Celtics

Return of the two-sport athlete

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Return of the two-sport athlete

Theres nothing cooler than a two-sport professional athlete.

I dont present this as opinion, but as an irrefutable scientific fact.

Bo Jackson. Deion Sanders. Brian Jordan. Danny Ainge . . .

They all accomplished something that most of us could only dream of except they did it twice. And there's an undeniable aura of awesomeness that comes with that.

Sadly, its been a while since America was blessed with the greatness of a two-sport star, but it looks like one member of the New England Patriots might be ready to throw his name into the ring.

Christopher Price has the full story over at WEEI, but apparently Julian Edelman put on a show in Toronto last weekend during an impromptu workout with the Blue Jays. This, according to Toronto coach (and Maine-native) Brian Butterfield, who tells Price that . . .

Edelman was great at shortstop: "Kelly Johnson took balls alongside him, and said he was amazing."

And in the outfield: Dwayne Murphy, who won seven Gold Gloves, was watching him take fly balls and said he was impressive.

And that he was also dynamic at the dish: In his first round or two, he struggled a little, but you could see the bat speed and the athleticism. And then, he got hot he hit two balls into the middle deck and five home runs total. The two in the middle deck were absolute bombs. When he hit them, the guys were just screaming and yelling and telling each other, Look at that! He just wowed all of our guys. Im a huge fan of his to begin with, and he was just even better than I thought. A great athlete.

It's a fun idea, but for some reason, I doubt that Edelman will join the ranks of the two-sport star anytime soon. But it got me thinking: Which other Boston athletes should take a crack at expanding their athletic identity?

Here are a few suggestions:

Rajon Rondo: Wide receiver or secondary? Thats the only question.

As a receiver, Rondos the same height as Anquan Boldin, with the speed and shiftiness of DeSean Jackson and hands the size of Danny Woodhead. Hed be a serious deep threat, a nightmare after the catch and no matter where the balls thrown you know hell get it. Theres a question of durability, but theres no doubting his toughness. (Not to mention, its hard to get complacent under the NFL spotlight.)

As a free safety, Rondo might struggle with the physicality, but can you imagine the mental stranglehold hed have on these quarterbacks? Hed know where the balls going before the QB made his first read and can probably go from sideline to sideline in four strides.
Avery Bradley: Unless Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand leave hockey for competitive MILF Hunting, Im not sure theres a duo in Boston that naturally fits into another sport better than BradleyRondo do with football. Isnt Bradley the perfect strong safety to complement Rondo? Or what if you played Avery at corner? Receivers would lose their minds trying to shake him in the open field.

Honestly, if the Pats stick Bradley on Randy Moss when the Niners come to town in Week 15, Moss will quit before halftime. (Just kidding, he'll be released by Week 6.;)

Vince Wilfork: No Timmy? No problem. Throw some pads on Big 75, push him in front of the net, and the net no longer exists. Have at it, Ovechkin.

Rob Gronkowski: Get Gronk a speedo and a swim cap, and hes a dead ringer for just about any European water polo player. In an unrelated story: Ill be shocked and disappointed if at some point this summer a picture doesnt surface of Gronk out partying in nothing but a speedo and a swim cap.

Ray Allen: First of all, theres no question that Allen has the focus and discipline to become a reliable NFL kicker. He could have an entire second career if he wants. But I could also see him as maybe more in his younger years a solid middle reliever, or a crafty starter. Nothing too overpowering but a more cerebral guy like Greg Maddux or Bronson Arroyo and Im sorry for using those two guys in the same sentence.

Also, it goes without saying that Allen has potential as a professional golfer. Only 13 years until he's eligible for the Senior PGA.

Alfredo Aceves: They call special teams the Kamikaze Corps and theres no athlete in Boston who embodies the Kamikaze state of mind better than Aceves. He'd be perfect out there alongside Matthew Slater and Co. Good luck getting him to wear a helmet, though.

Jacoby Ellsbury: Maybe its because he reminds me of Apolo Ohno, but Ellsbury may have missed his calling as a speed skater. Come on, would you be shocked to learn that he has a full-body spandex suit hanging somewhere in his closet?

Zdeno Chara: This might be a little obvious, but I'd love to see Big Z take a shot on the jockey circuit.

Tom Brady: Hed start his career as a catcher, then make a seamless transition to first base before becoming a manager, commissioner and then the President of the United States.
Sasha Pavlovic: Pavlovic has a very "Olympic gymnast" look and feel to him. Cant you see him wearing a leotard, double wristbands and delivering a killer routine on the uneven bars? Oh, just me? K.

JaJuan Johnson: Hed make the ideal "left upright" at Gillette.

Nate Solder: How many time this postseason did you wish the Celtics had an enforcer? A Charles OakleyKendrick Perkins kind of guy who could strike fear into opponents? Well, nothing says fear like a 6-foot-8, 319-pound monster. And it doesn't hurt Solder averaged 15 points and and eight rebounds a game in high school for the Colorado state champs. (What's really scary though? 6-8, 319 pounds probably isn't far off from LeBron's actual measurements.)

