Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Genarlow Wilson Update

It seems that there has been some recent news in regards to Genarlow Wilson, the high school football player who was jailed for 20 years for being the recipient of fellatio from a 15 year old. He was 17 at the time.

For those unfamiliar with the case, by all accounts, including that of the girl's mother, the girl was a willing participant and even initiated the sexual contact. Wilson is serving a sentence essentially for being a child-molester. For a more in depth look at the case, check out the previous Angry Fan listing, the original article, or visit this site.

To keep it brief - it appears the former Georgia legislator who originally proposed the law under which Wilson is serving his term has publicly stated that the law is being applied incorrectly. He did not specifically address the Wilson case, but came out in support of the legislation that would allow Wilson's conviction to be overturned.

Take some time and join the fight. Sometime saving the world one person at a time is enough.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Patriot Games

According to a report this evening the New England Patriots made a big splash in the free agent market agreeing to a preliminary deal with former Baltimore Raven multi-purpose defender Adalius Thomas. While speculation has been put forth that Thomas would come in and play for the Pats as an outside linebacker, expect the versatile 270 pounder to line up in the middle next year next to Tedy Bruschi, allowing Mike Vrabel to return to his more natural outside position and Roosevelt Colvin to return to the weak side.

Thomas, who has shown the speed to play as an effective corner and safety, will likely be expected to cover the tight-ends and running backs as well as free Bruschi up to make plays by taking on offensive linemen.

In light of this signing, it should be interesting to see if it sways Troy Brown to come back for one more shot at a fourth ring (assuming the Pats want him back).

I'm guessing that this signing might signal the end of Banta-Cain's time in New England, unless the market for him is not quite what he or his agent expects. However, I figure that he, like Matt Chatham before him, ends up with the Jets.


This is, I suppose a milestone of sorts - it is the 150th post at Angry Fan. I have had, on occasion, guest bloggers, but roughly 60 percent of what is here came from my twisted mind (there is a fair chunk that are my wife's photos of my Aussie rules football matches)...

And now for a look back at the top ten posts arbitrarily picked by me, and the top five photos taken by the wife...

1. - Not my best writing, but it was the entry that launched a thousand ships...okay, 149 subsequent entries, and that has to count for something.

2. - Also not my best writing, but the subject really pissed me off. Too important a story to put low down on the totem.

3. - One of my favorite pieces that I did during the Patriots doomed playoff run of the 2005 season. With everything this team went through in the way of injuries, making the playoffs was a pretty damn impressive feat.

4. - The first of my "rage against 'roid" pieces. Some of my better observations too. This is short, to the point, and one of my first really angry posts. I'm proud of this one.

5. - I just like some of the observations I made here. Some of my more clever writing (and I know that I have not been as clever nor as witty as often as I would like to have been here).

6. - For all the knocks Bledsoe has received over the years - here's my defense of him. Let's just say he compares pretty favorably to a number of Hall of Fame QB's.

7. - Welcome to another one of those Angry rants - the target, Deion Branch and his agent.

8. - A lot of random observations and rants. Mostly on the Patriots, but I covered the Sox too in this one

9. - Another of my Angry rants. The subject? Tom Brady and the media. I just calls 'em like I sees 'em.
10. - Former co-worker and Frederick Beat Writer Keith Martin makes the list with his e-mail about my denial when Theo bailed on the Sox after a blow-up with Lucchino at the end of the 2005 season. Not his best work, but some amusing observations - particularly for anyone intimately familiar with the Boston sports scene.

Honorable mention is the following week in its entirety - - It was a very good week for me that included rants about the Genarlow Wilson case, the Saints, Parcells retirement, The Bengals and the NFL Playoffs.

And now for the Picture Show...
With many thanks to my wife who manages to get decent pics with a crappy camera.


Here's to the next one-fifty.


Visitors to the Angry Fan know full well that I generally do not use the site as a political forum. however, long-time visitors might remember my posting regarding No Child Left Behind from some time ago (and recall that I once taught high school English in Philadelphia). The following was forwarded to me by my sister-in-law who is currently doing her student teaching and knows in what contempt I hold No Child.

Three quick things - this pretty accurately illustrates the philosophy of No Child Left Behind, I don not know who originally authored this or I would have given the person credit, and finally, I wish I had written it...

So without further ado...

1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If, after two years, they have not won the championship,their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents.


3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th game. It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad football players.

"Which brings me to my next point kids...don't do crack..."

33rd Team Anybody?

With the advent of this year's free agent period finally upon us in the NFL and teams trying to jockey for more dollars to spend, a number of veteran players were cut or are known to be on the market as trade bait. With the numbers available at each position, takers for trades might be harder to come by.

With the numbers available, one could easily construct a reasonably competitive 33rd football club with these players. Particularly at specific positions.

Let's take a look at what a person could do (and for the sake of argument, let's call it the L.A. Fantasy - sure it sounds like a strip club, but when was the last season that you remember that didn't involve some incident with a professional athlete at a strip club?) -

For the purposes of this exercise, I will primarily be eyeing unrestricted free-agents, but will mention the occasional bit of trade bait on the premise that they may get released at some point due to the market. Also, I'm looking at the people that I think could give you a reasonably competitive 53 man roster - not necessarily a Super Bowl winner, but a team that could make the post-season if it gels.

Head Coach - Marty Shottenheimer (asst coaches at his discretion - sorry AJ).

Offense -

QB - Take your pick based on system and/or the line you can put together: Drew Bledsoe, Jeff Garcia, Joey Harrington, Brad Johnson. Known to be available for the right price - David Carr, Jake Plummer (although likely to just switch teams) and Trent Green.

Center - Seth McKinney, Trey Teague (also Tackle), Jeremy Newberry

Guard - Bennie Anderson, Ruben Brown, Chris Dielman, Grey Reugamer (also Center), Adam Timmerman, Ross Verba, Chris Villarrial

Tackle - Anthony Clement, Marc Columbo, Damion McIntosh, Luke Petitgout, Todd Steussie, Floyd Womack

Tight End - Christian Fauria, Daniel Graham, Doug Jolley, Jerramy Stevens, Jermaine Wiggins

Wide Reciever - Joe Horn, Eric Moulds, Brandon Stokley, Donte Stallworth, Dennis Northcutt, Sean Morey, Keenan McCardell

Running/Full Back - Correll Buckhalter, Reno Mahe, Fred McAfee, Dominic Rhodes, Cory Schlesinger, Anthony Thomas

Currently for offense, the biggest area of concern would be the running game.

Special Teams -

K - Morten Anderson, Billy Cundiff, Jay Feely

P - Todd Sauerbrun, Matt Turk

Defense -

DE - Bobby Hamilton, Rodney Bailey, ND Kalu, Patrick Kerney, Robaire Smith, Marcellus Wiley

DT - Jason Fisk, Dan Klecko, Monte Reagor, Keith Traylor, Jeff Zgonina

LB - LaVar Arrington (only if you could get him on the cheap), Tully Banta-Cain, Dexter Coakley, Don Davis, Na'il Diggs, Donnie Edwards, Carlos Emmons, Larry Izzo, Joey Porter, Junior Seau, Donnie Spragan, Adalius Thomas, London Fletcher-Baker, Napoleon Harris

CB - Phillip Buchanon, Nate Clements, Chidi Iwuoma, Nick Harper, David Macklin, Dexter McCleon, Fred Smoot

S - Jay Bellamy, Mike Doss, Ken Hamlin, Tebucky Jones, Michael Lewis, Mike Rumph, Lance Schulters, Tavares Tillman, Troy Vincent, Shaun Williams

Without even delving into the draft a person could put together a decent team. Sure it would still have holes - not a lot is available for running backs (would probably have to be solved through the draft), you could put together a decent but aging D-line - but depth might be an issue, there are some good linebackers available, but the defensive backfield could be suspect. There is good special-teams type depth though with people like Izzo, Morey, Tebucky Jones and Stone out there.

