Creepy Jr. High Football Recruiting Site To Launch

Just when you thought that the world of college football recruiting couldn’t get any more creepy, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE has a story that will practically make your skin crawl. Apparently, there is a new Web site ready to be launched that will evaluate the performance of junior high football players and promote the best players for notice by college recruiters.

Todd Marinovich as a kid

(Todd Marinovich, age 18 months, ready for his first college recruiting trip.)

That’s right, for all the Marv Marinovich wannabes who can’t want until high school to drive their child into a downward spiral of unrealistic expectations and the relentless pursuit, you can now get a jump start on the competition and start putting the pressure on your 11-year-old to get that football scholarship…or else.

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Speed Read: Ryan Leaf Bad At Football, Drug Theft

Ryan Leaf is an instant sports blog punchline, suitable for use anytime you need a real-life example for the words “bust,” “loser” or “train wreck.” But at least he had some shred of dignity: sure, he had been one of the biggest disappointments in NFL history, a top draft pick turned into petulant baby whose lousy attitude with coaches, teammates and the media ensured he would be drummed out of the league; but at least he wasn’t Todd Marinovich. No matter what, at least his rap sheet was clean.

Ryan Leaf

Well, you can forget that. Remember when he took a “leave of absence” from his position as QB coach at West Texas A&M (and also as - for some reason - the golf coach), and it came out that he had “asked” a player for pain medicine for an old wrist injury? It turns out there was more to that story - a lot more. Leaf allegedly really, really needed that medicine - so much so that he allegedly broke into the apartment of an injured player he knew had been prescribed Vicodin and grabbed him a handful of pills.

Ryan Leaf Starting Lineup

And Leaf apparently was about as good of a thief as he was an NFL player, since the cops traced the theft back to him, and the AMARILLO GLOBE-NEWS says that he was indicted yesterday on nine different drug and burglary charges. The district attorney says that Leaf is currently in British Columbia getting drug treatment (socialized medicine!), but the DA “hopes” he returns to the country. I can’t say that sounds promising. (And there goes Leaf’s chance of an NFL comeback.)

Also in need of a comeback: the Los Angeles Lakers. Sure, last night’s 106-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets only tied their Western Conference finals at 1-1, but after almost giving away Game 1 as well, it feels like they are staring up at a mountain. For the first two games, they were outplayed, outhustled and physical dominated by the Nuggets, and are now completely out of sync and without home court advantage. (Seriously, how does Kobe Bryant not get a shot in one of those last two possessions?)

Carmelo Anthony

So the home court advantage in the two NBA conference finals belong to the Nuggets and the Magic. I’m sure that the NBA front office is thrilled about possibly having to market a Denver vs. Orlando series. If you are an NBA Conspiracy Theorist, then rest assured that David Stern is currently making some angry phone calls to some referees today to “fix the problem.”

Meanwhile, we moved one step closer to a Stanley Cup rematch as the Pittsburgh Penguins outscored the Carolina Panthers 7-4 to a take a 2-0 series lead. Sidney Crosby scored the opening goal - again - but it was Evgeni Malkin who was the real star, notching a hat trick including scoring one of the sickest goals you’ll ever see in your life:

You couldn’t even do that in NHL ‘94 for Sega Genesis without getting your head cracked open. So while the Hurricanes’ Eric Staal might be busy complaining about his brother Jordan “cheating” during face-offs for the Penguins, everyone else is getting ready for another tilt between Pittsburgh and Detroit (and we all know that’s happening, putting NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a much happier place than David Stern is right now).

  • Even with his team having been blasted out of the playoffs in the first-round, world class loudmouth Jeremy Roenick still won’t shut up, as the DETROIT NEWS says he told a Chicago radio show that Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock “doesn’t like” Chris Chelios and has “got a grudge against American players.”
  • Jeremy Roenick

