A few days ago, Von Miller was handed a four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's drug policy. Miller, the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, knew from the minute the news broke that he had reason to appeal the suspension and today that reason became very clear. Today, a source revealed that Miller's suspension was not due to a failed drug test.
Miller had been clean since the 2011 season, when he tested positive for marijuana in his rookie year. Following this rule violation, Miller was placed in the league's substance abuse program. However, Miller did not test positive for any PEDs or recreational drugs this year. So then why was Miller handed this suspension?
If you read the fine print, the NFL drug policy doesn't only hand out suspensions for positive tests, but also for breaking certain rules. Players placed in the substance abuse program have to follow other rules, because of their past infractions. Like probation, these players have to take tests at certain times, attend counseling sessions and have to behave in a certain manner. There is no word on whether Miller overslept, had a temper tantrum or cut class, but despite remaining clean the NFL has stood firm on suspending Miller.
While Miller has put in for appeal, his teammates are confident that the suspension won't hold. Denver Bronco's defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said that Miller may be "silly," but he is now a leader on the team and has accepted that role. "The guy I was, two, three, four years ago is not the guy I am," said Miller. When asked if he regularly used or supported marijuana usage, Miller responded with a firm "absolutely not."
Clearly, Miller has grown from his rookie self. He has grown into one of the best defensive players in the NFL and realizes the position that he's in. Last season, Miller finished second in voting for the NFL Defensive MVP Award, and has accumulated 30 sacks in only two seasons in the NFL. This is why Miller doesn't feel like he let down his teammates.
It may seem silly to suspend a player when he isn't using, but the NFL is trying to make an example out of Miller. Whether the suspension will stand remains to be seen, but according to Kevin Vickerson "There will be due justice. We have to watch and see how it plays out. Right now, he's not suspended, and he'll be with us the first game."
Do you think Miller should be suspended? Should players who already received their penalty have to abide by a different set of rules? Share your thoughts. Comment below!
When an athlete reaches a certain milestone, they know that they have made the most out of their career. Whether it be an accomplishment like hitting 500 home runs in your career or tossing your 3,000th strikeout, reaching a milestone means you have had such a successful career that you can now join an elite club of men who completed the same task you did. However, there are some milestones that were a lot easier to reach long ago, but may never be reached again. Here are five milestones that we will likely never see again:
Only 24 men in the history of baseball have reached this milestone. The last pitcher to reach 300 wins was "The Big Unit," future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. Only four pitchers have reached this milestone since the year 2000, but all four of those pitchers have been pitching since the 80s. Reaching 300 wins used to be a lot easier, especially in the early days of baseball, because teams simply didn't carry nearly as many pitchers. Some guys, like Cy Young, would pitch every day. That explain why Cy Young has 573 career wins. However, pitchers don't play that many games a year anymore. To win 300 games, a pitcher would have to win 15 games a year for 20 seasons, or vice versa. Being that a starting pitcher only gets between 28 and 32 starts a year, it is hard to get such a high win total in one season. For a pitcher to stay dominant for such a long span of time isn't practical like it used to be. Coaches and managers don't let their aces tire themselves out anymore, so it is highly unlikely that a player will ever reach this milestone again. Andy Pettite of the Yankees is closest to reaching this milestone, as he sits on 255 wins, but he would have to pitch at least a few more seasons to get to 300, which is unlikely. CC Sabathia has 200 wins, and at only 33-years-old may have enough left in the tank to make it to 300, but CC doesn't pitch like he used to. Some analysts say that Justin Verlander might make it to 300, but it is hard to imagine that any player can perform at his level long enough to reach this milestone.
300 Strikeouts in a Single Season
300 is a hard number for pitchers to reach in many categories. Only two pitchers have thrown 300 strikeouts in a season since the year 2000. Randy Johnson has done this five times in his career and Curt Schilling three, but only five of those times occurred in this millennium. Justin Verlander has come closest out of all active pitchers, striking out 269 batters in 2009. Time Lincecum made a go at 300 in 2008, and 2009 but ended each season with only 265 and 261 strikeouts, respectively. The reason no pitcher will reach this milestone is because they simply don't get the innings that pitchers used to get. Pitchers used to hit double digits year after year when it came to complete games. Now, a quality start is considered to be a six-inning, three-run performance. Guys max out nowadays at around 230 innings per season, so to throw 300 strikeouts in that many innings would take an insane amount of talent and skill that baseball hasn't seen since Nolan Ryan. Like the 300 wins milestone, this milestone won't be reached simply because of how the game has evolved from the days of old.
