Mark Sanchez, Hilary Rhoda Now Actually an Item?

When it comes to being a rookie quarterback in the NFL, there are always a lot of questions about whether you’re going to make it in the league. For every Peyton Manning that comes a long, there are a hundred Ryan Leafs, so the odds of success are pretty stacked against you. There’s also the pressure of the fact that when you’re drafted in the first round you’re generally seen as a franchise savior.

Of course, being the quarterback also has its advantages. Particularly the fact that good-looking women always want to go out with you. Tom Brady has Gisele Bundchen, Tony Romo has Jessica Simpson, and now even though he hasn’t played a single snap in the NFL, Mark Sanchez has already landed his first supermodel. Earlier this week, we went over Sanchez’s recent photo shoot for GQ with model Hilary Rhoda, and it turns out he got to bring home more than the clothes he wore in the shoot.

Sanchez and Rhoda are now dating.

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Speed Read: Brady, Gisele Get Hitched In Hiding

So much for US WEEKLY and the glamo-celebrity gossip mags finding ways into weddings where people don’t want them there. According to the website for the aforementioned weekly dose of celebritant glitz, USMAGAZINE.com, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen — arguably the most beautiful woman in the world — were married yesterday in Santa Monica. And none of the celebrity mags were there to cover it, despite the wedding being held right under their noses.

giselle bundchen victorias secret

The ceremony was called a small, private affair in Santa Monica’s St. Monica Catholic Church, where only relatives, including his son (with ex Bridget Moynihan) John Edward Thomas Moynihan, were attendees.

giselle bundchen horse

So, what does this mean for the rest of us? Well, it means you get to see pictures of a gorgeous woman here at the top of the Speed Read. And it means that we can all finally put this ridiculous, inevitable Brady-Bundchen marriage behind us and forget the constant media subterfuge both Brady and Bundchen have been spreading for months.

Of course, Brady wasn’t the only living Boston sports legend in the news yesterday, even though the other one-name star doesn’t play at Fenway Park anymore. According to a snippy Dodgers press release sent out at 8:30 p.m. last night (Pacific Time, so it was already 11:30 on the East Coast), Manny Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras, rejected the team’s latest contract offer via written letter.

Naturally, this is no surprise to everyone who’s been keeping tuned to Manny whims and wanes here. Brooks predicted he wouldn’t sign before spring training back in December, and his later prediction that ManRam would start the season without a team is looking a lot more likely by the day.

Manny Ramirez pray

Now we know: The best way to piss off a team’s owner and GM is to reject their “improved” contract offer via letter, not by phone call, e-mail or signing telegram. Just listen to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, when asked about negotiating for Ramirez.

“We love Manny Ramirez,” McCourt said, “And we want Manny back, but we feel we are negotiating against ourselves.  When his agent finds those ‘serious offers’ from other clubs, we’ll be happy to re-start the negotiations.”

Perhaps more significant is McCourt’s line that he feels Los Angeles will now start from scratch. What exactly does “start from scratch” mean?  Will the Dodgers call Boras’ bluff and scale back offers to less money for a single year deal? And what will Ramirez do if he’s facing a deal three years short and $5 million lower per year than he was expecting in the offseason? Does anyone really think he’s going to kill himself playing for a deal he feels will “disrespect” his talent?

The answer to both the yes or no questions is probably “no”, with a solid “who knows” when you consider Ramirez’s potential reaction to what he figures is a bad deal. Regardless of how it turns out, Thursday’s developments are bound to be bad news for Dodgers fans. The only question is just how damning it will be for the team’s hopes in 2009 and 2010.

Of course, L.A. fans could have it worse: They could be in Chicago, one of America’s foremost sports towns that happened to lose two living legends in the same day. According to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, legendary Bulls player and broadcaster Johnny “Red” Kerr died Thursday of a long battle with prostate cancer. Kerr did just about everything in his career, winning an NBA title (with the Syracuse Nationals, the only one that team would ever earn), becoming an All-Star, coaching the Bulls, working in Chicago’s front office and, perhaps most memorably, providing some of the country’s most captivating color commentary.

johnny red kerr

It’s far too easy to call Kerr Chicago’s basketball answer to Harry Caray, but that’s not fair to either Windy City legend. Yet perhaps it’s fitting that Kerr used the first name Red. He may not have built the Bulls the way Red Auerbach did the Celtics, but he might be almost as important to the franchise.

Yet things got even worse for the Bulls on Thursday, with fellow Chicago basketball legend Norm Van Lier found dead in his home at age 61. There’s no word of what killed the former Bulls guard turned pregame and postgame commentator, but it took his current colleagues at COMCAST SPORTSNET to search him out at his apartment, where he was pronounced dead.

As with Kerr, “Stormin’ Norman” wasn’t a perfect role model for Bulls future, past and present, but his competitiveness was unrivaled. That in itself made him a compelling figure, and his swagger never hurt, either. Just check out the interview below from MOUTHPIECE SPORTS last year, and you start to see why Bulls fans loved him so much.

Now that Brady and Gisele are married, when will US Weekly shut up about the wedding?

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Redford Reels in Rickey Role For Robinson Biopic

Robert Redford has signed on to portray Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in ESPN’s upcoming Jackie Robinson flick.

Robert Redford Branch Rickey

• Annoying analyst Billy Packer is finally sent packing by CBS.

LeBron James’ little “Vogue” cover controversy with Giselle Bundchen didn’t translate into many newsstand sales.

• Nude climbers really know how to get their rocks off.

A-Rod’s marriage quickly crumbling? Scott Boras to the rescue!

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