NFL Free Agency… My Thoughts

Well here we go.. the frenzy that is NFL Free Agency has begun.  Day one and we have already seen some big moves by some big names.  I wont get to them all, but there are a few I would like to express my opinion on here.  Remember, this blog isn’t for just reporting what happens, I bring my opinion, and while you may not agree with those opinions, I welcome any and all discussion on what I post.  This blog is designed to encourage engagement, not just be another generic news outlet (I’m not a journalist), so bring your arguments, your praise and above all, your comments and UPVOTES!!!

First is the elephant in the room – and although it isn’t a free agent signing, it is the biggest trade of the offseason thus far and that is Antonio Brown being traded to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.  I don’t pay attention too much to details of trades, jut how the players involved can impact their new team.  There is no doubt that AB has been one of the most prolific WR’s for the last 8 years (As a Browns fan, I know this all too well) but he is getting a downgrade at QB, a downgrade in RB’s (don’t at me Beast Mode fans) and no supporting cast in the wide receiver corps, in my opinion.   The defense was ranked 26th overall in 2018 allowing almost 30 points per game.  AB is good, but he cant make up for a bad defense, and the Raiders will still be bad next year.  Its a good trade for the Raiders, and the Steelers will be worse without him and Bell next year, but it wont make too much of a difference when the season starts in the fall.

Nick Foles to the Jags.  This makes them immediately better at the QB position, the Blake Bortles experiment is over and the Jags, after underperforming last year, can now set their sites on winning the division again.  It wont be a given that they win the South, after all that division is stacked and may very well be the best division in football, but the Jags wont be cellar dwellers and will have a chance. 

Deshawn Jackson to the Eagles..  Again this was a trade, and the Bucs and Eagles swap late round draft picks to finalize the deal.  Jackson no longer wanted to be in Tampa, and Tampa no longer wanted him.  It’s no secret he and Winston did not get along and Jackson saw his targets drop after Fitz was benched in favor of Jameis during the season.  Jackson gets to go back to Philly where he had tremendous success and the Bucs once again will still be the worst team in that division, even with Arians as their Head Coach.  It’s going to take a couple of years for them to right the ship, and as a casual Bucs fan these days, I’m looking forward to seeing them try and get back to one of the better teams in that division.

Finally, as I began to write this post, the news broke that Terrell Suggs was leaving the Ravens (GOOD RIDDANCE) For Arizona.  Suggs is 37 and is still playing at a high level – he will bolster that defense.  Is a good move for him as he went to college in AZ, and once again as a Browns fan, I will be glad to see him leave the division. 

It is still early, and technically none of the FA’s can sign until Wednesday, but it is fun to watch the moves and the talking heads on NFLN and ESPN go ape-shit over all this stuff.  Now pardon me as I cut this post off a little early…  The Bolts are on TV playing the Leaf’s and I love ribbing @jongolson when the Bolts show how much better they are…lol

Reflection, Remorse, and moving forward

Scott & Alex

This is going to be one of the toughest posts I have ever made thus far…..

My friends know me as a jovial, laid-back, happy person.  They admire me for my love of sports and my dedication to the Browns, Indians, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as laugh at me for hating the NBA, Soccer (not Football), my sarcasm, and most of all, my sports nerdiness… (is that a word?.. if not, I just made it one) 

With all of that being said, and for those of you that DON’T know, I have a son named Alex.  He will be 25 on April 14th (Happy Birthday!!).  He will me moving to New Zealand on Monday, and will be gone for at least a year, I had not seen him in three years, and I decided it was time to see him before he left, and for nearly three months I have been trying to come up with the courage to reach out and ask him if he wanted to meet.  This is horrible, but the trigger that would allow me to reach out to him came on Feb 8, 2019.  My cousin, Brian passed away.  Brian was a somewhat important figure in his early life, and I thought he would want to know he passed away.  I reached out to him and after telling him about Brian, asked to meet up.  He agreed, and on Tuesday, we met up and it turned into a five-hour visit.

Before I get into how that visit went, a little backstory…

I am a terrible father, as was my father before me.  I didn’t spend any quality time with Alex, and he has any and all reasons to be angry with me.  We have basically been estranged since 2009 and our contact with each other has been slim to non-existent.  I feel as if I have failed him, that I was supposed to reverse the family history and I failed to be there when he needed me, as well as being the father he needed, instead of being the father that was just there on weekends as he was growing up.  I had so many opportunities to make a difference in his life, but the only influence I managed to have was for him to resent me and fester an anger that was 15 years in the making.

I wont go into details as to why I became the father I am today, but needless to say I allowed outside influences, past feelings, and laziness determine my fate.  I blame no one but myself and take full responsibility for my actions of the past.  I firmly believe had I made different decisions and listened to my parents when he was still very young, things may have been different and we would have been closer, but alas, I made the decisions I made and I am now living through the ramifications of those decisions.  All of this does not diminish the love I have for this kid, now man, but his view of our relationship has been tarnished and jaded because of my inaction over the last 25 years.  I wish I could go back and make better decisions but it is what it is, and I now have to try and earn his trust and love again.

