Week 2: NFL Winners/ Losers

If you followed my Twitter Sunday then you know I gave everyone my picks for the NFL games and fantasy football players to watch. The smart thing to do is check with me every week to make sure you are on top of your game. I took a lot of heat for a few of my picks, but as you should expect, I was right (13-16. That’s 81% but who’s counting)! People told me I needed to be committed for picking the Colts, Cowboys, Broncos, and Falcons to lose. Arian Foster, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Hakim Nicks were all starters on my fantasy teams last week. He who laughs last laughs hardest! Enough of my resume, here are my Week 2 picks and fantasy studs:
Ravens vs Bengals- I hate to say it but the Bengals will start the season 0-2. They will rebound later in the season but the Ravens have one of best Defenses and Offenses in the league. RAVENS
Bears vs Cowboys– Dallas will rebound this week. Chicago had trouble scoring against Detroit. Don’t expect much better against the Cowboys. COWBOYS
Eagles vs Lions– No Matthew Stafford. No win. The Lions D will be hard pressed to lay a finger on Vick. EAGLES
Dolphins vs Vikings– Expect a big rebound by the Vikings on the back of Adrian Peterson. He may get the 40-50 carries he wants. VIKINGS
Patriots vs Jets– Randy Moss will build a mansion on Revis island and have a BIG game. The Jets offense can’t score enough to beat the Pats. PATRIOTS
Giants vs Colts– Colts get back on track and Peyton Manning continues his assault on the NFL record book. COLTS
Other Winners: Falcons, Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Texans, Chargers, Packers, Saints, Buccaneers, Steelers (My heart will not allow me to pick against the Ducks, go Dennis Dixon!)

QB: Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Shaub, Drew Brees
RB: Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, Ray Rice
WR: Eddie Royal, Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, Miles Austin
TE: Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Vishante Shiancoe, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis
Def: Eagles, Cowboys, Patriots, Raiders, Packers

Guess Who’s Back? #84

The slate is clean. I control my own destiny. It’s time to start over and start fresh. This is a new beginning to my football career so I’m taking it back to my roots. I changed my number from 87 to my high school number 84. They say “It’s only a number!”, but after 6 years of being number 87 I feel attached to it. Email accounts, phone numbers, my signature, nicknames, and everything else has been attached to a number. I have jerseys hanging on the wall, and countless pictures with me rocking the 87. It’s only been 3 weeks but I miss it already. Changing numbers is kinda like giving Linus from the Peanuts comic strip a new blanket. It would be hard for him until he found out his new blanket was more comfortable than the old one. That is how I felt. The first day I put the 84 on it felt funny but then I looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh yeah, this 8-4 looks good on me”. LOL. All the memories of my high school glory came flooding back and I liked it.

Just the thought of playing for Sylmar High in my navy blue 84 makes me smile. I remember the smell of the fresh cut grass, the band playing, and the Friday Night Lights! Every football player will tell you that high school was the most fun they ever had playing football. I can hear the Sylmar High School fight song in my head as I write. The game was still innocent then and you played solely for the love of the game, dreams of winning a championship, and hopes that your picture would be in the Saturday morning paper. I was dedicated to playing well and earning a scholarship to play in college but that was the least of my concerns. Every Saturday when I woke up, my first move was to check out the sports section of the LA Times and the Daily News. If I didn’t make the paper I was HIGHLY upset and next Friday somebody was in trouble!

I’m back in the number I started with and I will make it back where I want to be – in the NFL, and being considered one of the best. When I close my eyes I see my team winning a Super Bowl and me being the first TE Super Bowl MVP. I still dream and visualize being the best. If you don’t dream it, you will never achieve it. I love this game, but the innocence of playing football is long behind me. Professional football is a business and not for the faint of heart. Now football is about being the best player I can be, winning a championship, and supporting my family. My passion and love for the game never left, but finally all the fun in football is back. I have been blessed to live my dream of being a professional athlete and I will never take that for granted. I have my 84 back and I’m in love with football all over again!

