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Desmond Howard: I Had More To Say About Player Opt Outs Than College GameDay Would Allow

“If you watch the segment, I even mentioned that you guys are running right through that red light and I am sitting here playing by the rules.”

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MLive.com

Before the New Year’s Day bowl games began, the main topic of conversation on College Gameday that had the sports world buzzing was the idea of players opting out of bowl games. The comments made by Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack, and Desmond Howard were met with many criticisms to the point where Herbstreit had to go to social media to clarify some of his comments. Here is the full segment in case you missed it: 

Howard appeared on Keyshawn, J-Will, and Max (hosted by Alan Hahn and Harry Douglas on Monday) towards the end of Monday’s show (around the 30 minute mark). The former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP mentioned that he had much more to say during that segment, but due to time constraints from producers, he wasn’t able to give a good portion of his take.

“If you watch the segment, I had a lot to say but I didn’t say it because as you guys know, we have producers and the producers are in our ears and I made the comment on-air that I am playing by the rules of the producer who is telling us to wrap-wrap-wrap but they kept going meaning Kirk, David, and Rece Davis because he just wanted to get further explanations of things that were being said. I had a lot more to say because I have strong opinions about this. If you watch the segment, I even mentioned that you guys are running right through that red light and I am sitting here playing by the rules.”

During the segment on KJZ, Howard wanted to make his opinion very clear to the point that it extended into the final commercial break of the show as he talked about what he hears from people he talks to in college football about the competitive spirit or lack thereof from some players.

“When you look at these kids nowadays and it’s not just the opting out, let’s go back to the transfer portal,” Howard said. “Those of us who do this for a living, we talk to coaches, you talk to coordinators, you talk to people in the program. They like to talk about how some of these kids, not all of them. The competitive spirit for some of these kids isn’t as strong and that’s why you see the transfer portal is now the cup runneth over so to speak.

“It’s crazy the amount of kids in the transfer portal because kids who don’t want to compete, they kind of feel entitled whether they were told this during the recruiting process or not that they were going to be starters…They don’t seem to want to stay there and compete, they jump ship a lot. The competitive spirit doesn’t seem to be there based on the people who are involved with these programs and the conversations we are having with some of them. That kind of trickles down to the bowls.”

As a former player, Howard says he is an advocate for players and he likes the fact that players can make their own decisions whether people agree with them or not because he hates they are being exploited.

“I understand why some players opt out. Do I agree with it every time? No I don’t always agree with it because I don’t think it’s great for the sport in certain circumstances. It just sets a bad precedent moving forward for a lot of these bowl games.”

Yes, College Gameday has a lot of stories and topics to get into in a three-hour span before games begin, but with the comments that were being made from the panel, you wonder if maybe they should have re-visited the player opt-out topic in another segment to allow more time to clarify statements. Still, at least Howard got the chance to say what he wanted to say on a different ESPN show. 

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Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts

“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”

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In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage. 

Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.

“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.

“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”

Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion. 

“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.” 

When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone: 

“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.” 

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AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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