Sarkisian is no role model for responsible drinking
Southern Cal’s football coach Steve Sarkisian drew a sharp reprimand from athletics director Pat Haden after a drunken appearance at the school’s biggest booster event of the preseason: “Salute to Troy.” Reports on Twitter told of the coach slurring his words, many of them profane, and being pulled off the stage. Haden said: “I met with Coach Sarkisian, and I expressed my disappointment in the way he represented himself and the university. . . . I am confident he heard my message loud and clear.” Sarkisian said his mistake was mixing alcohol and medications. “And I regret it,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He said he punished himself by doing pushups, while critics called for suspension and rehab. Haden did not want to suspend him with the season beginning a week from Saturday.
Between the Lines: This is a college coach who’s expected to set an example of good behavior. Sarkisian had better have a good season on the field or his job will be in jeopardy.
Mallett oversleeps after losing QB job to Hoyer
Ryan Mallett was missing from Houston Texans practice Thursday, apparently because of oversleeping. He later attended team meetings. This error came a day after he complained about coach Bill O’Brien’s selection of Brian Hoyer as No. 1 quarterback. Mallett said: “Am I disappointed? Yeah. Angry. A little bit.” Mallett started two games for Houston last season while Hoyer played for the Cleveland Browns. During the preseason Hoyer and Mallett have had similar passing statistics. But O’Brien felt Hoyer was more consistent and showed more leadership. “I thought I did well enough to deserve the job,” Mallett said. “But it was not seen that way.” By missing practice, Mallett seemed to confirm O’Brien’s judgment.
Gruden calls out A.J. Green for causing interceptions
Jon Gruden is usually a happy-talker, saying individual players are better than they are and being especially flattering of perennial Pro Bowlers such as A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL’s fourth pick, overall, in the 2011 Draft. But in Monday night’s game in which Tampa Bay dominated the turnover-plagued Bengals, ESPN’s analyst and former Super Bowl-winning coach blamed Green for Andy Dalton’s interception problem. Gruden pointed out that during their four seasons together, Dalton has thrown 27 picks when targeting Green, as opposed to 39 when aiming for others. Green has caught 35 touchdowns, but Cincy’s other receivers have combined for 64. “Twenty-seven interceptions,” Gruden said, “with this type of talent is not acceptable.” After a pass from Dalton slipped through Green’s hands at chin-level and was transformed into a pick-6: “Tell him to learn how to catch so . . . I can watch the real A.J. play.”
Peyton since surgery has had no feeling in his fingertips
In a surprising revelation that could explain his propensity for wobbly passes, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning told Sports illustrated: “I can’t feel anything in my fingertips.” He’s had the problem ever since neck surgery in 2011. “I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said don’t count on the feeling coming back. It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, ‘Today’s the day.’ Then it’s not.”
Cris Carter advises young players to ‘have a fall guy’
As part of the orientation program for young players, the NFL posted video on its website of Hall of Fame receiver and NFL analyst Cris Carter advising them to have “a fall guy in your crew” when they take their entourage to bars at night. The designated Fall Guy will step forward and take the blame for anything improper that the player might have done. Appearing in the video, as another guiding light, is Warren Sapp, whose broadcasting career may have ended after he was arrested for an alleged incident of domestic battery with a girlfriend and another one with a prostitute. As word belatedly spread about the orientation video, Carter apologized and backpedaled. “I would never tell young people to break the law to avoid prosecution,” he said. But of course, the Fall Guy who lies to protect someone from prosecution is breaking the law.
Cowboys’ rookie studies Watt, et al, on YouTube
Defensive end Randy Gregory, first-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, said his preparation for his rookie season includes watching YouTube to study the pass-rush moves of J.J. Watt, DeMarcus Ware and former stars Jason Taylor and Simeon Rice. “YouTube is my best friend,” Gregory said.
Confines not so Friendly for fan struck by foul ball
Chicago’s Wrigley Field is America’s most beloved ballpark, but the Friendly Confines can be dangerous to fans along the first-base and third-base lines. A woman was removed by stretcher Sunday afternoon after she was struck by a foul line drive. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, perhaps wary of potential litigation, said fans need to pay more attention to the game. “That’s what Major League Baseball has been saying for years,” wrote Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. “People continue to get hurt by line drives, especially behind the dugouts, no matter how often they’re warned.” In Detroit last Friday, a female fan was hurt by a foul ball behind the Tigers’ dugout. Pitcher Justin Verlander said more netting should be installed in the ballparks to protect fans.
Williams agrees with those who call her ‘Baby Rena’
As she prepares for the U.S. Open Tennis Championship which could complete her quest for a calendar grand slam, Serena Williams said, “It’s all up to me. If I decide to play right, it’ll be great. If I decide to be Baby Rena . . . I saw someone write that on Instagram. I kind of liked that, though. They were calling me out, but I was like, ‘They’re right, so . . . hopefully Baby Rena won’t come out.”