Football Season x2

Ladies, Gentleman, Boys, and Girls it’s that time of year again, tailgates, face painting, flag flying, chest bumping, and end zone celebrations. Yes, it’s the start of the UFL 2010 season… Wait, what??? You mean the NFL right? No, I mean the UFL (United Football League). No it’s not arena football, no it’s not played in Canada and no you don’t need a passport to go to Europe to see it. It’s played right here in the States, with the same rules as the NFL & most importantly it has NFL caliber players. Many of which have had NFL careers and are trying to restart their career after injury or hoping for a rebirth and a fresh start in the UFL.

You may have heard of Jeff Garcia (4 time pro-bowler), Daunte Culpepper (3 time pro-bowler), or even Head Coaches Jim Fassel & Dennis Green, two coaches that have respectively won 177 NFL games as head coaches in the NFL.

Last year was the inaugural season for the UFL that featured 4 teams. This year the League has added 1 more team. The league consists of the Florida Tuskers, Hartford Colonials, Las Vegas Locos (defending champions), Sacramento Mountain Lions, and the newest kids on the block the Omaha Nighthawks.

The UFL is not just a bunch of ragga-muffin players, has-beens and draft busts. It’s a league that has quality talent. Over 40 UFL players have signed with NFL teams in just one season of play and this year it’s looking like even more will take that leap. The UFL prides itself on putting out a great product for the fans. The teams are becoming heavily involved in local communities and games are a great family atmosphere. So in the words of my boys T.O. & OchoCinco “Get your popcorn ready & Kiss the Baby” this season is going to be great!!

Masoli: Sports Illustrated

First off, thanks to Sports Illustrated and Michael McKnight for doing a great job researching this information and shedding light on the facts involved with this situation. Far too often, reporters and writers are quick to demonize athletes more frequently than they tend to sensationalize them. It’s front page news for days when someone is accused of wrongdoing, but a retraction or reprint of the story with the facts rarely happens.

When news first broke about Oregon Ducks QB Jermiah Masoli being arrested for theft and subsequently pleading guilty I was shocked and embarrassed. From all accounts I had heard from coaches and players from U of O Masoli was a good, intelligent kid with a degree in Sociology and a good leader for the football team. This is proof that the pen is truly mightier than the sword. The media was coming at him full force but he could not juke or run over these defenders. Far too often, we as readers take what we read as fact instead of doing our own research. I am guilty so I immediately went on the attack. I was pissed because we had a dumb, thug, punk, knucklehead kid ruin our chance at a National Championship. I wanted to know why could he be so stupid , but who cares how great of a player he is; good riddance to these bad apples bringing the program down.

Is Jeremiah Masoli a thug or a victim of circumstance and a bad decision? After reading this Sports Illustrated article and reading court documents my opinion dramatically changed. Evidence points to the only thing Masoli is guilty of is bad judgement in the robbery situation. He was one of the most recognizable students on campus so lying about his whereabouts was a terrible idea. Then everyone asked why did he plead guilty if he was innocent. In a perfect world you should never admit guilt when you are not guilty. If you were faced with the possibility of 2-4 years in prison because Oregon has mandatory minimum sentences, a District Attoney with a high conviction rate, and you knew you lied; what would you do?
Part of me feels bad for Jeremiah Masoli because he is getting a bum wrap as a thug and a thief, but the weed…he is on his own for that one. Even after he got in trouble he was going to be reinstated if he met the terms head coach Chip Kelly set for him. He should have been walking a fine line.
All in all, Jeremiah Masoli you still have love from the Ducks. I hope he does well at Ole Miss and can do enough to repair his image when the NFL comes knocking.
Should he have been kicked out of school? Let me know what you think!

