Steve Francis Gets Choked With His Gold Chain At Local Rap Show (w/ VIDEO)

Jeff Balke
Rare is the athlete (especially an NBA player, let alone an NBA player who was selected to multiple All-Star Games) that people are able to enjoy more in retirement than they did during his playing days.

I think it's safe to say that, for me, Steve Francis has cracked that elusive list.

When you consider how unwatchable the Stevie Franchise Rockets were back in the early 2000's, how mind numbing it was to watch him pound the ball into the floor for 22 seconds before chucking up some ill advised heave, and how bizarre the whole Stevie-Cuttino experience was, "playing career Franchise" is not really all that tough a bar for "retirement Franchise" to clear.

And rest assured "retirement Franchise" is clearing that bar by a solid few feet.

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Andre Johnson Odds Board: Where Will He Play Next?

Photo by Groovehouse
Well, Texan fan, hopefully you've put your grief behind you. Yeah, I know it hasn't even been 48 hours since you were forced to digest the news that Andre Johnson's Texan career will be coming to a close imminently.

But this is 2015. It's the age of short attention spans, and by definition, if you're only capable of paying attention to news items for 24 hours, then you're only allowed to grieve over news items for 24 hours. These are my rules.

By the way, yesterday's au revoir to Andre Johnson wasn't something that should've sideswiped you. We all knew this day would come eventually. (I'm mildly surprised it didn't happen a year ago.) Frankly, go look at the list of the top receivers of all-time, and most of them had cameos in a uniform-not-normally-associated-with-them at the end of their careers.

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J.J. Watt's Cabin Is Really, Really Nice (with PICTURES)

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Photo by Groovehouse
"It's really minimalistic. The only thing I have to focus on is training and that's the way I like it. There's no frills, there's nothing to distract you up here. It's just an empty space and a log cabin and snow." -- J.J. Watt on his new offseason cabin in the "middle of nowhere"

Damn, these quotes had us so excited for the next chapter of the Legend of J.J. Watt, and quite honestly, for fans of the Rocky movies, perhaps the best chapter of the Legend of J.J. Watt.

A log cabin in the middle of nowhere in the dead of winter, it was Rocky IV all over again!

We all wanted to picture a bearded J.J. Watt shoulder pressing a rickshaw with a Texans cheerleader, Toro, and John Weeks sitting in it and then running ten miles in the snow to the top of a mountain and screaming "LUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK!!!" We wanted that to be J.J.'s new winter reality.

Unfortunately, J.J. Watt's idea of "minimalistic" differs greatly from the actual definition.

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Houston Texans Decide the Andre Johnson Era Is Over

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Photo by LBking
"I know that we would like to have him back, we'd like to see him retire a Houston Texan. But again, I don't think retirement is in his mind. When I say that, I just mean in the future. We don't want him to play anywhere else. He's a Houston Texan and we want him back." -- Bill O'Brien at the NFL Combine two weeks ago

If you read Bill O'Brien's quotes from the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago, he really seemed to want Andre Johnson back with the Houston Texans next season. He seemed adamant, almost enthusiastic, by God!

However, as is oftentimes the case, it's not so much what O'Brien said but what he didn't say. Scour the quotes again, and there's no mention of dollars, no mention of "at what price" the Texans would want Andre Johnson back. Just, "Hey, we'd love to have Andre Johnson back!"

Money can be a very polarizing issue in today's NFL, what with that darn salary cap and all, and when a big cap figure meets advancing age and declining production, rarely is happiness at that nexus. Unless you're an elite quarterback or willingly choose to walk away at a young age (Barry Sanders), if you are a highly paid franchise icon, you'll likely finish out your career toiling for another team. That's the way it is. That's the NFL.

Predictably, Andre Johnson and Texans fans learned this the hard way on Monday night.

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NFL Fantasy Crime League Update: Ravens DB Gets a DWI Going 100 in a 55

Categories: Game Time, Sports

It's been a quiet NFL Fantasy Crime season so far in 2015. After the initial flurry a few weeks ago -- the infamous Randle-Guion-Jackson triangle of transgression -- there's really been nothing to speak of.

Ahmad Bradshaw getting popped for weed on February 5, but other than that, the offseason has been one big popcorn fart crime-wise. Don't tell Roger Goodell, please. He may actually take credit for this.

