10 Free Agent Targets for the Lions

Contribution By: Michael Pawlak

1. Jarius Byrd, Free Safety, age 27: 

The Lions opted to part ways with Louis Delmas going into free agency in 2014. This move leaves a huge hole in the back 7 of their defense. Jarius Byrd would be the absolute home run addition if they want to spend some money here. Byrd has emerged as one of the elite safeties in the game and can play both FS and SS. At 27 years old, he is right in the prime of his career and could pair up with Glover Quin as one of the most destructive safety combinations in the NFL. I’ll Keep on dreaming here, Byrd will command top dollar. 

 

2. Alterraun Verner, Cornerback, age 25:

Lets make no mistake about it, the Lions NEED a true #1 cornerback. This has been a gaping hole since I picked up the heroin needle that is Detroit Lions football 23 years ago. The Lions could try to get a potential  lock down cornerback on draft day, with Justin Gilbert, and Darqueze Dennard likely to be on the board at 10. Verner is only 25. started since he came into the league for the Titans, and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. This would be a bold move by Mayhew, but what better place than here? What better time than now?

 

3. Aquib Talib, Cornerback, age 28:

Talib really prospered over the last 2 seasions with the Patriots. He is known to be a versatile player that can cover the slot or the outside. There are some red flags concerning his character. It took the New England Partiots to turn this talent into production on the field. Unfortunately the Lions aren’t the Patriots.The overall ability that he possesses is intriguing (Talib would immediately be the #1 CB here),  but there is a lot of risk here. 

 

4. Vontae Davis, Cornerback, age 25

Davis has 2 teams, and 5 years of starting experience on his resume. The knock on Davis is that he is inconsistent at times. There has never been a question as to whether he has the game to be a legitimate starter in the NFL. At  only 25 years old Davis is only now entering his  prime. I expect the Colts to pay the price to keep him there, but the Lions could be a serious player here. 

 

5. Sam Shields, Cornerback, age 26

Sheilds is a cover corner with sub 4.40 40-yard dash. He has shown the ability to shut down special recievers such as Josh Gordon, and A.J Green in 2013. Sheilds (Green Bay Packers) is familiar with the NCF North and will likely come at a better price than Verner, Talib, or Davis. Once again he would walk in the door as the #1 CB on the roster. 

 

6. T.J. Ward, Strong Safety, age 27

Ward is a strong safety in every sense of the word. He has a reputation to be one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league. He specializes in repelling the running game one crushing hit at a time out of the defensive secondary. Coverage skills need improvement, but Ward would be a huge upgrade. Ward eats pieces of shit like Don Carey for breakfast. 

7.  Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, age 25

Tate is an interesting option the Lions could look at as a solid  #2 WR option. Tate has the ability to gain a lot of yards after the catch, and could thrive as a second option in a pass heavy offense. He won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, and finished the year with 65 receptions, 888 yards and 5 scores. This was by far his best career year and he is still  young enough to make me believe his best production is still ahead of him. Wide reciever is also an area the Lions could look to address on draft day. 

8. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, age 26:

Before 2012 Nicks was on the verge of being one of the top 5 receivers in the game. Injuries and drops have plagued him, along with a disoriented Giants offense since 2012. These concerns could drive his price down and make Nicks a real value pick up for the right team. Nicks has shown the ability to be a #1 WR and at the right price, i think he’s worth rolling the dice on for the Lions. 

9. James Jones, Wide Receiver, age 29:

Detroit Lions fans are all to familiar with James Jones as he has often given them problems on the outside playing for Green Bay. Jones is tough, sure handed, and has ability to explode after the catch. If Jones came at the right price, I think he would be a perfect fit on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson.  Don’t be shocked (or upset) if the Lions fill their #2 WR void with Jones. 

10. Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Reciever, age 26:

Sanders could also be a legit #2 option opposite of Johnson for the Lions. Sanders has a very similar skill set as Jones. He is more shifty than blazing fast, but has big play potential after the catch. Playing alongside a big time #1 WR is right where Sanders belongs, but may come at a higher price than Jones due to his age. Sanders would be the best WR#2 option the Lions would have fielded since the 2012 version of Nate Burleson. 