The Man Spa

I love going to the Barber shop (when I call ahead because I hate waiting), the comedy relief and insight you get when you are there is priceless. I go to a shop called Blades (formerly 818) out in the valley and this shop has “characters”. There is Dave my Guy, who is like the cool Urkel (Stephon Urkel, if you watched Family Matters you know the difference). It’s like he wears glasses, but he sags. Then there is Chitown. He is from Chicago and no matter what the conversation is about somehow he will end up saying “so what Michael Jordan is the best ever, say he ain’t”. Umh, Chi-town, we were asking if you wanted something from the store (confused face).

Then there is the Light-skin homie Mo who cuts my sons hair. He is cool, but light-skin dudes with curly tops always remind me of Tobey Bailey & Al B Sure. He does a good job on my little man’s hair (especially his mohawks). Except the time D got a little excited and turned his head 2 quick and ended up w/ a slit in his eyebrow like he was the 3rd member of Kriss Kross. Hey, he’s 3!!

The Barber Shop is the Man’s spa. It’s how we relax. No conversation or topic is off limits in the Shop. If you are looking for insight into a city or a particular community, just make your way into a popular neighborhood barbershop. You will find out the latest rumors in everything from sports to politics to the last story on 20/20. A question or topic is brought to the floor then the debate begins. Topics are discussed with the passion and fervor of a Presidential debate.
“Ok, who would you marry and who would you just want to have a 1 night stand with, Halle Berry, Beyonce, or Alicia Keys?”
“Did you hear President Obama speech about the stimulus package?”
“Man, did you hear about that kid that got kidnapped?”
“You know who looks good…. The Lakers!” This topic always starts here and ends up everywhere.
The barbershop is a place where feelings can get hurt, egos can be bruised and is the epitome of “Free Speech” at its highest level. If someone walks in w/ a fine girl, the minute they leave every barber & customer in there will be talking about “ahhh man, did you see the cakes on her”. Vice Versa if they walk in w/ Lassie on their arms, trust there will be plenty of Barks once the door closes.
On a side note, until a couple months ago my nephew AK had never been to the barbershop, and D always go to the barbershop together, but AK wheres the curly fro. D always walks in to the shop confident and knows what is going on. D is used to seeing all the guys, music, and TVs going on at the same time, but not AK. As he was walking in for his first time he froze, looked around like he had no clue what goes on in there. Everyone stopped and laughed! It was hilarious. You would have thought someone was gonna cut his hair or something! Don’t worry, we didn’t cut his hair.
I won’t say I get all my great ideas from the Shop, but I will say it is definitely one of my places of inspiration. The Shop is a think-tank. You can never get too full of yourself because the minute you walk into Blades you have to check your ego at the door. Not checking your ego will result in a barrage of jokes brought on by everyone holding a pair of Clippers. 20 bucks gets you a lesson in humility, a great time, and a fresh cut. I choose the Barber Shop over the spa any day!

Pac-Man Will Beat Cotto

Reasons Pacquiao will beat Cotto

* Experience- Pacquiao has had more “big fights” and against better opponents. He has stopped great fighters like: Ricky Hatton, Oscar De la Hoya, Erik Morales, and gone the distance with Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez.

*Defense- Pacquiao is one of the most aggressive fighters in the game and lays it on the line time after time, but in his last few fights there has been a noticeable change. Freddy Roach has taught Manny how to control his aggressive nature and minimize his risk of getting knocked out or hurt by a good punch from an inferior fighter. The combination of Cotto’s wide looping punches and average defensive skills will be a recipe for a Pacquiao knockout between the 7-9th round.

*Antonio Margarito- Cotto was fast on the rise when he stepped into the ring with Margarito. Margarito beat Cotto to a bloody pulp that required him to leave the arena in an ambulance. When it comes to boxers, ego and confidence are everything. Once you lose that feeling of invincibility you will never be the same. There has been many questions raised regarding the Maragrito/Cotto fight in light of Margarito being suspended for a year for attempting to use “plaster of paris” in his hand wraps against Mosley.

