Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh Terrell

Oh Terrell

It's safe to say that Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens has had "Issues"
in his past. Going all the way back to his 49ers days, T.O. was always looking for the spotlight, starting a controversy. But did he really try to kill himself this Tuesday night? Did he really swallow over 30 Vicodin tablets? What could possibly cause his depression?

Today we spoke with two doctors who were willing to comment, but without the use of their names. The first, a sports medical specialist who's practice treats many High School and College players, was very careful choosing his words with us. "We really don't know the kind of emotional stress Mr. Owens is under. His injury was keeping out of playing, but he would have returned shortly, yes" "we think so" I said. " Then it could also be the pressure of dealing with the Coach's personality." "You Think?" I suggested. "It's possible he did swallow a few extra pills, but not 30 or more, no way." That was the end of my conversation with the first doctor.

But I wanted to hear from another medical approach, so I called my personal Chiropractor, who also treats various sports injuries as well as the average gamut of medical issues. After we exchanged pleasantries and he told me I was well overdue for a visit. I asked him for a little time to give me background on what T.O. was going through pain management wise. "Well I don't really treat anything below the shoulder, but I can tell you from having a few broken fingers it can be quite painful" he said. "Any kind of extremity pain from broken bones will make persons of weaker constitution look for a way to reduce the pain, it's just human psychology." So the next question is did T.O. accidentally overdose? Or did he really know that the Vicodin would not mix well with whatever supplements he was taking?

That’s a question we may never get the answer to, but I can tell you my own personal experience with Vicodin. I have had a bad back (broken facet joints and transverse processes) for over 20 years as the result of an accident.
I had never taken Vicodin until two years ago when a new orthopedic specialist I was seeing prescribed a supply for me to take "only when needed." After the first two times taking a whole pill, I began cutting them in half because they were so strong. I still have over half the bottle. Vicodin is a very strong drug, and I'm no doctor, but if T.O. had taken 30+ Pills, the Doctors at Baylor would have never gotten the chance to pump his stomach before it was too late.

NFLPA's Gene Upshaw Adresses Policing Of Agents As Reggie Bush Controversy Unfolds - Sports Business Daily

As Bush Controversy Continues, Upshaw Addresses Agent Issue - Sports Business Daily

Bush’s Camp Issues Statement
Regarding Yahoo Sports Story

DAVID CORNWELL, an attorney for Saints RB REGGIE BUSH, on Friday issued a statement alleging that a Yahoo Sports reporter falsely identified himself to gain confidential financial information for a report that Bush and his family received more than $100,000 in gifts from agents while he was at USC. Cornwell said that a phone message left at a Northern California hotel seeking credit card information for an employee of Bush’s marketing agent was linked to Yahoo Sports reporter DAN WETZEL. “On Sept. 13, 2006, a person posing as an employee of Mr. Bush’s marketing agency, The SportsLink, makes repeated calls to a Northern California hotel seeking credit card information relating to such employee. In one call, the impersonator left a contact number that connects a caller directly to Yahoo,” the statement said. SportsLink is the company owned by MIKE ORNSTEIN, Bush’s marketing agent. Wetzel’s byline was not on the story that alleged Ornstein and MICHAEL MICHAELS, who owned a separate marketing company, gave more than $100,000 in cash and gifts to Bush and his parents. “Contrary to Yahoo’s report,” Cornwell’s statement said, Bush’s parents “either paid or prepaid, in cash, for airline tickets, travel expenses, lodging and service charges relating to the trip from San Diego to Oakland.” Cornwell also said that, contrary to published reports, Bush’s parents owed no rent on a San Diego area home owned by Michaels as of early April ‘06. A Yahoo spokesperson said in a statement, “We stand by both the accuracy and veracity of the reporting by JASON COLE and CHARLES ROBINSON in the investigation of Reggie Bush and his family. No information from Yahoo columnist Dan Wetzel was used in the investigative stories by Cole and Robinson” (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal). Michaels’ attorney, BRIAN WATKINS, called Cornwell’s denial “crazy.” Watkins: “They still owe rent and they never paid rent and they were evicted on that basis” (L.A. TIMES, 9/23).

