Tom Brady celebrates his 38th birthday while balancing the responsibility of preparing for his 16th NFL season and preparing the appeal of his four-game suspension.
Brady's appeal, filed by the NFL Player's Association, is expected to be decided upon by New York district Judge Richard Berman before the start of the regular season on September 10. Berman has called for the NFL and the NFLPA to settle this issue on their own if possible and has set up mediation sessions in New York for August 12 and August 19 that will hopefully lead to a settlement.
On the practice field, it seems like Brady is his usual competitive self. During yesterday's practice Brady was involved in some playful smack talk with cornerback Malcolm Butler - who was taunting Brady to throw at him - and when Julian Edelman caught a pass over Butler and spun the ball at the feet of the Super Bowl XLIX hero, Brady ran over and joined Edelman in taunting Butler.
After 15 seasons of building his Hall of Fame resume, Brady still has the passion of an undrafted free agent trying to make the team. His ability to stay committed to being a better player at his age and after all of his accomplishments - 4 Super Bowl titles, 6 AFC titles, 160 regular season wins, 21 playoff wins, 3 Super Bowl MVP's. and 2 regular season MVP's - is rivaled by a select few in all of sports history.
Whether or not he misses games - and I still believe he will have the suspension over turned - Brady will be ready to go when the game start to count and the Patriots will once again be in the mix to win the Super Bowl.
The news that Larry Lucchino is stepping down as President and CEO of the Red Sox at the end of the season is major news coming from Yawkey Way. He will be replaced as President of the Red Sox by Sam Kennedy.
Lucchino was part of the ownership group, along with John Henry and Tom Werner, that bought the Red Sox in December 2001. Known as "The Trio," the Henry-Werner-Lucchino group has overseen three World Series championships and the overhaul of Fenway Park. Building a championship organization while making Fenway an enjoyable place to watch a game were two monumental tasks and Lucchino played vital roles in both endeavors.
Of "The Trio," Lucchino was known to have the heavy hand. He was the man at the front of the firing line anytime their was failure in Red Sox Nation, from the resignation of Theo Epstein after the 2005 season (Theo returned before the 2006 season) up to the debacle of Bobby Valentine and the failed contract negotiations with Jon Lester. Lucchino also is the man who called George Steinbrenner's Yankees the "Evil Empire" as the rivalry between the two teams evolved from a "Big Brother-Little Brother" relationship into a legitimate rivalry between two championship contenders. He was front and center at all times in his fourteen years with the team.
Kennedy has a strong resume and is highly regarded by the Red Sox but until he proves he can stand up and take the heat when things go wrong, the jury will be out on his tenure.
Highly acclaimed Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens will make his major league debut tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium against the A.L. East leaders.
Talk about a tough stage to start your major league career.
The 23-year-old lefty, a first round pick in 2011, is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation in 2016 or be used as a trade chip by the Red Sox if they look to add a more experienced starter. The move to get him to the major leagues now is a good one as it will give the team a chance to evaluate him at the highest level for the next two months. Owens will join 22-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez on the Boston staff while a third top prospect, 24-year-old Brian Johnson will also likely get a long look after already making one spot start in July.
With the team heading for another last place finish, it is refreshing to see management giving their young pitchers a chance to get used to the major leagues and an opportunity to prove that they belong in Boston and not in Pawtucket.