From the editor’s notebook …
When the Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Johnny Manziel in the NFL Draft a few weeks ago the team knew what it was getting itself into with Manziel, who is a modern-day Joe Namath in terms of publicity.
Last week it was Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback report that Manziel “never had a playbook” while at Texas A&M. Of course, the Aggies had a weekly game plan with actual plays that Manziel was expected to learn and execute, which, as Eric Davis pointed out one morning on the NFL Network, is the same as having an actual playbook! (That is one of the reasons we enjoy the NFL Network over ESPN; instead of trying to be the loudest (and stupidest) person in the conversation, Davis, Steve Wyche, Terrell Davis and the rest of the rotating panel on NFL A.M. actually talk to one another in an effort to make sense.)
Then, over the weekend, came the news that Manziel spent his holiday in Las Vegas; hanging out with New England’s Rob Gronkowski, attending a UFC fight, joining in at a pool party and generally doing the kinds of things that people do when they visit Las Vegas.
Manziel also did one more thing over the weekend (at least according to him) – he studied his playbook as he prepares for the next round of OTAs with the Browns.
But somehow that isn’t good enough. Because there are people who just want to criticize every move that Manziel makes, his weekend adventures are once again a hot topic.
We would consider joining in if the Browns had a game against Pittsburgh in a couple of days and Manziel was goofing off. But they don’t and he wasn’t, so we really don’t care.
Admittedly, part of our indifference toward Manziel’s life off the field stems from the fact that he plays for the Browns; put him on the Ravens and Steelers and we may have a different opinion on the matter. But it also is born out of fatigue – we are simply tired of being told by the national media and people outside of Cleveland what we are supposed to think, feel or do as Cleveland fans.
Art Modell moves the Browns because he is an incompetent owner? We’re told we should have built him a new stadium. The Indians come up short in the World Series? We’re told they didn’t deserve because they are not “winners.” LeBron James leaves for Miami? We’re told to “get over it.”
We’ve also found that, as we’ve grown older, we’ve gotten better at separating what matters from the noise of what doesn’t matter when it comes to athletic success. Showing up on time for practice, working hard and getting the job done on Sunday afternoons is all we care about. Everything else? Just noise, pure and simple.
If there is one thing that does concern us it is the possibility of Manziel being in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially if he is at a late-night party or event in a place like Las Vegas. As one of our friend’s mom would remind us while growing up, once the clock strikes midnight, it’s “trouble time.”
But as long as Manziel doesn’t do anything illegal or hurt anyone, what he does in his private time is his business.
We’ll know soon enough whether or not he can play. Until then? Everyone just needs to “get over it.”
Kent State heading to Louisville
The Golden Flashes (36-21) have won the MAC regular season title 14 times in the past 15 seasons. This was also the 15th consecutive year the team has won at least 35 games.
Kent (36-21) will open play Friday night as the No. 4 seed. The Golden Flashes will take on the host Cardinals (45-15). The Golden Flashes are 14-14 all-time against Louisville. Kansas and Kentucky are also in the regional; Kent took down the Wildcats in the NCAA Regional in 2012 on their way to the College World Series.
The winner of Friday’s first round games will play on Saturday at 5 p.m., while the two losing teams will play an elimination game on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of Saturday’s elimination game will play the losing team from Saturday night’s winner’s bracket game in an elimination game on Sunday at noon, with the winner advancing to play the winner of Saturday night’s winner’s bracket game on Sunday at 5 p.m.
If needed, the two teams from Sunday’s second game will return for the final game of the Louisville Regional on Monday at 7 p.m.
Got all that?
Everyone outside of Kent is already looking toward a potential matchup between Louisville and Kentucky.
“Anytime college baseball gets a boost like this in this region, we’ll take it,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. “We have to make sure we’re prepared for Kent State, but we get it. The feature story is Kentucky being in our regional. It was a matter of time before that happened.”
Hopefully the Golden Flashes can make the Cardinals and the rest of the teams in the regional pay for looking past them.
Liverpool rewards Brendan Rodgers for a job well done
Liverpool rewarded manager Brendan Rodgers on Monday with a new contract that not only rewards Rodgers for turning the club around in just two years, but hopefully keeps him at Anfield for the foreseeable future.
The deal, rumored to run through 2018, was well-earned by Rodgers after guiding Liverpool to second place in the Premier League and a return to the Champions League. The club finished with 84 points – 23 more than they posted the year before – and had a stretch of 11 consecutive victories.
Rodgers was also named the League Managers’ Association manager of the year.
“I am very happy to build on the foundations we have built over the last two years,” Rodgers said. “Now we move on to the next phase which I believe will be as exciting, challenging and rewarding. The objective for me was to try to get Liverpool established again as one of the leading clubs in European and domestic football and we’re on course for that.”
Now that they have the contract situation sorted out, it’s time to get busy with fixing the defense.