Tag:Josh Katzowitz
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:07 am

Schiano hires Raye, another veteran assistant


By Josh Katzowitz

For those who worried that new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano would have a tough time transitioning to the pro game after spending the past decade coaching Rutgers, he has continued surrounding himself with veterans to help ease him into his new job.

A couple days after the team officially hired former Browns head coach Butch Davis as an advisor to Schiano, Tampa Bay announced that it has hired Jimmy Raye as a senior offensive assistant.

"With over 30 years of NFL experience, coach Raye has attained a wealth of knowledge that will be an invaluable resource to our coaches and players," Schiano said in a statement released by the team.

Raye has coached for 40 seasons, including 34 in the NFL, and he was the Buccaneers offensive coordinator from 1985-86.  He’s also served as the offensive coordinator for the Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, Redskins, Raiders and 49ers.

So, yeah, the guy has experience putting together NFL offenses (though he won’t be the offensive coordinator for Schiano -- that job has already gone to Mike Sullivan).

But you might recall the last we heard from Raye was when he was the 49ers offensive coordinator in the final season of Mike Singletary’s reign as coach in 2010. The day after Singletary gave Raye a public vote of confidence just three games into the season, Singletary fired him.

So, like Davis (fired from his last two jobs), Raye probably can provide Schiano with guidance, but you have to begin to wonder if Schiano requires that his assistants had to have been fired within the past two years before he'll consider them for a job.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:00 pm

John Beck believes he deserves another chance


By Josh Katzowitz

You’ve got to love John Beck. Not for the way he plays the game (he did lose the starting quarterback race to Rex Grossman at the start of last year before losing it again in the middle of 2011) or his winning percentage (he’s 0-7 in his career as a starter).

No, you’ve got to love Beck’s confidence because even though he’s been passed over plenty of times before for Grossman and even though the Redskins almost surely will find a new quarterback in the offseason, he still believes he should be Washington’s starter.

"I feel without a doubt I can be a better quarterback. I told our coaches this at the end of the season. I went into coach (Mike) Shanahan's office and said, 'I want to play right now,’” said Beck during an interview with 97.5 The Zone (via Hogs Haven). “This is very frustrating for me to have had my opportunity, to made the most of it when he put me in, I made the most of it, but the games following it didn't go the way we wanted. It's tough for me to say now I'm not playing. I'm like ‘Coach, I want to play because having that experience I know I can play better.’ And he said, ‘I know you can too, but right now we're in this situation. There'll be another opportunity down the road and you just got to make sure you're ready for it.’ So, there's where my mindset is at.”

What to do with Washington's QBs?
Even with Beck’s feelings, the Redskins seemed poised to land a quarterback this offseason. There has been talk that Washington will try to trade with the Rams to land the No. 2 spot in April’s draft so the Redskins (presumably) can take Robert Griffin III, but the problem with that scenario is that the Browns, with the No. 4 pick, also might want to trade up to No. 2.

Plus, in order to tempt St. Louis, the Redskins would have to put together quite a package to move up from the No. 6 spot.

If the draft fails, they could go after Packers free agent quarterback Matt Flynn, who is most likely at the peak of his earning powers based on two outlandishly good performances in the past two seasons. But Washington also has to ask itself this question: is the unknown of Flynn better than the known Grossman and Beck?

Beck, of course, would answer that question with a resounding no.

"I believe there will be another opportunity," Beck said. "When it comes, I have no control over it.”

No matter what he wants to believe, there’s a pretty good chance that Beck’s time will never come again. At least not with the Redskins.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:42 pm

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

Freddie Solomon died Monday at the age of 59. (Getty)
By Josh Katzowitz

Former 49ers receiver Freddie Solomon, an important contributor to Bill Walsh’s original West Coast offense, died Monday afternoon at the age of 59 after a battle with colon and liver cancer.

