Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alabama Pro Day Wrapup

Here’s a roundup of “what they’re saying” in the wake of Alabama’s second Pro Day workout last Thursday.

Breaking down Alabama’s pro day

Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and Courtney Upshaw stood out at Alabama's pro day on Thursday.

Trent Richardson pancakes the NFL at Alabama’s Pro Day

The video went viral just as soon as Alabama's Thursday Pro Day let out -- running back Trent Richardson blocking with great authority three unfortunate souls holding pads during his workout on the 'Bama campus.

RB Richardson impresses at Alabama pro day

Trent Richardson swept the Cleveland Browns off their feet -- or at least one notable member of the franchise.

Brooks: Richardson, Barron, Upshaw have bright futures

After watching Alabama's pro day, Bucky Brooks explains what makes Trent Richardson so special, and breaks down the performances of Mark Barron and Courtney Upshaw.

After Pro Day, no consensus on Trent Richardson’s forty time

The Alabama Crimson Tide held its “Pro Day II” on Thursday morning, and running back Trent Richardson was the main attraction. Richardson has been recovering from a January knee scope. We know the projected top-10 pick ran the forty-yard dash twice. But we don’t really know what his forty time was.

But wait…

Richardson runs for slew of team reps at Alabama pro day

Top RB prospect Trent Richardson posted 40-yard dash times in the 4.45-to-4.49-second range at Alabama's pro day on Thursday according to NFL draft analyst Bucky Brooks.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Trent Richardson is a dangerous beast (GIF)

Watch as potential Top 10 NFL Draft pick Trent Richardson works out in drills at yesterday’s Alabama Pro Day II. Although this clip doesn’t show it, he actually knocks all three “dummies” senseless.

Tremendous combination of upper and lower body strength PLUS frightening quickness equal a very dangerous football player.

Beast

The look on the No. 2 guy’s face is priceless as he realizes what’s about to come at him.

Helmet tap to LostLettermen and @DestinJayBird.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Jack “The Face” Blankenship wants to parlay his fame into the President’s Mansion

If Jack “The Face” Blankenship doesn’t defeat The Machine® and loses his bid for UA President, his campaign video still wins the internet.



I support his bid to end the playing of Nickelback on 90.7. As Jack says, “no one needs that.”

Follow him on Twitter at @jack_____enship.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Helmet tap to Buzzfeed.

GREAT Idea: Montgomery nightclub plans "Foodstamp Friday Party"

Alabama Nightclub | Food Stamp Friday Party | The Daily Caller
Published on dailycaller.com | shared via feedly
A nightclub in Montgomery, Ala. is raising eyebrows by hosting a “Food Stamp Friday” party on April 6 that seems to glamorize life on the federal government’s food assistance program.

An invitation for the April 6 party obtained by The Daily Caller tells patrons of the Rose Supper Club in North Montgomery that the Friday night cover charge will be just $5 if a “food stamp card” is shown upon arrival.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was designed for Americans living at near-poverty levels.

According to the flashy, postcard-size flier advertising the party, there will be “free shots at the door.” The announcement’s artwork mimics an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, the debit card used by Americans to redeem their SNAP benefits.

Glamorizing federal assistance bothers some who have seen the posters.

“I just don’t understand how they are promoting this without anyone saying anything about it,” Stephanie Pope, a Montgomery resident who has seen the fliers in gas stations, told TheDC.
 Found at the Daily Caller.

Parcells sees Saints' opportunity as "special"

Bill Parcells in NY Daily News
Published on www.nydailynews.com | shared via feedly
"I had plenty of opportunities to do things with different teams, and I've turned them all down," Parcells said Wednesday afternoon. "But this one is special. This guy is like family to me. And if I could help him, I would."

 Payton, who is deciding whether to appeal a season-long ban for his role in a bounty program that involved paying Saints players to knock out opponents with bonus pay checks and cash, has broached the idea of Parcells standing in as his interim coach.

 "I don't know how this is going to play out," Parcells said. "I really don't know anything about the situation. There's a lot of things going on here, and I would suspect it's going to take a while to all sort out."
Read the rest.

Tampa Bay likes Trent Richardson, may schedule private workout

No issues with Trent Richardson's knee at Alabama pro day 
Published on www.tampabay.com | shared via feedly
Last month at the NFL Combine, Alabama running back Trent Richardson did not participate in on-field drills after undergoing minor knee surgery.

Any lingering concerns after that procedure were put to rest today in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where Richardson starred in Alabama's pro day in front of a large contingent of NFL personnel.

The Bucs are strongly considering drafting Richardson, a Heisman finalist, with the fifth overall pick in next month's draft. But that's provided he's still on the board. Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert were on hand for today's workout, and the Browns appear to have Richardson on their short list.

Neither Bucs coach Greg Schiano nor general manager Mark Dominik attended, but the Bucs are in the process of arranging a private workout with Richardson.
Via the Tampa Bay Times.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crimson Tide Pro Day II to Feature Bama's Big Guns

Trent Richardson, Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron will be the stars of Alabama's Pro Day II 
Published on Al.com Bama | shared via feedly
How many NFL big shots will show up this time to size up the Crimson Tide's probable first-round draft picks?

With the 2012 NFL draft a month away, Alabama will hold its second - and most would say its bigger - pro day Thursday.

Three potential first-round picks who weren't 100 percent healthy on March 7 for the first pro day will work out with a few other former teammates who did participate in the March 7 evaluations.

Running back Trent Richardson, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and safety Mark Barron will be the featured attractions today. They are expected to draw a larger crowd of NFL coaches, executives and scouts than the group that attended the previous pro day.
Read the rest here.

Rumors swirled yesterday than NFL heavyweights were expected to be in town, including Patriots coach Bill Belichik, Redskins coach Mike Shannahan, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Bears coach Lovie Smith.

In the first Pro Day held on March 7, representatives from 30 of the 32 NFL teams were present to watch Tide NFL hopefuls in combine-like drills and exercises. The only two teams not represented were the Bears and Rams.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shocker: Matt Jones is not a Clay Travis fan

I wasn’t able to catch the segment, but KentuckySportsradio.com founder Matt Jones went on gossip blogger Clay Travis’ Nashville radio show and… well, it’s safe to conclude that Jones didn’t enjoy the experience.

image In case you missed it, Jones was a guest on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network yesterday, during which the host played an audio clip of Travis accusing Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari of being a cheater. Travis said that Calipari was “dirty as hell” and said he believed the Final Four coach was “buying players.” His reasoning for his belief: Bob Knight and Rick Pitino don’t like him.

