Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ray Lewis Accused of using Deer-Antler Spray

Ray_Lewis

Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, is accused of using deer-antler spray, a mist that contains a substance that is listed on the NFL’s banned list. Deer-antler spray is a product from Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, S.W.A.T.S. A S.W.A.T.S. co-owner, Mitch Ross claims that he talked with Lewis in the middle of October after the linebacker tore his triceps. Ross said that Lewis was interested in a speedy recovery that would have him back on the field by the super bowl, in which Ross proscribed deer-antler spray, a spray that also comes in pill form as well, along with many other products.

The spray is said to contain IGF-1, which is a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and is the substance that is banned by the NFL. Christopher Key, the other co-owner of S.W.A.T.S., explains it like this, “You’re familiar with HGH, correct? It’s converted in the liver to IGF-1. We have deer that we harvest out of New Zealand. Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth . . . because of the high concentration of IGF-1. We’ve been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three (times) under your tongue. . . . This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese.”

A professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Roberto Salvatori believes it is not scientifically possible to take IGF-1 orally. Salvatori is quoted in a newspaper article, “If there were, a lot of people would be happy that they don’t need to get shots anymore. It’s just simply not possible for it to come from a spray.”

The Ravens vice president of communications, Kevin Byrne told ESPN, “(Lewis) denied using the substance discussed in the article, and we believe him.” Byrne also added, “Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test.” Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh also supported this when he said, “Ray has worked incredibly hard to get back. I would hate to see anything diminish that. My understanding is that he’s passed every random Ray_Lewis_Baltimoresubstance test that he’s taken throughout his career.”

But it is interesting to know that Mark Schlereth explains in a blog on ESPN.com, “The NFL Players Association said the league does test for IGF-1, the banned substance found in deer-antler extract, but the NFL said it is not detectable with the league’s current testing methods.”

There are so many questions to this story. Is Ross making up this story to get publicity for S.W.A.T.S. products because Ray Lewis had a speedy recovery from an injury? Is Ross telling the truth and Lewis is just denying it because he is scared of what might happen – deny, deny, deny? Ray Lewis had an injury and worked hard to come back from this. It would be sad to hear that he took a performance enhancing substance to do it. If Lewis did make this comeback authentically and legally this is an awful rumor to start but I guess one to be expected because he is one of the best linebackers in the league, some would even place him as number one. I feel this story breaking in the time that it did, just days before the super bowl, is going to distract Lewis and play a part in his game time performance. I mean how could it now? There are now going to be a lot more eyes on him and a tremendous amount of pressure. Lewis is going to have to work even harder to stay focused during this important game on Sunday.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8894127/super-bowl-2013-ray-lewis-baltimore-ravens-reportedly-connected-ped

http://www.ibtimes.com/what-deer-antler-spray-behind-swats-substance-ray-lewis-reportedly-used-1047388

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_22476762/ravens-ray-lewis-denies-using-deer-antler-spray

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130129/the-strange-lab-that-lured-numerous-athletes/

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Delonte West back to Dallas?

Guard, Delonte West was let go by the Dallas Mavericks back in November. Since then West has not been picked up by any teams.

Delonte_WestThen yesterday news came out that the Memphis Grizzlies are thinking about signing West to a 10-day contract. The Grizzlies are expected to decide this week what they are going to do. If Memphis does not sign West he will enter the D-league. If that is the case West will have the chance to join the D-league team that is at the top of the waiver line, which just so happens to be the Texas Legends. The Texas Legends are the D-league team of the Dallas Mavericks.

Marc Stein with ESPNDallas.com wrote, “A source close to West told Jeff “Skin” Wade of the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that the guard prefers a potential situation with the Legends to the Grizzlies scenario in hopes that a good showing with the D-League team could put him back into favor with the Mavs, who released him before the regular season began.”

As much as I loved Delonte West with Dallas, I don’t think it would be in his best interest to play for the Mavericks’ D-league team. With how things ended for him in Dallas, I feel it would be best for him to start fresh somewhere else and work his way up there. I don’t know all the details to the event/events that led up to the Mavericks decision to let West go, but either way it happened. Who’s to say that won’t happen again? Then that would put West back out of the NBA yet again. Also even if West does go to the the Texas Legends and plays really well, will the Mavs even consider calling him back up? West would just be wasting his time with the Texas Legends if that is not something the Mavs would ever do.

