Tag Archives: Cody Pace

NFC Profiles

The first profile I came across was this MMQB Sam Hurd profile by Michael McKnight. This story is one of the better stories I’ve ever read and it is incredibly relevant with Hurd being sentenced on Wednesday. At first, I just assumed Hurd was another dead-beat, “money went to his head” NFL player, but after reading this story, it kind of made me at least re-evaluate my perspective–some of what went on in this investigation and sentencing was sketchy. I like how McKnight uses the narrative of Hurd’s drug-trafficking to tell a larger picture story about the type of person Hurd was, how he grew up, how he came to fame, and even how the U.S. justice system seems to work.

I also sought out a profile on Richard Sherman and found this one by Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times. I searched for something on Sherman because he’s such a perplexing figure. With all of the talent in the world, the guy comes off as a real jerk on the field, but then off the field he’s buying dinner for homeless people and writing excellent columns for MMQB. In this one, I like how Farmer was able to touch on both his on-field and off-field demeanor without coming across as too unfocused or scattered.

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Through unlikely rise and hard fall, Bradshaw relishes golf career

Collins Bradshaw, a former golfer for the University of Georgia’s women’s team, had an unusual ascension to the peak of her golfing game. In fact, she hated golf at first.

“My brother ended up picking up golf and at first I hated it, I absolutely hated it,” Bradshaw said. “I hated going out there, I hated playing because no girls were out there and I was always alone.”

However, things changed for Bradshaw when she met former Green Bay Packers receiver Sterling Sharpe.

“I was on the range one day and Sterling Sharpe…came up and we just went out to play nine,” Bradshaw said. “He just basically told me that I could go as far as I wanted in the sport and that’s what really captured me, kind of brought me closer… It just kind of clicked for me.”

Once it “clicked,” Bradshaw began entering juniors tournaments. After her first tournament didn’t go very well, she ended up winning four of the six tournaments she played in at age 10.

She began her high school career in seventh grade and began competing at the national level including the US Junior, which Bradshaw said is “like the US Open for juniors.” Bradshaw’s gritty performance at that event, at which she came back during match play down three holes with four to go to force a playoff, was a part of what attracted college coaches to her.

“She beats me and I remember being so upset, but I remember my dad points it out to me the tenacity that I had out there,” Bradshaw said. “I’m not very big, I don’t hit the ball very far, but my accuracy off the tee and my tenacity is what attracted certain college coaches.”

Bradshaw ended up committing to Georgia to play under coach Kelley Hester. However, with many rises comes a fall, and Bradshaw’s came following her freshman season.

“[Hester] ended up getting let go after my freshman year which was really tough on me,” Bradshaw said. “We got a new coach from Southern Cal [Josh Brewer]… A lot of ups and downs, emotionally and just very tired and it started to take my love for the game away.”

On June 24, Brewer called Bradshaw to inform her she was no longer on the team just six days before the July 1 cutoff for transfers.

“I think that a lot of [the girls] were devastated thinking I quit, and I’m not a quitter,” Bradshaw said. “It’s just been really difficult to have to sit there and smile and deep down know that I was forced out of a situation.”

Even if she never plays competitively again or reaches her dream of being on the LPGA Tour, Bradshaw says there are certain life lessons she’s taken from golf that have made the journey worth it.

“Had it not been for golf, I don’t think I would have had as much tenacity, as much…clutch,” Bradshaw said. “I like to think of golfers when your back’s against the wall, you can do one of two things: you can sit down and give in or you can fight through it and know that there’s a chance that you’re probably not going to win.”

It’s not all Eli

For just one night, the youngest Manning gets to go home a winner.

Eli Manning has long been regarded as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, leading his New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories in his nine-year career. However, he has looked anything but good as his Giants ship is slowly sinking.

At 1-6, his chances at the playoffs are almost zero, even in a paltry NFC East. What’s worse is that he has been much of the problem.

Through six games, Manning had thrown 15 interceptions, which was equal to his 16-game total in 2012 and more than his 16-game total in two other seasons. It was even more than his nine-game total in his 2004 rookie campaign.

At his current pace, Manning would throw 23 touchdowns, which would be the second fewest in his career, and 34 interceptions, which would be the most by nine interceptions. Manning has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his career.

After all of this, a Monday Night victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the first for the Giants, seems like a step in the right direction, particularly for Manning, who threw no interceptions for the first time this season.

