- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

Did you see Michael Beasley has been fined for that hotel room episode at the NBA’s rookie symposium, the one reportedly involving women, the smell of marijuana and fellow first-round picks Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur?

What, the league just discovered now that Beasley was there? Nobody noticed the gigantic pair of sneakers sticking out from underneath the bed?


Presumably, Beasley - like Chalmers and Arthur - will have to repeat the orientation program next year. In fact, the league will probably make them wear beanies with propellers on top.


That said, David Stern must be breathing a sigh of relief. I mean, imagine how much worse it would have been if Beasley had come to the NBA straight out of high school - and hadn’t been matured by a year in college.


News item: Gilbert Arenas has surgery again on his left knee and will miss the first three months of the Wizards’ season.

Comment: I’m beginning to think the zero on his jersey stands for the amount of cartilage that’s left in that knee.


The Sunday Column wishes nothing but Happy Punting for Redskins rookie Durant Brooks. But if Vinny Cerrato does decide to make a change, I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t bring in a certain 46-year-old for a tryout.

I’m talking about Sean Landeta, last seen booming ‘em for the Eagles against the Redskins in the 2005 finale at Lincoln Financial Field. Landeta - Baltimore born, Towson State educated and the last remnant of the USFL - filled in for five games at the end of that season and averaged 43.6 yards with an impressive 38.2 net. Of course, he was a mere lad of 43 then.


Got to thinking about Landeta last week when I was killing time in an airport, reading Tom Callahan’s terrific book about retired NFL general manager Ernie Accorsi, “The GM.” There’s a passage halfway through about the Giants paying Landeta $47,000 in ‘06 - the minimum for a player who’s been in the league 403 years,” Accorsi cracks - to show up for One Game just in case their regular punter, Jeff Feagles, couldn’t play. (As it turned out, Feagles could.)

“For 47 grand, Sean got in his car and drove 16 miles,” Ernie went on. “But don’t forget, he had to cross over two bridges, paying his tolls both ways - seven bucks for the George Washington Bridge alone. And do you want to know something else? He’d have done it for 47 dollars. He’d have done it for 47 cents.”

Landeta confirmed as much to Callahan. “If the old rules were still in place, the precap rules, with no minimum salaries, I’d be able to play into my fifties,” he said, “because I’d play for less than anybody. I’d be so cheap that I’d be the most unpopular guy among the other punters in the whole history of punting. But I’d perform.”

Landeta was still practicing his punting four or five times a week - and vowed to continue doing so as long as “at least three or four GMs tell me that they’ll consider me a candidate if their guy goes down or if doesn’t perform. Then it makes sense to stay ready.”


Can you believe it? Gus Frerotte has lived to quarterback another day - this time with in his second go-‘round with the Vikings, who have temporarily run out of patience with Tarvaris Jackson. A chronological list of the quarterbacks Gus has started in place of during the season: Heath Shuler (1994, ‘95), Trent Green (‘98), Charlie Batch (‘99), Brian Griese (‘00, ‘01), Daunte Culpepper (‘03), Sage Rosenfels (‘05), Marc Bulger (‘06) and now Jackson.

To summarize: eight QBs a total of 10 times.

Talk about a guy who’s been around.


Trivia question: Only one of those eight quarterbacks was selected later in the NFL Draft than Frerotte. Who was it? (Answer below.)


Steve Smith returns to the Panthers’ lineup today after serving a two-game suspension for breaking the nose of teammate Ken Lucas with a punch. But as a precautionary measure, I’m told, the team is making him wear 16-ounce gloves.


So I’m watching the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson let go of the ball before crossing the goal line against the Cowboys, and I’m thinking: This kid would fit in perfectly on our 4x100-meter relay team.


Blast from the past: Speaking of Jackson, he’s only (as ESPN noted Monday night) the second rookie receiver in league history to begin his career with two 100-yard games. The other, astonishingly enough, did it in the single-platoon era of 1940 - Don Looney, also of the Eagles.

Looney had one other 100-yard day that year - a 14-catch, 180-yard performance against the Redskins at Griffith Stadium in the season finale. At the time, both the 14 catches and the 180 yards were NFL records for a game. His 58 receptions that year were also a record - and broke the existing mark by 17.

So what happened to Looney? Well, first of all, Don Hutson happened to him. Two years later, the Packers Hall of Famer set new records for catches in a season (74) and receiving yards in a game (209) and tied the mark of 14 catches in a game. By this time, Looney had gone off to war (though he did star on the powerhouse Randolph Field team in 1944, the one that went 12-0, was ranked third in the AP poll and outscored its opponents 508-19). Alas, he never played in the NFL again.

But his son did - the legendary Joe Don Looney, a wild and crazy guy who bounced around the league for several years, even setting down in Washington for a spell (1966 and ‘67, to be exact). Joe Don was such a handful that the Giants, who drafted him 12th overall in ‘64, traded him to the Colts before the start of the season. This wasn’t long after he had squawked about being fined $50 for missing an 11 p.m. curfew by 10 minutes.

“The night before, I was in bed at 10 p.m.,” he reasoned. “So now I’m 10 minutes late, so what? They still owe me 50 minutes from the other night.”


Licenses for the best 2,000 seats at the Jets’ new stadium will be auctioned off next month by StubHub, the online ticketing Web site. The seats, in a section called the Coaches Club, will enable fans to stand on the field just five yards from the Jets’ bench.

Just wondering: Will the Coaches Clubbers get their ankles taped, too?


The Bears used to sell seats like that back in the old days when they played at Wrigley Field - folding chairs, actually, that were set up in the vicinity of the opposing team’s bench.

“The game would be in progress,” a rival GM once said, “and this hot dog vendor would be walking out there in front of our bench, leaning over players to make a sale to the fans.”


Answer to trivia question: Green, who was the 222nd player drafted in ‘93. Frerotte was No. 197 in ‘94.

Shuler (third overall) and Culpepper (11th) went in the first round, Batch (60th) in the second, Griese (91st) in the third, Rosenfels (109th) in the fourth and Bulger (168th) in the sixth.


And finally …

Alex and Cynthia Rodriguez have reached a settlement of their divorce, ending their marriage of more than five years.

You have to appreciate how A-Rod’s wife handled the situation, though. After all, she could have waited until the final game of the World Series - and then had her lawyer make a big, dramatic announcement that she was opting out of her contract.

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