Saturday Extras: JC Romero's Porsche Stolen, King Dunlap Arrested (Separate Incidents)

Saturday Extras: JC Romero's Porsche Stolen, King Dunlap Arrested (Separate Incidents)

Just a few links to get our weekend programming underway...

JC Romero was the victim of an auto theft, which, when I say it that way, doesn't really seem to accurately convey the nature of the crime. The bandit didn't make off with my Honda. They took a $190,000 brand new Porsche Panemera. JC had it in for servicing at Bert Smith Porsche in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was stolen from the dealership. I vote we send in Frances McDormand's character from Fargo. Good luck to JC in getting back his ride, which he drove down to spring training that time Enrico interviewed him. [Phollowing the Phillies]

Another Philly athlete found his name in a police report yesterday as well, only he wasn't the one filing it.

Last night, Eagles' offensive tackle King Dunlap was booked in Nashville after he parked his car on a plaza area at Bridgestone Arena and refused to move when directed by police. It's not uncommon for NFL players to get arrested for something involving their cars, but this is the first time I can recall one getting booked at an NCAA Women's basketball game. Hey King, it's Bridgestone Arena. Dunlaps can't just park on the sidewalk and then tell cops they're not moving, even if their intentions are good...

Dunlap said he was trying to pick up his father, who was in a wheelchair. According to The Tennessean, police told him move the SUV to a different area where he could pick up his father, and that they would help. Dunlap refused again, and was arrested for reckless driving and disorderly conduct. [Tennessean, via Pro Football Talk]

Meanwhile, Mike Vick was winning a Maxwell Award. He also explained why he canceled his Oprah appearance. Personally, and I'm as disgusted at Vick's past as the next guy, I don't get why he'd go on Oprah at all. For all I care, his reason for canceling could be, "I just didn't feel like it. It's Oprah. I'm a football player, not a guy trying to sell his fictitious memoirs." (Incidentally, that's not what he gave as his reason.) Maybe it would help him garner future endorsement deals if he bowed at the altar of Oprah, but no interview he does in 2011 will erase his past, nor improve his play on the football field, and those seem to be the only things people care about when it comes to Michael Vick. His being on Oprah would be good for one person—Oprah. [Daily News]

Getting away from the police blotter, who wants to hear a Penguin talk Sixers hoops and anonymous celebrity? I DO! Here's Zoo With Roy on Spike Eskin's podcast. The first 10 minutes of this sheds a lot of light on the life of the Penguin, then they get into the Hersey Hawkins dong stuff. [WYSP]

It sounds as though many fans are tired of the moniker "The Four Aces," but I've still always been curious—which Phillies starter would fit each suit? Bob Brookover answered that question yesterday, though I could only locate it on the Toronto Star site. 

And finally, this photo, entitled On the C Train, by Ted H. 

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

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USA Today Images

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

Tranquillo Barnetta is going home.

In an abrupt announcement on Tuesday, the Union declared that the skillful Swiss attacking midfielder will not renew his contract with the club and will return to Switzerland following the 2016 season to play for his hometown club, FC St. Gallen.

According to MLS Players Union, Barnetta’s exit will free the Union of $687,500 next season.

“The entire soccer community here was so welcoming and I’m so thankful to everyone at Philadelphia Union for making me feel so appreciated,” Barnetta said. “Playing in front of my friends and family and making plans for life at the end of my career where I want to live is a force I can’t resist.”

Although the timing of the announcement is a surprise, the move isn’t one. With Alejandro Bedoya now in the mix, currently playing out of position in a box-to-box midfield role, the Union will replace Barnetta with Bedoya at the center attacking midfield spot. It’s a position that Bedoya is comfortable in, playing there with his previous club, FC Nantes.

Bedoya played for the injured Barnetta in the center midfield spot last Saturday and scored his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC.

But even with Bedoya ready to take over, the Union will miss Barnetta. Since joining the Union in 2015, Barnetta, 31, has been one of the better possession playmakers in MLS, scoring six goals and seven assists in 37 games.

“Tranquillo has been a key piece in what we’re trying to build here in Philadelphia but we appreciate his decision to return to Switzerland,” said Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, whose club has three matches left in the 2016 season, and will likely make the playoffs. “We look forward to continuing to push for the postseason.”

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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