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Derrick Ward on DeSean Jackson: What does gang banging have to do with football?

Derrick-Ward-TexansOpinions on the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to release DeSean Jackson continue to roll in, and former NFL running back Derrick Ward shared one of the most controversial. Ward defended Jackson on Twitter shortly after the news came out. One of his main arguments is that what a player does in his personal time has nothing to do with production on the field.

Simply put, Ward believes the possibility of Jackson being affiliated with a gang is no reason to release him. Not only are the Eagles unsure if the information is true, but Ward feels that “ballin out for your team” is all that matters.

Ward also took aim at Tedy Bruschi and Ron Jaworski for their coverage on the topic. He claimed almost all of Bruschi’s former New England Patriots teammates can’t stand him.

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Mike D’Antoni and Marshall reportedly have mutual interest

Mike D'AntoniDon’t be surprised if Mike D’Antoni ends up coaching college basketball at Marshall next season.

While D’Antoni is still under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers through next season, the team’s poor season coupled with Kobe Bryant’s reported desire to have a different coach could mean the end of D’Antoni’s time in LA. If D’Antoni ends up fired, his alma mater would have interest in hiring him. And he reportedly has interest in returning home.

A source told CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello that there is “mutual interest” between D’Antoni and Marshall. Borzello reports that Marshall has donors who would pay big money to get the longtime NBA coach if he is let go.

D’Antoni is from West Virginia and played at Marshall from 1970-73. The Thundering Herd last made the tournament in 1987.

Would D’Antoni drop down from coaching one of the most glamorous teams in professional sports to coaching a Conference USA basketball program? You have to figure he won’t get a high-profile NBA job in the future, so maybe he’ll feel like a low-pressure situation at Marshall is a good fit for him. I could see it happening.

MLB executives reportedly ‘appalled’ and disgusted by Miguel Cabrera extension

Miguel CabreraThe Detroit Tigers decided to give franchise player and back-to-back MVP Miguel Cabrera a contract extension, but the terms and circumstances of the deal apparently have outraged some MLB executives.

ESPN MLB reporter Buster Olney says the industry is “in shock” over the deal and that some people are “appalled” by it.

Cabrera was already signed through 2015 and scheduled to make $22 million in each of the next two seasons. He turns 31 in April, and Detroit wanted to keep him long term.

According to FOX’s Jon Morosi, Cabrera’s extension will be for eight years after his current deal expires, which puts him under contract with the Tigers through 2023. The deal calls for him to be paid $292 million. On top of that, Jon Heyman says there are $30 million vesting options for years 2024 and 2025 which, if reached, would keep Cabrera with the Tigers for the next 12 years!

Now is this a crazy contract people should be “appalled” over? I think we need to find out the terms of the vesting options before we evaluate it. Assuming that it will be difficult for a 40-year-old Cabrera to make it vest, I’ll look at the contract as one that will pay Miggy $292 million through 2023. That seems completely reasonable for the best hitter in baseball. Nobody likes the thought of paying a guy $30 million a year when he’s 37, 38, 39 and 40, but that’s what you have to do if you want to keep the best player in baseball on your team. Plus, for as good of a hitter as Miggy is, he’ll probably still be an asset when he’s 37 and 38 and, with inflation, $30 million then won’t seem like quite as much as it does now.

Assuming the vesting years will be tough to achieve, I don’t mind this deal one bit. You have to pay to keep great players, and if there’s one player whose bat I’m most confident in long term, it’s definitely Miggy’s!

Plus, look at this reasoning from Detroit’s side:

Well that would explain why the Tigers rushed to give a player who’s getting older such a big contract despite having him signed for two more seasons. Had they waited a year, they wouldn’t have had to worry about having such a huge financial commitment to the slugger in case he gets injured. Other teams are probably wondering why they assumed that risk when they had no reason to.

Tino Martinez calls Marlins players he coached ‘soft’

Tino Martinez MarlinsNearly a year after resigning from his job as hitting coach of the Miami Marlins, Tino Martinez was honest about the issues he had on the job, which included teaching what he felt were undisciplined, “soft” players.

Martinez, who clubbed 339 homers over 16 career seasons, spoke with WFAN’s Joe and Evan on Wednesday and talked about his time with the Marlins. He was asked if he had any bitterness over losing his job.

“I wouldn’t say there’s bitterness. It turned out to be a bad situation at the end there, but I wasn’t bitter. I was doing my job the best I could do it,” Martinez said, as transcribed by CBS Miami. “I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be — not disciplined — but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things, that’s all.

“In the end, I can’t say I was bitter, but maybe disappointed because I love coaching and was really enjoying that a lot.”

Martinez was accused of verbally and physically assaulting some of the Marlins players. A report said he challenged Casey Kotchman to a fight, and another said he got physical with Derek Dietrich because the youngster didn’t pick up balls.

