Rodgers insulted ‘Grandpa’ Favre, has offended many others
The story is told, none too accurately, by Jeff Pearlman in his new book, Gunslinger, that as a rookie Aaron Rodgers addressed Bret Favre as “Grandpa.” Pearlman gushes that this is “the worst introductory line in the history of sports.” But the player who disclosed the Favre quote to Pearlman, another one of his backups, Craig Nall, confirmed its accuracy while disputing its context: “Brett told me that, but it was not the first time they met.” The truth was embellished by Pearlman, for dramatic effect (like TV or New Journalism), but the overall message is true: Rodgers was disrespectful to the veterans, and Favre made gentle fun of him, as he did many of his teammates. “Brett was always pranking people – he put itching powder down my shirt,” Nall told ESPN Wisconsin. Favre’s prank that drew the most attention was when he set Rodgers’ helmet on a large table in the locker room and made it look like the presumptuous rookie was asking his teammates to sign it. The Packers’ head coach at the time, Mike Sherman, went along by closing a team meeting with a request for everyone “to sign Rodgers’ helmet before you leave the building.” And this was hardly the first testimonial to Rodgers’ conceit. Ex-49ers coach Mike Nolan has told of his team choosing Alex Smith above Rodgers in the first round because “Rodgers was so cocky. There was concern about his leadership.”
Between the Lines: Apart from Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick, Rodgers is the most disliked QB in the NFL. Whining about his less than elite receivers – and publicly berating them on the field and off – is another example of how he’s created animosity.
Former player says Knight squeezed players’ testicles
Bobby Knight, one of the most successful of college basketball coaches, was known to be abusive of his players, but new revelations are more troubling than any previously reported. In his autobiography, Jadlow: On the Rebound, Todd Jadlow alleges that Knight broke a clipboard over his head and frequently squeezed players’ testicles. Knight, who won three national championships, was fired by the University of Indiana after video emerged of him choking one of his players. But Jadlow reports that was hardly an isolated incident or even the most brutal one. Jadlow, who played for Indiana in 1985-89, says Knight punched him in the back of the head, that he routinely assaulted others on the team and that he once brought a shotgun to practice.
Newton wants meeting with Goodell to gain protection
Winning the MVP award last year and playing in the Super Bowl was certain to bring tactical changes by defensive coordinators to limit Cam Newton’s effectiveness. This year defenses are making him pay for carrying the football into the scrimmage line. Newton is being hit harder and more often than ever before, and he’s complaining about it. “It’s really taking the fun out of the game for me,” he said. “At times I don’t even feel safe. . . . I plan on talking with Commissioner Goodell about this.” Newton feels too many penalties are uncalled, especially when he’s hit in the head after beginning a slide. “I just can’t keep accepting, ‘Oh, we missed that one.’” Goodell responded, saying he will meet with Newton to discuss safety concerns.
Dear Cam: You do have a point. But retired Super Bowl QB Rich Gannon, now with CBS Sports, is also on point when he says, “He’s not playing well. He needs to start acting like a man.” If you want a safe sport, try badminton.
Wright learned football sense ‘from playing Madden as a kid’
Linebacker K.J. Wright, whose coaches claim is one of the most perceptive of the Seattle Seahawks, was asked how he developed “those football smarts.” Wright told ESPN it was “from playing Madden as a kid. I’m telling you, the plays that are on Madden are the same plays NFL teams run.” Asked if he’s the best Madden player on the Seattle team, Wright said, “I don’t lose games.”
Dantonio says being down 17 is a two-score deficit
Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio was asked why he chose to kick a field goal when his team was down 20 with 10 minutes left in Saturday’s game against Michigan. “Because it would make a two-score game,” he said. But of course, he’s wrong about that. Fuzzy math.
Jose Fernandez died with cocaine, booze in his blood
Tragedy within a tragedy: it turns out that the Florida Marlins’ ace pitcher, Jose Fernandez, had alcohol and cocaine in his system when he died on the early morning of Sept. 25 in a boat crash off Miami. Such was the finding in an autopsy of the 24-year-old athlete, who, according to the coroner’s report obtained by USA Today, died from swelling of the brain tissue caused by injuries to the face. Fernandez was accompanied in his boat, named Kaught Looking, by two friends, Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25. It isn’t known who was piloting the 32-foot boat when it struck a rock jetty.
NBA players complain of ghosts at Oklahoma hotel
Metta World Peace claims that on a recent trip with the Los Angeles Lakers to Oklahoma City, he had an unpleasant encounter with a ghost. He said he was “inappropriately touched” at the Skirvin Hotel, where other NBA players have reported paranormal encounters. “The ghosts were all over me,” Peace said. “They touched me all over the place.” Despite the hotel’s reputation for being haunted, many NBA teams continue to stay there. But some of the Lakers chose to stay elsewhere at their own expense.