5 Quick Hits

5 Quick Hits

By Tom E. Curran"Operation Beer Liberation 2011" didn't go as planned for Mike Vrabel. And at some point, he's going to be sitting across the table from NFL owners figuring how to divvy up 10 billion while both sides know he got pinched for trying to abscond with 10 worth of sauce. Let he who has never made a sketchy beer-related decision at 5 a.m. cast the first stone. Still, that dustup is bad for business. Meanwhile....MOON RAKERWarren Moon is doing Cam Newton more harm than good. Hired as a mentor for the Auburn Heisman Trophy winner, Moon has been ever-available to share his opinions - biased though they may be - on all things Cam. Last week, he alleged racism after Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki offered a scathing review of Newton's off-field persona. That ignored the fact that Nawrocki's hammered plenty of white prospects in similar fashion. This week, he told USA Today's Jim Corbett that the Panthers are sold on Newton with the No. 1 pick as a player but thatthe Panthers "just need to talk to him more about who he is and get to know him a little bit better." Actually, they probably need to know just how often guys like Moon or Newton's agent Bus Cook (advisor to prima donnas Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Adalius Thomas) are going to get their hands in the soup and stir things up. Here's a media conundrum. It's great for us when there's an oracle like Moon who'll spout off. But in considering whether a team or a player is well-served by guys who'll make our jobs easier ...they usually aren't. Moon isn't under the Panthers' control. And will Newton be in a position to ask him to quiet down? Moon's the mentor, right? The layers of hangers-on and people whose interests are served by seeing Newton succeed are going to make teams wary. Consider a scenario. It's Week 10. Newton hasn't mastered the playbook enough to unseat Jimmy Clausen, yet the Panthers are 3-6. Someone asks Moon what he thinks of Newton sitting behind Clausen. Moonexplains that Newton's getting a raw deal. Maybe he plays the race card again. Media chaos and a week's worth of wall-to-wall analysis ensues. Do the Panthers want or need that? It's already proven that Cecil Newton is a wild card, now there's a braying Moon in the mix? Proceed. With. Caution. 2. Brady3. Billick4. Huffas a mentor. With Bus Cook as an agent,

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

BOSTON - David Ortiz may be masterful in the clutch and one of the more charitable athletes in the city, but much like anyone else, Big Papi doesn’t always inform his own Papi of news right away -- even if he plans to announce it to the general public.

“He actually didn’t tell me [that he planned to announce his retirement],” Enrique Ortiz, David’s father, said through a Red Sox’ translator on Saturday before the next-to-last regular-season game. “I was in the Dominican Republic when he announced it in the states.

While Enrique would explain -- humbly -- how proud he was of his son, he’s not so sure announcing his retirement before the season was the correct move.

“If I was [in America], I would have told him not to announce his retirement,” the elder Ortiz explained, “just because there’s so many things that can happen in a season. Or you might have a change of heart after the season.

“If I were here I would have told him to stay neutral so his options were more open. So I wouldn’t have told him to retire.”

Although dad wasn’t on board with his son’s announcement, he’s done what any good parent does -- bite their tongue and let things play out.

“I haven’t told him anything about why he's retiring because I know it’s coming from him and it’s his decision,” Enrique said. “But when I look back to 2013, I remember coming here and I see him with what looks like two cats on his feet. And I’m like ‘What happened to my boy? Did he get into an accident or something?’ And what he told me was, ‘This is how you son is making this money, doing all of this stuff before a game.’ So [him retiring] is not a surprise to me.”

Avery Bradley hopes to take next step on D: Defensive Player of the Year

Avery Bradley hopes to take next step on D: Defensive Player of the Year

WALTHAM, Mass. – Prior to Friday night’s Green and White Scrimmage, Celtics coach Brad Stevens made a point of having Avery Bradley honored for being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.
 
It was a good feeling and an award that Bradley is extremely proud of accomplishing.
 
But he wants more.
 
First-team All-Defense is nice.
 
Defensive Player of the Year?
 
Even better.
 
Prior to Saturday’s practice, Bradley’s case for being in contention for such a lofty award stems from him consistently being among the better perimeter defenders in the NBA.
 
On most game nights, Bradley is usually assigned whichever guard is the more potent scorer.
 
And in that role, Bradley has been able to establish himself as one of the toughest matchups players will face from a defender, all season.

But as good as Bradley may be as an individual defender, he knows any praise or accolades for what he does has to come with the knowledge that his teammates have also elevated their play defensively, too.
 
“Like I said, it’s hand-in-hand with how you play as an individual and your team success,” Bradley said. “How far we can go this year, hopefully I can show and the rest of my teammates can show how good we are on defense.”
 
One of the reasons Bradley was able to garner enough votes to be named to the league’s First-team defense, is due to the ringing endorsements he received from various players throughout the league.
 
Two of Bradley’s biggest supporters are Portland’s explosive backcourt tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

After Boston’s 116-109 loss at Portland on March 31, McCollum tweeted out that Avery Bradley was “the best perimeter defender in the league” and added, “I don’t think it’s close.”
 
In Boston’s loss to Portland, Lillard had 14 points on 3-for-16 shooting while McCollum had 17 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
 
“Hopefully the entire NBA can believe that I’m one of the best defenders,” Bradley said.