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Lost Week For Hernandez, Ware, Reed In NFL Preseason Games

Week 3 of the preseason was probably one our trio of area NFL rookies would like to forget. Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez didn't play due to injury; Ravens wide receiver David Reed was targeted once, but came away without a catch; and Panthers linebacker Sean Ware (above photo) didn't show up in the stats sheet. So, yes, it was a lost weekend for the local stars.

To make matters worse for Bristol's Hernandez, in the Patriots' 36-35 loss to the Rams Thursday night, he watched fellow rookie tight end Ron Gronkowski, perhaps, take over as the No. 2 TE, behind Alge Crumpler. Gronkowski caught three passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, Gronkowski would take away a ton of playing time from Hernandez.

Next week, the final week of preseason, will be huge for all of the players. As will Tuesday, which is cut-down day.
(AP photo)

New Britain's Reed Puts Struggles Behind Him At Ravens Camp

New Britain's David Reed not only had his best day as a pro Saturday in the Ravens' 23-3 victory over the Redskins, he may have solidified a roster spot in the process. Reed, who has struggled catching the ball during training camp with the Ravens, caught four passes for 38 yards, including a 22-yard reception, in the second half against Washington. The performance was huge for the former Utah wide receiver, as he is in a fight for the fifth WR spot on the team. Demetrius Williams (a fifth-year player) and Marcus Smith (third-year) are the other contenders for No. 5 on the depth chart.

"It definitely was somewhat of a relief," Reed told the Baltimore Sun at practice this week about his performance on Saturday. "I made some plays, but I've got a lot of work to do still. I've got a lot of proving to do still. I'm going to keep grinding."

As for his struggles in training camp, Reed had this to say, "I just had to relax. I was a little tight. I tried not to mess up, just thinking too much. The last few days of training camp I just relaxed and tried to make plays. ... I'm starting to get the offense now, so mentally I can just relax and play my game. But, of course, I can't relax."

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh was impressed with the rookie's performance. "When you see a guy struggle at times in practice and then step up in the game, that's a good thing," Harbaugh said.

Reed also helped his own cause by making an impressive special teams tackle during Saturday's game. "It showed I can play special teams," Reed told the Baltimore Sun. "Whatever they want me to play at, I'll play."

Reed and the Ravens play the Giants this Saturday and then against the Rams next week. Reed should see plenty of playing time against St. Louis in the preseason finale, as starters typically play one quarter at most, giving younger players the chance to shine. Starters will play the majority of the game against the Giants, so playing time could be limited for Reed on Saturday.

As for Bristol's Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots tight end will most likely not play in Thursday's preseason game against the Rams. Hernandez has sat out the last two days of practice. Bristol's Sean Ware and the Panthers play the Titans Saturday.
(AP photo)

Johnny Damon's Not An Idiot After All, Say No To Boston Return

I guess he's not the idiot everyone thinks he is. Johnny Damon rejected the chance to play for the Boston Red Sox today, deciding to stay with the Detroit Tigers instead. Damon, who led the team to the 2004 world championship, became a cult hero in Boston before joining the Yankees after the 2005 season. Now, he's rejected the Red Sox twice since winning that title.

The Red Sox are barely breathing in the American League playoff chase, so this bit of news could be one of the final nails in the coffin. With or without Damon the Red Sox shouldn't pose much of a threat to the Yankees or the Rays. Boston is 5.5 games behind both teams.
(AP photo)

Hernandez Scores First Pro TD For Patriots, Reed Shines For Ravens In Preseason Week 2 Games

Week 2 of the NFL preseason slate is in the books as far as our area stars are concerned. Obviously, the biggest splash was made by Bristol's Aaron Hernandez, who scored his first professional touchdown Thursday night in the Patriots 28-10 victory over the Falcons. Hernandez scored on a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady to increase the New England lead to 14-3 with just under five minutes to play in the first half. Hernandez caught four passes for 46 yards and the score. He was targeted five times in the offense.

New Britain's David Reed had a big night as well for the Ravens Saturday, catching four passes for 38 yards. The Ravens beat the Redskins 23-3. Reed, a wide receiver, was targeted five times in the game. Bristol's Sean Ware, a linebacker, registered one solo tackle during a 9-3 loss to the Jets Saturday night. Week 3 of the preseason is when the starters get the majority of the playing time, typically three quarters, so that will be a true test of where Hernandez, Reed and Ware stack up in the team's plans this season.
(AP photo)

KISS And GameDay Rock All Nite Long At Awesome Mohegan Sun Show

The greatest blog in the world took in the greatest show in the world Thursday night at Mohegan Sun as GameDay got to experience the spectacle that is a KISS concert for the first time ever. And even with huge expectations, the show was everything expected and more. KISS, even the older version it is now, rocked the house and left ears ringing from the pyrotechnics, explosions, fireworks, fireballs and, not to forget, the great music.

