Friday Tidbits 3/28/08

28 March 2008

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Dirk hurt his ankle and knee.  He’ll be out a couple weeks.  The Wolves beat the tanking Knicks.  Amare Stoudemire went 20 for 20 from the line in a win over Houston.  Rick Adelman won his 800th game.  Brent Barry signed with the Spurs.  Joel Przybilla ripped 25 boards in a win over the Clippers.  Lamar Odom had 23 points and 21 boards in a win over Golden State.  Elton Brand was able to scrimmage.  Chris Webber is retiring.  I always liked C-Webb (although Jalen was my favorite Fab Five).  Dwight Howard had 24 points and grabbed 21 boards in a loss to the Spurs.  Deron Williams had 15 assists in a win over Charlotte.  Chris Paul handed out 20 assists in a win over the Cavs.  Andre Miller dished out 18 in a win over Chicago.  Devin Harris had 15 in a win over Indiana.  Brandon Roy will miss a few games with a groin injury.  Seattle’s Chris Wilcox (finger) called it a season.  Jason Kidd had 15 assists, but lost to Denver putting them a game behind Dallas and half game behind Golden State for the 7th & 8th playoff spots.  Nene made his return after missing most of the season to testicular cancer.

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Alexander Ovechkin scored his 60th goal of the year.  Calgary’s Jarome Iginla had a hat trick against the Wild.  San Jose’s Joe Thornton had one against Phoenix.  This week’s shutouts:  Colorado’s Jose Theodore vs. Calgary, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury vs. New Jersey, Nashville’s Dan Ellis vs. Columbus, Columbus’ Fredrik Norrena vs. Chicago, and LA’s Erik Ersberg vs. Phoenix.  Buffalo’s Tim Connolly will miss the rest of the year because of a bad hip.  NY Rangers F Blair Betts will miss a couple weeks because of foot surgery.  Vancouver C Brendan Morrison’s knee injury will cost him the rest of the year.  Sid Crosby returned.

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Miguel Cabrera signed an 8-year, $153 million deal with Detroit.  I hope they put a weight clause in.  Milwaukee placed P Yovani Gallardo on the 15 day DL (knee).  Javy Lopez retired.  Detroit’s Curtis Granderson broke his finger.  He was placed on the 15 day DL.  The Twins signed Joe Nathan to a four-year deal worth $47 million.  A great closer is awesome to have, but what happens when you never have leads?  Brad Lidge landed on the Phillies’ 15 day DL. Scott Rolen (finger) will miss a couple of weeks.  The Red Sox opened the 2008 season with a win over Oakland.  Manny drove in four.  Jose Canseco claimed he introduce A-Rod to a steroid distibutor.  The Cubs signed OF Reed Johnson.  Rich Harden pitched a gem to earn Oakland a split in Japan.  The Yankees named their Spring Training field George M. Steinbrenner Field.

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Lofa Tatupu signed a six-year, $42 million extension with Seattle.  They also signed CB Marcus Trufant to a six-year, $50 million deal.  The Packers signed Atari Bigby to a one-year deal.  Jason Elam is heading to Atlanta. The Niners lost a 5th round pick for tampering with Lance Briggs.  Brandon Marshall hurt his arm at home and will be out a few months.  The Giants signed LG Rich Seubert to a three-year deal.  WR Reche Caldwell signed with St. Louis.  Kevin Carter restructured his deal to return to Tampa Bay.  The Colts extended the contract of President Bill Polian.  San Diego C Nick Hardwick will miss at least a month following foot surgery.  Draft prospect Heath Benedict was found dead in his home.  Olindo Mare signed a two-year deal with Seattle.

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Day 2 finally saw March Madness live up to its name.  #10 Davidson beat #7 Gonzaga behind Stephen Curry’s 40 points.  #12 Western Kentucky beat #5 Drake on a Ty Rogers’ bomb as the clock expired.  #13 Davidson knocked off #4 UConn.  #13 Siena upset #4 Vanderbilt.  #9 Arkansas put #8 Indiana out of its misery.  #12 Villanova knocked off #5 Clemson.  Day 3 saw the upsets continue.  #7 West Virginia finished the job Belmon started on #2 Duke.  #5 Michigan State got by #4 Pitt.  Day 4 saw #12 Villanova reach the Sweet Sixteen with a win over Siena, #10 Davidson knock off #2 Georgetown, #12 Western Kentucky get by #13 San Diego.  #1 North Carolina beat #4 Washington State to advance to the Elite 8. #3 Xavier joined them by knocking off #7 West Virginia.  In the late games, #3 Louisville beat #2 Tennesse and #1 UCLA survived #12 Western Kentucky’s comeback attempt.  Tonight, Wisconsin plays Davidson, Stanford faces Texas, Kansas battles with Villanova, and Memphis takes on Michigan State.

