Posted tagged ‘ESPN New York’

Fordham’s Stephen Skelton wants to be like his brother and play football on Sunday

April 6, 2011

Via ESPN New York :

More than 200 miles from the billionaires-versus-millionaires labor fight in Washington, D.C., and a world away from the clamor created by the future millionaire/entertainer/icon known as Cam Newton, the purest form of the NFL spring played out Tuesday in the Bronx.

The small-school dreamers — 28 of them — showed up to Fordham’s pro day on the Rose Hill campus. Six Fordham seniors, along with 22 other draft-eligible players from 13 other area schools, ran, jumped, lifted and shuttled for NFL scouts. For most of them, this was their once-in-a-lifetime shot at pro ball, a chance to do something — anything — to catch somebody’s attention.

No fewer than 15 NFL teams were represented at the workout, including three representatives from the New York Jets and one from the New York Giants. There were no head coaches and no TV cameras, only two dozen scouts and a smattering of well-wishers, a few with handheld video cameras. And there was the Fordham women’s softball team, which practiced on the adjacent field and occasionally belted a homer onto the football field.

You can bet Cam didn’t have to worry about stray fly balls during his workout.

At Auburn University, where the Heisman Trophy-winning Newton performed in his highly anticipated pro day, more than 150 scouts, coaches and personnel executives — the most important eyes in the NFL — turned out for the year’s Gotta-Be-There workout. Maybe you saw it; after all, it was broadcast live on ESPN3.

Back in the Bronx, on a practice field outside the Vince Lombardi Center, it was akin to an “American Idol” audition — off-the-radar hopefuls from schools such as Stony Brook, Monmouth and Wagner. One player came with DVDs, handing out his personal highlight reel to as many scouts as he could. Hey, whatever you can do.

If the NFL wannabes needed inspiration, all they had to do was look at former Fordham quarterback John Skelton, who was drafted last year by the Arizona Cardinals and wound up starting their final four games. A year ago, Skelton was the star of the school’s first pro day. On this day, he came to be the quarterback for his brother, Stephen Skelton, a Fordham tight end who could slip into the late rounds of next month’s draft.

“A lot of the big-school guys get the hype,” the elder Skelton said. “Some deserve it and some get it because the media needs something to write about, but you see guys from the smaller schools that have talent. These are guys that no one ever heard of, but they come to something like this and it’s an opportunity to get in front of an NFL scout.”

Skelton threw passes to his brother, who ran a variety of pass routes under the supervision of Cardinals tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens. It was Skelton-to-Skelton, just like it used to be at their house in El Paso, Texas. Their father, John, who coached his sons in high school, got them started young, buying them Vikings and Bears kid uniforms (complete with plastic shoulder pads) when they were little boys.

“I felt like I was in our backyard,” said Stephen, who finished his collegiate career with 127 receptions. “Every time I looked at John he had a big smile on his face. That made it very comfortable for me.”

The brotherly game of pitch-and-catch culminated three-plus hours of testing and scrutiny. After being weighed and measured — 6-4½, 253 pounds — Skelton aced the bench press, hoisting 225 pounds a total of 25 times, a personal best. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.73 and 4.69 seconds, a smidge below his goal of the mid-4.6s.

Before the workout, Skelton met with scouts from the Cards, Jaguars and Falcons. There will be more meetings and more workouts in the coming weeks. By the end of a taxing day, he felt he had impressed the scouts.

“I just know I’ll be playing on Sundays somewhere,” he said.

With the draft, you never know — and that goes both ways. A high draft pick from an elite conference — let’s say Vernon Gholston, formerly of the Jets — can turn into an NFL bust, confounding the evaluators who get paid good money to make those decisions. At the same time, a player like Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin can hit it big after being undrafted out of Monmouth (N.J.) College.

Chris Hogan, a receiver from Monmouth, turned heads Tuesday. So did Fordham safety Isa Abdul Quddus. They were among the handful of players who were invited to stick around for positional drills; the others were sent home, their football careers probably over. Most of them will graduate and go to work. Thanks for coming, we’ll be in touch.

Down at Auburn, Newton received generally positive reviews, reportedly showing improved accuracy with his passing. Whether he’s drafted first or 15th, he will be a millionaire and, according to a recent quote by him, an entertainer and an icon.

“Let them have all the media,” Stephen Skelton said of the big-school boys. “This is only one day. It really depends on what happens over the next year. There are a lot of good players that come from small schools. Just look at my brother.”