The show, for me anyway, was broken into two parts. The first part was the actual concert and the second was the 45-minute long encore, which I thought was unbelievably good and blew the "regular" performance out of the water.

From the start, there was no mistake that KISS, described as the hottest band in the world in the intro, was out to give the fans a performance to remember. On the big screens, KISS appeared walking through the bowels of the arena, making their way to the stage. Gene Simmons appeared last and was given a huge ovation from the jam-packed Mohegan Sun Arena. Paul Stanley made the final impression on the screen, pointing to the crowd as everyone was ready for the show to finally blast off.

And blast off it did.

KISS came out on a scaffold that moved from behind the stage, then over the drummer, and then to the front of the stage. The show was on from there, with the band opening with their new single "Modern Day Delilah" from the Sonic Boom album. Everything you would expect to see at a KISS concert was there - the pyro, fire, loud explosions and some great music to go along with it.

Gene Simmons, my personal favorite since I was a kid, was great, interacting with the crowd every chance he got. Luckily he was based on the same side of the stage that GameDay was perched, so that was awesome. Some of the highlights from the "opening" performance by KISS was Simmons doing his "demon impersonation," which eventually led to blood pouring out of his mouth. Soon after, Simmons was lifted to the top of the arena as the crowd went ballistic. He also blew fire and was lifted to the arena several times on a platform at each side of the stage.

Paul Stanley did his thing before every song, talking to the crowd and letting them know what was coming. Tommy Thayer, the lead guitarist, was really good. Very impressed by his guitar play. His moment came when he fired "shots" from his guitar that resulted in loud explosions in the distance. Drummer Eric Singer was really good as well. All four members of the band wanted to put on a great show and you could see they were going to do everything in their power to make that happen.

After wrapping up the show, nobody left the building as it was apparent KISS was going to make its way back on stage. And not only did the band come back out, they took the performance to a whole new level. Promising the longest encore in history, the band performed for another 45 minutes. One big highlight was when Paul Stanley said he wanted to visit the fans in the middle of the arena. He then held on to a harness and was lifted just over the crowd on the floor and to the back of the arena, where a small, circular stage was waiting for him. He then performed on that stage in what was a great visual ... truly performing in the middle of the arena. It looked awesome.

KISS played all the big songs and finished, of course, with "Rock and Roll All Nite" to the delight of the crowd, which waited all night to hear the song. Confetti was shot out all over the arena, the crowd sung along loudly, and every single fire ball, pyrotechnic and explosion went off near the end of the song in quick fashion, with Paul Stanley smashing his guitar to the ground each time, which absolutely blew out the ear drums of those in attendance. But in a great way.

With my big expectations in tow, KISS came through big time and put on a rock show that I would expect from the hottest band in the land. Even though the band has been performing since the 70's, they haven't lost the love of putting together a great performance for the fans, and that clearly showed Thursday night. At the end of the night, it was another great night of music at Mohegan Sun. Expectations were met. The show was awesome. KISS ruled the world ... as expected.

Tony Dungy, One Of The Most Overrated Coaches Ever, Calls Out Rex Ryan For Cursing, Seriously

One of the most overrated coaches in NFL history, and one of the worst television analysts, has exposed himself as a jealous poser once again. Tony Dungy said on ESPN radio that he would never hire Jets coach Rex Ryan if he was running a team ... because of his foul language.

"I personally don't want my players to be around that," Dungy preached on the Dan Patrick Show. "I don't want to be around that. It's hard for me to be around that, and if I were in charge, no, I wouldn't hire someone like that. Now I've been around F-bombs, so it's not like it's new. But I just don't think that has to be part of your every-minute, everyday vocabulary to get your points across."

Seriously, are you kidding me? Dungy got lucky he won that one Super Bowl, against a horrible Bears team while with the Colts, otherwise he would have gone down as the biggest choke-job coach in NFL history. Even with that win, his record in the playoffs is a joke. Now, he believes a coach on the rise, who actually coached his team in the playoffs in one year better than Dungy ever did, shouldn't have a job because he curses? He also says that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should do something about the cursing, which was prevalent but in no way shocking on the first episode of Hard Knocks on HBO.