For my money -

QB - Bledsoe, Harrington, Rookie to develop (3)

OL - Newberry, Reugamer, Timmerman, Verba, Columbo, Petitgout, Steussie, Womack, two rookies (10)

TE - Graham, Jolley, Wiggins (3)

WR - Horn, Moulds, Stokley, Stallworth, Morey (5)

RB - Mahe, Rhodes, Schlesinger, Rookie (4)

25 on offensive roster

K - Feeley (1)

P - Sauerbrun (1)

2 Dedicated special teamers

DE - Hamilton, Bailey, Kerney, Wiley, Rookie (5)

DT - Fisk, Klecko, Traylor (3)

LB - Fletcher-Baker, Harris, Edwards, Izzo, Porter, Seau, A. Thomas, Rookie (8)

CB - Clements, Harper, McCleon, Smoot, Rookie (5)

S - Doss, Hamlin, T. Jones, Lewis, Vincent (5)

26 Defenders.

And that's my 53 man roster based on what's available and where I would draft for help and for the future. I believe this gives me a good group of veterans at every position with a strong core of special teamers, a veteran QB that can help bring along a rookie, a decent offensive line, talented receivers and tight ends, veteran leadership on both sides of the ball and a strong linebacking corps.

Would love to hear other roster ideas.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Check out Bitterfans

For a more in depth piece I wrote on pro-athletes juicing to compete.

Sports Juice and Classic Video Games in the News Again

Well, this week we saw a federal drug bust in the on-going investigation into the distribution of illegal performance enhancing drugs. In the wake of this week's bust in the Deep South, several names have come up - Evander Holyfield, The Pittsburgh Steelers, and former journeyman outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr., who coincidentally had a career year last the suspect age of 32.

Somehow I'm less than concerned about the use of human growth hormone in boxing. The sport stopped being interesting sometime ago - but that's a whole separate rant.

The Steelers ownership right now is doing their best to distance themselves from a long-time team physician that was on the customer list of the pharmacy busted as a distribution center for the illegal substance (like steroids, HGH is only legal to possess for valid medical reasons and requires a prescription).

But the interesting one here is Matthews, who, of course, is denying any wrong doing and publicly questioning how his name made it onto the customer list. Until last year Matthews never batted higher than .276, but at 32 years old he hit .313 - almost forty points above his career high, and over sixty points higher than what his career average was before the start of last season (from 1999 to 2005 Matthews was a career .248 hitter).

I invite you to draw your own conclusions, I already know what I think.

On a related note, Game of Shadows was just issued in paperback with a new section detailing Bonds growth since joining the Giants. According to the book, based on information from the Giants (part of the reason to be nicer to the clubhouse workers than Bonds has ever been) the man's shoe size has increased from 10.5 to 13 and hat size has increased from 7 1/8 to 7 1/4. So his feet grew two and a half sizes and head by an eighth of an inch, or one hat size.

I don't know about anybody else out there, but I'm on the verge of turning 37 and I've had the same hat and shoe size for 20 years. Don't even try to tell me it's because he got bigger as he got older - I weighed 142 when I was 16. I'm 180 now. Foot and hat sizes just don't change unless you're altering body chemistry - that's not circumstantial - it's fact. You don't believe that - talk to a doctor.

Bonds apologists can continue to deny Bonds's use of performance enhancers all they like, but they should consider this one immutable fact (and this goes for the same people that defend Mark McGwire). Since the publication of Game of Shadows (and Jose Canseco's Juiced), not a single fact, not a single accusation has been challenged in a court of law. There was sabre rattling when the books hit, but no one - Not Bonds, Not McGwire, Not Palmiero, not anyone else named or implicated in these books has filed libel suits against the authors. Bonds attorney challenged (unsuccessfully) the rights of the writers to publish grand jury testimony, but never once challenged the allegations.

I don't know about anyone else out there, but if I was a pro athlete and authors were writing that I was cheating...I'd have them in a courtroom before the publisher hit the first full week of sales. Think what you want - but the lack of any attempt to recoup damages is pretty damning.

