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The view is nice from up here

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For the longest time I was a big fan of the NFL's self-imposed parity. But that was then. Now it just seems wrong. Read on.


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• When you are at the foot of a mountain, looking up, with a huge rock in front of you that you have to roll to the top, any help you can get is appreciated. If the powers that be want to shave a little off the top of the peak, that's fine. If they want to break pieces off the rock and share them with others to help carry, you're good with that. If they want to pave the road to the summit, fine. But when you've pushed that rock over obstacle after obstacle and reached the top, your view changes. Now you don't want anyone joining you. Boiling oil poured down the flanks to discourage others is OK. A bunch of rolling logs or coconut bombs wouldn't hurt either. Anything to keep the rest of the rabble at bay. That's how I feel about parity in the NFL this morning. It took the Hawks decades to roll the rock up the hill. They ascended to the top, nearly breaking all our backs in the process. Their reward? It seems the NFL's free agency rules may knock them off the summit within a season. It's not just the players they've lost, though, from Golden Tate to Red Bryant, color the Hawks bruised by the defections. It is also the way the rules make it tough for Seattle to find replacements. Yes, the Hawks are lucky. Some of their best players were low-round draft picks that don't cost all that much right now. That circumstance helped build this year's Super Bowl-winning team. But management knows the bill for those players will come due in the not-so-distant future, so it has been putting money away to pay for them. That's fiscally sound and prudent for long-term success. But it also means offers to current free agents, guys who could help next season, guys like Jared Allen, have to be a bit on the low-ball side. The hope seems to be the chance to play on a winner, to play for the NFL's most popular coached, Pete Carroll, would trump financial concerns. In some cases it has. But the shelf life of NFL players being what it is, money is the ace of trump. Nothing beats it. That's understandable. But it just doesn't seem right when you're atop the mountain, the sweat of the climb drying on your brow. There should be some time to enjoy it, right? And a better opportunity to stay there.

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• WSU: Things have been relatively quiet in Pullman since Ken Bone was let go but that's about to change. Spring football begins Thursday and Jacob Thorpe is on top of it. He had a blog post yesterday on five position battles to watch and followed that up with a story on the same subject. … He also has his morning post. … In coaching news, our buddy Neil Stover caught up with former WSU assistant Ron Sanchez and asked him about coaching in Pullman. … A name mentioned in the WSU search says he hasn't been contacted. … Utah is already midway through spring practice and its coaches are dealing with new positions. … Football is king, sure, but basketball is still going on with UCLA and Arizona among the favorites to make the Final Four and Stanford as a dark horse with a hole opening for it along the rail. … California is still alive in the NIT. … Former WSU point guard Xavier Thames and his San Diego State Aztecs are still alive in the NCAAs. … Oregon State's men have a blueprint for success just down the hall.

• Gonzaga: The Bulldog baseball team is off to a rough start this season.

• Chiefs: The first round of the WHL playoffs have been the favorites' playground thus far, with only one underdog coming through with a victory – and that was the biggest longshot, Tri-City. The Chiefs are hoping the Arena's ice will be more to their liking as they host Victoria tonight. Chris Derrick advances the game with a story and a blog post. … Portland and Seattle each went up 3-0 last night.

• Seahawks: Yes, Allen decided to take the money Chicago was offering and stay in the Midwest. It was a lot of money. … Now that Tony Gonzales is retired, the NFL doesn't want anyone dunking over the goal posts anymore. … Will he or won't he? Kam Chancellor denies a report he is going to have minor hip surgery.

• Mariners: Let me get this right. The M's wanted Randy Wolf (pictured) to stay. They had him penciled into the rotation. But they wanted him to sign a paper giving up any rights to the rest of his contract if he is cut within 45 days? Is anyone surprised he told Jack Zduriencik to shove it up his nose? … They also cut loose a couple of other veterans, though one re-signed. … But, hey, the M's won another spring training game. … And Taijuan Walker and Brandon Maurer threw some innings in a minor league game. … Time doesn't stop for anyone.

• Sounders: Seattle will face Columbus this weekend. The Crew have improved and are among the league's best. … Michael Azira impressed some folks in his debut.

•••

• That's it for this day of the camel. You have a good one, OK? Until later … 


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpe) Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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