Dungy, you are a complete joke and so transparently jealous it's not even funny. But, hey, if you want to run a PG team in the NFL I guess you could get lucky and win one Super Bowl with a team that wins 13 games every year. I guess that's also why the team had no heart all those years, otherwise they would have won a bunch. But it's all fun and love for Dungy.

Remember, also, that this is the same guy who counseled Michael Vick, the dog killer. So, dog killing or cursing ... you be the judge.

Dungy, be quiet, and be happy you have a job. You certainly don't deserve one. And, luckily for every NFL team out there today, you'll never have a shot to make that kind of horrible coaching decision.
(AP photo)

Hernandez, Reed Make NFL Debuts

Bristol's Aaron Hernandez made his preseason debut with the New England Patriots last night against the Saints, while New Britain's David Reed did the same for the Baltimore Ravens against the Carolina Panthers. The Pats beat the Saints 27-24 while the Ravens knocked off the Panthers 17-12.

Hernandez caught three passes for 26 yards. He also rushed once for six yards. Reed didn't catch a pass in the game, but did return two kickoffs for an average of 20 yards. His long was 22. Also in that game, Bristol's Sean Ware, a linebacker, had three solo tackles.
(AP photo)

Shinedown Puts On Show To Remember At Carnival Of Madness Tour At Mohegan Sun Arena

It's been a while since GameDay made its way to a rock concert, but with the Carnival of Madness tour coming to Mohegan Sun Wednesday night, there was no better time to change that fact. It didn't hurt that Shinedown, one of GameDay's favorites, was the headliner. With 10 Years, Sevendust and Puddle of Mudd also on the show, there was no reason not to make the trip up to Uncasville. And five hours after the opening song, the trip was well worth it as the show was completely awesome. If you take out the performance of Puddle of Mudd, the show was on another planet - it was that good.

After 10 Years, Sevendust and Puddle of Mudd played their sets on the half-stage, Shinedown took control of the show, taking over the entire stage and playing the big rock event that everyone hoped for. The band opened the show playing "Sound of Madness" in shadow form as they were behind a huge white screen. As the song takes off, the screen drops and the band rushed the edge of the stage to thunderous cheers from the packed house at the Mohegan Arena. Lead singer Brent Smith wasted no time putting his stamp on the performance, rushing out dressed in a cross between a carnival barker and Willy Wonka, complete with top hat and cane. It was totally unexpected, but everything about it worked perfectly. There was no question that Smith and the band were the headliners.

For two hours, Shinedown played everything everyone wanted to hear, and a bunch of other songs that were fan favorites that don't get radio play. Smith played to the crowd like he was the leader of the carnival, never forgetting that the fans are the reason why Shinedown is what they are and the reason they were on stage that night. That was his main mantra on the night. It may sound easy to thank the fans for being there, but when you can tell the band cares, it takes them to a whole new level. Shinedown and Sevendust had that down-pat and probably won over fans that were there to see other bands. Puddle of Mudd, on the other hand, should take lessons from their show mates, because they had no connection during their set. It wasn't surprising that they gave the worst performance of the night, seemingly going through the motions. But we'll get back to them in a bit.

I can't say enough about the performance Shinedown put forth ... it was the best rock event that I've seen in person. If you get the chance to catch them, do it, because you won't be disappointed. And there's a chance you might get to see the lead singer up close, whether you're in the front row or in the upper deck. During the show, Smith left the stage and walked around the entire arena, even going up into the seats to greet fans. He then made his way to the middle of the thousands of fans on the floor and had everyone scream in unison. Pretty cool to hear.

After Shinedown finished up their "first ending," nobody left and just made a good amount of noise before they came back out for an encore. It didn't take long. Shinedown played three more songs, "Simple Man," "Fly From The Inside" and "Second Chance" before ending the show with a full-band bow to the crowd.

Just an amazing performance. I had big expectations for the band and they exceeded every one of them. I left the arena completely blown away, and there's nothing better than that feeling.

The first band to take the stage was 10 Years, a relatively new band on the map. Probably heard about 75 percent of the show, as the band went on around 6 p.m. Overall a very good performance. 10 Years does have a couple of songs that get plenty of radio play, so that was a definite plus for them. Expectations weren't high, so it was easy to exceed them, and they did. And there's something to be said about that. The big highlight was the live performance of the band's new single "Shoot It Out," which was way better live than it is on the radio. Overall, a very good performance.


