Speed Read: Mike Singletary Is Still Pretty Insane

After hearing about Mike Singletary’s latest motivational move at San Francisco 49ers training camp, we can all be glad of this: he kept his pants on this time. In fact, he did what many 49ers fans wish someone would have done years ago: he sent former No. 1 draft pick and genial bust Alex Smith packing.

Mike Singletary

Unfortunately for those fans, Smith came back, as he wasn’t traded or cut. No, Singletary had Smith watch the last 30 minutes of training camp from the top of a hill overlooking the practice facility after Smith threw a deflected pass into coverage that was intercepted during a scrimmage. Personally, it sounds like a better punishment would have been to give Smith a couple of passes to nearby Great America and tell him to have fun and enjoy the roller coasters.

Alex Smith

Smith tried to force a pass to noted slacker-slash-slugger Vernon Davis, but it was tipped and eventually picked off. Unfortunately for Smith, this came right after Singletary announced to the team that “the next guy responsible for a turnover would have to sit on the hill for the rest of practice,” leading to Smith getting his perch high on a hill.

Again, some one tell me how this is punishment? Instead of working his butt off at training camp and sweating in the summer heat, Smith got to relax and watch the practice from a grassy vantage point - probably under a shady tree while eating a couple of apples as bluebirds sang to him. And I guess that we are supposed to be impressed that his starting offensive line came to sit with him in a “nice show of solidarity,” although I suspect they saw a chance to get out of the last half-hour of practice and made the most of it.

I know NFL teams are careful not to push players too hard, but don’t players run laps as punishment any more? Suicide sprints? Something other than sitting down and not training at training camp? Mike Singletary’s training camp is allegedly some combination of the Junction Boys, the Bataan Death March and the training montage from “Rocky IV” from how the media is portraying it, but if that’s as tough as it gets in the NFL, maybe we’re coddling players a bit too much.

I have no idea what a UFL training camp is going to be like; I’m guessing it will be more advanced than teaching the players what the Xs and Os on the playbook mean, even if just barely. But it does seem like the players are going to go through a lot of punishment - at least on the field, thanks to their names and uniforms. That is, if the ones announced on Monday by the Las Vegas franchise are any indication.

Las Vegas Locomotives

First off there’s the name: the Las Vegas Locomotives. Because when I think of Las Vegas, I don’t think of gambling or nightlife or danger - I think of trains. Yup, you really get the high rollers coming in on the train from Barstow to Las Vegas. It’s basically a half-step up from calling the team the Las Vegas Hobos, and unless your team’s offensive coordinator is John Hodgman, that’s not going to fly.

And then there are the uniforms. Now, I’m no sartorial demigod, but…I don’t want to say that it’s hideous, but the USFL called and they are planning on suing you for $1 for ripping off their designs. The whole thing looks horrendously 80s, from the shiny neon aquamarine pants to the blocky numbering. I think I saw MC Skat Kat wearing something suspiciously similar in a video with Paula Abdul back in the day.

Basically, the whole thing is a mess, and even Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel is confused as to the connection between Las Vegas and trains. (But this isn’t the first time he’s been confused in his life.) Plus, the team’s name is sure to be shortened by people to “Locos,” which the owners seem to think is great cross-cultural marketing but just reminds me of how crazy you’d have to be to try and go up against the NFL.

Finally, I have to wonder what Jeff Gordon’s motivation is to keep racing. After all, he could be at home having sex with his Brazilian supermodel wife, playing with his kids or simply climbing up and down one of the giant mountains of cash he presumably has laying around his house from all of his winnings and endorsement deals.

And after yesterday’s race at the Watkins Glen road course in New York, he is probably wondering the same thing himself after being involved in a bad multi-car crash that sent him careening into a guard rail - not a SAFER barrier - at nearly top speed. Gordon walked away unscathed, although he was complaining of aggravating a sore back injured after he’s been involved in several big crashes in the last few years.

After watching that replay again, let me ask Gordon something: hot Brazilian supermodel wife, or smashing the bejeezus out of your car head-on into a guard rail? Your choice.