  • The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE reports that the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves are set to announce their new GMs on the same day. Maybe they got a “Buy One, Get One Free” rental package on the hotel conference room?
  • Sammy Hasan, a girls’ track coach in Amherst, NY has been charged with forcible sexual conduct with a female high school student. The BUFFALO NEWS says that earlier this season, one of his runners thanked him for “helping her with her technique” after she won a sectional title. SBB PUNCHLINE CREATOR 3000 ERROR 4XQ587: TOO MANY INAPPROPRIATE JOKES.
  • WTAE-TV reports that former Tennessee basketball player Michael Brooks was arrested after being found in possession of cocaine and Vicodin. Someone check his trunk to see if Ryan Leaf is hiding in there!
  • Former Houston Texans lineman Fred Weary tried to help an ex-teammate out by hiring former Florida Gator Anthone Lott as a general contractor on four townhouses Weary was building in Gainesville. Judging by the fact that the ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD says Lott has been charged with defrauding a bank and Weary of more than $185,000, I’d say that didn’t end too well.
  • Florida high school football standout and South Carolina recruit Ben Axon was arrested and charged with marijuana possession with intent to sell, according to the BRADENTON HERALD. But at least he was honest when the cops asked him “if he had anything illegal on him” and handed them 23 small bags of wacky tobacky.
  • There’s never a great time to start drunkenly hurling swear words at the opposing team from the stands during a high school baseball game…but to do it during a stoppage for an injury is just wrong. But that’s exactly what the SCHENECTADY DAILY GAZETTE says that George “Mr. Class” Sperow did before getting into a fight and then being arrested.
  • Ferrari is threatening to leave Formula One if they institute a budget cap in 2010, so now the TELEGRAPH is saying that Formula One rightsholder Bernie Ecclestone will sue them if they do. Where else are they going to go - NASCAR? (Oh please, please let me see a Ferrari NASCAR team.)
  • Is there anything sadder than a kicker trying to hold out for more money? That’s what PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson is doing as he skips the team’s “voluntary” minicamp. Isn’t there a Bahr brother somewhere who can still kick? Martin Mull? Stefan Fatsis?
  • HARDWOOD HOUDINI is concerned about the recent outbreak of VUS in the NBA: Visible Unnecessary Spandex.

Which ex-NFL QB is the biggest train wreck?

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Elway’s Son Avoids Getting Marinoviched, Quits

Overbearing sports fathers are, quite obviously, nothing new. You see them ruining Little League baseball games and Pop Warner football games, to say nothing of the yelling that seems just a touch out of place at an 8-and-under soccer game.

John Elway Football
(Looks like there won’t be a sequel to this game.)

Fortunately, it looks like John Elway isn’t making the same mistake Marv Marinovich did (or is at least pulling the plug on the mistake a lot sooner), encouraging his son Jack Elway to walk away from the Arizona State football team after Jack, a redshirt freshman quarterback, indicated a lack of desire to keep playing.

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Why You Don’t Want To Draft An Ugly Quarterback

Throughout the history of the NFL the position of quarterback has been the most difficult one for teams to assess. Many quarterbacks have cost general managers and head coaches their jobs after being taken early in the draft and turning out to be nothing but hot garbage. Guys like Ryan Leaf and Todd Marinovich come to mind. The problem is that while teams fall in love with the big arm and body, you can’t really measure a quarterback’s ability to play NFL football until you see him on the field.

At least, that’s what we thought. Today we learn of a ground-breaking new study that could help general managers around the NFL save their butts when looking for that franchise quarterback. If you can’t decide between two quarterbacks based on their arm strength, 40-time, or Wonderlic score, just pick the better-looking one.

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LeBron & Carmelo Are Big Fans Of Barry Manilow

LeBron James & Carmelo Anthony just can’t get enough Barry Manilow.

Carmelo Barry Manilow LeBron

And honestly, who really can?

• Beware, UCLA -  LenDale White is coming for your women.

• Tell ‘em all ‘Hookah!’ - Todd Marinvoich’s brother opens a smoke shop.

• The Jets finally outfox the Pats in Foxboro (or is it Foxborough?)

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Another Marinovich’s Future Goes Up In Smoke

We’re all aware of Todd Marinovich’s passion for pot, his jonesin’ for joints, his making tracks for marijuana. Well, the smoking apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as younger brother Mikhail also enjoys lighting up. But the mini-Marinovich would rather do it legally - and make a tidy profit from it.

Mikhail Marinovich hookah

THE WIZ OF ODDS reports that Mikhail has started a smoking lounge in Syracuse. The Orange DE (L) has teamed up with teammate Niko Rechul (R) to open up Hollywood Hookah, a place where central New York Staters can enjoy a puff or two from those tall bottles they swear aren’t just giant-sized bongs.

But Mik & Nik’s new establishment isn’t just some hokey hookah hole in the wall. It’s got quite the spread for Syracuse smokers:

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Brog: Parents Buying Athlete Seed For Offspring?!

Tuesday ESPN’s “E:60″ will examine the lengths some people will go to have more athletic kids.

Jose Canseco as a baby

ESPN: “E:60 correspondent Tom Farrey exclusively reports the story about the ultimate effort to buy athletic advantage – the purchase of sperm from anonymous donors who are college athletes. He visits the world’s largest sperm bank, California Cryobank in Los Angeles, where the seed of Division I football, basketball and baseball players sells fast. Farrey also speaks with families who purchased the sperm of a former tight end, and he addresses the question: How do expectations change when parents know their child is born with the DNA of an elite athlete?”

