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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: August 22, 2005

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

I'm not trying to be glib when I say that I thought of the late 49ers guard Thomas Herrion after I finished watching last night's series finale of "Six Feet Under," a TV show that did more than any other to guide viewers to some terms with mortality.

When athletes die on the field -- particularly pro football players -- it's a shock to fans. They're huge, sure, but also larger than life.

So it's daunting to try to make sense of it. But even two days later, it's really hard. As always, there are no easy answers.

In fact, the most disturbing part is that it goes unexplained. (Not that an explanation would make it any less tragic; it would simply make it less unknowable.)

The autopsy was inconclusive; it'll take a toxicological report (results in 3 to 6 weeks) for doctors to have a better grasp of what went wrong.

That shouldn't stop an all-too-infrequent critical examination of the increasing size of NFL linemen and the health risks associated with that, particularly relevant during the brutal August workouts.

There's going to be a lot of focus about NFL Fantasy this week, but don't forget the unforgiving realities.

Gates Intrigue
Chargers TE Antonio Gates did the right thing and will go back to camp, although he could have saved everyone the intrigue and reported Saturday.

Instead, there's this rumor that the NFL will overrule the Bolts' suspension of Gates for Week 1, punishment for his holdout.

Player, team and league would be better served letting Gates play in Week 1, but it would obliterate the regular-season suspension as leverage.

NFL Weekend: Eli?!
Giants are "very concerned" about Eli's elbow, sprained Saturday night. That level of concern should concern fans.

Possible replacement Tim Couch (or at least he's a backup the Giants are considering) is no Eli Manning, and that's saying something.

Weekend Studs:
Bills QB Losman: Led 3 scores
B. Favre: 4/6, TD vs. Bills D
Chad Penn.: Shoulder looks OK

Weekend Duds:
T.O.: W'brook more "MVP" as WR
Dolphins O: 3 pts, 0-3 in PRE
Patrick Ramsey: Inconsistent!

MLB Wrap
ChiSox salvage, Unit rocked: Continuing our game of "You Know You're Team Is Having a Bad Season When ..."

... When its star acquisition of the offseason is hammered for four HRs in one inning, to a team with a stalled offense.

Indians are streaking: Swept the O's for their 4th straight win, and closed within .5 GB OAK for the wild card, tied with NYY. (Lone AL games today have WC implications: CLE at TB, TOR at NYY.)

K.C. can't even lose right: With MLB immortality there for the taking, the Royals edged the A's Saturday night to end their losing streak at a merely miserable 19 games, rather than a superlative 21 or more.

(Wait: Is that a 2-game Royals W streak?!)

Schilling to return as SP: Probably the most highly anticipated regular-season Red Sox start since Schilling's first appearance in 2004. Safe to say: If he's a non-starter, so are Boston's chances of repeating.

Law/Order: Phillips
I was going to DQ him below, but Lawrence Phillips' weekend story is so wacked out it needed more explanation:

He was arrested Sunday for long-standing domestic violence charges, but only caught after he tried to ram a bunch of teenagers in his car.

OK, this was after he joined the teens to play pickup football; a huff ensued, and he returned in the car to try to run them down.

And yet: You just know some slob in your FFL league draft will be so desperate for RBs in the late rounds that they'll pick him.

USC: AP No. 1
I'm confused: The AP pulled out of the BCS formula because it didn't want to "make the news." And yet, by continuing its own "independent" poll, it sets up the "split champ" phenomenon that triggered the BCS mess in the first place.

Meanwhile, one voter put Louisville as No. 1 -- Joe Giglio of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. "Louisville was the only one that I came up with as going undefeated," he said.

NFL Pre: Dal/Sea
What's the bigger coaching scandal:

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells being displaced as the Greatest Active Coach by Bill Belichick?

Or Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren being exposed as the Most Overrated Active Coach by Seattle's never-ending cycle of disappointment?

Quickie 50/50: IL
Impressions of Illinois:

Jordan's Six-Pack, Wrigley day games, Super Bowl Shuffle, Steve Bartman, Go-Go Sox, Northwestern Rose Bowl '95, original "March Madness."

Vote Best of Illinois here!