In other sports news that happened while you thanked God you weren’t the local TV reporter who drew the short straw and had to cover the “Furries” convention:

  • Crocs announced late yesterday that it is pulling out of its title sponsorship of the AVP Tour at the end of this season. But how ever will beach volleyball survive without its association with ugly rubber clogs? Wait, they’ll survive thanks to hot chicks rolling around on the sand wearing next to nothing? I guess…
  • AVP ad

  • This is exactly what you want to hear from a tennis player playing his last season before his retirement: former world No. 1 Marat Safin admits that it’s “impossible” that he’ll win another title. I don’t think he’ll be getting the same teary send-off at the U.S. Open that Andre Agassi did.
  • Former New England cornerback Tebucky Jones is already suing Patriots team doctors for misdiagnosing his career-ending knee injury. Now he’s telling the BOSTON HERALD that NFL teams frequently cut injured players in order to avoid paying them for sitting on the injured reserve. It’s all so shocking, I know. Next he’ll tell me that they also pressure them into playing hurt, and look the other way about steroid and drug use. If only Oliver Stone could make a movie about this…
  • The Chicago White Sox were able to get two-time All-Star Alex Rios on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation (which with the exchange rate means the White Sox made money on the deal). So, do you think the Blue Jays were thrilled to be rid of the $64 million due to Rios through 2014?
  • If there’s ever been someone who should be happy to have a home run overturned by instant replay, it’s the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. Sure, he missed out on a grand slam in the second inning and had to settle for a two-run single. But he needed that single en route to becoming the fifth Rockies player to hit for the cycle in Colorado’s 11-5 rout of the floundering Cubs.
  • The San Francisco Giants are honoring former pitcher Dave Dravecky on the 20th anniversary of his comeback from cancer. Which is great, except it reminds me of the sound his arm made when it snapped like a twig during his comeback, and then I need to throw up.
  • The USL Division II soccer match between the Real Maryland Monarch and Bermuda Hogges was your standard affair. If you consider a player scoring two goals in the first half and then getting arrested at halftime, a coach being ejected from the game and having to watch from the parking lot, and a goalkeeper being forced to play striker as “standard”.
  • There was great line in a SPORTING NEWS post about the terrible level of umpiring seen this season, with umps continually deciding to make themselves the center of attention. It mentions Phillies announcer Larry Anderson responding to umpire Joe West telling him that MLB umps were “the best in the business” by telling the audience that he wanted to respond that “if you guys are the best in the business, you’ve got a really bad business.”
  • I sure hope new Minnesota T-Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis wasn’t expecting Ricky Rubio to be playing for him any time soon, as team president David Kahn said the buyout of Rubio’s European contract is still “very problematic.
  • And there’s really only one way to celebrate Hulk Hogan’s 56th birthday: crank it up, Mr. Rick Derringer!

I need to watch a football movie to pump myself up for the season. What should it be?

View Results

That Other Football League Got Another TV Deal?

Hey, you know how there’s that UFL deal, and it’s just a bunch of NFL castoffs playing football for peanuts instead of, oh doing anything else? You know, the league whose most famous participants are J.P. Losman, a cocaine dealer, and Jim Fassel (coaching, though we’d pay to watch him take some snaps at weakside linebacker)?

UFL logo
(Sexually suggestive, or just a football barfing a star?)

Well, as bad an idea as it sounds like, they have a couple good things going for them. One, back in March, they inked a TV deal with Versus to air one game a week. So, y’know, if you’re that starved for football, you can always watch on Versus. But pardon us if we feel a little unsatisfied; can’t we involve someone a little… crazier?

Read more…

Dennis Green Returns To Coaching - Thanks, UFL!

Dennis Green has found his way back to the gridiron sidelines. And just like fellow former NFL coaches Jim Fassel and Jim Haslett, his new employer is the upstart United Football League.

Dennis Green and Clifford

The ARIZONA REPUBLIC further reports that former Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell will be joining the above trio as field generals for the newest pigskin revolution. So, now that the coaches have been chosen - who’s going where?

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Should Media Make a Big Flap Over Phelps Photo?

• Have corporate sponsors successfully smokescreened the media over Michael Phelps’ marijuana mess?

michael phelps bong

Jim Fassel finally finds himself a football coaching job - if you count the UFL as a stable employer.

• Golfers & wait staff, beware! Tiger Woods is back & “better than ever“!

• Wonder where some of your taxpayer money is going? How about toward Santonio Holmes’ new $85,000 Cadillac Escalade?

