National Football League

Cleveland stuck in shadow of Pittsburgh while on brink of title

Sports fans in Cleveland will settle for a championship any way they can get it.

Even if it comes by way of the city’s NBA team as opposed to their beloved NFL Browns.

Even if it comes via the help of the greatest player in the world, who several years back went on national television and publicly embarrassed the region when he took his ball and won titles elsewhere.

But again, make no mistake, you take the sweet taste of success any way you can get it.

That’s what happens when you’ve gone 146 major sports seasons without a title. The last of which came on Dec. 27, 1964 when the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts for the NFL championship.

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Ken Stabler one of six players to throw 7 interceptions in NFL game

The passing of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler at the age of 69 is likely to revive old debates over The Snake’s Pro Football Hall of Fame worthiness.

There’s room for argument on both sides of the table. I mean, the Hall’s selection committee named Stabler a second-team member of its All-Decade Team of the 1970s, despite 24 interceptions thrown in 1975 and 30 in 1978. They were clearly impressed once upon a time.

Stabler finished his 15-year NFL career (11 as a starter with three teams) in the shadows of contemporaries such as Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese and Fran Tarkenton, each immortalized in Canton, Ohio.

But what about Kenny? He led Oakland to a 69-26-1 regular season record in the 1970s and finished with 96 wins in all after wrapping up a career with the Houston Oilers and lowly New Orleans Saints.

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Kenosha, Wis. is most interesting story in 1st round of NFL Draft

Something unique took place in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday that hasn’t happened since 1997.

When Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes was selected No. 11 overall by the Minnesota Vikings and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was taken No. 15 by the San Diego Chargers, it marked just the fifth time since 1990 that high school teammates were drafted together in the opening round.

Waynes and Gordon starred on opposite sides of the ball at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis., home of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former NBA All Star Nick Van Exel.

(Click here for a video feature on Waynes and Gordon via Big Ten Network)

The Big Ten rivals are the first set of high school teammates to earn such a distinction since Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook was drafted No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions and Nebraska cornerback Michael Booker went No. 11 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Westbrook and Booker played together at El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.

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Let’s be honest, Lawrence Phillips never stood a chance

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Take a quick glance back at the life of Lawrence Phillips and it’s not hard to imagine how he ended up residing in a California prison.

If it was uncontrollable rage that drove Phillips to succeed on the football field, it was fueled by an unsettling mixture of abuse, neglect and a lack of trust in others during his formative years.

When news broke this week accusing the former University of Nebraska, National Football League, NFL Europe, and Canadian Football League running back of murdering a cellmate, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone surprised at such allegations.

His rap sheet speaks for itself.

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Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders talks Cowboys, Bills, Eagles, Buccaneers & Jaguars offseason

Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders joined me Saturday to talk about recent stories he’s written about Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, Rex Ryan taking over the Buffalo Bills, and Chip Kelly’s offseason gambles with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jeffreys also talked about what’s stood out to him as of late in regard to how close National Football League teams from the state of Florida are to making a return to the postseason.

( – Click here to listen to Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders on Carnahan Chronicles – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Breaking down opening week of wild NFL free agency

A wild start to free agency this week has a number of players in the National Football League relocating to new parts of the country.

Among the surprising moves was one made by Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who opted for more money by joining the rival Philadelphia Eagles.

On Saturday we discussed the decision by Murray and broke down the moves being made this week by the local NFL teams in the state of Florida.

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Talking baseball & football hall of fames

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio each were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week despite the arrogance of the very people that have covered the sport over the years. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also announced the 15 finalists for its Class of 2015, which will be finalized on Jan. 31.

( – Click to listen to J.C. and Chris talk about baseball & football halls of fame – )

NFL Playoffs 2015: Previewing The Wild Card Weekend

The regular season is in the books and the National Football League’s Wild Card weekend will be here before we know it. Or in other words, before we can fully recover from our New Year’s festivities.

The New England Patriots (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) finished the regular season by claiming the top spots in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks (12-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-4) hold those same positions in the NFC.

On Saturday it’s Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh followed by Cincinnati at Indianapolis and Detroit at Dallas on Sunday in matchups that’ll advance winners to the divisional round.

Below is a breakdown of the wild card games this weekend. My predictions are included at the conclusion of each summary.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Scott Sargent of WaitingForNextYear.com talks start of Johnny Manziel era

It’s Johnny Football time in Cleveland.

The slim postseason chances the Cleveland Browns still have now rest solely on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, who will get his first NFL start Sunday in place of Brian Hoyer against the Cincinnati Bengals. Manziel will become the 21st different starting quarterback for the Browns since the franchise returned to the league in 1999.

I talked to Waiting For Next Year co-founder Scott Sargent on Saturday about the impact Manziel may have on the franchise over the final three weeks of the season and beyond. We also attempted to pinpoint which of the previous 20 starters at quarterback are most beloved by Browns fans. The only problem: there’s just not too many good ones to choose from.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Scott talk Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Notre Dame alum and NFL first-round pick Jeff Faine talks about football past and helping foster kids

Jeff Faine was one of the fortunate ones.

Just seven days after being born Faine was adopted by parents who provided stability for a lifetime, ensuring he’d never be shuffled between foster homes throughout his childhood.

After a four-year career as a student-athlete at Notre Dame, the 2003 NFL Draft pick (21st overall) embarked on a 10-year professional playing career. Today he helps kids aging out of the foster care system by giving them a chance to transition positively into adulthood at The Faine House, which opened its doors a little more than a year ago.

Faine joined the show Saturday morning to talk about The Faine House and his playing days at Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and in the National Football League while with the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals.

( – Click here to listen to J.C.’s interview with Jeff Faine on AM 740 The Game – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Quarterback Nick Montana not good enough for Tulane on road at UCF

Backup quarterback Nick Montana had a chance to make his mark under center for Tulane while in Orlando as his hall of fame dad watched from the stands against UCF.

Joe Montana is known for taking part in thrilling finishes as a quarterback in college at Notre Dame and in the NFL while with the San Francisco 49ers. Nick is more likely to be remembered for his mishaps on Saturday, which included errant passes and spiking the ball on fourth down with seconds remaining before halftime of the Green Wave’s 20-13 loss to the Knights.

Montana finished 18 of 42 passing for 147 yards and two interceptions. Many of his passes fell out of the reach of his intended receivers or failed to travel far enough to move the chains. Twice in the fourth quarter Tulane took possession with the chance to tie the game, only to fall short despite the Green Wave defense forcing four turnovers in the loss.

“We just didn’t take advantage of some of the turnovers our defense gave us,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. “We’ve got to get to the point where, offensively, we can make touchdowns or field goals or something when they give us the ball way down there.”

The Green Wave defense has recorded at least one takeaway in 16-straight games and in 31 of their last 32 outings.

It was the second-straight backup quarterback to enter Bright House Networks Stadium. The result was no different for the Knights the last time around.

( – Click here for J.C.’s story on Tulane’s 20-13 loss at UCF for The Times-Picayune – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: MLB postseason, NCAA football & NFL updates

On Saturday Chris Vazquez and I talked about Major League Baseball’s postseason as well as upcoming college football and National Football League games. Vazquez also provided his weekly picks for fantasy football players and Baltimore Orioles fan Ryan McCall joined us to talk about his visit to Camden Yards on Friday.

( – Click here for MLB playoff talk and to hear from O’s fan Ryan McCall – )

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk upcoming college football matchups – )

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk fantasy football and NFL matchups – )

 

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders

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.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. interview Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders – )

Blair Thomas doesn’t look happy about being a New York Jet

The only running back worth a first round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft turned out to be Emmitt Smith. At No. 17 overall.

Blair Thomas 1990 Topps Traded rookie card No. 34T

Blair Thomas (RB, New York Jets) 1990 Topps Traded rookie card – No. 34T

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.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Jameis Winston, NFL injuries, Orlando City Changes, MLB Postseason, Giancarlo Stanton injury

The Carnahan Chronicles weekly radio show on AM 740 The Game got back up and running this week with a number of topics from the world of football, soccer and baseball.

Producer Chris Vazquez joined in on the conversation about the Jameis Winston suspension and college football weekend, along with recent injuries in the National Football League. We also talked about the injury to Giancarlo Stanton and the postseason races in Major League Baseball after answering a call from Austin about the Orlando City Soccer Club interview with Dennis Chin.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk Jameis Winston and college football – )

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk injuries in NFL and upcoming schedule – )

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk MLB postseason and take call about OCSC – )