Advertisements

Updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2-27-2014

Updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2-27-2014

Contribution By: Michael Pawlak

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

After clocking a blistering 4.53 40-yard dash, Clowney moves up one spot to be the first prospect taken in 2014. I  have  had “the freak” going #2 in all previous mock drafts, but the combine numbers make him easily the best prospect in the draft. If the Texans trade down, whoever picks here will take Clowney.

* This hit is especially painful to Michigan fans.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Another year, another St. Louis QB gets TKO’d, putting a highly talented team right out of contention. I believe that Sam Bradford has the ability to be good in the NFL, but injuries are catching up. They need protection for their QB and will likely address it with the first of their  two 1st round picks. Matthews is viewed by most as the best tackle prospect in the draft. Sammy Watkins, or Greg Robinson would also make sense here.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Jonny Football posted a great time in the 40-yard dash at 4.68 seconds, and performed in the top 5 among quarterbacks in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. He is under 6 feet tall but so is Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. The Jaquars have to take the “sexy” pick here. A few character issues are a concern with Manziel so he should fit right in in the NFL.

4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

The Browns get a gem here in the 6’5 gunslinger from Central Florida. I have been high on Bortles since my first mock draft, and I the combine solidified that. He put on a display in passing drills, and showed that he was even more athletic than previously though. I see a potential Ben Rothlisberger type QB here, with more athleticism. The Browns need a QB to get up and coming stars Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron the ball.

5. Oakland Raiders: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

I still believe Bridgewater is the best QB in the draft but any time an athlete decides not to perform drills at the combine, it raises a few red flags. I have had Bridgewater going #1 overall up until now. A good pro day could have him moving right back into the top 3, but for now I have the Raiders hitting a home run with a franchise signal caller.

6. **TRADE** Detroit Lions: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins is as polished as a WR prospect to come out since Julio Jones. The Lions make a bold move and trade up 4 picks with the Falcons to instantly deploy the most dangerous 1-2 WR tandem in the game. Watkins is the Ideal pick for the Detroit Lions. He is 6’1 / 212lb, and ran a stunning 4.34 40-yard dash that created buzz at the combine. It was later changed to a 4.4 and that is still very fast. He was highly productive at Clemson (101 rec. 1464 yards 12 TD) his junior year. The thing that separates Sammy Watkins from the other WR’s this year is the football player mentality. He blocks, brings a swagger, runs clean routes, and produces. If Martin Mayhew should go this route I would be thrilled and likely rage out on draft day.  (Draft day is our “Super Bowl” after all).

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

The Bucs have a roster loaded with talent and could be a break out team this year. The defensive side of the ball has plenty of pieces for new head coach Lovie Smith to transition to the cover 2 defense. Robinson in one word is a Hauss, and could easily go top 3 if a team falls in love with him. He is a big athletic frame who is good enough that he would have been the #1 pick last year over Fisher.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo

The top tier QB options are gone, so Minnesota will look to get the best player available. You have never heard of Khalil Mack because he is from the University of Buffalo. In the NFL teams pay high dollar for pass rushers, and Mack fits the bill. Mack is versitle enough to play in the 4-3 or 3-4 defense. I think he is better suited as 3-4 LB but regardless where he plays the guy flat out makes plays. He will be plugged in as a day 1 starter wherever he goes and will be a Pro-Bowl candidate right away.

9. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans is a fast rising WR prospect that was often on the receiving end of Jonny Football’s explosive stat lines. He is clearly the second best WR this draft offers. He is 6’5″/ 230 and ran 4.53 40 and was more fluent than expected in individual drills. He is considered raw with only 3 years playing football, but has the measurables and tape to be a difference maker on the outside.

10. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

The Falcons moved back 4 spots to pick where the Lions previously would have. In theory , it would cost the Lions a 3rd round pick in 2014 and 2015 to move up.They get a big value pick here with a high upside pass rusher out of UCLA. Barr has the athletic frame, and explosive first step ideal for the edge in the NFL.