I like West and believe him to be an aggressive defensive and offensive player. I am not saying I wouldn’t like to see West back in Dallas, I just think it would be a better career move for him to be somewhere else. So I hope that Memphis signs him and he can get back on the court by next week, even if it is only with a 10-day contract to start.

History:

To read about the last incident that happened just before West was let go by the Mavericks read: Delonte West Suspended Again!

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4693877/sources-delonte-west-enters-d-league-pool

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Another Oops by Mayor Menino


On Wednesday the mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino goofs on sports names yet again. Mayor Menino was having a phone conversation with the mayor of Baltimore in front of the media. They were talking about the upcoming AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.

During the conversation mayor Menino says, “We have Tom Brady here, we have Tom Brady here, we have Tom Brady here. He’s been our point person all season long. And Stevan Ridley, he’s been another great guy. And Wilcock.” Menino was referring to New England’s defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, #75, whose jersey he has on during the conversation. Menino is also holding a sheet of paper which I would guess has the names of the players on it. Even with the paper he still messes up the names of star players.

The conversation continues with Menino later saying, “We have it all. Hernandez is going to do a great job. He’ll step in for Gonk because Gonk’s hurt.” The mayor meant to say “Gronk,” which is the nickname of Rob Gronkowski who broke his forearm and will not play the rest of the postseason. At least he was closer this year than last year when he called him “Grabowski.”

The mayor joked about his mess up on Thursday when he tweeted out, “How could we have a championship season in New England without some new #Meninoisms? cc @Wilfork75 @RobGronkowski #PatriotsNation”

Mayor Menino cracks me up when he messes up like this. No one is perfect and it just makes for a good laugh when he does this because he has done it so many times in the past. I love that he shows his sense of humor and laughs about his “Meninoisms” with us.

To read about some of this past mistakes refer back to my past blog: Oops! Mayor of Boston did it Again.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/8853415/2013-nfl-playoffs-boston-mayor-thomas-menino-stumbles-new-england-patriots-names

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The Eagles hire Chip Kelly

Chip_KellyToday the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly as their new head coach.

The Eagles ended their 2012 season with a record of only 4-12, so on December 31, 2012 they fired head coach Andy Reid and began the search for a replacement. One of the main coaches Philadelphia was pursuing was Chip Kelly, head coach of the University of Oregon Ducks. Yes, this college coach is moving up to coach the big leagues. In his 4 years as coach Chip Kelly lead the Ducks to a 46-7 record, as well as just beating Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl to end the 2012 season.

After the bowl Kelly was ready to be interviewed. Kelly said, “I know that people want to talk to me because of our players. The success of our football program has always been about our guys. It’s an honor for someone to say they’d want to talk to me about maybe moving on to go coach in the National Football League. But it’s because of what those guys do. I’ll listen, and we’ll see.” Kelly talked with Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Buffalo but decided to stay with the University of Oregon. Then Kelly changed his mind and agreed to move up to the NFL and coach for Philadelphia. Though I am sure Oregon is sad to see Chip Kelly go they are keeping it classy and wishing him the best. The university’s athletic director Rob Mullens said, “I want to thank Chip for his leadership and commitment to building on the Oregon Football foundation of excellence. We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL.”Chip_Kelly_oregon

The Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is very excited to have Kelly as the new head coach. Lurie said, “Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles. He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”

Chip Kelly has no experience coaching an NFL team so I would not expect immediate success, but with his “football mind” I bet the Eagles will have a much better season in 2013 than they did in 2012.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8849699/chip-kelly-bolts-oregon-ducks-coach-philadelphia-eagles

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NFL Positions 101

In the NFL teams must contain a 53 man roster at the start of the regular season. Each player in the NFL plays a particular position on offense or defense and has a certain job to do. There are only 11 men from each team allowed on the field, so there are 11 positions in offense and 11 positions in defense, and a few others for special teams. As I go on to describe each position be sure to refer back to the picture above and pictures below to get a better visual of where the position might be, but keep in mind that coaches design different plays that may place a certain player in a different location. Coaches can also run plays that have more of a certain position and less of another, so you may see more tight ends, more linebackers, or even more linemen to take the place of another position the coach will take out for a particular play.

Offense Positions:

Center (C) – The center is in charge of starting the play by snapping the ball to the quarterback. The center is also responsible for blocking defensive players on the other team to keep them from getting to the offensive player with the ball. The center is the player that is in the middle of the Offensive Linemen on the line of scrimmage.

