Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Shazier Leaves Hospital-We open with good news as Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier was discharged from the UPMC Rehab and will continue his therapy at UPMC Outpatiend Facility. What was even more encouraging was a pic of him standing with Steelers QB Ben Roethoisberger. Definitely great to see the young man making progress.
  2. Will Shazier Play Again? That’ll be a question that continues to get asked, because no one’s sure. Shazier and his father (Pastor Vernon Shazier) believes he will & the Steelers will allow him to get his life together before there’s any possibility of him returning.
  3. Shazier’s Replacement? While the Steelers will allow Shazier to continue making progress, they know he’ll probably not be ready for 2018 and that means finding his replacement. I can’t see Sean Spence coming back, and Tyler Matakevich and LJ Fort aren’t enough. The Steelers need to find a veteran free agent or a very good 1st round pick to fill in Shazier’s inside LB spot.
  4. Steelers in the Pro Bowl-It looked like the 10 Steelers (and coaching staff) who made the Pro Bowl had fun as their AFC team defeated the NFC 24-23. To me, it was a reminder of what this All-Star game was supposed to be: Fun. Although the Steelers wish they were in the Super Bowl, I give them credit for apprieciating the moment of that game.
  5. Bradshaw criticizes the Steelers coaching again-Then there’s this guy. He called HC Mike Tomlin a Cheerleader last year and now the Steelers HOF QB is after him (figuratively) for letting go of offensive coordinator Todd Haley and keeping defensive coordinator Keith Butler, because that unit was the one that cost the Steelers their season.
  6. Is Bradshaw Right? He’s a media person and he gets paid to speak his mind about the NFL, so he is entitled to his opinion, but don’t place the blame only on Tomlin. He also has a boss in GM Kevin Colbert whom he has to answer to and Colbert has a boss in owner Art Rooney II. So if you’re gonna point fingers Bradshaw, point it at the entire Steelers front office.
  7. But, is Bradshaw right? Yes and no. Yes, because by principle, the offsene is what led the Steelers this season and almost won the playoff game that the defense lost. But anyone in Pittsburgh knew of the so-called tensions between Haley and Big Ben as well as some questionable offensve plays. No because yes, it’s amazing that Butler still remains, but their play is to give him another chance with some improved talent.
  8. Steelers re-sign punter-P Jordan Berry came to terms with the Steelers on a 1-year extension Thursday. I’m thinking that Pro Bowl K Chris Boswell should be next to get the monies.
  9. Super Bowl 52-This game is only a few days away as the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will square off in a rematch of their 2004 game in which the Pats won 24-21. The Pats want another to tie the Steelers SB record of 6 wins, while the Eagles are looking for their first Lombardi trophy in franchise history.

10. How can the Patriots win? It’s easy say just give QB Tom Brady the ball with a slim deficit and 2:00 left on the clock, but I think the Pats know not to take the Eagles and their great defense for granted, plus an offense that has stayed the course with QB Nick Foles and a running game that includes former Patriot LeGarette Blount. They just have to do what they usually do against their opponents: Impose their will on them on offense.

11. How Can the Eagles win? By not falling into the Patriots Trap: taking their foot off the pedal after taking an early lead. If they score early and often, they must keep it going until that clock hits 0:00. On defense, they must make Brady’s life miserable, like the NY Giants did against him in the Big Game years ago.

12. Prediction? I’m not biased, but I would like to see the Patriots get beat this time. And if the Eagles do their best Rocky Balboa underdog impersonation, then it will be a 24-21 Eagles Victory. Why Not?

13. Hall of Fame-Here’s my pick for the Class of 2018: Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens. Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins to go with the Senior Finalists Robert Brazile (Houston Oilers) and Jerry Kramer (Green Bay Packers)

14. No Alan Faneca? Not yet. He still needs to wait because there are others who deserve it more right now. But the former Steelers guard will eventually get his turn.

15. LeBron to the Warriors? According to an ESPN report that’s what the Cleveland Cavs leader is saying. It reported that LeBron will opt out of his contract and explore other options, including returing to the Cavs, but he would also be ok with talking to the Warriors. If that happens, that would be bananas.

16. How would it work? Experts say a sign-and -trade that would send a couple of Warriors (ex. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala) in exchange for James, who will team up with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Wow…that would be pretty interesting. Stay tuned.

17. Griffin to the Pistons-I shake my head at the LA Clippers who have now earned back the title of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NBA. They traded F Blake Griffin to the Detriot Pistons leaving F DeAndre Jordan as the only All-Star left. And of course HC Doc Rivers who was traded to the Clippers to try to get a title. Well, that window has closed and now it’s nailed shut.

18. Pelican make trade-After losing DeMarcus Cousins, the New Orleans Pelicans acquired F Nikola Mirotic for 3 players. Good for them as this team is in plyoff contention.

19. James Harden’s Night-60 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists? That’s just plain sick. Houston Rockets G James Harden was playing out of his mind Tuesday night. He’s the first to earn a triple-double with 60 points. Just give him the NBA MVP trophy already.

20. Pitt loses to Miami-In what has become a trend this season, the Pitt Panthers lose again, this time to the Miami Hurricanes 69-57. They’re now 8-15 and 0-10 in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play. It’s sad seeing this team play like this, but they’re simply not good enough for the ACC.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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