Jones took issue with that and told Finebaum what he thought of Travis’ credentials.

“He’s a fool on this topic. He’s a Vol blogger. Coaches like Izzo aren’t talking to Clay Travis.”

Frankly, I believe calling Travis a “Vol blogger” is an insult to the many fine bloggers who follow the Tennessee athletics program, but we digress.

The comments caused Travis to invite Jones to appear on his radio show, which broadcasts in Nashville from 3:00 to 6:00 pm and based on Jones’ tweets, it wasn’t a cordial exchange of opinion.

Jones says he’ll have no more of it.

“Last time I will do that,” Jones said via his Twitter account. “Nashville, you can have him. Good part about doing show with [Clay Travis]? I now know what it's like to be cut off and not allowed to speak. I will adjust accordingly.”

Well Mr. Jones, we could have told you that Travis is not a very good listener. In fact, he’s one of those loudmouths who isn’t really listening to guests share their views. He’s just waiting for the guest to take a breath, which he sees as the next opportunity to run his yap.

Travis could learn something from Jones and Paul Finebaum and develop something radio people call “interview skills.”

Incidentally, you can hear guys with such skills on BAMS Radio tonight at 8:00 pm. Greg and Blip do it like Jones and Finebaum. Travis? Not so much.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the podcast of the Jones “interview.”

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Southeastern Conference Denies Texas A&M student seating appeal

Wednesday Weekly: Football Season Tickets and Student Seating News - Texas A&M Official Athletic Site - AggieAthletics.com
Published on www.aggieathletics.com | shared via feedly

Clockwork – Auburn fans resume their obsession with Bama players’ vehicles

It’s as predictable as the budding of oak and pecan trees. It’s not really Spring until Auburn fans resume their obsession with the vehicles driven by Alabama football players. Last year, it was Brent Calloway’s alleged new car. A few years back, it was “Operation Red Dog,” a coordinated plan by deranged Auburn fans to entrap Alabama football players by following them around and photographing the vehicles they drove. The obsession had even gotten to the point of a potential criminal conspiracy to commit felony assault.

Now, it’s AJ McCarron’s turn. The image below is making its rounds on Auburn message boards.

Never mind that the University of Alabama has one of the strictest compliance policies in the history of strict compliance policies on documenting vehicle ownership.

Never mind that student-athletes can get thousands of dollars in cash and other benefits—all well within NCAA rules—the amounts of which are more than enough to cover the costs of things like clothes and transportation.

All of that goes in one tin ear and right out of the other. When an Alabama football player shows up with a new ride, it’s gotta be an NCAA violation.

God forbid that McCarron also wear a nice suit to a banquet, or something.

Exit Question: Next week will mark one year since AuburnSports.com writer Jeffrey Lee accused Brent Calloway of accepting thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits, including a new car. In a radio interview in Mobile, Lee promised additional details that would support his allegations and that he would return to the station to discuss the “evidence.” He never showed for the interview, and no details were ever produced. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fiesta Palooza: Bowl discloses six figure tax liability

Fiesta Bowl likely owes more than $100,000 in back taxes – USATODAY.com
Published on www.usatoday.com | shared via feedly
The Fiesta Bowl, in an ongoing effort to fix past mistakes, disclosed Monday that it likely owes the federal government $136,350 in excise taxes for unreported employee compensation the past five years and for staff being reimbursed for making illegal political campaign contributions since 2000.

The disclosure was made in a series of tax returns for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2011, filed by the four non-profit organizations that operated the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, the 2011 Bowl Championship Series title game and community events.

A federal tax expert said disclosing the expected special tax assessment was a smart move by the bowl, which is negotiating to keep its tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has the power to revoke the tax exemption for egregious offenses. The exemption allows non-profits such as the Fiesta Bowl to avoid paying federal and state income taxes. The bowl does not expect to lose the exemption.

Read the full story here.

"Don't get cheap on me, Alabama"

Underpaid
Published on RantSports.com SEC Football | shared via feedly

Don't get cheap on me, Alabama. I know $5.3 million a year seems like a lot — that's about a million bucks per foot and an extra $100,000 per inch — but the reality is that, despite a raise that makes Nick Saban the highest paid head coach in college football, he's still underpaid.

This isn't a story about the plight of the college football coach. Nick Saban isn't struggling to feed his family, so we can hold off on the PSA and the Michael Jackson ballad. The Alabama head coach is still making mind-boggling money, but in terms of what he brings to the University of Alabama he's simply undervalued.

In the strictly commercial sense, Mack Brown should still be the highest paid coach in the country because Texas football is still the most profitable collegiate athletics institution in the country. That has more to do with Texas as a brand than the actual success of Mack Brown and Texas football (not to slight Mack Brown or Texas football); however, the revenue increase Alabama football has seen under Nick Saban along with the tangible successes on the field make Saban unquestionably the most valuable asset in college football.

Unlike the NFL, where far and away the largest expense are players, the largest expenses in collegiate athletics are the coaches and the support staff. Making Nick Saban the highest paid coach in the country obviously reflects on what the university thinks of Nick Saban, but considering that from before Saban's first title in Tuscaloosa up until before last season, he had already increased revenue by 19 percent and made Alabama the seventh-most profitable entity in college sports, he simply merits more.
 Every single Alabama message board, chat room and talk radio caller agrees that even at $5.3 million, Saban is worth every penny and more.

Couple that consensus with the knowledge that someone approached Saban about luring him away from the program he's led for the last five years and that he turned them down, and there's almost no limit to what he could have asked for.


Suffice it to say that the Bama Nation is grateful that "Miss Terry" likes it in Tuscaloosa.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Alabama adds road grader to 2013 commitment list

If your offense centers around a downhill running game with plenty of work by the tight ends (blocking and catching passes), it helps to stock up on the beef up front. That’s what Alabama looks to do with 2013 commitment Andy Dodd of Lindale, Georgia.

Watch the video highlights below, in which Dodd appears to be a man playing with boys.



Only a high school junior, Dodd is already 6-4 and tips in at 325 lbs. Photo at the link indicates that it’s good beef, not bad beef. The highlight video shows it, too.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Search warrant produces drugs and paraphanalia at Penn Staters' apartment

Drugs seized from apartment of current, former Nittany Lions
Published on CollegeFootballTalk | shared via feedly
According to WeAreCentralPA.com, drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized from an on-campus apartment belonging to Devon Smith and Jack Crawford.  The former is a current wide receiver on the team while the latter is an ex-Nittany Lions defensive end.

University police executed a search warrant and discovered “blunts, prescription drugs, marijuana and a scale”, the website wrote.  The Daily Collegian confirmed the report, adding that a grinder was found as well.