Offensive Linemen – there are 4 different types:

  • Left Guard (LG/G) – The guard must block the defensive players from getting to the quarterback or any teammate that has the ball. If the guard needs to he can “pull”. This is when the guard moves from his position beside the center to be near the ball carrier and block for him. A guard will only “pull” on certain plays like “traps” – when the ball carrier will run inside, “sweeps” – when the call carrier runs outside, or “screens” – a passing play. The left guard is lined up on the left side of the center on the line of scrimmage.
  • Right Guard (RG/G) – has the same responsibilities as the left guard but is lined up on the right side of the center.
  • Left Tackle (LT/T) – The tackle must block for both running and passing plays. The tackles must work hard to block the defensive players from getting to the quarterback. If the quarterback is right-handed it is the Left Tackle’s job to protect the quarterback from being hit from behind, also known as the quarterback’s “blind side”. This tackle that has to protect the quarterback’s “blind side” is usually they more skilled offensive lineman. Tackles can also “pull” during a running play if there is a tight end on his side. Left tackles line up on the left side of the left guard.
  • Right Tackle (RT/T) – A right tackle has the same responsibilities as a left tackle. But if the quarterback is left-handed it is the right tackle’s job to protect the “blind side”. A right tackle is lined up just on the right side of the right guard.

Quarterback (QB) – The quarterback has the most important offensive job. He must receive the ball from the coaches and talk to them about what play to run. Then the quarterback informs his teammates that are on the field in a huddle. Then the quarterback breaks the huddle and the team takes their positions. The quarterback can stand in two different positions: 1.) “Under Center” – the quarterback is directly behind the center so that he can receive the ball in a hand-to-hand pass or 2.) “In the Shotgun” – the quarterback is lined up at a distance behind the center for a small pass. After the quarterback has the ball he has 3 options: run the ball himself, hand it off to another ball carrier, or throw a pass to a player down field. The quarterback must think and act quickly before the defensive players on the other team get to him.

Wide Receiver (WR) – Those that run distances and get open to catch a pass from the quarterback. Wide receivers are considered specialists in pass-catching, but are occasionally asked to block sometimes too. Wide receivers stand on the far outside of the linemen near the sidelines to start the play.

Tight End (TE) – A tight end is a mix between a wide receiver and a lineman because they can block or catch passes. Tight ends start on either side of and directly next to the tackles on the line of scrimmage.

Running Back – players that line up behind the offensive line to receive the ball from the quarterback for a rushing play.  There can be from 0 to 3 running backs used for a play. If there are no running backs used the play is said to have an “empty backfield”. There are 4 different types of running backs depending on where they line up:

  • Tailback/halfback (TB/HB) – the player that is the primary ball carrier for rushing plays. They can also catch passes if necessary. Tailbacks line up behind the fullback.
  • Fullback (FB) – the player that is the primary blocker for the ball carrier. This player is usually larger and stronger than the tailback.  Fullbacks line up closer to the line of scrimmage than a tailback would so they can block. Fullbacks can also catch passes if needed.
  • Wingback/Slotback (WB/SB) – a running back that starts behind the line of scrimmage on the outside of the tackle or tight end. These players are only found during certain offensive alignments.
  • H-back – a modified tight end that lines up just behind the line of scrimmage.

Defense Positions:

Defensive Linemen – 4 to 5 types:

  • Defensive Left Tackle (LT/T) – can also be known as defensive guards. They are required to rush the passer, or in other words they must try to get to the quarterback and tackle him before he passes the ball. Defensive left tackles are lined up on the defensive line of scrimmage more to the left end side across from the offensive right guard.
  • Defensive Right Tackle (RT/T) – has the same responsibilities as the defensive left tackle but is lined up to the right end of the line of scrimmage across from the offensive left guard.
  • Defensive Nose Guard – A nose guard has the same responsibilities as a defensive tackle but is only used in rare formations. The nose guard lines up directly across from the center so that they are pretty much nose-to-nose.
  • Defensive Left End (LE/E) – The defensive left end must try to stop the quarterback from passing the ball or stop any offensive runners that were given the ball. The faster of the two defensive ends is usually placed on the side of the quarterback’s blind side. If the quarterback is left-handed their blind side would be their right side so the faster defensive end would stand on the left side (opposite of the quarterback’s right side). The defensive left end starts to the left of the defensive left tackle.
  • Defensive Right End (RE/E) – The defensive right end has the same responsibilities as the defensive left end, but starts on the right side of the defensive right tackle.