"With all that he has done, with all that he has meant to this community, Freddie Solomon is irreplaceable,”  Vin Hoover, Solomon's football teammate at the University of Tampa, told the Tampa Tribune. "He was my friend. He was everyone's friend.”

After his 11-year career with the Dolphins and 49ers from 1975-85, where he caught 371 passes for a 15.8 yards per catch average and 48 touchdowns, he stayed in Tampa and became a positive fixture in the community.

As the Tribune writes:
Solomon worked for two decades in community relations with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, working with youths while blending football fundamentals with life lessons. He rarely spoke about his accomplishments. For some, he dished out tough love. For others, he was a mentor. To all, he was simply "Coach Solomon."

Each winter for a dozen years, Solomon and former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo organized a Christmas celebration for foster children. The kids got wrapped toys, dolls or games. Their stunned caregivers, usually struggling to make ends meet, were screaming or sobbing in disbelief after opening gift envelopes filled with hundreds of dollars.

He was constantly stopped in his daily travels by people who remembered his glory days. Solomon obliged with a handshake, a hug, an autograph or a quick photo. Once, a woman asked Solomon to telephone her father, a big fan, as a birthday surprise. Instead, on his way home from work, Solomon dropped by the man's house to personally share some UT memories. They talked and laughed for hours.

"Freddie Solomon was a treasure for us in San Francisco,'' said former 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. "What a humanitarian he has been for the city of Tampa."

Interestingly enough, he was just as generous with his teammates. Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark are on record saying how helpful he was to them early in their careers.

"He helped me when he didn't really have to,'' Clark said. "But as I came to understand, that's how he has always been with everybody. He has led an amazing life.”

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:07 pm

Davis officially hired as Schiano's assistant

Butch Davis has been added to the Tampa Bay payroll. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

The Buccaneers have made official what the rumors have said for the past week or so: former Browns coach Butch Davis has joined the Buccaneers staff to be an assistant to new head coach Greg Schiano.

"Butch has been a close friend and mentor of mine going back to our time together at Miami. I am excited to have his extensive football background and knowledge on board," Schiano said in a statement released by the team.

"He has had success on every level, and I know he will be a huge asset, not only to me, but to the entire Buccaneers organization."

The two worked together when Davis was the head coach at the University of Miami and Schiano was the defensive coordinator. Davis left the job to become the Browns head coach, but he failed there before heading to the University of North Carolina and eventually getting fired last summer.

But in order to help ease Schiano’s transition from Rutgers football to the NFL, Davis probably will add some much-needed advice for Schiano.

"This is a terrific opportunity to be a part of what Coach Schiano is building in Tampa Bay," said Davis. "It is an honor to be here to help Greg and the Buccaneers in any way I can."

So, what will Davis be doing? Well, it’s kind of unclear.

Latest NFL News, Notes
In the team’s announcement, it said, “In his new role with the Buccaneers, Davis will assist and advise head coach Greg Schiano in a wide range of football aspects.”

What’s interesting about that is, as the Tampa Bay Times wrote about last week, that North Carolina owes Davis $1.7 million in severance from 2013-15.

If Davis takes another coaching job, that payment would disappear.

In this case, since Davis won’t (hypothetically) be an official “assistant coach,” I assume Davis can still collect in full from his former employer.

Now that he’ll be making money as Schiano’s assistant as well, that’s a pretty good payday for a coach who’s been fired from his last two jobs.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:07 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 10:52 am

Bears LB J.T. Thomas arrested on drug charge

Chicago LB J. Thomas has been charged with misdemeanor drug possession. (U.S. Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Before the start of his rookie season and while we were looking for stories to write during the lockout, Bears linebacker J.T. Thomas had a nice tale to tell when he took an eighth-grade girl suffering from spina bifida to her junior high prom.

Unfortunately for Thomas, he undid much of that goodwill early Monday morning when he was arrested and charged with possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana, a misdemeanor. That’s the report from MetroNews out of West Virginia, which writes that Thomas was pulled over by police at 3:55 a.m. for going the wrong way on a one-way street and driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit.