The police were notified by a school employee that the apartment was possibly being burglarized, which initially led officers to the location.

Read more at CFT.

Auburn fans breathe huge sigh of relief as Nick Saban’s name nixed for new high school

image The entire 334 area code is breathing a loud sigh of relief today. Last week, a committee of the Montgomery County Board of Education rejected about 60 names for a new east side high school and according to a report in the Montgomery Advertiser, one of the names suggested to the committee was Nick Saban.

School board spokesman Tom Salter measured his words carefully when asked why Saban’s name was among those passed over.

“As big as an Alabama fan as I am, it would likely not be an appropriate choice, especially this close to the Plains.”

Salter clearly believes that having a high school named after the Alabama Crimson Tide’s current football coach would be an affront to those living so deep in Auburn Tiger territory. Auburn is located only about 50 miles away from the new campus.

However, Salter also noted that Gene Chizik’s name was not among those suggested to the committee.

Exit question: Why not?

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Is Derek Dooley running a football program, or a wannabe Fortune 500 company?

image On Sunday afternoon, in his pre-spring practice press conference, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley said he wanted to emphasize his organization’s “core values.”

"One is just demonstrating winning edge values which was a big emphasis for us--kind of redefining our core values: what they stand for, things like discipline, toughness, effort and teamwork. Also secondly, demonstrating individual investment in being the best player and best team we can be. I was really proud of this football team over the last eight weeks. Everybody on the team--everybody on the team--showed significant opportunity in all those areas."

I’m shocked he didn’t encourage his staff and team to think outside of the box. You know… Identify those areas of low hanging fruit and focus on the key principles of good leadership and strong forward thinking.

Has Derek Dooley been reading winter workout reports or Malcolm Baldrige talking points?

Does he want to win football games or does he want to win points for critical aspects of management that contribute to performance excellence?

I’m not going to embed the nearly 30 minute long video because if you’re a football fan, it will make you sick to your stomach.

For God’s sake, he’s decided to develop an organizational chart. Not a depth chart, mind you. An organizational chart.

When Dooley was hired, I thought it was one of the best steps that the Tennessee football program could have made. The program made a name for itself from General Robert Neyland through Philip Fulmer as team that won by literally knocking the slobber out of opponents. Dooley is an alleged Nick Saban disciple and was widely thought to be a guy who could restore the toughness and discipline that Tennessee football seemed to had lost.

He’s a good guy, from good football genes. He’s supposed to have learned from the best and has a reputation as one of the high character guys in the coaching fraternity. He was supposed to take Tennessee to the next level.

You ain’t getting there with organization charts and meetings that talk about core values. This is football. It’s not death by PowerPoint©.

You don’t contend for the Southeastern Conference and National Championships by winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. When you put crystal hardware in the trophy case, then you can talk about your core values and how far outside the box you’re thinking.

But if you go 11-14 in your first two years as a head coach and celebrate wins against Vanderbilt as if you’d beaten someone like… Alabama… You need to start thinking about how many men you can afford to put in the box.

The Third Saturday in October Rivalry has been one of the SEC’s greatest. It’s one of those storied series that defines the conference and makes it premier broadcast on CBS one of the turn-to games of Saturday afternoons. In the SEC, Tennessee is second only to Alabama in conference championships and national championships. In fact, no team in the country has more wins against Alabama than Tennessee does. At seven games, no team in the country has beaten Alabama more times in a streak than Tennessee has.

Alabama fans have a special place in their colon for Tennessee, but at the same time we realize how important it is for Tennessee football to be Tennessee Football.

Tennessee as the 2012 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for College Football might as well be a homecoming opponent for Mrs. State.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hu’s on Third?

image

Via 30FPS.

During yesterday’s preseason game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets.

It’s late in the game and time to get the noobs a few at bats and on base time. Eventually, the manager gets so deep down the roster that no one knows who the hell that kid is.

So, He’s Minor League Guy.

Deadspin has a profile on him. Sorta.

And… You knew this was gonna happen. You can now follow @MinorLeagueGuy on Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Non-Sports: Domestic terrorist organization offers bounty for teen’s killer

The New Black Panther Party—which even the left’s Southern Poverty Law Center defines as an organization of racist militants—has issued a $10,000 bounty for the “capture” of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch leader who admits to shooting an unarmed teen in a Florida suburb.

Group leader Mikhail Muhammad announced the reward during a protest in Sanford Saturday, and also called for the mobilization of 10,000 black men to effect the capture of Zimmerman.

Muhammad also says he expects the bounty to rise to $1.0 million, citing the support of black athletes and entertainers.



Officials in Sanford, Florida issued a statement by Police Captain Robert O'Connor, condemning the bounty. "The City is requesting calm heads and no vigilante justice. Attempts by civilians to take any person into custody may result in criminal charges or unnecessary violence."

Meanwhile, a Tampa Bay outlet reports that an eyewitness to the shooting saw the teen assaulting Zimmerman before being shot.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Shooting at Mississippi State leaves one dead. Three suspects sought.

Student shot to death at Mississippi State
Published on CNN.com - Justice | shared via feedly
Officials at Mississippi State University are expected to release more information Sunday about a 21-year-old student who was fatally shot in a campus dorm room. 

University spokeswoman Maridith Geuder says police received a call about the shooting at Evans Hall around 10 p.m. Saturday. The victim was taken to a hospital where he subsequently died.

Three male suspects fled the building in a blue Crown Victoria, and the university sent several text message alerts to students.

Read more.

Clarion Ledger's Brandon Marcello reports that the suspects are not believed to be students and the campus is in an emergency status. A press conference is scheduled for 10:00 am.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bama Gymnastics Looking to Vault to Third SEC Title in Four Years

By: @LivingCrimson

2011 SEC Champs

After practice on Friday, Head Coach Sarah Patterson kicked off the Tide’s run in this year’s SEC Championships with a rousing declaration: “There is nothing like competing in the Southeastern Conference.”

Five of the nation's top 10 teams are from the SEC: 1. Florida, 3. Alabama, 5. Georgia, 8. LSU and 10. Arkansas. Auburn is ranked No. 15 and Kentucky is ranked No. 24. "It is the closest thing to the finals of the NCAA Championships that you can get," said Patterson, who can remember one year when five of the six teams in the NCAA finals were from the SEC.

Defending SEC, Regional and National Champions, Bama arrived at the SEC championships this weekend peaking at the right time. It is undefeated in SEC competition (6-0-0), boasting an overall 11-1-0 record (the only loss to No. 2 Oklahoma).