*Philippines- Both boxers respectively have their entire country behind them and are depending on their hero to bring home a victory. Pacquiao has the most riding on this fight. The Philippines have been ravaged by typhoons and Pac-Man knows the people need a morale boost.

*The Entire Boxing World- This is a big fight, but everybody who loves to see great fights will be rooting for Pac-Man. Why? “Pretty Boy” Floyd “Money” Mayweather. The only chance a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather will take place is if Pac-man wins. The #1 “Pound for Pound” fighter vs the real #1 “Pound for Pound” fighter. You can pick which one is which, but it’s hard to go against the guy with 0 losses!

Cotto is a great boxer and is worthy of a lot of respect and can win this fight with a well executed game plan and some vastly improved defense. The grumblings amongst Pacquiao camp members is that the typhoons could actually serve as a distraction and open a window for Cotto to get a huge win. I’m hoping this fight will be 7-9 rounds of entertaining action. The “Sweet Science” of boxing needs a great fight that will lead to another Super Fight.

Delorean, Only the Greatest Car Ever

My trainer, Travelle Gaines, is one of the funniest guys alive. I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with him, but that’s another story. He will never win a pop culture quiz, but he’s really really strong! Travelle eats dumbbells and could single-handedly raise a million dollars in a Jump-A-Thon! He is very intelligent and knowledgeable, weird combo! Apparently he is one of 12 people born in the US in the 80’s who has not seen Back to the Future. SMH. Back to the Future!! I mean that’s a classic. It’s like growing up and not watching The Cosby Show, Transformers or eating Fruit Loops, just odd. So the other day we were out and I saw a “Delorean”, when I pointed it out, he had no clue what I was talking about.
Travelle Gaines, “What’s a Delorean”
My response, “Only the greatest car ever”
Travelle, “What does one of these Deloreans you speak of look like”
Me, “Haven’t you seen Back to the Future”?
Travelle, “Is that a movie”?
By this time, I realized we were getting nowhere, and I couldn’t get him to sit down (I’m convinced he has ADHD) and watch the movie, so I made it my mission to find one on the streets of LA. Just my luck the other day while going to my son’s tee ball game I saw a Delorean!!!! So for anyone else who had a deprived childhood and missed Back to the Future, here is a Delorean. Your life is now complete, don’t thank me!!
Actual Delorean I saw!
Imitation Back to the Future Delorean.

Actual Back to the Future Delorean… Replica

Week 6

This weekend of football is EXACTLY why I don’t and would never bet on sports (also I don’t wanna be Pete Rose’d). NFL games are one of the most unpredictable things, but everyone tries to predict them. Every week there are no shortage of office pools, fantasy leagues, and sports books taking bets. This week on paper looked like it would have a few good games, Giants v. Saints, Ravens v. Vikings, and a few locks like Eagles v. Raiders and Bills v. Jets, but “That’s why they play the game”.

I can never just watch 1 game at a time so I’m frantically station hopping trying not to miss anything. I need more TVs!!! I’ve never been home to watch this much football and I don’t want to miss a minute of it. I have friends on nearly every team and I hate missing plays. I loved watching Mike P get a sack on Jay Cutler, I cringed when Brian Williams came down wrong & hurt his knee, seeing “Baby” aka Marcus Stroud bouncing on the sidelines makes me laugh because I know that means he is about to go out there and ball. I must start playing soon or get more TVs.
Week 6 Recap:
I thought the Saints would beat the Giants simply because they were playing at home, but I didn’t expect the game to be so lopsided. The Saints were having a party in the end zone and everybody with a fleur de lis was invited. Every time I changed the channel someone new was scoring a TD.
The Vikings/ Ravens proved to be a very good game. Favre has the keys to a high powered sports car of a team. The Ravens used to have the most feared defense who at times would win games by out scoring the other team without help from its inept offense. Boy have the tables turned. Blame it on whatever you want, the D just ain’t what it used to be! Flacco still managed to lead them back from a big hole to have and opportunity to win the game, but they had a Ray Finkle (Ace Ventura) moment, wide left.
Bills v. Jets- The T.O. show has not gotten off the ground and they have scrapped the “no huddle” offense but some how managed to win in OT. The top passer in the game was Mark Sanchez with 119 yards. LOL seriously? Thomas Jones almost single handedly had more offense than both QBs combined. The Jets defense is looking real good this year (boy do the Ravens D miss Rex Ryan and Bart Scott). Sanchez threw 5 ints (Wow, welcome to the NFL) and they still held the Bills to 16 points. Wait, is the Bills offense that bad or Jets D that good? On the heels of back-to-back weeks of shaky play by Sanchez the Jets know they better find a way to simplify things and slow the game down for him or they will be watching playoff games at home.

