On Saturday I spent some time talking to Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders about a number of topics from around the National Football League. Bernstein shared his thoughts on the state of NFL teams in Florida, gave his opinion on how Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater may fare as they make their first professional starts on Sunday, and provided insight on the current unbeaten teams in the league.
The only running back worth a first round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft turned out to be Emmitt Smith. At No. 17 overall.
Despite being the second selection in the draft out of Penn State, by the New York Jets, Blair Thomas was outdone in the National Football League by nearly every contemporary picked after him. His pedestrian 2,236 yards rushing and seven touchdowns (533 carries) over six years trails a number of other moderately memorable guys, even some worth remembering. Terry Allen was taken by Minnesota in the 9th round before going on to rush for 8,614 yards and 73 TDs. Chris Warren, selected in the 4th round by Seattle, rushed for 7,696 yards and 52 TDs.
Maybe Thomas would’ve been better off with a different team. He entered the league at the same time as New York’s first-year head coach Bruce Coslet, who would last just as long with the Jets as Thomas did before going on to finish his NFL career with a worthless 47-77 record over nine years. It’s worth mentioning that Coslet never knew a season better than 8-8 while on the sideline with either the Jets or Cincinnati Bengals.
Thomas rushed for just 2,009 yards (468 carries) and five touchdowns for the Jets from 1990-93. He carried the ball at least 15 times in a game only eight times during that stretch and rushed for 100 yards or more just two times. Career highlights include 20 carries for 100 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots in his fourth career game, and then going for a career-high 125 yards on 27 carries against the Chicago Bears just four games into his second season.
On Saturday we touched on a few touchy topics in the National Football League including Michael Sam joining the Dallas Cowboys, Tim Tebow and his religious views, and the league’s drug policy when dealing with players and marijuana.
We continued the marijuana and NFL drug policy discussion in the next segment. We also previewed Sunday’s games involving the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers while discussing fantasy football options this week and the love/hate relationship between pro football fans and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
On Saturday I chatted with Chris Vazquez about a number of topics from around the world of sports before touching on the opening of the upcoming college football season this week.
Among the topics to start the show were the high school football Kickoff Classics, Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of preseason, the ArenaBowl between Cleveland Gladiators and Arizona Rattlers, Greg Carr of the Orlando Predators, and the Orlando City Soccer Club visiting Richmond Kickers in a key matchup.
The college football season is slated to get underway this week with the UCF Knights, Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles in action Saturday. We discussed the new four-team playoff, the chances of FSU going unbeaten, and student-athletes getting caught cheating and whether they should be compensated for the money they help generate for universities.
The NFL preseason slate got underway this week with state teams and former UCF players taking part. Quarterback Blake Bortles had an impressive showing in his first game with the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in the team’s refurbished stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rolled out a new unique uniform look.
On Saturday the Orlando City Soccer Club travels to Harrisburg City for a match at 6 p.m. J.C. and Chris talk about the City of Orlando’s decision to move the downtown soccer stadium. Thoughts are also shared about Kevin Durant dropping off the USA Basketball roster, San Antonio Spurs hiring Becky Hammon as first full-time female assistant coach, the Orlando Pro-Am postseason taking place on Sunday, and Landon Donovan announcing his retirement from professional soccer.
Last year former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Warren Sapp took his place among the greats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Like most former NFL players in Canton, Ohio the week of their induction, Sapp let his guard down while talking to reporters before his big weekend got underway. Below is the story I wrote for The Apopka Chief, Sapp’s hometown newspaper during his playing days at Apopka High School in Florida.
There was one piece of advice that stuck with Warren Sapp throughout much of his ascent from the dirt roads of Plymouth and the playing fields in Apopka to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“My grandmother said something to me a long time ago that I’ll never forget,” Sapp said at the onset of his enshrinement speech Saturday in Canton, Ohio. “She said, ‘boy, don’t you ever forget where you come from’.”
The late Rosie Lykes would be proud. Not only because her grandson was immortalized over the weekend among an elite group of 280 professional football players, but because he’s maintained a genuine compassion for those that helped him reach these heights along the way.
Sapp, who starred for Apopka High School before becoming a first round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the University of Miami in 1995, spent nearly 12 minutes recognizing family, friends, former coaches and teammates at the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary gathering.
It was a peak behind the rugged exterior of one of the fiercest defensive tackles in the history of the National Football League.
That brief moment of excitement I feel each year when preparing to watch the NFL Draft doesn’t linger for too long. I’m usually ready to channel surf or dip in and out of the room by the eighth pick. But this year I realized it’s all in the way you approach it.
I spent much of the draft last night in a recliner with a laptop, smartphone and remote control nearby. First thing I realized was that ESPN has been ruining this event for me for years. It wasn’t until I committed to the NFL Network’s broadcast that I no longer had the urge to throw my television through a wall due to the rabid jaw-flapping.
Then I got caught up in the information overload world of Twitter and Facebook, reading and responding to online posts about fan’s draft triumphs and despair, with plenty of doses of humor thrown in at each other’s expense.