Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Opining on the NFL going to LA, Lee Evans trade rumors and the great Mariano Rivera

I know it doesn’t do any good to fret about things you can’t control, but I feel a little queasy each time I hear a report about Los Angeles taking steps to get another NFL franchise.

Yesterday’s news that the L.A. City Council has backed a private investor’s plan for a new downtown stadium made me wonder again about the precarious, long-term future of the Bills in Buffalo.

The NFL, of course, wants in the worst way to get at least one and possibly two teams back in the nation’s second-largest city and television market.

Oh, well. Nothing we can do about it, except enjoy the NFL while we have it in western New York.


The rumors are flying hot and heavy that teams are interested in trading for Bills wide receiver Lee Evans, the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals being the most aggressive suitors.

I know I’m in the minority, but I believe Evans, who just turned 30, is going to have a bounce-back season after declining numbers and an ankle injury that cost him three games in 2010.

I know Stevie Johnson has emerged as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target, but I believe Evans received too little credit for Stevie’s breakout campaign that saw him catch 81 passes and score 11 touchdowns. Not only did Evans take coverage away from Johnson, he also served as an astute mentor and coach.

Now, I’m not totally opposed to dealing Evans, giving the potential of this young Bills receiving corps and the fact Buffalo isn’t going to the playoffs any time soon. I just hope Buffalo gets a good return on its investment – at least a third-round draft pick.

Regardless what happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Evans puts up some big numbers this fall while Stevie’s numbers drop off a bit, especially if Lee winds up playing alongside Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona.


Yes, he's blown two straight saves and will turn 42 in November, but it’s way, way too early to panic about Mariano Rivera. He has failed to preserve the lead in two consecutive games, giving him five failures in 46 appearances. He isn't as dominating as he once was, but he's still pretty darn good, as his 29 saves and 2.23 earned run average attests. I believe this is just a temporary blip for the man who is just 12 saves shy of becoming only the second reliever to record 600 in a career.


I’m happy to see that the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is considering inducting Yao Ming as a contributor next year. The 7-foot-4 center sparked a hoops revolution in his native China. While covering the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, I witnessed just how crazed the Chinese are about basketball. And much of that is due to Ming’s success there and in the NBA. As I wrote back then, "Yao’s become more popular than Mao." And that's not hyperbole.


Congratulations to Leigh Ann Carlson (Brattain) for scoring the first hole-in-one of her golfing career. Leigh Ann, who many of you will remember as an anchor for R-News (now YNN), merely is continuing a family tradition. The Cleveland resident's parents have six holes-in-one between them.


By the way, the only holes-in-one I've scored have been at miniature golf courses.

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