Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

Football? Not in this house

Michael Vick’s real-life sequel to “The Longest Yard” never really happened, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Last week, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the New York Daily News that Vick was staying in shape by playing prison football.

“He played quarterback for both sides,” Blank said.

But the Atlanta paper contacted Vick’s prison, where a spokesman deadpanned: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


Tracey Billingsley, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, offered a possible explanation.

“It’s not unheard-of for inmates to toss around a football,” she said. “But there just are no games until the fall.”

Plus, she added, the games are flag football.

And if Blank’s idea of staying in shape is playing flag football, well, that might explain the Falcons’ 4-12 record last season.

Trivia time

In the 1974 theatrical version of “The Longest Yard,” Burt Reynolds played a former pro quarterback turned convict -- a role reprised in 2005 by Adam Sandler. What was the character’s name?

Two left ankles

As the first round of the NHL playoffs got underway, there was bad blood flowing between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

First, Senators Coach Bryan Murray accused the Penguins of tanking their final regular-season game so they would open the playoffs against his team instead of the Boston Bruins.

Now, Ottawa Sun columnist Don Brennan is calling for Senators players to try to injure Penguins players, including star Sidney Crosby.

“Crosby’s got a bad right ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander?” Brennan wrote.

“The Senators have to find out.”

Crosby said he isn’t concerned.

“It’s my left,” he said.

Blacked out

A Lawrence, Kan., neighborhood missed out on the end of the NCAA title game after a car crashed into a cable box and knocked out the television signal, according to the Kansas City Star.

Officials at Sunflower Cable in Lawrence told the paper that the outage lasted only three or four minutes. But those were the final minutes of the game, depriving customers of the chance to see the Jayhawks defeat Memphis for their first title since 1988.

Yellow ticket?

Apparently, David Beckham bent his automobile the wrong way.

A day after he was named Major League Soccer player of the week, Beckham earned a ticket from an LAPD officer for making an illegal left turn at Sunset and Fairfax.

The Lancashire Evening Post reported that Beckham “was really cooperative” and celebrity gossip websites were abuzz with photos of a smiling Beckham accepting the ticket and its accompanying $160 fine.

It shouldn’t be a problem, however, because Beckham this week regained his spot as the world’s highest-paid soccer player, earning $48.8 million a year.

In a fix

The Detroit Tigers’ 0-7 start before winning Wednesday baffled many observers, especially after the team went on an off-season spending spree and now has the second-highest payroll in the majors.’s Page 2 suggested that it’s time for Jim Leyland, a notorious cigarette smoker, to get serious.

“Somebody hide Jim Leyland’s smokes,” the column suggested. “It’s time for the kind of fire-and-brimstone speech only a relentless nicotine fit can provide.”

Trivia answer

Paul “Wrecking” Crewe.

And finally

Reader Axel Kyster of Bradbury e-mailed to say he would be betting against a certain Mr. Woods at the Masters this weekend after Detroit started 0-7 in baseball and Memphis lost the NCAA national championship game.

“I don’t think it’s a very good week to be a Tiger,” he wrote.