Next up was Sevendust, the heaviest band on the bill. Nothing against 10 Years, because they did their thing, but Sevendust was on a whole new level. I wrote on Twitter last night that Sevendust killed it, and they did. Not only did the band hit on all of their songs, rocking the crowd with ease, but you can tell that these guys genuinely care about their performance and care about the fans. Lajon Witherspoon, the lead singer, was awesome, not only on vocals, but interacting with the crowd. The interaction during a live show is key to a band connecting with the audience and can make or break a performance. The best thing I can say about Sevendust was the fact that my friend came in not looking forward to them playing, but left saying he was now a big fan. That's huge. Sevendust gave the best performance of the opening acts ... by far. If you hear them live it's almost impossible not to go away impressed.

The same cannot be said for Puddle of Mudd, which was the final act before Shinedown. The set started terribly for the band as lead singer Wes Scantlin couldn't hit his notes. It got so bad that Scantlin had the guitarist sing backup through most of the rest of the set. I can't even describe how bad he sounded, it was almost too weird to be believed. He did rebound after the first song and was better on the mic for the rest of the show. The biggest problem was the crowd interaction. Puddle of Mudd really seemed like they just wanted to play their set and get back to the casino to gamble. I could be wrong, and I did ask others and they agreed, but never once did the band thank anyone in the crowd, or mention them at all. After hearing how eager Sevendust was to involve the fans as much as possible, it was even more noticeable that Mudd didn't do anything close to that. Scantlin barely talked to the crowd at all, mainly just waving both of his hands in the air at certain points. The highlight of the performance was a cover of AC/DC's "TNT," which had everyone rocking. Horrible start, good finish, but overall a down show for Puddle of Mudd. It's too bad, because they have a lot of good songs. But you couldn't enjoy it on this night. Hopefully it was just an off night and it wasn't bad enough to ruin the show at all. But I wouldn't see them again.

So, there you have it. Shinedown was awesome. Sevendust was great. Puddle of Mudd was disappointing. And 10 Years was very good. Overall, a great show and a great experience. If the show makes its way to your town, check it out, you won't be disappointed.

Drama Queen Brett Favre Reportedly To Retire, Or Maybe Not, Who Cares?

I thought twice about posting this, because I don't want to give the prima donna any more attention, but Brett Favre is reportedly retiring. It's the same old stuff from Favre. My guess is that in two weeks Favre will change his mind and play in Minnesota this year. This is more likely just the drama queen wanting to steal the training camp headlines for a day. Well, he got his wish.

In more important news, here's hoping that Darrelle Revis takes Jets owner Woody Johnson up on his offer to meet with the cornerback. That meeting could be key to ending the holdout and Revis will probably get close to if not all he wants. Again, I don't fault Revis for holding out, but you gotta respect Nick Mangold, who wants a new deal but showed up to camp. Mangold is the best center in the NFL, so he could have done the same. Mangold is making more money than Revis this season though.
(AP photo)

Revis Officially Holding Out Of Camp

It's official ... Darrelle Revis is holding out of Jets' training camp. The star cornerback did not show up for today's 5:30 p.m. team meeting in Cortland, N.Y., which means he is officially holding out of camp.

Revis' agent Neil Schwartz confirmed the holdout in a statement: "We waited until the last possible minute with hopes of getting something done. Darrelle won't be there."

Schwartz added that Revis is hurt and frustrated that a new deal could not be completed before camp. Revis believes the Jets are going back on a promise to give him a new deal. The move is huge for Revis because he has now forfeited a guaranteed $20 million the next two years after this. Revis will be fined $16,000 a day.
(AP photo)

Revis Not At Jets Morning Run, Holdout Becoming More Likely


The Jets reported to training camp in Cortland, N.Y. today, but there is one big name missing - Darrelle Revis. It's not quite an official holdout just yet, as the star cornerback has until a 5:30 p.m. team meeting today to be counted as that, but it's looking like he could be sitting out. Revis, as everyone knows, is looking for a new contract that will pay him more than the $16 million a year Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha currently makes.

Holding out would be a big move for Revis because if he doesn't show, the last two years of his contract will no longer be guaranteed. Those two years total $20 million. Revis is due to make $1 million this year. The Jets are reportedly offering $12 million a year, but with no guaranteed money, which won't fly with the Revis camp. It's hard to be mad at Revis in this situation.

With NFL contracts, for the most part, being non-guaranteed, this is a much more difficult situation than say baseball, where everything is guaranteed. Look at the Leon Washington situation from last season. Washington took a chance and didn't take a big-money contract extension with the Jets last season because he thought he would get a lot more after playing out another year. Well, Washington got hurt, he was traded and is making nothing close to what he could have. That is something Jets players are focused on now.

The Jets need Revis to make their Super Bowl dream a reality, so they have to find the money to pay him. But this could take a while. Stay tuned.