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Clemson RB James Davis will miss spring practice because of a shoulder injury.  Florida WR Percy Harvin may miss his spring practice with a heel injury.  South Carolina suspended QB Stephen Garcia for underage drinking.  The nerve of him  Arkansas suspended LB Freddie Fairchild after he was arrested.  He’s suspected of domestic abuse. 

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Tiger lost.  I guess I should say Geoff Ogilvy won the WGC-CA Championship.  Dean Wilson has the early lead in the Zurich Classic.

Scott Wimmer won the Nationwide Series at Nashville Superspeedway.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

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Time for the 14th installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

Reche Caldwell
Caldwell signed with St. Louis.  Quite an upgrade from the Redskins passing attack he was involved with last year.  He had 15 catches with the Skins after a 61 catch season with New England. 

Kevin Carter
Carter restructured his deal to return to Tampa Bay.  He had 43 tackles and 3 sacks last year.  He has 100.5 sacks for his career. 

James Hall
Hall also restructured his deal to return to St. Louis.  The DE had 53 tackles last year and 2.5 sacks. 

Benny Sapp
The Vikings bolstered their secondary by signing the CB.  Last year with Kansas City he had 30 tackles and an INT. 

Rich Seubert
The Giants locked up their RG for three years.

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Time for the 13th installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

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Atari Bigby
He’s got a crazy name and crazy game.  He eats up receivers and running backs like Pacman with his hard hits.  He reached a one-year deal with the Packers.  The Safety had 86 tackles last year and 5 interceptions.jason-elam.jpg
Jason Elam
I usually wouldn’t even address a kicker signing, but Elam merits some attention.  Elam is leaving Denver for Atlanta.  It will be weird to see him in a different uniform, but what do you do.  He signed a four-year, $9 million deal with the Falcons.

Quinn Gray
Gray had a nice little run with the Jags last year when David Garrard went down.  He signed on with the Texans to be their 3rd QB.  He signed a one-year deal. 

Donald Strickland
Strickland had 34 tackles in 13 games at Safety for the 49ers.  San Francisco brought him back for one year and $800K.

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Lofa Tatupu
Lofa signed a six-year, $42 million deal to stay with Seattle.  The LB had 109 tackles lasst year with the Seahawks, which is the third straight year he’s accomplished the feat.  He added four interceptions.  He has made the Pro Bowl every year so far in his career.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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Friday Tidbits 3/21/08

21 March 2008

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The Rockets beat Charlotte for its 21st straight win.  The Lakers were next for #22.  Boston snapped the streak though.  The Hornets made it two in a row.  They are so streaky.  Chris Paul had 17 assists and Tyson Chandler had 20 rebounds as New Orleans beat the Lakers.  Utah beat Boston to snap their ten game winning streak.  The Wolves beat Seattle and the Clippers.  Carlos Boozer dropped 41 points on New Jersey.  Denver scored 168 points…in one game.  That’s like two games worth for New York.  Marcus Camby had a triple-double.  I’m trying to give the Timberwolves a chance, but their owner is making it very difficult.  I’ve tried to ignore the Country Club he has going on over there where the members (Glen Taylor, Kevin McHale, and Randy Whitman) aren’t held accountable, but try to shift the blame on KG and Flip Saunders.  Funny, that they have both achieved a great deal of success since leaving.  He said KG tanked it last year.  I’m sorry, but a team that allows Mark Madsen to jack up seven three-pointers doesn’t have any legs to stand on.  KG may not be the best 4th quarter player, but he sure as heck gives it his all each and every time out.  He’s too big of a person to call them out on it.  The Country Club makes me sick.  Miami makes its fans sick.  They score 54 points on Wednesday. What are they the Wisconsin Badgers?  Oh wait, they gave up 96. Iverson had 32 in his return to Philly, but the home team had the last laugh.  Dwight Howard had THREE points.  Thanks a lot Dwight.  It’s basically a playoff week for me.  Larry Harris was canned as Milwaukee’s GM.

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The Islanders G Rick DiPietro will miss the rest of the season following hip surgery.  Buffalo D Teppo Numminen has rejoined the team following heart surgery.  Chris Pronger was suspended 8 games.for stomping on Ryan Kesler’s leg.  This week’s shutouts:  Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak vs. the Islanders, Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom vs. the Kings, Tampa’s Mike Smith vs. the Rangers, Columbus’ Fredrik Norrena vs. Detroit.  Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin vs. Washington. Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek had a hat trick against Tampa Bay.  Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg did too as he scored all of the Red Wing goals against Columbus.  Minnesota D Kurtis Foster broke his leg.  Richard Zednik was able to skate on Wednesday.  

