Up and Out: NFL Veterans are Expected to Train the Lower-Priced Players Replacing Them

Categories: Sports

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Photo by Max Burkhalter
Chris Myers has been mentoring Ben Jones, who'll likely take his place.

When Chris Myers got the phone call on March 4 asking him to come to NRG Stadium, he knew. He knew that the Texans weren't asking him to come in and help lay out their draft board or shoot a video for Texans TV. It was his time, and time was up.

Seven seasons a Texan, 112 consecutive starts in the middle of the Texans' offensive line, the Houston chapter of Myers's decade in the NFL was coming to a close. The Texans informed Myers that they would be releasing him with one year remaining on his contract. The move would absolve the Texans of Myers's $6 million salary in 2015 and, more important to the team, create an equal amount of valuable salary cap space to sign some free agents.

This is the business of the NFL. Capable veteran players over the age of 30 get cut every off-season, not because they can't play but because they're scheduled to get paid too much. In a league where the average player's career is less than four years, players like Myers, who just finished his tenth season in 2014, are fortunate to get to this stage of the NFL life cycle, but that doesn't make getting released any less harsh.

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The USW Strike Still Isn't Over at LyondellBasell and Marathon

Categories: Spaced City

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Photo by Max Burkhalter
The USW national strike has ended but the show isn't quite over yet.
The national United Steelworkers strike technically ended more than two weeks ago when Royal Dutch Shell and the international arm of the United Steelworkers finally hammered out a pattern contract agreement that would last for four years. But even though most of the union members will be back on the job by April 1, workers at Marathon's Texas City Refinery and the LyondellBasell refinery in Pasadena are still without local contracts, and thus are still on strike.

The whole USW strike started on February 1 after Shell, negotiating on behalf of the oil companies, and USW, negotiating on behalf of more than 30,000 oil refinery union members, failed to agree on a contract. When midnight came without a new agreement -- the two sides were grappling over safety concerns, fatigue regulations and whether some work done by contractors should be given to union employees instead -- Shell Deer Park, LyondellBasell in Pasadena and Marathon's Texas City refinery were some of the first refineries called out on strike.

Over the following weeks, as the two sides continued to fail to come to an agreement, more than 6,000 USW workers at 15 plants (including 12 refineries that manufacture about a fifth of the nations oil) walked away from their jobs, their paychecks and their benefits to go on strike, the first major oil refinery strike in 35 years.

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NCAA Elite Eight: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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thinkstock.com, Monica Fuentes
When you write the many, many thousands of words that I do here all year long, you stumble upon concepts that become part of your writing "brand," and I suppose that "4 Winners, 4 Losers" is one of those things for me.

I originally started using it as an easily consumable way for Texans fans to process exactly what they saw, both with the Texans and around the league, on Sunday. Bulletized lists are easy brain food on a hungover Monday. Slowly, I've started using it for other sporting events and the occasional pop culture phenomenon.

So, of all the "4 Winners, 4 Losers" posts I've done, in theory the one about the Elite Eight should be the most straightforward one, right? I mean, by definition, that's exactly what the Elite Eight yields -- four winners and four losers. But it's never that simple. There are layers, there is nuance, and that's what I'm here to decipher.

Or try to, at least. Let's give it a go....

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How Will Henri Morris Defend Himself Against Claims He Drugged and Molested an Employee He's Already Admitted to Drugging and Molesting?

Categories: Courts, Crime

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screenshot via KPRC

On a Wednesday morning last December, 67-year-old Henri Morris sat slumped over in his chair at a defense table inside the federal courthouse in downtown Houston. Morris listened intently, occasionally shaking his head as his attorney quietly talked him through a plea deal he'd arranged with federal prosecutors.

The day before, jurors had listened to opening statements that previewed the nauseating details of the case against Morris: How Morris, former CEO of the local tech company Edible Software, asked younger female employees to accompany him on business trips; how Morris insisted on pouring the women drinks that tasted unusually, bitterly strong; how women who traveled with Morris kept blacking out; how some awoke disoriented and naked in hotel rooms alone with Morris; and how, upon executing a search warrant, FBI investigators found date-rape drugs in Morris's luggage and photos of nude, incapacitated women on his thumb drives.


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Fantasy Crime League Update: Saints CB Dixon Nabbed for Resisting Arrest

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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I have the good fortune of being able to say that I've never been arrested. It's nothing I go around bragging about. To me, being a law abiding citizen is merely the cover charge to get into the club of good human beings. It's no reason to stump for VIP human being status.

But my lack of tussles with law enforcement leaves me without a personal barometer for exactly what constitutes "resisting arrest." This much I do know -- it would seem that to be resisting arrest you have to be getting arrested for something.

