First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

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Tracee Hamilton
Wednesday, January 26, 2011; 9:30 AM

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

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Storrs, Florida: Hey, Lew Perkins isn't looking all that bad right now. Can we have him back?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes.And good morning, everyone. I expect it to be a slow morning, given the weather, but we'll see. Let's go!

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Christian Heritage 108, West Hills Academy 3: Here's what I don't get about this game: if Christian Heritage was so dominant, how could they have given up a three-pointer? You wanna impress me, throw a shutout. FH

Tracee Hamilton: Yeah, Christian Heritage! Take that! :)

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Redskins Kickers: So I know Danny likes to 'win' the offseason, how about overpaying for an elite kicker and punter/field goal holder? It would sure create buzz signing a David Akers or a Nate Kaeding to an $100M contract and I would bet that they would win us more games than some other $100M free agents.

Tracee Hamilton: Even a David Akers misses occasionally, and when the 100 million dollar man misses, imagine the outcry. It's a lose-lose.

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Future Redskin, Lovie Smith, Twitter...: Good morning Ms. Tracee! Do you see Ocho Cinco wearing burgundy-and-gold next season? (*is praying he is not wearing silver, red, white and blue*) Also, agree with you on the danger of Twitter remarks - did you catch Whitlock's Cutler-bashing? It went something like: "See, Favre would have gotten up and soldiered on, that's why everyone loved him!" It was puke-inducing; then again, why do I even have a Twitter? *grimace* Pats Fan

Tracee Hamilton: I wonder the same thing as I tweet, actually. :) Anyway, I do not see Ochocinco coming here, no. They weren't interested in Owens and I think they'd pass on Ocho for the same reason.

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Kansas Day Week Trivia: Okay - you're batting .500 now. Here's another easy one for you: Who was the first African American to play baseball in the Big 8?Happy sesquicentennial! -K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: non-K-Staters is ... Earl Woods, father of Tiger. Happy 150th to you, too! I'll be in Kansas for Kansas Day and am happy as a clam (but not attending the game).

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Randy Edsall: "Substance is more important than buzz or glamour." Um, isn't that what got Ralph fired?

Tracee Hamilton: Well ... yes.

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Gibbs and Tomlin : I have a small problem with ESPN-- on their bottom line hyping the Super Bowl, they say Tomlin is second coach to take a team to two SB's in his first 4 years (and say Gibbs is the other), but Gibbs did it in Three years, as I said small thing, but I am surprised that no one has pointed it out, when comparing a stat like this it downgrades Gibbs to say it took him four years to get it done, no one would be happy if they said I don't know Ben is the second QB to win three super bowls in his first 7 years as a pro (Brady)--Brady did it in his first 5 years-- so stat might be right, but is misleading.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, I'm not sure how else they would word it. They aren't going to run a line that says Gibbs is the only NFL coach to take a team to the Super Bowl twice in three years. What relevance does that have? Every kind of "stat" like that can be manipulated to say what you want. They are just trying to show that what Timlin has done is hard to do.

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Cutler debate: It's giving a lot of players, ex-players and never-played(ers) a chance to say how tough they are or were and they would have stayed in the game. I saw a news report comparing Cutler with players, such as Tiger Woods, who played on despite an injury. Many seem to feel that a player should stay in as long as they can physically do so, but that seems to ignore the question of whether a player, especially a quarterback, SHOULD stay in if they are injured and not at their best. It's a team game. It's not like a marathon runner looking heroic if they get injured and manage to limp across the finish line hours after the front runners. The Bears coach apparently felt that the team had a better chance with a back-up. They had to go two deep, but can anyone say for sure that Cutler would have done better than the third-stringer who almsot won the game for the Bears?

Tracee Hamilton: I feel pretty certain that he wouldn't have gotten the Bears any closer than did Hanie, personally, but like 99 percent of the aftermath of all this, that's a guess.

