- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 25, 2007

Peyton Manning has renegotiated his contract to help the Colts save some cap space. From what I hear, the club is still going to pay him an arm this year, but he’s deferring the leg until 2010.

• • •

Just thought of a sponsorship possibility for the NFL:

“This 15-minute wait between draft picks is brought to you by Jet Blue.”

• • •

Bad sign: The “We Love Our Coach” T-shirts at the Redskins Store have been marked down from $19.99 to $10.99.

• • •

Sam Huff rang me up after I used an old quote of his in Thursday’s column. The quote came from a Time magazine story on Huff in the ‘50s — a cover story, in fact. But as Sam tells it, it almost wasn’t a cover story.

“I nearly got bumped,” he says. “A few days before the issue came out [in November 1959], a guy at Time called and said, ‘If the monkey dies, you’re off the cover.’

“The United States was sending a monkey up in one of those early space launches. Fortunately, the monkey came back alive.”

• • •

After hanging up, I did some quick research. Turns out the rhesus monkey that was sent into space was named Sam — not for Huff, but for the School of Aviation Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas.

According to NASA’s Web site, the monkey was recruited “to test the launch escape system. Approximately one minute into the flight, traveling at a speed of 3,685 mph, the Mercury capsule aborted from the Little Joe launch vehicle. After attaining an altitude of 51 miles, the spacecraft landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean. Sam was recovered several hours later, with no ill effects from his journey, and went on to star in several Tarzan movies.”

• • •

OK, so I made up the part about the Tarzan movies.

Actually, the monkey “was later returned to the colony in which he trained” and lived 23 more years. It’s good to know, though, that a Sam was going to be on the cover of Time that week, one way or another.

• • •

Speaking of animals, have athletes suddenly forgotten how to care for them? Earlier this month, basketballer Ron Artest had his Great Dane taken away from him because it wasn’t being fed enough. Then, just a few days ago, the Atlanta Falcons’ Jonathan Babineaux was arrested for suspicion of killing his girlfriend’s dog after quarreling with her. (Quarreling with the girlfriend, not the dog.)

And let’s not forget about Tennessee running up 51 points on the Georgia Bulldogs last fall. Talk about animal abuse.

• • •

Since July, the Sacramento Bee reported, Artest’s dogs have spent 77 nights at the pound because of his habit of letting them run loose — at a cost to him of $1,942.

On the plus side, I’m pretty sure he gets Marriott points.

• • •

Like Giants coach Tom Coughlin, I too am mystified by the parting shot Tiki Barber took at him. In his three years under Coughlin, Barber was transformed from a nice, fumble-prone back (read: soft) to a borderline Hall of Famer. Surely Taskmaster Tom deserves some loyalty for that.

Consider: In the three seasons before Coughlin arrived, Barber committed 26 fumbles and lost 14 of them. In the next three seasons, after his new coach changed the way he held the ball, Tiki committed just nine fumbles and lost only four of them — 10 fewer turnovers!

Now let’s look at Barber’s production.

Three years before Coughlin: 5,103 yards from scrimmage, 4.7 rushing average, 18 touchdowns.

Three years under Coughlin: 6,613 yards from scrimmage, 5.0 rushing average, 31 TDs.

Translation: Put a sock in it, Tiki.

• • •

Or better yet, pay a visit to the Web site featuring the “Tiki Barber Fumble Calculator” (www.tcnj.edu/~hagerma2/tikipage.html).

If you plug Barber’s number of touches last season (385) into the calculator, you’ll see that the Old Tiki would have been expected to fumble 9.4 times. The New Tiki, however, the Tom Coughlin Tiki, fumbled a mere three times (and lost just one).

• • •

You can understand why some NFL retirees feel shorted on their pensions when you read about the Titans’ Pac-Man Jones showering dancers at a strip club with over $80,000 in cash (even if it was only intended as a “visual effect”).

• • •

I can just hear one of the old-timers grousing, “That kid threw more money at those dadgum strippers than I made in my entire career.”

• • •

Alex Rodriguez says his relationship with Derek Jeter has cooled but, hey, that’s what Tom Brady said about Bridget Moynahan.

• • •

Elsewhere in baseball, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, the Mets’ “41-year-old” pitcher, received a cortisone shot for arthritis in his neck.

Memo to team doctors: Are you sure the stiffness isn’t the early stages of rigor mortis?

• • •

Question from Sports Illustrated to golfer Geoff Ogilvy: “In 2006 you won the Accenture Match Play and the U.S. Open. What’s the one most important thing you learned about yourself?”

Ogilvy’s answer: “I’m fertile.”

Geoff and wife Juli had a daughter, Phoebe, in October.

• • •

The sudden, way-too-soon death of Dennis Johnson is yet another sad reminder that the Celtics haven’t won a championship since he played for them 21 years ago.

They have won two slam-dunk contests, though.

• • •

And a pair of 3-point shooting contests, to boot.

• • •

The Lakers’ Vladimir Radmanovic now admits he lied to the team and actually separated his shoulder while snowboarding during the All-Star break. “I am not a dishonest person,” he said, “and could no longer live with this deception.”

Hope this doesn’t mean he’s going to start calling fouls on himself.

• • •

Ohio State and Wisconsin being ranked 1-2 in men’s basketball might mean something if Ohio State and Michigan hadn’t been ranked 1-2 in football for much of last season.

• • •

Virginia Tech hoops fans came up with a new way to heckle opposing players the other night. Before the Hokies’ game against Boston College, a student brandished a sign that read: “Tim Hardaway hates Sean Marshall.”

Even Marshall, a known heterosexual, had to laugh.

• • •

Did you catch the replay of the Sabres-Senators brawl Thursday night? I’m tellin’ ya, it was like one of those “Too Hot for TV!” videos that Jerry Springer puts out.

• • •

After seeing Ray Emery and Martin Biron square off, I’m beginning to wonder if the NHL shouldn’t just bag overtime and let the two goalies duke it out at center ice.

• • •

With their masks on — definitely with their masks on. If there’s anything better than one Masked Marvel, it’s two.

• • •

Does anyone else find it funny that the sports pages in the Sunday New York Times are in Section 8? I mean, how fitting is that? Aren’t all true sports fans “Section 8s”?

• • •

And finally …

General Motors is lobbying NASCAR to switch to ethanol, but it could be a tough sell. As one prominent driver said, “Ethanol’s OK, but it’ll never replace Wild Turkey.”


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide