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Packers. I would rather not say anything about this whole ' Leroy Butler says Brett doesn't want to retire ' thing. I'm not going to be jerked around by anymore of this rumor and innuendo. But I suppose I have to since this is a blog that is in part themed around Wisconsin sports. I'm just really surprised that it is Leroy Butler of all people who is the source of this latest one. He has always carried himself in a dignified manner on the field and in the community, but this story has a side-show spectacle feel to it. And at the same time the average Packer fan is saying to themselves 'but it's Leroy Butler saying this, not some sissy pants reporter on Sportscenter' so it is kind of hard to ignore that built up credibility. Why would he lie? Why would Leroy Butler make up something like this? He's never been an attention seeker before, so there is that side of it too. But I don't care I'm not buying into this crap until some 'official' move is made. Brett just keeps saying he is retired and doesn't plan to come back so I take him at his word. Surely if he really was wanting to come back he would have the balls to admit it publicly. I think Pack fans would at least appreciate the honesty rather than just see Favre pop up with some other team. Regarding the draft I actually am pretty ok with it now after being initially incensed with the pick of Jordy Nelson. But hey TT I see the logic, Antoine Cason and Rodgers-Cromartie had already been snatched up and you figured Lee would still be there in the second. Makes for a little competition in camp too, making sure the Big 5 don't get big-headed. I think he'll beat one of them out to stick (probably Koren Robinson). There'll be an exciting competition at quarterback for sure with Brohm and Matt Flynn added to the mix, which will mean more interesting preseason games. They picked up some line depth on both sides, got a real tight end prospect (former basketball player), and I really like the pickup of former UW punter Ken DeBauche I'm sure he'll beat out Ryan no prob. So overall not to bad for the former Ron Wolf protege'. Not only is he slowly and methodically building the Packers by sticking with his philosophies he's building trust within the fan base too. On another note TMQ, one of my original favorite sports hacks, didn't even mention us in his annual draft roundup. Perhaps he was thrown off by Jordy too.
Brewers. B- The NL central may not be the strongest in baseball, but it's members sure are duking it out with each other early in the season. Right now the Crew is in 3rd place but only a game and a half out of first. Ned Yost finally mustered up some nuts and cut Derrick Turn'blows' then called up Joe Dillon (no speculation yet on whether he will refuse a minor league assignment). Then ironically enough just as they are losing some pitching dead weight, they get relieved of some good pitching by fate. Word has come that the freaky play Yovani Gallardo was involved in in last night's game has indeed resulted in a torn ACL for the young guy, effectively ending his year. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come this year. On a good pitching note I caught the 9th inning of the Brewers comeback against the Cubs the other night and Gagne looked real good. Perhaps he can return to his All-Star form after all. On a not so good pitching note The Hardball Times has a must read on why Ben Sheets will probably never have a career as long as say Greg Maddux. And I must give props to a thought provoking article I read yesterday on ArmchairGM, where I also post all my wanking. The premise of it is the need for the Brewers to trade Ryan Braun. Hear the author out, he does make some valid points (however I am for keeping everyone together for as long as possible until the salaries get too ridiculous for a small market team. We did it in the '80's with P. Molitor and Robin Yount, we should be able to do it for Fielder and Braun. Also note I speak more from nostalgia than from baseball sense).
Bucks. Lately I have been theorizing on the prudence of trading Michael Redd while it is still possible to get reasonably fair value in return to anyone who will listen. Well BrewHoop poses an interesting trade scenario. Suddenly out of favor Dallas forward Josh Howard and Stack for Redd. I like it. Howard can be just as productive offensively as Redd is without being as big of a defensive liability. Stack is older but has always been an underrated scorer (although his defense is about on par with Redd's) and could bring some veteran leadership. Dallas gets the best 2 guard they have had since Michael Finley's prime, win/win all around. Plus maybe you could package Stackhouse without some more of our dead weight (Simmons, Gadzuric, maybe Mo Williams?) to swing another trade. But who knows if this is a trade that Hammond would actually be willing to make. Scott Skiles has almost got his staff together, a rather eclectic bunch that includes a Marquette grad who was on the '77 championship team, former Indiana coach, master communicator Kelvin Sampson, and Joe Wolf widely considered to be the best Wisconsin high school basketball player in history. Lastly this past Wednesday marked the 37th anniversary of Milwaukee's only NBA title. That day in 1971 the Bucks were on top of the basketball world. Hopefully we have begun the long journey back.
University of Wisconsin football. Had 4 players go in last weekend's draft, 1 signed to a free agent contract so far. Kind of surprised to see a team take a chance on Ikegwuonu considering how he recently shredded his knee, but then again it was the Iggles picking so really not that surprising. I think eventually he could have an impact in the league providing his rehab goes good. In fact I think all five will stick with perhaps Taylor Mehlhaff ending up having the most successful career. And UW finished 9th in this years Director's Cup standings joining fellow BigTen schools Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State in the final top ten. I had no idea UW has placed in the top 25 schools 12 of the last 14 years.
Marquette University men's basketball. MU continues to move forward into the Buzz Williams era. He's already assembled most of his staff with what looks like some good choices who are strong in the recruiting area so it looks like his reputation as a strong recruiter is well earned (plus he has managed to retain 2 out of the 4 recruits Crean had coming in next year). Prowess with the X snd O's remains to be seen but it looks like he will have some pretty good pieces on the court.