WHEN 40-YEAR-OLD Andy Reid tabbed 58-year-old Jim Johnson to be his first defensive coordinator in 1999, the move seemed fraught with risk. Johnson had already been around the block a few times, had been a head coach for several colleges, and had been an NFL assistant in a few places as well.
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WHEN YOU REACH a certain age, precious few athletes whom you stand in front of make you think. This is no one's fault. Most of them are in their 20s, most have been taught during their high school and college years that their views on their world are best kept to themselves, lest they interfere with team-building and team goals.
LATE IN the Eagles' 17-0 preseason victory at Pittsburgh last Thursday, a short pass intended for new Eagles wideout Dorial Green-Beckham fluttered just beyond his reach. It wasn't particularly well-thrown, but it was the second time in as many tries that different backup quarterbacks had failed to connect with the enigmatic receiver, and you couldn't avoid thinking, already, that this guy would not exactly save Doug Pederson from a rough first season as the Eagles' head coach.
THE SUMMER of 1990 was a turbulent one in sports. George Steinbrenner was suspended by baseball commissioner Fay Vincent for his involvement with a small-time gambler named Howie Spira. Pete Rose was headed to prison. Bob Clarke had just been fired as the Flyers' general manager. Ron Hextall was holding out for $1 million.
PATIENCE. It permeates virtually any and every conversation about sports in this town, from Aaron Nola and the Phillies down on the farm to Ron Hextall's elaborate plan of future dominance to the debate over whether the new coach and both quarterbacks of the latest Eagles refurbish have been overvalued or simply need time to prove the genius of Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.
REBELLION FOR rebellion's sake is as common among those in sports as it is in everyday life. Allen Iverson, Jim McMahon, Charles Barkley and so many others undoubtedly were independent thinkers, but mostly as it pertained to themselves. Others, though, such as Branch Rickey, Muhammad Ali and Don Haskins, have grated the grain of their particular
HE RECALLED it almost instantly, answering as if it occurred yesterday. The most embarrassing moment of Mickey Moniak's baseball career, though, happened over a decade ago, the baseball IQ referenced constantly Tuesday apparently not carrying over into the acumen needed to handle the zipper part of his first-ever uniform.
'ONE OF the hardest guys I've ever had to send out," Pete Mackanin was saying as the afternoon clouds over Citizens Bank Park darkened. "Outstanding teammate, just a great guy. Always upbeat, pulled for everybody, knew his role and accepted it. Just hated to see him go, but we had to do it."
Sam Donnellon's career has spanned four decades and has taken him all over the world. Prior to joining the Daily News in 1992, he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and has been honored repeatedly by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Associated Press Managing Editors.