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Atlanta got rid of a headache by trading DeAngelo Hall to the Raiders for a second round pick.  I’m not even going to mention the ridiculous amount of money Oakland gave him.  The 49ers signed WR Bryant Johnson to a one-year deal.  Derrick Ward re-signed with NY Giants.  Robert Ferguson re-signed with the Vikings.  The Jets signed Bubba Franks.  Carolina signed WR D.J. Hackett to a two-year, $3.5 million deal.  The Eagles signed Ryan Klecko to be their new FB.  The Vikings have added assistant Head Coach to Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier’s title.  The Packers signed LB Brandon Chillar.  New England signed Fernando Bryant.  Pittsburgh cut scumbag Cedrick Wilson.  He punched his girlfriend in a restaurant.

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Dice K’s wife had the baby so now he’ll open the season for the Sox in Japan.  Shelly Duncan and Melky Cabrera were suspended three games and Johnny Gomes was suspended two games for their roles in the brawl.  Wily Mo Pena will miss a month with an oblique tear.  Kaz Matsui will miss a couple weeks after having surgery to fix an anal fissure.  I don’t even want to begin to know what that is.  John Lackey will miss a few weeks because of a strained triceps.  The Dodgers bid farewell to Vero Beach.  They’ve been going there 61 years, but will switch to Arizona next year.  The Red Sox threatened to boycott the games in Japan if their coaches and staff didn’t get the money promised to them.  I thought it was a nice gesture.  Joba Chamberlain will start the year off in the bullpen.  Bartolo Colon got sent to the minors.  St. Louis signed P Adam Wainwright to a four-year $15 million deal.  Nomar will miss Opening Day with a broken hand.  The Nationals sent P John Patterson packing.  This isn’t news, but Kerry Wood hurt his back.
 
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#2 Duke barely escaped with a win again #15 Belmont.  I was so hoping for the slipper to fit, but Belmont wasn’t Cinderella.  Kansas State beat USC without a huge game from Beasley.  Think the team had heard enough it was a one-man show?  There goes my bracket.  #9 Texas A & M beat #8 BYU.  Hey, there wasn’t many upsets so I had to report it.  Pre-tourney news:  Arkansas beat #17 Vanderbilt in the SEC tourney.  Illinois beat #16 Purdue and Minnesota beat #20 Indiana in the Big Ten tourney.  St. Joe’s beat #12 Xavier in the A-10 tourney.  Pitt beat #24 Marquette in the Big East tourney.  #2 UCLA beat #11 Stanford to win the Pac 10 title.  Arkansas beat #4 Tennessee in the SEC tourney.  #6 Wisconsin beat #19 Michigan State in the Big 10 tourney.  Clemson beat #7 Duke in the ACC tourney.  Pitt beat #9 Georgetown in the Big East tourney. UNLV beat #23 BYU to win the Mountain West tourney.

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Ohio State landed prize QB Terrelle Pryor.  LSU’s Les Miles’ new deal with the school makes him the highest paid coach in the conference.  Georgia LB Marcus Washington will miss next year after his shoulder surgery.  Sad news to report.  UCF WR Ereck Plancher died during conditioning drills.  Missouri kicked LB Marquis Booker off the team following his arrest for weapons possession.  Virginia Tech kicked RB Branden Ore off the team.

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Tiger won again.  He sunk a 25 foot putt to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.  It was his fifth straight PGA victory and 64th overall to tie him with Ben Hogan.  He’s two back after day one of the CA Championship.

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Jeff Burton took home the prize at the Bristol Motor Speedway.  Ken Harvick spun out Tony Stewart to finish second.  Tony Stewart wasn’t pleased.
  
That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.
 
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Time for the 12th installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

Fernando Bryant
Bryant signed with New England to hill fill a the void in their secondary that free agency has left.  Last year with the Lions he had 69 tackles.  He signed a one-year deal. 

Brandon Chillar
The Packers signed the LB to a two-year deal worth $5.4 million.  Last year with the Rams he had 67 tackles and 2.5 sacks.  He’s had over 50 tackles in each of the past three seasons. 

Justin Hartwig
The Steelers signed Hartwig to a two-year deal worth $4 million.  The Center, who could possibly play some Guard next year, will help boster Pittsburgh’s line after losing Alan Faneca.  Hartwig played with Carolina last year. 

Terrance Holt
Holt signed with Carolina giving them help at Safety.  He had 69 tackles last year with Arizona. 

William James
Buffalo signed James to bolster their secondary.  He signed a two-year deal with the Bills.  Last year he had 31 tackles and a pick for Philly.

Josh Thomas
The DE re-signed with the Colts. Last year he had 29 tackles and a sack.  He went to Syracuse. 

