Schon: Rumors, Rants & Raves

Willie Middlebrooks, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos bowling skills all take their hits in today's Rumors, Rants & Raves.

Sometimes it's not the product, but the promotion of the product that ultimately proves successful, or at least that's what the Jacksonville Jaguars and team owner Wayne Weaver are hoping for with their latest venture - purchasing and refurbishing an old-fashioned ice cream truck that will be used to promote Jaguar ticket sales throughout the Jacksonville area.

The team is even encouraging fans to write in or e-mail to have the truck stop by their home or business.

"It's something of a vehicle, (no pun intended), to get us out there engaging the community and putting smiles on people's faces," Jaguars marketing director Jennifer Perkins told the Times – Union. "It's letting the fans know we care about the community.''

There's nothing like free ice cream to make a town forget about the fact that the Jags have had only one winning season since 1999, or the fact that they're removing nearly ten thousand seats from the stadium this year in hopes of coming closer to selling enough seats to lift the television blackouts.

I'm no marketing genius, but maybe a free beer truck would provide a little more incentive for people willing to shell out their hard earned cash for a guaranteed seat to mediocrity.

Pacman Popped?
It seems that the Tennessee Titans got a little more than they bargained for with Adam "PacMan" Jones, their top pick in last April's NFL Draft. Sure, they got a promising young cornerback with a 4.45-second timing in the 40-yard dash and 37 1/2-inch vertical jump, but they also acquired a potential twenty-one year old problem child.

The first blow came when Jones injured himself during the Titans Rookie Orientation on April 29th, and was unable to practice with the team until mini-camps in late June. The second blow came Wednesday morning when the former West Virginia star surrendered to Nashville police at the teams' practice facility on a variety of charges which included felony vandalism and two misdemeanor counts of assault.

Complaints were filed by nightclub owner Robert Gaddy, who claims that the incident began when he asked two of Jones' friends to leave the 615 Club because they were smoking drugs. At that point Jones erupted, began cursing and grabbed Gaddy by the shirt, ripping off his necklace in the process.

According to reports, friends initially pulled Jones off Gaddy, but he broke free and charged the owner again, punching him in the chest with his fist. As he was leaving Jones hurled a racial slur at one of the club's employees, punching him in the chest as well.

Three months into the league, without ever setting foot on the field for regular training camp, and your first round draft pick has already been arrested on felony vandalism and assault charges.

Way to go Tennessee - that's classic.

Is Willie Headed West?
The Denver Broncos are in heavy negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers, in an attempt to trade cornerback Willie Middlebrooks.

Mike Nolan, San Francisco's head coach, gave it a 50-50 shot that a trade arrangement could be worked out as early as today, but reiterated the 49ers are still looking into Middlebrooks' off-field behavior, which include an arrest for domestic violence, before making any decisions.

"Everything is on hold before we talk any further," Nolan told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "We want to know we're chasing a good guy. We want to make sure it was a bad choice and not a character issue."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but when does an arrest on domestic violence charges not become a character issue?

Apparently in Mike Nolan's case, it's when you finish dead last in the National Football League with the worst record in franchise history.

Middlebrooks is currently scheduled for an Oct. 11 court date in Denver.

Speaking of Denver –
A great off-season workout program and sixteen solid practices paid off last Friday as Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan cancelled the final day of mini-camp, loaded everybody onto the teams' busses and headed to the comfortable air conditioned confines of a local bowling alley.

After each player and coach bowled two rounds, the top 10 offensive players, defensive players and coaches broke into three teams, with each participant bowling one frame.

Needless to say, no matter how fast, how strong or how tough you think you might be, always respect your elders. Shanahan and the coaching staff ran away with the tournament scoring a 187, followed by the offense with a 135 and the defense, scarred by an endless barrage of gutter balls, came in with an embarrassing 80.

The top ten defensive players, bowling one frame each and all they could come up with is a score of 80?

Why am I not surprised?

The Chiefs and the Law –
Don't rule out Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil pulling the trigger to bring in former Patriot cornerback Ty Law.

Law, who visited with the Chiefs during the off-season, is still on the open market and with the recent four-game suspension of starter Eric Warfield, the team is caught between a rock and a hard place in the defensive backfield.

"I think you always have to keep your eyes and ears open," Vermeil told the Kansas City Star. "If I was just going to sign players, I'd sign Ty Law in a minute. But I don't have to think about the salary cap."

Herein lies the problem - The Chiefs spent most of their cap money in the off-season acquiring defensive veterans Patrick Surtain, Sammy Knight and Kendrell Bell, and may not have enough money to attract Law without restructuring some current players contracts.

In the meantime Ashley Ambrose and Dexter McCleon are slated to fill in for Warfield, who was suspended by the league for the first four games of the 2005 season following his third DUI conviction, but neither poses a real threat in defensive coverage.

An aging high priced veteran with a bum foot or a three-time DUI felon?

Look for Law to sign with the Chiefs within the next few weeks.




Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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