NEWS - APRIL 2013
Howie Long glad his son headed to Chicago
Jeff Dickerson April 26th 2013
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long couldn't be happier to see his son land in Chicago.
"This is to me one of the crown-jewel franchises in football," Howie Long said Friday after his son Kyle, an offensive lineman, was chosen with the Bears’ first pick. "There’s not a lot of them. The town, the history of the organization, the great players who’ve played here, the expectations in the building, it’s important.
“And it doesn’t hurt to have a franchise quarterback, much as that pains me to say.”
Kyle Long took an interesting route to get to the NFL, beginning his collegiate career at Florida State as a baseball player before academic problems forced him to eventually enroll in Junior College, where he began to resume his football career.
"It’s kind of hard putting into words" Howie Long said. "It’s been an interesting journey. The guy you see today is the same guy you see at four years of age. Having three sons, we’ve come to the conclusion, and I’m sure most parents would come to the same conclusion, that no two children are the same. Kyle has always been an extremely kind person, good guy, physically gifted.
“And in some ways, maybe the gifts he had in so many different areas have been kind of a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ trying to find a direction. I think through experience and life’s journey he figured that he was wired best for football. That seems to be what makes him happy for a lot of reasons.”
The Long family watched the draft Thursday night from their family home and traveled to Chicago Friday morning.
"It was really interesting," Howie Long said. "All of us were together. In our library in the house, we had a little war room. ... It was just great. The whole family was there, and a couple close friends."
Long said he had a premonition his son would be taken in the first round as he watched the draft unfold.
"I knew when the kid (Justin) Pugh came off the board as the fifth tackle and the two guards were off the board, I kind of felt like -- and I won’t share the two or three teams that were picking after Chicago -- but I felt like it was a really good opportunity maybe that Kyle would go somewhere between 20 and 28, 29, without tipping my hand. But he would have been off the board. I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, they should have traded down and got him in the second round.’ He wouldn’t have been there.
"The draft is kind of an evolving process and none of us know how it’s going to unfold. How many tackles go off the board? How many guards go off the board? We knew there was going to be a run on offensive linemen, we just didn’t know it was going to be that extreme. And if you need a lineman, who’s next up, and who do you have on your board? And value becomes in the eyes of the beholder."
Boomer Esiason: 'Draft Day Very Confusing'
Associated Press April 25th, 2012
The NFL Draft kicks off tonight in prime-time. The draft is loaded with talent, though not at quarterback, the position that generally draws the most interest. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is a CBS Sports analyst on The NFL Today, and co-hosts the popular Boomer & Carton radio show on New York’s WFAN. He talked with The John Feinstein Show this morning about the NFL Draft and his draft-day experience..
“My draft day was very confusing,” said Esiason. You had the USFL in the mix. Steve Young had just signed a big $70 million contract with the L.A. Express.” That draft itself didn’t play out as many expected. “I thought that I was going to be a top-ten pick,” said Esiason. “And then there was a run on defensive linemen.”
Teams also felt that Esiason had some baggage. “There were a lot of those things that are attached to some of the quarterbacks coming out today that were attached to me then: inaccurate, uncoachable, very headstrong,” said Esiason. “These things get blown way out of proportion.”
On the other hand, the rumor mill can also benefit players. “There will be guys this year that will be on the other side of the equation as well,” said Esiason. “That will rise in this draft board because some scout somewhere, or some coach somewhere, fell in love with this guy, much like, say, Josh McDaniels did with Tim Tebow, the year that Tim Tebow was drafted.”
For as much analysis that goes into drafting players, it’s still an imperfect process. And that’s because of the intangibles. “When that guy puts on a football uniform and he steps on an NFL field, it’s real men, real pressure, real anxiety,” said Esiason. “And how do people respond to that?”
Russell Wilson responded very well. While this year’s draft isn’t stocked with quality quarterbacks, last year’s most certainly was. Wilson, Seattle’s third-round pick and current starting quarterback, didn’t attract that much attention. “The thing that Russell has more than any player that I have met in the last 10 years is he has the ‘it’ factor,” said Esiason.
Environment also plays a key part in a player’s success or failure. “So much of a player’s success is determined by the environment that he is stepping into,” said Esiason. “And let’s face it, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick both stepped into great situations. These were building teams. These were young teams. These were teams that had good defenses, good offensive lines, quality running backs.”
