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More sports takes for your money

Pondering some thoughts while enjoying my Friday coffee and catching up on "Bar Rescue" episodes I missed in lieu of "The Last Dance."

- I have a lot of respect for Drew Brees as a quarterback.

The New Orleans Saints star is right on par with Tom Brady in terms of playing at a high level at such a late juncture in his career, and if not for a bad call against the Saints in the 2019 NFC Championship Game, the two would've matched up in Super Bowl LIII.

But Brees' comments condemning players for protesting social injustice for kneeling during the national anthem in the wake of the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer were ill-timed.

Brees has since apologized, but taking the Jerry Jones-Donald Trump route in terms of his comments has rubbed his NFL peers and teammates - including his top receiver, Michael Thomas - the wrong way.

- Boston radio hub WEEI put out an interesting article this week on the biggest Boston sports "what-if's," such as had Len Bias and Reggie Lewis hadn't of left us too soon and what if Grady Little had lifted Pedro in the eighth inning in 2003.

The biggest one for me? What if Drew Bledsoe didn't get hurt in Week 2 of the 2001 season and pave the way for Thomas Edward Patrick Brady?

While it's clear Bledsoe wasn't Bill Belichick's guy, if Bledsoe had played out the string that year, it's likely those Patriots go 8-8 at best and Belichick is probably coaching somewhere else in 2002. By that juncture, Patriots fans had grown tired of Bledsoe and his penchant for throwing interceptions and taking sacks at the wrong time.

- The NBA on Thursday formally announced a plan to resume the regular season on July 31 with all games being played in Orlando.

While I'm no fan of a watered down, 22-team playoff, the Celtics were quite banged up before the pandemic shut the season down. Come July 31, Brad Stevens' bunch will be fully healthy and will be a championship threat.

Sorry, LeBron fans, the Lakers won't win it this year. If any West team does, it'll be the Clippers.

- ESPN personality Max Kellerman is known for his anti-Tom Brady hot takes, but his recent "nobody cares about hockey in America" take is a head-scratcher.

I'd like to extend an invitation to Max to say that in front of a sold-out Alfond Arena. I guarantee he'll get louder boos than any UNH player or Steve Piotrowski.

- A big-time congratulations to my former coach, Brewer cross country and track coach Glendon Rand, for being honored as the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's recipient of the Larry LaBrie Distinguished Service Award.

Not only is Rand an excellent coach, but is a big-time voice and promoter of cross country and track and field in Maine, which don't often get the same recognition as the games played in courts, fields and rinks.

Rand was also a huge proponent in the early 2010's of allowing the Maine Principals' Association to continue to allow our state's track athletes to compete in New England championship competitions when that was nearly taken away.

- Another kudos to gym owners in the state for beginning to open their facilities in a safe manner.

Not only is that big for my non-journalism industry - fitness - in terms of allowing trainers such as myself to start to get back to work, our high school athletes can safely get into these facilities and train for their fall seasons.

And a lot of these young athletes are going to be fired up and ready after the pandemic wiped out the spring campaign.

- Imagine if the NFL doesn't allow fans in its stadiums for the first few weeks of the regular season, and the Kansas City Chiefs have to drop a championship banner in front of an empty Arrowhead Stadium.

With the Patriots facing early-season trips to Seattle and K.C., that could be a small advantage for Bill Belichick's bunch.

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