July 26, 2005
Alex Smith:
49ers rookie QB signs largest rookie contract in NFL history (6y/up-to-$57m). Now the domino game can continue with the rest of the first-round picks.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

When 49ers QB Alex Smith spends next season flattened behind his woeful team, at least he's got all that cash to cushion his fall.

Richest. Rookie. Ever.

Is Smith really worth the biggest rookie deal of all time? Of course not. He was practically the top pick by default.

But that doesn't seem to matter.

The top rookie pay parameter goes up, regardless of the team or talent, especially when it comes to QBs.

(See Eli Manning's previous record for rookie contracts, set way back in 2004. Yeah, he sure earned that last season.)

No begrudging Smith for negotiating the deal. And it makes the market, unclogging the pipeline for the rest of the 1st-rounders to sign.

But he's already overpaid, and he hasn't even taken a snap yet.

Ricky's Return
Sure, Ricky apologized and his teammates accepted. Bygones?

Well, not quite: I didn't hear any apologies about his raggedy look.

Did you see him yesterday? If I were Nick Saban, I'd say he's not allowed back on the field until he cleans up.

Beard? Fine. Long hair? Fine.

But Ricky must learn that T.C. stands for Training Camp, not Transient Commune.

Right now he looks like a 1st-round lock for the Fantasy Hobo Draft. Happy to take up a collection for a trip to the barber. Too much to ask?

MLB Tuesday Notes
A's win 7th straight: Pound 13 runs in blowout vs. CLE. And it's not even August, when they usually make their sick run.

Curt Schilling blows it: Gives up game-winning RBI 2B to D-Rays' Aubrey Huff. Funny, didn't hear there was an awards show to commute from Monday night.

Nomar: Will play in A Peoria tonight in first rehab game
Ty Law: Works out for Lions; looking good to get offer?
Pacers: Euro stud PG Jasikavecius will be NBA all-Rookie
Ced Benson: Bears top pick holding out (but near a deal?)
Cards training camp: Virus at N. Ariz. U forces new locale
NBA players earning loot: League delays free-agent signing
Kerry Wood Watch: Good news for those who want to see him as a closer. Bad news for those who had hoped to see him start again in 2005.

Killer B's: Biggio and Berkman bash back-to-back bombs, then do it again later in the game.

Today's Top: Nats vs. Braves. Not must-win for D.C., but close. What's it say that Nats come out winners if they simply don't get swept?

ACC Media Day
Formerly thin league now officially loaded, with the import of BC joining fellow Big East ex-pats Va. Tech (picked to finish 1st in Coastal Division) and Miami (picked 2nd).

And yet, for those who like reminders of the "old ACC," Florida State is still expected to hold up its end of the league, picked to finish first in the Atlantic Division.

The biggest change is the first ACC title game, to be played after the regular season in Jacksonville.

Like every other league that has one, it'll be great until the ACC's only unbeaten loses in it, knocking it from BCS title-game contention.

NFL Camping: ATL
Jenkins in, Price out at WR: Nothing shouts irony like being named Peerless yet starting for the 2nd-team offense.

Not sure if any Falcons WR is fantasy-worthy, but if any are going to break out (based on Monday's camp opener), it's soph Michael Jenkins.

Woods Loses "Battle"
Apparently, as long as there are no major stakes, Retief Goosen is The Man. Alas, there are no jackets for winning Battle at the Bridges (maybe a free E-Z Pass ... wait, that's for Battling Bridge Traffic).

Meanwhile, don't expect any more made-for-TV events like this one, built to feature Tiger. He wants to spend more time concentrating on majors. He ends his career 4-3 with a variety of playing partners. Would have loved to see him play with Michelle Wie.

50 in 50: OR
Impressions of Oregon:

Blazers blow it: Take your pick ... drafting Bowie ahead of Jordan or blowing a 15-point, 4th-quarter lead to the Lakers in the '00 West finals.

"Civil War": Oregon-Oregon St. would be considered the West's Duke-UNC or 'Bama-Auburn ... if CFB fans back East could find West on a map.

Vote Best of Oregon here!

Padres 1B Phil Nevin rejects a trade to Baltimore that would have foisted SP Sidney Ponson to San Diego. O's now eyeing OF Bigbie for PIT OF Lawton. Whee.
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Quickie live!
Page 2 index
Len P. in ATL
Ranking NFL Rookies to Watch
Alex Smith
Now go earn that money
Maurice Clarett
Next in Broncos line?
Mike Williams
Another sick Lions WR
Troy Williamson
Replacing Randy is tough
Ronnie Brown
How will he fit with Ricky?

Larry Brown Watch: All indications are that he's ready to coach the Knicks. But is he willing? Could the deal come this week?

Not that the asking price for TEX 2B Alfonso Soriano isn't ridiculously high, but he'd become the jewel of the trade deadline if he were dealt.

NBA Free: Pickings are slim when PG Marko Jaric is the biggest available name; the Nuggets and Cavs are both reportedly interested.

Jack Nicholson bans Celtics gear from Boston movie set. Yes, even LaFrentz replica jerseys, which you'd figure are worn ironically if anything.

Ohio St. QB Troy Smith was cleared of any NCAA rules violation for missing a class to attend a McNair football camp. Didn't help his rep, but no suspension in offing.

Last word on QB Smith's deal: Biggest winner in all of this? USC QB Matt Leinart, who will be the top pick in 2006. Think $60 million.

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