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Friday, March 6, 2015

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Barry Switzer urged Cowboys to draft DeMarco Murray with superb quote

DeMarco Murray Cowboys

DeMarco Murray was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in large part thanks to a hearty endorsement from former Cowboys and Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer.

Murray, 27, was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round in 2011. 70 players had already been drafted by the time Dallas selected him, so it’s not exactly like there was a huge demand for him. But Switzer knew how good he was and repeatedly shared that message with Jerry Jones leading up to the draft. He also campaigned for Murray on draft night at the behest of Jones.

SI’s Austin Murphy wrote an excellent piece about Murray and shared this great anecdote:

“So I’m watching the draft that year, the third round’s coming up, and my phone rings,” Switzer recalls. “It’s Jerry, in the war room. He says, ‘Barry, tell these guys what you told me.’” Switzer obliged thusly: “You all are the luckiest sons of bitches in the world because this kid is a first-round talent falling into your lap, and if you don’t take him, you’re as crazy as that time you didn’t take Randy Moss.”

That, apparently, was all the Cowboys needed to hear about Murray. They drafted the former Oklahoma Sooner anyd have been rewarded by back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons from the league’s 2014 leading rusher. Now it’s a matter of whether they will pay to bring Murray back next season, and from the sounds of things, he is willing to give them a hometown discount.

There were a few other great nuggets from Murphy’s article: Murray sported a Rick James look in high school; Pete Carroll wanted to recruit him as a cornerback; and to get the attention of Oklahoma’s coaches while in high school, Murray threw down a crazy dunk.

Jon Jones thinks he can beat Cain Velasquez

Jon Jones

Jon Jones has flirted with the idea of moving up to heavyweight, and now he feels pretty comfortable with pursuing that goal. In fact, Jones believes he can beat current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.

Jones spoke at the “UFC: Welcome to the Show” event in Los Angeles last week and again expressed interest in moving up in weight and eventually facing Velasquez.

“I don’t know when I’m going to move up in weight,” Jones said via MMA Junkie. “I’ve entertained the thought of going to heavyweight so many times, and I think right now, with all due respect to Anthony, I believe I’ll win that fight and get into superfights and rematches.

“But if I do go to heavyweight, and when I do go to heavyweight, I do believe I have the skillset to beat Cain.”

Jones has been making noise about fighting Velasquez since Nov. 2013. His reason for wanting to fight Cain is the same as last time: He does not feel he would be at a big size disadvantage.

“Cain’s a magnificent opponent,” he said. “My main reason for believing I’ll beat Cain is his size. He’s not one of these massive heavyweights that is just going to outweigh me and out-power me in every situation. He’s a guy that I can totally compete with; I believe I’m smart enough to compete with him.”

Before Jones moves up a weight class and takes on Velasquez, he has to beat Anthony Johnson. The two are set to meet at UFC 187 on May 23. If Jones can win that one, then maybe he will move up. Nothing is a guarantee with Jones, though, considering last April he said he didn’t want to move up in weight.

Larry Bird jokes about pose of Dominique Wilkins’ statue

dominique-wilkins-statue

On Thursday, the Hawks unveiled a statue of the greatest player in the franchise’s history, Dominique Wilkins.

Former and current players attended the private ceremony at Philips Arena to honor the Hall of Famer who is at, or near, the top of many Hawks career statistical categories. Among those to congratulate Wilkins was Celtics great Larry Bird, who did so via video. Bird also noted the pose used for the statue was not of Wilkins playing defense.

Dominique Wilkins is second on the Hawks’ all-time steals list and sixth in blocks, but we remember him more for his exploits above the rim that helped him earn the Human Highlight Film nickname than we do for his defense. Larry Bird was notorious for being one the biggest trash talkers in the league during his playing days. As we can see, he’s still got it.

H/T For The Win
Photo via: Atlanta Hawks

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Jay Cutler

The Chicago Bears are in a difficult position with Jay Cutler and apparently have made it known that the quarterback is available in a trade.

NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that teams know Cutler is available:

While the Bears might want to get rid of Cutler, the issue is will other teams be interested?

