How Cliff Lee made his decision


How Cliff Lee made his decision

By Mary Paoletti

Inside the home of Cliff Lee. December 13, 2010. Lee sits at the kitchen table with his wife Kristen and agent Darek Braunecker.
Braunecker: Hands are tented in front of his face. He rubs the bridge of his nose slowly before speaking. Alright, Cliff. We've been over the numbers one hundred times. Where do you want to play baseball this year?

Lee: Well...

A phone rings. Lee's wife Kristen picks it up. She holds a hand over the mouthpiece and turns to her husband.

Kristen: Honey, it's CC again.

Lee: Sighs Tell him I appreciated the muffin basket but there are a few other things involved in my decision than that. And ask him why all 12 muffins were half-eaten already. Pauses Actually, scratch that last part.

Kristen: Okay. She speaks gently into the phone and hangs it up. Can I just take the damn thing off the hook? It's been ringing non-stop since you shut off your cell and I'm going crazy, babe. Josh sounds drunk and if I have to hear Michael cry again...I just... I can't even.

Lee: Frowns No, not just yet. I think Darek and I are getting close to something here.

Kristen sits back down.

Braunecker: So. Like I said, a deal with New York seems most lucrative. You're looking at 132 million, six years and a 16 million player option...

Kristen: NO.
Braunecker: Kristen, be reasonable.

Kristen: I said no. Folds arms Those people spit on me during the ALCS, Darek.
Braunecker: But...

Kristen: They. Spit. On. Me.... Darek.

The phone rings. Kristen answers it while maintaining her death-glare on Braunecker. She listens for a moment then again covers the receiver.
Kristen: The caller says he's George Steinbrenner. From the grave.

Lee: Yeah, you can go ahead and take the phone off the hook, baby.

Kristen unplugs the phone.

Braunecker: Oookay. Let's talk about Texas. Is Texas out? Are we crossing them off the list?

Lee: Yup. Let's do it.

Braunecker: So there's just New York and Philly left. Paues Listen, Cliff, I know you're leaning toward the Phils but I honestly don't understand why. They shipped you out! They kept Blanton for god's sake.

Lee: Sticks his chin out They tried to get rid of Joe first.

Braunecker: But they didn't. And think of the money, man. You'd have to leave 30 million on the table! Are you really willing to do that for a team that burned you?

Braunecker and Kristen sit in stunned silence. Braunecker slowly tilts his head to the side and furrows his brow. Kristen's mouth opens and closes several times like a clown fish. A solid two minutes pass.

Braunecker: Clears his throat The Flyers suck.

Kristen: Gently He's right, Cliff.

Lee: True. Pauses But my mind is made up. I'm signing with Philadelphia. You know why? Because, with my help, the Phils can put together the best starting rotation in the history of America: Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, Lee... and some other guy. And the clincher? Cheesesteaks. I freaking love cheesesteaks.

Kristen jumps up and hugs her husband. Braunecker leans back in his chair, defeated and confused.

Lee: Braunecker, call Cashman and tell him to go to hell. Kristen, plug that phone back in. I need to call Jon Daniels to say thank you and goodbye. And baby, call Hamilton's wife and tell her to put him on lockdown. Might get ugly over there.

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots


Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."