Welcome to the first edition of I’m Just Writin’… here on Endscore. This will be my weekly column where I will take a look back at the past week in sports with a dash of pop culture because who doesn’t like pop culture? I mean, besides anarchists and Ferris Bueller’s Economics teacher.
So, just like that one uncle in your family that asks you to pull his finger, let’s let ‘em rip!
A number of fans have been criticizing Brett Favre for his indecision whether to retire or return to Green Bay for another season. Others see his actions as selfish and he is essentially holding his team hostage, because they cannot make major personnel decisions - including whether to draft a quarterback - until they get the Favre situation squared away. I am not one of the people who feel this way. It looks to me that the Green Bay Packer organization is looking to rebuild, and they are not going for the big-time free agents in order to win now. Favre doesn’t deserve to be criticized, he just wants to go on top just like John Elway did. Favre has never demanded a trade or has given the team an ultimatum, he is just confused regarding the direction of the team. We see this all the time in the NBA, the star player is unhappy, forces the teams hand and trades him away for .50 cents on the dollar, sometimes even less. Look at the Vince Carter trade to the New Jersey Nets, the Raptors got nothing in return for the guy. Favre tried to be too polite and not step on anyone’s toes by not criticizing the organization but the time for that has past and now he is being blasted for his indecisiveness. Favre earned the right and should be able to go out on his own terms, even though he is not the player he once was.
It sure stinks to be Steve McNair these days. After years of sacrificing his body and renegotiating his contract for the better of the team, the Titans have kicked McNair out of team’s facilities. McNair is owed $10 million this season and will take up $24 million against the team’s salary cap this season. The Titans are looking for McNair to once again restructure his contract or he might be released. With offensive coordinator Norm Chow on board, the Titans will most likely select Matt Leinert in the upcoming draft with the third selection, most likely ending the McNair era. Leinert had played under Chow at USC.
Read More | Chris Mortensen
Two former Rick Pitino assistants have made headlines the last couple of days. Billy Donovan led Florida to it’s first NCAA basketball title, and Herb Sendek took the head coaching job at Arizona State University. Both Donovan and Sendek were Pitino assistant’s at Kentucky. Tubby Smith was also under Pitino’s staff, and has put his own mark on the Kentucky program.
Donovan led a strong sophomore recruiting class to the promise land yesterday by defeating UCLA, to the dismay of Bill Walton. With two NCAA championship games under Donovan’s belt, he may now be propelled into an elite class of head coaches. Sendek who has had success as the head coach of the N.C. State Wolfpack in recent years, but has come up short in head to head against the elite of the ACC with a 17-54 record against rivals Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest. With Sendek on board, the Pac-10 Conference just got tougher by one more team.
Read More | ESPN
For the sake of team unity, the Colts will be saved from a Manning/ Vanderjagt fiasco. The glass half full people are going to say that Vinatieri is clutch, and will finally enable the Colts to win the “big game.” This move seems to me like pulling the trigger on drafting a weaker kicker or defense after someone starts the run in the fantasy draft and leaving a good running back on the board, or changing the defensive personnel from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in the copycat NFL league and then teams just going back to a 4-3 once again. Sometimes teams try to keep their championship window open longer than realistically possible. There are few things more unbearable to watch than a former title contending team slowly slipping into a second tier team. Vinatieri was tired of the shrewd Patriots front office and signed a five-year, $12 million deal with a $3.5 million signing bonus. Vanderjagt subsequently signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
With pitcher David Wells blabbing his mouth off non-stop about not pitching until late April when the season starts because of the Red Sox deep pitching staff, maybe he will now get his wish. The Red Sox will receive outfielder Willy Mo Pena, who is 24 and will most likely replace Trot Nixon as he declines because of age and injury. Willy Mo Pena just came back from the World Baseball Classic on the Dominican Republic team. Arroyo had just signed an extension in the off-season, a three-year contract worth $11.25 million.
Read More | Associated Press
Terrell Owens got the long term deal he was looking for, signing a three-year $25 million contract. Dallas made some other moves by releasing WR Keyshawn Johnson and adding OT Jason Fabini, who is terrible I might add. Everyone should make a prayer for QB Drew Bledsoe and see if he survives this relationship. Bledsoe didn’t entirely mesh with a productive, yet outspoken Keyshawn Johnson as Johnson would scream at Bledsoe incessantly for not delivering him the ball. Hopefully this will prepare Bledsoe in dealing with the sure to come incidents with Terrell Owens. Dallas who has missed the playoffs for the last two seasons, are looking to end that streak next season. If Owens produces, Dallas management should not worry about the Dallas fans embracing Owens. Some fans are bitter towards Owens’ because of his touchdown celebration as a member of the 49ers against Dallas a few years ago.
The Patriots loss of key players finally caught up with them last year, as they lost in a Divisional round play to the Denver Broncos. Next season they may have to worry about getting into the Playoffs altogether. WR David Givens signed a $24 million, five-year contract, including an $8 million signing bonus with the Tennessee Titans. LB Willie McGinest signed a three-year, $12 million contract that includes $6 million in bonuses and guarantees with the Cleveland Browns. This move reunites McGinest with Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, who was a New England assistant. It looks like the Patriots may also lose clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri as well.
Drew Brees joins the New Orleans Saints after feeling underappreciated by the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers brass was eager to let Brees go after his shoulder injury and decided to go ahead and roll the dice with Philip Rivers. Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith was never in love with Brees, because he wasn’t drafted by him, therefore wasn’t a “Smith guy”. New Orleans was able to nab Brees with a six-year contract, worth 60 million dollars, plus a 8 million dollar signing bonus. The Saints no longer have to draft a QB with the #2 pick in this years’ draft, and wait for the project QB to progress. Brees will give the Saints an immediate impact player. The Saints can also look to trade down in the draft for multiple picks and address a number of holes to fill.
Dante Culpepper doesn’t have to worry about the love-boat scandal, or being on a team that doesn’t support their star player anymore. Culpepper drastically improves the Miami Dolphins chances into becoming a contender next year. In exchange for Culpepper, the Vikings will receive a second round pick. Culpepper was due a $6 million dollar roster bonus on March 20th. The Dolphins will be able to cut Gus Frerotte and save about $1.4 million in salary cap space.
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