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I can't tell...: I can't tell if Mike Wise's column this morning was hilarious or offensive. I certainly laughed at some points, but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps it was repeatedly being called a loser for remaining loyal to our local teams (bad though they may be). Or maybe it was the way he equated poor performance by professional athletes (and Albert Haynesworth) with the personality of our region. Who knows? Hey, maybe you do!

Tracee Hamilton: It's a pet peeve of mine -- and this is not just directed at Mike's column; the Style section does this too -- when stories tell me how *I* feel about something, as if I'm part of a collective. Style sometimes does this with all of women as the collective. It annoys the bleep out of me, to be honest. I know how I feel. I can take a stab at how some people around me feel, but I am not in the mind-reading business of a city, a region or a nation. But this is a pet peeve of MINE; I don't expect everyone to be annoyed by the same things. :)

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If it goes down today, T-Ham, do you have my back?: Tracee, not that it's "Snowmageddon" 2.0 by any means, and all the panic is downright silly, but I want to leave work early nontheless. If I get in trouble for this, and it, as the children say, "goes down," do you have my back? As someone who, legend has it, scratched the eyes out of a hyena simply because the hyena made a snide remark about B-Svrl, I thought you could back me up.

Tracee Hamilton: Yup, I've got your back. I just need the snow to hold off until I get my hair done. I can't go to Kansas with the flaxen tresses looking like this!

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If 40 is the new 30, then is B-Svrl the new Cheese Boy?: It just seems like Mr. Svrl is gradually supplanting Cheese Boy in terms of garnering FTF questions. Or maybe it's just me. But if B-Svrl is truly the new Cheese Boy, I feel certain that S-Ya will eventually become the new B-Svrl. I hope so, because it's truly fun to write AND say "S-Ya." It goes without saying, of course, that there will be only ONE T-Ham!

Tracee Hamilton: I was just trying to think who could be the "new" "me". Drawing a blank. Big Uggs to fill. Svrluga is one of those guys who hates people but people love him. He's a mystery. I also haven't laid eyes on him in weeks so I question whether he actually exists.

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A story about quarterbacks and their teammates: Tracee: The whole dustup about Jay Cutler and his standing with his teammates after Sunday's game made me want to share a story about the most legendary QB of all, John Unitas.Unitas was nobody's pal--at least not in the huddle. According to Lenny Moore, the Colt's Hall of Fame halfback/flanker, Unitas once called Moore's number on the first several plays in a game. Coming back to the huddle, Moore said jokingly, "Take it easy John, you're wearing me out." There was a collective intake of breath among the other Colts and Unitas said, "Moore, this is my huddle and if I want to, I'll run your a** until you die." Unitas then called Moore's number several more times before starting to mix things up.On the other hand, a Colt, toward the end of the season was lamenting the fact that his wife wanted a new kitchen floor. He had bought the tiles, but the costs he had received for installation seemed awfully high. (Remember, this was back when players made salaries in the low five figures.) Overhearing this, Unitas told his teammate that if he could get his wife to hold off until January, John would come over their house and redo the kitchen floor for him. The Colt was stunned and Unitas said, "Really, I can do it pretty well. It was my summer job during college."The meaning of this? You can be hardnosed and unlovable on the field and leave that all behind once the final whistle blows.

Tracee Hamilton: The other meaning is that none of us knows what goes on in the huddle and the locker room between these guys. That's why I get so frustated with people who see the guy on TV and now know his innermost thoughts and feelings.

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A grizzley bear versus a lion: Tracee, let me emphasize that I would NEVER want this to truly take place-- ever. But, in a fight between a lion and a grizzley bear, who would emerge victorious? For me, if they fought 10 times, I think the bear takes it 6 to 7 times. Your thoughts?

Tracee Hamilton: I'm with you on the bear, especially if they fight when the bear has a winter coat. Harder for the lion to get a good bite, while the bear will have no such problem.

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re: Redskins Kickers: Nah, they should ask Morten Andersen to come out of retirement.

