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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Harris on Holiday extension: 'Work in process.'

With time running out for the Sixers to prevent point guard Jrue Holiday from becoming a restricted free agent at the end of the season, owner Josh Harris sounded something less than convinced that a deal would be done.

"It's a work in process," Harris said.

His gut?

"I don't want to speculate," he said. "I don't want to speculate."

The Sixers have until midnight Wednesday (into Thursday) to sign Holiday to an extension. If not, he would become a restricted free agent at season's end.

Before an 84-75 victory over the Denver Nuggets, Holiday assured that he would prefer to remain a Sixer. Reports are, though, that he wants as much as a $10 million a year raise from the $2.7 million he will earn this season.

The timing was favorable for Holiday, who was the difference Wednesday, making three important plays in the final four minutes to blunt a Denver rally. Without a replacement point guard of Holiday's skill and experience, the Sixers might not be able to afford his entry into free agency.

"The way we are going to approach all of this stuff is to try and make smart decisions," Harris said. "We really like Jrue. We would like to have him around. But I don't know what is going to happen. I hope it works out. But if not, he will be around certainly all season and hopefully beyond that. We'll have to see."

Said Harris, not long ago: "There are two hours and 17 minutes left, an eternity in the 'deal' business."

Check out my column on Holiday in the Daily Times Thursday and, as always, on

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vick knows Reid is considering QB change

He has made his move on defense, replacing coordinator Juan Castillo with Todd Bowles.

So ... what's Andy Reid's big plan for his offense, which sputtered again Sunday in a 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Linc?

“Obviously,” Michael Vick said, “he is thinking about making a change at the quarterback position.”
Even during what has become weeks of soft commitments to his quarterback, Reid sounded less satisfied than ever Sunday with Vick.

“I'll go back and look at everything,” Reid said. “I'm not going to sit here and make decisions right now. I'm going to go back and look at it and analyze it.”

Vick completed 21 of 35 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown Sunday, didn't fumble and wasn't intercepted, was sacked three times and rushed for 42 yards on a dampening field. Yet when Reid wavered, suddenly there a question whether Vick or Nick Foles would start next Monday in New Orleans.

“Whatever decision the coach makes, I support it,” Vick said. “The thing I know is that I'm giving it everything I've got out there when I step on the field. Deep down, as long as I know I'm doing that and I'm giving it everything, then it's all I can ask out of myself. No more. No less.”
Check out my story on the quarterback situation and a column on whether this Eagles season can be salvaged in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reid was right to stick with Vick

Monday, October 22, 2012


Here is a transcript of an interview that Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha did with the press in front of his locker Monday at the NovaCare Complex.
Asomugha had made some comments following the Eagles' overtime loss to the Detroit Lions seemingly critical of the defense. Two days later, coordinator Juan Castillo was fired and replaced by Todd Bowles.

Thoughts on Castillo firing:

“It's part of the business of football. We all respect him. I respect Juan as a man, as a coach. So obviously, he is going to land on his feet and he is going to do well. It was tough at first to hear it because you have pretty much grown so much --- the guys have seen him grow so much --- but you know that he is going to be fine wherever he ended up.”

On Todd Bowles, and if he can correct whatever was lacking, particularly in the secondary:

“I don't know. The thing about Todd is that --- as you guys know --- he is real 'chill.' I don't know if you guys have interviewed him or anything. There is an equanimity about him. It doesn't matter what's going on, he's always going to be calm and relaxed and stuff like that. So that's good. He always feels that there is a solution no matter what we are going through. So I think that's one of the big qualities that he is going to bring.”

How much can a defense change?

“I'm not sure. That is kind of up to him. He could change it all or he could change a little bit. It's all possible. I am not sure exactly what he is going to implement and how he is going to do it.”

What was mood like when Bowles addressed the team?:

“It was the same as always. He has addressed us before. So he is a funny guy when he gets up and speaks. So it wasn't like he was tense or nervous or anything like that. It was the same as he has addressed us in the past.”

How does such a move affect the locker room tension?