Cutler’s $15.5 million salary for the upcoming season is already guaranteed, but an issue for the Bears is that $10 million of his $16 salary becomes guaranteed if he is on the roster next week. Chicago’s new regime, including coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace, would not commit to Cutler in public comments made last month at the scouting combine, indicating they are exploring all options.

The real problem is that the past regime signed Cutler to a seven-year, $126.7 million contract last year prior to his pedestrian 2014 season. Between injuries, sporadic play, and being benched for Jimmy Clausen last year, the Bears have little reason to be confident in Cutler entering this season.

Kristin Cavallari zings Kyle Long over Olivia Munn tweet

Kristin Cavallari

Things got a little hairy for Kyle Long on Twitter Wednesday after he was asked whether he found Kristin Cavallari or Olivia Munn to be more attractive.

Long, who was on a flight and bored, hosted a Q&A for fans and was asked whether he preferred Jay Cutler’s spouse or Aaron Rodgers’ girlfriend. He gave the nod to his division rival’s significant other.

Unsurprisingly, Cavallari wasn’t having any of that nonsense, especially from one of her husband’s teammates.

Long tried to bail himself out by saying he prefers brunettes, leading to a great reply from Cavallari:

Between these tweets and what he said during the season, Long sure could use some work on his fan relation skills.

Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

Alfredo Simon

You can’t miss Alfredo Simon when he’s rolling down the street.

The Detroit Tigers pitcher turned heads at the team’s spring training facility with his “chrome” Mercedes:

It’s shinier than one of those creepy street performers. That thing is reflective like a mirror. I bet he shaves, styles his hair and brushes his teeth using that thing.

Simon made the All-Star team last season with the Reds, so I suppose he should be able to drive whatever he wants. Plus, he’s 6-foot-6 and like 270 pounds. I don’t think anyone’s about to say anything to him about his car.

Here’s another look at it:

I wonder what Justin Verlander and his special Mercedes think of it.

Darnell Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Darnell Dockett Cardinals

Darnell Dockett signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday after playing 10 seasons for the division rival Arizona Cardinals, and he expressed disappointment with his former team for letting him go.

Docket, who signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal, told Jody and MJ on FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix that he was willing to take less money to remain with the Cardinals, but they showed a lack of interest in having him back.

“I was cut. The big question is who’s loyal? I tried to work it out, but it wasn’t making sense. If people knew how much money was in between an agreement, you would have a different respect for me as a player,” Dockett said. “I’m sure of that. When I realized that they weren’t trying to address it or listen and we couldn’t come to an agreement over that little change of the contract, I knew it was my time to go.”

Dockett was selected by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2004 draft and developed into a three-time Pro Bowler. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL and thinks the Cardinals had some doubts about his ability to return from the injury.

“I guess they felt like my injury was going to slow me down or I wasn’t going to be the same player that I was,” he said.

Dockett was offended by questions about his passion and loyalty, noting that he only missed two games in 10 seasons and just eight practices as he put his heart out for the organization.

Now for the million-dollar question — or in this case, the $500,000 question — Dockett shared the amount of money that kept the Cardinals from signing him.

“It was less than $500,000. When you’ve given everything to a team for 10 years and they’re not willing to meet you halfway, it’s time to leave,” he said.

Dockett is looking forward to facing the Cardinals twice a year with his new team and thinks their commitment to him will pay off.

“They hit the lottery.”

Dockett may have missed time on the field last season, but he still made his presence felt around the league in other hilarious ways. We think he’ll be back to his prior form on the field, causing havoc on defense this season.

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Maurice Jones-Drew Jags

Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday by posting a message on Twitter saying that “all good things come to an end.”

In his note on the matter, Jones-Drew called his 9-year playing career an “amazing” time and said he is looking forward to the next chapter of his life.

Jones-Drew went from starting his career splitting carries with Fred Taylor in Jacksonville to becoming one of the best backs in the league. The No. 60 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Jones-Drew played with a chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove those who doubted him for his talent or size wrong. He was successful in doing so.