So what type of down-and-outer person, athlete or no, is selling their sperm?

Jose Canseco sticks out tongue

Exactly.

Farrey also has a book out on the subject, and appeared today on KSPN-AM’s “Mason & Ireland” show in Los Angeles today to talk about the ESPN piece.

John Ireland to Farrey: “How many people are breeding kids specifically to be athletes?”

Farrey: “I’m not sure they’re breeding to create elite athletes. They’re folks who are lesbians or same sex couples or mothers who never found mister right or it’s a heterosexual couple who can’t have kids on their own. So, they go to the sperm bank and they go through the catalog. And inevitably, when you’re like, ‘OK, what are we going to pick?’ … you end up picking the stuff you prioritize and you value and there are a lot of people out there who want their kids to have athletic traits.”

The main ethical question when it comes to this game of offspring roulette is if prospective parents should be allowed to know the identity of the sperm donator. So long as they don’t, I don’t see anything wrong with knowing the occupation and/or athletic history of the contributor. Problem is, if someone is donating sperm for money, what’s the odds that individual has a current occupation? (See Todd Marinovich.)

Yes, we’ve all heard over the years about Warren Sapp being a social cripple. Not to mention a man of questionable personal hygiene. So with that, I was delighted today at his selection to the latest lineup of “Dancing With The Stars”. Though I would love to see him plague survive the entire competition, that might be a little too much to ask, considering he’ll be dragging around a hazmat-suited partner.

Warren Sapp Dancing With The Stars

In all seriousness, one media source close to the Raiders told me today that Sapp has always been known for raging, 100-yard halitosis. In particular, one veteran defensive lineman for the Raiders used to bark out “Breath!” whenever Sapp walked into a room or on the team plane.

That eventually lead to the team’s primary rallying cry last season: “BREATH! BREATH! BREATH!

Sapp thought it was funny, but didn’t know the joke was on him and would bark it out too.

Coincidentally, when Marinovich was quarterbacking the club, the team’s rallying cry was, “METH! METH! METH!

OK, I made that last part up. Read more…

Becks Gives Good Tip, Footie Fans Asked To Strip

David Beckham gives a valuable tip - $900 on a $100 check:

David Beckham money

• Asking Austrian attendees to strip for a soccer stadium shoot is the naked truth.

• A Chicago-area pilot makes a landing on a golf course - just to get his son to tennis practice on time.

Suzy Kolber gives birth to a beautiful baby girl - and names her after a Jets QB?

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Marinovich QB Somehow Not Named Todd Cuffed

Kudos to Lauren Bertolini and Matt Gelb of Syracuse Univ.’s DAILY ORANGE as they break the news that Todd Marinovich’s younger brother Mikhail, who plays for the SU football team, was “charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree after allegedly breaking into the Manley Field House equipment room Sunday morning.

Mikhail Marinovich Todd Marinovich

Somehow, a skateboard and meth were not involved. Instead, the younger Marinovich is accused of breaking “a rolling metal gate to gain entrance to the room, as well as the cylinder lock that held the gate closed.

But of course, you just knew there had to be some sort of mind-altering substance involved in the alleged crime (and there was). Read more…

Blogs: NBA Good Points, Snoop Dogg Soulja Boy

• Tired of the NBA’s negative press, ESPN’s J.A. Adande writes about what’s right with the league:

TNT NBA crew

• YOU BEEN BLINDED knows it ain’t nothing but a G thang, as Snoop Dogg gets caught up in the Souljizlle Boy-izzle.• The DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL changes the channel, as this year’s Sox-Rox matchup was the second-lowest watched in World Series history.

• 100% INJURY RATE checks their air miles, as a California high school goes a long way just to grab some ineligible football players:

Samoan

• PART MULE checks out news that 38-year-old SC QB-turned-druggie skater Todd Marinovich is checking back into rehab.• DEUCE OF DAVENPORT buzzes with news of a new way to build better bones.

• The CHICAGO TRIBUNE pulls up anchor, as this could be the year that Navy sinks Notre Dame:

Navy Notre Dame old football

• THE GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS takes a good, long look, and previews every MLB free agent available.• GHOSTS OF WAYNE FONTES celebrates All Hallow’s Eve by slicing together some of the biggest massacres in sports.

• BIG TEN TAILGATE packs their bags, as a travel agency is already booking BCS Championship charters for Ohio State fans:

BCS Ohio State trip

• If I’M WRITING SPORTS had been in Staples Center last Tuesday, they certainly wouldn’t have booed Kobe.• MR. IRRELEVANT is confident that the Washington Wizards will have a magical season this year.