Sports Illustrated’s Aug. 8 Issue: All the Developments from a Wild First Week of Training Camp

NFL 2.0: Inside All the Developments from the Wildest First Week of Training Camp Ever

Elite Athletes Don’t Have Faster Reflexes (and Other Findings From Sports Medicine’s New Frontiers)

Matt Kemp Provides the Silver Lining in a Gloomy Dodgers Season

SI’s Road to Brazil 2014: Palestine Uses World Cup Qualifying As a Symbol of Nation Building

In addition to the cover featuring Nnamdi Asomugha, the “NFL 2.o” package that headlines this week’s Aug. 8 issue includes the following:

SHAKE YOUR MONEY MAKERS – JIM TROTTER (@SI_JimTrotter) AND PETER KING (@SI_PeterKing)

NFL senior writers Jim Trotter and Peter King weigh in on the big-name deals and the under-the-radar moves, respectively. To view the full write-ups, go to Facebook.com/SportsIllustrated and “Like” the page. Then click on “This Week’s Issue” on the menu that appears on the left-hand side (page 31).

BIG NAME

Albert Haynesworth, DT, and Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots (acquired in trades)

Johnathan Joseph, CB, Texans (five years, $48.8 million)

Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets (five years, $50 million)

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins (traded from the Saints)

Peyton Manning, QB, Colts (five years, $90 million)

UNDER THE RADAR

Harvey Dahl, RG, Rams (four years, $16 million)

Cullen Jenkins, DT, Eagles (five years, $25 million)

James Jones, WR, Packers (three years, undisclosed)

Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs (five years, $9 million guaranteed)

Remi Ayodele, DT, Vikings (three years, $9 million)

On the Tablets: In this video interview, Peter King names the winners and losers of free agency.

A LOT OF BALLS IN THE AIR – JIM TROTTER (@SI_JimTrotter)

Several big-name passers have already made big-time switches, and there may be more moves to come. So how do their potential receivers feel? Says the Broncos’ Brandon Lloyd, whose team is deciding between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow (page 34): “This happened my last year in San Francisco, in 2005. We’ve got Tim Rattay, who can play in this league and deliver the ball, and they get rid of him to play Alex Smith, the guy we drafted Number 1 overall that year. As a veteran you say, You’re just going to s— on our season to develop for the future? It makes you mad. Me, I want to win now. Keeping Orton as the starter means we’re trying to win now. Going with Tim Tebow is a developmental move, not a ‘now’ move.”

INSIDE THE FALCONS’ TRAINING CAMP – PETER KING (@SI_PeterKing)

During the wildest first week of training-camp history, Peter King went behind the scenes with the Atlanta Falcons hoping to see how executives, agents and players were navigating the league’s new landscape. King bore witness to a flurry of contract negotiations, a revolving door of rookie free agents, 1,000-word e-mails and much more—all on about four hours sleep for the parties involved (page 28).

To read the full online version of Peter King’s story on the Falcons, click here.

ALSO IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

SPORTS MEDICINE’S NEW FRONTIERS – DAVID EPSTEIN (@SIDAVIDEPSTEIN) AND ALEXANDER WOLFF

Staff writer David Epstein—along with senior writer Alexander Wolff—have written a special report looking into the developments behind athletes and medicine, focusing on brain functions, pain threshold and career-saving surgeries. Epstein also discounts many common myths associated with sports, including the need to stretch before running, oxygen masks aiding in recovery and the value of hydration (page 47).

He writes: “For the last three decades sports psychologists have been assembling a picture of how elite athletes hit 95-mph fastballs or return 150-mph tennis serves. The intuitive explanation is that the Ryan Howards and Rafael Nadals of the world simply have faster nervous ­systems—quicker reflexes, which give them more time to react to the ball. But it turns out that when elite hitters, from baseball and tennis to badminton to cricket, are hauled into the lab, their reaction speeds are no better than those of people chosen off the street.”

To read the full online version of It’s All About Anticipation, click here. (The tablet editions also feature video of the amazing Eddie Feigner in action at the height of his popularity.) Readers can click on the links below to read the other sections of Epstein’s and Wolff’s sports medicine package:

  • Rebuilt at the Body Shop – Thanks to enhanced surgical techniques, more and more athletes are being sent back into action after suffering injuries that were once considered career-ending (page 48).
    • On the Tablets: A brief video history of knee surgery.
  • Prosthetics: Between Man and Machine – Inspired by young wounded veterans, federally funded labs are creating artificial limbs that may soon blur the distinction between disabled and able-bodied athletes (page 50).
    • On the Tablets: Click to watch the trailer for Warrior Champions, a documentary on four wounded soldiers and their journeys from Baghdad to the Beijing Olympics. Readers can also buy the DVD.
  • Major League Vision – Visual acuity tests demonstrate that big leaguers and Olympic softball players simply see better than the rest of us (page 56).
  • The Truth About Pain: It’s In Your Head – More often than most people, athletes have to ignore pain or endure it for long periods. It turns out that in this endeavor, the brain is a very good ally (page 58).
  • Hooked on Painkillers – Here’s how former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas became addicted to opiates—and how he finally kicked the habit (page 62).

Also on the Tablets: A Sports Illustrated audio podcast interview with David Epstein.

