If nothing else, Chip Kelly would have been an intriguing hire for the Bucs

Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly (L) encourages his team during the third quarter of their NCAA football game against the Washington Huskies in Eugene, Oregon, November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

For at least the second time in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been “jilted at the altar.”

Those infamous words came out of the mouth of former owner Hugh Culverhouse, who uttered them after Bill Parcells broke a handshake agreement to become the Bucs’ head coach in 1992. If Culverhouse were still alive to this day, he may have said the same thing about Chip Kelly.

According to a report by KGW NewsChannel 8 in Portland, the Bucs were in the process of finalizing a deal on Sunday night that would have made Kelly their next head coach. The St. Petersburg Times confirmed the report and for roughly 10 hours it appeared as though Kelly would bring his explosive zone-read offense to the pros.

But on Monday morning, Kelly reversed field and decided not to accept the Bucs’ head-coaching job. While he said he was flattered by the Bucs’ interest, Kelly ultimately decided that his heart was in Oregon and thus, a deal that was reportedly “done” on Sunday evening had fallen through. Once again, the Bucs are now back to square one in their search for Raheem Morris’ replacement.

But for a moment, we can at least discuss what it would have been like had Chip Kelly’s offense been brought to the NFL. As offensive coordinator in 2007 and ’08, and as head coach since 2009, Oregon has had one of the most dynamic offenses in college football under Kelly. He’s aggressive, innovative, and he isn’t afraid to try something new. He’s also known as a disciplinarian, which would have been a far cry from the way Raheem Morris ran things in Tampa.

His hiring would have also reeked of Steve Spurrier.

Dan Snyder gave Spurrier $25 million to bring his “Fun ‘n’ gun” offense to the NFL and the experiment lasted only two years as the Redskins went 12-20 over that span. Washington finished in the bottom of the league in every major offensive category under Spurrier, including total yards per game, passing efficiency and yards per attempt.

But Spurrier never acquired enough talent to run his offense either. He thought he could win with Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel and Patrick Ramsey, but all three usually wound up looking out of their ear holes because Washington’s offensive line couldn’t keep them upright. It’s easy to say that Spurrier’s offense didn’t work but it’s not like he put himself in position to win with the talent he surrounded himself with.

There are many current NFL coordinators that fail to attack defenses on a weekly basis and their conservative ways continue to hold their teams back. At the very least, Kelly would have installed an aggressive scheme and introduced some new elements to the pro game.

Would it have worked? We won’t find out any time soon.

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Kevin Carter talks NFL lockout, Steve Spurrier and SchoolOfTheLegends.com

In his 14-year NFL career, Kevin Carter handed out plenty of punishment for opposing quarterbacks. He totaled 104.5 career sacks, reached double digit QB-takedowns four times (1998-2000, 2002), and led his team in sacks five times (1996, 1997, 1999, 2004). He also never missed a game in the NFL, which is a testament to his training habits and toughness.

Now that he’s retired, Kevin is helping to promote the website SchoolOfTheLegends.com, which offers fans a chance to interact with not only current players, but legends of the game as well. The site also offers instructional videos from some of the best in the game, which is a great tool for high school athletes or players of any age who want to get tips from the pros. (If you’re a young defensive back, how can you pass up the opportunity to get instructional lessons from Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins?) The site is free to join and in minutes you could be interacting with NFL stars.

Kevin sat down with me recently to discuss not only SchoolOfTheLegends.com, but I was also able to pick his brain about the current lockout mess and get his reaction to the recent comments made by his former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who says college players should be paid.

The Scores Report: Hey Kevin!

Kevin Carter: Hey there, how are you?

TSR: Very good. You enjoying this ongoing lockout? I know as a fan, I sure am. It’s not nauseating at all.

KC: What a mess.

TSR: Do you think this secret meeting that transpired with the NFL and union officials can be viewed as a positive thing for fans? Are we finally pushing forward here?

