Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tiki Barber Gives Up His Comeback

Tiki Barber has officially given up his dream of coming back to the NFL. Before he embarked on this mission, he should've known it was going to come to this. He burned too many bridges as a player and analyst and expected the teams in the league to welcome him with open arms.

His time away from the game (5 years) and his age (36) worked against him. Also his comments regarding his former team the New York Giants, didn't help his cause either. Barber officially made the announcement after Giants head coach Tom Coughlin rejected a meeting to call a truce.

"We tried. He said no, through his agent, (Giants vice president of communications) Pat Hanlon," Barber said. "But one of these days I'm sure it'll happen, because as we know, time heals all wounds. And I think at the end of the day, Giants fans, despite their dislike of me at times, know that I was one of the guys that put (it) on the line every time I put on my uniform."

I'm sure it wasn't to beg for a job, but he should've never announced that he was attempting a comeback. Even if Plaxico Burress proclaimed Barber was better than half the backs in the league. Who is he better than right now Plax? I'd like to know. Anyways, Barber says he won't be trying anymore comebacks.

"No. No. I'm not trying to come back," Barber said. "It was an excuse for me to get up off the couch and do something, and it worked, because now I'm engaged in a few different things and I feel really strong about where I am personally, and that's all that matters in life."

Sounds like denial to me, but oh well. We won't have to hear about Barber for some time.


Hamilton Might Be Holding Back The Seminoles

I'll admit this much when I watch college basketball. I do keep an eye on the Florida State Seminoles. I'm not a Floridian or an alumnus from the university.  I loved the fact that they blasted North Carolina by 33 yesterday. I found the team fairly exciting to watch during the Pat Kennedy years and have watched since. From that point on the Seminoles have attracted top 100 talent to Tallahassee. It's just that they've never really put it all together. They did have a Sweet 16 run last year, but other than that they haven't had much success.

I like Leonard Hamilton as a coach. I think he's done a fairly good job at FSU and has put them in position to be the third best team in the ACC behind Duke and North Carolina. However, I think the Seminoles are capable of bigger things. I hate to say it but I think Hamilton might be holding them back.

Before anyone blasts me about Hamilton's accomplishments in Fla., just hear me out. He has consistently recruited the best talent behind Duke and North Carolina. He's built a fantastic defensive team, but his teams are quite offensive. As in bad.

With yesterday's blowout win over the Tar Heels being more the exception than the rule, the Seminoles have trouble throwing the ball into the ocean. I call them the "gang that can't shoot straight". They have the athletes/players, but the offense gets so stagnant they have trouble scoring. I think Hamilton needs to turn them loose. Not Paul Westhead run and gun, but they need to take advantage of their superior athleticism against some teams. There's no reason they should struggle against the likes of Harvard, Princeton, and Clemson.

The Seminoles won't be able to ride the hot streak they had against the Tar Heels yesterday. They need to generate more easy baskets on the offensive end. They have the defense to do it, they just need to trnaslate the defensive stops into points. If not they'll find themselves on the outside looking in come March.

Will Brandon Weeden Succeed At The NFL Level?

From now until April there will be lots of jockeying for players in this spring's NFL Draft. There is one player that has me a bit curious. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. I'm no scout or have any knowledge about what teams look for in a quarterback. I think Weeden would be worth the risk to take a first day flier on.

He will get knocked down a peg or two because of his age. He's 28, pitched in the New York Yankees farm system for five years (he was a second round pick in 2002) before coming back to college. The question is, is he more Chris Weinke that Roger Staubach.

I think his age and maturity will help him adjust to the pro game. Whether he'll be able to adjust to the speed of the game is a different story. He has the arm, mobility, and can make the throws. He did have his moments where he forced things that got him in trouble (see Iowa State game). He did have good receivers to throw to (thanks Justin Blackmon) that could've made him look better than he really is.

Another knock on him is that he played in a shotgun spread offense. The same knock that killed Texas tech quarterbacks coming out of college. I think he can overcome that if given a chance and play in a pro style system.

"The biggest concern that will build momentum leading into the 2012 NFL Draft for Brandon Weeden, undoubtedly will be his age. As a 28 year old, a perceived inability to develop, and limited upside bring reason to doubt Weeden's long term success. Some have even gone as far to say he can only be a one-contract player. With a relatively poor track record of minor league baseball players in the NFL, ranging from Chris Weinke to Drew Henson, it is easy to dismiss Weeden's pro potential.

I think Weeden will be a third round pick at best. He could slide up to the seond round if he has a killer combine and pro day. Maybe he hit his ceiling in college and it gets no better for him. I do think he could wind up going to a quarterback starved team such as the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, or Seattle Seahawks. If he gets into a savior type situation it won't be good for him.


Twins Sign Joel Zumaya

Could Joel Zumaya come back to haunt the Detroit Tigers? That day could be coming as Zumaya signed a one year deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres were also teams named on his short list.

According to's Jason Beck the deal is for one year that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.

