In many ways it’s comparing apples to oranges – they are both fruit, but they look and taste very different. The National Hockey League’s selection meeting is very international in scope. The National Basketball Association has become the same way. The NHL and Major League Baseball are sometimes selecting 17 or 18-year olds who are fresh out of high school, and generally the draft choices go right to minor league action, while in the National Football league they are immediately part of the game at the highest level.
The one thing the four different sports leagues hold in common is the value of their drafts. Look at the best players in football, baseball, basketball and hockey and they were all draft choices. Hockey’s Sidney Crosby, baseball’s Albert Pujols and LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in the NBA were all drafted as teenagers. In the NFL Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Charles Woodson – all were draft choices.
In a 35-minute interview, Haley touched on several subjects. Here are some of the keys to the 2010 season as he sees it:
Quarterback Matt Cassel: Cassel took a lot of heat last season when he didn’t make that big of a difference after signing a $40 million deal.
Yet Haley believes Cassel will benefit from an improved offensive line, the presence of running back Thomas Jones and a stronger receiving group. Haley has praised Cassel’s spirit, work ethic and resolve.
“This guy is making progress in a bunch of ways,” Haley said. “He had a very difficult year last year, but he didn’t crack. That’s a good sign. He has been one of our best workers this offseason, if not the best. He’s working.
“We had 50-plus drops last season. If those don’t happen, people would look at Cassel differently … If we get the improved offensive play around him that we hope to, I think people will feel better about Matt Cassel.”
Jarrad Page wants out of Kansas City in a bad way.
The restricted free agent safety submitted a “formal trade request” to the Chiefs on Thursday according to PFT’s Gregg Rosenthal.
“Entering the 2009 season, Jarrad Page had more interceptions than any other safety selected in the 2006 draft class,” Page’s representatives said in a press release on Friday.
While that may be true, he is coming off a lackluster 2009 campaign. Still, he has a lot of promise and shouldn’t have too much trouble catching on elsewhere.
The Kansas City Chiefs tendered him at a second-round level.
“Maura only gave me a two-hour window to be away,” the former Notre Dame head football coach says of his wife. “And I had to squeeze a haircut in there, too.”
Armando’s Barber Shop, not much more than a shanked punt away from Weis’ old office at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, is the closest the deposed Irish coach has come to setting foot on campus roughly six and a half months after his five-year run was truncated.
“I could drive by the stadium if I wanted to,” he says, “but it isn’t like I need to go back there and reminisce. I have a clear vision of all the fond memories.
“Kids (former ND players) still text me and call me, and I text them back and call them back. But I think it’s important for me not to be a distraction. I try to keep my distance, because I think it would be unfair to the current regime to, all of a sudden, be around.”