KC: I really do, because there’s a certain portion of this fight that needed to be brought to the American public’s attention. There was a lot of posturing on both sides, but really a lot of posturing from the owners. Doing things like securing television revenue money, that even if there’s no season they’re still going to get their money. Doing things like lobbying on Capital Hill to try and influence the lawmakers so a lot of the things like tax laws that they enjoy still remain in place. So there was a portion of it that needed to be fought and brought to the American public’s attention. But ultimately, we’re not going to be able to negotiate through the court systems. At some point we’re going to have to sit down, have a conversation and get down to the brass tacks in order to make a deal for the greater good of the game. Our fans don’t deserve this. They’ve been too great to the sport of football. We’ve been able to grow exponentially; the NFL owners themselves have been able to enjoy a 400% increase in the equity of their business in the last 15-20 years, so the fans have been loyal. They’ve gone through strikes and CBA extensions, and near-scares and whatnot. But this is like nothing else in our history: this is a lockout. Basically the owners are saying, ‘We don’t like the economic structure the way it is set up, even though we’re the ones that have enjoyed this 400% increase in the equity of our business.’ Nobody can say that they’ve enjoyed anything close to that unless you own oil. A certain portion of this fight needed to be done in the courts. But now, with them having a private meeting and talking real numbers, and real dollars, and talking about how we can get this thing out of the courts and people back to work, I’m all for it. I think this is the first real step from a negotiating standpoint that we’ve taken on both sides.

Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.

We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

Tiger Woods gets around.

We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.

LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.

Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.

You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.

The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina’s Weslye Saunders dismissed from team

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  The Florida Gators try to stop a touchdown catch by Weslye Saunders #88 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

According to Game Cocks Online, South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders has been dismissed from the team

“Weslye Saunders is no longer part of our football program,” said Hyman. “Beyond that I will have no further comment.”

Saunders, a 6-5, 270-pounder from Durham, N.C., had been suspended indefinitely since August 23 following a violation of team rules.

The NCAA is currently investigating whether or not a sports agent had been paying for a hotel room that Saunders had been living in recently. In reference to Saunders’ playing status for South Carolina’s opener, head coach Steve Spurrier said, “He’s not on the team. He won’t play Thursday.”

It appears now that Saunders’ South Carolina career is over and while it’s premature to predict his future in the NFL, his draft stock has surely plummeted over the last couple of weeks.

More trouble for South Carolina players?

TUSCALOOSA - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks watches the scoreboard during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 17, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The Crimson Tide beat the Gamecocks 20-6.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The NCAA is already looking into the trip tight end Weslye Saunders took this past spring to Miami and whether or not it was agent-funded, now it appears that more South Carolina players could be in trouble.

ESPN.com reports that several South Carolina players, including Saunders, were asked by school officials to move out of a Columbia hotel Thursday evening. The NCAA is now investigating if the players were in violation of any rules by staying at the hotel.

Last week, the NCAA interviewed a number of players about their occupation of the Whitney Hotel, where South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and other coaches have stayed in the past, The State (Columbia, S.C.) newspaper reported.

Spurrier said Thursday the players have been asked by the school to move out of the hotel, settle their bills and stay elsewhere.

“There’s been some issues,” Spurrier said on his radio call-in show. “We’ve encouraged our guys to move out of the Whitney, to pay their monthly bill and move out . . . Whatever their arrangements were, they need to pay up and move out.”

Spurrier said he knew there were players staying at the Whitney, but did not know of the details, The State reported.

Along with Saunders, the other players who have been linked to the hotel stay are defensive tackle Travian Robertson, defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye, safety Akeem Auguste and offensive tackle Jarriel King. If the players were staying there on their own dime, there shouldn’t an issue. But if a player agent was picking up the tab, obviously this could become a distraction for Spurrier and the Gamecock program.

Either way, it’s not good that Saunders is being investigated for two different incidents. Just because he’s being investigated doesn’t mean he’s done anything wrong, but this isn’t a good situation regardless.

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