Raheem Morris Doubles as Rays Manager for a Day

After stumbling to a 3-13 season in his debut as an NFL head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raheem Morris went 10-6 in his second year. The sophomore campaign for the young head coach inflated his sense of self to the point where he thinks he can be an effective coach in two sports now. OK that was just a joke, but Morris is actually good friends with Rays manager Joe Maddon and he and his staff were invited to spend the day with the Rays on Tuesday.

“It was all about Raheem,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who invited the Buccaneers coach and his staff to spend a day in spring training with the AL East champions.

“I gave him the game ball,” Maddon said. “He did a great job with the pitching change. … There was nice conversation during the course of the game. It was a fun day.”

The pitching change to which Maddon referred was when he pulled James Shields in the 4th inning. Shields described what happened, saying “He walked to the mound, and he’s like, ‘So, what do we do now?’” Shields relayed. “I was like, ‘You’re supposed to get the ball from me.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, okay, then hand me the ball.’ Then he’s like, ‘So, what are we doing after the game? Is this what we’re supposed to talk about out there?’ It was pretty funny.”

Here’s a video of both Morris and Maddon talking about the experience, including Maddon saying he wanted his players to gain some football toughness.

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Trainer Joe Carini: Tiki Barber Looks Great

On Tuesday the news of Tiki Barber’s improbable return to the gridiron was released. People have had a day to digest Tiki’s comeback and have come to three conclusions: he needs the money, he was a bad teammate, and he won’t be successful.

Given his status as the Giants’ franchise leading rusher, Barber will likely at least be able to get a workout with some teams. He may be 36 and he may have been retired the past four seasons, but his trainer Joe Carini says he’s still in fantastic shape.

“It’s all still there, man,” Carini said. “The guy is strong is hell. He has no injuries, his knees are great, his back is fine, no shoulder irritations, his ankles are good. It’s like when I first met him again.”

Supporting the sentiment that Barber is close to being ready for the field is his work in the weight room. He’s reportedly already leg-pressing nearly 1,000 pounds, squatting 800 pounds and dead-lifting more than 600. I’m not so sure that correlates with an ability to run and cut like he used to, but it’s a good start.

Honestly, I’ll reserve jokes until I hear about the way he looks on the field. Barber was a talented running back and I wouldn’t put it past him to make a relatively successful comeback.

Kareem Jackson Shares Pictures About His First Cockfighting Experience

Former Alabama defensive back and current Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson is spending some of his time off on vacation. He’s been tweeting about his experience in the Dominican Republic which included attending a cockfight.

Cockfighting is legal in the D.R., but it’s illegal in the U.S. and frowned upon by most people. Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. took a lot of criticism when a video appeared of him participating in cockfighting in Puerto Rico, and now the same is happening with Jackson.

The second-year cornerback tweeted out pictures of himself at a cockfighting ring and has since deleted the tweets. However, like most things on the internet, nothing ever is erased permanently, and CBS Houston still has some of the pictures:

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Tiki Barber Coming Out of Retirement, Wants to Play Again

Tiki Barber took the Barry Sanders approach to an NFL career. Rather than sticking around and continuing to take a beating while his stats dwindled with each passing year, the Giants all-time leading rusher walked away from the game on top. His 1662 rushing yards the season before he retired was the second-highest total of his career. After taking the last four seasons off, Barber is looking to make an NFL return.

Jay Glazer confirmed with Barber and his agent, Mark Lepselter, on Tuesday that Tiki has filed papers to come out of retirement and wants to play again.  People will likely make the Brett Favre connection when talking about Barber’s decision, but let’s keep in mind that Tiki didn’t put on a dramatic production when he called it quits and fake retirement on several different occasions.

Barber told Glazer that the fact that his twin brother is still playing fueled his desire to attempt a comeback. “After seeing how much fun Ronde (Barber) is still having it re-ignited my fire and I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was,” he said before adding that the Giants will have to reactivate him and then decide whether to release or keep him.

