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Sports Then and Now

Sports Then and Now: Waiting For The Weekend

Posted on August 07, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Waiting for the weekendWelcome to the new weekly Friday wrap-up column on Sports Then and Now. We’ll use this space each week to look back at this week in sports history, offer some insights and opinions on what is happening today and preview some of the big sporting events coming up over the weekend.

You Can’t Pick Your Relatives
San Francisco 49ers’ draft pick Michael Crabtree probably won’t be all that happy at his next family reunion. He and his agent, Eugene Parker, are now trying to distance themselves from comments made this week by the receiver’s cousin, David Wells. Wells told reporters that Crabtree is prepared to sit out this season and re-enter the NFL draft in 2010 if he doesn’t get what they believe to be “fair market value.”

Crabtree is reportedly looking for a contract that is at least comparable to the more than $38 million deal (with more than $23 million guaranteed) recently signed by seventh overall pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.

It is funny that the media and all of us who watch the NFL are making such a big deal of this because we know Crabtree will ultimately sign. And so do he and his agent.

Parker said late Thursday that no threat has been made to the 49ers and that they are still negotiating to get a deal done. He knows that while Crabtree has value and some leverage today, sitting out the season and re-entering the draft could be disastrous for his ability to sign a lucrative NFL contract.

Were Crabtree to hold-out, NFL teams would certainly remember the last wide receiver who sat out a year before entering the NFL draft, former USC standout Michael Williams.  If you will recall, Williams got caught up in the court battle over whether the NFL could force players to be three years removed from high school before entering the NFL Draft.

They could, but Williams had already turned pro and wasn’t reinstated by the NCAA. So, he sat out a year before being drafted with the 10th overall pick by the Lions. He caught 44 total passes in three seasons and is now out of the league.

Crabtree is a very good player and will be a significant addition to the 49ers, but he can’t overestimate his value or believe that sitting out a year will enhance his value.

Hopefully this is just a case of an excited relative spouting off, but the way things go in pro sports these days, you never know.

Has It Really Been 25 Years?
Hard to believe that it was 25 years this week that Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics.

It was 25 years ago when Mary Lou Retton shined at the Los Angeles Olympics.

It was 25 years ago when Mary Lou Retton shined at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Because the United States had boycotted the 1980 Olympics, it had been eight years since the last Americans competed in a summer Olympics, so everyone was anxious to see Americans back on the medal stand.

The athletes certainly didn’t disappoint as Americans won 83 gold medals and 174 of the 474 total medals awarded during the games. Of course it didn’t hurt that the Russians and other Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the games.

The games had a wealth of great stars including Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis, Joan Benoit, the men’s and women’s swimmers and the real “Dream Team” the men’s basketball squad that included Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullen and the recently deceased Wayman Tisdale.

Welcome to Canton
The Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions are without question one of my favorite non-game sports activities of the entire year. It is always exhilarating to watch the stars of my youth walk across the stage every year and then to see new members inducted into the Hall.

It is about time the HOF voters selected "Bullet" Bob Hayes.

It is about time the HOF voters selected "Bullet" Bob Hayes.

I am so glad that the voters finally selected Bob Hayes and Derrick Thomas. It took them long enough. While Thomas died very prematurely, it is a shame that the voters waited until after Hayes death (in 2004) to select him for this great honor. There should have never been a doubt that he belonged and when it was known that he was not in great health in the early part of this decade I really think the voters should have gone ahead and selected him while he was still alive.

It would have been special for Hayes to be there himself to accept the award, but it will still be a very special weekend for his family.

I have been writing a series of columns over the last couple months about the best players not in the Hall of fame. I looked at each position and ranked the top 25. I will finish the series this weekend with an installment looking at some players who are in the HOF, but maybe don’t belong and then at the top 10 overall players who I believe should be in the Hall of Fame. I hope you will check it out.

Each week we will conclude the column by looking at some current and former athletes who were born during the week. This week the most important birthday in our house is that of our son, Nate Hybl (no not the former Oklahoma quarterback), who will be four tomorrow.

Here are some others who were born during this week:
August 7 – Don Larsen (1929), Alan Page (1945), Edgar Renteria (1975)
August 8 – Jerry Tarkanian (1930), Frank Howard (1936), Bruce Matthews (1961)
August 9 – Bob Cousy (1928), Ken Norton (1945), Deion Sanders (1967), Troy Percival (1969)
August 10 – Red Holtzman (1920), Rocky Colavito (1933), Riddick Bowe (1967)
August 11 – Craig Ehlo (1961), Edgardo Alfonzo (1973)
August 12 – Alex Wojciechowicz (1915), Lynette Woodard (1959), Pete Sampras (1971)
August 13 – Ben Hogan (1912), Betsy King (1955), Elvis Grbac (1970)

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