Yes, look at him — a one-in-a-thousand story. On Tuesday in the Bronx, far away from the spotlight, they were hoping for one in 28.

I am happy for this kid and what he was able to do at Fordham. He is a big kid who can catch the ball in the end zone. I have even seen him play on Jack Coffey Field and the kid is a well-rounded tight end. He blocks well, he catches, and he can run routes which he did at Fordham very well. From what I have seen, I do see him playing on Sunday’s in the NFL and I see him being a nice surprise. What I want is for the Arizona Cardinals, who are depleted at the Tight End spot, to pick up Stephen so his brother John Skelton can throw to him every day. But that would be in a perfect world and I just don’t see that happening. What I do see is a late round pick and a kid who will give you production at that spot. In the end, my favorite part about this article is how he sticks up for the smaller schools and tells off people about the Auburn’s and Oklahoma’s of the world.  But as we say at Fordham, “Hail men of Fordham Hail”…

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith can never leave New York

February 14, 2011

This is an article I wanted to share with all the fans out there from New York and also around the whole nation because it talks about how one man can talk so much about New York sports, that it never leaves his life. New York Sports is Stephen A. Smith’s life; along with his favorite player Allen Iverson. But this article displays what it means to be a true New Yorker in the “Empire State of mind.”

Via ESPNNewYork:

For those of you who swore I’d fallen off the map and disappeared into oblivion, never to be seen or heard from again, here’s a news flash:

 I never left. I haven’t gone anywhere.

 Any questions? Please, pay attention!

 My name is Stephen A. Smith. Long before my days at ESPN, the Philadelphia Inquirer or the New York Daily News before that, I was a student at Thomas A. Edison Vocational and Technical High.

I am a native of Hollis, Queens, N.Y. A Knicks fan who grew up marveling at the basketball prowess of Queens natives Mark Jackson, Lloyd “Sweat Pea” Daniels, Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson. A die-hard New York Yankees fan, emphatically prohibited by my father from watching the Mets until I was 18 years old. (So much so, in fact, that I still have to apologize to Pops for being professionally obligated to watch that franchise.)

And the new host on 1050 ESPN Radio.

And the new columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

In this city, known as the Mecca, it’s the Yankees or the Mets. You can’t root for both. Despite our starvation involving the Knicks and their quest for their first championship since 1973, they’ll always matter more than the Nets. Even when the Nets finally move to Brooklyn. The Giants and the Jets still belong to New York, even if they are playing in New Jersey.

And our passion, our knowledge, our commitment to accountability from our teams, is unparalleled and unapologetic.

A mild-mannered mentality never worked in this town, so don’t expect any timidity now. If the Knicks stink, you won’t hear that they’re “struggling.” Not in this space. When the Mets continue to lose, all the trouble they’re in because of Bernie Madoff is not going to suffice as a viable excuse. We’ll focus instead on the Mets’ years of ineptitude and how much losing they were doing when they actually had money … long before owner Fred Wilpon got himself mixed up in some Ponzi scheme.

Instead of limiting our focus to Yankees greats Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez — or A-Rod’s love life — just as much attention will be paid to Brian Cashman’s productivity. And instead of asking whether it’s time for guys like Giants coach Tom Coughlin or Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to go, maybe we’re not too far removed from questioning Eli Manning‘s productivity, or pondering the future of Mark Sanchez.

This is what happens in New York City. If you’re not winning, you’re losing. And when your body language resembles that of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who always looks depressed, that only makes things worse.

New Yorkers always want to win. But it’s just as important to us that you show us that you’re trying like hell to do it for us.

It’s why we loved the late George Steinbrenner and all the headlines his petulance created over the years. It’s why we respected former MSG and Knicks president Dave Checketts when he was chasing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls — to no avail. The crown may have eluded him, but at least he was legitimately chasing it.

It’s why we’re loving the Knicks right now, having watched them spend $100 million on Amare Stoudemire, knowing they’re willing to spend another $100 million on Carmelo Anthony. It’s why we can’t get enough of the Yankees, despite knowing the Boston Red Sox now have a better rotation after clearly having a better offseason.

While winning may not always personify the Big Apple, attitude certainly does. Players get called to the carpet. So do coaches, managers, executives, owners and anyone associated with them. No one is safe.