However, the champion in any sport being woken up (the "sleeping giant" phenomenon) can really get things kick-started. That's why, for crime enthusiasts like myself, it's nice to see the 2014 FCL champion Baltimore Ravens get on the scoreboard!

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Aaron Hernandez's Bar Tab From the Night Odin Lloyd Was Killed (w/ VIDEO)

TMZ Sports
wave your hands in the air, like you just don't care!
Most of us, thankfully, have no firsthand knowledge of what goes through the mind of a murderer mere hours before he or she commits such a dastardly deed.

Now, we are not completely certain that former New England Patriots tight end (and current guest of the Massachusetts correctional system) Aaron Hernandez is, in fact, a murderer, although the overwhelming pile of evidence seems to indicate that, at the very least, he sure does find himself near lots of guns and crime scenes.

Hernandez is currently being tried for the murder of Odin Lloyd, so if he is indeed convicted of this crime, surveillance footage played during testimony on Thursday morning would, in theory, give us a window into the mind of at least one convicted murderer just hours before he killed another man.

And the answer appears to be that, just prior to killing someone, a murderer likes to wave his hands in the air, like he just don't care!

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Adrian Peterson's Suspension Overturned By Judge

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When it comes to off the field crime during the NFL's calendar year, 2014 will be remembered as much for Roger Goodell's questionable handling of punishment as it will be for the crimes themselves.

Of course, there was the Ray Rice domestic assault case, whose discipline process set a new standard for offensiveness and ineptitude, complete with Goodell possibly lying about Rice's testimony in their sit-down meeting and a total overreaction (to their initial under-reaction) by the Ravens and the league to the release of the video of the incident in which Rice struck his fiancé. Eventually, that mess had to be cleaned up by somebody else, with Rice getting reinstated upon appeal.

Then there was Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's child abuse case, in which Peterson sat out over two months of the season while he was in court, eventually plead to a lesser charge, and was still suspended until April 2015, despite being told he'd be credited for time served. Like Rice, Peterson appealed.

And like Rice, Peterson's Goodell mess had to be cleaned up by somebody else.

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Houston Texans Notes: Quessenberry's Cancer in Remission

Categories: Game Time, Sports

The NFL has done a nice job of making sure there are very few dead spots in the offseason calendar. Even when there's no football being played, the NFL season always seems to be in motion.

However, this week and next week are the closest things we will get to a lull between now and post draft minicamps. The combine is over, and the next action item is March 10, when the 2015 league year (and free agency) begins.

So to get a charity appearance from a handful of players with so many juicy news nuggets as today's appearance at Texas Children's Hospital is truly a gift from the football gods!

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Derrick Rose Out for the Season, NBA Injury Carnage Pileup Continues

Categories: Game Time, Sports

By nikk_la (Flickr: IMG_2227) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Take one look at the NBA standings, and you can tell this has been a weird NBA season. The two teams that are leading their respective conferences are Atlanta in the East and Golden State in the West. Last season, those two teams were their respective conferences' eight and six seeds.

So much has been turned upside down in both conferences, and it's not due solely to player movement in the offseason. Honestly, the only player of any material, standings-altering significance to change teams in the offseason was LeBron James (whose team barely has home court in the first round right I said, weird).

Yes, certain teams have improved through either logical progression and growth (Atlanta, Memphis, Golden State) or addition by subtraction (beat it, Mark Jackson). But when this postseason rolls around, perhaps the defining characteristic of this season will ultimately be how injuries reshaped the landscape.

And the latest in this disturbing trend of players going down hurt might be the most catastrophic long-term, as Derrick Rose's season ended last night with another knee injury.

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Michael Sam Reportedly Slated for Next Season of Dancing With The Stars

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Of all the marquee reality television shows, the one that has utilized current and former NFL players to the greatest extent (and it's really not even that close) is ABC's Dancing With The Stars.

Former NFL standouts Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward are former DWTS champions, and in seasons past, the show has also featured Jerry Rice, Warren Sapp and Jason Taylor coming in second place. Former Houston Texan Jacoby Jones parlayed his 15 minutes of good football into a berth on the show in 2013.

However, those players all had certain things in common. They were either retired or, in the case of Jones, an established player under a lucrative contract.

Michael Sam is neither retired nor established. However, he will reportedly become the first hopeful NFL player to appear on the program this coming season.

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