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2002 NFL Draft Re-mix

19 March 2008

A friend of mine for the SportingNews world, Bartolis, invited me to do a re-mix on the 2002 NFL draft.  We alternated picks (he had the odd, I had the even) and chose who the teams would take if they could do it over knowing what they know today.  This was a lot of fun making.  I hope you enjoy it.

Bartolis‘ picks are in blue while mine are in orange.

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#1 Houston Texans – Brian Westbrook

I think when it just comes down to it he’s the best player in this draft. He catches the ball well, runs well inside and outside. He has a great presence and he’s a team leader. He can block well and he’s unselfish. He gave up a guaranteed TD to knell the ball in a game that was a meaningless win. What is there not to like about Brian Westbrook? I think every team in the league would take him in a heartbeat, regardless of whom they have in the backfield. He’s an exceptional player and despite his team, one of my favorite players.

#2 Carolina Panthers – Dwight Freeney
Not that Julius Peppers was a bad pick, but I think Freeney would have been even more of a nightmare on the quarterback when teamed with Mike Rucker and Kris Jenkins.

#3 Detroit Lions – Albert Haynesworth
This is an easy pick out with one fat under achieving linemen in with another fat used to be underachieving until his contract year DL. Hopefully Hayneworth just wasn’t playing hard last year, I think he plays hard, and if so immediately improves a porous Detroit Lions defense.
 
#4 Buffalo Bills – Ed Reed
Ed Reed has been one of the best defensive players in the league over the past six seasons. He instantly upgrades Buffalo’s secondary. He gives the Bills attitude on D.

#5 San Diego Chargers – John Henderson
The Henderson pick is a little risky I guess because you never know how DT will hold up in 3-4 systems and being that he has never played in the 3-4 at the NFL system. Still Henderson is 6-7 335 pounds and explosive. He could probably even play end in the 3-4 system. I’ve always been a big believer on choosing the best player available with a high draft selection and I think Henderson (as long as he stays healthy) is absolutely devastating and too enticing for me personally to pass up here.

#6 Kansas City Chiefs – Bryant McKinnie
Kansas City’s line was getting old, and adding a talent like McKinnie would have been a great move. McKinnie would have been better served to learn under the tutelage of Will Shields and Willie Roaf. Perhaps his work ethic and character would have never come into question, and he could have realized his true potential.

#7 Minnesota Vikings – David Garrard
I’m not a believer of Tavaris Jackson.  Are any of you Viking fans out there believers? I think the Vikings luck out here and get a QB to build their team around. Good pick for the Vikings who already have a devastating running game and OL (much like Jax) and you saw how good Garrard was with those compliments.

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#8 Dallas Cowboys – Clinton Portis

With Emmitt Smith on his way out, the Cowboys grab another outstanding RB that went to a Florida school to plug in.

#9 Jacksonville Jaguars – Julius Peppers
The Jaguars lose a powerful DT (well now that Stroud is gone it’d be even worse) but they gain a very talented powerful DE who is coming off a very bad season by any standards not just his. Hopefully this season was just an aberration and the Jags might have the steal of this new draft.

#10 Cincinnati Bengals – Aaron Kampman
Cincinnati’s defense has long been a problem. The character of their players has also been an issue. Aaron Kampman would help change that with his pass rushing abilities on-the-field and charitable work off-the-field.

#11 Indianapolis Colts – Andre Guro
de
Good for the Colts Gurode falls into their laps. To be honest the Colts don’t have 5 fantastically sound and athletic linemen, only Saturday and Tarik Glenn will be (Peyton’s quick release helps the other linemen a lot). Gurode would be a true talented OL for the Colts to put in the middle next to Saturday although he now plays center, he’s 6-4, 316 pounds and could easily make the switch.
 

#12 Arizona Cardinals – Charles Grant
Arizona chose Wendell Bryant originally. If they could do it over, Charles Grant would have been a much better addition to their defensive line.

#13 New Orleans Saints – Lito Sheppard
The Saints really need some Secondary help. The only question is who is the best CB in this draft, they’re all 2nd tier guys not like the last draft I did where Leigh Bodden and Terrence McGee were two of the LESS talented CBs in the first round, that’s saying a lot. The question is who’s the best CB in this class, Sheppard? Sheldon Brown, Quentin Jammer? I don’t know I’m most familiar with Sheppard and Brown and I prefer Sheppard so I’ll go with Sheppard mostly because of familiarity.

#14 New York Giants – Will Witherspoon
Witherspoon has averaged close to 97 tackles in his six-year career.