Detroit v. Green Bay- I honestly did not watch 1 second of this game! Who did?
Kansas City v. Washington- I did not watch 1 second of this game either. I knew KC would win because the Redskins just have too much extracurricular stuff going on there right now. Coaches, owners, and players are all going in different directions. Washington has way more talent than KC but we all know talent alone does not win games. And anytime you hand your play calling duty over to a guy who was making Starbuck’s runs, you are in trouble.
I had no clue what to expect from the Jacksonville v. St Louis game. I was not sure if the Jags would rebound from the bruising they took last week or let the win less Rams come into D-U-V-A-L and get a victory . Mark Bulger made his return this week, but the Jags got the win. It was not impressive at all considering they were playing the Rams, who after Avery went down early were down to 2 receivers that you have never heard of. The Rams were left with Stephen Jackson, who the Jags couldn’t stop, even though he was the only weapon on the field. The Jaguars players and coaches have been quoted numerous times this year saying “We are looking for our identity as a team”. I Know the Jags Identity! From now on they will be known as the “Hyphens”, because their most effective weapons are Sims-Walker and Jones-Drew. The Jags will only win if they get the ball to the “Hyphens”.

Titans v. Patriots- To the delight of “Hyphen” fans everywhere the Titans where DESTROYED by the Pats during intermission of the Ice Capades. That’s about how long this game was competitive. The Titans lost Haynesworth and went from last seasons penthouse to this years outhouse. I think I saw Jeff Fisher at Snyder’s door trying to write him a check for Haynesworth.

Eagles v. Raiders- How, Why, What Happened??? Russell has a quarterback rating on the season that looks like Albert Pujols batting average, and the Raiders have a pigeon playing special teams defense, but they still managed to win . This game is exactly why I would never bet money on sports. The Eagles have looked brilliant at times this season and made you think they could possibly make a run. How can you possible explain this? Maybe it was the Cali weather.
The Monday Night Football game proved to be a good matchup. The “Uniforms”(Broncos) v. Chargers. FYI, I really like the Uniforms throwbacks, especially the socks. My two standouts of the game were Tony Scheffler and Eddie Royal a.k.a. Eddie RoyaleMc Cheese” (in Paris the 1/4 pounder at McDonald’s is really called that), had a spectacular game. He had a stellar rookie year but has been virtually invisible this season until Monday night where he made special teams “Special”. Scheffler made a couple big time catches. If you didn’t know who he was before this game, you do now. Very impressive. Darren Sproles is not one to be left off the highlight reel and he showed exactly why with his very own special play, a punt returned 71yds for a touchdown. This was a Great Game to watch.

Week 7 is on the way and what did we learn this week about this season? Absolutely Nothing and I can’t wait for next week’s games. I’m looking forward to watching the Terrible towels take on the Unbeaten Purple-people eaters, Bears vs OchoDiablo’s Bengals & Drew Brees vs Miami’s wildcat offense. It should be another great week of football.

