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Schmuck: Can’t thank Lamar Jackson enough for finally giving us a reason to watch the Pro Bowl | COMMENTARY

News item: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson already is stealing the show during Pro Bowl week with the humility and understated charisma that has endeared him to a whole nation of sports fans. Obviously, he’d rather be somewhere else Sunday, but he’ll probably be in Miami the weekend after this one to pick up his MVP trophy.

My take: Finally, a reason to watch the Pro Bowl that doesn’t involve a point spread and an over-under line. Can’t remember the last time I did that.

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News item: The Maryland men’s basketball team fell behind 10-0 at Northwestern on Tuesday night and trailed by 14 at halftime before surging back to earn their first non-neutral-site win of the season.

My take: Is it possible for an entire team to have a split personality? I’d like to think that was the corner-turning moment when the talented Terps finally figured out who they are, but we might be scratching our heads again when they play at Indiana on Sunday.

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News item: Longtime New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is set to announce his retirement Friday after a 16-year career that includes two Super Bowl victories. Now for the inevitable debate about his suitability for the Hall of Fame.

My take: I’m not a huge fan, but he’ll get to Canton and deservedly so. If I had a vote, he’d get it just for keeping the arrogant Patriots from winning eight Super Bowls since 2001 instead of six.

Bonus counterargument: If someone were looking for an excuse to keep him out, that 117-117 career record as a pro starter would be a good place to start.

News item: Redskins owner Daniel Snyder recently met with members of the Maryland legislature to discuss options for a new stadium and reportedly brainstormed a proposal that would include a sports gambling site in the facility.

My take: Interesting concept. Since Redskins fans already put out thousands of dollars for their season tickets, a sportsbook would provide a great opportunity to recoup some of that money by betting against the home team.

News item: Zion Williamson’s much-anticipated NBA debut Wednesday night got off to a balky start, but the game had to be worth the price of admission just to see the amazing 2½-minute spurt in the fourth quarter during which he hit four long 3-pointers, made two acrobatic plays at the basket and scored 16 points.

My take: Years ago, I watched a kid named Shaquille O’Neal own college basketball and predicted that he would not be as dominant at the professional level. Won’t make that mistake again. Williamson was coming off a half-season of injury rehab and it took him only about 12 minutes to get comfortable enough on the court to light the basketball world on fire.

News item: The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution earlier this week urging Major League Baseball to strip the 2017 Houston Astros and 2018 Boston Red Sox of their championships and award them to the Dodgers, who were the losing team in both of those World Series.

My take: No doubt, that will garner a few future votes from local baseball fans, but the Los Angeles Times was right to question the logic of the resolution and call out the council for “grandstanding.” Can’t think of a more appropriate use of that term.

News item: Major League Baseball will begin testing a computerized strike zone during spring training this year, but the human umpires will still be calling the actual balls and strikes during the nine exhibition games the system will be in use.

My take: There’s no question that “robot umps” have the potential to be more accurate and consistent than human umpires, but what fun is that? If technology is so great, why were the Astros forced to bang on plastic trash cans to steal the ‘17 World Series?

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