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Ben Roethlisberger is recovering very nicely and to the surprise of many he even participated in the American Century Championship Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend.  Also participating in the tournament were Ravens Kyle Boller and Todd Heap.  The tourney uses a Modified Stableford Point System that rewards play in the following manner: Double-Eagle: 10 points; Hole-in-One: 8 points; Eagle: 6 points; Birdie: 3 points; Par: 1 point; Bogey: 0 points; Double-bogey: -2 points.

The tourney was won by Jack Wagner, the first non-professional athlete to do so.  Wagner finished with 70 points outpacing last year’s champion and former NFL QB Billy Joe Tolliver.  Other notable scores for the tourney included: Boller; Carson Palmer; Ben Roethlisberger. 

I know what you are thinking…

For the record, Todd Heap won’t be leaving football anytime soon for a golfing career.  Heap finished 12th from the bottom of the field outpacing Cheech Marin and Charles Barkley.

Besides playing golf, Roethlisberger is preparing to film a music video to be recorded at Heinz Field on Tuesday.  Considering that the artist is country musical group The PovertyNeck Hillbillies, I suppose there’s no harm in featuring a guest with a broken face.

As for any appearance on Heinz Field in a more meaningful way, Roethlisberger has even engaged in some light throwing and is optimistic that he can start the season on time.  This is quite an amazing turn of events over the past few weeks.  When all is said and done, here’s to Big Ben being ready on time and 100 percent to start the season. 

You wouldn’t want Steelers’ fans to have an excuse for losing now would you? 

"I think it’s unfortunate that here he is, as a quarterback going into his third season, and he’s not given the opportunity to throw to his top three wide receivers throughout the offseason.  I think that’s a real mistake, for Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress and Sinorice Moss not to be there with Eli Manning, getting some timing down. I don’t think you can get that in just a mini-camp, I don’t think you can get it in four weeks of training camp.”  That’s Troy Aikman discussing Peyton’s little brother.  Aikman has always been appreciative of the work his teammates put in to establish that timing that helped to develop Aikman’s pinpoint accuracy.

Aikman continued while contemplating his upcoming Hall of Fame induction: "It takes a lot of time and a lot of repetition, and they’re not getting that kind of time, and maybe that lends itself a little bit to some of the inaccuracies that Eli had last year."

Speaking of quarterbacks, the Jets will have quite a few slinging it during training camp this summer and no less than four have a legitimate shot at being the starter on opening day.  Regardless of the competition and despite not having played a single down for the Jets, the club deemed it appropriate to give QB Patrick Ramsey a one year extension worth $2.1 million.  Ramsey would have become a free agent after the 2006 season.

Interestingly Ramsey under the terms of the extended deal is scheduled to receive a $1.4 million bonus next spring, the same time a $2 million bonus is due to Chad Pennington under his restructured deal.  Insiders don’t expect the Jets to pay both bonuses.

Other than Ramsey and Pennington, Brooks Bollinger and second round draft choice out of Oregon Kellen Clemens are in the QB mix.

According to the Kansas City Star Priest Holmes remains undecided about playing in the upcoming season.  Holmes’ personal trainer “Bay Bay” McClinton states that the former Ravens’ status for the 2006 campaign is “in limbo.”  Holmes has been training a bit but according to McClinton he isn’t fully committed.  Holmes is certainly financially secure and has hinted in the past that he could soon walk away from the game.

Another player that is reportedly financially set and willing to walk away from the NFL is defensive tackle Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson.  Wilkinson has some local business ties and word is he is in very good shape and that the Ravens have had some very casual, check the pulse type discussions with Wilkinson.  At this point Wilkinson has not expressed any serious interest in returning but the situation is worthy of observation.  If the Ravens and Wilkinson do get together, would that be an admission that Dwan Edwards is a bust?