UPSHAW: NFLPA Exec Dir GENE UPSHAW in an e-mail on Friday “spoke out on what he characterized as the ‘severe’ challenge of policing agents, financial advisors and marketing representatives’ intent on wooing college football players.” Upshaw said that the union has been “working on a solution since he was contacted last year” by USC coach PETE CARROLL, “even before allegations were made against Bush.” Upshaw said, “He was the first coach to bring this to my attention and how bad the problem has become. He said he was in charge but had no control. He was reaching out for help.” Upshaw said that his “work on the topic has nothing to do with Bush.” Carroll said Upshaw is “the only guy that can curtail what they’re doing.” Upshaw wants to strengthen union regulations of agents and “restrict agents from having any contact with players who have yet to declare themselves eligible for the draft.” He “wants to close loopholes that allow marketing representatives to go unregulated.” In L.A., Farmer & Wharton noted the proposal could be put to a vote of player reps at the NFLPA’s annual meeting in March, but Upshaw “can ask the union’s executive committee to consider the matter before that meeting” (L.A. TIMES, 9/23).

Arizona Cardinals Get Naming Rights Deal - Univ. of Phoenix Stadium Announced

Cardinals Sell Stadium Naming-Rights For $154M Over 20 Years

The NFL Cardinals yesterday formally announced that the Univ. of Phoenix will pay an average of $7.7M per year for 20 years for naming rights to the team’s stadium. The school also gains signage and a variety of advertising, marketing and merchandising opportunities. The deal marks the first time an NFL venue has been named after an educational institution (Cardinals). In Phoenix, Scott Wong reports the deal also “grants the university opportunities for in-stadium and community promotions; television and radio advertising during game broadcasts and pre- and post-game shows; and access to the facility for special events” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/27).

Terrell Owens Suicide Attempt - Where's Felicia Terrell Owens?

FLASH! Click for the latest news on Terrell and Felicia!

The story of Terrell Owens is one of not just a talented, but outspoken wide receiver, but of a case example of bad sports journalism in an era that's rampant with it. The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver is commonly the focus of stories on what he said or what someone said about him, but far less frequently do we hear about his love life.

It's almost assumed that because he's a successful athlete, he has a good one. There are stories about him with Ford Agency Model Felicia Terrell Owens, and reports that he's going to marry her. But who is she? Do they live together? Are they happy? The assumption -- by the lack of coverage -- is they must be.

But that's not necessarily true. I know this for a fact.

My cousin is the late running back Fred Lane, Jr. Fred played for both the Carolina Panthers and the Indianpolis Colts. During the growth of his career in the NFL, his parent, my uncle and aunt Fred and Mary, warned him about picking the right woman because many would be after his money. They were particularly concerned about his choice of woman to first date and then eventually marry. That woman's name is Diedra Lane.

As it turned out, Diedra shot and killed Fred Jr. in an attempt to get his insurance money that failed. And just a year later she was arrested for attempting to rob a bank.

No one has written anything of substance about Terrell's girlfriend and supposedly his future wife, who's pictured here, other than she's a model. How did they meet? How did he propose to her? Where was she when he was taking these pills? Why was his publicist -- Kim Etheridge -- the woman making the call to police and not Felicia? Is Felicia the cause of his depression? You know that other sportswriters will focus on the idea that Terrell was expressive to hide depression. I don't buy that. Someone should find and talk to Felicia and find out what's going on.

At a time where it seems everyone wants to know something about anyone, it's really weird that when it comes to the black male athete, little is written about their love life. Think about it. Guys like Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb are in the media eye, but for some strange reason never the focus of articles on who they're married to or dating. I have to turn to a hip-hop website to learn that Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis was dating pop-star TLC's "Chilli" Thomas.