Read more…

Fassel Finally Gets New Coaching Gig … In UFL

Well, it finally happened: Former Giants coach Jim Fassel convinced a football team that he deserves another shot at being a head coach. Here’s the catch: That team isn’t in the NFL, and it’s not even in the NCAA, either.

jim fassel espn

(Hey, coaching in Vegas can’t be any more awkward than his ESPN spots.)

According to the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, the former Super Bowl runner-up agreed to become the head coach of Las Vegas’ entry into the UFL, the new upstart professional league that is designed to rival the NFL. The UFL is slated to start operations next fall, and while league sources wouldn’t confirm Fassel was on board, UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue wouldn’t deny it, either, and quickly added that there were, “upcoming announcements about the league.”

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? And by “ominous,” we mean “desperate”  on the part of Fassel. How is it that a man who, by all accounts, was one whisker away from becoming head coach of the Redskins last winter falls all the way back to taking a job in a start-up league? And what kind of a career move is a UFL head job, anyway? Do we have any idea whether this league is even going to be solvent for a single season? Last time we checked, the XFL actually played a couple games, emphasis on “couple”. The UFL hasn’t played a single matchup yet, has yet to hold a draft or officially announce stadiums where teams are playing, and its opening weekend is a mere eight months away! Heck, they don’t even know all the cities that are going to be involved. It’s a total mess.

Read more…

Jim Fassel Really, Really Wants The Raiders Job

After the horror that has been the Oakland Raiders franchise since 2003, you’d think that nobody in their right mind would want to coach there. I mean, you’d have to be incredibly stupid to even consider an offer, much less…

Many Fassels

Oh, hello, Jim Fassel! You might have a severe head injury, because nobody of any mental stability would ever, ever, ever do anything as reckless as, say, contacting Al Davis to request the Oakland coaching job. But according to ESPN, Fassel sent a hand-written letter to Davis, kissing his wrinkled posterior in hopes of taking over for the utterly miserable Tom Cable in 2009.

Read more…

Fassel Blames Bloggers For Ruining Redskins Job

DC SPORTS BOG finds who Jim Fassel really blames for losing out on the Redskins job. Dan Snyder? Jim Zorn? Vinny Cerrato?

Nope - ’twas those evil, evil bloggers.

Jim Fassel yelling

The ex-Giants coach said on John Thompson’s local radio show that his shot at coaching the ‘Skins was scuttled by online opinionators agitated at such a scenario. Read more…

Ashley Judd Gets Motors Running w/Daytona Visit

We’re always keeping an eye out for Montreal moochers pilfering purses.

Ashley Judd really knows how to rev up the engines at Daytona:

Ashley Judd Daytona dress

• Heads up, Alfred Aboya! Or should that be - “Face Up”?

• Buffalo fans have seen Richard Zednik’s terrible throat slash before - when it happened to Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk.

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Hell Hath No Fury Like Snyder-Scorned Jim Fassel

Jim Fassel snapped into Slim Jim (Zorn) to Clark Judge of CBSSports.com after getting jilted by Dan Snyder for the Redskins coaching job.

Jim Fassel

Fassel: “Someone said to me that Jim Zorn has three jobs he hasn’t done now. He’s a head coach, and he’s never done it. He’s an offensive coordinator, and he’s never done it. And he’s calling the plays, and he’s never done it.

Apparently Fassel is blissfully unaware that such comments aren’t a great way to land future employ in the league. And the former Giants coach didn’t limit his caustic comments to Zorn. Read more…

Blog-O-Rama: Tony Romo Takes It To The Stage

• GIRLS GONE SPORTS won’t stop believing Tony Romo has talent, as the Cowboys QB hits the stage with Jessica & some metal band:

Tony Romo sings

• FOOD COURT LUNCH learns of a former CFL player found shot to death - and surprisingly it’s not Lawrence Phillips.

• WITH LEATHER is going to stay off the bikes for a while.

• MJD of YAHOO SPORTS bowls a few mini-frames with Matt Leinart.

• SPORTS ILLUSTRATED rolls out a casting call for “Super Bowl XLII: The Movie“:

Haley Joel Osment Eli Manning

Starring Haley Joel Osment as Eli Manning.

• Darren Rovell of CNBC has one bet the Super Bowl oddsmakers forgot to put on the board - Will Bill Belichick wear his hoodie?

• Speaking of Vegas, THE SCORES REPORT thanks God - at 5-to-2 odds.

Read more…