LOW-RISK SIGNEES: The Predators and Titans recently signed two veteran players to one-year contracts.
The Predators signed Scotty Hartnell last month. He is a longtime former Predators player, playing his first six seasons here. The Preds believe he has some gas left in the tank. He is a consummate leader and will be a quality third-fourth line player.
He signed a $1 million contract. He skated under Preds coach Peter Laviolette when Hartnell played for the Philadelphia Flyers on their run in the 2010 Stanley Cup.
On the football field, the Titans signed wide receiver Eric Decker to a one-year contract after he was released by the Jets. Decker and his wife, country music’s Jessie James (no kin to the gunslinger) make their home here.
If he can overcome past injuries, Decker can be valuable in a number of ways. One, he can teach draft choices, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, the tricks of the trade and be a mentor to them. Decker was being pursued by the Ravens but chose the Titans instead. He also will be a perfect red zone target for quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Both are low-risk signees.
PEYTON THE PERFECTIONIST: Retired Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne will be a Hall of Famer, thanks in large part to former Colts QB Peyton Manning.
Wayne was quoted on NFL.com in reference to Friday practices run by Manning. They were called “Perfect Fridays.’’
The former Tennessee star has long been known for not making or accepting mistakes on the field.
“It was nuts,’’ Wayne said, “the way he prepared (on Fridays). We went about seven years before anybody ever dropped a ball.’’
It worked. Manning won two Super Bowls with two different teams (Colts and Broncos). Hmmm. He must love horses.
STOOPS TO W. KENTUCKY: When Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops in June, speculation as to why he was retiring at 56 years old set the rumor mill on fire.
One Stoops is going to Western Kentucky, but it’s not Bob. It’s one-half of his twin sons, Drake Stoops. Drake will be playing his senior year at Norman North, where he made the first team All-State 6A team as a junior. With another year left, he verbally committed to play at Western Kentucky.
Bloodlines enter into this story.
Steve Spurrier Jr., who was on Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma staff, has been hired as assistant coach and quarterbacks coach at Western Kentucky.
Spurrier’s father hired Bob Stoops as his defensive coordinator and they put Florida football on the map, a school that had never won a SEC championship. Steve called Bob Stoops, introduced himself and told Stoops he wanted to hire him as the Gators defensive coordinator. Stoops thought he was being pranked by some of his buddies. He had never met Spurrier so he kept saying, C’mon who is this really? After realizing it was the Head Ball Coach, the two men got together and cut the deal.
Steve Jr., was on Stoops’ staff when Western Kentucky hired him earlier this year as its assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.
The families have remained close, as they own houses and condos at Crescent Beach, Fla.
Inquiring minds are doing the math and believe the chance to see his twin boys play their senior year in high school and next season Drake’s career at Western Kentucky weighed heavy in his decision to leave Oklahoma and turn it over to Lincoln Riley.
Drake’s twin is Isaac, a defensive back at Norman North. No indication of where he is going to college.
PURE STUPIDITY: I would have thought that the three Vanderbilt football players would be smart enough to avoid what they did when one of them had his cellphone ripped off by some thugs, reason unknown.
The football players went to get revenge with a pellet gun as their weapon. It was like taking a stick to a gunfight. The thugs had guns, real guns, loaded guns.
The football players were lucky they didn’t get killed because the thugs shot them.
They were suspended from the team by the school. How did they get admitted to the school if they were this dumb? If I were Vandy Coach Derek Mason, I would question their being allowed back on the team.
It came at the time a third former Vanderbilt player, Brandon Banks, was sentenced to 15 years for aggravated rape charges. Two teammates had previously been found guilty and one remains to be tried.
They don’t need any more felony cases at Vanderbilt. What if the players had taken real guns and met up with the thugs and a gunfight broke out?
FINAL QUESTION: I am leaving you with this question that has often haunted me: Who put the Ram in the Rama Lama Ding Dong?
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org