MLS player quits to be with his dying dog
Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez, one of the better players on Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, left the team to return to his homeland of Argentina because he wanted to spend time with his dying dog. “One of my dogs has cancer,” he said, “and we are doing chemotherapy. They gave him six months to live. So I’ve rescinded my contract.” RSL general manager Craig Waibel told the Salt Lake Tribune: “It’s disappointing because he’s such a talented player and someone I really liked and enjoyed as a human being. The human side of this can’t be forgotten.”
Dear Burrito: You made a good choice . There are lots more dog lovers than soccer lovers.
Patriots owner seems inebriated when accepting trophy
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was slurring his words and appeared to be drunk as he accepted the small and rather unimpressive Lamar Hunt trophy for winning Sunday’s American Football Conference championship. In the postgame ceremony, television announcer Jim Nantz presented the trophy to Kraft, who seemed to not know what to with it and gave it back to the sportscaster. So Nantz handed it to coach Bill Belichick, who did not seem interested. Kraft, when he was holding the trophy, said, in halting language, “We have to go to Houston . . . and . . . win . . . one . . . “ He pointed the trophy to the crowd, which helped him out, yelling, “More.”
CLICK HERE for video/audio of Robert Kraft
Colts owner hired shrink to help coach and GM get along
When Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano were having trouble getting along, owner Jim Irsay brought in psychologists to counsel them, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Irsay was not satisfied with the results and concluded the problem was more Grigson than Pagano. So he fired the former and decided to keep Pagano for next season to see if he can get along with the next GM, as yet undetermined. “There was a lot of work going on in our organization to evaluate how interaction happens, how people communicate and how we get better,” Irsay said.
Tucker kicks 75-yard field goal in practice
Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is known for having the strongest leg in American football. He created a sensation during Pro Bowl practice in Orlando on Wednesday when he teed up a football at the 35-yard line and booted it through the uprights. That does not mean he could have done it in a game. He had a wind behind him and was facing no defense, and he did not have to coordinate with a snap from center. Still, it brought speculation that his team will consider letting him try from 65 yards during a game next season.
Bulls’ Rondo rips teammates Wade, Butler
The Chicago Bulls are riven with dissension. Their star players, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, were furious with some of their younger teammates for what they perceived as lack of effort and passion. When the Bulls lost to Atlanta on Wednesday after leading by 10 points with three minutes to play, Wade lashed out: “We don’t play hard all the time. It just doesn’t mean enough for guys around here to want to win ballgames. It pisses me off, but I can’t get frustrated, and I can’t care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves.” Butler chimed in: “This is supposed to be what you love to do. Not everybody looks at it this way.” Those comments did not set will with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo who in an Instagram wrote: “The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”
Dear Rajon: You’re the team’s point guard. You’re 30 years old. Aren’t you part of the leadership?
Iowa legislator wants to ban college football on Friday nights
An Iowa state legislator is upset with the University of Iowa contracting with major TV networks to televise some of its games on Friday night. “High school football games, sometimes those are the things that bring everyone together in our communities,” said Rep. Peter Cownie of Des Moines. “Some traditions I think are sacred in our state.” He introduced legislature in the state’s House of Representatives that would prevent the Iowa Hawkeyes from playing football on Friday nights.
Carl Edwards steps away from NASCAR, may run for Senate
Carl Edwards gave up one of NASCAR’s most cherished rides, with Joe Gibbs Racing, amid speculation he’s planning to run for the Senate in 2018 against Democrat Claire McCaskill. “I definitely would consider it,” said the 37-year-old driver. “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” So far he has not provided much of a reason for his sabbatical from racing, though he mentioned possibly seeking a television job or spending more time flying airplanes or farming on his family’s large acreage position in Missouri.