Kaz’s Korner

Joe Kazmar – For The Record

More National Football League teams should follow the example of the Houston 
Texans who conducted 39 seminars for rookie transition into the NFL prior to training camp that is set to begin the last week of July.

The Texans front office explains that these seminars that are conducted by their assistant coaches are designed to help the team win on and off the field.

The Houston Chronicle had a feature article in Sunday’s edition about the Texans’ 39 seminars that were conducted from May 6 through June 23 for rookies including 10 in which veterans participated.

The article pointed out, “The emphasis comes at a time the NFL has had its share of image problems from Ray Rice and domestic abuse to Johnny Manziel’s partying lifestyle to the Miami Dolphins and bullying.”

Some of the seminars included Introduction to the NFL, Workplace Conduct, Character and Values, Financial Education, Taking Notes and Listening Skills, How to be a Pro, Community Relations, Social Media, Life Skills and Routine and Leadership and How to Lead just to mention a few of the 39 topics.

Stories about two former No. 1 draft picks graced the front pages of area newspapers the last few days—Orange native Earl Thomas who was the No. 1 pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 draft and Johnny Manziel, the No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Browns a couple of years later.

The recent story lines associated with these two top draft picks were like night and day, although both players exited the collegiate ranks with similar resumes. Thomas starred at the University of Texas as a safety while Manziel quarterbacked Texas A&M to new heights.

But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Both were drafted by their respective NFL teams to get plenty of playing time during their rookie seasons.

At the end of their first season, Earl elected to work out to get bigger, stronger and faster while Manziel’s biggest interest was the location of the next wild party.

Earl was more concerned about establishing his foundation for underprivileged kids in the Seattle area and exposing young pro football wannabees in his hometown of Orange to the game’s fundamentals and some of the players who have found success in the NFL by offering a completely free camp for these excited youngsters.

The local papers were full of stories about Earl coming home to give back to his community opportunities that were scarce when he was a youngster.

His two-day camp which ended Saturday at Dan Hooks Stadium in West Orange hosted more than 1,000 football hopefuls between ages 6 and 18 from Orange and its surrounding areas.

Thomas told the newspaper, radio and TV media at the end of the camp, “It makes me feel good just to know I’m impacting somebody’s life in some way. Each year I try to make this camp interesting for the kids by spicing it up some to keep the kids involved and keep their attention span going.

“It just feels real good to be back home and give back to my community,” the All-Pro concluded.

And while Earl’s camp was in full session, Johnny Manziel was making headlines about the rumor he spent more than $1,000 at a Dallas drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, according to the Associated Press story in Saturday’s papers.

His defense attorney Bob Hinton questions Manziel’s ability to stay clean. His father, Paul Manziel, takes it even a couple of steps farther and had harsh words for his son in a recent interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

“It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie and that he needs help. He just hasn’t sought it yet. Hopefully he doesn’t die before coming to his senses. I don’t know what else to say except I hope he goes to jail where he’ll be safe from himself.

“He has more money than me and he can outrun me,” the elder Manziel pointed out. Paul Manziel feels the family has virtually exhausted all ways possible to help their son.

The 23-year-old Manziel also is accused of hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley during a night out in January.

He faces misdemeanor assault charges that carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

It looks to me that returning to pro football is way down on Johnny Manziel’s “to do list.” After all there’s parties coming up in Hollywood, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas and you name it.

KWICKIES…Former Tennessee women’s head basketball coach Pat Summitt is suffering from failing health due to progressing Alzheimer’s disease. The 64-year-old Summitt stepped down as the Lady Vols’ coach in 2012, one year after announcing her diagnosis of early onset dementia. She went 1,098-208 with eight national championships and has the most career wins of any Division I men’s or women’s basketball coach.

Billy Hurley III won the PGA-Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Sunday which is just a few miles from Leesburg, Va. where he grew up. It was the 34-year-old Hurley’s first victory on the PGA Tour who served in the Navy for five years. He earned the $1.042 million winner’s share for his three-shot victory.

The Kansas City Royals played 43 straight home games before losing back-to-back games. Lots of credit goes to our Houston Astros who won Friday (13-4) and Saturday (13-5) to snap that impressive streak at home.

Coastal Carolina proved to be the Cinderella team in this year’s College World Series by mowing down both Texas Tech and TCU to reach the Championship Series in Omaha against Arizona. The two teams tangled Monday and yesterday with the rubber game 3 scheduled today at 7 p.m. if necessary.

A Tip of the Korner Kap to West Orange-Stark Mustangs Payton Robertson and K.J. Miller for being First Team selections to the All-State Class 4A Teams by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association. Robertson, who graduated in May, will be moving on to the next level with the Lamar Cardinals baseball team while KJ returns for his senior year this fall.

JUST BETWEEN US…Houston Astros right fielder George Springer is the first player in major league history to hit a triple and a grand-slam home run in the same inning. He did it Friday night in the first inning in Kansas City against the Royals who surrendered nine runs in the first frame to the Astros. And just to show it wasn’t a fluke, Houston came back the next night and scored seven runs in the second inning. They won big in both games but couldn’t get the sweep Sunday when the Royals scored five runs in the seventh inning to win 6-1 and snapped Houston’s winning streak at seven games. The Astros moved on to Los Angeles Monday for a three-game series against the Angels, who just snapped a six-game losing streak of their own Sunday. The Astros’ All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve is now leading the American League with a .347 batting average and has reached base safely in 27 of his last 28 games. Houston also has hit at least one home run in the last 11 games, their longest streak since a 12-games stretch in 2007.