|Ravens DB Bernard Pollard predicts demise of NFL||01.28.13 at 9:39 am ET|
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, best known in New England for his injury-causing hits over the last five years to Patriots players Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Steven Ridley, said the league’s attempts to make the game safer are likely to lead to its end.
“Thirty years from now, I don’t think it will be in existence,” he told CBSSports.com. “I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it.
“Guys are getting fined, and they’re talking about, ‘Let’s take away the strike zone,’ and, ‘Take the pads off,’ or, ‘Take the helmets off.” It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”
Added Pollard: “The league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety], but, at the same time, [coaches] want bigger, stronger and faster year in and year out. And that means you’re going to keep getting big hits and concussions and blown-out knees. The only thing I’m waiting for … and, Lord, I hope it doesn’t happen … is a guy dying on the field. We’ve had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks.
“Like I said, I pray it never happens, but you’ve got guys who are 350 pounds running 4.5 and 4.4s, and these owners and coaches want scout-run blockers and linemen to move walls. At the same time, they tell you, ‘Don’t hit here, and don’t hit there, or we’ll take your money.’ Like I said, I hope I’m wrong, but I just believe one day there’s going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we’re going.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels admits hitting Nationals rookie Bryce Harper on purpose||05.07.12 at 7:48 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: White Sox at Indians, 1 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Mets at Phillies, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Spurs at Jazz, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Coyotes, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
IIHF World Championship: United States vs. Slovakia, 1 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels sent a message to Nationals rookie Bryce Harper in the first inning of Sunday night’s game, hitting him in the back with a fastball. In case the message wasn’t received, Hamels admitted after the game that it was no accident.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it.”
Explained the veteran hurler: “That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened. So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is.”
Harper got his revenge later in the inning, stealing home when Hamels made a pickoff attempt to first base. Then in the third inning, Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman hit Hamels in the leg, drawing a warning to both teams from the umpire.
♦ During Saturday’s Braves-Rockies game in Denver, Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer approached Chipper Jones while the Braves veteran was on second base and accused him of stealing signs. Jones screamed at Moyer that he was not, and Jones still was bothered by the accusation Sunday.
“I’m not happy, to say the least,” Jones said. “Any time a grown man gets his integrity questioned, they’re going to take it seriously, and I’m no different. If he wants to discuss it, we’ll discuss it, but he’s wrong, plain and simple.”
Added Jones: “Never have I wanted a sign when I was hitting, and I have never relayed a sign to a hitter from second base, ever.”
♦ Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, known for injuring Patriots players, is not happy with the league’s attempts to protect its players. During an interview with Houston radio station Sports Radio 610 last week, Pollard took some shots at the commissioner.
Pollard said the restrictions against illegal hits are “taking away the game of football” and it doesn’t bode well for the future. “I just truly believe, another 20, 30 years — I don’t even think football will even be in existence anymore,” he said, adding: “We all know what this game is about. We know and understand that it’s a violent sport.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 7, 1972, Bobby Orr had two goals and an assist in the Bruins’ 3-2 victory over the Rangers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, giving Orr a record 22 points by a defenseman in a playoff year. Whose record did he break?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens’ Bernard Pollard OK with bounties, upset with Roger Goodell||04.05.12 at 7:57 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 1 p.m. (NESN, ESPN2; WEEI)
MLB: Marlins at Reds, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Dodgers at Padres, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Celtic at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT; WEEI)
NBA: Knicks at Magic, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Rangers at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Boston College vs. Minnesota, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Ferris State vs. Union, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLS: Revolution at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, known to Patriots fans as the player who caused major injuries to Tom Brady, Wes Welker and, this past season, Rob Gronkowski, is not happy with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell‘s attempts to make the sport less dangerous.
“It’s getting out of hand,” Pollard told Houston radio station KILT. “This is not powderpuff football, this is not flag football. This is a violent sport. And it’s a fun sport — we all love playing this game. And we’re blessed by God to even go out there and display our talent to the world, but at the same time you can’t sit there and say, ‘We want guts, we want glory, we want heart.’ You can’t give a player heart but at the end of the day you tell him, “Well, hold on, but be careful when you go to make that hit.’ We wear helmets and shoulder pads. That means you’re supposed to go knock somebody around. We ain’t wearing flags.”
Regarding the Saints’ bounty situation, Pollard said he doesn’t care if a team has bounties and called the one-year suspension of Saints coach Sean Payton “outrageous.”
“This is a game, this is a violent game. You can’t take this away,” Pollard said. “You suspend a man for a whole year? You suspend a man for a whole year and now you’re looking for players to suspend? This is outrageous. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
♦ After coaching Kentucky to the national championship Monday, John Calipari insists he has no desire to leave for the NBA, even though the Knicks reportedly have interest.
“Kentucky is the best job in basketball coaching,” Calipari said. “Why would I leave? We just won the national title. We’re chasing UCLA.”
Meanwhile, a player being recruited by Kentucky, Everett’s Nerlens Noel, raised some eyebrows when he recounted a story of walking through Bourbon Street in New Orleans on Final Four weekend and being graciously received by Wildcats fans.
“I’m always just shocked at how dedicated Kentucky fans are,” Noel wrote in a diary for ESPN. “One man asked me if I wanted to take his wife home with me, ha ha. I couldn’t believe it. I was like ‘Nah, I’m good,’ but that’s just how insane the fans were down there.”
♦ At Wednesday’s annual press conference prior to the start of The Masters, August National Chairman Billy Payne refused to answer questions about if and when a woman would be admitted as a member of the club. The topic became relevant again because IBM has a new CEO, Virginia Rometty, and the last four IBM CEOs have been invited to be club members.
“As has been the case whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership have been and are subject to private deliberations of the members,” Payne said. “That statement remains accurate and that remains my statement.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 5, 1971, the Cardinals returned to the Red Sox which Rule 5 draft pick who would go on to a stellar major league career (most of it outside Boston)?
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