Speed Read: Eagles Take Gamble On Michael Vick

In a lot of ways, the Michael Vick saga is coming to an end today. In a couple of hours, the Eagles will announce that they have signed Vick to a contract, and the dogfighting thing will be behind us, and he’ll just be another NFL player again.

Michael Vick drinking wine

Sure, there will be Rachel Nichols following his every move at practice for a while, then everyone will get all excited when he breaks off a 14-yard run from the Wildcat formation in a preseason game. But then he’ll fade away for a while as he serves his suspension, and by the time he is eligible to play in week six or so, he’s just going to a backup who comes on for a gimmick play every once in a while.

Philly was one of a long list of teams that reportedly had no interest in Vick as he was seeking a new job. In fact, many theorized that he’d have to resort to signing with the new UFL to have a chance to play. After all, what NFL team was going to be willing to absorb the PR hit, be willing to wait out his suspension, and be able to actually use him? The Eagles seemed unlikely on all fronts. They’ve already got two decent backup quarterbacks in Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley.

UFL logo

(You know things don’t look good for this league when they’re disappointed that they didn’t get the dog killer.)

So why add Vick to a team that doesn’t really need him? Andy Reid talks about wanting to give the guy a second chance, and even mentions the plight of his own children as a factor in the decision. The Eagles did use DeSean Jackson in the Wildcat on occasion last year, so maybe they want to expand that facet of their offense. Maybe they’ll try to turn him into a receiver, kick returner, or both. But can he learn to do those things at an NFL level in a matter of weeks?

None of that seems important right now, as most of the attention will be focused on the moral implications of signing a guy who just got out of prison two weeks ago for killing dogs. The PHILLY INQUIRER’s John Gonzalez sums up the struggle, and gives a very reasonable argument in favor of giving Vick another chance:

If you’ve already dug in and joined the anti-Vick camp, I won’t blame you or try to change your mind. People love dogs. I’m one of them. I’m a sucker for just about any animal, but the ones that roll over and play fetch and slobber all over me - even when I’m not at my best (which is most of the time) - are by far my favorite. What Vick did to those dogs was cruel and terrible and indefensible.

But I’m not going to kill the Eagles for signing him, and I’m not going to attack Vick or ascribe some pejorative label to the guy. I don’t know the man. I don’t know why he got involved with dogfighting. But I do know that he went to prison, and he lost his job, and he’s been beaten up quite a bit over the last two years. He’s been beaten up almost endlessly. And for good reason. Don’t get it twisted, he deserved his punishment - all of it. But after doing his time and losing almost everything he’d worked so hard to achieve, hasn’t he paid the price required of someone looking to purchase a second chance?

Ultimately, I think NFL fans will be OK with Vick. Everything he’s said and done recently indicates that he’s remorseful about what he did and that he’s committed to rebuilding his image. But for now, even the fans in Philly are split on this – a poll on PHILLY.COM shows that they are about 53-47 against signing Vick.

michael vick 60 minutes

As if it wasn’t bad enough that he was pelted with vomit and urine while attempting to take a corner kick at Azteca Stadium on Wednesday, word comes now that U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan played the entire game with the swine flu.

Landon Donovan

Ironically, Landon didn’t pick up the illness in Mexico, where the latest epidemic of the ol’ H1N1 originated. Instead, he got it from two staff members of the L.A. Galaxy, Donovan’s MLS team. The L.A. TIMES reports that the staff members picked it up during the Galaxy’s match with the New England Revolution in Foxboro. That’s right, Pats fans. Swine flu is just stewing in your stadium. Good luck with that, Brady.

Tom Brady, first day of training camp

(”So, if there’s swine flu on Bernard Pollard’s helmet…”)

Donovan admits that he felt crappy during Wednesday’s game, but chalked it up to the elevation and poor air quality in Mexico City. He is unlikely to play in the Galaxy’s home game tomorrow against Seattle, and more unlikely to ever come within 25 feet of David Beckham the rest of this season (which isn’t much of a change — he just has a medical reason now).