With him moving away it is going to be more difficult to earn his love and respect, but I will take it one day at a time.  I only wish him the best and hope he finds whatever it is he is looking for, he has a lot of anger inside him, directed at both myself and his mother, and I cant help but think we have both failed him as parents.  there is a lot I could say about his mother, but because this isn’t about her, I will let those thoughts stay inside me, and not reveal them here. 

So on to the visit on Tuesday….

The best adjective I have for how it went is “Cordial”.  There was no screaming, no finger pointing, it was just an afternoon of him and I connecting and going over what was going on in our own individual lives.  We discussed our feelings on our relationship and for the most part we agreed that there were a lot of mistakes made and that he has a lot of anger in him over what happened in the last 20+ years.  I am glad I got to see him before he leaves, and I will always remember his face when we left.  I went in for a hug and he was reluctant, but I forced the hug and would not let go as I wanted to try and make him understand I know and own the mistakes I have made in the past and would like to move forward, but it is up to him if we can move forward or not.

With all of that being said, I enjoyed our visit, and it was good to see that he was at least willing to see me, and for that I am grateful.  My takeaway from all of this is some advice for those fathers out there.  Your children are supposed to be the primary focus of your life.  They look up to you, they idolize you, and you are the most influential male figure in their lives.  SPEND TIME with them, do things with them, even if it is something that you really don’t want to do, even if you hate it, even if you would rather stick a hot poker in your eyes, do it…  If your daughter wants to paint your toenails, let them.  If your son wants you to play video games with them for countless hours, do it.  The time you spend with your child in their most impressionable years will be time that frames their vision of who you are, and they will remember those times for their entire lives. 

Good luck Alex, I love you, and I wish you nothing but the best in whatever life has to offer…

The Phillies paid WHAT for WHO???

So, the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes is over..  13 years… $330 million..  that pays him until he is 39 years old…  I may still be alive when this contract is over, but for now he is the highest paid
FA in the history of Baseball, and for those that thought the MLB Free Agent Process was broken.. well..  it isn’t.  Harper got the deal he wanted, granted it was for 3 more years that I personally thought it would be for, but still, how many of us now wish we would have kept playing sports as kids and not quit?  Holy hell that’s a lot of $$$.  Hey Bryce.. I have over $70k in student loans out there, plus a car payment.. can you spot me a loan or perhaps a GIFT so that I can rest easier at night?….  For the uneducated, the ENTIRE contract is guaranteed, that means he is going to get his money, and as of right now, the Phillies are on the hook for all of it.  They call Philadelphia the “City of Brotherly Love”, well they must REALLY love them some Harper, despite the fact that the fans will boo and throw batteries at him if he doesn’t hit .400 his first month of the season.  Here’s an interesting fact that my good friend John G.Olson reminded me of tonight…  The Mets will still be paying Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million a year ($1,193,248.20 to be exact)  long after Harper’s contract is done.  Beginning in 2011, the Mets agreed to pay Bonilla $1.19 million per year on July 1 until they have paid him $29.8 million (He hasn’t played a game since 2001)…  So.. in the case of the Harper deal.. his runs through 2032…  Bonilla’s runs through 2035.  Bonilla is 3 years older than I, which will make him 72 when the contract is finally paid off.  I wonder if Vegas is laying odds on whether he will still be alive in 2035?  I know 72 is still young considering the average lifespan these days, but it still makes you sit and wonder…

As per the usual, I couldn’t let a post go by without giving my Tampa Bay Lightning some props..  With the OT win last night against the hated NY Rangers, they have won 10 games in a row..  a franchise record.  they go for #11 tonight in Boston against the Bruins (#BostonSucks). 

Kyler Murray had his vital stats examined today, as he has become the most watched player at the NFL Combine this week. he came in at 5’ 9 1/8” and 202 pounds.  He supposedly bulked up specifically for the combine and many are skeptical that he will actually play at that weight.  I have a personal observation surrounding Kyler Murray.  He has the potential to be as good, if not better than Russell Wilson, but he needs to be durable and able to take a hit.  I don’t remember seeing too many big hits taken at the college level while he was at OU, and in the NFL he will get hit, and he will get hard.  To quote the late great Al Davis..  the QB must go down, and he must go down HARD.  I have the same opinion of Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.  Small running QB’s do not have a long lifespan in the NFL, but time will tell and the rumor is that the AZ Cardinals will trade Josh Rosen away and take Kyler in the draft…  In my opinion…that will be a mistake and Klingsbury wont have a long career in the NFL if that happens.

I’m out for now… have a good night all….

A follow up to a previous post

Brian Two

Yesterday, my family said goodbye to my cousin Bryan.  He passed away Feb 8th of a massive stroke, brought on by blood clots and past health issues that frankly, none of the family was aware of, and it was one of the hardest things I have had to go through.  He was a retired Marine and with that comes full military honors at his funeral.  I don’t think I have any more tears to shed after yesterday, it was emotional, it was difficult and my heart is still breaking at the loss of this wonderful man.  I considered him a big brother, because I did not have any male siblings, and he was a roll model, a person I looked up to, and a person I loved very much. 

