The Wait is Over

The Wait is Over

Vegas says the Birds are the favorite to win Superbowl XL, but many experts are picking against the Eagles in the season opener on Monday night.  ESPN Insider's Scouts, Inc. picks the Falcons to win 23 to 20.  They believe that an improved Falcons defense, a speedy Vick on turf, a diverse running game, and the home field edge will be the difference.  A few reminders:

The wait is over for Philly fans.  A new season starts tonight and the Eagles begin the quest to Detroit.  pictures from

Reasons the Eagles will win the Monday night opener against the Falcons:

-Andy Reid.  We all know how well Andy performs with a few weeks to prepare for a team.  While Jim Mora may one day be a great NFL coach, he lacks the experience that Big Red has over the past few years.  Andy will have his team ready.

-Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens.  Both of these Eagles weapons have something to prove and where better to show the nation what they are really made of than on Monday night football.  T.O. has been yapping all off season, but going to Atlanta and playing in front of his hometown, there is no doubt he will be ready to tear up Atlanta's secondary.  We didn't even have T.O. the last time we played Atlanta and we still beat them easily.  Vick can't use the Milli Vanilli excuse when this one is over.  I'm hoping for about two chances to see Terrell to his endzone thing.  Westy is basically playing every game for a new contract.  I'm really rooting for him.

-Donovan McNabb.  People remember Donovan's last meaningful game for his choking, literally.  He is still the man running the show and one of the games best.  He is the quarterback Mike Vick wants to be.  Donovan has a lot of the running ability Vick has, granted not the elusive quickness, but Vick hasn't showed us he can pass the ball anywhere near as well as McNabb.  I'm putting all my faith in Donovan for another season.

Some things to watch:
Corey Simon may or may not be missed, but the D-line stopping the Atlanta rushing game will be important.  Hollis Thomas moves back into a starting roll and Mike Paterson will have to show us what he can do.  Last year Jim Johnson's "mush rush" really held Mike Vick in check and I expect to see something similar.

My prediction: Eagles 27  Falcons 17

I wouldn't take the Falcons lightly, if both teams play perfect games I give the Eagles the edge.  The Eagles are defending NFC champs and the Falcons have to prove they can beat us.  Anything can happen when playing Mike Vick, but I'll take my chances with Donovan and T.O. any day.

I'm ready for some football.  Are you?


Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

With Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless hurt, the Sixers are still lacking a distributor, and so it makes sense that they've been in contact with the point guard-rich Timberwolves.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers and New Orleans Pelicans have shown interest in T'wolves backup point guard Tyus Jones. 

With fifth overall pick Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is set at PG. Jones, 20, is third on the totem pole a year after being drafted 24th overall. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are more inclined to trade Jones than Rubio. 

Jones has a connection to the Sixers in Jahlil Okafor, a former teammate at Duke. Both were one-and-dones for the 2014-15 National Championship team. Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Blue Devils. 

He played sparingly as a rookie last season with Minnesota (37 games), averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes, but stood out this summer, winning Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

T.J. McConnell has started the majority of the preseason at point guard for the Sixers. Sergio Rodriguez got the nod in the last game against the Pistons. Brett Brown is also looking at Nik Stauskas to fill the spot in a non-traditional role.

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Elton Brand walked out to the practice court clad in a gray suit and tie. As he approached the media with his family, the Sixers' players and staff gathered to watch and, more importantly, pay their respect to the news he was about to deliver. 

“After 17 years of playing the game that I love, and it’s been great to me, I’m officially retiring,” Brand said standing next to his wife Shahara. “It’s for real this time. It was a wonderful journey.”

Brand, 37, played 17 seasons in the NBA with a career average of 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. A two-time All-Star, he recorded four 20-and-10 seasons. 

This summer he signed his final contract, a one-year deal with the Sixers worth $980,431. Brand announced his intention to retire on Thursday and the roster move will be officially completed at the conclusion of training camp. Brand’s retirement clears up a roster space for the Sixers. 

“Me personally, playing, being out there, the mentoring role, it was great. I enjoyed it,” Brand said. “But I really couldn’t be out there giving my all after 17 years, helping the team, being in the right place on defense, and giving the coaching staff the energy they deserve from their players. I thought it was time.”

The Bulls selected Brand with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft out of Duke, a moment he considers a highlight of his career. He played his first two seasons in Chicago, followed by seven with the Clippers. The Sixers signed Brand in July of 2008. He was a member of the team for the next four years, including two playoff runs. Brand played one more season with the Bulls, followed by two with the Hawks. 

His already-lengthy NBA career appeared to be over at the end of the 2014-15 season, but he made a surprise decision to return to the league in January of 2016 with the Sixers. He appeared in 17 games last season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.2 minutes. 

While Brand was needed to log time because of injuries, including 20-plus on back-to-back nights, his biggest contribution came away from the game. The young team signed Brand to serve as a mentor to players such as fellow Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor, who struggled with off-the-court issues as a rookie. Okafor developed a big-brother relationship with Brand, talking often — and rarely about basketball itself. 

Brand shared his messages of discipline and work ethic across the locker room. He stayed late after practices to work on fundamental drills with then-rookie Richaun Holmes. On game days he often could be seen dressed in a suit, a visualization of professionalism for his teammates. At the end of the season, Brand paid for the team to take a trip to Miami. 

“We felt his presence,” Okafor said. “Having another vet in there, knowing who he is, his accolades, it was a respect factor to him. Whatever he said goes. I remember hearing his voice at halftime if we were playing poor, he would let us know about it. It was good to have somebody on your team tell you you’re playing bad rather than hearing your coach’s mouth all the time.”

Brett Brown described his emotions as "sad" when Brand informed him of his decision. In less than a year of working together, Brown has learned from Brand's NBA experiences. 

"He's as elite in class as anybody I have ever coached," Brown said, adding, "He's got the ingredients that make him, I feel, highly attractable down the road. Surely he's got stuff to offer after this is all done. Compassionate, hard-working, educated, real, tough. He was a great example for our locker room."

Brand plans to spend time away from the game and has not made any decisions on his next career move. He will be accessible to the Sixers and plans to spend time around the team but not in an official role. He has had conversations with the team about possible opportunities in the future, just not right now. 

The Sixers broke out in applause at the conclusion of Brand's announcement. He didn't know they were going to be present and joked that as the "OG" of the team, he doesn't like surprises. Brand wanted a simple no-frills gathering of media, a low-key departure from the game. It was fitting for a career based on quietly putting in hard work. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said. “But it’s definitely time now.”