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SIMMONS: The world according to Dak Prescott is seemingly ignorant and blind

Dak Prescott reportedly turned down a contract from the Dallas Cowboys worth $35 million per season.
Dak Prescott reportedly turned down a contract from the Dallas Cowboys worth $35 million per season.

In the midst of a pandemic, with millions unemployed and no assurance there will be an NFL season, Dak Prescott now stands as the leading symbol of professional sporting idiocy.

The rather average quarterback with one playoff win on his football resume has turned down a $35-million-a-year offer, $175 million for five years in total, from the Dallas Cowboys.

For the record, that’s significantly more than Tom Brady, with all of his Super Bowls, will be paid by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s way more than Super Bowl winners of days gone by — Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay or Russell Wilson in Seattle — will earn.

It’s remarkable, at this time in history, that Dallas would make this kind of offer to begin with. And even more remarkable that Prescott would turn it down, especially at a time when the world — away from professional sports — is trying to figure out where it’s at.

In fairness, since word of the Prescott offer got out, both the Cowboys and the Prescott camp have denied the story. They will continue to deny it while Prescott apparently seeks $45 million on the final year of the deal — and maybe one of these years contributing more than one playoff win.

THIS AND THAT

If hockey does find its way back, the Columbus Blue Jackets are a bad matchup for the Maple Leafs. They are hard on the puck, hard in the corners, and are very well coached by John Tortorella. Of the non-playoff teams added to the 24-team format the National Hockey League is considering, should it return in July, Columbus is the one you don’t want to play, especially with Norris Trophy-calibre defenceman, Seth Jones, healthy enough to return … Tortorella is a clear candidate to be coach of the year in a deep field. He could win, but so could Mike Sullivan in Pittsburgh, Bruce Cassidy in Boston, Alain Vigneault in Philly, Dave Tippett in Edmonton or Jon Cooper in Tampa. All are good choices. My three finalists would be Tortorella, Cassidy and Vigneault … The NHL has yet to decide what to do about this year’s draft. When to hold it. How to arrange it. But if you’re a team such as the Chicago Blackhawks, would you rather be in the lottery with the possibility of picking early, or be in the extended playoffs with a chance against the Edmonton Oilers? Or both? And if you’re the Oilers, how happy are you to be in a short series against all of that Stanley Cup experience of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford? … Nick Nurse’s NBA career as a head coach, Year 1: Win the league championship. Year 2: Win the coach-of-the-year award. Not a bad way to start for a guy who kicked around forever … A player agent on the hockey break: “Some of my clients have never gone this long without skating, probably in their entire lives.”

THIS AND THAT

A different hockey agent took offence at my characterization of Donald Fehr last Sunday as the absentee head of the NHL Players’ Association. “No one in the hockey industry has been busier since the shutdown,” the agent wrote me. “We are all fortunate to have Don Fehr and his extensive experience, wisdom and intellect working every day for the players.” Two other agents, equally prominent, wrote emails agreeing with what I wrote … The last time the Detroit Red Wings needed a superstar as much as they do now, they drafted one. His name, Steve Yzerman, their current general manager. And the truth: They didn’t want Yzerman back in 1983. They wanted local kid Pat LaFontaine, who went to the Islanders one pick earlier … It took a 24-team post-season format for the Arizona Coyotes and kid GM John Chayka to finally say they’re heading to the playoffs … Chayka is 30 years old. Kyle Dubas is 34. Their age mattered on the day they were hired. Those were nice stories. The only thing that matters now is how they do their jobs. You don’t hear a lot about David Poile’s age. You hear a lot about him having more wins on the job than anyone in history. And every year I hope just a little that this is the year Poile wins a Stanley Cup …. When D.J. Smith played for and then coached the junior Windsor Spitfires, the team he hated the most was the London Knights. Now his teenaged son, Colton Smith, is going to play in London, for the former enemy, and owner Mark Hunter, who worked with Smith as a Maple Leaf.

HEAR AND THERE

Wouldn’t it make sense for the Raptors to open up some kind of training camp in the United States, rather than have to worry about open borders and quarantine restrictions in holding a camp at home, and then having to go south for the eventual NBA return, scheduled in pencil for late July? … What is it about social distancing that so confuses people in grocery stores? I understand six feet. It’s my height. Please stop crowding each other for no good reason … The best thing about COVID golf, my only round to date: No scorecards, no pencils, no lying … Pretty much anybody could do this: Mike Singletary won’t be back for his third season coaching high school football in Houston after going 1-21 his first two seasons at Trinity Christian Addison High. Last season, he was 0-11 … I walked to the bakery on Friday and all the way home was trying to figure out what it’s like to carry a loaf of bread. Like you’re carrying a football? … Really, has Horace Grant ever been more famous than he’s been the past few weeks? We didn’t talk this much about him when he played his 17 seasons in the NBA … September may be the busiest sporting month ever: The U.S. Opens, golf and tennis. The French Open. The Kentucky Derby on Labour Day. Possible starts for the NFL and CFL. Possible playoffs for the NBA and NHL. Possible pennant races for baseball with more playoff teams. The 24 Hours of LeMans … And just in case you missed this, the Kitchener Ribfest has been re-scheduled for September, in case all this sports makes you hungry.

