Monday, March 16, 2009
A first look at second chances
By Gene Wojciechowski
We all do things we regret. We tell the wife that, yeah, since you asked, you really don't look good in that dress. We order a fourth bowl of chili. We keep taking Vince Young in the first round of our fantasy drafts.
But what if we could get a do-over, a life-moment mulligan?
Jay Cutler, you're first on the mulligan tee box
The latest : Cutler demands a trade from the Denver Broncos, says he's been betrayed by new coach Josh McDaniels after the team discussed a possible trade to acquire Matt Cassel, says management isn't giving him the proper amount of love.
"Before this trade for Cassel thing ever came up, in the two weeks or so I had spent with McDaniels, he was basically telling me that he came to Denver because he wanted to coach me and that we needed to trust each other," Cutler told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. "He's never been critical to me. But trust now? How can I trust him now?"
Do-over: "I'm going on my fourth season in this league, so I understand the realities of the situation. We have a new coach, a new general manager and an owner who wants to give them the latitude to do their jobs. My job is to play quarterback. Their job is to do what they think best helps the team.
"Sure, I was disappointed to be involved in trade discussions. Who wouldn't be? But I took the non-trade too personally and overreacted. In retrospect, I can see why Coach McDaniels was interested in Cassel. They have a great history together. But it didn't happen, so Coach and I will patch up our differences and move forward. That's what a pro does."
The NCAA men's basketball selection committee
The latest: The committee squeezes borderline deserving Arizona and Wisconsin into the tournament as No. 12 seeds, but can't find a spot for either St. Mary's or San Diego State.
Do-over: 19-13 Arizona out, 26-6 St. Mary's, which played without star Patrick Mills for much of the second half of the season, in.
"Here's what happened," committee chair Mike Slive said. "We were so punch-drunk after watching six freakin' overtimes of UConn-Syracuse that some of the guys started screwing around with the big board. You know, like, pretending to diagram sentences on the bracket lines, or saying, 'Wouldn't it be funny to watch Jim Nantz's face if we made Radford a No. 1 seed?' Or, 'Let's take St. Mary's off the 34 at-large list and tell everyone we did it because nobody knew what a Gael was.' That sort of thing.
"Anyway, we remembered to move Radford back to a 16th seed, but we completely forgot to put St. Mary's back in. So my bad on that."
Golf guru Hank Haney
The latest: Haney vows to fix Charles Barkley's golf swing -- and do so on national cable television each week.
How best to describe Sir Charles' swing? Hmmm. Imagine watching someone take the club back, then watching them lunge forward, stop in midswing -- long enough to watch all 2 hours and 47 minutes of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- and then cold yak so far left that you need Search and Rescue teams to find it. That's Barkley's swing.
Do-over: (Haney weeping hysterically) "I can't do it. I can't. I can't. I can't."
The latest: The agent for Terrell Owens criticizes the Dallas Cowboys for cutting his client. Owens then goes from America's Team to Upstate New York's Team -- the Buffalo Bills.
"I believe that the organization is going to regret this decision," Rosenhaus told Miami radio station WQAM. "I believe Terrell is not only going to have a Pro Bowl season with the Bills and cause a lot of sleepless nights for AFC defensive coordinators
I also believe the Cowboys are going to miss him and that they are going to regret making this move."
Do-over: "Whaddya expect me to say? That he's also going to cause a lot of sleepless nights for quarterback Trent Edwards and coach Dick Jauron? If I do that, then T.O. will be in my driveway doing sit-ups.
"I love the guy, but if he screws this Bills thing up then I won't be able to get him a gig in the Punt, Pass and Kick competition."
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun
The latest: When asked not long ago to reconcile his $1.6 million salary relative to the state's estimated $944 million budget deficit, Calhoun became a human cherry bomb.
"My advice to you is, shut up," Calhoun said to the freelance reporter who asked the question.
There was more, none of it Calhoun's finest moment.
It was an unexpected place for the line of questioning -- a postgame presser after a win against South Florida -- but Calhoun's response was devoid of sensitivity for anyone struggling to get by on less than $1.6 mil.
Do-over: "Given these economic times, you ask a fair question. When I'm done discussing the game, I'll be glad to talk with you about our program and the millions of dollars we generate for the university.
"But in short, yes, I have a substantial salary. And as a blue-collar guy who has worked for decades to create a national program at UConn, I'd like to think I give this university its money's worth. I have great empathy for the working people in this state. I'm blessed to earn what I earn -- and I never forget that."
CBS golf analyst and swing teacher Peter Kostis
The latest: About a month ago at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, Kostis had this to say about Phil Mickelson, who entered the tournament with a missed cut, a T-42 and a T-55 early in the 2009 season: "The only thing consistent about Mickelson is his inconsistency. Clearly he didn't put in enough time preparing in the offseason."
Mickelson went on to win the Northern Trust, finish T-9 at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and then win his next stroke-play tournament, the World Golf Championships-CA Championship at Doral this past weekend.
Do-over: Kostis: "Clearly I didn't put in enough time preparing in the offseason."
Oklahoma senior center Courtney Paris
The latest: Paris guarantees a national title, or else.
"We're going to win a national championship this year," she said on OU's Senior Night. "We're going to win one. If we don't, which is not even an option, just to put something on the line, I will personally
pay back my scholarship because I didn't do what I said I would do."
Paris' scholarship is worth about $64,000. OU, which didn't even reach the Big 12 Conference title game, lost to Connecticut earlier this season by 28 points. Undefeated UConn is the heavy favorite to win the women's NCAA tournament.
Do-over: Don't do it, Courtney! Don't take a mulligan.
If the Sooners fail to win it all, then pay $1,000 a year for the next 64 years. Or here's guessing 64,000 OU fans will donate $1 each to pay off the gutsy guarantee.
And count me in for at least one George Washington.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com. Hear Gene's Podcasts and ESPN Radio appearances by clicking here.