Weekend Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

From Austin, Texas

A last chance this past weekend to get out of town before the start of the 2011 NFL season. So I decided to spend a few days in Hades … I mean Austin.

This city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” But over the weekend it wasn’t so much weird as it was stinkin’ hot. “It’s a dry heat,” I was told. Yeah, so is putting your head into a hot oven. They’ve had 33 days over 100 degrees here this year already. Some overcast on Saturday broke a 14-day streak of 100-plus. It only got to 99 that day.

Huddled around the air-conditioner, there was time to think and mull what hopefully will be the start of the ’11 season this week.

So here’s a thought or two about thing or three.


Whether there is an owners’ lockout going on in the NFL or not, if I was in control of an NFL team and my head coach and starting quarterback were in the field for a big-time celebrity golf tournament, I would be very interested in how they played.

If they went out and struggled to score and finished well back in the final scoring, I’d be very happy. It would be an indication my HC & QB have spent more time working than honing their golf game. If they were among the tournament leaders, I wouldn’t be very happy as it would be an indication they were putting in a lot of time on the golf course.

Clark Hunt should be happy today. In the American Century Celebrity Championship in Lake Tahoe over the weekend, Todd Haley and Matt Cassel were no threats to first place. There were 83 players in the field and Cassel finished at No. 76 with a minus-49 score. They use the Stableford scoring format at Tahoe. Par equals one point, a birdie is worth three points and an eagle counts for six points. A bogie provides no pounds and a double-bogie or above is minus two points.

Haley did marginally better, finishing tied for 64th with a score of minus-9. The Chiefs head coach started strong, finishing Friday’s first round at plus-1 points. He followed that up with rounds of minus-8 and then minus-2 on Sunday.

Last year, Haley finished at plus-21 and tied for the 46th position, so his game went a bit backward. Obviously, the head coach hasn’t spent the lockout on the driving range. No NFL team wants a head coach with the lowest golf handicap.

The 2011 tournament winner was soap opera actor Jack Wagner. He finished at plus-80, ahead of Dallas QB Tony Romo by three points.

Hmmm … maybe Romo’s golf game tells us a little bit about why he’s not been able to get his team into the playoffs, or when they do, pick up a victory.


It was just the week before last that the Cleveland Browns players rolled into Austin and spent three days working in what was called “Camp Colt.”

It was all set up by second-year QB Colt McCoy, and he and LB Scott Fujita were able to convince 35-plus players to come to the 100-degree temperatures and spend time in meetings, practice outside in the heat of the day and then go through strength and conditioning workouts. That’s WR Carlton Mitchell on the right, catching one of McCoy’s passes.

“I commend all of my teammates for putting in the time, the energy and the effort to get here and work so hard,” McCoy told reporters during the camp. “Some of these guys aren’t used to the Texas heat, but we still got a lot of good, efficient work in.”

It will be very interesting when the season starts and the lockout dust settles, to see how teams that held regular practices over the last four months come out of the gate compared to those teams that held only a couple of days of work.

Generally, I go by the rule that if there are no coaches present, then the practices is of questionable worth. But it’s impressive that so many of the Browns were willing to work in the swelter of central Texas with their young quarterback.


Let’s see, early last week Steelers LB James Harrison (left) opened his mouth and ended up sticking his Nikes deep into his tonsils. He fired criticism at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his own teammates QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Rashad Mendenhall.

Then on Sunday right here in Austin, RB Cedric Benson was arrested for the fourth time in the shadow of the Texas state capitol, this time for assault. The incident happened very early Sunday morning in an Austin park where he supposedly got aggressive with a former roommate, who he kicked out of his home last week.

Harrison and Benson are repeat offenders in very different avenues. Mental health is a concern for both. What’s the definition of crazy, doing the same thing over and over and expected the results to be different?

It’s one thing for Harrison to shoot off his mouth like he did for a writer at Men’s Health Magazine. Here’s the link to the story if you must read. But the lowlights were these:

  • On Goodell – “If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
  • More on Goodell – who he called a “faggot”, “stupid”, “a puppet”, and “a dictator.
  • On Roethlisberger – “Just hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”
  • He called Mendenhall a “fumble machine” for a Super Bowl turnover.
  • On Houston LB Brian Cushing – “That boy is juiced out of his mind.” Cushing served a steroid suspension last season.
  • On former Patriots S, now NBC commentator Rodney Harrison and former Patriots LB, now ESPN commentator Tedy Bruschi – “Harrison was the dirtiest player ever, a steroid cheater who was known by the whole world to be a headhunter and late hitter. And Bruschi’s an idiot, straight-up simple. I’d like to meet them both in a dark alley.”

Lost in this stupidity are some valid thoughts and feelings that Harrison has about the league’s new look at player safety and its effect on defensive players on the field.

What should happen with Harrison? The Commish should fine him again for his use of a sexual slur. Otherwise, Goodell needs to walk away from this one.

Benson is another matter. After he got arrested last year, Goodell failed to suspend the running back after meeting with him. With Benson, there’s always an excuse, always somebody else at fault. He’s so misunderstood, yada, yada, yada.

What should happen with Benson? The Commish should throw down a suspension on this guy until he can get his head right. At 31, it may be too late for that. But his excuses have grown tiring. Only a team like the Cincinnati Bengals would want him around.

Benson’s mugshot row, from left to right – May ’08, drunken boating and resisting arrested; June ’08, driving under the influence; June ’10, assault; July ’11, assault.


In the last week, three players who were with the Bengals last season and two that are still on their roster were arrested:

  • It started a week ago Sunday, when CB Pacman Jones was arrested outside a Cincinnati bar for disorderly conduct.
  • Later last week, S Marvin White was arrested in Louisiana for simple assault and disturbing the peace.
  • Sunday, Benson was arrested in Austin. He will be a free agent when the lockout ends.

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