#15 Tennessee Titans – Jeremey Shockey
The Titans get that much needed help for their offense and Tight End with Jeremey Shockey. This is a fantastic fit for the Titans. Vince Young needs someone who can make plays and Shockey is a very good at ROAMING, and less great at route running (a big reason I think Manning/Shockey don’t mesh like I think Manning/Boss will). But for Vince Young, a roaming TE is fantastic. Someone who will stay with the play and run around while Vince is running around would be great. I think you’d even see a spike in numbers. Like I said before too, Shockey is also a capable blocker.

#16 Cleveland Browns – Javon Walker
Perhaps Tim Couch would have had a little more success with a WR like Javon to throw to. Then again
, perhaps not. Anyway, at this point the Browns should grab the best receiver in the draft. 
 
 

#17 Oakland Raiders – Levi Jones Tackle
Raiders select Levi Jones to improve their OL. There are not a ton of great players after the top 10 in this draft so yeah.

#18 Atlanta Falcons – Sheldon Brown
Sheldon Brown has become a solid corner for the Eagles. Perhaps having Brown in place the Falcons pass on DeAngelo Hall and his character issues.

#19 Denver Broncos – Jermaine Phillips
Like I said before I really like Phillips I don’t know if everyone loves Phillips but I do. He’s a very good safety although not young he’s really come into his own recently. I like him more than the much higher profiled Roy Williams. John Lynch HAS to retire sometime, doesn’t he? 

#20 Green Bay Packers – Kendall Simmons
When Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle eventually hit the road, it would be nice to be able to plug Kendall Simmons in and save Brett Favre that year of growing pains.

#21 New England Patriots – Roy Williams
If anyone can keep Roy Williams in line it’s the Patriots. Like I’ve said numerous times, Williams lacks both discipline and I think great instruction. I think the Patriots can take this uber talented player and turn him into an animal.

#22 New York Jets – Michael Lewis
Can’t go wrong with a sure tackling Pro Bowl Strong Safety.

#23 Oakland Raiders – Bart Scott
I chose Bart Scott because he’s the most athletic player left. I like the Raiders linebacking corps a lot already but this just makes them even better and maybe they can go with a 3-4 or a 4-3 now.

#24 Baltimore Ravens – Donte Stallworth
Baltimore could use a burner to inje
ct life into their passing attack. Perhaps Ray Lewis and company could have got Donte off on the right foot and established a strong work ethic early in his career so he could avoid hamstring issues.

#25 New Orleans Saints – Quentin Jammer
Jammer fell much further this time than I oringially thought he would. Jammer is a pretty good talent, playing on a team that definitely helps out all of their secondary members. Jammer has been unseated by the beautifully freakish Antonio Cromartie, but Jammer provides more depth to the Saints who out of this draft wind up with both Sheppard AND Jammer. Making their CB strength, and not a weakness.

#26 Philadelphia Eagles – Chester Taylor

Without Brian Westbrook the Eagles would be screwed. Chester would help soften the blow.

#27 San Francisco 49ers – Phillip Buchannon
Buchannon is right there with the other CBs in this draft serviceable to quality, but not great. Buchannon will help out a team that needs to take the best player left on the board.

#28 Seattle Seahawks – Randy McMichael
The Seahawks actually drafted Jerramy Stevens. If they could do it over again, they’d pick a Tight End who could actually catch.

#29 Chicago Bears – David Thornton
Thornton is solid enough to play on any team and would be an instant upgrade over Hunter Hillenmeyer for the Bears. Personally I like Thornton more than Witherspoon, Lester prefers Witherspoon over Thornton they’re both right about the same. Last year Thornton had 122 tackles last year he also had 107 tackles. He was drafted by the Colts so you know he moves well and is undersized 6-2 225 pounds (see told you). But he’s a solid player and though Colombo makes more sense here again, except this time the Bears keep him, that’s boring so Thornton it is.


#30 Pittsburgh Steelers – Larry Foote
The Steelers went on to get Larry in the 4th round. In a re-mix there is no way he’d last that long. Foote has 343 tackles over the past four years and plays a key role on their defense.

#31 St. Louis Rams – Marc Colombo
This draft is really good at the top, pretty bad after that. There’s not a ton of depth in this draft. Colombo helps rebuild a line that needs some rebuilding. Colombo is big and moves well enough and he’s the best value pick this far in the draft.

#32 Washington Redskins – Antwaan Randle El
If they had him perhaps they don’t waste their money later on Brandon Lloyd. Plus, they get a dynamic receiver.

