JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: May 11, 2014 - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: May 11, 2014

Posted: Updated: May 10, 2014 11:12 PM
Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Ryan Leaf...
  • First year Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has made all the right moves as he attempts to bring the Vols program back to prominence in college football.

    That being said, I about fell out of bed when I heard Jones brought former Titans bad boy Pacman Jones (no relation) to speak to his players.

    I would think Butch could have found a former player with a more inspiring message for college players. Pacman Jones was an out of control NFL player who came up on the mean streets of Atlanta.

    Once he became a first round draft pick of the Titans and got more money than he ever dreamed of, he thought he was bulletproof. He ran with the wrong crowd. He went through $12 million in three or four years. He was arrested a number of times and was charged in a Las Vegas court after a bouncer at a strip club was shot and paralyzed for life from the waist down after shots rang out just outside the club. Jones was thought to have played a part in the shooting.

    Other NFL players have grown up in bad, maybe worse, conditions than those Pacman grew up in. Unlike Pacman, a lot of those players listened when older, wiser players impressed on them the importance of changing their lifestyle.

    Only when Pacman saw his money and career coming to the end, did he turn over a new leaf. He is in the winter of his career as a part-time starter in Cincinnati. He will never get the money back he blew.

    And sources I trust have told me that we don’t know half of the illegal things Pacman did while with the Titans, things that never were reported in the media.

    Pacman Jones never paid attention when NFL players tried to mentor him. If they’re smart, Tennessee players will avoid the road Pacman Jones chose.

  • If Butch Jones wants to bring an example of someone who made it against all odds, he should get Florida State running back Devonta Freeman, who was taken Saturday by the Atlanta Falcons.

    The oldest of seven children, Freeman grew up in the Pork ‘N Beans projects in Miami’s Liberty City area. It doesn’t get any worse than that.

    Freeman was supporting his family when he was 13 years old. He held down three jobs – cutting grass, working at a car wash and funeral home. He got to see many of his friends at the funeral home, those whose life was cut short by gang banging.

    He got involved in youth football and his Pop Warner coach was Luther Campbell, leader of the rap group 2 Live Crew. Campbell became his mentor and father figure.

    While Freeman always wanted to play at Miami, it was FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher, who fell in love with the undersized, but tough, running back.

    Falcons Coach Mike Smith loves underdog players who grew up tough. He got the perfect pick in Freeman.

  • The Cleveland Browns made quarterback Johnny Manziel sweat it out for nearly three hours before they took him at No. 22 in the first round Friday night.

    The Browns have drafted three QBs in the No 22 slot. Manziel, Brandon Weeden and Brady Quinn all went 22 in the first rounds.

    Two are considered busts to this point. Manziel will have to prove the Browns made the right choice. One thing about Manziel: He creates a lot of buzz wherever he goes, on and off the field. Can he stand the physical punishment he will receive at the NFL level? That’s the question that will take time to be answered.

  • I have doubts Manziel will produce to the level it will take to make the Browns relevant. That’s not to say I won’t watch him when he is on TV in this market. I love to watch him play, most of all to see what new tricks he has up his sleeve and the passion he brings to the game.

    Not surprising, former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre is high on Manziel.

    “I think he is the best playmaker in the draft,’’ Favre said.

    Favre also rated his three top offensive left tackles. They were drafted in the order he predicted – Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and the Titans first pick, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

  • I first saw Brenard Wilson play sports at Father Lopez High School in Daytona Beach, Fla. He went on to earn a football scholarship to Vanderbilt, where he was a star defensive back for the Commodores.

    Wilson Post sports editor Tommy Bryan reported that Wilson has joined the staff at Mount Juliet Christian Academy. Wilson will coach defensive backs on the staff of recently hired head coach, Dan Davis.

  • Longtime FedEx St. Jude Classic tournament director Phil Cannon recently revealed he is battling lung cancer. He said in a release that the cancer has spread to other parts of his body.

    Having covered that PGA Tour stop several times, I found Cannon to not only be one of the most capable pro golf tournament directors, he bent over backwards to make sure those media types covering the tournament had everything they needed. It didn’t matter to Phil how large, or small, your media outlet was, all you had to do was ask and Phil would make it happen.

    He was funny. He was serious when he had to be. He was one of the good guys. He will also battle this disease with courage and honor and fight the good fight.

  • Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews chose to be one of the 30 players who accepted the NFL’s invitation to attend the draft in New York City.

    Even though most draft experts projected Matthews to be drafted in the top half of the second round, he considered it an honor to take his family to New York City for a once in a lifetime experience.

    The Philadelphia Eagles not only got a wide receiver I predict will be a quality starter for them, but they got one of the highest character guys in the draft. There were six wide receivers taken before Matthews. I suspect he wrote their names down for future reference.

    Dependable is the adjective I think best fits Matthews, who was a two-star recruit out of Madison (Ala.) Academy. Vanderbilt was the only college to offer him a scholarship. Vanderbilt coaches Bobby Johnson and Robbie Caldwell recruited Matthews and Caldwell signed him when Johnson retired.

  • Tennessee’s offensive tackle Antonio “Tiny’’ Richardson got all the attention while with the Vols, but it was the other offensive tackle, Ja’wuan Jones, that was drafted first from the program. It didn’t surprise me.

    Richardson had all the potential and the measureables, but he underachieved in college. Miami took Jones with the No. 19 pick in the draft.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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