“I was trying to teach these guys,” Martinez said. “These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues. They just happened to be with the right organization that had injuries and got rid of the whole entire team the year before.

“It bothered me that they weren’t working hard enough and weren’t appreciating what they had. I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job as a coach to get the most out of them.”

I really don’t think people would disagree with Tino if that’s all that was going on. If he was frustrated because he felt the guys weren’t working hard enough, many people might share that feeling. But Tino crossed lines with his players by getting physical.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite Martinez’s negative publicity last year, he says he got job offers from a few teams this offseason but decided to take the year off. If that’s the case, he must not have too bad of a reputation around MLB despite the Marlins fiasco.

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk

Sean Avery calls Martin Brodeur ‘fatso’ after Dancing With the Stars comment

Sean AverySean Avery appeared on the latest season of “Dancing With the Stars” for just one week before being voted off. He and partner Karina Smirnoff were one of two pairs that were given the boot after week one, and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur seemed to enjoy his former nemesis being eliminated so soon.

On Wednesday, Brodeur told NJ.com’s Randy Miller that he has never watched “Dancing With the Stars” but heard Avery didn’t do so hot.

“I didn’t watch – I don’t watch those shows – but I was watching NHL Network and they mentioned it,” Brodeur said. “What more could he do to embarrass himself? There it is!”

Several years ago, the NHL had to create a rule called the “Avery Rule” after the former New York Rangers goon stood in front of Brodeur facing him while waving his stick like a madman. Avery was attempting to screen Brodeur, but he wasn’t even paying attention to the play or anything behind him. They have no been fond of each other since.

Deadspin pointed out that Avery fired back at Brodeur on Twitter Thursday.

Sean-Avery-Martin-Brodeur

Woke up beside a super model? Awesome, bro. The supermodel he would be referring to is his fiancee Hilary Rhoda, who is obviously a great catch but there’s no need to go middle school here. Avery blamed the producers of “Dancing With the Stars” for his early exit from the show, which should surprise no one.

Dez Bryant furious with reporter Calvin Watkins for writing ‘Dez Rules’ story

Dez BryantDez Bryant is furious with ESPN’s Dallas Cowboys reporter Calvin Watkins over a story the writer published on Tuesday that says the wide receiver is still under a close watch by the team.

According to the article published by Watkins, Dez must adhere to the following guidelines:

- A midnight curfew. If he’s going to miss curfew, team officials must know in advance.
- No alcohol.
- He can’t attend strip clubs and can attend nightclubs only if they are approved by the team and he has a security team with him.
- He must attend counseling sessions twice a week.
- A rotating three-man security team will leave one man with Bryant at all times.
- Members of the security team will drive Bryant to practices, games and team functions.

These “Dez Rules” were established during the 2012 offseason when Bryant, who was known for having off-field issues, was charged with allegedly assaulting his mother. Bryant has managed to stay out of trouble since then, which could be why he was so upset with Watkins for writing the article.

Apparently upset over the negative article which makes it seem like Bryant needs to be watched over like a child, the Cowboys receiver fired off a nasty tweet at Watkins, which he has since deleted:

Dez Bryant deleted tweet

Even if Bryant deleted the tweet, just the fact that he sent it shows he still has a short fuse and some growing up to do. That definitely wasn’t the way to handle the situation.

Tweet via @DennisHowell
Helmet smack to Black Sports Online

Phil Jackson left Knicks’ loss to Lakers early to walk his dog

Phil JacksonAfter stringing together a nice little eight-game win streak earlier this month, the New York Knicks have now lost back-to-back games. They are three games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference with just 11 games remaining, which means one losing streak could end New York’s season. Even Phil Jackson couldn’t bring himself to watch his new team’s latest loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers destroyed the Knicks by a score of 127-96 on Tuesday night. New York gave up 51 points in the third quarter, which was a franchise record and the most the Lakers have ever scored in one quarter in their team’s history. Jackson left the game with about nine minutes remaining and Billy Witz of the New York Times caught up with him.

“It was awful, huh?” Jackson said as he left his luxury suite.

Jackson told Witz that he texted his fiancee Jeanne Buss to meet him outside the Staples Center. When he eventually made his way to his car with Buss in the passenger seat, the Zen Master was asked what he had planned for the rest of the evening.

“I think I’ll walk to dog,” he replied.

Make no mistake about it — Jackson was disgusted. He can come up with all the quirky responses he wants, but getting blown out by the Lakers like that stings a little worse than it would against any other team. So did watching his team give up 51 points in 12 minutes.

“51 points,” Jackson said. “When it’s 35 points you start to get worried. When it’s a 51-point quarter, that’s really awful.”

The Knicks are within striking distance of the playoffs, but that doesn’t seem to have created a great sense of optimism surrounding the team.

“We’re in a talent hunt,” Jackson added. “We have to bring in talent.”

Expect some big changes in New York this offseason with Phil running the show.