Tracee Hamilton: Why not!?

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Big East or Big Ten: Hi Tracy, In my office there is a constant debate about whether or not the Big 10 is a better conference than the Big East. I say the Big East is the toughest conference in the nation, but they say I'm a girl and therefore cannot have a real opinion on this. Plus, they are all OSU fans. So can you be an impartial moderator? (Even if you ARE a girl!)?

Tracee Hamilton: I can be, since I don't have a dog in this fight. The Big East is the best conference this season. Not even close. More truly elite teams. I'd rank it Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 at this point of the year. The Big 12 and Big Ten could end up swapping places by the end of the conference season, but the Big East will remain on top. And I have no particular love of either league. So you go, girl!

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I have a small problem with ESPN-- on their bottom line hyping the Super Bowl, they say Tomlin is second coach to take a team to two SB's in his first 4 years (and say Gibbs is the other), but Gibbs did it in Three years: But the story is about Tomlin, not Gibbs.

Tracee Hamilton: Exactly.

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Ernie Grunfeld: WHAT????: Tracee, certainly this is with some benefit of hindsight, but, Ernie Grunfeld, c'mon. He passes over Rajon Rondo (the funnest name in the NBA), he drafts total bust Pecherov, trades away a #5 pick for 2 dudes no longer even on the team. He did well to get out of the Gilby deal, to his credit. But, is it me, or is his work starting to look like a train wreck? Oh, let's not forget passing over DeJuan Blair, a really good role player he could have taken in the SECOND ROUND!! What thinketh thou?

Tracee Hamilton: Blatche to a big contract and that may be his undoing.

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I want my money back: A couple of years ago, I donated some money to a PeeWee team so they could buy matching t-shirts. Without consulting me, the team went and got a new coach. I want my $100 back, and I don't want Chico's Bail Bonds on the shirts any more. ..... Actually, I can see Burton's point: UConn made a deal with the devil in deciding to go 1-A, and you gotta take care of the boosters, and Hathaway's a dope.

Tracee Hamilton: I had to laugh at a line on PTI last night, I think it was Tony's. $3 million at a lot of schools wouldn't buy you a suite. But U-Conn.'s different, for now, anyway. I think it's a ridiculous complaint. Once you've given your money, it's not your money any more. Period. They didn't lie to him to get it. Circumstances change. So don't give any more money if you're PO'd, but don't ask for a refund.

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Cutler's Knee Injury: I saw reports folks saw him either walking up or down steps and questioning the seriousness of his injury. having torn every ligament in my left knee except for my LCL I know a little about knee injures. A torn MCL will not prevent you from doing steps like a PCL or ACL. I am sure many a QB has gone back into game in the NFL and cost his team the game because he was hurt. I am sure Urlacher would have thrown Cutler under the bus if he thought he could ahve played. And Deion Sanders who couldnt carry pAt Fisher's jock needs to shut up. Deion should enver be in the HOF. If Pat Fisher doesnt get in. Deion isnt ahve the cornerback Mr Fisher was. And Mr Fisher could take Deion any day.

Tracee Hamilton: A torn MCL isn't as serious as a torn ACL. My understanding, though, is that it's difficult to plant your leg; your leg wobbles, as it were. That is not a good situation for a QB to be in. And I agree about Urlacher. He was angry people were questioning Cutler's toughness. He was angry, period. He wouldn't hesitate to say if he had a problem.

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108-3: Coach should be ashamed. He claims that there wasn't anything he could do, but he could certainly have told his players to stop stealing (more than 20 steals for the winning side), look to pass first, play his forwards at point guard, ask the ref for a running clock.... His players didn't learn anything from walking over the other team, and the other team didn't learn anything from getting whupped like that (except for how to take a whipping, which does have some value).

Tracee Hamilton: hate to see such lopsided scores. It just has to be a misery for the losing team.