Zumaya is coming off elbow surgery that cost him the 2011 season. This is a typical low risk Twins signing that always seems to pay off for them. I'm glad to see Zumaya come back and get another shot, but as a Tigers fan I hate to see him signing with a division rival.  

Kobe: Paul,Rose Have That "Killer Edge"

The Los Angeles Clippers may have upstaged the Lakers last night, but as far as this season and beyond remains to be seen. Chris Paul had a good game against their co-tenants, scoring the 33 on 12-for-22 shooting from the field and six assists. Not bad in his first game against his L.A. counterparts.

You can count Kobe Bryant impressed with his performance.

"He's a dog," Kobe told reporters. "He's going to fight to win, and not too many teams can deal with him.

"Chris Paul is really the only other guy in the league, other than Derrick Rose, who has also that competitive edge," he continued.

A high compliment from someone who has that competitive fire in him at all times. The only player that had that edge like Kobe was Michael Jordan. There are others that like to win (Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Kevin Durant). But Kobe loathes losing.

I really haven't paid attention to Paul in that vain, but you see it in Rose, albeit in a quiet way.

Oregon's Darron Thomas Entering NFL Draft

Ina shcoking development, Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas has entered the NFL Draft. after the Rose Bowl many figured Thomas would be coming back for his senior season. I guess he pulled the wool over everyone's eyes on that one.

“I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,” Thomas said in the official release. “I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I’m going to pursue those dreams.

“I would like to thank everyone in Oregon for all their support and I would thank the coaches for all their help, especially Coach (Chip) Kelly. I love my teammates and wish them the best of luck, and am confident they will continue the winning tradition that has been established. Last but not least, I thank all the Oregon fans for their help and support.”

Thomas said that he would be coming back in December, but that won't happen now. It's a blow to a program that lost it's starting running back (LaMichael James) to the draft already. The Ducks would've been a co-favorite to win the Pac-12 with USC. Now it looks like the road for the Trojans just got a bit easier. It's not the end for the Ducks but I don't see them being the force they were over the past three seasons. Coach Chip Kelly seemed luke warm about the jump to the NFL.

“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players. I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”

As for Thomas, he's not listed in any pre-draft position rankings, so he might have a long climb ahead for him. At 6-3 and 215 pounds he could have a future at quarterback, but there are many who will call him an athlete. Maybe the success of Cam Newton gave him the idea that he may have a shot. Being a run pass threat, I think he could turn into a legit NFL quarterback. If he's given the time and coaching.  

I don't know what his line of thinking was but I'm not one to try and crush anyone's dreams. If he puts together a monster combine (if he's invited) or pro day, who knows what can happen. I would like to see him get a legitimate shot to play quarterback. If he can't hack it, change his position, or he can go to Canada. I wish him the best of luck in chsing his dreams.    

Odom Almost Took A Year Off

Lamar Odom revealed that he came close to taking a year off from basketball to get his mind together. The near trade to the New Orleans Hornets and subsequent trade to the Dallas Mavericks weren't the reasons why he had a thought about leaving.

Left reeling by the July murder of his 24-year-old cousin and a fatal car accident days later that killed a teen pedestrian after the car he was riding in as a passenger collided with a motorcycle, Odom told that he had to be convinced by wife Khloe Kardashian to scrap his plans for a hiatus.

"Real close," Odom said when asked Saturday how close he came to asking the Lakers for a season-long sabbatical.

"My wife talked me out of it.

"Cause I was asking myself: 'Was I mentally prepared to play? If I didn't play well, was I mentally prepared to help the team?' I had thought, 'Maybe I need a year.' Because of the lockout, I thought, 'Maybe somebody's sending me a sign that I needed this time off.'

"(But) when I told some of my friends and my family that I was thinking about steppin' back for a minute, I think the reaction from the closest people to me kind of gave me the energy to get back at it."

With some of the events that have transpired recently in Odom's life I have to take him at his word. Sometimes tragic events stick with someone forever. With what Odom has gone through, you just don't get over it, so being traded is small potaotes in his prism of life.

But Odom, dismissing the notion of a trade hangover, said Saturday that the events of July made him realize "how much I wasn't over some of the things that I went through (in life)," most notably the death of 6-month-old son Jayden in 2006 from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

"I thought it was good time for me to take a step back," Odom said of his sabbatical idea. Asked if he imagined it as just a one-season break, Odom added: "I don't know. 'Cause who knows where time away is gonna take you? You never know."

Who wouldn't want to take a break after all the drama. However, since he has been in the NBA there has always looked like something was amiss with Odom. He just looked like the classic floater, with the Clippers more than anyone, but he was supposed to be a game changer when he came out of Rhode Island. He gets by on being so talented and athletic he really doesn't work too hard at it, but he's still a damn good player.

Hopefully he can get his head straight and help the Mavericks defend their title. It's been a rough start for Odom and the Mavericks, but I'm sure he'll start to put everything together after he gets a little more comfortable.