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By Leigh Steinberg | March 24, 2012
So it is a weekend in March with "March Madness" having the equivalent of their semifinals for the NCAA men's basketball championships. Countless millions of folks across the country, some of whom never watch a college game, have filled out brackets with their predictions. The amount of money changing hands in the next eight days is enough to finance a small country for a year. Spring training is drawing to a close with Opening Day not far away. The NBA is running it's accelerated schedule, with games being played more frequently than ever before.
April 21, 2001
Richard Dunn NEWPORT BEACH - Football fans will be glued to ESPN and ESPN2 this weekend for the NFL draft, which means none other than Irrelevant Week founder Paul Salata will make his traditional television appearance and announce Mr. Irrelevant XXVI to the world. Salata, who understands the inner workings of the mind of a lower draft choice, is the madman guilty of creating the zany Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach, which celebrates the absolute dead-last pick in the NFL draft every June.
April 15, 2000
Richard Dunn NEWPORT BEACH - Some might think Newport Beach-based sports agent Leigh Steinberg has cornered the market on NFL quarterbacks, but this weekend in the NFL draft he'll focus on the receiving end. Steinberg, whose client list includes quarterbacks Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe and Jeff George, will represent some of college football's top pass catchers this year. Wide receivers R. Jay Soward from USC, Danny Farmer from UCLA and Plaxico Burress from Michigan State, along with Miami's Bubba Franks, the draft's top-rated tight end, will be in Steinberg's camp today and Sunday as 31 NFL teams select an estimated 253 players at Madison Square Garden in New York (shown live on ESPN)
By B.W. COOK | May 5, 2007
More than 36 NFL stars rallied for the Orangewood Children's Foundation, participating in a golf tournament and charity dinner that raised more than $225,000 for an auxiliary of Orangewood known as Orangewood PALS (Providing Assistance Love and Support). It was called the Athletes First Classic, with a gala dinner event held at the St. Regis Hotel and Resort in Dana Point in mid-March, followed by the golf tournament the next day. The gala honored football quarterback Steve Young, along with Orange County business leader and philanthropist Peter Ueberroth . The retired San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who won a Super Bowl during his career, founded a charitable organization that he named the Forever Young Foundation.
July 27, 2000
Richard Dunn NEWPORT BEACH - The great fraternity of football coaching has led Mike Giddings to the podium Saturday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. No, Giddings himself won't be accepting accolades into the NFL pantheon. He will, however, present Hall of Fame inductee Dave Wilcox of the San Francisco 49ers. Giddings, a former 49ers assistant coach in charge of the defense, campaigned hard to the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors the last few years for Wilcox to enter the hallowed doors at Canton, Ohio.
By Steve Virgen | September 27, 2012
When one of the most controversial calls in NFL history took place, Laird Hayes wasn't watching it during the Monday Night Football telecast. Hayes, a Newport Beach resident and an NFL side judge entering his 18th season, said he was watching the movie, "Midnight in Paris. " "I absolutely refused to watch those scabs work," said Hayes, who made the big call on Mario Manningham's catch along the sideline during the Giants' game-winning drive against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in February.
June 22, 2000
Richard Dunn NEWPORT BEACH - Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, who was presented with an honorary Lowsman Trophy, and Mike White, the former Cal football coach who helped launch super agent Leigh Steinberg's career, honored Mr. Irrelevant XXV from the head table Wednesday night as representatives of the Rams. And, of course, Steinberg was part of the program, giving a contract worth the price of the paper it was printed on to Mike Green, selected 254th by the Chicago Bears, earning Green the title as the ultimate underdog and the lucky last pick in the 2000 NFL draft.
By David Carrillo Peñaloza, | June 22, 2011
NEWPORT BEACH — Mr. Irrelevant met the Nigerian Nightmare for the first time. Cheta Ozougwu was just happy to hear his name pronounced correctly by someone other than his Nigerian parents. Christian Okoye said "oh-ZOO-goo" just once. To the former running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, Ozougwu was still Mr. Irrelevant, the last player picked in the NFL Draft. As for any advice for Ozougwu, who will try to make the Houston Texans, Okoye chuckled at first. The laughs started well before a roast of Ozougwu at the All-Star Lowsman Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa on Wednesday.
September 5, 2009
Jesse Mahelona, a former Orange Coast College standout who played in the NFL, has died after being involved in a car accident. According to the Associated Press, agent Chad Speck said Mahelona, who was 26, died Friday night after being involved in an accident about a mile from his home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Speck said Saturday he didn’t know any more circumstances of the accident. After OCC, Mahelona played at the University of Tennessee. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Titans, where he played in 10 games as a rookie.
September 25, 2000
Richard Dunn It was a big deal for his local friends watching on television when color commentator John Madden circled him with the magic marker on the air in the NFC Championship Game for the 1996 NFL season. Playing tight end for the Green Bay Packers, former Corona del Mar High standout Jeff Thomason sprang Dorsey Levens with a key block as Levens caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre and the Packers went on to capture the Super Bowl.
March 25, 2014
The Houston Texans are slated to pick Mr. Irrelevant on the NFL Draft's final day, May 10, it was announced when compensatory picks were released Monday. This year will be the 39th Mr. Irrelevant or if you're from the old school, Mr. Irrelevant XXXIX. He will be celebrated and roasted during Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach and other parts of Orange County, a tradition that was created by Newport Beach resident Paul Salata and began in 1976. The final pick of the NFL Draft is known as Mr. Irrelevant.
By Leigh Steinberg | February 20, 2014
Saturday kicks off the Super Bowl of the NFL draft process in Indianapolis - the scouting combine. This event draws every single NFL coach, executive, scout and director of player personnel who desire a personal view and opportunity to scrutinize several hundred of the top college prospects. Even some owners attend. The NFL Network, and ESPN to a lesser extent, actually televise some of the drills as they happen. It is covered by massive amounts of print and electronic media. Performance at the combine can send a player soaring up the charts in draft position or plummeting downward.
By Leigh Steinberg | February 15, 2014
That loud cracking sound you heard was the last major taboo in sports being demolished this week. All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam, a prospective May NFL Draft pick from Missouri, became the first player entering pro football to declare that he is gay. He is a major talent, selected SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and the waves of change will ripple through all sports. Retired athletes have declared their sexual orientation, but this is an active athlete. The preliminary reaction of NFL personnel that this revelation will cause Sam to drop in the draft is the last gasp of unreasoning prejudice.
By Leigh Steinberg | August 29, 2013
Earlier today, Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody announced in Philadelphia that the NFL and 4,500 former players had reached a settlement in the lawsuit accusing the NFL of not warning players of the risk and suppressing studies that showed damage to players. I have written for months that this suit would never see the trial courtroom. This is because the NFL would have been compelled to reveal information that might have shown they knew of the risk involved with concussions and willingly chose to hide it from their own players.
By Steve Virgen | August 28, 2013
COSTA MESA - There were several messages delivered, and messages within messages, and symbolism wrapped in tragedy and triumph when Kermit Alexander spoke to the Costa Mesa High football team Wednesday afternoon. But before he talked about his life and challenged the young players, he gave some advice intended for the day and the future. "A lot of times," he said, "if you keep your mouth shut, you'll learn a lot more. " And with that, the CMHS varsity football team listened, as Alexander, the former NFL football player, talked about his life and provided direction.
By Leigh Steinberg | August 7, 2013
Every year at this time the casualty reports from NFL training camps are filled with carnage. So far, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Jets defensive back Aaron Berry, Dolphins wide receiver Armon Binns and Broncos center Dan Koppen were done for the year before a preseason snap was taken. Wide receivers Arrelious Benn (Eagles), Joe Morgan (Saints) and Danario Alexander (Chargers), as well as Falcons right tackle Mike Johnson were also recently lost for the year due to injuries Playoff chances are dramatically altered as one player after another suffers a season-ending or hampering injury in early practices.
By Barry Faulkner | August 7, 2013
When Darren Fells believed his basketball career had reached the end of the line, he merely sprinted up the seam. The former UC Irvine basketball standout who earned second-team All-Big West Conference honors and led the conference in field-goal percentage as a senior in 2006-07, spent four years in professional basketball, playing for teams in Belgium, Finland, France, Mexico and most recently, last season, in Argentina. But the 6-foot-7, 275-pounder, who was an All-CIF Southern Section tight end at Fullerton High and turned down football scholarship offers from then-Pac-10 schools to play hoops at UCI, said his dribble began to lose its drive.
By Leigh Steinberg | August 2, 2013
I spent last week in Washington D.C. and the area is ablaze with Redskin mania. Every cab driver, shopkeeper and person I encountered is in a state of excitement about the prospects of the team. Robert Griffin III could be elected mayor in a landslide. It is stunning to witness coming from teamless Southern California where the resurgence of the Dodgers, demise of the Angels, and how the Lakers will fare without Dwight Howard are central sports topics. The National Football League has taken a firm grip as this country's dominant sport and certain cities have fan bases that are at a heightened level of interest.
By Steve Virgen | July 23, 2013
Young athletes from elementary and intermediate schools in Costa Mesa sat in the stands at Jim Scott Stadium on Tuesday to take in words from a pro who was once in their shoes and went on to great achievements. Matt Leinart, an NFL free agent quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, delivered a short but meaningful message to the children enrolled in the inaugural Costa Mesa Summer Sports Camp at Estancia High School. Leinart, who attended St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa before going on to star at Mater Dei High School and USC, stressed the importance of education and talked about the values he learned from competing in sports.
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