This lack of love life coverage is not true for Arizona Cardinals Running Back Matt Leinart, for example. The press follows his love life all too often. This is also true for A.J. Hawk, the rookie linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, who just married Brady Quinn's sister.


Ok, in retrospect, we don't read about athlete's love lives as much in general. Look in deep in Terrell's depression, and I'll bet Felicia pops up somewhere, and that's too bad. It's always said that behind every great man, there's a woman. Terrell's reportedly best woman -- he said this to ESPN -- was his late grandmother. Who's there now?

Fire Tom Walsh - Former Raider WR Tim Brown Says "It Was A Horrible Offense" When He Played In It

This is what Tim Brown said in the Contra Costa Times about the Raiders offense under Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh:

"You just can't run that offense in the NFL anymore," Brown said. "They're calling timeouts, spending most of their timeouts before 10 minutes is up in the second quarter. They're getting delay penalties, getting to the line of scrimmage late, because those plays are 20 words long.

"I know that it was a horrible offense way back when. We just had to make plays and make things happen way back when. Being that the 40-second clock has come into play, and a lot of other rules have come into play since he was (last) in the league, I knew that would be a tough adjustment for him. Even zone blitzes and things of that nature. That makes that offense very tough. It was very one-dimensional, trying to audible was very difficult."

Superdome - Green Day and U2 In Video

Green Day -- from the SF Bay Area -- and U2 played to a great crowd to kickoff the return of the New Orleans Saints to the Superdome to play the Atlanta Falcons.

Michael Vick Passing In The Pocket; Throws To Michael Jenkins - Video

For those who remark that Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick can't sit in the passing pocket, read the defense, and throw a completion, here's video proof he can. This against the Panthers two weeks ago.

Superdome - Saints Block Falcons Punt For First Touchdown Of The Game

This is the play that started the tidalwave of celebration. Even watching this on TV I could feel the crowd going totally nuts. The blocked punt came because the Saints used an uncommon middle rush stunt, which was such that it created a hole that the eventual blocker ran through.

Watch and listen:

Reggie Bush Gives To Devery Henderson; Saints Double Reverse Scores v. Falcons In Superdome - Video

This play sent the Superdome crowd into a sky-high frenzy. They were already jazzed up after the blocked punt.

What's interesting about this particular play is that the first ball carrier -- Reggie Bush -- lines up as a split end. Note there's no tight end on that side, but because the Falcons don't play their weak side linebacker up on the line of scrimage, Bush can come in to get the hand-off without fear of being downed for a loss.

Superdome Opens To New Orleans Saints and America - Saints Clobber Falcons In First Game Back

This was an amazing event. Here's a video and an account of the scene.

Super Bowl atmosphere, perfect finish in Big Easy

Sep. 26, 2006
By Mike Freeman
CBS National Columnist
Tell Mike your opinion!

NEW ORLEANS -- Sporting a flaming light gold suit and dark top hat that stood tall and stiff on his head, Joe Horn sauntered into the Superdome several hours before kickoff as he has done many times before. This day, however, was different.

WR Joe Horn has become a favorite in New Orleans. (Getty Images)
Horn, along with superstar Reggie Bush, has been adopted by the city as favorite sons, cherished for their charity work in post-Hurricane Katrina. In reaching out, Horn and Bush did not send checks from the safety of their estates or dispatch bubbly flaks to do their PR work. They got their hands dirty. They dropped in on pulverized neighborhoods, handed out food and rebuilt lives.

The Saints arranged for players to take a different way into the stadium than normal, one that had them walk purposely through a gauntlet of fans. When Horn approached wearing his pimp daddy fits circa Etta James, he stopped several times to accept dozens of pats on the back and high-fives from fans leaning over a security barricade to touch their hands on a hero.

On this night, a night unlike any other in sports history, the New Orleans Saints players were the rock stars, bigger celebrities than even mega-groups U2 and Green Day, who performed onstage together prior to the Saints facing Atlanta in a tribute to the city of New Orleans.

The game itself, almost lost in the nuclear intensity that was the Superdome's reopening, was destined to end up just one way -- and it did, but it was New Orleans winning 23-3 before 70,003 wildly geeked fans.

