IT'S ALL FUN and games until someone gets fired.
The University of Alabama canned a staffer who worked part-time at its football stadium for playing songs directed at the troubles of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton before the start of last Friday's Iron Bowl.
Newton has come under scrutiny amid allegations that his father, Cecil, a Baptist minister, solicted $180,000 from Mississippi State during Cam's recruiting. Some schmo realizing this serenaded Newton and Co. along with the rest of Bryant-Denny Stadium with the Steve Miller Band's "Take the Money and Run" and Aretha Franklin's version of "Son of a Preacher Man."
Only problem: Those songs weren't approved by Alabama's athletic administration, which evaluates all music played before and during games.
In the house
If you're going to the Eagles game tonight, scan the visitors' sideline. We bet you'll see a familiar face. Former Eagles coach Ray Rhodes (1995-98) is now a senior defensive assistant for the Houston Texans. We best remember Rhodes as a man who was always good for a quote and who called the shots during that memorable 58-37, NFC wild-card win over the Lions in 1995 in which the Eagles entered as a three-point underdog at home.
Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is pulling a Brett Favre, coming out of retirement to coach in the Connect to Home Bowl, a flag-football game between soldiers in the Persian Gulf next month. Bowden will travel with former NFL players, including a pair of ex-Eagles - defensive end Jevon Kearse and quarterback Rodney Peete.
"It's very exciting because there couldn't be a better cause," Bowden told the Associated Press. "My belief in our military and our men that are over there, what they're going through, that means as much as anything to me . . . You kind of like to give back [and] that's what we're doing."
- Kerith Gabriel