S’mores….hmmmm good

I’m 28yrs old and I had never had a S’more until last night. I mean I’ve heard of S’mores from my days of watching the movie The Sandlot (which is where I got my recipe from) everyday, but I had never actually had one. I love doing stuff with my family so last night we decided to give this S’mores thing a try. I went to the store grabbed some Marshmallows, Graham crackers and of course Godiva Chocolate (only the best for my first experience). Trying to get the perfect fire going is not as easy as it looks, but you know your boy is something like Man vs Wild, so I had no problem adapting to the harsh conditions of the 75 degree LA night. Once the fire was nice and blazing, I gave the boys their sticks, put some ‘mellows on them and began to toast. Getting the ‘mellow the perfect brown w/o burning it was a task I couldn’t quite master until I brutalized 12 marshmallows. The sad thing is, the son and nephew are 3 and their s’mores were way better than mine. It was a great time. They love S’mores almost as much as I do now!! I highly recommend S’more night for everyone. Its an inexpensive way to have some good family time and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Rush Limbaugh NFL owner: Hell No!

I know we as NFL players are supposed to be quiet about certain issues but I MUST speak for my peers/brothers who go to work and lay it on the line every week. Everyone knows that the NFL owners, commissioner, and players are all charged to “Protect the Shield”. The commissioner and owners have made it glaringly clear with the frequent suspensions of players that the NFL will clean up its image. It is important for everyone associated with the NFL to maintain a high level of integrity including owners. I love the game of football and the NFL for all that it has given me and opportunities it has afforded me. This is exactly why I MUST say what my peers want to say but most feel like they cannot.

Rush Limbaugh, voted the most influential person in talk radio with over 13 million listeners per week wants to become an NFL owner, specifically of the the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh is partnering with Dave Checketts, owner of the St. Louis Blues (NHL) in a bid to buy the team. Approving Limbaugh, even though he would not be the sole owner of the team, would be a Gigantic step back for the league as a whole and compromise the “Shield”. He is a racist, bigot, and an idiot for so many of his comments that are spoken from the heart. Here is a brief list:

“Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.”

“I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in the country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

“They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?”

“Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it”

With these type of comments can you image how he would run a franchise? How would he treat his players and employees both white and non-white? The growing diversity in the front office will be stifled with ownership like this. The NFL is America’s favorite game based on television ratings and revenue. America is made up of almost every race and creed represented on the planet, does the NFL want one of the leaders of the league to be spreading hate, closed-minded thinking, and messages against everything the NFL stands for.

In a league where 67% of its players are African American, 25% of its League office are non-whites, 19% of its senior administrator positions are women, and 5 out the last six Superbowl teams have either had an African American coach or General Manager (Tony Dungy (Colts),Lovie Smith (Bears), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), and GMs Jerry Reese (Giants), Rod Graves (Cardinals). The NFL and NFLPA cannot stand for Limbaugh to hold a position of power in the greatest professional sport. Limbaugh doesn’t believe a good portion of the leagues employees are qualified, capable, or matter enough to respect their interests. Imagine how players would feel to play for an owner that feels you are inadequate mentally, and less of a person than he is simply because of the color of your skin or your gender. The very people who would be buying tickets, jerseys, hats and concessions are the very same people Limbaugh would be looking down his nose at from the owners suite in disgust.

In the last few years the owners, GMs, coaches, scouts and NFLPA have made drafting players of good character paramount. There also has been a big push to emphasize and reiterate to the veterans how much of a privilege playing in the NFL is and not to take it for granted. With this same logic the “powers that be” in the league must maintain the same standards for approval of potential owners of franchises.

The Y.E.T. program, United Way, hurricane/tornado relief projects are just a few of the many community programs the NFL is directly involved with that emphasize things like fair play, community service, education, remaining drug free, and equality. To his credit Limbaugh does raise money for a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma so he is not just heartless. At the end of the day does he represent any of these qualities important to the NFL?

I am proud to be an NFL player and member of an exclusive fraternity of professional athletes. I want the league to continue to prosper and grow in the right direction. As quickly as the NFL has blossomed in the last 20 years, it can crumble just as fast. The NFL is very important to me that’s why I will not sit quietly and not let my voice be heard about something I love so much.