Ray Ratto

Tim Tebow stealing Alex Smith's backup thunder

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Tim Tebow stealing Alex Smith's backup thunder

Alex Smith should be the Tim Tebow of 2012. He should be the frustrated backup quarterback everyone is talking about to the point that we are sick to death of the very mention of his name. He’s the one who should be trying to straddle both sides of the “I hate my coach/I love my coach” line. He’s the one who should look one minute like some crazed Trotskyite trying to overthrow the oppressors keeping him down and then the calm, Zenlike I-just-want-to-be-a-good-teammate guy the next.

But no. Once again, Smith has been robbed of a legacy by circumstances only barely under his control.

I mean, who has a better case to make here – Smith or Tebow? You know the answer to that one. Even if you don’t like Smith and never liked from the moment he wasn’t Aaron Rodgers, you know the answer to that.

But no. Smith is just a competent quarterback who was at the height of his statistical powers when he was demoted for the crime of insufficient up-side, not enough game-breakery in his repertoire or . . . well, not having enough letters in his surname, I guess.

Tebow is the mythical centaur who can do everything but, well, gallop, which makes him a pretty useless centaur when you think about it. He’s a backup’s backup who can’t get reps even though he is the owner’s pet because he’s a lousy practice player whose quarterbacking skills are universally dismissed as being substandard for the level at which he is playing, and his supporters are desperately trying to make that an argument in his favor too.

And Tebow is again the main topic of NFL blathersation as he tries to transition slowly from one rotten football team this year to another rotten football team next year while taking almost no snaps.

Tebow has managed (or maybe even stage-managed, if you are of a more conspiratorial bent) to become The Most Interesting Man In The World without a single bottle of beer to his name, and the NFL media gaggle have fallen for the entire shameful tableau.

Either he is a cunning huckster getting over on people who apparently enjoy the feeling of being duped, or he is just a media creation who is too polite to ask said medioids to stop trivializing whatever the hell it is he does have.

But he is no victim here, and now that he has denied stories saying he declined to be used in the latest pointless New York Jets exercise, he is also not a rabble-rouser. He is . . . well, an athletic form of Kardashian, famous solely for being famous because someone decided long ago that he should be famous.

In the meantime, Alex Smith, who actually has cause to be bothered relentlessly by national media types, is essentially being ignored as backup quarterbacks typically are. That’s what happens with football players. Which Tebow stopped being long ago.

This seems, well, stupid. Even by the usual subterranean media standards, this seems stupid.

Tebow has been declared redundant by the coach of a bad football team. Great. That makes him John Skelton. Except that he has played almost not at all, which makes him Tyler Thigpen. It surely doesn’t make him Alex Smith – not by a light year, it doesn’t.

So we can choose to turn Smith’s life into a living hell, yammering incessantly about him to the point where people want their heads run over by station wagons just to make the noise stop. Or we can stop spasmodically jerking every time Tebow’s name is mentioned.

And we’re sure as hell not going to do Option B, because the subject of Tebow has been a monument to tedium for nearly a year now. Thus, there’s only thing to do.

Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith.

Tell us when you can’t stand it any more. Let us know when you’ve had all you can stand. E-mail us with your craving to never hear of him again. And then we’ll do this:

Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith. Alex Smith.

Apparently it’s what the audience wants. We just have to figure out a way to change the name – to someone far more deserving of our gift for annoying repetition than THE UNUSED THIRD STRING QUARTERBACK OF THE RIDICULOUS NEW YORK FREAKING JETS, WHO IF HE'S VERY LUCKY NEXT YEAR MAY BECOME THE FIRST-STRING QUARTERBACK OF THE SLIGHTLY LESS RIDICULOUS JACKSONVILLE FREAKING JAGUARS.

Oh. I'm sorry. I meant to type Tim Tebow. It just came out the other way.

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

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AP

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).

AFC WEST

DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)

NFL SOUTH

ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.