In all reality, however, a victory against a 1-5 Vikings team isn’t a very big step, particularly when noting that Manning came close to throwing two interceptions, as Ralph Vacchiano pointed out in the New York Daily News article.

Some surprising revelations from the statistics could, in part, explain why Manning and the Giants have struggled so mightily.

At his current pace, Manning would also throw the ball 613 times for 4,391 yards. In his career, Manning has never thrown more than 589 passes in his career and has thrown for more than 4,400 yards just once. Moreover, the Giants’ 20.7 rush attempts per game is the third fewest in the league.

Although Manning’s career highs in yards and attempts came in 2011 when the Giants won the Super Bowl, the Giants averaged 28 rushes per game in the playoffs, ranking fourth among all playoff teams. The 2008 Super Bowl campaign saw much of the same with the Giants running 32 rushing plays per game, the second most in the playoffs that season.

With injuries to the Giants’ running back position, Peyton Hillis was the Giants leading rusher–he had 36 yards.

Maybe all Manning needs is a little bit of help.

NFC Second-day game story

I liked this second-day story from Thursday night’s Seahawks game. I’m always interested in front office activities/transactions and I like how Bob Condotta tied it in to the injury that occurred during the game. The fact that they chose to (potentially) bring back a player that was previously on the roster adds another layer to the story and I also like that Condotta went into his history with the Seahawks without rambling on about it. The conciseness of this story makes it attractive for what it is and serves its purpose well.

Josh Freeman: how the Bucs made him the victim

Josh Freeman had secrets. The operative word here is “had.”

On Oct. 2 the Tampa Tribune reported that Freeman had been fined multiple times for various infractions, including conducting an unauthorized interview on Sept. 26 and missing two meetings on Oct. 4.

Players get fined all the time, what’s the big deal?

Well, the Tribune report sites confirmation from a “Bucs source,” which is kind of illegal according to league policy. Freeman’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, was quick to point this out via Twitter.

Had this been the only instance of a breach of trust, it might have been swept under the rug. However, this followed an ESPN report from Chris Mortensen revealed that Freeman was a stage-one participant in the NFL’s drug testing program. Freeman almost immediately released a statement on the reason behind his testing:

“I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career,” Freeman said. “Well over a year ago, I took a different medication for the same condition (Ritalin rather than Adderall) , and to assure everyone that the error was a one-time mistake, I agreed to be voluntarily tested in the ‘NFL Program.’ Since that time, I have taken and passed all 46 drug tests I’ve been given, which test for every drug and banned substance imaginable.”

Once again, this information is confidential and it is a violation of league policy to reveal it. Mortensen’s report sites “league and player sources with knowledge of his status.”

“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information,” Freeman said.

That quote from Freeman seems to once again indict someone within the Buccaneers organization as the culprit behind the leak.

The news doesn’t look good for the Tampa organization either. The NFL Players’ Association has said that it will be “coming after everyone” involved in this investigation. Ironically, this quote came from an unidentified “league source.”

The Freeman saga hasn’t been pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Freeman has been criticized, benched and cut, and probably rightfully so.

Freeman’s 45.7 completion percentage and three interceptions to just two touchdowns were bad definitely not enough to overshadow his off-field issues, like missing team photo day on Sept. 2. Freeman should have been benched and, if his team believed that Mike Glennon was the answer at quarterback, he should have been cut as well. There’s no point in dragging it out.

However, the externalization of this problem that should have stayed relatively within the organization is “shameful,” as Greg Doyel wrote.

“There’s something shameful, despicable really, about linking Freeman’s legitimate medication to the loaded phrase “drug program” and then leaking that to a media outlet for the transparent purpose of making Josh Freeman look like the bad guy in his very public feud with [Greg] Schiano,” Doyel wrote.

This feud doesn’t indicate a broken or dirty organization as much as it proves how dirty business can be, especially when that business is as lucrative as the NFL. This isn’t the first time players have been slandered over fines and suspensions (i.e. Saints “Bounty-gate” scandal) and it probably won’t be the last.

Freeman is no angel, but he is the victim here. The battle seemed more about how much money the Buccaneers might could recoup from Freeman once a trade was deemed impossible, but that’s just how it works. Had the Buccaneers followed the path laid out by the collective bargaining agreement (cut him or trade him) then he is just a one-hit wonder quarterback that regressed. Instead, Freeman can compete with Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel for the starting job in Minnesota while the Buccaneers buckle down for what could be a very uncomfortable investigation.