ACTUAL PICKS
#1 David Carr, Fresno State, Houston Texans
#2 Julius Peppers, North Carolina, Carolina Panthers
#3 Joey Harrington, Oregon, Detroit Lions
#4 Mike Williams, Texas, Buffalo Bills
#5 Quentin Jammer, Texas, San Diego Chargers
#6 Ryan Sims, North Carolina, Kansas City Chiefs
#7 Bryant Mckinnie, Miami Hurricanes, Vikings
#8 Roy Williams, Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys
#9 John Henderson, Tennessee, Jaguars
#10 Levi Jones, Arizona State, Bengals
#11 Dwight Freeney, Syracuse, Colts
#12 Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin, Cardinals
#13 Donte Stallworth, Tennessee, Saints
#14 Jeremy Schockey, Miami Hurricanes, NYG
#15 Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee, Tennessee Titans
#16 William Green, Boston College, Browns
#17 Phillip Buchannon, Hurricanes, Oakland Raiders
#18 T.J. Duckett, Michigan State, Atlanta Falcons
#19 Ashley Lelie, Hawaii, Denver Broncos
#20 Javon Walker, Florida State, Green Bay Packers
#21 Daniel Graham, Colorado, New England Patriots
#22 Bryan Thomas, Alabama-Birmingham, NYJ
#23 Napoleon Harris, Northwestern, Oakland Raiders
#24 Ed Reed, Miami Hurricanes, Baltimore Ravens
#25 Charles Grant, Georiga, New Orleans Saints
#26 Lito Sheppard, Florida, Eagles
#27 Mike Rumph, Hurricanes, 49ers
#28 Jerramy Stevens, Washington, Seattle Seahawks
#29 Marc Colombo, Boston College, Chicago Bears
#30 Kendall Simmons, Auburn (guard), Steelers
#31 Robert Thomas, UCLA (OLB), St. Louis Rams
#32 Patrick Ramsey, Tulane, Washington Redskins

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Time for the eleventh installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

Robert Ferguson
This wouldn’t be news for any team other than Minnesota because their receiving corps is so weak.  Well, Ferguson re-signed with the Vikings for one year and $1 million.  Last year he had 32 receptions for 391 yards and a score. 

Bubba Franks
The Jets picked up Bubba hoping to bolster their passing game.  He only had 18 catches last year, but he remains a red zone threat.  Of those 18 catches, three went for touchdowns. 

Brian Kelly
CB Brian Kelly has decided to sign with the Detroit Lions.  Last year he had 21 tackles and 2 INTs for Tampa Bay.  On his career he has 22 INTs.  He signed a three-year deal with the Lions. 

Dan Klecko
The Eagles signed Klecko and will convert him to Fullback to replace Thomas Tapeh. 

D.J. Hackett
The Panthers are finally giving Steve Smith some help at WR.  First, they brough Moose (Muhsin Muhammad) back, and now they’re adding D.J. Hackett.  Hackett suffered through an ankle injury last year, but was effective when he was able to play.  He had 32 catches for 384 yards and 3 TDs.  He also had a six catch, 101 yard, 1 TD game in the playoff win over Washington.  His deal was worth $3.5 million over two years. 

Derrick Pope
Pope signed with Minnesota to provide depth at Linebacker.  Last year with the Dolphins he recorded 64 tackles and made a pair of picks.

Ben Utecht
From Manning to Palmer.   The 6’6″ TE has left Indianapolis for Cincinnati.  Last year he caught 31 passes for 364 yards.  He went to the University of Minnesota.  He signed a three-year deal with Cincy.

Eugene Wilson
Wilson joined Asante Samuel and Randall Gay as New England secondary members that have departed.  He played Safety for New England, but will return to Cornerback for Tampa Bay after signing a one-year, $1.8 million deal.

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Time for the tenth installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

Chris Brown
Brown is leaving Tennessee for the Houston Texans.  He lost his starting job to LenDale White last year.  He still finished with 462 rushing yards, 128 receiving yards, and 5 TDs.  He ran for 1067 in 2004.  He’ll compete with Ahman Green for carries.  He’ll be 27 next year. 

Mark Brunell
Brunell signed a two-year deal with New Orleans to backup Drew Brees.  He’ll be 38 next year, but hopefully he’ll just be holding a clipboard.  He didn’t throw a pass last year for Washington.

Danny Clark
Tom Coughlin coached Clark when he was cutting his teeth in the league in Jacksonville.  Now the LB will join him in New York.  He had 51 tackles last year for Houston.  In 2004 & 2005 with the Raiders he recorded 243 tackles.

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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Bryant Johnson
The 49ers landed one of the last remaining quality WRs on the market.  He signed a one-year deal with San Fran.  Last year with Arizona he had 46 receptions for 528 yards and 2 TDs.

Derrick Ward
Ward re-signed with the New York Giants for one year and $1.1 million.  He’s in a very crowded backfield with Jacobs and Bradshaw, but he did run for 602 yards and 3 TDs while adding 179 yards and a score through the air.