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But this is a pet peeve of MINE; I don't expect everyone to be annoyed by the same things.: I'm reading one of those "how to talk to your kids so they'll listen" books and the number 1 rule is to refrain from telling your kids how they feel or how they should feel. I think it's good advice for any relationship.

Tracee Hamilton: I agree. This is not something I was taught as a child and I wish I was. I've learned it the hard way. :)

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Kansas Day: Anyone who didn't grow up coloring buffalo, sunflowers, meadowlarks and cottonwood trees every March cannot understand the magnitude of this holiday. I don't think other states do it up like the Sunflower State. And a question: Do the regional covers save the Packers from the SI curse?

Tracee Hamilton: I do think regional covers have lessened the impact of the curse. And yes, I loved coloring those darn things. Still have them somewhere.

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Publishers Clearing House person here: I've now gone through 27 screens to confirm that neither I nor any member of my household (unless my cat is hiding something from me) works for PCH. However, in response to my "Superprize Acceptance #" email I apparently have to agree to accept numerous "no obligation" price quotes on a wide range of insurance of no interest to me, so I may be done. I realize theyhave to get the money to fund these millions somehow,but it does not surprise me that "60% of all entrants drop out before the end." The surprise is that this number is not higher!

Tracee Hamilton: I just had no idea. My grandpa got hooked on those things but he didn't have to go through all those screens (he didn't have a computer so I know that is true). When he died we found a lot of his "prizes." :)

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Snow and the end of civilization.: With these pre-emptive school closings, I am worried that we are teaching our kids to be wimps. If things get a little hard, you don't have to do it. This may have started way back when with the advent of the Nerf football. Soft, so it does not hurt/break things. Please discuss.

Tracee Hamilton: If your kids are going to spend their adult lives in Washington, they might as well grow accustomed to this. Wilbon and I were discussing this Saturday; living here has turned us into snow wimps. He's spending more time in Chicago now and says he notices he's a snow wimp because people there just don't talk about it or care about it. I met a woman at the airport from Nashville, though, and she said people there are the same way we are. So it's not just here.I think every generation gets a little softer anyway, don't you? It starts with the noble idea of wanting your kids to have what you didn't have, but as the generations pass, kids get softer. I didn't have to make sacrifices growing up, although my parents were very, very strict about a lot of things. They grew up in the depression, and they grew up poor. I'm sure they thought I was a wimp and they would have been right. :)

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That "Ghost Advenures" guy: Tracee, as someone who had that experience in the cemetery, where you heard "Get out of here!!" or something like that, don't you think that "Ghost Adventures" guy, you know, that Zak guy, is flirting with disaster when he taunts the male ghosts, and playfully flirts with and even speak sedcutively with the female ones? My man Jason Hawes (or, "Jason Hawes"-- it's better to write it with quotation marks) would not do this!

Tracee Hamilton: "Ghost Hunters" does some taunting, but I've never seen them flirt. I would do neither. Seems mean somehow, if there's really a spirit there, to taunt it. I mean, I'm alive, it's dead, haven't I already won? :)

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Tiger Woods, who played on despite an injury: Oh, this just cracks me up. Tiger soldiering on in spite of an injury. So brave, in a non-contact sport.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, that's not a great comparison, is it?

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Kansas Society: The Kansas Society event was packed! Who knew there are so many Kansans here in DC?! Or perhaps the attendance was boosted by a lot of non-Kansans who just showed up in the hope that some of our coolness would rub off on them. And thanks to K-Stater for providing me with one bit of Big-8 sports trivia I didn't already know!

Tracee Hamilton: This must be Darren. I'm sorry I missed it -- as usual. But I did get an email from the KU alumni association that the Wizards allotment for "KU night" is sold out. 60 Jayhawks will be at the Wiz-Thunder game on March 14. My folks and my nephew and I will all be there, so I hope any Jayhawk chatters will make themselves known!