11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

Mosley is the best ILB in the draft and as battle tested as they come out of powerhouse Alabama. He anchored the middle of the Tide’s defense and should be a starter right away in the NFL. The Titans were embarrassing against the run in 2013 so Mosley appears to be a good match here.

12. New York Giants: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan was slotted here months ago by myself when he was viewed as a late 1st round pick. His Impressive combine fueled by the best 40 out of the deep OT group solidifies Lewan as a top 15 pick. 6″7″/ 305 is the ideal frame for an offensive tackle and represents great value here. The Giants desperately need protection for Eli Manning and they get that here.

13. St. Louis Rams: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Rams will look no further than mr. shutdown Darqueze Dennard. The Rams could pair Dennard with Janoris Jenkins for one of the most potent CB combos in the NFL. Dennard doesn’t have stats to back up a top 15 pick, but that is because teams wouldn’t dare test that side of the field. He still won the Jim Thorpe award as the nations top defensive back. His combine performance solidifies him as a top tier CB NFL teams dream about. His ability to be a force in the run game and around the line of scrimmage puts him slightly above Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State.

14. Chicago Bears: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Gilbert is a lanky, blaxing fast CB that the Chicago Bears could desperately use. He ran a ridiculous 4.37 40 at the combine and showed well in drills. 6’0′ / 200lbs. and speed to  cover a lot of field is the mold NFL teams search for in CB’s. Gilbert picked off 7 passed and returned 2 for touchdowns. The super athletic CB could cause the Lions frustration for a long tome should the Bears pick him.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

The Pittsburg Steelers add to their front 7 on defense in a big way with the 340lb. brick wall out of Notre Dame. Nix is the best DT the draft has to offer and should immediately eat up space up front and allow the LB’s lanes to attack in Pittsbburg’s attacking 3-4 defense.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

The Baltimore Ravens need to give Joe Flacco help in the passing game. Ebron is an explosive athlete out of the TE position who could cause havoc over the middle of defenses across the NFL. Ebron is a TE with WR skills and could be a top 5 TE in the NFL someday.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

The Cowboys finally get the piece that will make their secondary respectable again. Clinton-Dix is 6’2″ and has speed to cover a lot of ground. His strength is the ability to cover and finish tackles with authority. HaHa is the best free safety in the draft.

18. New York Jets: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin is a high upside WR with great size. At 6’5″ with awesome hands that he displayed in the National Championship game, he showed that he warrants a 1st round pick.  He enters the draft and passes Marquise Lee as the 3rd best WR based on pure upside.

19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Martin is a prospect that I thought would be an early 2nd rounder with first round value. Martin has tested well and showed that he is undoubtedly a 1st round pick since. He is balanced in the run and pass game and can play multiple positions up front. The Dolphins could use all the help they can get on their plagued OL.

20. Arizona Cardinals: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

This massive offensive tackle is just what the Arizona Cardinals need up front. CK has a reputation to be a grater in the run game and athletic enough to play tackle of guard. Offensive lineman battle tested in the SEC make them a safe pick, and the Cardinals do just that.

21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

Calvin Pryor is the second best safety on the board and the Packers could use secondary help/ Pryor is a big safety who has a reputation of being a nasty hitter. He is a run stopper first, but agile anough to drop back and make those pay who go over the middle. Think Bob Sanders,  with much better size.

22. Philadelphia Eagles:  Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh 

Aaron Donald is a prospect that I hadn’t even heard of until the days leading up to the combine. Donald has shown the world that he has what it takes to be a force up front in the NFL. The strong showing at the  Senior Bowl and  combine proved that he is among the top 3 DT’s available this year.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

Odell Beckham has exploded up draft boards since announcing he was going pro. His game is based on his 6’5 ” height and natural ability to go up and get the football. I see him as an immediate  redzone threat from day one. The Cheifs need all the help they can get on offense.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

The Bengals have a solid defense but are aging up front on the defensive line. Hageman put himself on the map with a dominant showing in the Senior Bowl. This is a deep class for defensive tackles, and this could be viewed as a value pick based on Hageman’s upside.