SCENE AND HEARD

If this is Alphonso Davies now, imagine what he’s going to be like when he actually grows up. He doesn’t turn 20 until November. I know it’s early, but with so many sports being interrupted, cancelled or rescheduled, does a fine season in the Bundesliga put him in contention for the Lou Marsh Trophy, as Canada’s athlete of the year? … A concern with more than 700 NHL players apparently returning sometime this summer: If 3% of all COVID-19 tests are not accurate, does that mean there are 21 players to worry about every day and all of those around those 21 players? … If the Leafs had come up with a decent backup goaltender earlier in the season, they would have finished with a few more points. And then they’d be playing someone other than Columbus, if that happens … Ever watch a show you really care for, but you can’t quit in the middle for some reason? I’m doing it right now with Money Heist on Netflix. It’s Season 2 and I’ve already had enough.

AND ANOTHER THING

Where do sports writers get their stories? The best ones come from relationship-building. From building trusts. From face-to-face interviews. From working with and around the people they write about. And I wonder now, as so many in our industry do, what happens to our profession without much access, with conference call and Zoom interviews only, without press box availability? How much does the writer and the reader miss out on? … If you didn’t read the column on former Leaf Jim McKenny this week, perhaps you should . You can’t write this without some kind of relationship and trust …The worst part about conference-call interviews. You get one question, maybe one follow-up. You can’t build a decent story around that … Hamilton is scheduled to host the Grey Cup in 2021. If there is a CFL season, there won’t be a Grey Cup Week, just a championship game at the home of the team with the best record. It could be back-to-back Grey Cup games in Hamilton … Sunday is Day 72 at home. I’m not going to lie. We’re running out of dinner conversation, new things to eat, new things to talk about … And now time for a walk with a happy birthday to Marvin Hagler (66), Gary Roberts (54), Tracy McGrady (41), Rob Ducey (55), Peter Liske (78), Curtis McElhinney (37), Kris Draper (49), Bartolo Colon (47) and Reggie Cleveland (72) … And hey, whatever became of Mike Babcock?

GOAT DEBATES LIMITED TO HOOPS

T DEBATES LIMITED TO HOOPS

Basketball seems somewhat obsessed with debating the best player in history, even when it’s apparent that best player is Michael Jordan.

As the documentary The Last Dance came to an end, there seemed to be continual conversation about who the best player in NBA history happened to be. Is it LeBron James? Was it Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Was it the obvious choice, Jordan?

And on and on it droned.

And I thought for a moment: Who is the best player in baseball history and why is that never really debated? How often do you hear a Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mike Trout kind of conversation? And where do you put Ty Cobb?

Maybe it’s just the nature of the two sports — basketball so much about stars, baseball much less so.

It’s the same with football. Do you ever hear a who is the best player in NFL history conversation? Best quarterback, maybe. Best running back, sometimes. But best pass rusher? You can’t compare Tom Brady to Jim Brown to Lawrence Taylor. In a way, it’s like comparing Jordan and Jabbar. Different positions completely.

In hockey, it’s often a three-man conversation, depending on your age. It’s Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr or Gordie Howe. Gretzky is the modern day choice. Howe is the choice of Gretzky himself and Scotty Bowman. Orr is my pick. There’s no right answer and really, not much conversation about it, either.

You don’t hear it, except for basketball. Then, you hear it too much.

MONEY AT THE HEART OF MLB STRIFE

It has become a war of the leaked story — the great battle between baseball ownership and its players. Two sides trying to win media and fan favour before either finds a way to get back on the field.

As always, it’s about money. And division of money. And how that all will be worked out.

Major League Baseball has come up with a mostly impressive and comprehensive health plan to deal with the game as it should be dealt with upon return to the field. That looked like the complicated part taken care of, with health being such a matter of prominence in these troubled times.

But really, it’s about dividing money, now and in the future.

Baseball players have their contracts signed for the coming season, with a difficulty: The season won’t be 162 games. It will probably be half that. And it will be played in empty stadiums.

The baseball players will agree to being paid half their salaries for half the games played. The owners have a different view and they should. Stadiums will be empty this season. The $100 to $200 million they usually get from ticket sales won’t be coming in. They want some kind of cost assurance now and going forward with no certainty of when they will sell tickets again.

This is so different from NHL or NBA problems, because players in those leagues have already been paid for almost their entire seasons. MLB players haven’t been paid at all. And there’s no certainty that they will be with the season still in question.

GENERALS STEPPING UP FOR FORMER TEAMMATE

Craig Donaldson played three seasons on defence for the Oshawa Generals and more than held his own.

A few of his teammates went on to play in the NHL, such as goaltenders Jeff Hackett and Fred Brathwaite. Most of them went on with their lives, the way the majority of junior hockey players move on.

Donaldson became an emergency-room physician, where he has been practising for more than 20 years now. And as a tribute to Donaldson’s success and in conjunction with him, the Generals former general manager, Sherry Bassin, and former Oshawa player Joe Busillo, have formed a charity fundraiser to help hospitals in both Orangeville, where Donaldson practises, and Oshawa, where he played.

The purpose: To purchase coronavirus-related pumps at this challenging time.

So often we hear what hockey isn’t. We hear about the problems, the social issues, the cost, the violence. We’re Canadian: We like to beat up on our own for cultural reasons not always understood or explained.

What we rarely hear about: Old teammates coming together for the common good. Fundraising, in this case, to celebrate the career success of a former Generals player whose name may not be remembered by anyone.

If interested in contributing — and I know we’re being asked that by everyone these days — here is the website: hockeyforhealthheroes.com.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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