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Santonio Holmes Escorted Off Plane for Being ‘Disruptive’

When he makes headlines like this, the Steelers must feel pretty good about shipping Santonio Holmes off to the Jets for a measly 5th round pick.  According to investigators, Holmes had to be escorted off of a flight at Pittsburgh International Airport on Thursday night for being a “disruptive passenger”.  No further details about the situation are known — and Santonio wasn’t arrested — but this certainly isn’t the type of publicity the Superbowl 43 MVP needs if he wants to convince fans and the NFL that he’s going to clean up his act.

Holmes is already going to miss the first four games of the upcoming season when he serves a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  Depending on what comes of this situation, Roger Goodell might decide to sideline him for a few more games.  The Jets don’t have a lot invested in Holmes after only giving up a fifth rounder, but they could certainly use the help at wide receiver and would probably prefer that he straighten out his act.  Between Cromartie, Holmes, and the loud mouths in the Jets organization (led by their head coach), it could turn out to be an entertaining soap opera of a year in New York.

UPDATE: According to ESPN, the reason Santonio Holmes was escorted from the flight was because he refused to turn off his iPod when the crew asked that all electronic devices be turned off so the plane could take off.  Wow.  Has he ever been on a plane before?  I’m pretty much speechless, so here’s what Rex Ryan had to say:

“I know what has been told to me and it kind of got blown out of proportion it sounds like in some of the media outlets and things. I mean, OK, lets face it, he should turn off his iPod. That’s what he should do. He should do that. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Santonio, but he certainly should do that.”

Sources:
“Disruptive” Santonio Holmes booted from a flight in Pittsburgh [WPXI via Pro Football Talk]
Report: Holmes removed from plane [ESPN]

Roethlisberger Deserves Being Made Fun of in New Eminem Song

By now, I’m sure you have heard about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his little incident with a college co-ed down in Georgia. Well now thanks to the internet and its ability to upload songs in seconds, rapper Eminem has immortalized Big Ben in his latest song — and it’s not in a good way.  This clip of the song is quickly turning viral, and in case you haven’t heard it yet here’s what Eminem has to say:

“I’d rather turn this club into a bar room brawl/ Get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall.

Was it wrong of me to laugh the first time I heard this? I wasn’t laughing because of what happened to that poor girl, I was laughing because Roethlisberger more than likely paid her off to not pursue the charges thinking that this would all blow over. Not this time pal. Years from now people will be listening to their MP3 player and Eminem’s song will come on to remind us what a scumbag he is. I really hope that the six-game suspension sticks and we don’t see Big Ben back on the field before then.

Eminem isn’t the first rapper to poke fun at an athlete for their “indiscretions.” Ludacris did it just a couple months ago when he poked fun at Tiger Woods in his song called “Sexting.” Roethlisberger deserved this one and I feel like this is just the beginning of the jokes directed at him. I say keep it coming with those jokes to remind people like Roethlisberger that they can’t just write a big check and make their issues go away.

Sources:
Eminem gets lyrical with Ben Roethlisberger [USA Today]

Drew Brees Does it All

Drew Brees is a Superbowl MVP.  He’s earned the right to have his name mentioned with the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  But is he on his way to being compared to MLB players like Jorge Posada and Victor Martinez?  Why did I pick those two?  Like Brees, they’re switch-hitters who can belt home runs from both sides of the plate.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a little since Brees did it in a charity softball game, but he won a home run derby hitting right and lefty  He hit three homers right-handed and another three left-handed.  Why he chose to hit from both sides of the plate in a home run derby, I have no clue — swagger points, I guess.  Whatever his reasoning the fans loved it.  Check out the videos of Drew Brees hitting home runs righty and lefty, courtesy of YouTube via The Sporting Blog.

Source:
Drew Brees: Superbowl Winning QB and Switch-Hitting Softball Slugger [The Sporting Blog]

Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland Went too Far With Prostitute Question

It isn’t out of the ordinary for NFL teams to sit town with perspective draft picks to get to know them better. But for the Miami Dolphins‘ GM Jeff Ireland, he went a little too far with his questions. Prior to the draft, Ireland sat down with Dez Bryant, a wide receiver out of Oklahoma State, and began asking very personal questions about his mother. Ireland asked Bryant whether his mother was a prostitute and whether she was still doing drugs. Excuse me? Bryant handled the situation really well:

“No, my mom is not a prostitute. I got mad — really mad — but I didn’t show it. I got a lot of questions like that: Does she still do drugs? I sat and answered all of them.”

Please tell me what that has to do with how this kid plays football. Not only is that question just plain rude, but it’s also none of his business. Ireland tried to justify this by saying that it’s his job “to find out as much information as possible about a player that [he's] considering drafting.” I disagree. You look at the talent this kid has on the field and the way he presents himself. His personal family background should have nothing to do with what you are looking at.

At the end of the day, I think Bryant is the one who benefits from Ireland’s poor judgment. He is receiving sympathetic media coverage because of this situation, and he was also the Dallas Cowboys’ first round draft pick. Just a hint of advice Mr. Ireland — don’t ever say anything bad about anyone’s mama.