25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Verette was a fast rising prospect before the combine. By all accounts Verette did nothing but help his stock with flashes of elite athletic tools and speed. Verette isn’t a big CB, but has the ability to be glue like on any WR he has come across. The Chargers of St. Diego need to inject some life into their secondary and Verette could fit well.

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

In exchange for Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns add a speed edge rusher out of the SEC here. Aside from Clowney, Ealy has the best ability to play DE in the standard 4-3  in the draft, Brings  good size, length, and a quick first step.

27. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

I have a hunch that someone may fall in love with Shazier and pull the trigger on him much earlier than anyone expects. Shazier tested out well and had the best verticle jump of any front 7 defensive prospect.  He is a legitimate tackle machine who plays sideline to sideline, and contributes in pass coverage. Speed is the name of this Buckeye’s game.

28. Carolina Panthers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

I previously had Lee going much higher than here, but the impressive WR class of 2014 has me dropping him slightly, It is not for a lack of talent that he slides back, this is just a very strong WR draft. The Panthers benefit by getting top 15 talent at a position of dire need. If Lee should fall this far it would be one of the steals of the draft.

29. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

The New England Patriots love TE’s. With Hernandez getting locked up, and Gronkowski being unreliable due to constant injuries the Pats will go with a difference maker at TE. Amaro has great size and is a play maker the Tom Brady will be happy to welcome on board.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

A combine Freak, Cooks worked his way from a mid-round waiver into a top play maker in the draft.  He posted a 4.3 40 yard dash! He also looked like the quickest WR at the combine in other drills and caught everything thrown his way. Someone (Likely the Lions, Raiders, or Cowboys) could shock the world and roll the dice on Cooks.

31. Denver Broncos: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Tuitt has been graded as a late first round selection by most of the mock draft world. I will follow suit here as it is a move that just makes sense for the Broncos. Tuitt has great size, and versatility to play inside or outside on the defensive line. A  solid player that should contribute early on in his career.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

When Jernigan announced he was going pro after his junior season, I immediately considered him a top 3 DT. Questions about his effort and ability to stay in shape have me dropping him to the final pick in the first round. If the Seahawks can motivate Jernigan, then they may have the steal of the draft here because Jernigan has elite ability.

On the fringe:

Dee Ford  DE  Auburn

Marcus Robinson  CB  Florida

Derek Carr  QB  Fresno State

Marcus Robinson WR  Penn State

David Yankey  OG  Stanford

Cyrill Richardson  OG  Baylor

Antonio Richardson  OT  Tennessee

Scott Cricton  DE/OLB  Oregon State

Chris Boreland  OLB  Wisconsin

Bradley Roby  CB  Ohio State

Vic Beasley  OLB  Clemson

Austin Seferion-Jenjins  TE  Washington

2014 Slum Dunk Contest

Contributed by S. Millington

Lately the slam dunk contest has been a pain to watch. Two years ago when Jeremy Evans (LOL WHO?) won the slam dunk contest. Evans dunked over a painting of himself dunking.  It was a lame dunk and painful to watch. Hell, one of my friends and a fellow Motown Meltdown writers passed out cold watching that slam dunk contest. Bud Light Platinum may have played a part in that but that slam dunk contest still sucked. This year is going to be a must watch with field a three All-Star, two up and coming players and last year’s champion. Here’s who’s in and what we can expect from each of them:

TERRENCE ROSS
Terrence Ross will  defending his title in New Orleans. Ross recently had one of the better in game dunks of the season, a poster dunk on Kenneth Faried. Ross was excellent in his dunk contest debut, and there’s no reason to believe he can win again this year.

DAMIAN LILLARD
The All Star Weekend is going to be busy for Damian Lillard in New Orleans. Lillard will be the first player in the history of the weekend to participate in all five major events: the All-Star game, the dunk contest, the Rising Stars challenge, the three-point shootout and the skills competition.

