‘Bad apples . . . irresponsible people’ keep Browns down
Jim Haslam is becoming increasingly hands-on in his ownership of the Cleveland Browns. Last week he met with offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, who resigned, uncomfortable with the friction between coaches and front office. Haslam was known to be displeased with Shanahan’s play-calling. There have been media reports of him contacting Shanahan with play recommendations during games. The OC also shared in the blame for the Johnny Football Bust. Manziel’s admittedly meager preparation led to the firing of his QB coach, Dowell Loggains, who on draft day urged general manager Roy Farmer to take Manziel at No. 22 in the first round. So Loggains continues to have trouble making a name for himself. When he was promoted last season to OC of the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said, “All I know about Loggains is his mama don’t dance and his daddy don’t rock and roll.” As Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine recede from view, Haslam is speaking out on the team’s rookie class and lack of it. Top draft pick Justin Gilbert was inactive for the final game after being late to a team meeting. Manziel was fined for missing treatment for his injured hamstring. “We’re not going to tolerate people who are irresponsible, no matter what round they’re drafted in,” Haslam told the Akron Beacon Journal. He said AWOL players “disrespect the team, the coaches, the staff, the fans.” Joe Thomas, Cleveland’s All-Pro left tackle, offered this not reassuring observation: “Everyone has bad apples.” Haslam himself has credibility issues as a moralizer. Another of his enterprises is in more trouble than the perpetually moribund Browns. His Pilot Flying J, a truck-stop company, after a trial last year in federal court was fined $92 million for fraudulent activities.
Click here for Bud Shaw of Northeast Ohio Media Group: ‘No way the Cleveland Browns can be propping up the myth of Johnny Football.’
Seat in Falcons’ new stadium may cost $45 grand
The Atlanta Falcons hope to charge as much as $45,000 for a personal seat license in the downtown stadium now under construction. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the $45,000 price will apply to the choicest 1,200 seats in the stadium – those at lower-bowl level, near the 50-yard-line. The Falcons’ pricing plan is subject to approval of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The stadium is scheduled to open in 2017.
Shula has little respect for ‘Beli-cheat’
Since the 2007 Spygate scandal, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has had to endure people calling him “Beli-cheat.” But this is not a term he expects to hear from the coaching community. He must have been surprised when Hall of Famer Don Shula used that unflattering nickname in a recent interview with the Florida Sun-Sentinel. Asked about his thoughts on Belichick, Shula responded: “Beli-cheat?” Shula’s 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season and completed a perfect season by winning the Super Bowl. The only team coming close to that achievement was Belichick’s 2007 team, which went 16-0 but lost the Super Bowl. Shula, 85, feels the Patriots’ season was tainted by their being caught illegally taping the signals of opposing coaches.
Schottenheimer gives up pros for U of Georgia
In what appeared to be a downward career move, Brian Schottenheimer resigned as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams to accept the same position with the U of Georgia. He reportedly was earning more than $2 million a year as OC of the Rams, but he’s expected to take a significant pay cut at Athens.
Between the Lines: Schottenheimer and head coach Jeff Fisher were both feeling heat in St. Louis, where QB Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy and other young talent is slow to mature. The Bulldogs may be safer.
Schilling says he’d be in Hall, but for politics
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he would have been voted into the Hall of Fame if he had endorsed John Kerry instead of George W. Bush for the 2004 presidential election. Schilling told WEEI Radio in Boston: “I know that as a Republican there are some people that don’t like that.” Schilling endorsed Bush for re-election on the “Good Morning America” show. He said that had he backed Democrat Kerry, he “absolutely” would be in the Hall of Fame, though he drew less than 40 percent voting support when 75% is needed. Made it: pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, infielder/outfielder/catcher Craig Biggio.
Briles offers advice to Jay Gruden on RGIII
Art Briles, who coached Robert Griffin III when he won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor University, said the quarterback’s current head coach, Jay Gruden, “should adapt to what his abilities are.”
Briles said on ESPN, “I’m saying if he’s going to be our guy, let’s do what our guy does best. . . . Let’s judge him after ten years.”
Dear Coach Briles: You violated the Code of Coaching by criticizing one of your own. The question is what Griffin’s abilities are with the carved-up body he now has. Perhaps YOU can give him ten years, but few other coaches could do that.
NHL’s Gagne takes season off to grieve for his father
Boston Bruins winger Simon Gagne is taking the remainder of the hockey season off while he continues to mourn for his father, who died of cancer the day after Christmas. Gagne, 34, took a leave of absence Dec. 10 to be with Pierre Gagne for his final days. “To play in the NHL you have to be 100% mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game,” Gagne said in a prepared statement. “At this time I know I cannot be close to those levels.” Although once a consistent scorer, Gagne has scored only three goals this season.