3 quick thoughts on a Thursday:
1. Mike Rucker will do fine in his preseason gig as a color analyst for the Carolina Panthers. He will be a B-minus analyst at the worst -- he already has some TV experience, which will come in handy -- and could move himself much higher than that if he...
a) Finds himself able to criticize former teammates when warranted and
b) Can cogently explain something in 20 seconds between plays.
That second one is tough -- there's a natural break during the huddle that the analyst can fill, but it's not very long, and you can't just say: "That last pass was too high." You've got to give people something that they wouldn't normally pick up on.
But the first one may be even tougher. "Ruck" is one of the nicest guys ever to walk into that Panther locker room and plenty verbal for the job. But if you're doing the TV broadcast, you have to call them as you see them. Even when you're working for the team, your first obligation is to your viewers. I hope Rucker can see that clearly.
2. I wrote a column today about Tennessee Tech men's head basketball coach Mike Sutton, who was afflicted 4 years ago with a rare nerve disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Sutton speaks in Charlotte Saturday. If you want to know more about Sutton (who went to East Carolina) or GBS, check out this 5-minute ESPN feature on him via YouTube. Here's the link.
3. The Dodgers' Manny Ramirez just got suspended 50 games by MLB for a positive drug test. His explanation -- that a doctor gave him a medication that was thought to be legal -- rings hollow.
And so baseball just keeps fouling fastballs directly off its own foot.