The Tide has never won back-to-back SEC titles. Senior Ashley Priess doesn’t dwell on what might happen, but on “mental toughness and being fierce.” She has a will-not-be-denied attitude: "We're reversing that mindset and putting that target on everyone else's back, and we're kind of coming into this meet with this revenge mindset of we want to go out there, we want to absolutely dominate the competition, team up, work together and get the job done.”

Alabama is led by the senior All-America and All-SEC duo of Ashley Priess and Geralen Stack-Eaton. Priess is a two-time SEC champion, winning the 2010 all-around and balance beam titles. Stack-Eaton won the balance beam and floor exercise titles last season, leading the Tide to the 2011 SEC team championship. Priess and Stack-Eaton were also integral to the Tide’s 2009 SEC Championship as freshmen. Alabama also returns five other gymnasts who have earned All-SEC honors, including juniors Ashley Sledge and Marissa Gutierrez and sophomores Kim Jacob, Sarah DeMeo and Diandra Milliner.

Coach Patterson has high praise for this Crimson Tide team, particularly for the seniors.


“I don’t think there are too many classes that can say everybody

in their class is an All-American, Scholastic All-American

and they’ve won all these championships.”

The SEC title meet begins at 4:00 p.m.ET. Live updates will be available from the SEC Digital Network.

Roll Tide, Ladies!

(P.S. – #StatueforSarah video from ESPNU Campus Connection reporter Kassidy Hill)

Champions come in all sizes

Video courtesy of www.gymnastike.org

Video courtesy of www.gymnastike.org

All feedback is appreciated. Comments on this article can be posted to LivingCrimson on Twitter or Facebook.

Cyrus Kouandijo Ready to Step up?

Is Cyrus Kouandijo Ready to Step into the Left Tackle Role and Shine?
Published on Tidefans.com | shared via feedly
Cyrus Kouandijo walked the sidelines of the BCS Championship Game and could only watch as his team mates fought and won yet another national championship. Though he was walking without a noticeable limp, there was no way the staff was going to let Cyrus risk his health or to be exact, his knee and risk losing him for 2012  as well. 

That wastough on Cyrus.

But with Barrett Jones expecting to take the role of center, that leaves the left tackle slot open and Cyrus Kouandijo can now step into the role that all Alabama knew he’d someday inherit as soon as he committed to the Tide.
 Read the rest of Larry Burton's Tidefans.com piece here.

Relay for Life Concert for Lilianna

image What are your children doing today? Are they playing outside? Are they getting into trouble? Lilianna Thompson was born May 8, 2009 to parents Anna and Randy of Clanton, Alabama. She loves all the things little girls love doing—playing with dolls, watching cartoons, running around outside and being with her mommy and daddy. But Lilianna is busy today.

The world every little girl deserves was put on hold on August 19, 2011. Anna and Randy learned that Lilianna had been diagnosed with a rare but treatable form of juvenile Leukemia. The little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice has cancer. Lilianna fought like Trent Richardson breaking through a sea of defensive linemen for seven months, undergoing difficult rounds of chemotherapy. While we are fretting over the depth chart, worrying about who’s playing where in spring practice and looking forward to an Alabama run at defending the BCS National Championship, Lilianna's parents are worried about how much longer they will get to hold their baby girl.

Last week, her parents received the news she was going home. It was supposed to be time to play with dolls, watch cartoons, be with her parents and begin the road to a normal life. But on that same day, Anna and Randy learned that tests showed the cancer was back. While my children are coloring and playing with their Barbie dolls, Lilianna will be receiving yet another round of chemotherapy.

Cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong once said, "If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally. Give up. Or fight like hell."

Lilianna is fighting like hell.

The Love for Lilianna Relay for Life Concert will be held Friday March 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the Chilton County High School Auditorium. The event features many talented performers from the area. A silent auction precedes the event, starting at 6:00 pm.

If you are within a reasonable distance from Clanton, please take the time to help raise money for Lilianna's fight. After all, what if it were your baby fighting for their life tonight?

Donations can also be made to:

People's Southern Bank
Attention Lilianna Thompson Fund
PO Box 269
Clanton, AL 35046

Help Anna and Randy give their precious little girl a fighting chance.

You can visit Lilianna’s Facebook page here. Be sure and “Like” the page.

The Relay for Life Concert event page is here. Be sure and “Like” this one, too.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Bill Parcells: This Alabama program is as good as it gets

By: @LivingCrimson

Alabama Coaches Clinic 2012Once every twenty-five years, Bill Parcells agrees to speak at a coaching clinic. This quarter century it was the Crimson Tide’s turn to host the two-time Super Bowl winning coach.

Nick Saban introduced Parcells with very high praise, saying the Alabama team and recruiting methods reflect Parcells’ philosophy, by way of Bill Belichick.

The Big Tuna returned the favor with his opening remarks to the 1,400 high school coaches in attendance. Noting 52% of NFL players come from 27 schools, Parcells put Alabama at the top of the list for producing good football players. He also commended the organization of the Tide football program under Coach Saban and The University’s storied tradition being carried forward for future generations.

The videos released from the event contain only the beginning portion of Parcells’ remarks in which he emphasizes the foundations of a winning formula: the player’s knowledge, commitment and personal responsibility.

Sound familiar, Bama Nation?

Some of Parcells’ most famous quotes have been offered up in one form or another by Coach Saban to reporters over the past few years:

  • “Sometimes when everybody's feeding you the cheese, it's hard not to eat it.”

Saban’s interpretation – "I don't care what award they won, or how many made All-American or how many we had. None of that's going to matter when the game starts."

  • “When you don't know that you don't know, it's a lot different than when you do know that you don't know.”

Saban’s interpretation – “You never stay the same. You either get better, or you get worse.”

  • “Knowledge is confidence. And confidence lets you play fast.”

Saban’s interpretation – After each game, “I have a good, bad and an ugly reel” for the players.

  • All you have to do is play better than the other guy and things go well.”

Saban’s interpretation – “We stopped ourselves in the red zone by not executing what we were supposed to do. It’s not a systematic problem. It’s a lack of execution problem.”

  • “The only players I hurt with my words are the ones who have an inflated opinion of their ability.”

Saban’s interpretation – “Sometimes when you make those role changes, how they respond to that change goes a long way to telling me what kind of player they are, or it tells me what kind of competitor they are, because if they pout about it, that’s not really what we want.”

After five years of tough love molding tough Bama players, Nick Saban has won two national championships and earned a statue near Bear Bryant's. On any list of the greatest football coaches of this modern generation, most would include Bill Parcells. After three national titles in nine years at two different SEC schools, Saban rightfully joins the same elite status.