Sources:
Bryant: ‘There’s nothing diva about me’ [Yahoo! Sports]
Dolphins GM apologizes for question to Dez Bryant [AP/Yahoo! Sports]

Raiders Set to Release Russell

After surprising the football world and putting together what appears to be a logical draft class last weekend, it seems certain that the Raiders will make another practical roster move and release quarterback JaMarcus Russell.  However, with crazy Al Davis at the helm of the Raiders organization, there is no such thing as a certainty.  ESPN is reporting that the team is ready to release Russell and has spent time figuring out ways in which they can do it without losing an incredible amount of money.  The team is now awaiting the final word from owner Al Davis before they can proceed.

I don’t expect Davis to stop this from happening, but if I’ve learned one thing about the Raiders over the years it’s to expect the unexpected from Weird Al.  JaMarcus Russell was a bad fit for the Raiders — then again it seems everyone they’ve gone after the past decade or so has been.  The last thing an Oakland organization in peril needed was a college quarterback who seemed to generate the most buzz about himself when he showed he could throw a football 60 yards from one knee.  Is Russell talented?  Absolutely.  What he accomplished at LSU — playing in the powerhouse SEC — is not to be overlooked.

The problem with JaMarcus is he just doesn’t care.  His teammates know it.  His coaches know it.  The fans know it.  LBS knew it years ago.  Al Davis might even know it, and it takes a lot to get that guy to understand important concepts.  The only thing that would stop Davis from giving the team the go-ahead to release Russell would be a hesitancy to admit another colossal mistake for his organization — one that will have cost him $39 million in exchange some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL.  Maybe it’s being in Oakland that makes Russell not want to try.  Randy Moss can certainly relate to that feeling.

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Scott Sicko Changes His Mind, Signs with Dallas Cowboys

On Sunday I posted the story of New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko who went undrafted and decided to quit football despite outstanding offers to sign with several teams as a free agent. We questioned Sicko’s decision at the time because there are several free agents who have played in the NFL and had excellent careers despite being undrafted. Sicko didn’t see it that way but apparently we have helped him change his mind. On Tuesday, Sicko signed a deal with the Dallas Cowboys. According to Peter King’s story from SI, we can thank the Cowboys staff and ourselves for the deal commencing:

“Over the last couple of days I had a few conversations with the Cowboys and I talked to my agent a couple of times,” Sicko said. “They made me feel good about giving football a chance and that it would not ruin my plans for the rest of my life. Basically, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I realize I can probably do both and still accomplish my career goals.”

“I really didn’t read about [the public criticism] very much, but friends of mine told me what was out there,” Sicko said. “I try not to let outside forces influence my life. The Cowboys called and reiterated their interest in me, and their coaches said they were interested in me as a player and person, and that made me feel good. I don’t see this as anything that will be hurtful in my life.”

I’m glad Sicko had a little sense talked into him and realized he’s not as far off from his dream as he thought upon going undrafted. All he needs to do is look at two of his new teammates — Tony Romo and Miles Austin — to see how one can go from undrafted to star in the NFL. We don’t know if Sicko will join that tandem but we do know that he’s pursuing his dream. I’m glad we could provide some assistance with the matter. I’m also surprised the Cowboys weren’t concerned about his character following that episode but obviously they believe in him.

Sources:
Scott Sicko changes mind, signs with Cowboys [Peter King at SI]
Scott Sicko Goes Undrafted, Quits Football Despite Contract Offers [LBS]

Scott Sicko Goes Undrafted, Quits Football Despite Contract Offers

Of all the surprises to come out of the NFL draft weekend, what happened with New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko was the most shocking. I don’t recall ever seeing a story like this one. With the draft capped at seven rounds, several talented football players go undrafted. Even though no team selects them in the draft, they’re able to sign with any team they choose as an undrafted free agent immediately following the draft (as long as there’s mutual interest). New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko went undrafted but the Jaguars, Cowboys, and Jets all tried to sign him. Which team did he choose? None of them. Pro Football Talk shared this incredible story Saturday night via the Albany Times-Union:

Not getting drafted, [Sicko] decided, provided a new clarity, a different answer to the question of whether he wanted to get started on his life after football.

“If I were to be drafted I would have had more confidence of a much longer career in the NFL,” Sicko said. “I have to look at my life and decide what will make me the happiest. And the thing that will make me the happiest now and in the long run is to pursue my education.”

After getting his New Hampshire degree this May, Sicko plans to get a post-graduate degree or two in history, and become a history teacher or professor. And, yes, he knows he could have put off his education.

There you have it — Sicko told his agent to tell teams that called “thanks but no thanks” to their offers. He’s hanging up the cleats for grad school. Here’s the deal: if Sicko’s dream is to become a history teacher, then I can’t argue with him. But if he ever had dreams of playing in the NFL, just because he wasn’t drafted doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to live his dream. Antonio Gates is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and he went undrafted. Steelers linebacker and Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 was undrafted. Same with Kurt Warner, West Welker, London Fletcher, Herm Edwards, Priest Holmes, Tony Romo, and recently selected Hall of Famer John Randle. I’m not saying it would have been easy for Sicko to make it in the NFL but the reality is he wasn’t that far off as an undrafted free agent. I hope he doesn’t regret his choice.

Sources:
In a stunner, Scott Sicko says no thanks to NFL (Updated) [Albany Times-Union]
Player goes undrafted, says no thanks to teams [Pro Football Talk]