Say What?

Johnny Manziel goes AWOL again — for the last time?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel failed to show up for a concussion evaluation on Sunday morning and also failed to show up for the home game that day against Pittsburgh.  The team was unable to reach him by phone.  Where was Johnny?  At his favorite playground, Las Vegas, disguised in a blond wig and moustache, though he sent out an Instagram photo of himself on the floor with his dog, presumably at his home in Avon, Ohio.  Manziel called himself “Billy.”  But his identity was discovered late Saturday night when a pit boss asked for his ID and spoke into a microphone welcoming the football player by his real name.  “I’m not exactly sure where Johnny is,” team owner Jimmy Haslam said.  “Haven’t talked to him.  I’m sure our football people will be on top of that.”  He didn’t say which football people he had in mind, as he had just fired general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike PettineSports Illustrated’s Peter King reported that the Browns (meaning, apparently, Haslam) are “done” with Manziel, who’s had a succession of disturbing off-the-field misadventures since being taken on the first round of the 2014 draft.  King reported that Manziel is equally disenchanted with the Browns.  He was born in Texas, attended Texas A&M and would like to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. 

Between the Lines: Manziel checked himself into substance abuse rehab in the offseason.  Whatever aftercare program he’s following, it probably does not include trips to a city where temptation could not be greater.


Sean Lee gave up $2 mil by sitting out season finale

Linebacker Sean Lee’s decision to sit out the Dallas Cowboys’ season finale against Washington cost him $2 million.  His $2.5 million salary for 2015 would have been bumped to $4.5 million if he played in 80% of the team’s defensive snaps.  Entering the final game he had participated in 82.1% of the snaps, so he needed to play about a third of the defensive snaps with a strained hamstring to satisfy the participation clause.  But by not playing at all, his participation percentage fell to 77.1, so he missed out on his bonus.  “It didn’t feel like I could be effective enough to help the football team,” Lee said, adding that he needed two more days of rehabilitation before he could play at his standard.  “It was completely my decision.”


Dolphins owner: Team is first-class – ‘except on the field’

The Miami Dolphins have had only one winning season in ten years, but owner Stephen Ross is otherwise pleased with the performance of the franchise.  He told reporters: “From every aspect except on the playing field, we’re probably the first-class organization in the National Football League.” 

Between the Lines: This is a model franchise, with an owner who spares no expense to pay for talent.  It’s just that players aren’t performing.


Baseball executive moves to NFL’s Cleveland Browns

Paul DePodesta has moved from the New York Mets’ baseball office to the football front office of the Cleveland Browns.  DePodesta, who assumes the title of Chief Strategy Officer, is considered an expert on analytics technology and was the model for the Jonah Hill character in Moneyball.   It was DePodesta who convinced Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane that statistical analysis was more accurate in forecasting baseball performance than traditional scouting methods.


Suns owner blames ‘millennial culture’ for team’s decline

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver blames his team’s two-year decline on “millennial culture.”  He told the Arizona Republic: “I’m not sure it’s just the NBA.  My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have trouble dealing with setbacks.”  He pointed to the Suns’ Markieff Morris as “the perfect example,” a player who was emotionally devastated by the trading of his brother “and can’t seem to recover from it.”  Morris has been unhappy with head coach Jeff Hornacek and recently threw a towel at him during a heated exchange.  Sarver pointed to “the instant gratification of being on-line” and suggested that millennials tend to be impatient.  “I’m not a fan of social media,” he said.  “I tell my kids it’s like Fantasy Land.  The only things people put on line are good things that happen to them or things they make up.  And that creates unrealistic expectations.”


Internet hockey fans vote for All-Star who doesn’t score

John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes has scored no goals this season and has just one assist, yet fans stuffed the internet to elect him captain in the NHL All-Star Game.  He has sat out more games than he’s played.  The league did not release voting totals but announced that Scott had made the team.  This episode basically confirms that fans consider the NHL All-Star Game a joke, with players skating at half speed and going 3-on-3, similar to the overtime format.


Haren tweets his fears about facing big-league hitters

Dan Haren, recently retired winner of 153 games in the major leagues, has issued a series of tweets indicating he was plagued by fear and doubt.  A few from a collection by Mike Axisa, CBSSports: “Sometimes when the count was 3-1, I would just throw it down the middle and hope for the best.  People pop up in batting practice right? . . .  At least 3-4 times I thought the team plane was gonna crash.  . . .  I only hit like 5-7 people on purpose.  . . .  I gave up so many homers cause I didn’t wanna walk people.  That and cause I threw 85 mph meatballs sometimes. I went into every start the last few years thinking, how the hell am I gonna get these guys out? . . .  I had to take imodium most days I pitched to plug myself up.”  Is this too much information?

CLICK HERE for “Dan Haren revealed . . . “ by Mike Axisa, CBSSports


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