The Crimson Tide is pleased Parcells’ coaching philosophy has found a new home in Tuscaloosa.

Video courtesy of al.com

Lou Holtz will be the featured speaker on Saturday night to close out the Coaching Clinic.


I would love to hear from you. Comments on this article can be posted to LivingCrimson on Twitter or Facebook.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Auburn’s Bo Jackson biking to Bama for tornado relief

By: LivingCrimson

Bo Bikes BamaThis being a Crimson Tide blog, we usually can be found giving Auburn a very hard time. There’s a wee tiny sports feud in Alabama called the Iron Bowl, in case you haven’t heard.

Occasionally, though, along comes a show of character from the opposing camp that everyone can applaud. Enter one of sports all-time greats, Bo Jackson. The Heisman winner and #1 NFL draft pick is putting his considerable muscle behind a relief effort to benefit those in need after the April 2011 tornadoes in Alabama.

Beginning April 24th, 2012, Jackson will be cycling across the State of Alabama through towns and cities ravaged by the tornadoes, ending in Tuscaloosa on April 28th. He hopes to raise $1 million for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which was established to help Alabamians with unmet recovery needs. A staggering $1.2 billion is still needed for the long-term recovery effort.

Sponsored by Nike, Trek and other industry leaders, Jackson also wants to refocus the nation’s spotlight on the continuing rebuilding efforts in the State. The federal government declared Alabama a Category 1 natural disaster ─ the same ranking given to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and the terrorism on 9/11 ─ but the vast scope of the tornado devastation is hard to understand without a visual impact. Jackson will video and photograph each area he travels through to remind us all that much work remains to be done.

Kudos to Bo Jackson for giving back to his home state.

 


Donations to Jackson’s relief effort are handled through the United Way of Alabama here.

Bo Bikes for Bama is also accepting donations of $200 per each leg of the journey to ride along with Bo Jackson. Register and donate online here.

For Tuscaloosa relief efforts, donations to Tuscaloosa Habitat for Humanity can be made here.

Donations to the Nick and Terry Saban Foundation ─ Nick’s Kids 14 for 14 ─ can be made here.


I would love to hear about your thoughts on this article. Post comments to LivingCrimson on Twitter or Facebook.

Jets Deal Stanton to Colts, likely cementing McElroy on roster

Jets trade Drew Stanton to Colts
Published on ProFootballTalk | shared via feedly
Drew Stanton lasted a whole week with the New York Jets. A week ago, the Jets signed Stanton to a free agent contract. Then they traded for Tim Tebow days later and declared Tebow their No. 2 quarterback, even though they had reportedly promised Stanton that he'd be Mark Sanchez's backup. That had Stanton wanting…


So, where does this leave former Alabama QB Greg McElroy? Most bets are that dealing Stanton away to the Colts after dealing in Tim Tebow cements GMAC's spot on the Jets roster.

Stanton is a poor man's Tim Tebow. He's athletic and intensely competitive, but struggles mightily as a passer. Who needs a Stanton when you can have a Tebow--a guy with the same technical issues who also puts butts in seats?

McElroy is a much more polished, game managing QB and a better fit as the program's No. 2/3. GMAC will make a push to become the No. 2 guy and with a year in the system already, he might even have a slight advantage.

Statement from Saints HC Sean Payton

Statement from Saints HC Sean Payton
Published on www.neworleanssaints.com | shared via feedly

I share and fully support the League’s concerns and goals on player safety. It is, and should be paramount.

Respecting our great game and the NFL shield is extremely important to me.

Our organization will implement all necessary protections and protocols, and I will be more vigilant going forward.

I am sorry for what has happened and as head coach take full responsibility.

Finally, I want to thank Mr. Benson, our players and all Saints fans for their overwhelming support.

Head Coach Sean Payton
New Orleans Saints  
Good luck in the US Senate hearings, Coach.

Former Saint Darren Sharper doesn't sound apologetic

Former New Orleans Saint Darren Sharper was interviewed on WWL and (not surprisingly) didn't sound very apologetic about the bounty scandal that has brought the Saints program to its knees.

He sounds more disappointed by the fact that the program was caught than he does ashamed or remorseful, and doesn't even sound like he thinks he (or his teammates) did anything wrong.

Two interesting quotes from the segment:

Did players think the bounty plan might backfire?

 "No we didn't think about that at all, because no one was going out there and intentionally trying to put harm to our opponents and other players. We have a lot of respect for guys around the league, our peers. And no way were we thinking about, 'OK, if I can go out here and I try to get a sack early in the game and make a couple hundred dollars…' Nobody was even thinking about that while the game was being played. You had to think too much about what the opponent was doing, what your defensive game plan was. If you had any thoughts in your mind about making a couple extra hundred dollars when you're already getting paid thousands to play the game, you're stupid. So no guys weren't thinking about — especially in the meeting rooms — that we would have ramifications from this. We all looked at it as a fun thing which we brought camaraderie together and made us closer as a team."

Does the scandal taint the 2009 Super Bowl season?

"It puts a little bit of a black mark, I think, on the organization and what we accomplished throughout these last couple of years — the amount of winning that the Saints have been doing. I don't think it tarnishes the Super Bowl championship because we didn't do anything as far as, against rules playing the game. Now, what we did inside a meeting room might have been looked at as, OK we did something that the NFL did not like and which they warned the team about and informed us that we needed to stop. And now we're getting fined for that. But we played the game legally, we played the game hard, tough and the right way. And we beat teams, we were the best team in the world that year. So I don't think it tarnishes at all what we were able to accomplish that year as a team."
 
Listen to the whole segment here (about 8:00 long).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Senator wants hearings on NFL Bounties. What could go wrong?

Senator Calls Hearing to Examine Bounties in NFL - ABC News
Published on abcnews.go.com | shared via feedly

The Senate wants to grill the NFL about bounties. And the NBA, NHL, NCAA and Major League Baseball are invited, too.

Sen. Dick Durbin is setting up a Judiciary Committee hearing about bounties in professional football and other major sports in the wake of news that New Orleans Saints players received extra cash for hits that hurt particular opponents.

The assistant Senate majority leader, an Illinois Democrat, said Thursday he wants to examine whether federal law should make such bounty systems a crime.

"Let's be real basic about it here. If this activity were taking place off of a sporting field, away from a court, nobody would have a second thought (about whether it's wrong). 'You mean, someone paid you to go out and hurt someone?'" Durbin said in a telephone interview before raising the issue on the floor of the Senate.
What could possibly go wrong?

Some Auburn fans are very sensitive when it comes to Cracker Barrel’s shop inventory

image A hilarious post is making the rounds on Auburn fan message boards this week. Apparently, a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Foley, Alabama (just north of Gulf Shores) offers lots of souvenirs of the Crimson flavored variety, but of the Orange and Blue… Not so much.

The fambly is not pleased, but this is nowhere near the first time the Auburn faithful have felt snubbed by businesses catering to a nearly two-to-one majority of Alabama fans in the state.

Perhaps you remember the boycott of Old Navy.

Remember when they went after Talk Show Host Paul Finebaum for comparing the Auburn program to a Ponzi scheme.

And don’t forget the infamous Bromberg brouhaha of several years ago.

There isn’t a more hypersensitive fan base in college sports.

Here’s the post:


You guys are not going to believe a conversation that I had Sun afternoon in the Foley, AL Cracker Barrel. Quick backstory. My Mother was in this restaurant in Sept 2011 and noticed that they had a lot of turd paraphernalia but had not one item with AU on it. She asked the cashier about it and got a blank stare. She mentioned it to me in passing but I forgot about it since I wasn't there and assumed that she just over looked our stuff.

Back to this past Sunday. I spent this past weekend doing some renovation on our condo and my parents were in town to help me. They wanted to go to CB for dinner on Sun so away we went. My Mother immediately veers right as soon as we are in the restaurant and heads over to check out what they have in the store. I go on to my seat because I have completely forgotten about her previous discovery and don't typically do my shopping at CB.

Shortly she shows up at our table and announces once again that while they have tons of crap covered in crimson that they have nothing representing AU. I find this hard to believe and head over to check it out myself because I can't fathom that this is possible. I was wrong. They have a huge table devoted to the mouth breathers and nothing in the store AU related.

I ask our server to send the most senior manager that's working over to our table. I tell him that I have lost my luggage and that I'm looking to buy some clothes to replace mine but that I can only buy AU apparel. He grimmaces [sic] slightly and tells me that I am unfortunately out of luck because they don't carry AU items. I ask how that's possible and he shrugs and says that their Divisional Manager (Xxxx Yyyy) made the decision to carry nothing but turd stuff. He then proceeds to tell me that they have no less than half a doz people per day asking basically the same questions that I am. He says that they pass this on but that the DM refuses to budge. I am amazed that this has been allowed to continue.

How do you guys think we should respond to this as a group? We live in a society that doesn't even allow us to "target" terrorists for fear of offending someone and yet this CB idiot has made the decision to complete ignore our university and our fan base. I can't decide how I want to attack this issue but have every intention of making these idiots explain themselves. BTW, the number for CB is 800-333-9566 and the extension for Ms. Ross is …... Her boss according to data that I gathered at the Foley store is Xxxxxxxx Yyyy Zzzzzzz and her extension is ….. I would love to find some way to esacalate [sic] this to a level that would cost one of all of these morons their jobs [sic]. Thoughts from the board?


UPDATE: We now have a photo of the grand display.

As you walk in the front door…

I think it looks wonderful. Helmet tap to Bamaroo.

image

 

Readers tell me that the same post is making rounds on other Auburn fan boards, including Inside the Auburn Tigers and The Bunker at AuburnSports.com.

A sampling of the reaction:

“As a onetime Baldwin County boy I can tell you Baldwin County is fairly full of Auburn fans and a lot of them are my kinfolks. Personally I will agree to boycott any restaurant that refuses to give Auburn equal coverage for merchandise / curios in their premises.”

“Ask her what that days special is. Act like you can't hear her and get her to lean in a little. Then, stab her repeatedly in the eye with a root beer stick candy.
Alternative: Watermelon stick candy.
After she collapses on the ground, violate her with a pecan log.
Alternative: Slinky
Finally, dump her corpse in the fire place.
Alternative: Checkers table.” [totally tongue in cheek, we hope]

“Just for grins, I rang ole Beth up to see how she handles customer service. Got her voice mail. We'll see if she calls. I mentioned something about a Cracker Barrel Jihad for effect. :)”

The next logical step is for the Never to Yield Foundation to mobilize the boycott apparatus and bludgeon the local Cracker Barrel restaurant into providing equal space for their beloved Auburn Tigers’ gear.

I leave you with this viral cartoon from last year, compliments of @banditref.



Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Joe Namath doesn't want Tebow, either

ESPN New York
Published on espn.go.com | shared via feedly

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title in 1969, was among those unhappy with the deal when he heard [of the deal to bring Tebow to New York].

"I'm just sorry that I can't agree with this situation. I think it's just a publicity stunt. I can't go with it. I think it's wrong," Namath told "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN1050 in New York. "I don't think they know what they're doing over there."

Asked if he hoped the deal would ultimately fall through, Namath said "absolutely."

"And I'm a Tim Tebow fan, but I'm a bigger Jet fan than I am a Tim Tebow fan," Namath said.
  Ouch.

Tebow to Jets deal may get nixed

Tim Tebow trade not finalized? Jets deal hits a snag
Published on First-and-Orange | shared via feedly

Would you buy a home without an inspection?

The contract says any team acquiring Tebow has to kick back $5.06375 million to the Broncos in advanced salaries from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, according to an NFL source. Tebow received $6.277 million in salary advance during the 2011 season. The breakdown of that advance: $1,213,750 in 2011 (the Broncos paid); $1,425,000 in 2012; $1,691,250 in 2013; and $1.92 million in 2014.

The Broncos expect the Jets to pay them back those salary advances from 2012-14 per Tebow's contract. The Jets are balking. There is a decent chance this deal may die.
Mike Klis, First-and-Orange.

Jim Boeheim: Charles Barkley is an idiot

The Score 1260 - WSKO Syracuse

Published on thescore1260.com | shared via feedly


Don't tell Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim that is team doesn't belong in the Sweet 16 or that Charles Barkley knows exactly WTF he's talking about. In an interview with WSKO The Score, Orange coach pulls no punches.

On Charles Barkley’s comment that the refs need to use common sense:
“Charles is an idiot. … You have to call calls. If they’re there, you have to call them. If a foul occurs or whatever happens, you have to call it. It’s as simple as that. If referees start doing that, we’ll have a chaotic situation. They have to make the calls that are there. If it’s a little touch foul away from the ball, a good referee won’t call that.”

Linky.

Goodell brings the hammer on Saints, Payton suspended without pay for 2012 (updated with additional details)

Goodell lowers boom on the Saints
Originally published on ProFootballTalk | shared via feedly

Commissioner Roger Goodell brought down the mighty hammer, suspending head coach Sean Payton for one year, effective April 1, 2012. Either defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will step in as interim head coach for the 2012 season.
 