“The mood doesn't change. No one gets a chance to have the nerves start going a little bit. It's just being eager to start winning some games. We won early and then the last two we weren't able to get. So I think that's the mood. It's, 'We've got to get some wins together,' more than anything else.”

Any thoughts that the players let Castillo down, or that with better play he would still be employed?

“I don't know. As a player, how do you really adjudicate something like that? My mind can't even think on that level because I am a player. Those decisions are all for the people in upper management. But I couldn't say the players let him down or what the reason was for why he was let go. As a player, I can't think on that level.”

There was a perception after the game that you were questioning Juan's play-calling and that might have led to this. Clarify?

“I had a tough time last week when those stories came out, to be honest. More so because it was a character thing and it was something I would never do. As a player --- and I think you guys will start to know that a little more as we continue to get to know each other --- there is no underlying, 'Well, this was said, but it might have meant this.' I wouldn't do that to a coach, especially Juan, just because in the player-coach relationship we have been so communicative. It wasn't a good feeling. But after speaking to him and him knowing that wasn't the case, I think that made it a lot better. But I don't think that had anything to do with him being let go or anything.”

On players' view of defense:

“I don't think anybody is questioning the defense. Even talking to guys today, we think this defense is good. Everybody feels that way. So we are still confident in this defense.”

Expecting changes in the way the defense is run with Bowles?

“I don't know. He might call games differently. It depends on how he sees it and how he sees the situation that we are in. But I don't know about the plays and such. Today was more about correcting the mistakes we have made in the past. So you really don't know or can gauge what he's going to do. But there is a lot of confidence in his ability.”

What will make Bowles a good coordinator:

“The ability to stay calm in a fire and not get rattled and not lose yourself in that moment. Those are the qualities that he has and that obviously will make him a good coordinator and have made him a successful coach to this point.”

Would you rather see him in the booth or the sidelines?

“On the sidelines, 100 percent. Because I think he might be down there. I am not sure how it is going to work. But to me, he has been a DB coach, so he can speak to the DBs a little more. But as a coordinator, I don't know how he is going to do it. That's why I initially said, on the sidelines.”

Friday, October 12, 2012


Area boxing fans have two fine choices for action tonight.

At the Tropicana in Atlantic City, Dangerous Dorin Spivey will defend his NABA lightweight title against Lightning Rod Salka.

And at the Armory in Northeast Philly, undefeated bantamweight Miguel Cartagena will try to improve to 6-0 against Jose Rivera. 

I will be in A.C. alongside the legendary Ron Christian doing the color on

This, from the promoters in A.C.:


Atlantic City, NJ (September 10, 2012) -- Dee Lee Promotions, LLC, in association with the Tropicana Casino and Resort presents “GO FIGHT...FRIDAY NIGHT!” Friday, Oct., 12, 2012.  Dangerous” Dorin Spivey (41-6-0/30 KO’s) of Portsmouth, VA, the reigning NABA Lightweight Champion, will defend his title when he faces “Lightning” Rod Salka (16-1-0/3 KO’s) of Bunola, PA.

Tropicana Showroom doors open at 7:00 p.m., with the first bout slated for 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are priced at $40, $55, $65 and $100 and can be purchased at the Tropicana Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 1.800.745.3000 or Dee Lee Promotions at 856.692.1206.

Spivey won the NABA Lightweight Crown at the Tropicana this past February in a bout that The Press of Atlantic City described as “ action-packed candidate for ‘Fight of the Year’.”  Spivey inflicted an electrifying and bruising seventh-round TKO over Victor Vasquez. Salka is hoping to make his own headlines and will put Spivey to the test in the scheduled 10-round title bout.

“Our goal is to present a card that has an audience standing on their feet,” said Diane Fischer Cristiano, President Dee Lee Promotions. “It is the heart, hunger and talent we have in the ring that thrills fans by knocking opponents off of theirs,” she added.

Nine undercard bouts are slated showcasing boxing’s fresh talent and rising stars. Super middleweight and Atlantic City native Antowyan Aikens (5-0-0/1 KO’s) leads an ambitious group of young fighters on the evening’s card. Heavyweight Dorsett Barnwell (7-0-0/3 KO’s) of Norfolk, VA will step into the ring coming off his seventh win from a thrilling fight last month in  Atlantic City. 