Jones-Drew 4.4 yards per carry during his career, leading the league with 344 carries and 1,606 rushing yards in his All-Pro season in 2011. His peak as a player came from 2009-2011, when he averaged 1,440 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 355 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns per season. He was named to the Pro Bowl all three seasons.

Hampered by injuries, Jones-Drew was let go by the Jags and played last season with the Raiders. He was no longer the same player and only rushed for 96 yards on 43 carries.

Jones-Drew scored 81 touchdowns during his playing career — 68 rushing, 11 receiving, and two on kickoff returns. He is the Jaguars’ second-leading all-time rusher and first in franchise history in rushing touchdowns. Pro-Football-Reference says Earl Campbell, Shaun Alexander, Mike Garrett, Brian Westbrook, Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, Eddie George and Marshawn Lynch are among the players who have had the most similar playing careers to Jones-Drew. That’s not bad company at all.

This is also a sad day for me personally. Jones-Drew was the best college player I saw during my days at UCLA.

(more…)

Ian McCall: Ronda Rousey could not beat a good male fighter

Ronda Rousey

UFC flyweight Ian McCall heard the chatter from commentator Joe Rogan about Ronda Rousey being able to beat male MMA fighters, and he was not having any of it.

McCall, who is 13-5 in his career, spoke with Rick J. Lee and threw some cold water on the Rousey hype. McCall prefaced his comments by saying he has come around on women’s MMA but still does not like Rousey.

“They say all these comparisons to her fighting men,” said McCall. “Even like Joe [Rogan], I need to have a conversation with Joe about it, because she’s not beating up a man. I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen.

“A good man will not lose to Ronda Rousey,” McCall continued. “I could put a judo gi on … [she’s] an Olympian. You’re not throwing me. It’s not going to happen. I will throw you on your head. Pretty simple. And you weigh more than me.

“I can’t compartmentalize it. It doesn’t make sense to me. I know it’s all talk. They compare her to [former heavyweight boxer Mike] Tyson. She’s dangerous, she’s good. I get it, but it’s just silly.”

Not only did McCall dispell the talk about Rousey being able to defeat good male fighters and the Mike Tyson comparisons, but he also said that she does not belong on the list of best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC.

“Ronda is definitely not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” said McCall. “She’s the best woman on the planet. That’s cute. Cool. Well, we’re doing men things. Different. I get it, you’re really good and all but to compare her to Jon (Jones), Jose (Aldo), Demetrious (Johnson) or Cain (Velasquez) … come on. Any of the champions. It’s a different world. It just frustrates me.”

One key thing McCall is missing is that Rogan said Rousey could probably beat about 50 percent of male fighters in her weight class, not all of them. I’m not sure if McCall considers ALL male UFC fighters to be good, but his comments that a good fighter would not lose to Rousey seem to line up with Rogan’s remarks.

Hey, Dana White, I think the world now needs to see a Rousey-McCall fight. It would be like a grudge match.

Transcription via MMA Fighting

Ron Jaworski: Jameis Winston has flaws, should not go No. 1

Jameis Winston

Ron Jaworski believes Jameis Winston has the potential to succeed in the NFL, but he would not take the former Florida State quarterback No. 1 overall in the draft.

Jaws joined ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” Wednesday and expressed some concerns about Winston.

“I’ve studied a lot of him. I think Jameis Winston has a big upside in the NFL, but there are some real flaws to his game,” Jaworski said. “Quite honestly, I would not take him at that No. 1 pick, but I am not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And I am not talking about the off-the-field stuff. I have no comment on any of that because I am not privy to that type of information, but there are certainly mechanical flaws in his game that are troublesome to me.”

Jaws plans to discuss some of the mechanical flaws he sees in Winston over the coming weeks leading up the start of the draft on April 28. What might some of the issues be? That Winston has a long delivery which could be rooted in his background as a baseball pitcher.

Apart from Winston’s mechanics, one of my concerns is that the former Heisman Trophy winner threw 18 interceptions last season. That’s an awful lot for a guy playing in a weak college conference. However, Winston really seems to be extraordinarily advanced when it comes to understanding the mental part of the game. He was asked to do a lot more at Florida State than most college quarterbacks, and NFL teams seem to be impressed with his football IQ.

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