Two pretty big pieces of news for Cleveland sports tonight...
The Browns and Jamal Lewis have agreed to a deal.
As Rich Swerbinsky writes, this is a mixed-bag signing. As with the signing of former Bengal Eric Steinbach, signing the former Raven Lewis strengthens the Browns at the expense of a divisional opponent, so it's like two moves in one.
But one has to wonder exactly how much this strengthens the Browns.
There is no question Lewis is one of the best power backs in the league when healthy. Goodness knows, Browns fans saw all they ever wanted to see of Lewis when he abused their team in 2003. He set the NFL single-game rushing record with 295 yards in the first meeting, then topped the 200-yard mark again in the second meeting.
As a rookie, Lewis was the meal ticket for the Ravens offense en route to their win in Super Bowl XXXV.
But ever since 2003, Lewis has been wracked by injuries. On top of that, he spent four months in federal prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to setting up a drug buy. The alleged buy happened prior to the Ravens drafting Lewis.
Lewis is 27 and entering his eighth season. He's not all that young anymore, and given how short of a shelf life punishing north-south runners tend to have in the NFL, it's a legitimate question to ask if the Browns are simply catching another falling star on the way down.
One thing is known for sure: A healthy Lewis should be able to hit holes a lot quicker than Reuben Droughns, who might be destined for free agency in the near future, especially since he is due a roster bonus of nearly $2 million if he's still a Brown a week from now.
The Cavs won in Detroit 101-97.
Has LeBron James peaked? Are we going to be mentioning him in the same breath as Dwight Gooden and Gary Coleman, child stars who went from having the world on a string to snorting nose candy off the ass of a five-dollar hooker in a Vegas Howard Johnson's?
To Bill Simmons and company, all I can say is "sniff, sniff."
LeBron continued to do what LeBron usually does when people doubt him: Prove them wrong with a vengeance.
His recent string of monstrous games continued with not-so-arguably his biggest performance of the year.
At the Palace of Auburn Hills, in a game the Cavaliers desperately needed not only to keep their hopes of a first-seed playoff berth alive, but also to make sure the Pistons didn't take up permanent residence in their heads, LeBron was huge. He racked up 41 points in the overtime win and played the best defense I've ever seen him play, including a volleyball-spike block of a Rip Hamilton lay-up, and harassing a travel out of the normally sure-footed Tayshaun Prince.
LeBron is back to where he was at the end of last season, perhaps minus the free throws. The Cavs can get him the ball with the game on the line, get out of the way, and know he's probably going to make something happen.
This was a huge win for the Cavs. They still have to do it against Detroit in the playoffs, but with the Pistons set to run away with the East, the Cavs yanked them back to the pack in a big way with a statement win on the road. And, perhaps, re-ignited the fire that almost carried them past the Pistons last spring.
There is still one more game to go in the regular season between these two teams, then the postseason. We'll see if tonight's win pays dividends down the road.