Linebackers – stand behind the defensive linemen and obtain different responsibilities depending on where they are standing.

  • Middle Linebacker (ML) – The middle linebacker calls out the plays and is required to react to any changes of the offense. The middle linebacker must also be able to stop any running backs that get past the defensive line, stop any pass plays through the middle, or rush the quarterback if given the opportunity. The middle linebacker stands in the middle of the defensive linemen and is like the quarterback of the defense.
  • Outside Linebacker (OL) – They are mostly responsible for covering the offensive tackles. Some teams refer to their outside linebackers as other names like “right outside” and “left outside”, or “strongside”/”Sam” and “weakside”/”Will”. They may also be asked to rush the quarterback, or cover a running back to keep them from catching a pass. Outside linebackers stand on the outside of the defensive linemen.

Defensive backs – Defensive backs are responsible for covering wide receivers and tight ends to keep them from getting the ball during a pass play, stop any ball carriers that get past the defensive linemen, and can attempt to catch any passed balls for an interception. Defensive backs stand behind the defensive linemen or outside near the sidelines. Defensive backs are also known as the “secondary” and are the last line of defense. There are 3 different types of defensive backs:

  • Cornerbacks (CB) – Cornerbacks must cover the wide receivers and keep them from catching the pass from the quarterback. The cornerbacks can swat the ball away or catch it themselves. During a rushing play the cornerbacks must tackle the ball carrier, direct him back to the middle to be tackled, or force him out-of-bounds. Cornerbacks mostly start behind the defensive line on the outside near the sidelines.
  • Safety (S) – Safeties help cover offensive players to keep them from getting the ball. There are usually 2 safeties on the field, one being the strong safety and the other being the free safety. The strong safety is stronger and larger to help stop/tackle the offensive players during running plays. The free safety is smaller and faster to help cover the offensive players that run a distance to catch a long pass. Safeties are the defensive players that stand farthest back from the line of scrimmage.
  • Nickelback and Dimeback (NB/DB) – an extra defensive back that will take the place of a linebacker. When a team feels they need extra help in pass coverage they will take out a linebacker and put in an extra defensive back, this formation is called a “nickel” because of the fifth defensive back. If there is six defensive backs the formation is called a “dime package”.

Special Teams:

Sometimes there are special plays coaches like to run or need to run. For these special plays there may be a special team or position that is needed. Some special positions include:

Kicker (K) – comes in only to kick the ball for kickoffs and/or field goals. The kicker will always kick the ball off a tee or from a “holder”. In rare occasions a team’s kicker will also punt.

Holder (H) – holds the ball in an upright position on the ground for the kicker to kick. The holder will normally be 7 to 8 yards back from the line of scrimmage. The holder is usually the team’s backup quarterback or punter.

Long Snapper (LS) – a specialized center that snaps the ball at a much further distance to the holder or punter during kicking plays.

Punter (P) – a player that catches the ball from the long snapper and drops it from their own hands to kick it a distance down the field. A punter is normally only used during a fourth down to push the opposing teams defense further down the field and away from the offensive team’s in-zone (touchdown area).

Punt Returner and Kick Returner (PR/KR) – defensive players that are put in to catch the kicked ball of a punter or kicker. After they catch the ball they will run it back up the field as far as they can. These returners are usually the fastest players on the teams.

Upback – used during punting plays and will be positioned 1 to 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage somewhere between the long snapper and the punter, but not directly in-between the two. The upback calls for the snap to begin the play. The upback is mostly used as a last line defensive blocker for the punter, but can also catch the snapped ball on fake punts and run it himself or throw it.

Gunner – is used on the punting or kicking plays to quickly run down the field to tackle the punt returner or kick returner on the opposing team. The Gunner starts by lining up near the sidelines were he is less likely to be blocked.

Now you know the positions in the NFL and their responsibilities. I hope this helps you understand the game more.

Resources:

http://www.fuzilogik.com/Sports-Library/Football-NFL/Player-Positions-In-Football.html

http://football.about.com/cs/football101/a/positionoff.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football_positions

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/player-positions-in-american-football.html

http://football.about.com/cs/football101/a/bl_101downs.htm

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