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Friday Tidbits 3/14/08

14 March 2008

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Dwayne Wade is out for the rest of the year following OssaTron treatment on his knee.  Chris Paul handed out 16 assists in a win over New Jersey.  He had 17 against San Antonio.  Utah’s Deron Williams had 15 as Phoenix lost again despite Steve Nash’s 15 assists.  Minnesota actually won a game despite 48 points from Kevin Martin.  Deron added 16 more assists in a win over Denver.  Tracy McGrady scored 41 as Houston won its 18th straight game.  Make it 19 as they knocked off New Jersey.  How about 20 as they beat Atlanta? LeBron…Kobe…make some room for Tracy McGrady in the MVP discussion.  Josh Smith had 22 rebounds in the loss.  Dirk Nowitzki became Dallas’ all-time leading scorer.  Nate Robinson had 45 points in an overtime loss to Portland.  Minnesota beat the Clippers. Eddy Curry has torn cartilage in his knee.  Phoenix beat San Antonio.  LeBron messed around and got a triple-double in a win over Portland.  He followed up with 42 points, 11 boards, and 7 dimes.  Hedo Turkoglu matched him in a win over Atlanta.  Allen Iverson has a fracture on his ring finger.  He’ll play through the pain.  Golden State picked up the option on Don Nelson’s contract assuring he’ll be back next season.  Boston was the first to 50 wins.  The beat Seattle for their tenth straight win.  David West returned for New Orleans.  I wish I had known or maybe I would have used him in my lineup this week.  Greg Oden was able to practice for Portland.  I hope he can get healthy because I like him a lot.  Caron Butler returned for the Washington Bullets.  Smush Parker signed with the Clippers.  Amare’s 36 points were enough to top Baron Davis’ near triple-double (38 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists).

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Jarome Iginla became Calgary’s all-time leading goal scorer.  Anaheim’s RW Corey Perry is out over a month following surgery after injuring a tendon above his knee on a skate.  The Kings lost Goalie Jason LaBarberia to a hernia.  Buffalo send F Clarke McArthur to the minors.  Replacing him is Jochen Hecht.  Minnesota’s Eric Belander broke his toe.  This week’s shutouts:  New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Boston, Dallas’ Marty Turco vs. Colorado.  Montreal’s Carey Price vs. New Jersey.  Carolina’s Cam Ward vs. Chicago.  Ottawa’s Martin Gerber vs. Montreal.   Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. Vancouver. Buffalo will be without defensmen Jaroslav Spacek and Dmitri Kalinin for a while because of injuries.  Detroit signed RW Daniel Cleary to a five-year, $14 million deal.  Vincent Lecavalier netted a hat trick against the Islanders.  Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk matched him in a win over Calgary.  Dallas F Steve Ott was suspended three games for hitting Jordan Leopold in the head.  Andre Cogliano set a record by scoring in three straight overtime games.  Washington’s Olie Kolzig won his 300th game.  Chicago D James Wisniewski was suspended a game cross-checking Mikael Samuelsson.  Buffalo’s Nathan Paetsch got a concussion from an elbow delivered by Pittsburgh’s Georges Laraque.  Laraque was suspended.  Vancouver D Mattias Ohlund will miss the rest of the year after having knee surgery.  Tampa signed DE Marques Douglas.  Detroit is the first team to 100 points.  They tied Montreal with their 8th straight 100 point season.

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Larry Fitzgerald signed a four-year, $40 million deal with Arizona.  The New York Giants coughed up $21 million to Tom Coughlin over four years to remain their coach.  Seattle signed Julius Jones for four years and $12 million.  See you later Shaun Alexander.  Dan Morgan signed with the Saints.  Pittsburgh LB James Harrison was arrested for assault.  Denver signed safeties Marquand Manuel and Marlon McCree.  Jesse Chapman signed with the Jets.  Tatum Bell re-signed with Detroit for a year.  Who says you can’t go home.  Trent Green is returning to St. Louis (3 years, $8.9 million) and Warrick Dunn is going back to Tampa Bay (2 years, $6 million).  Dwayne Jarrett got popped for a DUI.  Joey Harrington re-signed with Atlanta.  Carolina cut C Justin Hartwig.  WR Devard Darling signe with the Chiefs.  Olympian Justin Gatlin worked out for NFL scouts.  He’s banned for using PEDs.  Why not try the NFL?  Tennessee reach a deal with Justin McCareins.  The Raiders signed Drew Carter.  David Carr signed with the Giants.  Denver fired GM Ted Sundquist.  Trent Dilfer was cut by San Fran.  Kevin Jones was cut by Detroit.  Mark Brunell signed a two-year deal with New Orleans.  Chris Brown signed with the Texans.