Will Ryan Nassib prove to have the “it” factor? He seems to be on Buffalo’s radar. And the Bills are now coached by Doug Marrone, Nassib’s former coach at Syracuse. The situation may be ideal, but there is no guarantee. “There is a comfort level between coaches and players,” said Esiason. “I think that will tell you a lot if the coach passes on his quarterback at the eighth pick.” So we’ll see.
Crosswords, Cooking and Other Sports
Alan Feur April 5th 2013
Last week, Ron Darling, the retired starting pitcher for the New York Mets, returned to work as an announcer for his former team on TBSand SportsNet New York. Mr. Darling, 52, is doing commentary at several games a week, including Sunday’s against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. During the season, Mr. Darling, who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with his wife, Joanna, an interior designer, spends his Sundays at the ballpark; the rest of the year, his weekends are more family-oriented.
GAME PREP If I’m doing a home game, I usually leave at 9 a.m. and head to Citi Field. I’ll go over the details of the game, looking at the pitching and hitting matchups and all the statistics — maybe one-tenth of which will get into the broadcast. Then I’ll spend time with the managers and coaches or some of the players. After that, I’ll kibitz on the field with other reporters. They’ll tell you their insights and you’ll tell them yours, and somewhere in the middle you might have a story.
FAMILY TIME After the game, I’ll take the train or drive back to Williamsburg. I’m always hoping that my son Jordan, who’s a freshman at Iona College, is home for the weekend. Even during the season, we try like an ordinary family to have a traditional Sunday night dinner.
WITHOUT BASEBALL I’m an insomniac, and even during the off-season I’m up by 5 a.m. It’s my only time to enjoy some quiet in the house. I get as many of the Sunday papers as I can: the Boston Globe — I’m originally from the Boston area — and the New York papers and I read through them for two or three hours.
CROSSWORD AS CAKE Dessert for me is the New York Times crossword puzzle. I usually do it around 7 or 7:30. There’s still nobody up, so it’s a good time to concentrate. I’m probably an hour or half-hour guy with the puzzle — not in Bill Clinton’s elite category, but not too bad.
FAMOUS FLAPJACKS By the time I’m finished, people, whether it’s my wife or my kids, if they’re there for the weekend, start making noise around the house. Jordan is an English major and a singer/songwriter type. Tyler, who’s 26, lives in California. He’s the manager of a store and is going to school to become an elementary school teacher. I’m famous for my banana pancakes, so I’ll get those going with some bacon. My wife doesn’t eat bacon, so she sometimes finds it a bit obnoxious that there’s bacon cooking when she wakes up.
BREAKFAST PLAN B If we wake up late, we’ll skip making breakfast and go to Cafe Colette at Berry and North 9th. They change their menu constantly, and I’ve never had a bad brunch there. Most people there are 30 years my junior, and usually they’re just waking up to coffee. It’s a really nice vibe, very low-key.
PARKS AND MUSEUMS If my kids are in town, we’ll make our way
to McCarren Park, throwing a football or shooting hoops. This is around noon. My sons love museums, so we’ll do that, too, sometimes. We’ll catch a new museum or check the paper and find an exhibition with scribbled musical notes from Bob Dylan — stuff no one knows about. We’ve been to all the big museums so we try to find something new to educate ourselves. Because I travel so much during the season, this is a way for everyone to hang out with Dad — or husband.
SPEAKING OF HUSBANDS If we don’t find a museum, we’ll go shopping with my wife for one of her projects. I’ve spent more time at ABC Carpet than I like to admit.
GAME TIME You can take me away from sports, but sports are still in me. So in the afternoon I’ll try to steal an hour of Tiger playing golf or maybe football. I root really hard and selfishly for the New York teams. But I won’t pledge allegiance to either one.
IN DiMAGGIO’S SEAT Two blocks away is an Italian place called Bamonte’s. It’s an institution in Williamsburg. We all love the food there, but for me it’s also a historical place. After game days, Joe DiMaggio would go there — he’d get a seat at the corner table. More times than not, I get that seat, too, and to sit where DiMaggio sat and eat the chicken and sausage that DiMaggio ate, it’s just a huge thrill.