From busts to “The Bus”…Word has leaked out that former Steelers RB Jerome Bettis is teaming with Celebrity Ventures, Inc. to open an eatery called Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 sometime within the next year.  The establishment will naturally by located in Pittsburgh.  If Bettis’ venture is as successful as Ray Lewis’ Full Moon BBQ, you could see Bettis back in a Steelers’ uniform before long.

SI’s Michael Silver must be from DC.  Either that or he’s a relative of Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder.  Silver in a recent piece in Sports Illustrated claims that, “Dan is The Man in two big ways: He has turned the franchise he loves into a money-making machine, and his willingness to spend that money in pursuit of victory is second to none. Plus, since his hiring of Joe Gibbs as coach, he has begun to learn to get out of the way on the football side.”

Consequently Silver gives Snyder the bronze, ranking him as the NFL’s third best owner behind Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones.  At number 13 is Grateful Dead-head Jimmy Irsay who Silver lauds for getting a stadium deal done in Indy.  Maybe Silver should give props to the person who without, no new stadium would be in the works – Peyton Manning.

The 13th slot for Irsay is one above Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti.  Silver writes, “As much as I enjoyed the perverse theater of Bisciotti’s emasculation of Brian Billick, doing your coach like that in public might not be the smartest business move. That said, Bisciotti is a marked improvement over predecessor Art Modell, who mixed small-minded passivity on the league front with petty greed on the team level. Like everyone in this group, Bisciotti is capable of being great.”

Small minded passivity?  Art Modell was instrumental in laying the foundation for lucrative TV contracts that fuel today’s NFL.  Moreover, he willingly took on the perceived risk at the time to host the inaugural edition of Monday Night Football.  That hardly equates to small minded passivity.  If anything it’s more like open minded pioneering.

It’s a family affair…Katina Taylor, the sister of Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, has filed for divorce from Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor in Broward County family court.  If you see a fight during a Dolphins’ game and the combatants are both wearing aqua, this tidbit might help you understand why.  The Taylors were married in June 2001 and they have three children: Isaiah, 3, Mason, 2, and Zoe, who was born Oct. 22, 2005.

As first reported by WMAR’s Scott Garceau, Alan Ricard will not be with the Ravens in 2006.  Over the past two seasons Ricard has been slowed by injury and his participation in recent OTA’s was very limited.  Mix in the injuries with the Ravens’ desire to showcase multiple offensive sets, a heavier reliance upon H-back Daniel Wilcox in the Jim Fassel-style offense and Ricard’s relatively high salary and it spells release.   

Friend to our GAMETIME program is Bengals’ beat writer Mark Curnutte who covers the team for the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Curnutte reported last week that the club has been suspended LB Odell Thurman for four games this upcoming season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, according to a source close to the situation. Curnutte added that the source said it was not necessarily a positive drug test that led to the suspension, as a missed test counts the same as a positive test.

Regardless of the circumstances, Marvin Lewis is flirting with disaster in Cincinnati.  First there was Chris Henry and his four arrests since December – and those things such as branding a firearm in public, a DUI, possession of illegal substances and providing alcohol to minors are just the things he was caught doing!  Then there are rookies A.J. Nicholson and Frostee Rucker who have theft and domestic violence issues pending.  Throw in Thurman and you’d think that Marvin Lewis might have had enough.

Not so fast…

In last week’s supplemental draft, Lewis decided to forego next year’s No. 3 draft pick and spend it on troubled LB Ahmad Brooks who was kicked off the Virginia Cavaliers football team by coach Al Groh for a number of off the field issues.  The question is will Lewis have enough time to coach after he’s through babysitting?

This email in last week from the Baltimore Ravens:

“Dear PSL Owner

The shipping process for your 2006 Baltimore Ravens Season Tickets begins this week. Packages will be shipped via First Class Mail and do not require a signature. Please monitor your mailbox and allow 1 to 2 weeks for delivery.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Baltimore Ravens Ticket Office by calling (410)261-RAVE(7283).

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy the season!”

Sounds like a great idea to me…

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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