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Ndamukong Suh Thinks the Lions Can Go 16-0 Next Year

‘Tis the season for predictions. Forget the fact that we might not have football in 2011, because it won’t stop coaches and players from making outlandish statements about the future of their teams.  Rex Ryan has already guaranteed — twice — that his Jets will win the Super Bowl next season.  If you think that claim is far-fetched, you’ll love what Ndamukong Suh had to say when asked about the 2011 Detroit Lions.

“I don’t see there’s a reason why we can’t be 16-0,” Suh told the NFL Network via Pro Football Talk. “As long as we put in that hard work throughout – I don’t know if we’re going to have OTAs, but throughout camp and getting ready for that 2011 season — as long as we stay healthy and are putting in that work, I think we should be happy with what we end up with.”

Easy, killer.  The Lions finished 2010 on a four-game winning streak, and the future certainly looks promising.  They have tremendous young pieces on offense in Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best.  Suh is a highly capable defensive anchor, but Detroit should probably aim a bit lower than 16-0, at least for next season.  After all, their last winning season was 10 years ago.

Having said that, I have no problem with Suh saying what he said.  The goal every week is to win, right?  With that in mind, every team should be confident they can go 16-0 next year, otherwise you are anticipating losses.  Winning teams aren’t built on losing attitudes.

Stephen Paea Set Bench Press Record, But he has Real Football Strength too

Former Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea set a combine record over the weekend by pumping out 49 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, blowing away the previous combine record of 45. Paea’s incredible display of strength opened eyes amongst scouts and NFL team execs, but there are still questions if the brawn in the weight room can be translated to the field. After all, how many of you have heard of Mitch Petrus, Mike Kudla, or Leif Larsen — the previous combine bench press record holders?

The difference is Paea is not just a workout warrior, he’s an incredible football player. The Oregon State product was voted an AP All-American last season after recording six sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. In three years with the Beavers, Paea had 14 sacks and 29.5 tackles for a loss as a defensive tackle.

If the numbers don’t speak for themselves, maybe the word of his peers will help.

For the second year in a row, Paea received the Morris Trophy which is awarded to the top defensive lineman in the Pac-10 as voted on by the conference’s offensive lineman. Rival lineman Max Forer, who just completed his senior season as a center for Oregon, told LBS that the “49 reps are surprising to anyone watching but his strength is known to us.”

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Cam Newton Not Getting a High Life Endorsement Deal for His Attitude

This series is sponsored by Miller High Life – The Official Beer Of You. Find out how you can get sponsored by Miller High Life

Cam Newton was easily one of the most buzz-worthy athletes who attended the NFL combine over the weekend. The former Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner became well known because of the scandal regarding his recruitment, which is still being investigated by the NCAA. All throughout the investigation, Cam remained calm and went out and won games, leading his team to a national championship.

After his profile began to grow because of the negative publicity and success of his team, Newton emerged as a true personality and rare college football star. Because they are only in school for four seasons at most and unable to film commercials, it’s hard to become a star as a college player, but it’s something that Cam was able to accomplish. Maybe it’s that confidence that he knows he’s a star, and that he’s able to win in the face of media scrutiny that makes Cam act the way he does. In short, he is one cocky dude who has people already questioning his character.

Though Cam Newton has already signed some endorsement deals, one for which he will be ineligible until he changes his attitude is a Miller High Life sponsorship. See, High Life is the official beer of you — the everyday working man — and they frown upon the attitude of guys like Cam. Guys like Cam who says “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon,” and who also says “I don’t want to sound arrogant but I did something in one year people couldn’t do in their whole collegiate careers,” is not what High Life is all about. Frankly, it’s not what most NFL teams like either.

But Cam can run a sub-4.6 40, has tremendous size and arm strength, and we’ve learned the guy can play and win. Those skills can make a team overlook nearly any flaw in one’s character. Just look at this guy’s career as evidence.

Here’s the deal: if Cam is going to be a subject we discuss the next 10 years — and that is fine with me — let’s try to make one thing clear, no more third person references like we saw during his combine news conference. Only one athlete is allowed to do the third person deal, and it’s Rickey Henderson. That style was retired when he retired. Got it, Cam? Until we see that change, the former Auburn QB will be ineligible for a High Life sponsorship.

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