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It's really up to Schobel, not the Bills

Column as I see 'em:

*I can understand Aaron Schobel's desire to spend more time with his family in Texas. I can't blame him for not participating in any of these "voluntary" team activities. And God knows, he must be weary of the losing and dysfunction at One Bills Drive.

But it's an outrage for Schobel to declare that his fate is "in the Bills' hands." Three years ago, the Bills gave Schobel a seven-year, $50.5 million contract extension. At the time, he was the highest-paid athlete in Buffalo sports history. That's a handsome sum for a guy who has been part of some horrible defenses and never made it to a single playoff game.

If Schobel wants to retire, fine. The decision is in his hands, not the team's. He's under contract. It sounds as if he's asking for his release so he can finish his career in Houston. Why else would Schobel say it's the Bills' move? He can't honestly believe a new regime would let him skip training camp and report for the regular season.

Marv Levy used to say that once you start talking about retirement, you're already retired. Schobel should make up his mind and stop acting as if the Bills are supposed to do it for him.

*Tiger Woods questioned some of his club selections in the final round of the U.S. Open, a clear criticism of his caddie, Steve Williams. It's not the first time. On Sunday at the 2003 Masters, Woods said Williams convinced him to go for the green on a 350-yard par-4. He double-bogeyed and never recovered.

It's troubling to see Woods skirting blame. He recently fired his swing coach. It makes you wonder if Woods has truly accepted responsibility for the indiscretions in his personal life.

*Four Kentucky freshmen (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe) are expected to go in the first round of Thursday night's NBA draft. I'm sure they're much readier for the pros than they were a year ago after posing as college students for a semester.

*As of Tuesday, 23 pitchers in the Major Leagues had ERAs under 3.00. In 2006, only two pitchers finished the season with sub-3.00 ERAs. The last time 20 pitchers (who qualified) ended the year under 3.00 was 1992. Hmmm. Do you suppose the crackdown on steroids might have something to do with it?

*Tyler Myers deserves to take away the Calder Trophy at tonight's NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas. I don't get the bias against defensemen. You'd think the voters would be more impressed with a young D who plays major minutes for a division champion. Sorry to come off as a homer, but Ryan Miller would be my pick for the Vezina, too.

*Mariano Rivera's right arm should be donated to science. Rivera is having one of his best seasons at 40. Heading into Tuesday's game, he had retired 21 consecutive hitters, the longest streak of his career. Since May 21, he had allowed one hit, two walks and zero runs. Overall, he had 16 saves and a 1.11 ERA.

*It was supposed to be about pitching and defense this year, but the Red Sox lead all of baseball in runs scored.

*We still need golfers for the second annual Tom Borrelli Memorial Tournament on Friday, July 16 at Holland Hills. It's a scramble with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. For $100, you get golf, cart, dinner, open bar for an hour and prizes. For a mere $125, you get to play in my foursome. Interested golfers can send their entry fee to: Tom Borrelli Memorial Award, Sports Department, Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240.

After dinner, we'll present the Borrelli Award to the top high school senior lacrosse player in Western New York. Borrelli was a Hall of Fame lacrosse writer and a great ambassador for the sport.


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