Emmitt Smith has one word for the current Cowboys. "Mediocre." The NFL's all-time leading rusher and three-time Super Bowl winner said Thursday he was disappointed in the team's 8-4 record. And he questions whether the current players have the fight in them to win in December and reach the playoffs. "[I'm] disappointed because I saw this team being a lot better than it is," Smith said. "Chemistry has a lot to do with it. And for some reason, the chemistry of the Cowboys this year has been thrown off a little bit. "Either there's too much salt in the gumbo or not enough meat in the gumbo. Something's wrong. Whatever it is, they need to get it corrected. It's just been a blah kind of season for me." Smith gave his thoughts while attending an event at the new Cowboys stadium in Arlington. During a 10-minute interview, Smith questioned the team's toughness and their desire to win Super Bowls all while mixing in a Jimmy Johnson-style pep talk. (Dallas Morning News) Comment
Tyrone Willingham believes "Maybe Notre Dame got it right" in its decision to retain Charlie Weis for a fifth season, despite a record slightly worse than the one that cost Willingham the job as Irish football coach after three seasons. "It's not just my issue, it's a college football issue -- we have to give coaches a chance to do their job," Willingham said Thursday from Seattle, where he recently was fired as the University of Washington's coach after four seasons, the last of them winless. "Because now we have coaches -- especially some of the minority coaches -- they are losing their jobs after 21/2 years. That's not right." Willingham was the first African-American head coach of any sport at Notre Dame and the first football coach fired with time (two years) remaining on his original contract, following a three-year record of 21-15 (.583) and two bowl appearances. Weis is 28-21 (.571) with two bowl appearances in four seasons, 15 of those losses coming in the last two years, the highest two-season loss total in school history. (Chicago Tribune) Comment
The Detroit Tigers ramped up their pursuit of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson, but the Los Angeles Dodgers remain very much in the mix. And the latter is the case, in large part, because of money matters. Wilson has informed the Pirates that he is amenable to renegotiating the final two years of his contract to facilitate a trade to the Dodgers, a team source confirmed yesterday. He is due $7.25 million in 2009 and has an $8.4 million club option for the following year, with a $600,000 buyout. The Dodgers apparently would be willing to guarantee both years for a total in the range of $12 million. It was not clear, however, if Wilson's offer to renegotiate would apply to other teams, including Detroit. Los Angeles is special to him because he is a native and resident of southern California. He and wife Julie have three young children. That could disrupt a trade to the Tigers, who are citing payroll pressure in asking the Pirates to take on some of Wilson's salary. The Pirates, adamant that they are eager to make good baseball trades, have told teams they will assume some salary if it upgrades what they receive in talent, but their obvious preference would be to have Wilson address that issue himself by renegotiating. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Comment
Chris Harris, of Itasca, Texas, competes during the first go-round of bareback riding at the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
Rampage is still dancing ...
Game To Watch
Brandon Roy & Co. take on the defending NBA champs (9 p.m. ET on ESPN).
1973 -- The Lakers' Jerry West sets an NBA record with 10 steals in his team's 115-111 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. 1985 -- Auburn tailback Bo Jackson beats Iowa QB Chuck Long by 45 points in the balloting for the Heisman, theclosest vote in the 51-year history of the trophy. 2006 -- Willie Parker breaks Pittsburgh's single-game rushing record with 223 yards against the Browns.
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