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9...

No, I'm not talking Beatles, I'm talking Pacman. On Wednesday the Tennessean, and later on, reported that Pacman Jones is now facing obstruction charges in Georgia from an incident from last year. Right now Marvin Lewis has to be breathing a sigh of relief that there's actually someone on another team that makes Chris Henry appear to be a model citizen.

I don't know for sure that this makes a ninth incident (according to the report there have been 10 run-ins with the police which includes four arrests), or if this was reported on as one of his eight since entering the NFL, but I do know that we're looking at Lawrence Phillips territory here. Phillips, for those who don't recall, was a talented athlete with enough off-field problems that the Rams, who drafted him, kept him on a short leash before cutting him.

In a three season career (1996, 97, and 99) Phillips was cut during his second season due to his issues. He played his most in his rookie year, playing in 15 games, then was cut by St. Louis after 10 games in 1997. Was subsequently signed by Miami and was cut after two games. No one touched him in 98. In an effort to restore his image and get one more shot he played for the Barcelona Dragons in NFLE. San Francisco gave him that shot but he appeared in only eight games for the team by the Bay.

In subsequent years he spent time playing for teams in Canada, but was cut by both for insubordination.

The nature of his off-field transgressions? Multiple run ins with the law for assaulting women (including domestic abuse charges) and sometimes children. His fate? He's facing 20 years in prison after his 2006 conviction on seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

It's hard not to see Adam Jones heading for the same fate.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

As Troy Brown Ponders Retirement...

I ponder Patriot games without Troy Brown...

Troy Brown has been a Patriot for 14 years. He came into the league and joined the team with former Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe. For almost a decade I have watched this man suit up for the Patriots.

He has lasted through two distinct uniform changes, played with Andre Tippett, Bruce Armstrong, and Vincent Brown, and outlasted higher Pats picks from that year in Chris Slade and Vincent Brisby. A pick in a round of the draft that no longer even exists, Brown (if he retires) will retire with the following among his career highlights (courtesy of the Patriots Web site) -

  • Brown ranks first on the Patriots all-time receptions list with 557 career receptions and also places second on the franchise's receiving yardage list with 6,366 yards.

  • On Nov. 27, 2005, Brown grabbed his 500th career reception in a game at Kansas City. Brown became just the second player in Patriots history to achieve the feat (Stanley Morgan).

  • In 2004, Brown earned accolades for his play on defense, showing a level of versatility unmatched in recent NFL history. After injuries had taken a toll on the Patriots' secondary, he pitched in as the team's nickel back for the final nine games of the regular season and all three of the Patriots' postseason contests. The team's third all-time leading receiver finished second on the team with three interceptions in the 2004 regular season and matched his reception total with 17 tackles on defense.

  • Brown became the only player in Patriots history to record a reception and an interception in the same game when he pulled the feat against Buffalo (11/14/04).

  • Brown's 321 receptions from 2000-03 are the highest four-year total in Patriots history.

  • Tight end Ben Coates ranks second with a four-year total of 308 (1994-97).

  • Brown is the Patriots all-time leading punt returner, topping the team's all-time lists in returns (237) and yardage (2,524), and tying for the franchise record with three punt returns for touchdowns.

  • Brown's 97 catches in 2002 were the second highest total in franchise history, four behind his record 101 catches in 2001.

  • Brown became the first Patriot in club history to record three 80-catch seasons (97, 2002; 101, 2001; 83, 2000).

  • Brown amassed a franchise-record 16 catches vs. Kansas City (9/22/02), which ranked as the most receptions in one game in the NFL in 2002. It also tied the fourth highest single game total in NFL history shared by Keenan McCardell (10/20/96), Jerry Rice (10/20/94) and Sonny Randle (11/4/62).

  • Brown has amassed 13 career 100-yard receiving games during his 12-year career, and is tied for second in Patriots history behind Stanley Morgan (39).

  • Brown is the Patriots all-time leading return specialist with 4,386 combined return yards. He surpassed David Meggett's previous record of 3,999 yards in 2002.

