After a year in which Daryl Gardener went from presumptive defensive superstar with a seven-year, $39 million deal to an offensive-name caller who played in a total of five games, the only question was how the Broncs would disappear his 300 pounds of petulance. After a final spat over the pancake-house-brawling lug's $3 million signing bonus, Coach Mike Shanahan suddenly shook hands with his former antagonist on March 11. The team agreed to release the end on June 2, allowing him to start shopping for a new team in the meantime. In return, the Donks get back a portion of Gardener's bonus. Maybe they can use it to buy some egg-remover for their faces.
After a year in which Daryl Gardener went from presumptive defensive superstar with a seven-year, $39 million deal to an offensive-name caller who played in a total of five games, the only question was how the Broncs would disappear his 300 pounds of petulance. After a final spat over the pancake-house-brawling lug's $3 million signing bonus, Coach Mike Shanahan suddenly shook hands with his former antagonist on March 11. The team agreed to release the end on June 2, allowing him to start shopping for a new team in the meantime. In return, the Donks get back a portion of Gardener's bonus. Maybe they can use it to buy some egg-remover for their faces.


See it in this light: Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is so good at developing running backs (good morning, Terrell, how's the leg?) and working them into the West Coast offense that he could probably pluck a 160-pounder out of junior college and turn him into an all-pro. By contrast, Shanny's had bad luck with cornerbacks (Dale Carter, Willie Middlebrooks, et al.). So when the Washington Redskins said they'd part with the best CB in the biz, Champ Bailey, Shanahan was willing to sacrifice his 1,500-yard-per-season ball carrier, Clinton Portis. If all goes well, Bailey will greatly relieve the pressure on Denver's harried secondary and make a few grabs at the depleted wide-receiver spot, too. Meanwhile, ex-Marine Mike Anderson will be trying so hard to get out of the coach's doghouse that he'll re-emerge from his cloud of pot smoke as a solid backup. That's our theory, anyway.
See it in this light: Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is so good at developing running backs (good morning, Terrell, how's the leg?) and working them into the West Coast offense that he could probably pluck a 160-pounder out of junior college and turn him into an all-pro. By contrast, Shanny's had bad luck with cornerbacks (Dale Carter, Willie Middlebrooks, et al.). So when the Washington Redskins said they'd part with the best CB in the biz, Champ Bailey, Shanahan was willing to sacrifice his 1,500-yard-per-season ball carrier, Clinton Portis. If all goes well, Bailey will greatly relieve the pressure on Denver's harried secondary and make a few grabs at the depleted wide-receiver spot, too. Meanwhile, ex-Marine Mike Anderson will be trying so hard to get out of the coach's doghouse that he'll re-emerge from his cloud of pot smoke as a solid backup. That's our theory, anyway.
He'll turn 37 on April 5, but Colorado Mammoth lacrosse star Gary Gait is still the league standard, the Michael Jordan of his sport. Last year, the 6' 2", 210-pound forward out of Syracuse broke his own National Lacrosse League single-season scoring record with 58 goals and once more became a first-team NLL All-Pro -- something he's done every year since he began playing pro lacrosse back in 1991. Tough, smart and relentless, Gait led three Syracuse teams to NCAA championships, and he's a five-time most valuable player in two pro lacrosse leagues -- not least because he holds the league records for goals, assists, points and shots. Amid the raucous theater that is a Mammoth game, Gait is the rock star who commands the most attention.
He'll turn 37 on April 5, but Colorado Mammoth lacrosse star Gary Gait is still the league standard, the Michael Jordan of his sport. Last year, the 6' 2", 210-pound forward out of Syracuse broke his own National Lacrosse League single-season scoring record with 58 goals and once more became a first-team NLL All-Pro -- something he's done every year since he began playing pro lacrosse back in 1991. Tough, smart and relentless, Gait led three Syracuse teams to NCAA championships, and he's a five-time most valuable player in two pro lacrosse leagues -- not least because he holds the league records for goals, assists, points and shots. Amid the raucous theater that is a Mammoth game, Gait is the rock star who commands the most attention.
No one else comes close. In his eighth season with Colorado, Todd Helton, the rock of the Rockies, remains the team's most consistent hitter and a Gold Glove candidate at first base. When he batted .358 last year with 33 home runs and 117 runs driven in, he became just the second player in big-league history to hit at least .315 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs in each of his first six full seasons. The other player? Guy by the name of Joe DiMaggio. Helton's lifetime average of .337 is the best in both leagues, and his .616 slugging percentage leads all players who've gone to the plate at least 3,000 times. Rox general manager Dan O'Dowd keeps experimenting with the secondary parts on the team's faulty baseball machine, but he never messes with the engine: Number 17, Todd Helton. To watch the perennial All-Star and sometime NL batting champ play is a privilege Rockies fans savor even as the team flounders summer after summer.
No one else comes close. In his eighth season with Colorado, Todd Helton, the rock of the Rockies, remains the team's most consistent hitter and a Gold Glove candidate at first base. When he batted .358 last year with 33 home runs and 117 runs driven in, he became just the second player in big-league history to hit at least .315 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs in each of his first six full seasons. The other player? Guy by the name of Joe DiMaggio. Helton's lifetime average of .337 is the best in both leagues, and his .616 slugging percentage leads all players who've gone to the plate at least 3,000 times. Rox general manager Dan O'Dowd keeps experimenting with the secondary parts on the team's faulty baseball machine, but he never messes with the engine: Number 17, Todd Helton. To watch the perennial All-Star and sometime NL batting champ play is a privilege Rockies fans savor even as the team flounders summer after summer.


Like the team itself, the Colorado Avalanche's staunch captain, center Joe Sakic, has had his ups and downs this season. But as the playoffs approach and coach Tony Granato's much-battered troops try to get past the Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi trauma, put Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay back together again and prepare for battle with the NHL's top teams, it is their 34-year-old leader who has emerged as their most consistent, fiercest competitor. Thanks to an incredible scoring surge in mid-March, Sakic could win his first-ever league scoring title. To be sure, the Art Ross Trophy would look good next to Sakic's pair of Stanley Cup rings, his world and Olympic gold medals and his other NHL trophies -- the Hart, the Byng, the Patrick and the Conn Smythe. Sakic is the oldest player on the team, and he remains its heart and soul come crunch time.
Like the team itself, the Colorado Avalanche's staunch captain, center Joe Sakic, has had his ups and downs this season. But as the playoffs approach and coach Tony Granato's much-battered troops try to get past the Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi trauma, put Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay back together again and prepare for battle with the NHL's top teams, it is their 34-year-old leader who has emerged as their most consistent, fiercest competitor. Thanks to an incredible scoring surge in mid-March, Sakic could win his first-ever league scoring title. To be sure, the Art Ross Trophy would look good next to Sakic's pair of Stanley Cup rings, his world and Olympic gold medals and his other NHL trophies -- the Hart, the Byng, the Patrick and the Conn Smythe. Sakic is the oldest player on the team, and he remains its heart and soul come crunch time.


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