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Wand 'era' is over

The cuts are done. Seth Wand is gone. As a third rounder in 2003, he started at left tackle in '04, lost the gig and got it back this past offseason on an experimental basis. I always felt the coaches put Wand out there as a target for Charles Spencer to compete with and win the starting job. If Wand flourished, fine. If Spencer came through, which he did, they could have a rookie phenom on their hands.

Wand was the left tackle during the Texans' best season of 7-9 in '04, but was also the subject of one of the most bizarre substitution patterns I've ever seen. Against the Bears in a 13-degree deep freeze, he would come out on passing downs, being replaced by Marcus Spears. I believe they only ran once or twice with Spears at LT. But guess what? It worked. The Texans remained unfrozen long enough to beat the Bears for their sixth win that year.

Sam Cowart was brought in during the offseason to start at MLB, but DeMeco Ryans won the job and Sam didn't rebound well from an achilles injury. Antowain Smith had a good night against Tampa Bay, but it wasn't enough to win a job. He's a good man who you hate to see out of the league.

But let's not complain about the team having only one back who's played a down in the NFL. Smith wasn't going to play anyway, and there's no one on the waiver wire who can start for this team right now. There might be some depth (read on), but no starter.

Among other cuts around the league...Charles Rogers has been shown the door in Detroit. He was taken right before Andre Johnson as the number-two pick in the '03 draft. Matt Millen certainly wishes he picked 'Dre now. Aaron Glenn's old buddy Ray Mickens was given his pink slip from the Jets. Plus the Titans said goodbye to once-promising receiver Tyrone Calico. And Ron Dayne was cut by the Broncos, only to re-join his former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak in Houston late last night. I know my broadcast partner Andre Ware doesn't mind having another member of the Heisman fraternity around.

Speaking of Andre and the Heisman, some of you saw him at Budweiser Plaza before the Bucs game signing autographs with the trophy itself in tow. He had security personnel help bring it from his car. Not only do you need to make sure that no one attempts to abduct the famous stiff arm statue, it weighs an awkward-to-carry 55 pounds.

College season is off and running and to nobody's surprise Texas walloped North Texas and Ohio State rocked Northern Illinois. The directional school tune-ups are history and now we can take in Texas-Ohio State as the appetizer to NFL opening Sunday.



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