Carson Palmer Says He’ll Never Set Foot in Paul Brown Stadium Again

Either the Bengals are going to trade Carson Palmer, or they are going to force a player who was once one of the game’s better quarterbacks into retirement.  Anyone who has paid attention since the NFL season concluded knows that Palmer wants to be traded, but his latest remarks seem out of character for a notoriously classy player.  The comments prove the 31-year-old has reached the boiling point.

“I will never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again,” Palmer told WCPO through friends. “I have $80 million in the bank. I don’t have to play football for money. I’ll play it for the love of the game but that would have to be elsewhere. I’m prepared to live my life.”

That certainly sounds like a veteran who’s not messing around.  Who can blame him?  Palmer has wasted away in Cincinnati his entire career, leaving behind the best days of his career when he blew out his knee in a seemingly inevitable playoff loss to the Steelers.  Bengals owner Mike Brown has tried his best to assure fans he has no intention of trading his franchise quarterback, but that decision could be out of his control.

In his most recent edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King indicated that the Bengals are finally entertaining offers for Palmer.  That’s probably a smart move.  When a normally quiet athlete starts revealing the quantity of his life savings, you should take the hint.  Not to mention, Palmer has done enough for Cincinnati over the years.  Players like Palmer deserve at least a shot at contending for a championship, and there’s no way the Bengals are going to provide him with it.

Shawne Merriman Unsuccessfully Hits on WWE Divas, CM Punk Says

I have no idea what WWE Superstars and Divas is, but apparently it was an event that took place in Costa Rica over the weekend. Buffalo Bills linebacker (man, it’s weird saying that) Shawne Merriman was in Costa Rica too, and he was trying to put the moves on the divas, according to wrestler CM Punk. What ensued was an amazing war of words on twitter as I learned in SI Hot Clicks. Luis Arroyave’s Leisure Blog summarizes the entire affair best:

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Pau Gasol Impersonator Michael Fanter (Video) Charging Too Much Money

How much would be willing to pay for the services of someone who looks exactly like Pau Gasol?  if he could play basketball like Gasol and you were an NBA general manager, the answer would probably be an enormous sum of money.  If you’re looking for an act for your daughter’s birthday party, Pau Gasol impersonator Michael Fanter is probably charging too much — unless your name is Bill Gates and you’re a huge Laker fan.

Deadspin recently reached out to Fanter’s spokesperson to get price for him to appear at their “15-year-old daughter’s birthday party.”  The spokesperson said Fanter would gladly take the job for $600 an hour, which is a discount from the going rate of $1,500 just for an appearance.  Do you think this is worth that much dough?

The guy looks exactly like Pau Gasol, but so what? He isn’t Pau Gasol. He’s not a phenomenal basketball player. He doesn’t talk like him. He doesn’t know Kobe Bryant.  He doesn’t even have the authentic satchel. In short, I don’t get it. Good for him for finding an impression he can master — at least physically. However, I don’t think this is Fanter’s ticket to Beverly Hills.

Ben Hansbrough: Best Player Villanova Coach Jay Wright Has Seen This Year

Notre Dame wrapped up its home schedule with a 93-72 whooping of Villanova, making them a perfect 17-0 in South Bend this season. It was a special night for senior Ben Hansbrough who had brother Tyler (pictured) and the rest of his family on hand for Senior Night. He elevated his game for the occasion, hitting seven three-pointers while Tim Abromaitis made nine and the Irish went 20 of 32 from long range in the rout.

In addition to his 30 points, Hansbrough had 10 assists and five steals. The impressive game prompted heavy praise after the contest.

“We’ve seen a lot of great players this year so far. After that performance, I’d say he’s the best I’ve seen now,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Hansbrough. “That kid just dominated the game. He did a great job on Corey Fisher. He defended, he controlled the tempo. He broke the press by himself, he made shots and got everyone else shots.”

It was a month ago when we noted that Hansbrough was beginning to emerge like his brother Tyler did at North Carolina. They were 17-4 at the time after beating Pitt on the road and they’ve won seven of eight since then, improving to 24-5. Meanwhile, Villanova has gone in the opposite direction losing eight games in the past six weeks, all of which have come in Big East play.

Coach Jay Wright has seen his team lose to Kemba Walker of UConn, Marshon Brooks of Providence, and Dwight Hardy of St. John’s. To say that Ben Hansbrough is the best he’s seen this year is pretty high praise for the guard from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Can’t say it hasn’t been earned.

Florida Marlins 2011 MLB Preview: Could Finish as High as Second, Low as Fourth

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’re looking at the NL East. We’ve already covered the Phillies and the Braves, and today we’ll look at the Florida Marlins; Wednesday: New York Mets.

The Wild Card: Florida Marlins

Off-Season Moves: Florida traded away center fielder Cameron Maybin to the Padres for a couple of right-handed relievers in Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. They acquired utility man Omar Infante from the Braves in exchange for Dan Uggla. Through free agency, the Marlins picked up righty Javier Vazquez, catcher John Buck, and third baseman Greg Dobbs. Possibly their biggest off-season move was extending Ricky Nolasco through 2013.

Strengths: The 2011 Marlins’ biggest strength coming into this season is the stability of the starting rotation which is headlined by Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.30, pictured above), followed by Nolasco (14-9, 4.51) and then Vazquez (10-10, 5.32) or vice versa. The fourth and fifth spots should be occupied by righties Anibal Sanchez (13-12, 3.55) and Chris Volstad (12-9, 4.58) respectively. The only issue here is there isn’t a lefty in the bunch.

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Chauncey Billups Will be More Central to Knicks’ Success Than Carmelo or Amare

When the New York Knicks were down 84-82 to the Miami Heat Sunday in one of the most anticipated games this season, it was not one of the five All-Stars on the floor who became the hero of the game. Chauncey Billups drained a three to give his New York Knicks the lead, and one they would not give back.

It’s no big deal for Billups, whose nickname his whole career has been “Mr. Big Shot,” and that bucket re-certified his nickname.

The Knicks won the game — only one of 82 regular season game — but what many people are not saying, or do not even know, is that Chauncey Billups will mean more to the Knicks’ success this season than Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire will.

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Mike Trout Pranked By Angels With Phone Number Bit

Mike Trout, a highly-touted outfield prospect from the Los Angeles Angels, recently broke an unwritten rule during team exercises. For that, his phone bill will pay accordingly.  According to Off Base Percentage, Trout spoke out of turn during one of Mike Scioscia’s team building exercises.  Pitcher Jered Weaver was reportedly offended and decided to play a prank on Trout to teach him a lesson.

Weaver — or some other teammate if the pitcher is being falsely accused — arranged for Trout’s cell phone number to be plastered on the scoreboard at Temple Diablo Stadium at various points throughout the game. Lucky for the 19-year-old, there were only 2,822 people on hand to watch the spring training game between the Angels and A’s.  Still, teammate Joel Pineiro said his phone was “blowing up” in his locker during the game.

We’ve seen plenty of baseball pranks before, but this one seems like more of a nuisance than a practical joke.  Rather than thinking to himself, “haha you got me,” Trout has to be thinking, “great, now I have to get a new cell phone number and let everyone know about it.” That being said, I doubt he’ll ever speak out of turn again during one of his manager’s team building exercises.