Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crennel signs two-year extension with Browns

Crennel signs two-year extension with Browns
Willie McGinest always believed Romeo Crennel would turn the Cleveland Browns into winners. For a long time, though, it seemed like the 36-year-old linebacker was about the only who did. "There was a lot of prejudgment about Romeo," said McGinest, who played for Crennel in New England. "And it was really unfair. It takes time. It takes players, and it takes a coach to do that." Crennel did it.

T.O. owes Eagles portion of signing bonus
Terrell Owens should set aside part of his roster bonus from Dallas to pay his old team a debt. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday on a grievance that was filed by the NFL players' union on Owens' behalf in 2005, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday, citing a league source. A team spokesman said the Eagles wouldn't comment. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, didn't immediately return a phone message. The union disputed the Eagles' effort to recover $1.

Donovan McNabb, Marshawn Lynch, and Hooters
My first official Super Bowl event came yesterday at this exclusive little club called "Hooters." I'm not sure why they call it that. I think they serve owl, and the place is so exclusive because a lot of owls are endangered, including the Common (guess not) Barn Owl.

The party was hosted by the good people at Yardbarker, and Donovan McNabb, Marshawn Lynch, and Dontrelle Willis were expected to be in the house. In another first for me, the Yardbarker crew was good enough to grant me VIP access, which meant that I got to stand in a very special portion of Hooters.

If you're not aware, Yardbarker's a sports community website, and they've got a bunch of athletes with their own blogs over there. McNabb's got a blog there, Marshawn Lynch has a blog there ... it's an interesting project that I think has a bright future.

Anyway, at the party, there was a merchandise stand, where they were selling Super Bowl gear (more on this in a bit), some Giants and Patriots items, a lot of Eagles gear, and also, for some reason, various pictures of girls who seem to like to draw attention to their chests. They didn't have any Bills gear, though ... I was kind of hoping that Marshawn Lynch would take offense to this, and come in there, and destroy the whole set-up. He didn't.

You can see about 1/4th of the face of the gentleman on the bottom right of the picture ... he was very nice. If you recognize that 1/4th of a face around the greater Phoenix area this week, don't hesitate to approach him. He's a sweet man.

The first celebrity in the house was Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. At no point did it appear like Marshawn Lynch was not having the time of his life. I think he's the kind of guy you could put in an Iraqi prison cell, and as long as he had someone there to talk to, he'd be just fine. He's a walking one-man party.

Sitting and doing a radio interview ... big smile on his face.

Learning the finer points of blogging ... big smile on his face.

Also, I think he likes the Oakland A's.

Seriously, I just want to be Marshawn Lynch for a day. I saw him back in the corner of the deck at one point, just dancing with one of the Yardbarker guys, to no music whatsoever. Just celebrating the fact that he has no reason not to celebrate.

At this point, I'm just kickin' it, sitting back, talking to a couple of people and keeping an eye on Marshawn and his boys. It is, for the most part, a loose, chilled-out scene.

And then Donovan McNabb showed up.

Swarm. Anywhere he went, people just flooded the area. A lot of them were autograph hounds (including one toolbox who kept asking people, "How much is his autograph worth on eBay?") ... but mostly, it seemed like people just wanted to see him. They just wanted to be near the guy. Celebrity the caliber of McNabb's has an odd effect on people.

To McNabb's credit, though, he could not have been nicer to the people who were bumrushing him from all angles. I see a scene like that, try to envision myself in it, and I'd be thinking, "What the hell is wrong with you people?" right before I started throwing Anthony Mason elbows.

But D-Mac went above and beyond in trying to accommodate everyone. It's gotta take incredible patience to deal with something like that. He's a smooth cat.

The brunette in the middle here? That is not the same look she gave me when she asked me how I'd like my wings.

And here's Donovan, right before we made out:

I didn't want to. But he walked by, and I said, "D-Mac, that's a nice Coogi." He shyly looked at the ground, gave me a sheepish little smile, and then we ended up kissing. It was strange. But like I said, celebrity has a weird effect on people.

Okay, that didn't happen. But he wanted it to, I could tell. And these girls would have been totally jealous. Of him.

This guy showed up with McNabb. I don't know if he's friend, family, or what, but he had an awesome t-shirt. Here he is, listening to a young woman extol the virtues of Vitamin Water.

Alright, confession time: the guy below was actually the first NFL'er I saw, but I had no idea who the hell he was. Anyone of interest, they got on camera and quizzed them on Super Bowl trivia. They asked this guy to name the last three Super Bowl MVPs, and this student of the game said, "Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady."

That's absolutely correct, if by "Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady," he meant, "Peyton Manning, Hines Ward, Deion Branch."

But the Hooters girls actually told him that the right answer was "Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady," but ... you know, it's not like this was a Stump the Schwab party. You get enough beer and wings in anyone, and they'll tell you that the MVP of the 1982 World Series was Jaleel White.

I found out later that this was reserve Chiefs linebacker Mickey Pimentel (who once did this), and he played his college ball at Cal. Pac-10 football, as it turns out, is much more popular here than it is back on the east coast. But Pimentel seemed like a hell of a nice guy.

Also, I was told that these guys below all played for the Oakland A's. Before someone told me that, though, I had them identified as "Hooters customers." If you recognize any of them, let me know.

My thanks again to the Yardbarker gang for the invite and the assistance, including Pete, Diana, Dewey and Nic. All nice people.

Hit List: Burress, Cassel say the strangest things
Just when Kevin Hench thought Super Bowl media day couldn't get any odder, one amazing woman proved him wrong.

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