  • Brown became the franchise's all-time leading punt returner in 2002, surpassing Irving Fryar's career total of 2,055 yards. He also ranks eighth among the Patriots all-time leading kick returners (1,862 yards).

  • Brown has played in 162 games during his 12-year Patriots career, the most of any active Patriot. He enters the 2005 season ranked eighth on the Patriots all-time games played list.

  • Brown established a franchise record with 101 receptions during the 2001 season (96 - Ben Coates, 1994).

  • Brown accumulated 1,199 receiving yards in 2001, the second highest total in franchise history (1,491-Stanley Morgan, 1986).

  • Brown is the Patriots all-time leading receiver in the postseason with 47 catches and 553 yards during his 15 postseason games.

  • Brown returned two punts for touchdowns in 2001 (85 yards vs. Cleveland, 12/9 and 68 yards at Carolina, 1/6) and was the only player to accomplish the feat in the NFL in 2001. He became just the third Patriot to have two punt returns for touchdowns in a single season (Irving Fryar and Mike Haynes).

  • Brown recorded a 55-yard punt return for a score against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game (01/27/02). It was the first special teams return for a score in the playoffs in franchise history and was the first punt return for a score in AFC Championship game history.

  • Brown's 14.2-yard punt return average in 2001 was the second-highest in franchise history, behind Mack Herron's 14.8-yard average in 1974.

  • Brown caught 83 passes and accumulated 944 receiving yards during the 2000 season. His 83 receptions were the seventh-highest single-season total in franchise history.

  • In the 1996 season finale against the Giants (12/21/96) he made one of the most acrobatic receptions of the season when he snared a 13-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe on third-and-13, extending a drive which led to the game-winning touchdown in a 23-22 come from- behind victory.

  • Scored his first career touchdown on one of the most unusual plays of the 1995 season when he picked up a David Meggett fumble on a kick return vs. the New York Jets (12/10) and raced down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.

Not bad for a guy that was drafted in the 8th round.

With the retirement of Brown, Tedy Bruschi will become the longest tenured Patriot with 11 seasons under his belt and the only other Patriot still left from the Bill Parcells Era.
It will, to say the least, be weird to see someone else out there wearing number 80.

If we don't see you on the field next year, good luck and thank you. It's been our pleasure.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thoughts on recent events

Corporate families...

Business owners like to talk about their businesses, their employees, as families. This is no different in professional sports where the last four months have been particularly rough for two franchises; The Denver Broncos and the Boston Celtics.

The Broncos, in the last 60 days, have lost two players (starting corner Darrent Williams, backup running back Damien Nash) under what can only be described as an unfortunate series of events and circumstances. Williams was shot in the neck as he left a New Year's party, while Nash collapsed after a charity basketball game late last week.

Neither player made it to the age of 25.

On the other end of the spectrum, almost four months ago the Celtics lost arguably the greatest coach of all-time and Hall-of-Famer when the 89-year old Red Auerbach died at the end of October. Then again this past weekend, former Celtic (and Sonic) great Dennis Johnson, one of the NBA's great all-time defenders, collapsed and died while coaching one of the NBA's developmental league teams. He was 52.

My condolences go out to both teams and the families of all.

Some thoughts as we move into free agency and past the combine...

Corey Dillon could retire or could seek a job with another team should the Patriots grant his request to be released. He has left both options open. Either way, I wish him well.

Troy Brown has been talking retirement, evidently, for a couple of months - and is still thinking it over. The general belief is that he will probably retire, but that the Patriots all-time leader in receptions is mulling coming back because the team didn't win it all this past season and that he had hoped to go out on a championship. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back next year, but would also not be surprised to hear that he had accepted a position with the Patriots somewhere in the front office.

I'd like to see tight-end Daniel Graham return to the Patriots (I think he's better and more consistent than Ben Watson), but unless a deal gets done before the free agency period beginning on March 2, I think Graham is likely to be in a Jets uniform next year.

