Fire

Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

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Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Plaxico Burress is critical of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning and fans for the way they reacted when he was sent to prison on a gun charge in the October issue of Men's Journal.

Burress said in an interview with the magazine a few weeks before he signed with the Jets in July that he wished Coughlin had shown some concern when he met with him after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in November 2008. He saw the Giants coach on television commenting on the situation "and the first words out his mouth was sad and disappointing.'"

"I'm like, forget support -- how about some concern?" Burress said. "I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."

He also told the magazine, which hits newsstands next week, that Coughlin is "not a real positive coach."

"You look around the league, the Raheem Morrises and Rex Ryans -- when their player makes a mistake, they take em to the side and say, We'll get em next time,'" Burress said. "But Coughlin's on the sideline going crazy, man. I can't remember one time when he tried to talk a player through not having a day he was having."

Burress said he was disappointed Manning never visited him or tried to communicate with him while he served his 20-month prison sentence.

"I was always his biggest supporter, even days he wasn't on, cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said. "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."

Burress met with Coughlin and the Giants' front office when he was a free agent -- after the interview with the magazine -- and has maintained it was a pleasant conversation that helped clear the air between them. While the wide receiver didn't speak with Manning at that time, the two recently ran into each other at a movie theater and had what Burress said was a nice chat.

When asked about his comments in the magazine article, Burress said: "I was just being honest."

The article mentions how Burress was nearly robbed at his home in Totowa, N.J., a few days before the nightclub incident and how the murder of his friend and former Washington defensive back Sean Taylor helped shape his decision to carry a handgun -- and how he nearly left his gun in his car that night.

"I had a conscience about it -- but said, Nope, I'm takin' it with me,'" he said. "And that changed my life."

Burress talked about the way New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg treated him -- calling for the receiver to be punished to the fullest extent of the law -- "was totally wrong, stacked those charges so high, I had to go to jail."

While in prison, Burress said he was treated "like a ... axe murderer," and got many letters from people that were less than positive.

"I was a human pincushion," Burress said. "They were like, Yeah, we finally got you.'"

Burress said he now gets loads of positive letters from people, a complete change from what he was getting just a few months ago.

"It's like I'm more popular now for shooting myself than winning a Super Bowl!" he said. "Maybe they see a guy who made a mistake, but didn't hurt no one but himself. I mean, if you can't root for me, you must not own a mirror. All of us have made a big mistake, right?"

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

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USA TODAY

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

Coach Veljko Paunovic still went with a second-choice lineup to start the Fire's preseason match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Wednesday, but the second half featured the first preseason action for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger came on for the second half, along with Nemanja Nikolic, Johan Kappelhof and a few other Fire regulars. The German sat out the first four preseason games, but looked sharp in his 45 minutes.

One of the highlights was this smooth move between two defenders:

Schweinsteiger also had an impressive switch pass to set up a shot for second-round pick Diego Campos in the final minutes of the game. Campos drilled the shot on target, but was unable to beat the goalkeeper.

The team did not say Schweinsteiger was injured despite the repeated absences in matches. The Fire have dealt with injuries to Matt Polster, Luis Solignac, Daniel Johnson and rookie Grant Lillard this preseason. None of those four, along with Dax McCarty, played in the 0-0 draw.

The Fire next play Saturday at Orlando in a final match in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire also play Tulsa, the team's USL affiliate, at Toyota Park on March 3 before taking on Sporting Kansas City in the season opener on March 10.

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

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AP

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

The Bulls made headlines on Tuesday when VP John Paxson announced that David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne would be entering the rotation, thus continuing the youth movement in Chicago.

On the surface the moves make sense. The 24-year-old Nwaba, the 25-year-old Felicio and the 23-year-old Cameron Payne will be replacing 28-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Robin Lopez and 25-year-old Jerian Grant. The Bulls want to see what they have in these younger players who haven't played much; they already know what they have in Lopez and Holiday, and Grant (like the other two) is under contract through next year.

OK, got that? Here's why they're making the move: they're sitting 8th in the NBA Lottery standings and really want to move into the top-5 to give themselves a chance at what should be a loaded front-end of the draft class. It's pretty obvious, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either named Gar Forman, John Paxson or Fred Hoiberg.

And here's why: On Wednesday Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a whopping $600,000 by the NBA for comments he made on a podcast regarding tanking. The Mavericks are currently 18-40, the third worst record in the NBA. This comes a season after they finished 33-49, netting them the No. 9 pick that turned into talented point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

So when Cuban was asked about the best interests of his Dallas team, which touts young talent but clearly isn't headed for the postseason in 2018, he said this on the House Call with Dr. J Podcast:

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

Cuban isn't wrong, and the Mavericks sure as hell aren't the only team tanking. But to come right now and admit that losing is the team's best option wasn't, as Cuban predicted, going to sit well with the league office.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo with the fine that said Cuban's comments "which concerned his perspective on the team's competitive success this season" were "detrimental to the NBA."

So while the Bulls are going about their business in trying to lose as many games down the stretch as possible, don't expect anyone to admit it's the reason behind their personnel moves. There are 600,000 reasons why.