BEN McLEMORE
Ben McLemore is the only rookie in this year’s contest. McLemore is able to throw down some monster jams during practice and this would be a great chance for him to raise his profile nationally with win in the slam dunk contest.

JOHN WALL

John Wall is making his first All-Star appearance this season and also his first appearance in the slam dunk contest.  Wall has shown some flair in his in-game dunks, pulling out 360′s on fast breaks. I can see Mr. Wall win the slam dunk contest and busting out the John Wall dance. I know one of our writers here at Motown Meltdown will busts some moves to a John Wall victory.

HARRISON BARNES
Barnes is a likable young player on a popular Warriors team. He does have North Carolina roots so he maybe be able to pull off some Michael Jordan or Vince Carter type stuff.  Barnes’ best in game dunk is this posterization of Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic from his rookie year.

PAUL GEORGE
This will be George’s second time doing it, but this time he is the star on one of the best teams in the league and he is an All Star starter this year. This year I’m sure we will not see a glow-in-the-dark dunk by George like he did in 2012. Last month George threw down a nasty 360-degree windmill dunk against the Clippers. George can cement his superstar status among fans all over the world with a win in the dunk contest.

I think the Slam Dunk contest will belong to Harrison Barnes. I can see him tying his North Carolina connection in to one of his dunks and I also him throwing down some monster dunks. Hopefully this field of dunkers may push other stars to enter the dunk contest. Yes, I’m looking at you Lebron.

Throwback Thursday: Miracle

Throwback Thursday is a segment in which we will highlight a throwback video relating to Michigan sports. For the first edition the timing is appropriate to flash back to the Olympics of 1980.

The final 2 minutes of the game referred to as “Miracle on Ice”.

The USA team was a major underdog facing the Soviet power house. To put a recent comparison to how much of an upset this was, think about Appalachian State taking down Michigan, in the Big House. The Soviet’s had defeated the American’s 10-3 in an exhibition game prior to the 1980 Olympics. The game was more than just  hockey at the time. The USA and Soviet Union were at the midst of the Cold War, and this game was the ultimate representation of national pride for both of the teams. Team USA went on to take gold in hockey that year.

Local Connection:

Forward Mark Wells is from St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Wells was drafted by the Montreal Canadians in the first round of the 1977 NHL entry draft. He retired before he played a single NHL game. In 2010 he auctioned off his gold medal for 310,000$ to pay for medical costs for a genetic disease.

Defenseman Ken Morrow is from Flint, Michigan. After achieving gold in the 1980 Olympics, Morrow won a Stanley Cup with the New York Islanders. He is the first rookie to ever win a Stanley Cup and gold medal in the same year. He won 3 more cups with the Islanders from 1981-1983. Morrow retired after a short, but successful NHL career in 1989 due to injuries.

LOCAL OPEN MMA COMBINE

combine

Do you think that you are good enough to fight in MMA professionally? If so, then there is a one of a kind opportunity for you in Waterford, MI this coming Saturday, February 15th. Imagine the NFL holding an open combine for anyone interested, where agents, sponsors, and teams could potentially hire someone who caught their eye. This is essentially what MMA Draft is doing across the country and the train is stopping in Michigan this week.

The only qualifications for applicants to “tryout” is to pay a $75 registration fee and that you do not have any professional MMA fights. MMADraft.com is looking to find young dedicated fighters. They want to be able to catch the kids very young and talk with their parents to see if being a professional MMA fighter is really what they want. Along with the combine on Saturday, they will have a bonus seminar Sunday with professional MMA fighters including Daron Cruickshank, Urijah Faber and Phil Davis. The seminar will educate young fighters on how to start in the sport, how to market yourself, management, ect.

MMADraft is the only one of its kind in sports, but at the rate MMA is growing it is needed. There is an abundance of amateur fighters that have serious skills and have no quick way of getting noticed. Also I think the most important aspect of these events is the education to the young fighters and their parents. If you can educate the kids now and point them in the right direction it can only be good for the future of MMA.