Tim Thomas: Olympic archery. He's doesn't have to worry about teammates, and gets to shoot things.

Dustin Pedroia: The PedroiaMarchand comparison has been beaten to death these past few years, but not without reason. These guys are the same. Throw Pedroia on some skates and he's every bitter the grinder and instigator that Marchand is. Plus, I'd love to see the reaction if Pedey called out Claude Julien the way he did Bobby V.

Danny Woodhead: Just for fun, the Sox should trot Woodhead out to second base in a No. 15 jersey and see how long it takes someone to notice. Im guessing the first ground ball.
Shawn Thornton: Seeing how he turns 35 next month, Thornton probably missed the window to join the ranks of the MMA elite, but he definitely has the make-up. Even now, I bet he could go out there and just take hit after hit until the other guy tires out like the second coming of Homer Simpson's boxing career.

Wes Welker: Welker gives off that dirt dog vibe. I can see him making it as a gritty, scrappy outfielder like Darin Erstad or Darren Bragg, or some other guy not named Darren. Trot Nixon?

Brandon Spikes: I'm not sure if Spikes knows how to skate, but he should learn. Can you imagine what this guy would do for hockey? He'd revolutionize the game! And in the process, shatter more glass than Darryl Dawkins.

And that's all for now. But seriously, Julian. We need this as sports fans. Just give it a try. I'm sure Bill will understand. He always understands.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

0:41 - The Celtics returned to their winning ways with a 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic. Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Rob “Hardy” Poole break down the win.

6:58 - Tom Giles and Hardy discuss the Bruins’ four-game winning streak and how the success of Anton Khudobin has helped keep the team afloat.

11:39 - Is the Patriots' Week 12 matchup with the Dolphins a trap game? Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Hardy discuss where Miami ranks among NFL teams and how the Patriots should approach the game.

17:07 - With Black Friday upon us, the Boston Sports Tonight crew discusses what big-ticket item they would choose to buy for any Boston sports team. 

 

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

BOSTON – Boston made strengthening their depth at the wing position a priority during the offseason.

Well, that depth will be put to the test with the possibility of at least one and maybe two of their top wing players being out for Saturday’s game at Indiana.

Shortly after Boston’s 118-103 win over Orlando on Friday night, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that Marcus Morris (left knee) would not travel with the team for Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

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Also, Jaylen Brown will be attending the funeral of his best friend (Trevin Steede) in Georgia on Saturday and isn’t sure if he’ll be back with the team in time for Saturday’s game.

“My intention is to make it back. If I can, I’ll definitely be playing,” Brown said. “But we’ll see.”

The absence of Brown would be a huge blow for the Celtics.

Boston only returned four players from last season’s team, none of whom have improved their overall game as much as Brown did during the offseason.

He came into the season focused on being a lock-down defender.

But Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury was a game-changer for all the Celtics, including Brown.

Not only would Brown be charged with being an elite defender, but Boston now needed the second-year wing player to become more of a scoring threat.

And to Brown’s credit, he has risen to the challenge.

In 20 games (all starts) this season, Brown has averaged 15.9 points per game which is second on the team to Kyrie Irving (22.9). In addition, Brown’s defense has been among the keys to Boston’s 17-3 start which is the best record in the NBA thus far this season.

His defensive rating of 95.0 is fifth among players to appear in at least 10 games this season, and tops among all second-year players. And of the four players ahead of him, two – Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart – are teammates.

But just like the Celtics gave Isaiah Thomas all the time he needed in dealing with the death of his sister right before the playoffs last season, a similar approach has been taken with Brown which he is admittedly appreciative of the organization for doing.

“Brad (Stevens) has been great in this process,” Brown said. “Just somebody to talk to, allowing me to deal with it in the best way our family and their family feels we can deal with it. He’s been great; we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I can make it to Indiana; if not, I just have to re-group with my family and I’ll see you guys next game (against Detroit on Monday).”

While there's a chance that Brown will play against Indiana, the same can not be said for Morris who is definitely out.

Morris, who missed the first eight games of the season with left knee soreness, has been on a minutes restriction all season in addition to not being allowed to play in back-to-back games.

Following Friday’s game, Morris said the knee feels good but he understands the need to be cautious.

“It’s frustrating,” said Morris who acknowledged the decision was made by the coaching and medical staff. “I’m a competitor, so I want to be out there.”

He added, “Like I said, at this point I pretty much don’t have control over it when I’m playing. It’s a long season. I just want to be ready for June.”

With Morris out and Brown potentially out as well, the Celtics will be extremely thin and inexperienced at the wing position. Look for Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes to be in the starting lineup if Brown is out along with Morris.

Also, Stevens will likely use Terry Rozier and first-year forward Semi Ojeleye more in addition to increased spot-duty for another rookie, Abdel Nader. On Friday, Rozier had a career-high 23 points while Ojeleye and Nader had seven and three points, respectively.

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