- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2009

Too bad the Redskins’ game at Oakland won’t be shown on Bay Area TV. Not to worry, though. The 75-mile blackout radius won’t affect Raiders fans - and they’re legion - in the Galactic Empire.

In fact, I hear the Death Star has NFL Sunday Ticket.

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Elsewhere in Raidersland, Al Davis brought back Randy Hanson - a.k.a. That Assistant Coach Who Had His Jaw Broken By Tom Cable - and assigned him to the personnel department.

You’ve gotta hand it to Al, you really do. I mean, nobody in NFL history has ever gotten his jaw broken working in the personnel department.

Paper cuts, yes. Stapled fingers - rare but not unheard of. Broken jaws, no.

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You won’t see a stranger sports headline, folks, than this one:

Saints coach plaintiff in Chinese drywall lawsuit

Just think: Fifty years ago in New Orleans, they were reading about LSU coach Paul Dietzel and his famed Chinese Bandits defense. Now they’re reading about Saints coach Sean Payton and his problems with Chinese-made drywall.

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Some strange stuff going on down in the Bayou. A former Saints fan was so convinced the team would lose to the Redskins last Sunday that he told friends they could shoot his TV if New Orleans won.

Goodbye, 60-inch, high-definition flat screen.

Idle thought: If the Saints beat Dallas next weekend, will the guy invite his friends to shoot Jerry Jones’ TV, the big one hanging over Cowboys Stadium?

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Chad Johnson/Ochocinco is at it again. Now he’s planning to change his name to Hachi Go, which is Japanese for “Eight Five.”

If nothing else, I suppose, it’ll give new meaning to the term “go route.”

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In college football, the NCAA is investigating Tennessee’s use of recruiting hostesses - Young Lovelies who, according to the New York Times, even show up at the high school games of recruits and hold up signs that say “Come to Tennessee.”

I’m sure it’s all very innocent, but even so… I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep a straight face now when I read that a recruit has “orally committed to Tennessee.”

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The Big Ten’s reported push to add another team - which would bring its membership to, uh, 12 - brought this e-mail from Neal of Gaithersburg:

“In a related move, conference schools are now accepting lower SAT math scores.”

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One more from Neal (who, let’s face it, has been quiet lately): “With the firings of Mark Mangino and Charlie Weis, Ralph Friedgen now has the StairMaster all to himself.”

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Did you see Slava Fetisov played for CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League the other night at the age of 51?

Forty-year-old Sergei Fedorov - currently skating for Metallurg Magnitogorsk - must be thrilled. Now there’s somebody in the league who can call him sonny.

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Meanwhile, Jaromir Jagr (soon to be 38) is winging it for Avangard Omsk, and Darius Kasparaitis (37) is a defenseman for SKA St. Petersburg. Do you get the impression the KHL is the Champions Tour of Russian hockey?

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Just wondering: If Fetisov scores a goal, will he start twirling his stick around like Chi Chi Rodriguez does with his putter?

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Gordie Howe was the same age as Slava when he began his final NHL season with the Hartford Whalers in 1979. The Whalers, of course, are long gone - to Carolina in the late ‘90s.

As for Hartford, I haven’t checked on it in a while. Anybody know if it’s still there?

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Fetisov, by the way, is also a member of the Russian parliament. This means, presumably, that he can park in the crease without having to worry about getting a ticket.

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Tracy McGrady, who underwent knee surgery in February and hasn’t played for the Rockets since, is running second at the guard spot for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star voting. There are only two possible explanations for this:

1. Sympathy votes.

2. The league switched to a butterfly ballot.

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In Shaquille O’Neal’s opinion, LeBron James’ “basketball IQ is phenomenal” - so Mensa-like “he could coach in the NBA right now.”

To which Joe Theismann might say, “Yeah, I’ll bet he’s a regular Norman Einstein.”

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Of course, if brain cells were everything, Dr. Jack Ramsay (Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania), would have won more than one division title in 21 seasons.

(We won’t even talk about Dr. James Naismith - the inventor of the game, for goodness sakes - being the only coach in the history of Kansas University basketball with a losing career record.)

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Still, the idea of James double-dipping is intriguing, especially since it’s been so long since anyone has tried it. Trivia question: Who was the last player-coach (head coaches only) in the NBA?

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Answer: Hall of Famer Dave Cowens, who coached the Celtics for 68 games in 1978-79, posting a 27-41 record, before going back to being a full-time player.

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Bonus Question: Who was the last player-coach in the NBA to lead a team to a winning season?

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Answer: Lenny Wilkens with the 1971-72 SuperSonics (47-35, good for third place in their division). Wilkens did even better on the court. Not only did he average 18.0 points, but he also had a league-high 766 assists and shot a career-best 46.6 percent from the floor. (Oh, and he was 34 years old, which is pretty ancient for a point guard.)

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Turning to baseball, the White Sox signed J.J. Putz, the onetime Mariners closer, to a one-year, $3 million deal to be their right-handed setup man. The club had some initial concerns about him because he’s been rehabbing an elbow injury, but when Putz came to shove …

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And finally…

It hasn’t been announced formally, but Barry Bonds’ career is over, his agent, Jeff Borris, says.

In other baseball news, Babe Ruth is still dead.

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