NBA

WEEKEND CONDITION: The price is wrong

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Randy Hill

Veteran columnist Randy Hill is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.
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With seven months separating now and Week 1, the Baltimore Ravens have sort of taken a knee. A self-inflicted knee. It¿s not exactly a tragedy. It¿s just their turn. The Ravens, 13 months beyond Super Bowl glory, are running the NFL¿s popular ¿Go¿ pattern. Thanks to the restrictive properties of the league¿s salary cap, Baltimore was obliged to make a few payroll deductions. As a result, many of the top Ravens already are gone. With hard times knocking, expect to see more ¿name¿ NFL players peddling Chunky Soup. They¿ll be wearing unmarked uniforms. Anyway, this tear-down, build-up philosophy has become the league standard, and will help remove from fans the burden of becoming familiar with the players on their favorite team. It also has enabled the NFL to nab the catbird seat for this episode of The Weekend Condition. Checking in as lead crisis was Friday¿s deadline cha-cha between the Ravens and income-bent quarterback Elvis Grbac. After hiring Elvis for tall scoots a year ago, the Ravens were compelled to put the Grrr in Grbac this time. They did this by asking Elvis to take a substantial pay cut. But his idea of a fair trim was not quite as lucrative to the Ravens, who said ¿Never more.¿ And then cut him. So Grbac qualifies as an in-his pocket quarterback who¿s also running out of options. That may include a potential gig in Cincinnati, where the Bengals seem hesitant to annihilate their piggy bank for Grbac. It¿s still a shame that things didn¿t work out in Baltimore, where Elvis has left the rebuilding.
  • Out in Seattle, the Seahawks decided their future is now by taking the ¿rent¿ out of Trent Dilfer. Dilfer, the quarterback who didn¿t lose Baltimore¿s Super Bowl game before Grbac replaced him, did fine work for the Seahawks last season. As frosting on his four-year, $8 million deal (relax, it¿s not guaranteed), Trent has sort of been promised a starter¿s role. In going from closer to starter, the Seahawks still must keep Dilfer¿s pitch-count low.
  • In Washington, D.C., Redskins coach Steve ¿Sir Visor¿ Spurrier has acquired QB Danny Wuerffel, his Heisman hotshot from the University of Florida. Spurrier also is attempting to add ex-Gator Shane Matthews to his glue-bound quarterback stable. If that deal goes through, the ¿Skins may be required to pay a Capitol-Gainesville tax.

    NFL draft

  • The cattle call known as the NFL Scouting Combine is a fun time for draft prospects. Their social calendar includes bench-pressing 225 pounds to the death, being timed in the 40-yard dash and answering tricky questions on the popular Wonderlic test. For the record, each candidate has 12 minutes to negotiate the Wonderlic¿s 50 questions. According to sources who can¿t even walk 40 yards, one prospect really stood out. OK, we won¿t divulge his identity, but can tell you he bench-pressed the Wonderlic 225 times and ran the 40 in 12 minutes. The Raiders, the source said, love him.

    College basketball

  • Nolan Richardson defines his hoop philosophy as ¿40 Minutes of Hell.¿ That sort of defines my last marriage. So we have that in common. We also share the distinction of not being head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Nolan achieved this status by accepting a buyout of the remaining six years on his contract. He also may choose litigation. If that occurs, Richardson will go from ¿Wooo, Pig Sooey!¿ to ¿Whoa, Pig Suing!¿

    NBA

  • Last month¿s Chicago Bulls-Indiana Pacers swap enabled Brad Miller to have another shot at L.A. Laker Shaquille O¿Neal. The rematch occurred Friday night in L.A. Some fouls, no harm. But a unification bout, of sorts, did erupt during the game¿s closing credits. Laker Kobe Bryant scrapped with the Pacers¿ Miller Lite. Reggie? Too right. Apparently, Reggie had something interesting to say after Kobe squeezed off a 3-pointer with the game in doubt, the shot clock set for stun and the game clock ready to nod off. I don¿t know what Miller said, but it encouraged Bryant to do what many league employees would like to do — take a swing at Reggie. Kobe¿s behavior was rewarded with a two-game suspension. If the punch had landed squarely, it might have been just one.
  • Allen Iverson scored 43 points for Philly in Friday¿s victory over the New Jersey Nets. And he didn¿t even start the game. Allen was being punished for missing the morning shoot-around. But I don¿t blame Iverson; he often confuses the Sixers¿ shoot-around with the actual game.
  • On Saturday¿s 40th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain¿s 100-point game, five of the 12 NBA teams in action failed to reach triple digits. Twenty-eight of those points were scored at the free-throw line. Wilt has another record — 20,000 sexual conquests — but nobody¿s sure how many solo points were scored in that one.

    Boxing

  • With ¿The Tick¿ dropping dead just 95 or so episodes shy of syndication, FOX was inspired to seek alternative programming. I think it has a winner in Celebrity Boxing. Obviously, promoting fights between famous people is a tricky business. Some of these bozos probably think a mouthpiece is a public-relations consultant. But if the ring action turns out to be mediocre, FOX plans to upgrade the violence by including press conferences. The pilot features a showdown between ¿bad girls¿ Tonya Harding and Paula Jones, a late replacement for "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisher. No, you¿ll have to supply your own punch line. Meanwhile, I¿ll be rooting for a match-up between O.J. Simpson and Regis Philbin.

    Cheerleading

    More than 100 former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders have joined that embarrassing lawsuit aimed at 29 NFL teams. In case you missed this one, the cheerleaders are suing because players from opposing teams used to spy on their dressing room from the visitors¿ dressing room. The case is scheduled to be heard in The Peep Hole¿s Court. I¿m not sure what evidence will be presented, but 95 percent of the captains from those visiting teams called ¿tails¿ during the pregame coin flip. Randy Hill can be reached at his e-mail address, rhill@foxsports.com.
  • Tagged: Bears, Bengals, Eagles, Seahawks, Redskins, Ravens, Shane Matthews, Bulls, Pacers, Lakers, Brad Miller, Kobe Bryant

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