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Curt Schilling was placed on the 60-Day DL. Francisco Liriano made his return following Tommy John surgery.  He looked good.  The soft Mike Hampton strained his groin.  Old man Jim Edmonds strained his calf.  He’ll miss a couple weeks.  Nomar Garciaparra’s life was made a little easier as his main competition for the third base gig, Andy LaRoche, will miss a couple months after tearing a ligament in his thumb.  Adam Easton has a herniated disk in his back.  Texas is the latest team to give Sidney Ponson a chance.  Good luck with that. The Big Unit made his return the mound.  Unfortunately he got bombed.  Texas P Brandan McCarthy will miss a month or more because of forearm inflammation.  Toronto P Casey Janssen will miss the season with a shoulder injury.  Tampa Bay’s Rocco Baldelli will start the season on the DL.  His teammates got into a brawl with the Yankees on Wednesday.  Luckily for the Rays, Billy Crystal wasn’t with the Yanks yet or they would have been in a world of hurt.   Greg Maddux left the game after being hit in the leg with a line drive.

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#1 North Carolina beat #5 Duke 76-68 to win the ACC.  O.J. Mayo scored 25 as USC upset #7 Stanford 77-64.  #10 Georgetown defeated #13 Louisville 55-52 to win the Big East title.  Alabama knoced off #16 Vanderbilt 78-73.  My beloved Syracuse beat #20 Marquette 87-72.  Penn State beat #17 Indiana 68-64.  Ohio State beat #18 Michigan State 63-54.  #21 Drake won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.  Lute Olson will coach Arizona next year. San Diego beat #22 Gonzaga 69-62 to win the WCC title and crash the NCAA tournament.  #25 Davidson beat Elon to win the Southern Conference Championship.  George Mason won the CAA title.  Siena took the MAAC.  Tyler Hansbrough was named the Sporting News Player of the Year.  North Carolina will retire his number.  Kevin Love was named Pac-10 Player of the Year.  Michael Beasley won Big 12 Player of the Year…shocking.  Oral Roberst won the Summit League tourney.  #10 Butler won the Horizon League tourney.  Mount St. Mary won the Northeast tourney.  Portland State won the Big Sky tourney.  97 year old John Wooden was able to leave the hospital after he broke his wrist and collarbone.  Loyola Marymount’s Rodney Tention resigned.  West Virginia beat #15 UConn, Pitt beat #13 Louisville, and #24 Marquette beat #14 Notre Dame in the Big East tourney.

South Florida gave Coach Jim Leavitt a two-year extension.  He’s penciled in to be their coach through 2014.  Oklahoma recruit Josh Jarboe was arrested for weapon possession and receiving stolen property.  Clemson RB Ray Ray McElrathbey is leaving the school.  West Virginia RB Noel Devine was arrested on battery charges.  I guess he’s not living up to his last name.

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The news keeps getting better for Kyle Busch.  First, he ascended to the top spot in the points race following Carl Edwards’ penalty.  Then he proved his worth by winning at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Matt Kenseth won the Nicorette 300.  There is a lot of discussion about tires in the news.  It’s above my head.

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John Daly’s swing coach had enough.  He said Daly is more interested in drinking than golf.  I guess he was right because Daly skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational pro am, which left him ineligible for the event.  He recently spent a rain delay drinking in the Hooters tent and talking with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden.  He had Gruden caddie for him when play resumed.  That’s just hilarious.  Sad, but hilarious.  Sean O’Hair won the PODS Championship.  Tiger Woods will try to win his sixth straight tournament in Bay Hill at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Fred Couples is tied with J.J. Henry for the lead at five under.

 That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

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Time for the ninth installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

David Carr
Eli is going to have to look over his shoulder as another former #1 pick joins the Super Bowl champs.  OK, I made that up.  He did sign with the Giants though, to be their backup QB.  The deal was worth $1 million for one year.  Last year he completed 53.7% of his passes for 635 yards, 3 TDs, 5 INTs, and a passer rating of 58.3.   

Drew Carter
The Raiders added another wideout to the mix with the signing of Drew Carter.  He signed a one-year deal worth $2 million.  Last year with Carolina he had 38 receptions for 517 yards and 4 TDs.

Devard Darling
Darling signed with Kansas City.  The wideout had 18 catches last year with Baltimore for 326 yards and three TDs.   

Marques Douglas
Last year the DE had 72 tackles and 3 sacks for the 49ers.  He has had 326 tackles and 17 sacks over the past five seasons.  He signed a four-year deal with Tampa Bay.

Joey Harrington
Everybody’s favorite whipping boy returns to Atlanta.  He likely backup Chris Redman and  help mentor a rookie QB.  Hey, at least he wasn’t as hated as he was when he was in Detroit.

Justin McCareins
Justin is following Warrick Dunn and Trent Green’s lead by returning to a former team.  He’s heading back to Tennessee after four unspectacular seasons with the Jets.  Last year he had 19 catches for 232 yards.

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