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Can this be highlighted?: "The other meaning is that none of us knows what goes on in the huddle and the locker room between these guys." I wish everyone would keep that in mind - especially those last week who were whining about Sidney Crosby not publicly chastising Matt Cooke (the goon) for his hit last year on Marc Savard (who is out again with a concussion). Crosby did speak out against the hit when it happened (the quotes are easy to find online), but didn't tear into Cooke in front of the media. But now that Crosby is also out with a concussion people are saying that he doesn't have the right to point out the NHL's poor, inconsistent treatment regarding head hits because he's teammates with Cooke. We don't know what he may or may not have said to Cooke, and he would be a bad team captain if we did know.

Tracee Hamilton: We have 24-hour coverage of sports on a million channels, plus twitter, the radio, the web ... but we seldom see the real innards of a team. That's why I liked the HBO series; that was as close as we may get. Good points.

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Earl Woods: Manhattan High School Class of '49 - same as my mom.Why aren't you going to the game???? And, more importantly, do you get well-deserved rock star treatment when you go back to Lawrence? -K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: I get no rock star treatment in Lawrence, but I do get a nice welcome in my hometown. In fact, I'm giving a speech there Saturday. Looking forward to that. The Post wasn't interested in the game so I passed on it. If K-State had stayed higher in the rankings, maybe.And isn't this Thomas Robinson story just tragic? Lost his grandfather, grandmother and now mother. He has a 9-year-old sister. Just so very, very sad. Funeral is here tomorrow.

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having torn every ligament in my left knee except for my LCL I know a little about knee injures.: I have injured my knee several times and it's true, some injuries you can walk on no problem. I can go up steps, I could ride my exercise bike, I can even jog a little. But ask me to stand on the metro and put pressure on it while trying to maintina balance as the train lurches - that just kills and reinjures it even worse. When my knee is acting up I wait until I can get a seat on the train and I take the elevator. To see me walk you'd never even guess.

Tracee Hamilton: Yup, I have heard this about knee injuries. Thanks.

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Getting crushed 108-3: Having been a player on a team that has gotten crushed (not quite 108-3), I would rather have the other players keep playing than to have them stop trying. Condescension is way worse that getting beat bad. Getting beat bad means you lost. Condescension connotes you are a loser. Of course the winning coach could have done things to make it less of a blow out--3 passes before a shot goes up, switching positions, etc. etc. Still.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, I think about "Friday Night Lights," when coach Taylor forfeited that game without consulting his players and how upset they were. I wish that show would come on back now.

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If you couldn't finish a column due to a torn MCL: You would at least, no doubt, stand over by the side of the computers where your subsitutes were fininishing your work with headset on, looking interested and involved. I think that's also what ranckled (sp?) people-- that Jay looked so disconnected.

Tracee Hamilton: But that's people making a judgment of a facial expression of a person they don't even know. That's tea leaf reading to an extent that I'm uncomfortable with. I can read my parents' expressions, and some of my co-workers. But just because this guy is a pro athlete doesn't mean we know him.

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Boz' column, last Thursday: I know I'm late, but haven't been able to get in, on time.Boz' Column disturbed me. I grew up knowing that the last Nats team in the post-season was in '33, when my dad went to the games (check the WaPo archives, his picture is there). This allowed me to learn baseball and follow "my" team with a certain amount of objectivity. I knew we weren't going to win, so I spent time learning the game, itself. Then came the 33 year hole in time. I've loved going to Nats games since '05. Still, my concentration was on the game, after all we had no chance. Now Boz says the Nats are to be taken seriously. I'm not sure how to adjust. This is a serious mental problem. Or, should I just write this to Hax?

Tracee Hamilton: I would present your dilemma to Boz on his chat tomorrow. He will talk you through your issues.

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So brave, in a non-contact sport.: A non-contact, INDIVIDUAL sport, at that. If you play on with an injury in an individual sport you are not letting a team down if your injury prevents you from doing well. There is no back-up to fill in for Tiger.