That's what makes Saints cornerback Brian Dixon's dustup with the law so perplexing. Courtesy of the Baton Rouge Advocate, here's the detail of this offseason's latest Fantasy Crime League entry:


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Dear NCAA: For the Love of God, Please, No More Basketball Games at NRG Stadium

Categories: Sports

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John Royal
This is the view from the NRG Stadium stands for Sunday's game. Yes, tickets were sold for these seats.
Basketball in football stadiums suck, especially NCAA tournament games. The depth perception is thrown off, no matter where the giant black curtains are hung. Fans pay high prices to sit in lousy seats with horrible views of the game. It's a lousy experience for all involved. So let's just stop playing basketball in domed football stadiums.

The basketball played in the NCAA South Regional at NRG Stadium this weekend was horrendous. Many three pointers were shot, but very few were made. Duke shot over 40 percent in defeating Utah 63-57 Friday night. Gonzaga shot 44 percent in its 66-52 loss to Duke yesterday (the Duke win sends the Blue Devils to the Final Four for the 12th time under head coach Mike Krzyzewski), and Gonzaga made 40.3 percent of its shots in defeating UCLA 74-62 on Friday. But no team came close to making half its shots, and UCLA and Utah were lucky to hit on 30-plus percent of their shots on Friday night.

The players refused to blame stadium conditions this weekend. Players from Utah, UCLA, Duke, and Gonzaga were all quick to note that the godawful depth perception had nothing to do with their inability to hit shots they'd normally make in their sleep -- these were all some good shooting teams with skilled three point shooters. But as Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak noted after his team's loss on Friday night, in no other NCAA tournament site did the players have to deal with the conditions seen in Houston.

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Jadeveon Clowney Feels Good About How His Knee Is Healing

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
Is it a bad thing that we are nearly a year into Jadeveon Clowney's tenure as an employee of the Houston Texans and it still doesn't feel like he is actually a real person? Like he's some mythical creature (with one horrific knee)?

With just a few dozen plays under his belt as an NFL player, Clowney feels more like a unicorn than he does an edge pass rusher, so any news of his recovery from microfracture going swimmingly has to be tempered by remembering just how snakebitten Clowney has been since being selected with the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, we open this week with news of Clowney's speaking for the first time publicly (into microphones, at least) since last November!

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Houston's Biggest Blunders: Mass Transit

Categories: Houston 101

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Public Domain via Wikipedia
The Galveston-Houston Electric Rail used to get Houstonians to the beach in just over an hour.
Houston is a wonderful place, but we have made more than our share of mistakes over the years. From traffic to tear downs, sprawl to self promotion, we have found ourselves cleaning up the messes of former Houstonians for decades. We hope this series will help illuminate some of the issues and maybe even spur us on to find some solutions.

Imagine yourself on the way to Galveston on a Saturday morning, your car filled with kids, beach towels, umbrellas and swim toys. A lazy day on the beach awaits you, but only if you can get through the gridlock of brake lights staring at you through the windshield. It appears everyone had the same idea.

Now, think about it again, but this time, you're sitting on an electric train whizzing by those suckers stuck in traffic. Had you lived in depression-era Houston, that dream would have been a reality. For more than two decades in the early 1900's a train shuttled people from downtown Houston's Union Station (now the cornerstone of Minute Maid Park) to Galveston Island. It took about 75 minutes to get to the island including stops as the train paralleled Interstate 45 eventually crossing the causeway on a bridge considered at the time a modern architectural marvel.

In 1936, it was shuttered and the right of way it once utilized handed over to utilities for power lines and commercial developers for strip malls. Throughout Houston's history, we have opted for highways over mass transportation and the Galveston-Houston Electric Railway is one of the earliest examples of our obsession with driving ourselves everywhere. And almost 80 years after our mass transit option to the beach went under, we are still making plans.

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Wrestlemania 31 Preview and Predictions

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Simon Q via Flickr
You can measure how far we've come technologically as a species since 1985 in a number of ways.

You can look at medical advancements and our ability to treat certain diseases or heal certain injuries. You can look at transportation, and how much easier it is to get from one place to another quickly and efficiently. You can look at communication and how technology allows us to convey messages electronically in seconds while actually seeing the recipient on a TV screen!

Hell, we don't even need to wait for nudity to arrive in the mail anymore! (Is Playboy still a thing?) The interwebs serves it up to us within seconds! WHAT A WORLD!

However, I'm an old soul, and for me, the advancements of 30 years can be summed up in one nuance...the way in which we consume Wrestlemania.

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Judge: Anti-HERO Signatures Shy of Referendum, But There Are Still More to Count

Categories: Courts

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Flickr/torbackhopper HE DEAD
Come Mr. Tally Man, tally me signatures.
Opponents of the city's equal rights ordinance are still about 3,000 signatures short of the amount required for a referendum, the Houston Chronicle is reporting. But 8,500 more signatures are still to be reviewed for authenticity.

A coalition of conservatives who opposed the bill submitted what they said were enough valid signatures last year, but city officials questioned the legitimacy of many of the signatures, and said the ordinance's opponents fell short. The opponents sued the city, and a jury found in March that their petition "contained forgery and other flaws."

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