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Randy Shannon's gamble; plus Jacory Harris poll, Sweeeeep!, Dolphins, Derrick Thomas, Heat & Angelie Jolie nekkid

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     [Click on Shannon's Big Gamble for my column today on UM coach Randy Shannon and his contract. Column also delves into Jacory Harris and the Canes' overall outlook].

1pink 1harrisj    As UM opens practice ... how good is Jacory Harris?: Well, we know he's confident, anyway. The Hurricanes' sophomore quarterback (see left) went on Dan Le Batard's 790 radio show recently and said he planned to win a Heisman Trophy and show up at the ceremony wearing a pink pimp suit (see right). And carrying a diamond-encrusted pimp goblet, too. Also, Harris said he is growing a giant Afro and is a budding rapper called "J-12." Clearly this interview did not earn the Randy Shannon seal of approval, but nevertheless displayed in Harris a swagger that may be a good thing. But -- can he deliver? That is the one question whose answer will go the furthest in shaping the Hurricanes' upcoming season and immediate future. Is Jacory Harris the next great Canes quarterback? Will he prove to be a bust? Or will he fall somewhere in between? Last year, in limited action behind the since-departed Robert Marve, we saw hints but not enough to know for sure. So what is fans' confidence level in Harris as UM opens fall practice Saturday? Take a dip in our poll and together you'll decide. Vote, then let us know what kind of season you think is in store for Harris and UM.

     [Poll note: The above is our 69th blogpoll to blast past 1,000 votes within the first day of its posting. You crazy kids with your computers! Thanks. And keep 'em comin'!] 

     SWEEEEEEP! The Marlins strike back!: We hoped three losses in a row to the lowly Nationals by a team desperately fighting to stay in the playoff chase was not some sort of litmus test for legitimacy. Well, the Fish have bounced back with three straight wins -- a sweep in Philadelphia, led today by Josh Johnson on the mound and a 19-hit attack. The Marlins return home now with a fighting chance in the playoff race. This team is flawed and madly inconsistent, but does not quit. Fun.

     A quick word on the Dolphins: The team still is lacking at wide receiver. Unlike some others in the local media, I haven't stopped thinking that, done an about-face and gone all a-swoon over Miami's WR corps based on the scant evidence of a few practices. The lack of a proven, defense-scaring, playmaking target for Chad Pennington remains the team's biggest concern, followed by the secondary.

1ai      Heat rekindling interest in Allen Iverson?: Clearly Pat Riley is smarting from losing out on Lamar Odom. Now the word is he's cozying up again to Allen Iverson. I haven't stopped thinking Iverson would be a good get, especially to add some offensive pop. He'd certainly be a better signing than Jamaal Tinsley!

1dthomas      On Derrick Thomas: Pro Football Hall of Fame adds six Saturday including South Miami High's Derrick Thomas. Click here for a new column by me on Thomas and his legacy, online now and in Friday's paper. Below is a chart I put together that didn't make the paper. Just another bonus for the loyal blog reader!

            The 14 men who were born in South Florida, attended high school locally or played in college or the pros here who are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, listed by year of induction:
Jim Otto, C, 1980, UM 1957-59
Paul Warfield, WR, 1983, Dolphins 1970-74
Larry Csonka, FB, 1987, Dolphins 1968-74, ‘79
Jim Langer, C, 1987, Dolphins 1970-79
Bob Griese, QB, 1990, Dolphins 1967-80
Ted Hendricks, LB, 1990. Hialeah HS; UM 1966-68
Larry Little, G, 1993, Booker T. Washington HS; Dolphins 1969-80
Don Shula, Coach, 1997, Dolphins 1970-95
Dwight Stephenson, C, 1998, Dolphins 1980-87
Nick Buoniconti, LB, 2001, Dolphins 1969-74, ‘76
Jim Kelly, QB, 2002, UM, 1979-82
Dan Marino, QB, 2005, Dolphins 1983-99
Michael Irvin, WR, 2007   b. Fort Lauderdale; STAquinas HS; UM 1985-87
Derrick Thomas, LB, 2009, b. Miami; South Miami HS
Note: I exclude RB Thurman Thomas (2007), briefly a Dolphin in 2000.
Get in line, Giants giving away money: The Giants' Eli Manning becoming the NFL's highest-paid signal caller makes sense, except to those of us who think he is not the best quarterback in the league -- not even the best QB in his own family -- and is as likely to never make another Pro Bowl as he is to justify the six-year, near $100 million contract. The good news? The pressure on him intenstifies  from those always patient, always understanding New York fans.
1angie3Angelie Jolie nude in my blog!: A nude statue of actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie breastfeeding two infants (pictured) will be on display in Oklahoma City (of all places) beginning in September, until which time inevitable protests by offended local puritans and religious zealots drive the artwork into hiding. Celebrity sculptor Daniel Edwards created the work in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. I support the breastfeeding of babies, especially in public by women who look like Angelie Jolie.

1obamajoker      What would Heath Ledger think?: Is anybody offended by the Barack Obama-as-The Joker poster? Not sure I get the point of it or the message (if there is one), but I find it mildly interesting  visually.

1theweeklystandard       Latest shoutouts...: ...and thanks to some of the outlets who have run my stuff lately, including Anchorage Daily News, Belleville (IL) News Democrat, Boston Herald, ESPN.com, Kamloops (BC) This Week, Las Vegas Review-Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Times, Sports Business Daily, USA Today, and The Weekly Standard.

     That'll do it for now but click back. Updating/adding more stuff later.