100 Stolen Bases in a Single Season
The days of triple digit stolen base totals are long gone. No player has stolen at least 100 bases in a season since Vince Coleman stole 109 bases in 1987. The closest an active player has come to eclipsing this milestone was in 2007 when Jose Reyes stole 78 bases. That ranks him tied for 70th on the all-time single season stolen base record chart. Managers don't play the fundamentals like they used to. Baserunners are told more and more to hold their base, because the manager is worried about players being thrown out, which could ruin a run-scoring opportunity. While there have been guys who are known as stolen base threats (Jose Ryes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Juan Pierre, etc.), they can't reach this milestone because they aren't making their own decisions on the base paths. First and third base coaches tell players when to steal and when not to steal, and no coach gives a player the green light enough to steal 100 bases. Back in the day, players like Lou Brock and Ricky Henderson stole every time they got on base. Whether they were thrown out or safe, they made the attempt, because far more times than not, they were safe. Players aren't given the opportunity to make their own decisions anymore, so this milestone will likely never be reached again.
Hit Above .400 for the Season
This is a milestone I am positive will never be reached again. No player has hit above .400 since 1941, when the great Ted Williams batted .4057 for the season. All of the players who had a season where they eclipsed the .400 mark did so in the late 19th and early 20th century. Back then, pitchers simply weren't as good as they are now. Games were higher scoring and men got on base more. The closest a player has come to the .400 mark in recent memory was when Tony Gwynn batted .3938 in 1994. Gwynn may have only been a little more than six points away, but six points translates into a handful of hits. The closest any active player has come was in 2000 when Todd Helton batted .3724, a task that Nomar Garciaparra also completed in the same year. Pitchers nowadays are just so talented and don't get tired as easily as they used to, due to the depth of a teams' bullpen and the use of a five-man rotation. As of late, players can win batting titles by batting somewhere between .330 and .360, which is ways away from the .400 mark. If a player's has 600 at bats in a season, they would need 240 hits to have a batting average of .400, and I simply don't see that happening.
Get Hit by 30 or More Pitches in a Season
This milestone may not seem as important as the other ones, but getting hit by a pitch is just as good as hitting a single. As recently as 2004, Craig Wilson was hit 30 times in a season. Chase Utley came close to 30 in 2008, but missed the mark by three, ending the season with 27 hit by pitches. Players don't take one for the team like they used to. Guys like Ron Hunt and Craig Biggio were famous for being hit by pitches. They were afraid to turn in or lean over the plate, because they knew the important of getting on base. Now, players are too scared to intentionally get hit by a pitch, and managers and coaches are too afraid to let them. Out of any of the milestones on this list, this one has the best chance of being reached, but in a day and age where trainers take the field if a player stubs his toe, I don't see it happening.
What do you think of this list? Are there any active players that can reach one of these milestones? Are there any other milestones that will never be reached? Share your thoughts. Comment below!
Living in New York can either be very easy or very hard as a sports fan. If you're a Yankees or a Giants fan you get blessed with World Series victories and Super Bowl championships. However, if you're like me, you sit and sulk when the Mets and Jets continuously disappoint and just hope for a better season next year. When Mark Sanchez first became a Jet, it seemed like there was some hope. The team made it to the AFC Championship Game in back-to-back years and the Jets had arguably the best defense in the league. A lot has changed since then. The Jets run game has gotten significantly worse. More or less every potential offensive weapon the Jets have was hurt last year. Darrell Revis, the best cornerback in the game, is gone. The Jets missed out on the Tim Tebow train, and now are stuck with a deteriorated Mark Sanchez – the man who has held the top spot on Sportcenter's 'Worst of the Worst' since Thanksgiving, after running into his own offensive lineman's butt. The Jets quarterback situation is so bad, that I would take other team's backup quarterbacks and start them before Sanchez, so here it is, the six backups who I'd rather have start than number six, Mark Sanchez.