The Saints will also lose second-round picks in each of the next two years.
 
General Manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games in 2012 and will pay a $500,000 fine.
 
The Saints franchise was fined an additional $500,000.
 
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams--the architect of the bounty program at the heart of the punishment--has been suspended indefinitely, effective ending his career as a professional football coach.

More fallout as the story develops.

Needless to say, this is a dark, dark day for Saints fans.

Full text of Goodell’s Report:


Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the New Orleans Saints today of the discipline that will be imposed on team management for violations of the NFL’s long-standing “bounty” rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.

Discipline for individual players involved in the Saints’ prohibited program continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Commissioner Goodell at a later date. The program included “bounty” payments for “knock-outs” and “cart-offs,” plays on which an opposing player was forced to leave the game. At times, the bounties even targeted specific players by name.

The NFL’s extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program’s existence from league investigators, and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office.

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.”

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” Commissioner Goodell continued. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

Following the March 2 announcement of the NFL’s initial findings, the league office conducted further investigation, including Commissioner Goodell meeting with many of the key individuals involved, sometimes on multiple occasions. The commissioner also discussed the matter with the leadership of the NFL Players Association and individual players.

Based on the record, Commissioner Goodell has imposed the following discipline on Saints management:

The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000. In addition, because the violation involves a competitive rule, the Saints will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective April 1.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season.

Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.

Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season.

The Saints and the individuals disciplined today are expected to participate in efforts led by the league office to develop programs that will instruct players and coaches at all levels of the game on the need for respect for the game and those who participate in it, on principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship, and to ensure that bounties will not be part of football at any level.

Commissioner Goodell stated that the actions of the individuals disciplined today violated league rules and constituted conduct detrimental to the league and players. He said the existence of a pay-for-performance/bounty program undermined the integrity of the game. The violations were compounded by the failure of Coach Payton to supervise the players and coaches and his affirmative decision starting in 2010 (a) not to inquire into the facts concerning the pay-for-performance/bounty program even though he was aware of the league’s inquiries both in 2010 and 2012; (b) to falsely deny that the program existed; (c) to encourage the false denials by instructing assistants to “make sure our ducks are in a row;” and (d) to ignore instructions from the league office and club ownership to ensure that no such program existed.

“Beyond the clear and continuing violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty program is squarely contrary to the league’s most important initiatives – enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness, and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.”

A 2007 amendment to the NFL Constitution and By-Laws obligated coaches and supervisory employees “to communicate openly and candidly with the principal owner and/or his designated representative; to ensure that club ownership is informed on a complete and timely basis of all matters affecting the club’s operations; and to avoid actions that undermine or damage the club’s reputation or operating success.” The obligation to supervise the coaching staff and players is also expressly set forth in the employment agreement signed by Coach Payton.

Commissioner Goodell said he will separately address potential sanctions for players and others with documented involvement in the bounty program.

“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players – including leaders among the defensive players – embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Commissioner Goodell said. “While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players.”

While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs, no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent. Commissioner Goodell emphasized that if additional information is brought to his attention that discloses bounties offered for injuring specific opposing players, he will revisit the matter to consider additional discipline.

The findings in the league’s investigation, corroborated by multiple independent sources, conclusively established the following:

1. The Saints defensive team operated a pay-for-performance/bounty program, primarily funded by players, during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Under that program, players regularly made cash “donations” to a pool, and were “fined” for mental errors, loafing, penalties, and the like. At least one assistant coach (defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) also occasionally contributed to the pool. There is no evidence that any club money was contributed to the program.

2. Payments were made for plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries. All such payments are against league rules. Payments also were made for plays on which opposing players were injured. In addition, specific players were sometimes targeted. The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams – Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner. Multiple sources have confirmed that several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players, with defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010.

3. Coach Williams acknowledged that he designed and implemented the program with the assistance of certain defensive players. He said that he did so after being told by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton that his assignment was to make the defense “nasty.” Coach Williams described his role as overseeing record keeping, defining payout amounts, deciding on who received payouts, and distributing envelopes with cash to players who “earned” rewards.

4. In each of the 2009-2011 seasons, the Saints were one of the top five teams in the league in roughing the passer penalties. In 2009 and 2011, the Saints were also in the top five teams in unnecessary roughness penalties; in 2010, the Saints ranked sixth in the category. In the January 16, 2010 divisional playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saints defensive players were assessed $15,000 in fines for fouls committed against opposing players. The following week, in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saints defensive players were assessed $30,000 in fines for four separate illegal hits, several of which were directed against quarterback Brett Favre.

5. Coach Williams now acknowledges that when he was first questioned about this matter in early 2010 he intentionally misled NFL investigators and made no effort to stop the program after he became aware of the league’s investigation.

6. Coach Williams further confirmed that the program continued during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and that he occasionally contributed funds to the pool in each of those seasons.

7. Assistant Head Coach/Defense Joe Vitt acknowledged that he was aware of the program in 2009-2011. He admitted that, when interviewed in 2010, he “fabricated the truth” to NFL investigators and denied that any pay-for-performance or bounty program existed at the Saints.

8. Coach Vitt said one of his primary roles was to monitor the activity of Coach Williams. This was based on the direction of Coach Payton, who apparently had less than full confidence in Coach Williams. Despite Coach Vitt’s knowledge of the bounty program, his understanding of the terms “knock-out” and “cart-off,” his witnessing Coach Williams handing out envelopes that he believed to contain cash, and his acknowledgement that the defensive meeting preceding the 2010 NFC Championship Game may have “got out of hand” with respect to Brett Favre, Coach Vitt claimed he never advised either Coach Payton or General Manager Mickey Loomis of the “pay-for-performance/bounty” program.

9. A summary prepared following a Saints preseason game included the statement, “1 Cart-off – Crank up the John Deer (sic) Tractor” in reference to a hit on an opposing player. Similar statements are reflected in prepared documents or slides in connection with other games in multiple seasons. A review of the game films confirms that opposing players were injured on the plays identified in the documents.

10. When interviewed in 2012, Sean Payton claimed to be entirely unaware of the program, a claim contradicted by others. Further, prior to the Saints’ opening game in 2011, Coach Payton received an email from a close associate that stated in part, “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic).” When shown the email during the course of the investigation, Coach Payton stated that it referred to a “bounty” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

11. In early 2010, Mr. Loomis advised Coach Payton that the league office was investigating allegations concerning a bounty program. Coach Payton said that he met with his top two defensive assistants, Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, in advance of the interview with league investigators and told them, “Let’s make sure our ducks are in a row.” Remarkably, Coach Payton claimed that he never inquired of Coach Williams and Coach Vitt as to what happened in the interviews, never asked them if a “pay-for-performance” or bounty program was in fact in place, and never gave any instructions to discontinue such a program.

