200 Miles From the Citi

April 18, 2010 8:00 AM

Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XVI)

Carl_Nicks.JPGIt's Sunday, I'm on vacation, so let's turn to a feel-good story.

You often hear about the college athlete who acts like a jerk.

This is about such an athlete.

But - Spoiler Alert! - you just may end up liking him in the end.

Carl Nicks is an offensive lineman with the New Orleans Saints.

He was drafted in 2008, following a rocky senior year at Nebraska.

By his own admission Nicks acted foolishly that year.  He missed classes and did not work hard.

The culmination of his year was an arrest for refusing to leave a disorderly house party the weekend before the Huskers' pro day.

Nicks was banned from the pro day.

Though at the time he didn't agree with the move, ordered by new head coach Bo Pelini, who didn't coach Nicks at all, Nicks says the experience made him a harder worker and he has since reflected on that year as an embarrassment.

So on Wednesday, Nicks showed up at Nebraska's practice and personally apologized to Pelini and athletic director Tom Osborne.

Carl Nicks is not the first college athlete to embarrass himself and a university.  He won't be the last.

But he gets huge credit for doing the right thing in this situation.

And maybe other players will learn from him - if not from his mistakes, then maybe from the way he tried to make up for them.

*Jerry Manuel says he still hasn't ruled out batting Jose Reyes third - the big rumor was that it was going to start this weekend in St. Louis.  I still don't love it...but let's worry about Reyes hitting, period, before we worry about where he hits.

*So this article in Sports Illustrated about Jason Heyward, and the baseball league he played in growing up, and their "secret" alliance with the Braves sounds fishy.  None of it is illegal, I gather, or else someone in baseball would cry foul (no pun intended), but if it was all on the up-and-up would they be so close-mouthed about it?  No wonder the Braves have such a hopping farm system...and it also sounds like scouts for other teams aren't doing such a good job in the Georgia area.  (By the way, if you have some back issues of Sports Illustrated sitting around and you're not sure they're worth your time to read them, my friend Justin at Sports Crackle Pop! does a great job summing it up for you.)

*I was impressed the Dolphins landed Brandon Marshall...but surprised when they turned around and traded Ted Ginn, Jr. to the 49ers.  The first thing I thought when they traded for Marshall was how much better that makes guys like Ginn and Devon Bess...but they've trimmed their receiver numbers.  I'm not saying it makes the Marshall acquisition less impactful...just that it was a surprising second move.

*I've been meaning to touch on this for a couple of weeks, and kept forgetting.  Did you see the season opener - the Red Sox-Yankees on ESPN?  The Red Sox had Pedro Martinez throw out the first pitch.  It was a nice moment and all, but a little weird - chances are Pedro will be pitching for someone come summertime.  A co-worker brought this up, and I thought it was a great point - why not Nomar?  He had just retired as a member of the Red Sox - there's no chance he would be playing for another team in a couple of months...I wonder why it was Pedro over Nomar...unless there was some kind of conflict of interest with ESPN (doubtful), or the Pedro thing had just been in the works for that much longer.

*I did write about last night's 20-inning affair - in a separate, late-Saturday night post.  Not sure if you come to the site through the Real Clear Sports main page or straight here - but make sure you scroll down to see my assessment of the game.

*Saturday night is a good example of why I love sitting and watching baseball all night long.  You just never know what's going to happen - completion of a suspended game, a no-hitter, a 20-inning game...I love it all.

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