In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Brandon Gould, challenges Sports Editor Alex Wolfe, Staff Writer Chris Molicki and Correspondent Johnny Sisto to answer questions about whether T.O. will be playing exclusively indoors this year, the most surprising moment of the NHL season and the MVP of the College’s playmaking defense.
1. Terrell Owens recently held a workout in hopes of getting an offer to play professional football. He got an offer, but it was from the Arena Football League’s Chicago Rush. Should T.O. take the offer if no NFL teams show an interest?
AW: T.O. should hold out for a little longer for a better offer than the AFL. I realize that he tore his ACL last year and he is almost 38 years old (ancient by wide receiver standards), but the man still has something to offer to an NFL team. When everyone thought that he was washed up and useless last year, he took over the Bengals’ wide receiving corps and put up one of his best seasons in the last few years (983 yards and nine TDs). Not to mention that T.O.’s work ethic is well documented, and he definitely showed during his workout that even if his running stamina isn’t quite there yet, he has absolutely kept himself in shape. I would think that a team short on receivers that has a shot at competing this year might take a flyer on him, especially the Raiders, where Owens could be reunited with his QB from last year, Carson Palmer. However, if it gets past week 10 or so in the NFL, I say he should take the AFL contract, but work in a clause that if an NFL team offers him a roster spot, he is allowed to leave (à la the NBA players’ overseas contracts).
CM: I don’t see why not. Although he has been a headache for many teams, T.O. has always been a competitor. He always wants to win and the fact that he held a workout shows that he just wants to play football. If he truly loves the game, he will play it wherever he can, and the arena football fans will surely love him. While I think that there are many NFL teams that he can definitely help (Chicago, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Tennessee among others), if no one decides to take him up on the offer, he should take what he can get. They say it’s all about the love of the game, and if T. O. truly lives by that, it may be time for the Chicago Rush fans to get their popcorn ready.
JS: Absolutely not. Terrell Owens has had an amazing NFL career consisting of almost 16,000 receiving yards and over 150 touchdowns. He is now 37 years old, which makes him overdue to retire from football. If Owens joins the Arena Football League, he’ll be ending his extremely successful career at rock bottom. I believe the best thing for T.O. to do right now is to continue to wait for an NFL team to offer him a deal. There are several teams who could be interested in him in the near future, such as the Oakland Raiders or the Tennessee Titans. Overall, Owens should be thinking NFL or bust for the ending years of his successful career.
BG: Johnny gets 3 for stating that T.O. shouldn’t disgrace himself by playing in an inferior league (à la Ricky Henderson playing for the Newark Bears). Alex gets 2 for citing Owens’ work ethic. Chris gets 1 for saying T.O. should play for love of the game.
2. We’re about a month into the NHL season. What’s been the biggest surprise up to this point?
AW: The fact that Sidney Crosby still hasn’t suited up yet. I understand that the Penguins want to be careful and that concussions are kind of a hot-button issue in sports now, but the man hasn’t played since January. Yes, January. I’m all about keeping athletes safe and everything, but keeping a player out for nine-plus months for a concussion is just absurd. Worse yet, Crosby isn’t just any player, but one of the faces of the NHL. This doesn’t do him any favors in the image department (considering he’s fought a label of being “soft” for most of his career), it doesn’t help his team, and it certainly doesn’t help the NHL. He’s expected to finally suit up by Nov. 11, but to this point I’ve been extremely surprised that he hasn’t returned, especially after an entire offseason in rehab.
CM: Surprises usually come from up-and-coming teams that you don’t expect to do well, but I think the biggest surprise is the dominance of the Pittsburgh Penguins without Sidney Crosby. Sure, they were expected to be a good team, but the Penguins are 8-2-2 and are seven points ahead of the Flyers. James Neal and Jordan Staal have done an excellent job so far with nine points each. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has a 1.87 goals against average. They have a plus-12 goal differential, better than everyone in the NHL except for the Capitals. And Pittsburgh has just been playing overall great hockey. I give them a lot of credit and their hot start doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon.
JS: The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently 7-2-1 and lead the north in the Eastern Conference. Leading the Leafs’ quick start to the season is the right winger Phil Kessel. The third-year Leaf is currently leading the league in both goals and points with 10 and 18, respectively, in each category. Although it is unlikely that Kessel will be able to keep this pace for the entire NHL season, his amazing start and the Leafs’ success has been the most surprising thing in the NHL so far this season.
BG: Chris gets 3 for pointing out that the Penguins are getting things done without the face of the franchise, Sidney Crosby. Alex gets 2 for addressing the fact that it’s insane that Crosby still hasn’t been cleared to play yet. Johnny gets 1 for listing the Leafs’ success.
3. The College’s football team is having quite a season with the help of a very productive defense. Who is the MVP of the Lions’ defense so far?
AW: A case can be made for sophomore linebacker Nick Bricker (who won NJAC defensive player of the week this past week), but I have to go with senior safety Shawn Brown. Brown has impressed all year with his crazy playmaking abilities, securing key interceptions and always getting the College the ball when it needs it. He has four interceptions on the year, has won defensive player of the week in the NJAC, and has forced two fumbles and recovered three. In addition to that, he is also third on the team in tackles, which is not normally becoming of a safety. Arguably more important than that, though, is his leadership. He is one of the team’s captains and has helped lead the team both on the field and off. Without Shawn Brown, the College’s defense would not be nearly the same game-changing unit that it is.
CM: The stingy Lions defense is a product of all the players working well together. They have a great pass rush and are tough in the secondary. If I had to pick one player who has had the biggest impact, it would definitely be senior defensive back Shawn Brown. Brown leads the team in interceptions this year with four, but he also comes up with big plays in big moments. In the Homecoming game against Montclair State University, Brown got a huge stop on a third down against the NJAC’s leading rusher, Chris D’Andrea. After that, the Lions regained the lead, that time for good. I was covering the game and got to go on the field afterward and talk to Brown. He was so ecstatic and emotionally excited after the win, and you can tell he puts his heart and soul into the game. He is a leader on and off the field and the biggest cog in the College’s defense.
JS: Sophomore linebacker Nick Bricker is the most valuable player for the Lion’s defense so far this season. He has 92 tackles and currently leads the conference in forced fumbles, with five. What makes him so valuable is his ability to stop potentially game-changing plays. In the Lions’ big Homecoming win against Montclair, Bricker played a huge role in stopping Montclair State’s dangerous running game with six solo tackles.
BG: Alex gets 3 for showing Brown’s versatility as well as revealing that it is his leadership that truly makes him great. Chris gets 2 for supplying first-hand experience of Brown’s intensity. Johnny gets 1 for giving Bricker’s stats.
Alex wins this week’s AtD, 7-6-5.