I suppose it’s shouldn’t be surprising if we hear of athletes starting to come down with the virus. MLB pitcher Vicente Padilla came down with it a couple of weeks ago, and as many as 1 million people nationwide have probably been infected at some point. While there is little danger of any serious repercussions (Donovan is sick, but nothing beyond your average flu bug), it could be devastating to a team if multiple players were to suffer from the illness at the same time. NFL teams in particular need to be careful, or at least plan on catching it the week they play the Lions.

swine flu

Michael Phelps is going to be just fine after he was involved in a car accident last night. The sack of 10 from White Castle? Sadly, they didn’t make it.

• BC and BU will play hockey at Fenway Park a week after the Winter Classic.

Rick Sutcliffe throws Jose Mesa under the bus for failing to hit somebody with a pitch 20 years ago. Sut just didn’t realize that the opposing batter needs to have “Vizquel” written on his back for Joe Table to plunk him.

Jeff Francoeur thinks the reason he’s going to look “like a clown” next year is these new batting helmets, and not his inevitable .285 on-base percentage.

new batting helmet

• Well, the Wrigley beer-tosser has been apprehended and he apologized publicly to Shane Victorino, the Cubs, and his own family. But not to the guy who took the fall for him and got tossed out. That’s like the main guy who needs an apology!

Adrian Beltre might want to reconsider his decision to not wear a cup, as he’s now on the DL because of the quite horrifying “bleeding testicle.” Yeah, you heard that right. He somehow played five innings after the injury.

• Quentin Richardson has been traded — for the fourth time this offseason. The T-Wolves sent him to Miami yesterday for Mark Blount. That means he has now been swapped for Darko Milicic, Zach Randolph, Sebastian Telfair, Mark Madsen, and now Blount. That’s a lot of headcases and one terrible dancer.

Royals great Willie Wilson has signed a one-day contract to start a game for the Kansas City T-Bones of the Independent League next week. Wilson apparently didn’t want to subject himself to something as embarrassing as appearing at an actual Royals game.

God knows what Bronson Arroyo was hopped up on last night when he threw a two-hit shutout against the Nationals.

•  The DAILY MAIL has a story today about Kirsty Gallacher, girlfriend of rugby player Paul Sampson, daughter of golfer Bernard Gallacher, and former Sky Sports personality. Just wanted to establish a sports-related reason to run this photo:

Kirsty Gallacher

Are you surprised that Michael Vick got an NFL job this year?

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Have We Seen The Last of Miller/Morgan Team?

Name the baseball announcer you hate most. Odds are, 90% of you are either thinking of Chris Berman (who barely even qualifies anymore) or Joe Morgan. And for years now, Morgan has been infecting Sunday nights with his unique brand of self-congratulation and non-analysis. We sincerely pity his partner, the capable-if-mundane Jon Miller.

Miller and Morgan
(Credit for the image goes to Awful Announcing, to whom we also owe a hat tip for the story)

But it appears that our long national nightmare may be over, as Bob Raissman of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS is reporting that the duo may have called their last game together: Read more…

Blog-A-Roni: Johnson Bringing Bengals Together?

• CINCY JUNGLE argues that Ocho Cinco’s oddball behavior might actually be bringing the rest of the Bengals together.

Chad Johnson smiling

• Meanwhile, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reports that the New York Giants are dealing with their own mini-camp malcontents (i.e. Jeremy Shockey & Plaxico Burress).

• BABES LOVE BASEBALL finds a couple of factual errors about Chicago State’s new full-time coach.

Andrea Reiher of BUGS & CRANKS also doesn’t like the way Rick Sutcliffe was speaking on-air about Erin Andrews’ skirt.

Read more…

Blog Jam: Sutcliffe Concerned About Erin’s Skirt

• WITH LEATHER catches wind of Rick Sutcliffe rather wanting to discuss Erin Andrews’ skirt blowing up than his own cancer treatments.

Rick Sutcliffe Erin Andrews

However, DEADSPIN diagnoses the case of one blogger who’s sick & tired of Erin’s treatment.