Tracee Hamilton: The chance that Cutler remaining in the game could have HURT the Bears keeps getting overlooked. If he can't plant, if he drops back and his leg buckles and he loses the ball ... these are scenarios that have to be considered. You are correct.

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Remorse?: Tracee: Great article on the Terps' new football coach. He sounds like a real good person and will do well (my prediction anyway - and I'm a Terp grad, for what it's worth). My Dad went the same way - he decided where and when - and I had left his bedside, too, at his insistence. The article brought that back, too. If he has his father's strength of will and character, he'll do just fine. I wonder if those who slammed him when he was hired are feeling some remorse now. Probably not. People like that aren't capable of introspection.

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks for the opportunity to tout Yanda's story. We'll see how he does. He came off as a nice guy at his press conference; I felt kind of sorry for him, actually.

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Pittsburgh Wife: Tracee, I was reading a really nasty column from the Boston Globe (through a link in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) with some really nasty comments about Ben. And of course Tom Brady was the White Knight. Isn't a guiding principle of our legal system that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty? And is it a nice thing to dump your baby's mother for a supermodel? I have serious doubts about the allegation from Las Vegas, and I wonder why there's no lawsuit by the GA girl or her family. I think the word "alleged" should be used when referring to Ben.And he isn't the pure passer that Brady or Peyton is, but he ran for first downs and touchdowns, managed the offense well, and fired up his team for the win.

Tracee Hamilton: I can totally understand why people are down on Roethlisberger because that's quite a checkered history. But you are right. I've heard from people comparing him and Vick. To me it's apples and oranges because one was charged, tried, convicted and served time; the other was accused. Huge difference. This is not to say I think Ben is an innocent or anything else, but you have to look at these things in perspective. And tearing one person down in order to make another one look better is not the way to go about it.

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Does Kornheiser hate people?: It's a lock that he hates callers. And probably most people in general. Under that crusty orange exterior, does he have a soft spot? Or is he all orange bile?

Tracee Hamilton: Well, I'm not sure he HATES callers. He doesn't have callers. I can think of a lot of people he doesn't hate. But I can think of a lot of people he does, too. He didn't like me at all when I first came to the Post, by the way. And he does have a soft orange center, like those circus peanuts.

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NFL collective bargaining agreement: Sorry if Mark Maske has covered this, but am I right in assuming all free agency moves are off the table until a new CBA is signed? Does that me that Shanahan has to make a decision on drafting a quarterback BEFORE free agency, instead of the other way around like usual? If the draft goes ahead as usual, can the teams actually SIGN their draft picks?

Tracee Hamilton: I'm going to do better than trying to answer your question without having all the facts; I'll get Maske on here to answer your question. Maybe Monday if the Super Bowl schedule will allow.

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Condescension: I always thought the use of the 4 corners (before the shot clock was part of college BBall) was condescending. I thought it was lighting the victory cigar. Just play the game.

Tracee Hamilton: I'm with you; I hated the four corners.

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crushing defeats: Was there no mechanism for the coach of the dominating team to go to the other team's coach and talk about their options? Back in the Dark Ages, my school's field hockey coach used to check with the other teams' coaches during the more lopsided games - which is how we sometimes had our goalies stripping out of their extra pad and going up to play forward (they'd always foul by kicking the ball, which would give the other team at least a chance to touch it), or why sometimes our team would play keep away (the other team's defense would get a workout but their goalie would get a slight rest and not have a huge loss on her record), or why sometimes the score would be rather lopsided.Of course, our coach always drilled it in that the end goal of our playing sport was to be a better *person*, not to be a-holes to other players, and encouraged cross-team friendships and training.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, I sure hope your coach was fired! What a notion! :)

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"The chance that Cutler remaining in the game could have HURT the Bears keeps getting overlooked." : Yeah, but you could have made that case at any moment in the season...

Tracee Hamilton: And that's the final word! Good point.My tresses have gotten an earlier appointment so I'm a happy gal. Let's talk tomorrow, assuming we're not buried under a mound of snow and ice!


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