I think Ravens Linebacker Adalius Thomas is the crown jewel of the free-agent market this year (and would have been even if Dwight Freeney and Lance Briggs don't get franchised), and the contract he gets is going to reflect that.

The NFL Network broadcast fair bits of the Combine this past weekend. Ultimately, the workouts at the combine are pointless. The usefulness of the Combine comes down to the following;

The ability for teams to meet with players and evaluate character and intelligence in so meeting.

The ability to have the player examined and to review medical histories.

The ability to meet a player in the off-season and see (via the physical) if the player has let himself go, or if he looks like he can go out and play now (gives a good idea about that off-season work ethic and drive to improve).

Useless? Getting times on the 40. Throwing drills. Bench press. Catching the football.

At least somewhat useful...maybe? Vertical leap. Route running...and that's about it.

The problem with the drills comes back to the lack of pads. None of this shit matters if the player can't do it with the armor on, and, quite frankly, if your scouts don't have the player on film doing these things, then it's useless evaluating them without the pads. The history of the draft is littered with workout warriors who helped their positioning with a good combine, but couldn't get the job done when the pads were put on.

Late last week at the combine, players from a number of teams got together for a meeting and proposed to union leader Gene Upshaw that the league adopt a "three strikes and you're out" rule as a solution to the "thug life" attitude that appears to be the hallmark of the NFL's more recent generation of players. Details are still sketchy, but the young players that are still skating through the NFL on their initial deals like the Bengals' Chris Henry, Odell Thurman, and Tennessee's Pacman Jones would likely be done with their NFL careers if this rule were already in place.

The thinking of the players is that they are sick of the masses getting lumped in with the Tank Johnsons, and Pacman Joneses who are repeat offenders, and they want to send a message to these people that playing in the NFL isn't their right - it's a privilege. This is exactly the reason that the NFL is rubber and the NBA is glue.

Rubbing the government the wrong way...

Barry is at it again. Barry Bonds is claiming he can't cooperate with MLB's steroid investigation due to his perjury case. According to the AP -

Barry Bonds and other players under suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs have been asked by Major League Baseball's lead steroids investigator to turn
over medical records and submit to interviews.
A letter urging the cooperation of Bonds and other players tied to the BALCO scandal was sent Feb. 1 by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who is leading baseball's steroids inquiry. The letter, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday on it Web site, was accompanied by medical waiver forms that, if signed, would allow
investigators to view Bonds' and other players medical records.Members of
Congress have told Mitchell they might intervene if baseball's own investigation
is hampered by lack of player cooperation.
Bonds' lawyer Michael Rains told the Chronicle that Bonds cannot cooperate as long as he remains the focus of a possible perjury indictment. Rains did not immediately return calls from the Associated Press on Sunday night.

For the entire story, click here.

Of course this begs the questions - If Bonds did not perjure himself, then why would turning over his medical records to MLB's investigation be a problem in the Grand Jury perjury case? If the medical records were something that would clear Bonds of the perjury charge, wouldn't it be in the best interest of Bonds and his attorney to turn those over as quickly as possible?

Bonds is in no way barred from turning over his medical records to Major League Baseball, but his lawyer is counting on the ignorance of the masses to believe that as long as the perjury case is going on, that Bonds is not in a position to cooperate with the steroids investigation. That is beyond the pale. Get ready for federal involvement in MLB and steroids, round two.

Manny Ramirez has shown up for Spring Training. Big Whoop-Tee-Fucking-Do.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like having ManRam's big production numbers in the middle of that line-up, I do. I'm just trying to figure out what's wrong with my Red Sox-rooting brethren.

Jim Rice, Ted Williams, and Carl Yastrzemski, all products of the Red Sox farm system, busted their asses in left field, and got booed...quite regularly by the Fenway Faithful. But Ramirez, who's head obviously pops out of the game from time to time, occasionally plays as if he were totally disinterested, and has repeatedly asked to get out of the Boston pressure-cooker, is roundly and regularly applauded and cheered by the Sox fandom.

That's just wrong. He needs to be held to a higher standard by the fandom, and boo-fucking-hoo if he doesn't like it.