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1 posts from February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

LeBron on future; More national criticism of Philbin; Martin's pro/con list; Heat, UM, Marlins

Noon update: CBS has dropped former Dolphins great Dan Marino from the cast of its NFL studio show. Shannon Sharpe was also dropped. CBS hired former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and will likely also will hire a former defensive player to join James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason.

Though CBS needs a game analyst to replace retiring Dan Dierdorf, neither Marino nor Sharpe was offered that job.

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Monday night update: On his 60-minute interview that aired on NBA TV tonight, LeBron James was asked by former Heat guard Steve Smith whether he can picture himself playing elsewhere.

"At this point, I can't," James said. "We don't know what can happen from [now] to July."

James has two years remaining on his contract but can exercise an out clause to become a free agent this July and next July.

James said it isn't right to judge him on how many championships he wins: "I don't think it's fair. There are a lot of great players that haven't won."

He said the one thing that he wants to win that he hasn't is Defensive Player of the Year.

And he said the key moment after the Heat's loss to Dallas in the 2011 Finals was Dwyane Wade inviting him to the Bahamas, where Wade told James he had to be the man and play like he did in Cleveland. The Heat won two championships since that conversation.

See last week's post in my archives for more highlights from the taped interview.

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Ten notes and musings on a Monday:

### Ted Wells and Stephen Ross believe Joe Philbin handled the Dolphins’ locker-room scandal splendidly, but some national voices certainly do not share that view.

CBS' Shannon Sharpe said on ESPN Radio today that Philbin "should have known" what was happening in his locker-room and "he needs to go away for a minimum of three to six games." And...

“I thought the Wells report went too easy on Philbin, saying he was unaware of the plight of Jonathan Martin, an unidentified player and an assistant trainer, all of whom were being harassed,” SI’s Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column today.

“How can Philbin have been in that building 15 hours a day, at least, and not known anything?" King said. "And how can Wells accept that this was a fine job by Philbin, and he was some sort of Boy Scout troop leader promoting wonderful citizenship? I do understand he asked Jim Turner about what was going on with his players, and Turner told him everything was fine. But what caused Philbin to ask Turner?

"Obviously his antennae were up. Philbin, whom I find to be a good man, still should know better, and this had better be a very good lesson for him, or his time in the head coach’s chair is going to be short.”

Then there was this from ESPN’s Mark Schlereth: “I’m left with this conclusion about the Dolphins organization from the coaching staff on down: They were either complicit, incompetent or both.”

### Beyond not even being aware that several of his players were demeaning and harassing at least three others (Martin, Nate Garner, ex-Dolphin Andrew McDonald), here are two specific questions I would love Philbin to answer (but I won’t hold my breath):

1) How did he miss Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey simulating sex acts during pre-practice stretching --- which they did for the purpose of harassing Martin about his sister?

2) When Martin didn’t show up for a mandatory weight training session on Oct. 7 (a day after playing poorly in the Ravens game) and then came to work drunk later that day, why did Philbin not see this as a warning sign? After all, Philbin had been fully aware of Martin’s mental health issues since May, and something like this should have prompted Philbin to take Martin into a room and press and prod him for details about whether he was taking his medication, what was bothering him, etc.

Wells’ report indicates Philbin never did anything of the kind, beyond occasionally asking him how he was doing, as a coach would do with any player.

### When Philbin told Jeff Ireland he didn’t have use for Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis, Ireland got rid of both of them. As it turns out, both Marshall and Davis were not only playing far better than Incognito was before Incognito’s suspension this past season, but neither caused his team any embarrassment last season, unlike, well, Incognito.

### According to SI’s King, commissioner Roger Goodell has met with more than 30 players to ask them how to make NFL locker-rooms a more tolerant, professional place. The question that must play out is whether the league will ask the Dolphins’ committee (Don Shula, Jason Taylor etc.) whether to refrain from making their own set of rules in order for the league to implement a uniform locker-room conduct policy instead.

### A few other random factoids from the Wells’ report: Garner believes he was harassed more than others because he has “interests that are considered non-traditional for a football player, such as computers and remote-control helicopters, and said that he was known as a “nerd.”… Why would Tyson Clabo keep $35,000 in fines in his locker from the offensive line’s kangaroo court?... Jason Weaver and Sam Brenner were fined $100 for failing to bring candy --- the same amount Pouncey was fined for being summoned to appear in front of a grand jury. Well, naturally.

### I found interesting that Martin put together a pro/con list in early May as he weighed his decision about whether to remain a pro football player. Here's what he listed, as shared with a friend and printed by Wells:

The pros of continuing his career:

### Football games are fun

### I can make a lot of money playing football and be set for life

### I have a legacy that will live after I die

### Not many people get to live their childhood dream

### I am the left tackle for the Miami Dolphins

### If I quit, I’ll be known as a quitter for the rest of my life

### My legacy at Stanford will be tarnished

### I will never be able to look any coach from my past in the eye

The cons of continuing to play football:

### I hate going in everyday.

### I am unable to socialize with my teammates in their crude manner

### I already have a lot of money. I could travel the world, get my degree. Then get a real job

### I could lose 70 lbs and feel good about my body

### I won’t die from CTE

### Maybe I’ll start to LIKE myself

### I don’t need to live lavishly. I could live very frugally

Martin has decided to continue playing, according to his agent, who will meet with the Dolphins this week.

### The Heat doesn’t have many problems, but here’s one that must change as it begins its post All-Star break schedule Tuesday in Dallas: If you’re going to rank last in the league in rebounding (as the Heat does again) and third from the bottom in rebounding differential (ahead of only Milwaukee and the Lakers), you can’t be 23rd in field goal percentage against, as this Heat team is. (Miami was second, fifth and sixth in that category the past three seasons.)

The good news is the Heat is still in the top 10 (tied for eighth) in points allowed. But the high field-goal percentage against (46.1) irks the coaching staff and must come down in the second half.

### We’ll be curious to see if Greg Oden becomes more of a rotation player that situational player. Players he’s guarding are shooting 5 for 15 against him.

### We mentioned last Wednesday that despite concerns of a few Marlins people, Jose Fernandez says he will continue chit-chatting with opponents during games and won’t change his demeanor. Over the weekend, he cited his background as one reason for that.

"I was born in Cuba. We play baseball a little different. That's who I am. I can't go out there and show no emotions. I'm going to have fun; there's no doubt in my mind."...

The Marlins decided to pass on bringing back Emilio Bonifacio, who was designed for assignment by Kansas City. Bonifacio signed with the Cubs this week.

### UM’s spring football schedule, released today, includes two scrimmages, both on campus: noon Saturday, March 29 (Greentree) and 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 (Cobb Stadium). The spring game has been scheduled for 6 p.m., on Saturday April 12, at Sun Life Stadium. UM opens spring practice on Saturday, March 1. Only the two scrimmages and the spring game are open to the public.