Whitsitt bedevils another franchise


The man who did more than anyone to bring down the Trail Blazers in the 1990s has another franchise to torment now.

Under the headline, 'Whitsitt's way could come back to haunt Hawks,' the Seattle Times' respected NFL columnist, Les Carpenter, takes a look at what is happening with the Seahawks and President Bob Whitsitt.

Carpenter says people throughout the NFL are asking who is running the Seahawks.

'Like there is any doubt,' Carpenter writes. 'Mike Holmgren's imperial robe now lies wadded up in the corner. Mike Reinfeldt, the lone executive who seemed to grasp the concept of running a football team, has been chased out the door. The dust has cleared, and a new sheriff is rubbing his badge and fingering the holsters. Trader Bob is back in town.'

This month, writes Carpenter, Whitsitt paid $26 million in guaranteed money to Grant Wistrom, Cedric Woodard and Darrell Jackson, three players with a combined zero Pro Bowls. And on Wednesday, the Seahawks gave free-agent cornerback Bobby Taylor a contract that could be worth $15.75 million.

Carpenter: 'This is the Whitsitt way: Make a splash, spend big and send a message rippling around the league that the Seahawks won't be pushed around. But most of all, make sure you keep your own. By holding onto your players, no matter how average they might seem, no one can say you let someone get away.'

And: 'Many in the league believe the Seahawks, 1-4 against teams with a winning record last year, are just a couple of players away from the Super Bowl. But after the last few days, many of those people are covering their mouths and stifling giggles.'

nReliever Bart Miadich from Lake Oswego has pitched well this spring and could make the San Diego Padres. The 6-4, 200-pound Miadich, 28, is 2-0 in eight appearances, having allowed three earned runs and seven hits in eight innings. Miadich was the closer for Salt Lake City in the Pacific Coast League and pitched once for the Anaheim Angels last season.

'He hasn't hurt himself,' General Manager Kevin Towers says. 'He is a power arm with a hard slider, and he continues to impress. It looks like we will carry him to the end, but if he doesn't make it, he is a guy we wouldn't be afraid to start in Portland and then have him come up and help us at some point in the season.'

nNew Portland Beaver manager Craig Colbert and new hitting coach Tommy Sandt hadn't met until spring camp started.

'We've both been kind of scoping each other out, and I have found he is a great guy to work with, a guy who knows the business well,' Colbert says. 'Same thing with (pitching coach) Tom Brown. Having those two veteran guys working with me will help out a lot.'

• Milwaukee coach Terry Porter was extremely impressed with the Blazers when they beat the Bucks two weeks ago.

'They have the ultimate defender back there in Theo (Ratliff) and some guys on the perimeter who can defend pretty good,' Porter says. 'They have Zach Randolph, a 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) guy, and a 20 and 10 guy coming off the bench in Shareef (Abdur-Rahim). They seem to be playing well as a team. Since the (Rasheed Wallace) trade, they have kind of blossomed into a team. Before, they were just a bunch of individuals.'

• Former Aloha standout Nic Costa began spring practice Tuesday in a four-way battle for the University of Arizona quarterback job. Costa, a 5-10, 205-pound sophomore-to-be, started the opener last season but wound up as backup to then-freshman Kris Heavner. Costa and Heavner will get competition from two others Ñ6-6, 190-pound Ryan O'Hara, who also made a quarterback start last season but finished the season at wide receiver, and redshirt freshman Richard Kovalcheck.

'They are all different in a lot of ways because of what they bring to the offense,' first-year coach Mike Stoops tells the Arizona Republic. 'We will have to mold and finalize and shape our offense around the guy who gives us the best opportunity to move the ball.'

• John Hahn has resurfaced again, this time as business operations manager of the Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League. Hahn, who has lived in Portland for most of the last 34 years, has served in various public relations and general manager positions with the soccer Timbers and Pride and the indoor football Forest Dragons. He last worked as vice president of operations for the Arena League Houston Thunderbears in 2002.

Hahn moved to Phoenix in December to work with the Sting, who are owned by the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. The Sting opened the Coyotes' new Glendale Arena with a crowd of more than 14,000 and have been averaging more than 5,000 fans. 'And I have had fun doing this, even though I don't know a lot about lacrosse,' Hahn says. 'It's a good game, and it's pretty popular in this area.'

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