Pro Speak 7-29: NFL Camps Open And More

We take a look at a half-dozen or so former Buckeye gridders and basketballers both male and female in this week's edition of Professionally Speaking. Among the biggest stories? Shane Olivea's attempt to reclaim a once-promising career in his home state and Quinn Pitcock's puzzling absence from Colts' camp.

We begin the first NFL training camp version of Professionally Speaking with good news regarding Shane Olivea.

The starting right tackle for the 2002 national champion Buckeyes is trying to make his exit from the NFL temporary and short by making the roster of the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, a notable development considering he went from starter with a long-term contract to a street free agent after in the span of just a few months as a result of his release by the San Diego Chargers.

When he was cut loose this past winter, there were rumors from the West Coast that the Long Island native had "partied himself out of the league," and he was suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy earlier this year not long afterward.

All those goings on appear in a much different light after recent reports by the Associated Press and the New York Daily News, among other media outlets, that Olivea actually was battling an addiction to painkillers.

Now cleaned up, he is looking to move on with his life and career…

The uncertainty that defined the Olivea story for the past couple of months now can be found with one of his former teammates, defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock.

The former All-American tackle from Piqua, Ohio, is supposed to be in Terre Haute, Ind., to start his second preseason with the Indianapolis Colts, but was a no-show this weekend and had not reported as of Monday night.

Asked if there was an update on Pitcock Monday, Colts' head coach Tony Dungy told reporters, "Not really. He is going through some personal things, and he is going to let us know when he can be back. That's really about all I can say at this point."

Last season, Pitcock played in nine games, including one start, and was credited with 18 tackles, including 1.5 sacks…

With or without Pitcock, the Colts figure to have multiple former Buckeyes on the roster this season. Anthony Gonzalez, a former first-round pick, is considered by most to better his production last year – 37 catches for 576 yards and three touchdowns – as a rookie, but he might not be the only former Buckeye catching passes from Peyton Manning in 2008.

Scout.com network partnerColtPower.com counts Hall among three players "to keep an eye on" this season because of his combination of size (6-3, 240) and speed.

"He should nail down the fourth receiver spot (behind Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Gonzalez) in training camp, and if earns targets from Peyton Manning, he'll be handful for defensive backs to take down," writes ColtPower's Eric Hartz. "Hall also has the potential to drastically improve Indianapolis' special teams."

Hall played in just three games last year before going on injured reserve. He and the rest of the Colts will help the NFL kickoff its 89th season Saturday with the annual Hall of Fame Game at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

And there will be a potential for a direct clash of former Buckeyes as the Colts go against the Washington Redskins, who figure to have veteran Shawn Springs filling one cornerback spot…

In other news, one Buckeye saw his tenure with a team officially begin while another saw his come to an end. Defensive end Vernon Gholston joined the New York Jets for training camp after signing a what is purported to be a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $50 million ($21 million guaranteed), while wide receiver Terry Glenn found himself in need of a new employer after the Dallas Cowboys cut him last week. Previously, Glenn refused to sign a split contract that could have saved the team much of his $1.74 million base salary were he to miss significant time because of a knee injury that robbed him of 15 games last season, but Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones told reporters this move came simply because the team felt inclined to clear the way for younger receivers on the Dallas roster to develop…. At least two former Buckeyes began their respective training camps on the sidelines because of injury: New England linebacker Mike Vrabel (undisclosed injury) and Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway (groin)… According to AZRedReport.com, rookie fullback Dionte Johnson "showed strength, aggression, and motivation" that caught the attention of fans in attendance at early workouts for the Arizona Cardinals

Turning to basketball, the third of the NBA's summer leagues wrapped up action that included the play of two former Buckeye frontcourt players.

Forward Othello Hunter received votes for the All-Rockie-Mountain-Revue Team after leading the league in field goal percentage by making 30 of 45 shots, or 66.7 percent. Hunter played and started five of the Atlanta Hawks' six games and averaged 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Center Kosta Koufos finished ninth in the tournament in rebounding (5.7) and seventh in free-throw percentage (20 for 22, 90.9 percent) for the Utah Jazz. He finished second on the team in scoring (8.7 points per game) and led the squad in rebounding (5.6). He blocked six shots and struggled from the field, making 16 of 42 shots (38.1 percent)…

And we close this edition of Professionally Speaking with a peak at the WNBA, which today began a month-long break in competition to allow some of its best players to compete in the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Among the contingent going overseas is former Ohio State star Katie Smith, the now-34-year-old forward who led the Buckeyes to their only women's basketball Final Four 15 years ago. She will go for her third Olympic Gold as a member of Team USA in Beijing.

At the break, Smith is averaging 15.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game and shooting 36.7 percent from three-point range for the Detroit Shock, who are a half-game out of first place in the Eastern Conference.

Although she is also a member of the 29-member USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team, Jessica Davenport was not selected among the 12 players to represent her country in Beijing. Any chance of that likely was wiped out by the same left-leg stress fracture that kept her out of most of the first part of the WNBA season this year. Davenport finally made her 2008 debut July 15 but has seen little action thus far. In five games, she has averaged 1.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in 6.0 minutes per game.


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