- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hugs, kisses, tears, hankies — when exactly did the NFL Draft turn into the Academy Awards?

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That’s why there are 15 minutes between picks in the first round, I guess — not to give teams time to weigh their options, but to give draftees time to emote.

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Maybe the NFL should cut them off if they go on too long, the way the Oscars do. You know, have a band strike up the school fight song or something.

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Though, in Matt Leinart’s case, a funeral dirge — played on bagpipes — would have been more appropriate.

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Have the Redskins made a selection yet?

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Just wondering: How often has an area had, in the space of a month, a Final Four team in both men’s (George Mason) and women’s (Maryland) basketball and a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft (the Terps’ Vernon Davis)?

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Answer: It’s happened only twice before. The particulars:

• Norman, Okla., 2002 — The Oklahoma men and women both finished third in NCAA tournament, and OU safety Roy Williams went eighth in the draft (to the Cowboys).

• Raleigh-Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998 — The North Carolina men and the N.C. State women both placed third in the NCAAs, and Tar Heels defensive end Greg Ellis went eighth in the draft (again to the Cowboys).

Note: Athens, Ga., would have done it in 1983, but Herschel Walker signed with the USFL before the NFL Draft — and thus wasn’t taken until the fifth round (by, naturally, the Cowboys). The Georgia men and women both made the hoops Final Four that year.

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In other words, we — that is, D.C. and environs — got game.

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Number of the Week: 400. (Pounds former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright claims she can leg press, according to the New York Times.)

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It’s a wonder she didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine.

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With a 400-pound leg press and a decent Wonderlic score, Albright probably would have been a mid-to-late-round draft pick.

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Not to mention one of Mel Kiper’s Top 10 Workout Warriors.

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Kinda surprised to hear Ricky Williams might play in Canada during his NFL suspension. I mean, don’t they have a shorter growing season up there?

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Kudos to the NFL Network for breaking new ground this fall and rebroadcasting four key games each week. Viewing time will be reduced to 90 minutes, the league announced, by eliminating halftime and “other elements not critical to the outcome” — such as whenever the 49ers have the ball.

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Is Jon Bon Jovi a football nut or what? Not only is he the co-owner of the Arena League’s Philadelphia Soul, but his warm-up act when he performs at Giants Stadium this summer will be Nickelback. (I kid you not.)

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Two days after signing a five-year, $21 million offer sheet with the Bears, Ricky Manning Jr. was arrested on suspicion of assault after a fight at a Denny’s restaurant. Trivia Question: Which ex-NFLer, soon after agreeing to a seven-year, $34.8 million deal with the Broncos in 2003, broke his wrist in a scuffle at an International House of Pancakes? (Answer below.)

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The NCAA has approved three new bowl games — the Birmingham Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and the Manute Bol.

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Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. The third one is actually the International Bowl. It will be played in Toronto and, from what I understand, match a Big East team against whatever CFL club Ricky Williams winds up with.

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Goofing around at baseball-reference.com the other day, I figured out — because I had nothing better to do — the last player born in the 19th century to play in the major leagues. The site lists the oldest and youngest players in the bigs each year, and the last with an 1800s birth date is …

Any guesses?

… Hod Lisenbee, a pitcher with the 1945 Reds.

Horace Milton Lisenbee, born Sept. 23, 1898, was one of the guys they resurrected during World War II because manpower was in such short supply. He hadn’t thrown a pitch in the majors in nine years — since going 1-7 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936 — when Cincinnati summoned him. His stats in his “comeback” season: one win, three losses, one save, 5.49 ERA (his lowest since ‘31!). Not bad for a 46-year-old has-been.

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Lisenbee had his best season, it turns out, with the Washington Senators in 1927, going 18-9 as a rookie and leading the league with four shutouts. One of the whitewashings was at the expense of the Yankees. (That’s the ‘27 Yankees, folks, arguably the greatest team of all time.)

Anyway, just thought you might want to know.

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And no, Hod Lisenbee was never a teammate of Julio Franco.

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With his abrupt departure from Florida Atlantic last week, Matt Doherty has now left two college basketball programs after just one season (Notre Dame being the other). Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new Larry Brown.

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Must be something in the water at UNC (where both of them played). Seems to give some people the, uh, runs.

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SMU, I’m told, has already stenciled Doherty’s name on his parking spot — in chalk.

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So I’m reading about Tiger Woods bungee jumping and racing stock cars over in New Zealand, and I’m thinking: The kid’s been married less than a year, and already he’s trying to kill himself.

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Turning to tennis, Wimbledon will continue to pay its men’s champion a smidgeon more than the women’s winner ($53,600, to be exact). The gals, obviously, are none too happy about the policy, but it got a big thumbs up from Keith Hernandez.

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Answer to trivia question: Erstwhile Redskins defensive tackle Darryl Gardener.

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And finally …

News item: Heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko reveals to Reuters that “the ironing board is the place I relax.”

Comment: Makes sense to me. Boxers, after all, are as good as anybody at laying things out flat.

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