MATT KEMP IS JUST KILLING IT – BEN REITER (@SI_BENREITER)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have found nothing but trouble in 2011, from their 47–57 record through Sunday to plunging attendance figures and an embattled owner. The team’s silver lining is centerfielder Matt Kemp, whose extraordinary athletic ability has him sitting near the top of the National League in each of the Triple Crown categories. Kemp shakes off criticism that his underwhelming 2010 performance was due to his high-profile relationship with then girlfriend Rihanna. This season he is tapping into his seemingly unlimited potential thanks to a renewed emphasis on technique. Says former teammate Brad Ausmus (page 42): “If Matt can squeeze every ounce of ability out of his body for the next 15 years, we’ll be looking at a Hall of Famer.”

To read the full online version of Matt Kemp is Just Killing It, click here.

On the Tablets: Both Matt Kemp and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista have a chance to exceed 10 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). If they succeed, this will be just the seventh season in the last 50 years in which more than one position player had a WAR of at least 10. Here are hot spots of the previous six.

ROAD TO BRAZIL 2014: WELCOME TO THE WORLD – GRANT WAHL (@GrantWahl)

Palestine’s hopes of a 2014 World Cup berth were dashed with a 3–2 aggregate loss to Thailand in the third round of Asian qualifiers, but their long-term goal of political inclusion and global acceptance was still alive. In the first part of SI’s Road to Brazil series, soccer senior writer Grant Wahl takes a closer look at how the Palestinians’ qualifying campaign became a symbol of nation building. Says central defender Abdelatif Bahdari (page 36): “Playing as a national team for Palestine is a perfect step in building the country, especially now that we have a home field. We’re sending the message that we’re not terrorists, we’re human beings. We can be a part of this world.”

To read the full online version of Welcome to the World, click here.

On the Tablets: Check out photos from the other World Cup qualifying matches that have already taken place. In addition, Wahl is interviewed for the Sports Illustrated audio podcast along with Steve Davis (@SteveDavis90) and Jen Chang (@JenChang88).

SI PLAYERS MLB POLL (page 11)

Were baseball to expand, which city should get a team first?

Las Vegas….33%                      Portland….7%

Nashville….7%                         New Orleans….7%

Charlotte….7%

[Based on 295 MLB players who responded to SI’s survey]

FAST FACTS: Big winner Vegas is one of two cities in the top 10 without a major pro sports team. The other is San Juan, P.R. (which was tabbed by just 3% of all the ballplayers polled but by 26% of those born in Latin America)…. Of the 35 cities named by at least one pro, only Montreal (2%) has ever been home to an MLB franchise since 1900.

Facebook Fan Picks

San Juan, Puerto Rico….25%

Montreal, Quebec….20%

Charlotte….17%

POINT AFTER: THE COIN OF THE HIT KING’S REALM – PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)

Fans of Pete Rose are likely to find him in, of all places, Las Vegas—odd for a man banned from baseball for betting on the game. He spends many of his days there autographing photos, baseballs, uniforms and other paraphernalia. When senior writer Phil Taylor visited Rose in Vegas recently, he developed newfound sympathy for Charlie Hustle. Is it possible that after the scandals of Mark McGwire, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods and others, Rose’s misdeeds seems less shocking now? Are 22 years of keeping Rose away from something he loves punishment enough? As Rose tells Taylor (page 68): “I’m not saying I’ve never placed a bet since I got kicked out of baseball. I might put a few bucks on the [Kentucky] Derby, like anybody else. But you’re not going to find me in [the sports book]…. I hope Bud’s [Selig] got somebody following me. He’ll find out I’m just going about my business.”

To read the full online version of The Coin of the Hit King’s Realm, click here.

SCORECARD: THE THRILL IS GONE – JON WERTHEIM (@jon_wertheim)

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer once dominated their respective sports with their talent, sparking a friendly competition over who would win more major titles. But as the trajectories of their careers have changed, so it seems has their friendship. Federer and his wife, Mirka Vavrinec, have socialized with Woods’s ex-wife, Elin, and Woods never mentions Federer anymore. For those fans in search of another intersport friendship, you’re in luck: Rory McIlroy was spotted in the Royal Box last month, watching Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play in the Wimbledon final (page 10).

To read the full online version of The Thrill is Gone, click here.

THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page 17)

  • Arman (Gino) Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas High) – Track and Field
  • Layla Choate (Hazel, Ky./Calloway County High) – Equestrian
  • Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa/Bishop Kelly High) – Volleyball
  • Jim Barber (Zionsville, Ind.) – Open-Water Swimming
  • Jena Hemann (Breese, Ill./Central Community High) – Track and Field
  • Brandon Matchett (Pittsburgh/Barack Obama Academy of International Studies) and Bailey Narr (Pittsburgh/Sterrett Classical Academy) – Marbles

Follow Faces in the Crowd on Twitter @SI_Faces.

INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS (page 20)

  • Olympics: London Calling – The story lines for the 2012 Games, including a must-see rivalry and a breakout star, were set at the FINA World Championships. (Kelli Anderson)
  • Baseball: Pay It Forward – The big takeaway from a hectic trade deadline: Prospects—and not even the best ones—carry a hefty price tag. (Joe Sheehan, @joe_sheehan)
  • NASCAR: Golden Anger – Jeff Gordon is 40—and truly a man in full—but as his Indy run shows, the former champ is still full of racing. (Lars Anderson, @LarsAndersonSI)

THIS WEEK ON THE TABLETS

  • SI Digital Bonus: On the Road with Peter King – For the next four weeks, SI’s peripatetic pro football guru will be touring NFL training camps in a bus supplied by the USO. And he’ll deliver video postcards from every one of his 25 (or so) stops on his long, strange trip.
  • Off the Record: This week’s must-see moments in sports video.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers