Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 7, 2012

James Cook: Lions need to stay out of jail

BY JAMES COOK, Sports writer
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---- — The Detroit Lions could be pretty good this year.

If they can stay out of jail, that is.

The season hasn't even started, and the Lions already lead the league in one category — arrests.

With seven this off-season — and by only four different players, no less — the team is moving in the right direction on the field and the other way off it.

Two of the four players involved (Aaron Berry and Johnny Culbreath) have been released, but when your team's number of off-season bookings gets near the number of points for a touchdown, that's not good.

There were 33 NFL players arrested in the off-season, meaning the Lions comprised 12 percent of the league's wrong-doers.

Bummin'

The Traverse City Beach Bums have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, but it might be best not to tell Gregg Langbehn that.

You see, the last time the second-half slate was so TC-friendly, the Bums collapsed down the stretch and ended up missing the playoffs. That was Langbehn's first season.

Now three years later, Traverse City has a three-game East Division lead. Only three of their last eight series are against teams over .500 and 15 of the final 24 games are at home. The schedule includes Lake Erie (.556 win percentage), Gateway (.597) and Schaumburg (.569), but also Joliet (.417), Normal (.319) and the Road Warriors (.300) — the league's three worst teams by winning percentage.

The 2009 collapse started right after the All-Star break, and this year's TC team has been solid to start the second half, although the Bums are 5-5 in their last 10 contests, but seven of those 10 games were against Southern Illinois and Windy City, two of the Frontier League's other top teams.

T.O. to Seattle?

That's a match made in Heaven.

Why not replace a guy who eats his way out of the NFL (Mike Williams) with somebody who talks his way off teams (Terrell Owens)?

Seattle has reportedly agreed with Owens on a one-year contract. Here's hoping that deal comes with a year-long supply of Tylenol, because Pete Carroll is going to need it.

The Seahawks have been on the prowl for a veteran receiver all off-season. What they ended up with instead is a perpetual child. A talented one, but a child nonetheless.

T.O. isn't the guy you want around for his "presence." He isn't going to teach anyone or be a mentor — which is what Seattle was supposedly looking for.

Swing and miss

Justin Verlander made the Yankees look confounded for much of Monday.

Aside from his own error in the field that led to New York's only two runs, Verlander owned the Yanks.

The Tigers' ace struck out a career-high 14 on 132 pitches over eight innings. He gave up eight hits, but it didn't really seem like it. Walking only one made it seem like the bases were empty most of the time. Or maybe it was just the assumption that they wouldn't be rounding third.