Morning Jolt: Sept. 29

Monday, September 29
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Truth & Rumors
Next Raiders coach could be...
If Raiders coach Lane Kiffin is gas-lighted this week, the options for his successor are interesting, but not entirely satisfying. But if you keep in mind that whoever it is will be promised nothing after Game 16, every scenario makes just enough sense not to be utterly ridiculous. -- James Lofton, wide receivers coach Why not: No prior experience as a head coach, or even as a coordinator. He has not publicly shown any noticeable dynamism, and the Raiders' receivers have done little to enhance his standing. Why: Greg Knapp can remain the coordinator, and Charles Coe, who was the receivers coach last year before being reassigned to player personnel, could be re-reassigned. Lofton would not be a long-term solution, but the disruption would be minimal. The chances: 33 percent. -- Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator Why not: Were he to get the job and the team did not right itself, it would be hard to bring him back in any capacity despite his position as Al Davis' closest coaching confidant. Plus, he would have to be willing to leave the offense completely in Knapp's control, thereby creating a potentially volatile twin-head-coach setup. And he is not without his critics, although Sunday was one of the unit's better outings. Why: Loyal, charismatic to a degree, conceivably could shake the players out of the type of malaise that makes them sprint from the locker room after games while Kiffin tells the world how exhausted they are. The chances: 24 percent. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Martinez likely to pitch in '09, but not with Mets
Pedro Martinez is leaning toward pitching again next season, though it's highly doubtful he will do so with the Mets. Martinez's four-year, $53 million contract with the Mets expired this season, and the club appears unlikely to invest much in a pitcher one year removed from shoulder surgery who turns 37 next month. Martinez's teammates certainly sensed the end of his Mets career yesterday. At least a dozen of them stopped by his locker after the season-ending 4-2 loss to the Marlins, with a distraught Carlos Beltran even collapsing in tears on Martinez's shoulder for several minutes. (New York Post)
About those Cowher-to-Browns rumors
The Internet speculation about Bill Cowher coming to the Browns during the bye week is ridiculous. If you are Cowher, you don't take over a team in the middle of a losing season -- not when you will have franchises lining up to hire you when the year is over. If Cowher returns to coaching, he'll want to hire his own staff, have a strong voice in picking players and have a training camp to put a system in place. You want to start fresh, not inheriting someone else's problems. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Must-See Photo
Shea it ain't so. A young Mets fan looks on in despair after his favorite team pulled of yet another hair-raising collapse, this time in the final game played at New York's Shea Stadium.(Al Bello/Getty Images)
Must-See Video
Things bubbled over in Milwaukee as the Brewers long playoff drought ended. Mike Cameron and Guillermo Mota share the traditional victory beverage with fans after clinching the NL wild card.
Game To Watch
Tigers at White Sox, 2:05 p.m. ET -- If the White Sox win, they'll host the Twins on Tuesday in a one-game playoff to determine the AL Central title and the first-round opponent for Tampa Bay.
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
This Day In Sports History

SI Vault: More 1969 New York Jets
1985 -- Oilers QB Warren Moon sacked NFL record-tying 12 times by Cowboys.
1969 -- Steve O'Neal of the Jets boots longest NFL punt: 98 yards vs Broncos.
1946 -- First time NL pennant ends in a tie: St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers.
1924 -- Senators clinch pennant, finishing two games in front of Yankees.
1890 -- First pro baseball game: NY Metropolitans beat Washington Nationals 4-2 in five innings at the Polo Grounds in New York City.

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