The Falcons stepped in the way of history and were squashed.

As if scripted by some otherworldly force, the Saints are 3-0. Just how un-freakin'-believable is that?

"The fans were great," said Horn. "We knew they would be here in force to support us and we didn't want to let them down.

"I was focused on the job at hand, but I was also focused on the emotion of the fans," said Horn. "If I had witnessed what happened here at the dome, I probably wouldn't have come back."

Horn said he in fact spoke to fans that were trapped inside the quickly decaying dome during Katrina who would not come back because the memories were still too fresh. They planned to watch the game on television.

The Saints were powered by an emotional, almost nationalistic sunburst. No team might have beaten the Saints on this night. Not the 1960s Green Bay Packers or the Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers. No team.

When the game was over, about 50,000 fans remained in the stands, dancing and cheering for several minutes. Coach Sean Payton dedicated a game ball to the Saints fans.

"We said, 'The only way this night was going to be special was if we win this game,'" said quarterback Drew Brees.

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As someone that has covered a number of Super Bowls, the grandest of sporting events in this country, this game had that same feel. Perhaps because so many people thought this night would never happen. Or maybe because for a few hours, this city, much of it still in ruins, all this time later, can enjoy a basic human impulse perhaps not felt in many months here, and that is the spine-tingling sensation of forward momentum, the rhapsody of a new day.


The game itself, the actual football, almost did not matter. The moment did. When you rank all of the great moments in the history of American sports, this will stand solidly among them.

Two and three hours before the game, crowds of humanity, tens of thousands of people, were drinking and laughing in the streets around the dome. It was a party, a celebration. They stayed close to the dome, almost hugging it, never wanting to lose site of it.

Ironic, isn't it? Just over a year ago 30,000 people were cursing the place when it was utilized as an emergency shelter. It was a house of horrors. It was called by some the Island of Katrina because rivers of water flowed onto the streets around it. Then, people were trying to get as far away from the place as they could, both physically and mentally.

On its reopening Saints fans chugged beers and sang songs throughout the Superdome's corridors. They were again in love with one of the symbols of their city. They were no longer ashamed of it.

When former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a key component in the rebuilding of the dome, was asked if he was surprised that this night had come, he said, "In one sense I am astonished because it represents such a tremendous amount of work, the coming together of tens of thousands of people and their spirit and their resilience. So in one sense, like I say, I am astonished. In another sense, it is what we all hoped would happen."

Once the contest began, there was so much emotion vibrating throughout the dome. Some of the Saints players and coaches became overwhelmed by it. A blocked punt for a touchdown, followed by a Devery Henderson 11-yard run, and two John Carney field goals of 37 and 51 yards gave the Saints a 20-3 halftime lead. When the Falcons tried to gather at least an ounce of momentum with a Morten Andersen (yes, that Morten Andersen, the former Saint) field goal, that too was blocked.

"Right out the gate," Horn said, "we wanted to make a statement that we were here to play."

One Saints player was too pumped, however. Curtis Deloatch, in the second quarter, shoved Atlanta runner Jerious Norwood long after Norwood was out of the field of play. The game official flagged Deloatch for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Immediately after that, Payton, in an inexcusable fit of rage, twice accosted Deloatch on the Saints sideline, in full view of the television cameras, by shoving him hard in the upper body area. It was the only lowlight on the night that contained a zillion highlights.

The Falcons had Michael Vick, an NFL force, but everything went the way of the Saints. Not even his Roger Rabbit quicks could stop the inevitable. The blocked punt for a Saints score, a key early drop by tight end Alge Crumpler, the blocked field goal, a made long field goal by the Saints and a pass interference call on the Saints later reversed. It was one piece of good fortune followed by another.

It was karma. Or maybe since the game was in New Orleans, it was voodoo.

Whatever it was, Saints fans will take it, on this, a truly joyous and unforgettable night in which everyone, for a short time, was a Saints fan.