Other notables include: Norfolk, VA light heavyweight, Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone (9-2-1/2 KO’s); Hicksville, NY welterweight, Anthony "Showtime" Karperis (2-0-0/2 KO's);  Millville, NJ featherweight, Joshua Reyes (3-0-0/1 KO’s); Birmingham, AL light middleweight Keandrea Leatherwood (10-1-1/7 KO’s); and making his pro debut, Fight Quest MMA Warrior Doug Anderson of Brooklawn, NJ.

“GO FIGHT… FRIDAY NIGHT!” will feature another Dee Lee first. Las Vegas native Christina Kwan (0-1-0) will be holding the cards when she competes in Tropicana’s “Knockout Bounty Poker Tournament” in the poker room, Wednesday, Oct., 10 at 7:00 p.m. and then she’ll lace up her gloves and enter the ring in the Tropicana Showroom as part of Friday night’s undercard, Oct. 12.


   And this, from the promoters of the Philadelphia card:


PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 10, 2012)—This Friday night at the National Guard Armory, former amateur standout Miguel Cartagena will look to make it six for six when he takes on the experienced Jose Rivera in a six round bout that will headline a show promoted by Power Productions.

Cartagena, the twenty-year old native of Philadelphia has blitzed through his first five opponents by scoring a first round and two second round knockouts and in his two unanimous decision victories he did not lose a round in either.

Miguel was a top amateur prospect before joining Battlestrong Boxing which is comprised of the management duo of Moz Gonzalez & Eddie Woods.
 Cartagena and Rivera were scheduled to fight on July 27th in Atlantic City but Rivera refused to fight after the bout was cut from six to four rounds.

 “We were very upset when that happened," said co-manager Moz Gonzalez. "Miguel trained very hard and both guys were in the ring. Now there is no questions that this is the main event and it’s a six round fight.Miguel is going to show Rivera what would have happened on July 27th but now he gets to have a great win as a main event fighter in his hometown”

Rivera of New Rochelle, New York should prove to a test for Cartagena as he will facing his fifth undefeated fighter in a row and seventh overall and he has yet to be stopped against the likes of former Olympic Alternate Qaíd Muhammad, Knockout artist Jonathan Gonzalez and WBC Caribbean champion Elton Dharry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wayns has no regrets about attending Villanova

Despite howls of warnings for leaving Villanova after only three seasons, Maalik Wayns is about to make the 76ers, and was to fly with them Wednesday to Orlando for their preseason opener Thursday.

It worked out, then, after all --- the decision to go to Villanova, and the choice to leave.

“I say I didn't have a 'great' career,” Wayns said. “Because I went there with big expectations. I went there trying to bring a national championship to Villanova. And I didn't get that done.”

Still, he is happy that it worked out as it did.

“I have no regrets,” he said. “I have a lifetime relationship with Villanova. There were a lot of great things for me there. I played there and have no regrets. Next summer, I definitely will start back there and get my degree.”

Check out my story on Wayns, his Villanova experience, and some Sixers notes in the Daily Times Thursday and, as always, on

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The ball, and Vick's stock, keeps dropping

PITTSBURGH --- The conversations, as they will, in and around the Eagles' locker room after their 16-14 loss to the Steelers Sunday were varied, spirited and cliche-coated.
Just about all of them, though, bounced back to one topic: A first-quarter, goal-line-area lost fumble by Michael Vick, who has made 11 turnovers through five games.
What gives?
"I wish I could tell you," Vick said. "But I don't have any explanation."
It's come to that, even in a season where Andy Reid's career is double-parked beside an effective order from Jeffrey Lurie to fashion a winning record.
The Birds are 3-2, could be 4-1, could be 0-5 and could be in trouble if Vick doesn't start protecting the ball.
"I will do a better job of protecting the ball," he said.
Until he does, though, the Eagles should continue to trend to have reached the crisis point.

Check out my column on the situation, along with my story on Vick's reaction, some videos and complete Eagles coverage in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on