Concerns over Jay Ajayi’s knee centered on “cartilage damage that can never be fixed.” The nearest we can tell, the concern with 31 of the 32 NFL teams over Jay Ajayi’s knee centered on “cartilage damage that can never be fixed,” in the words of the Miami Herald. In fact, it must have bothered the Dolphins, too. They had four picks in the fifth round of the draft Saturday, and they used the first three on other players. Miami didn’t have a selection in the sixth and seventh rounds, so Ajayi was its final pick in the 2015 draft. Then again, the Dolphins knew it was now or never when selection No. 149 rolled around. Assistant general manager Eric Stokes said Ajayi’s medical history “was not an issue.” For his part, Ajayi said, “I know that with my knee and with the way I make sure that I handle it, I will play for a long time, and I’m excited to see how my future unfolds.”
There seems to be some debate over whether Ajayi should he have stayed at Boise State for his senior year, considering he didn’t go until the fifth round. The easy answer is “no.” If the knee is an issue now, it would have been an issue a year from now. Waiting until after his senior season would have cost him one year of an NFL livelihood that has no guarantees. Besides, could Ajayi have repeated a performance that produced 2,358 all-purpose yards and a nation’s best 32 touchdowns last season? There’s no lookin’ back now—and no reason to.
As is apparently their habit, the Tampa Bay Buccanneers have elected not to exercise their fifth-year option on Doug Martin. The former Boise State star thus reaches a crossroads in his NFL career, just like ex-teammate Shea McClellin did when the Chicago Bears did the same thing last week. Martin will go into “prove it” mode with the Bucs after posting two sub-par, injury-affected seasons following a stellar rookie year in 2012. After rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, Martin totaled just 950 yards and three touchdowns combined in 2013-14. At least he didn’t take to social media like Seattle’s Bruce Irvin did. Irvin unleashed a series of tweets, some profane, after the Seahawks declined his fifth-year option yesterday.
I’m interested to see what one certain first-round pick will do in Dallas. Cornerback Byron Jones of UConn went to the Cowboys with the 27th overall selection last Thursday. Boise State saw Jones last September—he had just two tackles in the Huskies’ 38-21 loss to the Broncos. Former BSU star Orlando Scandrick will be seeing Jones soon. Scandrick is a Dallas cornerback himself, going into his eighth NFL season.
This day means different things to different people, and we’re not talking Cinco de Mayo. For Jeremy Ioane, it’s a new lease on life thanks to his twin sister, Jasmine. The former Boise State standout is set to undergo his long-awaited kidney transplant. KTVB’s Jay Tust was in Salt Lake City Sunday to report on Ioane’s journey and said the one-time starting safety has dropped to 145 pounds, almost 60 pounds under his playing weight. Yesterday Ioane underwent his final dialysis treatment, and today he receives one of Jasmine’s kidneys. Boise State’s #10aneStrong medical fundraiser had passed the $75,000-mark at least check.
For Titus Young, today could write the latest chapter in what is now a two-year nightmare. The former Boise State star pleaded no contest to one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury in a Los Angeles County courtroom four weeks ago, and his sentencing is scheduled for this morning. That charge came not from Young’s original bizarre spree, but from an incident last July. Of course, there’s always a chance today’s hearing could be postponed, as so many have in the past.
Young flamed out with the Detroit Lions after the 2012 season and was later arrested on 11 felony burglary and assault charges in May of 2013. In his first two NFL seasons—his only two NFL seasons—Young had 81 catches for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns. He made 48 catches in a rookie year that ramped up rapidly, then had 33 grabs in his second year before he was shelved for insubordination. Young did not see the field after Thanksgiving of 2012.
Leon Rice appeared to be in an especially good mood during Boise State’s 2015 Auction Gala Saturday night. Now maybe we know why? Here’s a tweet that popped up midday yesterday: “Proud to announce that I have committed to Boise State! Blessed and excited for the next chapter of my life!” It came from Lonnie Jackson, a 6-4 guard who’s the 10th-leading three-point shooter in Boston College history with 175 makes. As a graduate transfer, Jackson will be available to play immediately this fall for the Bronco basketball program.
Jackson appeared in only December three games as a BC senior due to a lower-leg injury and has been granted an extra year of eligibility. The highlight of Jackson’s career came two years ago when Boston College upset top-ranked and undefeated Syracuse, 62-59. Four of his 10 points were free throws in the final 30 seconds that iced the game. We won’t know what Jackson’s true impact will be until we see how he fits into the Broncos’ culture, but he could greatly ease the loss of departing senior Derrick Marks. The optimists among Bronco faithful envision Anthony Drmic, James Webb III, Nick Duncan and Jackson as a lethal one-two-three-four punch. ACC experience certainly has to count for something.
A little slice of trivia on Craig Counsell, the new Milwaukee Brewers manager. He’s best known for scoring the winning run for the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. But Counsell started his career with the Colorado Rockies. In fact, he was a charter member of the organization’s first minor league team. Counsell played for the Bend Rockies in 1992 and started on Opening Night against the Boise Hawks in Bend—the first game of any kind in Colorado Rockies history. Why do I know this stuff? I did play-by-play that night for a Prime Sports Northwest (now ROOT Sports) telecast. The festive occasion was broadcast live back to some sports bars in Denver, too. Appropriately enough, Bend won 6-4 on an eighth-inning grand slam.
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May 5, 2010, five years ago today: The longest scoreless tie in ECHL history ends 36 seconds into the third overtime, as the Stockton Thunder defeat the Idaho Steelheads, 1-0. The intense duel came in Game 3 of the National Conference Finals in Stockton after the Steelheads had taken a two games-to-none lead in Boise. Steelies goalie Richard Bachman was stellar in recording 35 saves—the Thunder’s Bryan Pitton had to reject 49 Idaho shots. The Steelheads would go on to the Kelly Cup Finals, falling to the Cincinnati Cyclones in five games.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)