikipedia.
As mentioned in the NYT's article, the tag essentially gives general manager Jerry Reese more time to negotiate a long-term deal with Jacobs and his agent, Justin Schulman.
It’s an interesting move considering that both Jacobs and Derrick Ward are (well, were) unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2008 season. This isn’t a case of lockerroom rivals trying to one-up each other to become the starter as both not only have a strong relationship on and off the field, but they compliment each other (though Ward is deceptively strong). Of course, it’s hard to deny finances playing a role; that’s the principle of free agency – to offer your services for the best contract available, including to your current employer.
This is a case of wanting the opportunity to be the starting tailback in the NFL. Considering how both players found themselves in the same backfield in the first place – Jacobs as a third-string back behind Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams and Ronnie Brown in Auburn before transferring to Southern Illinois while Ward toiled in Ottawa (Calif.) and bided his time on the Jets’ practice squad – the long-term contract means stability in an unforgiving league.
As rumbled throughout the season in the press box, few expected Ward – “Wind” of NYG’s “Earth, Wind and Fire” trio of running backs – to stay with New York after this season. While he had a strong year in limited duty in 2007 (broken leg in the middle of that season), his stock rose this past year, the first full season of his career.
The Giants franchise is one that despite the market they play in, is not the most lavish spender compared to Dallas, Oakland or the recently-restrained squad in Washington. If somehow, they are buying time to not only negotiate a contract with Jacobs first, Ward could be next in line unless the team finds an outside linebacker or wide receiver in the college ranks that it really wants to grab in the April draft (which means decent signing bonus money instead of free agent dough).
- If you have not had the chance to or did not know about it, HBO Sports has an interesting web series called Ring Life, which they have recently added to the onDemand packages. Lately, they have the series for Ronald Hearns, the son of legendary welterweight Tommy ‘Hitman’ Hearns and Edvan Barros, a Brazilian fighter who is struggling to make a dent as a bit more than a journeyman. HBO has always done a splendid job with their sports documentaries and specials and these small web nuggets are no different.
Here's the latest of the series on lightweight champion Nate Campbell:
- Sticking with sports docs, you’ll see a few more related to the black athlete over the next two weeks. However, two that are recommended are HBO’s ‘Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football” and a longtime personal favorite, “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” (recently shown on PBS).
- College basketball fans: finally, I’m talking to you and not taking potshots at the NCAA’s way of doing business at your expense. Since I admit to not having kept up with the games at all this season, I wonder how some of you may (if at all) compare UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet this season to Greg Oden in his lone season at Ohio State. Both players are more known for their shot-blocking abilities than anything else, yet at least in college, guys of that ilk can use their height to post up against undersized centers. Talk to me.
- Sticking with college ball, the question is more for those of you who also watch the NBA: who seems like the better pro prospect at the moment: UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough or Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin?
- Finally, international football/soccer has gained more American coverage over the years, but in the last twelve months, ESPN has ramped up their efforts to keep viewers posted on highlights, scores and news. Yet, many are still fairly unfamiliar with the game beyond those one-minute clips and passing news on the bottom line scroll. Here are two more primers: one from BBC Sport and the other from friend of Scribe, Sounder at Heart.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Once in a while will come a post as this where instead of one topic covered in depth, there are several thoughts relayed based on questions asked offline and through various portals (Facebook, MySpace, email, IM). So, to answer questions that have not been addressed so far this week: