Friday, July 31, 2009

Who Blinked?

UFC Chairman Dana White and former UFC light heavyweight champion and MMA superstar Tito Ortiz have a well documented history of bad blood. Once Ortiz's contract ran out it was seen as the end of his career as a UFC fighter for good. In the intervening months White has taken every opportunity to trash Ortiz and call him a coward that you could possibly imagine. So I am more than a little curious as to how this came to be.

It was said that the bad blood between UFC President Dana White and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz ran so deep that reconciliation wasn’t even a remote possibility. But after a twitter exchange between the two surfaced recently, fans began speculating that a return to the Octagon wouldn’t be too far off for ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.’ On Friday, White made it official, announcing Ortiz’ re-signing with the UFC during a media teleconference.

“Tito and I have history that pretty much everybody knows,” said White. “We have put all our differences aside, have squashed everything, and we’re ready to move forward. Tito Ortiz is still a guy that fans want to see fight, he just had back surgery, he’s getting back into training, he feels good and he’s ready to compete in the 205-pound division and take a shot at the title again. And Tito Ortiz will retire in the UFC.”

“I think time really cures everything,” said Ortiz. “Dana came to me and was a man of his word. He apologized to me for the things that he did prior, and for me, it (returning) was about competition. My fans deserve the best Tito Ortiz.”

Now this is even more curious when you consider the fact that the UFC has never been deeper in the light heavyweight division. It would seem that Ortiz needed the UFC a lot more than the UFC needed him. So what gives?


Speaking as one of the guys who were around for the transition from the orange uniforms to the red and pewter, I have to say it does my heart good to see the Glazers finally allow the Bucs to wear their throwbacks. I never understood why they were resistant to it anyway. The only thing that sucks is that the guy who pushed the hardest for it in recent years, Derrick Brooks, won't be there to get to play in it again as he did early on in his career.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Important Is Barrett Ruud To The Bucs?

Pewter Report is reporting that Barrett Ruud will not hold out of training camp (who even knew he was considering it?).

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have a full training camp roster when the team reports to One Buccaneer Place on Friday, July 31. has learned that starting middle linebacker Barrett Ruud will not hold out of training camp and will report to One Buccaneer Place tomorrow. Ruud had missed all of the team's OTAs (organized team activities) due to the fact that he is looking for a contract extension, but did show up for the mandatory mini-camp in mid-June.

Ruud, who has one year left on his rookie deal and is set to earn $1.6 million in 2009, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March if the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association is renewed. If the CBA is not renewed, Ruud will only be a restricted free agent next year and will not become an unrestricted free agent until 2011.

Now I realize that Ruud has played really well since becoming a starter But just how important is he to the Bucs right now?

On the one hand I would venture to say that if he was ever going to hold out for a new contract now is the time. Having jettisoned both certain future Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks as well as the starting strong side linebacker Cato June, Ruud is the only hold over starter for new coach Raheem Morris. For a team that for over a decade now has been defined by a stifling defense, losing all three starting linebacker would seem to be an unworkable situation. Besides that, you would be losing your defensive play caller on a team with a brand spanking new defensive coordinator.

On the other hand you might say what would Coach Morris and the new staff have to lose by calling Ruud's bluff? I don't know of anyone who has lofty expectations for the Bucs this year. Besides that as a new head coach, Morris might not have wanted to appear weak by giving in to Ruud's demand. Along those lines you might have also had the perception out there by the fans that if you pay Ruud then you picked him over a guy like Brooks whom I think a lot of people are still upset about the fact that the Bucs cut him some what unceremoniously.

In the end, if I was advising Ruud, I probably would have advised him to hold out. I just think that the public would have turned on the Bucs had they allowed him to hold out especially since he has become a fan favorite. Besides that, he is in fact a fan favorite now and you see his picture all over any Bucs promotional items. I think the Bucs not paying him would be a road to far for most of their fan base. I also think that Ruud risks having a bad year this year trying to become familiar with a new system and surrounded by new starters which may bring his stock way down. And then there is always the prospect of injuries.

I guess its all moot now since he is going to report on time, but should he get injured or so called under achieve this year, it will be interesting to see what kind of contract he is offered next spring.

What Took Him So Long?

I was just talking to a family member of mine about the curious case of Lamar Odom. Last week it was rumored that he was considering signing with the Miami Heat. Mind you he wasn't going to break the bank with the heat either. I had no clue what would make him want to leave a team that is likely to contend for the title again next year after the Lakers offered him basically what he wanted all along. This family member suggested he wanted to get away from Kobe. Personally I think people put too much stock into that kind of thing. A lot of guys put up with a lot of crap to play with Jordan and get a ring or 6. I can't imagine a player being so mentally weak that he would allow another player to run him away from the team that will grant him the best opportunity to win more championships and to make more money off the court.

Well at least we don't have to ponder such things anymore.

Free agent forward Lamar Odom will return to the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA source said Thursday.

One source with knowledge of the talks told the four-year deal is worth $33 million if the Lakers exercise the final season.

One source close to the process said Odom will come away with a guaranteed $27 million from the new contract, matching the original value of the three-year, $27 million deal Lakers owner Jerry Buss pulled off the table earlier this month.

It's believed that the structure of the new deal calls for Odom to earn $25 million over the first three seasons, with the Lakers owing him $2 million in the fourth year if they elect not to pick up their team option.

Reached Thursday evening, Odom's agent Jeff Schwartz declined to discuss specifics but confirmed that the sides have an agreement in principle.

Its a smart move for LO to be sure and the Lakers will be much better with him than they would have been without him, but you just have to wonder what the hold up was. I guess that's something we may never get to the bottomline on.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Welcome Back Cadillac

It looks like Carnell "Cadillac" Williams will be ready for the start of Tampa Bay Buccaneeers training camp. I am a big fan of his and I love his hard nosed style of running the ball. However at this point I have to wonder how much he will our should pay this year. With Earnest Graham the probable starter and the addition of Derrick Ward I am wondering of maybe the Bucs should just ease Williams back into the flow this year with an eye on having him all the way back into the mix next year. I know with the salary cap its not usual to take that kind of approach in this day and age but I just don't think they should try to rush him back into the line up considering the injuries he has gone though the last two seasons. And I really hope they don't end up cutting him in a cost saving move either. I think he will be a really good running back in the long run but they are going to need to exercise some patience with him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Random NFL Observations

My preseason pick to win it all is the New England Patriots. I personally feel like they had the best off season of any team. They picked up Fred Taylor, Joey Galloway, and Shawn Springs in free agency. Another guy they picked up, Tight End Chris Baker, will also open some eyes I believe. I also think losing Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs will also work out in their favor as it allows Adalius Thomas to be more of the pass rusher that he was back in Baltimore.

For some odd reason though, I don't hear a lot of people pushing the Patriots as potential champions and I really can't understand why. I guess there is the chance that Tom Brady doesn't come back to form but if he does you are talking about an offense that is probably better than the one that set all the records two years ago. With Taylor, Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney, and Kevin Faulk on the roster, they have a stable of backs that could measure up to almost any other team in the league.

Adding a bonafide wide receiver who still is one of the fastest in the league in Galloway to the tandem of Randy Moss and Wes Welker should almost be illegal. Whether they are saying it or not there are D Coordinators scratching their head right now trying to figure out how they are going to double Moss without allowing Galloway to burn them deep every single time.

On defense the corners are upgraded from a year ago with Springs and another free agent pick up in Leigh Bodden. And with another year under his belt you can expect fellow Tennessee alumni, Jerod Mayo, to be even more of a beast in the middle this year. Look for Richard Seymour to step his game up too back to an All Pro level now that he has had over a year for his knee to heal.

Lets keep in mind that last year even with losing Brady this team won 11 games and barely missed the playoffs. If they get 11 wins in an injury riddled off year, how many do you think they will get if they are firing on all cylinders?

Im just sayin.


On another topic let me just say that people need to take a deep breath or two over Mike Vick's reinstatement. He will probably be signed by some team before the season begins but its his HIGHLY unlikely that he plays at all this year. For one he will probably push to stay at quarterback and getting into camp late if at all and trying to learn a playbook is going ot be a very difficult thing to accomplish.

For two he has been locked up and away from the game for basically two years now. Although I was a Vick fan back then, it is still true that his accuracy was a problem back when he was practicing everyday. The kind of rust he has accumulated over these past couple of years will be hard to knock off in one season.

And third and maybe most important is that Vick will probably be signed by a team that is established. I don't think a team that is searching for itself will take a chance on him. Its much more likely that a team like the Steelers or the Colts who have the luxury of having a player on their roster who isn't likely to play, will sign him in the hopes that he learns the playbook this year and is ready to compete for a job next season. It just doesn't make sense to bring him in to a team where he is expected to be the man after all he has been through.


On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers let me say that it will be ironic to say the least if Raheem Morris indeed takes the team back to the basics of running the ball and playing tough hard nosed defense and the team has success and the fans end up jumping all over his bandwagon. Its ironic because they ran Tony Dungy out of town for taking the team in that direction 8 years ago after he led the team to 5 none losing seasons in 6 years. Go figure.

RIP Jim Johnson

Philadephia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson lost his brave fight with cancer today. He will truly be missed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Head Scratcher

Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler? Seriously?!

Someone needs to find out who Tyson Chandler pissed off or pissed on in the New Orleans Hornets organization.

Quick Question

Ok so since T.O. is lobbying really hard for Mike Vick to not only not have to miss any games but also for him to come to Buffalo, is this the makings of his first diss of his new QB, Trent Edwards?

What say you?

Let's Get It

NFL training camps are starting up and so is this blog. I will start posting in full by the end of the week. Till then just relax, take a look around, and make yourself comfortable!