• ARROWHEAD ADDICT is on the warpath after hearing that Kevin Costner is a Chiefs fan.

• MONDESI’S HOUSE laughs at the Altoona Curve’s attempts to bring Will Ferrell to town.

Michael David Smith of AOL FANHOUSE tosses along news that a judo Olympian may take a jab at MMA - if it’s okay with her mom.

Read more…

Athletes Show All For Playboy; Hair-Raising Cards

Brandi Chastian’s bra brouhaha has nothing on this Brazilian soccer babe.

• Hot on the heels of Ashley Harkleroad’s announcement, we uncover the naked truth on how often athletes have bared all for Playboy.

Gabrielle Reece Playboy cover top

• Upper Deck wants to condition us into buying these hair-filled cards. Next, special-edition SbB sets featuring freshly-shorn follicles from Brooks.

• How cool is Rick Sutcliffe? Not only can he kick cancer’s ass, but he’ll steal a base just to win Bill Murray some beer.

Kobe explains how he jumps over snakes, while Mrs. Bryant jumps all over an ESPN writer.

• The Yankees want to pull the plug on an All-Star promotion that might feature David Ortiz. Well, we should’ve know there was Red Sox trouble at the Stadium had we seen the warning signs.

Read more…

Rick Sutcliffe: Stole Case Of Beer For Bill Murray

Fresh off Rick Sutcliffe’s recovery from colon cancer, Bill Reiter of the KANSAS CITY STAR pens a lengthy profile on the local legend - interviewing Sutcliffe in his KC-area home.

Rick Sutcliffe

It’s a good read, and the best story is saved for last - which has Sutcliffe spinning a yarn that had him stealing the first base of his career - spurred by an on-air bet between Steve Stone and Bill Murray. Read more…

Jason Taylor Done Dancing, Dolphins Done w/Him?

We hope to someday see suburban banners showing SbB some love, too.

Jason Taylor: Finished “Dancing”, now also finished with the Dolphins?

Jason Taylor Edyta Sliwinska dancing

• We’d smash through glass to check out Hunter Pence’s nudie girlfriend.

• A toast to ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe for kicking cancer’s ass!

Cris Carter wanted to take Will Leitch out. But isn’t he married?

Mindy McCready movie moves to clear up cuddling with Clemens.

Read more…

Now We Can Go Back To Posting Sut’s Drunk Vid

Great news from the ASSOCIATED PRESS today, as Rick Sutcliffe is kicking cancer’s ass and will be back in the booth tonight: “Sutcliffe returns to the broadcast booth Wednesday for the Atlanta Braves- New York Mets game, his first as an ESPN analyst since being diagnosed with colon cancer during spring training.”

Rick Sutcliffe

The 51-year-old Sutcliffe is on the road to recovery. He was strong enough to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the same time, speeding up the process, and is hopeful of getting a clean bill of health after surgery on June 16.

When I was running a radio station in KC, I met with Sutcliffe (breakfast at Perkins!) about working with us. He was a great guy, a cool, ol’ lug who likes to have his fun (obviously). And with that dratted cancer out of the way, I can go back to posting the well-worn video of him drunk in the booth (link after the jump). Read more…

They’ll Start Preparing When Guinness Runs Dry

We were a play-by-play announcer for several sports over 16 years, so we can be a bit of a geek when it comes to rating announcers (translation: we know you don’t give a damn, but indulge us).

NBA Homer Announcers Tommy Heinsohn Johnny Red Kerr

CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING found this lovely chart on Flickr.com that rates NBA announcers in a rather clever way. Granted, we don’t know most local NBA announcers from a lawn fire hydrant, but we still love looking at this kind of stuff.

And we do know the worst announcers cited. Sweet! Read more…

ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe Diagnosed with Colon Cancer

Another ESPN on-air employee must deal with an unfortunate illness: Rick Sutcliffe has colon cancer.

Rick Sutcliffe

The former MLB pitcher & current baseball analyst was diagnosed with the disease during a recent routine check-up. Read more…