$75 is also not a bad rate to rub shoulders with some of MMAs top names. So if the prospect fighter doesn’t come away with an MMA contract and the education goes in one ear and out the other, at least they can say they had a seminar from Urijah Faber. Faber has fought in championship fights in the WEC and UFC at 135lbs. Phil Davis is no slouch himself fighting only top name fighters. Davis is 12-1-1 and will likely be fighting for a title one day soon. Also we can’t forget our favorite fighter here at the Meltdown, “The Detroit Superstar” Daron Cruickshank will be in attendance.  So if you think you have what it takes to fight the best then get out there and showcase your skills this weekend.

Follow the link for more information regarding the event: https://www.mmadraft.com/events/combine/

From the Glove, with Love

Contributed by S. Jacobs

Featuring Michigan-born athletes from all sorts of sports

Michigan has snow.  Sochi has snow.  You can snowboard all over Michigan.  You can snowboard all over Sochi.  You don’t have to worry so much about wildlife interfering with your day of snowboarding in Michigan.  You have to fear for your life about wildlife interfering with your day of snowboard in Sochi.

This guy’s got previous Olympic experience, X Games notoriety, a State Champion Wrestler, Multi-sport extraordinaire, and all around Michigan Outdoor Badass.  He’s Nick Baumgartner.

Baumgartner

The weather today in Iron Mountain, MI is 9 degrees with 3 feet of snow on the ground; pretty typical for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  So what’s a Yooper to do with these conditions growing up?  Shred, obviously.  Many of us Michiganders can relate to making it through winters by finding some cold weather activity to pass the time.  Many of us also don’t make a living from said activities.  Check out this resume:

  • 2012: X-Games Silver
  • 2011: X-Games Gold
  • 2009: World Championship bronze (SBX)
  • 2008: Visa U.S. SBX champion
  • 2008: First World Cup win (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
  • 2007 U.S. SBX champion
  • 2007: 2nd at World Cup Finals
  • 2007: 3rd at Copper Mountain Revolution Tour
  • 2004: 1st in SBX at USASA nationals
  • 2004: 1st at U.S. Extreme Boarderfest

You can’t hate these stats.  This year Nick seeks retribution against the 2010 Olympics (and possibly communism) where he didn’t take home any medals.  Nick’s event, snowboard cross, takes place on Monday the 17th.

High School Nick spent his days at West Iron County High School where he did typical high school jock things, just on another level.  This guy has all-state honors in 3 sports, wrestling, football, and track.  His mother, Mary, was actually the coordinator for the local wrestling club.  Which is genius on her part, having 5 kids, and letting them beat the daylights out of each other in an organized fashion.  Kudos Mary.  His dad, Bob, well the guy had 5 kids, what more do you need to know?..because if there’s two things to do in the U.P., its make babies and drive them around to sporting events.

College Nick played a year of football for the Northern Michigan Wildcats before deciding to take his talents to the real world.

Grown-Ass-Man Nick is now an adrenaline junkie that stays humble in his roots.  He’s a skilled tradesman by day and an Olympic caliber athlete by night.  He still lives in northern Michigan, close to family.  He works just like the rest of us to support his hobbies, two of which are Demolition Derby and Truck Racing.   He has a 9 year old son, Landon.

What I like about this guy the most: he’s not a career athlete.  He’s a career dad.  Family will always be first, and being an Olympian is just a hobby.  It’s outstanding to have priorities like that.

I’d also like to point out that his favorite movie, as well as his mustache, is “Rad” with Laurie Loughlin and bunch of BMXs.  If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t lived.  You can pick it up on VHS at your local cinematic medium rental establishment.

LoughlinRad

Follow this guy on Twitter: @nickbaumgartner and show him some love!

Best of luck in Sochi, not only getting that Gold, but getting out alive!

Undefeated!

Watch the presser from the winningest, percentage wise, Piston Coach of all-time. John Loyer, how does it feel to be without a loss as a head coach but still struggling for 8th place?

I know it’s early, but you should really get your hopes up. All these people do is win:

1972 Don Shula
Lifetime Rocky Marciano
2012 Yann Danis
1956 Phil Woolpert
1997 Pat Summitt
Lifetime Charlie Sheen