6. Jason Campbell – Cleveland Browns
Jason Campbell is no superstar, but none of the players on this list will be – they are backups. However, as the starting quarterback for the Redskins from 2007 through 2010 when he was signed by Oakland, Campbell played decent football. He never in his career had a season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. His lifetime completion percentage is 60.9 percent, which is great compared to Sanchez's of 55.1 percent. Campbell had his best season in 2009, when he threw 20 touchdowns and finished the season with an 86.4 QB rating. Mark Sanchez's QB rating at the end of the season has never even broke 80! Campbell has had injuries slow his career down, relegating him to a backup quarterback, but I'd still rather have him lined up behind center than Sanchez.
5. Colt McCoy – San Francisco 49ers
Colt McCoy's win-loss record of 6-15 is no reflection on how he is as a player. At the University of Texas, McCoy was a two-time All-American and finished second in 2008 and third in 2009 in the Heisman Voting. McCoy's NFL career simply needs a spark to get the fire burning. He has 21 touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions in his time as a pro, and has a lifetime QB rating of 74.8, 3.1 points better than Sanchez's career rating. McCoy has a lot of potential, and at age 26 he has a long career ahead of him. I would much rather see a young college star rise to stardom than a washed up Mark Sanchez any day.
4. Matt Cassell – Minnesota Vikings
Matt Cassell's career has been a roller coaster ride. In 2008, Cassell got his chance to shine when Tom Brady went down in the first game of the season. Cassell led the Patriots to an 11-5 season, and just missed the playoffs due to tie-breakers. He threw for almost 3,700 yards that year and completed 21 touchdown passes while only being intercepted 11 times. His QB rating was 89.4, which was the second highest of his career. In 2010 for the Chiefs, Cassell put up great numbers, throwing 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, finishing the season with a QB rating of 93. In 2011 Cassell somehow made the Pro Bowl, but now he is warming the bench for starter Christian Ponder. Cassell is only 31-years-old, and would have a much brighter future in New York than warming a cold bench in Minnesota.
3. Matt Hasslebeck – Indianapolis Colts
Matt Hasselbeck may be past his prime, but he can still play better than Sanchez. Hasselbeck is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was on the All-Pro team in 2005, the same year he led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, and holds pretty much every passing record for the Seattle Seahawks franchise. 2005 was his best year, when he threw for almost 3,500 yards, 24 touchdowns and had a QB rating of 98.2. Hasselbeck was a starter up until last year, when he was benched for youngster Jake Locker. Now, Hasselbeck is the backup for a much better youngster, Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck has proved throughout his entire career that he can play like a real NFL quarterback, which is much more than can be said about Sanchez.
2. Tim Tebow – New England Patriots
Hold it! Before you start the Tebow-Sanchez comparison, let me start by telling you that I don't care what you have to say about Tebow. I don't care that he's not super accurate. I don't care that he has God on his side. I don't care that he comes with a ton of baggage. Tebow never got his shot in New York, and based on how Sanchez played last year he should have been given one. Tebow is one of the best college football players in recent memory, and rather than give him a chance, the Jets left a failing Mark Sanchez on the top of their depth chart. Say what you will about Tebow, but he should have been given a chance. Tebow has proved that he knows how to win. I would much rather see Rex Ryan try out Tebow and fail than continue to fail with Sanchez.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Tennessee
Fitzpatrick has been a pretty good starter for the Bills over the past few years. He has had three consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and a QB rating of at least 79. Fitzpatrick didn't necessarily have the tools to succeed in Buffalo, but anything can happen in the Big Apple (or rather the dirty Jerz). Fitzpatrick has shown over the past three years that he can be an NFL starting quarterback, which is again much more than we can say about Sanchez.
What do you think of this list? Is there anybody else you'd rather see start before Sanchez? Share your thoughts. Comment below!