Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Touch 'em all

A last look at the day (and night) in sports.

It doesn't appear there is a lot of love Eagles camp after the first day of practice. Andy is mad at Brian, Brian is mad at Joe and T.O. is mad at everyone. And what about Corey. Has anyone seen Corey? Does anyone even care about Corey? This could be a fun couple of weeks.

Shaq signs a new deal with the Miami Heat and takes $10.6 million less for the upcoming season. His agent Perry Rogers says, "Shaquille can name his price. And the price he has named is winning." Of course, the new deal is reportedly for $100 million over five years and surely it is guaranteed money. Hey T.O., you listening? You just picked the wrong sport, dude.

The news gets worse for steroid-tainted Rafael Palmeiro. The New York Times is reporting that the steroid found in Palmeiro's pee was stanozolol. The same drug that Ben Johnson tested positive for after winning the gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Let's reflect on BenJo's legacy ... oh yeah, cheater. Too late to come clean (in more ways than one) for Raffy.

A five-team trade in the NBA. This is what happens when general managers have too much time on their hands because of a moratorium on league signings. It seems it took the NBA and the players' association a little longer to cross and dot a few things on the newly inked collective bargaining agreement. So what better to do in the meantime than come up with some fantasy-type trade. Too many details for this space, but the highlight is Antoine Walker going to Miami to join Shaq.

Oh, by the way, Antoine Walker signed a new deal reportedly for $53 million over six years. Now, he makes more than T.O., too.

Deion Sanders came clean. The Ravens cornerback told the press Tuesday that he had tested positive for steroids last year and because of that he was tested weekly throughout last season. Finally, someone comes clean! But hold on there, Deion. The Ravens say that is not true. You never tested positive. You just refused a drug test in your last season with the Redskins and that is why you were tested every week. And you passed every test. Please, somebody tell the truth.

Questioning the Eagles statement on Westbrook

Eagles fans on the Philly.com Eagles Forum aren't so angry with running back Brian Westbrook and his holdout, instead they are upset with the way management handled it through the statement Monday night.

Read on:

From ergross: In a statement released by the Philadelphia Eagles regarding RB Brian Westbrook not reporting to training camp, the team noted they have been "very aggressive in trying to secure a long-term contract" with him. "We had thought we were making good progress in that regard. Unfortunately, Brian made a counter productive and almost unprecedented decision to not report to training camp. We will focus our attention on the players that are present." Westbrook previously signed a one-year tender as a restricted free agent and would be eligible for unrestricted free agency following the 2005 season.

We know where the team stands, but what is Westy's situation, and what will make him happy? He signed a one year tender at $1.43 Million. He reportedly wants a five-year deal. Anyone know what the team is offering?

Also noteworthy is this comment by AR from June 2, 2005:

"Brian is not a guy that tries to stir it up by any means," Reid said. "He was just trying to do what he thought was right. That's the business side of the profession."

oopsy. Guess holding out was logical and part of business on June 2. Now they're saying, "Brian made a counter productive and almost unprecedented decision to not report to training camp." Which is it? Part of business, or unprecedented and counter-productive? ;)

From BirdsFanInDC: I don't understand why management feels the need to make characterizations like:

"Unfortunately, Brian made a counter productive and almost unprecedented decision to not report to training camp."

What's the point of that if not to try and make a play for public opinion? Why not just say, "we're sorry he's not here and hopefully we'll be able to work something out"?

I just don't get it.

From 22ndNSouth: If someone with authority said that quote about Westbrook taking an unfortunate and non-productive approach, I most certainly agree that was a mistake.

I would prefer something like; Both sides have been working hard at a long term agreement for Brian. We think very good progress has been made and are confident we can workout any concerns that remain. We fully believe Brian will play and play well for the Philadelphia Eagles this season and in seasons to come. We very much want Brian in Eagles green and look forward to his exciting play in our drive to win the Super Bowl this season. He is an important part of our team.

Bonds: All about the timing

Does anyone else find Barry Bonds timing a little strange?

In a story on MLB.com, Bonds said, "I don't think you are going to see me out there this year. That's the reality of the situation. I'm improving. I'm happy with the progress. I'm working hard on the exercise bike and the elliptical machine, but I'm just not there yet. The last thing I want is to get back on the field and be out again a week later."

So why would Bonds, who makes a career out of not talking to the media, come out with this on the day Rafael Palmeiro is suspended by Major League Baseball for steroid use? Coincidence? Calculated (Not the biggest headline of the day?).

Remember the San Francisco Chronicle story that said Bonds testified to a grand jury that he took steroids, but was unaware they were steroids?

Ignorance is the defense o' the day when it comes to athletes and drugs.

Is Bonds afraid to come back after the Palmeiro revelations? Or are his recuperative and healing powers slowed because he is off the stuff?

There are lots of questions and no answers coming from Bonds.

It's easier to just go away.

Bush on Palmeiro

Former owner of the Texas Rangers, President Bush made comments yesterday on the Rafael Palmeiro situation. This from Ron Hutcheson of the Inquirer Washington Bureau:

[Bush] also offered an unequivocal defense of Palmeiro, a friend from their days together with the Texas Rangers in the early 1990s. Bush was the team’s managing partner when Palmeiro played in Texas.

The Orioles slugger was suspended for 10 days after testing positive for steroid use, despite his insistence that he never intentionally used the prohibited substance. Bush has been an outspoken critic of steroid abuse.

“Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him,” Bush said, referring to Palmeiro’s denials under oath to a congressional committee on March 17. "He’s the kind of person that’s going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn’t use steroids, and I believe him. Still do.”

Westbrook concern

A quick run through the Eagles fans discussion boards and it is clear the panic has not set in on Brian Westbrook not reporting to camp. Most feel it is just a matter of time before the Eagles top running back finds his way back to Lehigh.

Except for this one from mcud77 on Warnest.com: "And I just wrote a long diatribe about how Westbrook was doing it the right way and Simon the wrong...

"Shows what I know. Owens reports, and Westbrook no-shows. Excuse me while I go light myself on fire."

From Yankeeboy1046 on Warnest.com: "Westbrook a no-show and Owens is here. Didn't think that would happen. They both were saying the opposite during the offseason. I guess Moats might just get his feet wet a little earlier than expected."

From Care_Much on ESPN NFL discussion board: "Supposedly the argument is between length and signing bonus. Westy wants a 5 year $10 million signing bonus but the Eagles want to give him a 3 year deal with a $4-5 million signing bonus. Obviously a 4 year deal with a $6-8 million signing bonus would be logical, but this is the NFL.

"Also, I thought I read that Fletcher Smith had no knowledge of Westbrook holding out, so this should be resolved quickly."

From BusBoyIsBack on ESPN NFL discussion board: "... you def should be worried about Westbrook though. T.O. or no T.O. he is the only running game you have not that you had any from the start. Westbrook out the backfield is invaluable. But like T.O. he will finally realize Eagles don't play any games and he'll report. Once again Eagles on top in NFC."

I'll be back this afternoon with more updates. I have to head out of the office for a while.