12. In January 2012, prior to the Saints’ first playoff game of the 2011 season, Coach Payton was advised by Mr. Loomis that the league office had reopened the investigation. Coach Payton made a cursory inquiry but took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.

13. General Manager Mickey Loomis was not present at meetings of the Saints defense at which bounties were discussed and was not aware of bounties being placed on specific players. Mr. Loomis became aware of the allegations regarding a bounty program no later than February 2010 when he was notified of the investigation into the allegations during a meeting with NFL Executive Vice President-Football Operations Ray Anderson. He was directed to ensure that any such program ceased immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis did not do enough to determine if a pay-for-performance/bounty program existed or to end any such program that did exist.

14. Saints owner Tom Benson notified Mr. Loomis in January 2012 prior to the team’s participation in the playoffs that the league’s investigation had been reopened. Mr. Benson reiterated his position that a bounty program was unacceptable and instructed Mr. Loomis to ensure that if a bounty program existed at the Saints it would stop immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis responded to this direction by making only cursory inquiries of Coaches Payton and Williams. He never issued instructions to end the bounty program to either the coaching staff or the players.

15. There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.


Tim Tebow: The "Other Man" in a love triangle???

Oh, yes.  If the Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow love triangle wasn't a soapy enough opera for you, try this one. The devout Christian quarterback with enormous popularity and flawed skills has told Dianna Agron that he's got the hots for her, even though she's been romantically involved with actor Sebastian Stan.

Juicy, juicy, juicy.

Report: Tebow smitten with 'Glee' star
Published on FOXSports.com News | shared via feedly

"Glee" star Dianna Agron is in the middle of a love triangle involving actor Sebastian Stan and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow that seems straight out of a scene from the FOX hit drama series. 

Blonde beauty Agron, 25, dated Stan, 28, on and off for about a year, but Denver Broncos star Tebow has told Agron that he is smitten with her.

"Tim has made no secret that he likes Dianna, and told her so, but she has remained faithful to Sebastian," a source said.

But Agron and Stan, who live on separate coasts, apparently split recently for the second time. A source said they were going to live together but now have parted ways, citing the distance between them and their work commitments.
 Read more gossip here.

James Elliott, “Mr. 5:00 AM,” awaits NCAA decision on hardship waiver

The Mobile Press-Register’s Tommy Hicks has a great feature article on South Alabama offensive lineman James Elliott in Wednesday morning’s print edition. Elliot is a one-time Kentucky Wildcat who transferred to Joey Jones’ Jaguars to be closer to his mother Pamela, who is suffering from non-alcohol liver failure.

Elliott lives with his mother in Pensacola, Florida and rises each morning at 3:00 am, makes the drive to the West Mobile South Alabama campus and is there when athletic trainer Jinni Frisbey arrives at 5:00 am to open the USA fieldhouse.

Frisbey calls Elliot “Mr. 5:00 am.”

Elliott has applied to the NCAA for a hardship waiver which will allow the 6-2, 300 lb lineman to play immediately for the Jaguars and not be forced to sit out a year. A decision by the league is expected to come sometime before the 2012 season begins.

But if there was ever a textbook case for granting a hardship waiver, Elliott is it.

Most 17 to 22 year olds have a hard time getting out of bed before 9:00 am. By the time they’re up and coherent, Elliott has already worked out at the fieldhouse, made a 6:30 am spring practice and has already made it to his first class of the day.

Sometimes as late as 9:00 pm, Elliott makes the drive back to Pensacola, where his real work begins—caring for his mother.

As Elliott puts it, “There’s nothing [the doctors] can really do now. They’re just trying to create a stress-free environment for her, which is hard for her running her business back in Pensacola. They have her on a very strict diet. It’s pretty much trying to keep everything as calm as can be at this point.”

On his prospects of playing for the Jags in 2012:

“I’ll play wherever they put me. I just want to help the team as much as I can. … If [the waiver] doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m just glad to be at South Alabama. If it works out, great. If not, I’ll still be right here… I wouldn’t change a thing.”

This kind of dedication—to his mother and to his team—is what should make this a slam dunk case for the NCAA. If they really are all about the student-athlete, this is one whose waiver application should be granted—immediately.

Elliott doesn’t need the distraction of wondering whether he sits or plays in 2012, especially after all of the work he’s already put in after transferring just a few months ago. Pamela doesn’t need the stress of wondering whether her son’s hard work and dedication go for naught.

Character should count for something and Elliott’s character couldn’t be displayed any better.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Flashback: Review of Alabama’s 2007 recruiting class

image Jess Nicholas of Tidefans.com has his second annual review of prior recruiting classes and the players’ impact on the field. The 2007 class was Nick Saban’s first and some of the stars of that class will live in Alabama lore forever.

As always, there were players riding in on waves of high expectations who, for various reasons, never panned out.

If you have wondered what happened to some of the players in that class—here’s the consummate rundown of every 2007 signee.

Some of the highlights from Nicholas’ review:

1. Rolando McClain, LB (NARCAS rating: 10.0)

McClain immediately became the focal point of Saban’s defense at Alabama, and by the time the 2009 season had come and gone, he was one of the most feared defenders in college football.

3. Brandon Gibson, WR (10.0)

As a senior, he finally broke into the starting rotation, but his career is as much remembered for two run-ins with LSU safety Eric Reid as anything else he did.

11. Alex Watkins, DE (9.7)

Watkins became one of the most consistent pass rushers on the team as a junior and senior, and added to his legend in 2011 by returning from major knee surgery months ahead of schedule.

13. Josh Chapman, DT (9.6)

Had Saban not offered Chapman an immediate ride, it’s likely one of the most reliable Alabama linemen in recent years would have signed with Auburn instead.

15. Nick Gentry, DT (9.6)

Gentry frustrated opposing offensive linemen while amusing fans with his pot-bellied, everyman look. Against LSU in the BCS Championship Game, though, there was nothing funny about the way Gentry abused LSU OG Will Blackwell – if you were an LSU fan, that is.

Read the whole review here.

By the way, that 2007 class with players who appeared in two SEC Championship Games and three BCS Bowls and brought home two National Championships was ranked No. 10 by Rivals.com and No. 22 by Scout.com.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

.

OTT Mobile Social Image Links!