Five Things I Think: Stealing is Stealing

In this week's five things, we discuss Vrabel's troubles, HGH, who might be KC's top pick, MU's new basketball coach and the Royals hot opening weekend.

1. Mike Vrabel - First of all why was Mike Vrabel in a casino? Secondly you can't tell me at his inflated 2010 salary that he couldn't have found a better way to get eight bottles of beer for he and his drinking mates to play 99 bottles of beer on the wall?

Of all places to allegedly steal something! Casinos have cameras covering every inch of the place – except bathrooms – and I'm not even sure they don't put a few peeping tom cameras in the stalls. Still had there not been overwhelming evidence that indeed he took some beer, it's likely he would not have been charged.

Seriously though I am jabbing a bit at Vrabel and it's unlikely that he's going to get into any serious trouble over the matter. In fact, don't be shocked if he becomes a spokesperson for the Indiana Casino who is accusing of him of swiping the bottles of suds.

Still this isn't exactly the behavior a man like Vrabel has made a habit of in his off the field NFL life. Recently, he was very vocal criticizing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his open letter to the players shortly after the two sides walked away from the bargaining table last month.

However there is a larger issue as this war of stupidity continues to grind on the fan base, sadly this story made front page news across America. No matter where you turned the story showed up on TV sports tickers with the name of the alleged thief and flashing his employer's name through the mud.

This won't make Kansas City General Manager Scott Pioli very happy that's for certain. And it doesn't show well for an organization that has tried to make sure it's players act like Angels throughout the year.

And this incident won't likely give Pioli much desire to sign the aging veteran to another one-year contract, so this might have been Vrabel's last act with any reference to Kansas City.

And that's not a bad thing at all. He really has nothing left as an NFL player.

2. HGH Testing - On Monday the aforementioned Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, made it clear that the HGH scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball has to be dealt with in the National Football League.

Goodell is correct about insisting HGH be part of any new labor agreement.
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It's clear that the NFL's drug testing policies has come a very long way and it's nowhere near as deficient as its sister sport, baseball. But the fact is that the NFL does not test for HGH. And they need to do a better job of making sure the bad substance stays out of the bodies of its players.

Whenever the two sides agree on how to split up $9 billion dollars, they should do everything in their power to keep the game as chemically clean as possible. The NFL does a good job for the most part but it also tips its hand to some players when drug tests are coming. And right now with the players flying solo on workouts, conditioning and what they're putting into their bodies, should they get a deal done before September, some guys might be sitting out the second half of the season.

I'm no expert on the drug testing practices or all the substances that are banned in the NFL but the sport can't go down the path that almost ruined baseball. Plus Human Growth Hormones aren't something to be fooling around with and any player, who takes them, should get more than a four-game suspension.

3. Chiefs Draft - I have to be honest I've not looked at a mock draft in a few weeks and on Thursday I'll offer my first seven rounder of the season. But I'm hearing more and more that teams are gaining steam on UCLA Linebacker Akeem Ayers. He continues to drive up the draft charts.

UCLA LB Akeem Ayers has AFC West teams circling the wagon for his services.
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He was once considered a sure late first rounder but according to Bill Williamson at ESPN.com, the Chiefs, Chargers and Donkeys all have their eyes set on what may be the premier inside/outside linebacker in the upcoming draft.

The multi-talented Ayers, who will visit Kansas City in the coming week, would be a perfect fit for the Chiefs revamped linebacker core in 2011. We know Derrick Johnson is locked down at the outside, and Andy Studebaker will be replacing five-fingers Vrabel on the opposite side of the line and Jovan Belcher will line up at one inside position.

That would mean Ayers could move instantly inside and bring his high-flying energy to a Chiefs defense that needs to find better production at the linebacker position this season.

Granted he's NOT a dominating pass rusher but he's versatile enough that he can pretty much do it all once defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel defines his role.

4. MU Dropped the Ball - With the announcement late Monday night that University of Missouri had hired Miami Head Coach Frank Haith as their new mens basketball coach, I had to scratch my head a bit on the hire.

Missouri Tiger Basketball Fans are praying Haith can raise expectations in Columbia.
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Outside of his ties to the University of Texas as an assistant under Rick Barnes, he spent seven seasons running the Hurricanes program. He led them to a single NCAA tournament appearance and from all accounts was overmatched on the recruiting trail in on the east coast. And when you consider the week status of the ACC in recent years outside the Big Boys at Duke and North Carolina, his resume to date isn't all that impressive - certainly not one to get a job at Missouri. Or is it?

It's a puzzling hire after Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden whiffed on Purdue's Matt Painter and New Mexico's Steve Alford. Though the University made a valiant effort to land Painter, he never gave the Tigers serious consideration. His flirtation was to extract more dollars from the Boilermakers coffers.

And Alford wasn't sold on the Tigers and quickly shot down any real interest. Thus with high profile names like Butler Coach Brad Stevens and VCU Coach Shaka Smart ready to set sail for an elite job, Alden never made a run for either. And for the money he was offering Mike Anderson to stay, he could have landed either of the two hottest coaches in the game today.

But he didn't and Monday he settled for Haith who will earn $1.5 million for five seasons. That's about half of what Kansas pays Bill Self. And that's the moniker in which Missouri has to go to get an elite coach.

I'm not saying that Haith is going to fail at Missouri. I loved the energy that his predecessor Anderson brought to the Tigers. But he fell short as a man who could dissect a game and make changes from one half to the next. And time will tell if Haith can coach what appears to be a very talented group to more than a first round NCAA exit.

Still I'll give Alden the benefit of the doubt because Missouri's basketball program isn't on an elite level as of yet and maybe he thinks Haith can take the program to a place that can challenge Kansas for a conference title and one that can win NCAA tournament games.

5. How About them Royals? - What an amazing opening weekend of Baseball in Kansas City. The Royals took three of four from the Angels and did it in dramatic fashion. I can't remember the last time I've seen the Royals win a series by slugging a pair of walk-off homeruns.

There was no question that Catcher Matt Treanor was the Royals MVP over the weekend.
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I found myself on Sunday glued to the TV watching the extra inning marathon that ended when journeyman catcher Matt Treanor jacked a three-run homerun in the bottom of the 13th inning. But that's not what was most impressive about Treanor who had a solid game a day earlier in helping the Royals come back from a 4-2 deficit late in the game.

Know it was his work behind the plate. When was the last time you saw a Royals catcher who actually used his body to block the plate with oncoming runners were barreling down his neck. He did that twice on Saturday that negated two Angel runs and it's something that not many big league catchers do anymore.

Most of them love the sweep tag preferring to go get the ball instead of blocking the plate first, snaring the ball and applying the tag. I know that veteran Jason Kendall is set to return at months end but Treanor deserves to be the every day guy if he can continue his strong play over the weekend.

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