In a city that never sleeps, skeptics consider this place heaven. Few ever get tired of talking. No one gets tired of listening. Everyone wants to opine about something, and whoever qualifies as collateral damage, well … we all know how it goes.

It’s New York. The place I’ve called home all of my life, where truth is always required. Or at least a concerted effort to capture it.

This is the way it’s been my entire life. To be honest, this is the way it should be.

Whether it’s pertaining to the Knicks, Nets, Giants, Jets, Mets or Yankees, the mandate is the same. Compete. Pursue excellence. When failing to do either, expect to be held accountable.

Didn’t I tell you I never left?

…I love Stephen’s writing. He is so passionate about the game and so passionate about being a New Yorker that he is not ready to give it up. He is a guy on tv and on radio that is more passionate about what he is talking about than actually  factual but I enjoy it. I enjoy the rants, the yelling, and the funny statements because it makes the news media entertaining. He is one of the top guys on the list with Chris Berman and John Kruk that are great for television but not for debates. I am hoping to read more from him on ESPN New York but what I don’t want to hear about is his love for Allen Iverson…

New York Mess

August 30, 2010

The New York Mets have seriously become “The Mess.” They went from almost World Series in 2006 to the years of 2007 and 2008 choke artists. Oh and by the way, in 2009 almost half the team was injured. It has gone from the New York Amazin’s to the New York Mess’ too fast over the past decade. But what do the Mets have to do to bring themselves back to contention? Take a look at these articles that Adam Rubin from ESPN New York wrote about the whole situation.

Part 1: Meet the Mess

Part 2: What do they do next year in 2011?

 I don’t know where to start here but the teams have been terrible since that curve ball by Adam Wainwright to Carlos Beltran in the 2006 NLCS and that fly ball that Ramon Castro hit short 2 feet of a home run with the bases loaded in the final game during the 2007 season. But it really is the production of the players that makes me cringe. Take a look:

Jose Reyes – missed 36 games last year after a hamstring injury and has missed a part of the year because with a olblique injury and spring training because of thyroid imbalance in his body.

Ryan Church – on the 07-08 team but was released because he suffered multiple concussions during the season running into Marlon Anderson and sliding into Yunel Escobar’s knee. Up to that point he was batting 320 with 10 home runs and 33 rbis and an OBP of .384 

Carlos Beltran– a star in the 2006, 07, and 08 seasons. Got hurt in 2009 and since being hurt in 2010 he is batting .212 with 2 homers and 14 rbis in 40 games and has really hurt the Mets since the All Star break starting the team on their downfall.

Luis Castillo – batted .302 last year and was a bright spot for the team but with injuries and inconsistency the past years and terrible defense all year (Ex. Dropping pop up by Alex Rodriguez to lose a Subway Series game last year). Not mention the 6 million they owe him next year as well.

Oliver Perez – the man who pitched 194 innings and over 180 strikeouts in 2008 worth earning a three-year deal has been terrible since. He blew out his arm during the World Baseball classic and has been hurt with his knee and an ERA of over 6 the past two years and is a mess. Oh, they owe him 12 million dollars.

Billy Wagner – hurt at the end of the 2008 season, pitches well in the second half of the 2009 season, traded to the Red Sox who becomes the set up man and then becomes the closer for the Braves and now has 30 saves with an ERA of 1.65.  Why did they get rid of him?

Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez – signed him to a big 3 year deal and had an ERA of 6.75 in the second half of the year and just recently beat his father in law and broke his hand and can’t pitch the whole season. Up to now he had 25 saves but  his actions were way out of line and the Mets need to do something about it.

John Maine – this guy was a Met savior in the 2006  and 2007 season and was going to become one of the top pitchers in the league but then had a so so year in 2008 but then got hurt in the 2009 and 2010 season. He has become nothing ever since the injuries and his velocity has been way down.

Jason Bay – signed a big deal in the offseason and was looking to help out the Mets offense this year but with a concussion in Los Angeles last month and him striking out and hitting into too many double plays has made this signing look terrible. .259 average 6 home runs and 47 rbis are not numbers that Jason Bay puts up. Something’s wrong!

This mess has got to stop but Omar Minaya is too afraid to trade away his prospects and is relying on Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Josh Thole, Jenry Mejia, Fernando Martinez, Ruben Tejada, Bobby Parnell, and Wilmer Flores to make a huge difference. Will they?? I don’t know if they can because they might need a miracle…