Friday update: Prominent radio host leaving; Lamar Miller turning heads; Oden update; Marlins, Canes
Quick Friday afternoon update before we get to the Friday buzz column below:
According to sources, Jorge Sedano soon will be leaving his job as WQAM-560's afternoon drive host and program director to take a position with ESPN.
Sedano, who will remain with WQAM through August, will join former NFL offensive lineman Mark Schlereth as hosts on ESPN Radio's 7 to 10 p.m. weeknight show. On the TV side, he will make appearances on several of ESPN's opinion shows.
A graduate of Monsignor Pace and FIU, Sedano, 35, has been a fixture on the South Florida airwaves since 1999. He was 790 The Ticket's morning host from 2009 through spring 2012, then later joined WQAM as program director and afternoon host last September. Earlier in his career, he anchored Heat radio pregame and postgame programming and hosted an overnight show for Fox Sports Radio from 2004 to 2007.
Sedano also is leaving his gig as studio host on Sun Sports' coverage of Heat road games.
WQAM immediately will begin a search for new afternoon drive-time host and a new program director. In his year as program director, Sedano made several personnel moves, including hiring Channing Crowder to join Adam Kuperstein on a weekday talk show, firing Dan Sileo and replacing him with John Renshaw, and hiring a few former 790 personalities, including Brandon Guzio.
ESPN and Sedano will be able to discuss the hire publicly sometime later this month.
FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN
So this is what your new Dolphins starting running back is doing while much of the NFL vacations:
Running. Lifting. Squatting. Sled-pulling. Pushing to validate every ounce of faith the Dolphins have placed in their gifted young back.
What makes the monotonous grind more pleasurable for Lamar Miller is that he is doing it alongside his friend and fellow Hurricane, Frank Gore.
“The way Lamar is learning from Frank, it’s a beautiful thing,” Steelers linebacker Sean Spence, another former Cane, said this week.
Gore’s mentoring of Miller has been one of the neater Dolphins-flavored stories of the summer, the four-time Pro Bowler and 49ers star taking the second-year protege under his wing. They work out together twice a day – with a group of other NFL players in the morning in North Miami Beach, and just the two of them, with a trainer, on a Davie field at night.
“Since Lamar started gravitating toward Frank, his work ethic and mentality are unparalleled,” said Pete Bommarito, who runs the highly-regarded Bommarito Performance Systems, where Gore, Miller and many other NFL players train during offseason mornings.
Miller, who almost assuredly will replace Detroit-bound Reggie Bush as Miami’s starter, began spending a lot of time around Gore a couple of months ago, at the suggestion of their agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Bommarito said Gore helped show Miller “how to take care of his body, what to do beyond what is required.”
Gore has noticed another change since they became workout buddies: “His footwork got a lot better."
Privately, the Dolphins believe Miller can be not merely a good starting back, but a great one.
“He’s the fastest running back I’ve ever seen,” said Bommarito, who has trained dozens of them, including Maurice Jones-Drew.
What’s more, Miller said he’s even faster than the player who averaged 4.9 yards on 51 carries as a rookie.
“I’ve gotten quicker doing lateral work, and I’ve become more explosive by training every day doing squats on my legs,” he said.
“[And] I’m stronger. Last year, I was kind of lost getting adjusted to the speed of the game and knowing where I’m supposed to be at all times. Now I’m very comfortable with the system.”
Gore said of the elite UM backs of the past 20 years – Edgerrin James, himself, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Miller – “Lamar is probably the fastest. He reminds me of Portis.”
Teammates, impressed with Miller’s improvement in his pass protection, believe he’s ready for the more prominent role that awaits.
Olivier Vernon, Miller’s Dolphins and former UM teammate, compares him to Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, who ran for 2006 yards in 2009. Philip Wheeler said “he’s really good. Speedy, and that’s what we need.”
“He’s just so smooth,” Matt Moore said. "As shifty as Lamar is, he's more of a downhill guy than Reggie. His nature is to go north and south.... You can see during walkthroughs that his leadership has stepped up. He has grabbed it."
Brian Hartline jokes he has a “man crush” on Miller, while also expressing affection for backup Daniel Thomas.
“And he’s a good kid,” Gore said. “We motivate each other.”
The relationship is especially meaningful for Miller because of their common roots. Both starred in high school locally: Gore at Coral Gables, Miller at Killian.
“We grew up in the same neighborhood – he’s just 10, 15 minutes away from me,” Miller said. “I used to look up to all the UM running backs growing up because that’s where I wanted to go. I want to keep the legacy of the University of Miami going.
“It has been great working with Frank, and it is going to help me in my game. He has given me a lot of tips.”
As they work side by side in the evening, Gore reminds Miller that most players around the league aren't doing anything like this on a July night --- traditionally a vacation period for many players -- and how that will give him a leg up on the competition, some way, some how, once the games begin.
### The Heat remains very much in the running for center Greg Oden, with the Spurs, Celtics and Mavericks also receiving strong consideration. Cleveland has lost steam after signing Andrew Bynum. But Oden is taking it slowly and likely will not work out for teams until August. He believes he will be ready to play by the start of the season. Oden has had five knee operations and hasn't played in an NBA game since 2009.
### With the Marlins’ payroll now $34 million, owner Jeffrey Loria declined to answer when asked whether he would start spending more in free agency when he believes the team is ready to contend. An associate of Loria said that decision hasn’t been made and would depend on what’s available and team revenues. This will help: Beginning in 2014, each team will make $57 million in national TV revenue, compared with $26 million now.
“Money will have to be spent to fill certain voids,” Marlins special assistant Andre Dawson said. Several key players remain under team control and will be paid less than $550,000 next season.
Giancarlo Stanton could get $7 million or so in arbitration, but the Marlins already have his salary budgeted into 2014 projections, if they don’t trade him. Only Adeiny Hechavarria ($1.75 million), Jeff Mathis ($1.5 million) and Jacob Turner ($1 million) know their exact 2014 salaries.
### With UM basketball getting a non-binding commitment this week from 6-6 Jacksonville forward DJ Russell, not sure what’s stranger: An eighth grader orally committing, or the fact HoopsReport.com actually ranks eighth graders (Russell is No. 3 on that list).
### Of all the UM football departures this offseason (Thomas Finnie, Gabe Terry, Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul, Jacoy Briscoe, Dequan Ivery, Robert Lockhart), only Lockhart left completely by choice. Others didn’t follow the program, so to speak, and Finnie and Terry were arrested…. After UM gets its NCAA sanctions in the next few weeks, it will have 15 days to decide whether to appeal, according to bylaws provided by former infractions committee member Jerry Parkinson… Good to see Spence running at Bommarito's center this week after last summer’s devastating knee injury. He hopes to make his NFL regular-season debut for the Steelers by midseason.