With all of that being said, I also had an awakening after discovering the mess he left behind.  I recommend that if you have not prepared for the inevitable, so it now.  If you do not have a spouse, if you do not have children, draw up a Power of Attorney (POA) or living will so that you can designate  a family member or person that you trust to be the executor of your estate.  Bryan did not provide for his death, therefore his estate is in probate and there are legal ramifications that have to be fulfilled before his father or brother can access things like his bank account, his pension, take care of payments on his truck or boat.  I strongly urge you to designate at least a POA so that if the unexpected happens, your affairs can be taken care of and there is no red tape involved.

Brian One

I can’t explain what the family has had to go through, it is not an easy or smooth experience, so no matter how old you may be, please think of what you will leave behind if the unthinkable and unplanned happens.  I know that I will be setting these things up in the coming weeks, and my sister will have full access to my accounts/passwords/etc…

Remember to hug those you love and hold them close, because you don’t know for sure that they will be here tomorrow..

RIP Bryan…  I love you…

A non-sports post

I decided to partake in a guilty pleasure this evening, specifically, watching a couple of James Bond movies.  As someone that grew up a fan of the series I have been fortunate to see every incarnation of the character, from Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Peirce Brosnan, and now Daniel Craig, I feel I have the unique perspective to rank the Bonds and provide my thoughts on the best to ever play the part. 

There have been 24 “official” bond films and I believe two, non-official.  I will not dwell on the non-official as the original “Casino Royale” with Peter Sellers (Never saw it) and “Never Say Never Again” were not part of Bond “Canon” were not only bad movies they barely rate a mention.  I will rank the official Bond players and I expect a lot of backlash and feedback from my readers on this subject, so comments are welcome.

Let’s see the Bonds in order of appearance..  Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Connery again (Diamonds are Forever), Roger Moore (RIP), Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and finally Daniel Craig.  Each brought their own version of the character to the screen and each have their own positives and negatives in performing as the greatest spy ever (No Offense to you Jason Bourne fans). 

So without further fanfare, here are my rankings:

6. George Lazenby – having only one film in the series to his credit, it is only fitting that he be placed last on this list.  I found his portrayal to be forgettable, lackluster and benign.  To have placed this actor in the movie where Bond actually falls for and marries the female protagonist is an insult to the series.  Connery should have been in this movie and he is the one that should have had to go through it.  Telly Savalas as Blofeld was horrible and the film overall was uninspired and forgettable.

5. Pierce Brosnan – The rumor is that Brosnan had always wanted to play bond, and he was supposedly the heir apparent to Roger Moore, but that never happened.  The Brosnan films were all over the top and unbelievable, deciding to use technology and special effects to thrill audiences and bring Bond into the 21st century.  The ONLY films I even remotely enjoyed during this time were Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies, otherwise the films focused too much on special effects and far too little on reality.

4. Roger Moore – While Sir Roger Moore will live on as the “second” James Bond his portrayal was more campy, and aloof than Sean Connery’s original take on the character.  The best Moore films in my opinion are Live an Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, and The Spy Who Loved Me.  After those films., the Bond character became soft and the films were terrible, entering into a time where Bond seemed more like a cartoon character than a superspy.

3. Timothy Dalton – I’m going to get a lot of grief for putting Dalton #3 but I don’t care.  Dalton was the victim of bad screenwriting, bad filmmaking and bad co-stars.  He tried to bring the character back to the days of Connery, the tough, womanizing, smart, and charismatic Bond we all loved.  His two films were terrible, but it wasn’t his fault.  He was unable to carry his weak so-stars and  if he had good writing and better partners he could have been a great Bond and quite possibly mad more than two movies in the series.  License to Kill was the best of the two, and Dalton showed how ruthless and cold Bond actually was and could have brought the series back to greatness.

2. Daniel Craig – I am Thoroughly enjoying Craig as Bond, he has brought the character back to what was originally intended.  Physical, intelligent and ruthless.  Bond 25 is scheduled for an April 2020 release and it will be his last portrayal of the character.  I can honestly say I have enjoyed each and every film in the Craig series and I am grateful that Barbara Broccoli has decided to bring Bond back to his roots, relying more on the acting and action, as opposed to technology and special effects.  Craig has taken the mantle and ran with it.  The movies have relied more on the live-action stunts and physicality than the movies during Brosnan’s time and I am appreciative of it.  I will be sad to see Craig relinquish the title, but I also know that at 51, the physical demands of the character are just too much.

1. Sean Connery – The original, the man, the myth, and the legend.  Connery set the standard by which all other Bonds are measured.  From Dr. No to Diamonds are forever, he showed what Bond is supposed to be, and what Ian Fleming imagined him to be.  I have to admit, his later movies, including Diamonds, and You Only Live Twice were the worst of the bunch, but the previous four were masterpieces of the genre.  Connery is now 88 years old, but he will go down as perhaps one of the greatest actors of our time, which started with his portrayal of James Bond, through his performances in The Untouchables, and The Hunt for Red October, along with his countless stage performances, will label him as one of the greatest actors of all time.

Well, that’s my list…  Tell me what you think…