When the officer asked to see his car registration, according to police, he pulled two plastic bags out of his glove compartment which contained a “leafy substance” that looked like marijuana.

According to the website, Thomas -- who dealt with a back injury after Chicago made him a sixth-round draft pick last year and missed the entire 2011 season -- was in Morgantown, W.V., for the weekend to raise money for the J.T. Thomas Foundation.

Despite his arrest, Thomas has been celebrated for his enthusiasm to work with the less fortunate (or take them out on a date).

“Maybe it's because my younger brother, Jared, he's dealing with autism,” Thomas told West Virginia Illustrated before he returned to Morgantown. “That's what kind of jump-started me when it comes to special needs and special needs children. Maybe it's that or maybe it's the fact that I was raised by my mom in a very loving family and we always gave back, so now this is just a threshold for people to help me continue to give back.

"We're a foundation that helps give to foundations, so I think it has the chance to be really big and touch as many lives as possible."

This is the second Bears player in the past two months to add a marijuana arrest to his record, but say this for Thomas: the other one was on a much grander scale.

Here's the statement released by the Bears: “We are aware of the arrest of J.T. Thomas in Morgantown, WV. We are currently gathering information to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the arrest.”

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 8:11 pm

Pop icon, Super Bowl star Whitney Houston dies

By Josh Katzowitz

The Associated Press is reporting that pop icon Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48 of unknown causes.

Here was one of her greatest moments, singing an eye-popping rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 6:38 pm

VIDEO: Belichick mourning loss at Pebble Beach

By Josh Katzowitz

For those who have a problem with Rob Gronkowski dancing shirtless a few hours after the Patriots Super Bowl XLVI loss, they'll probably be infuriated with the video you’ll see below -- namely Bill Belichick enjoying his time playing golf at Pebble Beach this weekend with Alabama coach Nick Saban.

“It’s awesome,” Belichik said. “It’s great to spend time with Nick and the pros here. Just to be out here at Pebble Beach.”

And though Belichick, we assume, hadn’t played golf since August, he apparently played quite well and made the cut with Ricky Barnes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It’s not like he was dancing shirtless (though check out the hoodie he wears in the interview with Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo), but still, it’s disappointing he wasn’t mourning the Super Bowl XLVI loss for at least a week (I kid, I kid).

“It’s been tough,” Belichick said. “It’s a tough couple days, but Pebble Beach is a great spot to take your mind off some of the troubles we had.”

And as an added bonus, I’ll go ahead and post this video of Aaron Rodgers and Darius Rucker. It’s awesome: Rodgers and Rucker together again, a long-awaited reunion that finally came to fruition.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 6:29 pm

Report: Les Snead to be named Rams GM

By Josh Katzowitz

With Vikings player personnel director George Paton’s decision to forgo the Rams general manager position, which earned him a promotion to assistant general manager in Minnesota, St. Louis instead has picked  Falcons personnel man Les Snead instead to be the next St. Louis GM.

As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, the Rams are expected to officially announce Snead on Monday.

Rams' latest news
Snead has spent the past 13 years in Atlanta and the last three as the director of player personnel, where he oversaw Atlanta’s pro and college scouting. Snead first interviewed with Rams owner Stan Kroenke in January, and then again this month after coach Jeff Fisher was hired.

The two finalists were expected to meet again with Kroenke this weekend, but Paton decided to return to Minnesota.

"George has been an integral part of our personnel department since he arrived in 2007," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said, via the team's website, Saturday. "His work ethic, leadership, professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continue to be a major asset for our organization as we take on the challenges of competing in the NFC North and winning the Super Bowl."

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco likes the Rams move, calling Snead a grinder and writing that Fisher “will lean heavily on Snead” because Fisher is “smart that way.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com