Mac Engel

Big Mac Bites: TCU can’t let Turpin in at its Pro Day

Big Mac Chat with Fox Sports’ Kate Abdo

Fox Sports' Kate Abdo joined Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel for the latest edition of The Big Mac Chat; she will be hosting the Fox telecast of the Errol Spence Jr. fight against Mikey Garcia on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
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Fox Sports' Kate Abdo joined Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel for the latest edition of The Big Mac Chat; she will be hosting the Fox telecast of the Errol Spence Jr. fight against Mikey Garcia on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.

Once TCU kicked KaVontae Turpin off the football team, and out of school, there was no middle ground.

After he was accused of domestic violence last fall, and then proceeded to lie about a similar charge that was undiscovered last spring, coach Gary Patterson and the school, had no choice but to be done with Turpin.

That includes this week when the school hosts its annual NFL Pro Day. Although Turpin’s chances of being invited to show off for NFL scouts and coaches are just about gone, this should never have been a consideration.

Turpin put Patterson, and the school, in a terrible position; even though they may like him and want to give him a chance, an invite to Pro Day can’t be extended.

The school has not made an official decision to allow Turpin to perform at its Pro Day, which is scheduled for March 29, but Patterson said it’s not looking favorable.

Patterson and TCU kicked Turpin out for a reason, and to let him be associated with their school and their football program now, considering the type of charges levied against him, is a terrible message.

Shortly after Turpin was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in Fort Worth in October, it was learned that he lied to TCU staffers about a similar charge that occurred in Las Cruces, New Mexico in March. There is a decent chance the charges will be dropped.

Turpin has been working out in hopes of potentially getting an NFL look. Everyone who knows Turpin likes him, and they may want to give him this chance to show off for NFL scouts and coaches, but this is not the right venue.

Turpin put himself in this position and he has to do most of this on his own.

Listed as 5-foot-9, even had Turpin been an angel, his chances of making an NFL roster were not good. As Bill Parcells once said of small guys, you better be fast. Turpin is fast, but he was not a great pass catcher and his value to an NFL team is limited.

He may catch on with the Alliance of American Football next year, or possibly the XFL, which is scheduled to begin play in 2020.

For his sake, hope he moves forward with his life and career. At this juncture, however, TCU cannot be a part of either.

This week’s Top 7 items you must know to function:


Anyone can win, but to lose with abandon is special. Seldom is watching a loss any more engrossing than the Dallas Mavericks’ crash towards Game No. 82. What began as a dream is becoming more of a reality every day.

The Mavs just may be able to lose their way to a top-five pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, which would ensure they would keep that selection rather than move it to Atlanta as part of the deal to acquire Luka Doncic. The Mavs are currently in the sixth spot.

Of course, in their pursuit of defeat the Mavs pulled off the biggest upset of the entire NBA season by blowing out the Warriors on Saturday night in Oakland. What should have been a glorious defeat was instead a crushing win.

Hopefully they can get back to their losing ways, and get this awful taste of victory out of their mouth. Before that needless win at Golden State, they had won two of their previous 17 games. Why ruin a good thing?


At this point, news organizations are likely creating headlines that begin with “A Florida Man ...” knowing full well there is a large, viral audience waiting.

This week, a Tweeter created a viral hit asking followers to “Google, ‘A Florida Man’ and your birthday’ to see what you get.“

No state contributes more horribly fun headlines than Florida, which normally begins with, “A Florida Man ....”

From July 7, my birthday, is the winner, “A Florida Man gets head butted by an alligator.”

From Feb. 3, “A Florida man who had sex with dolphin says it seduced him.”


Earlier this week, I wrote about Abilene Christian’s NCAA Tournament appearance, and had some fun with my good friends, the fans of the University of Kentucky basketball team. Most of the award-losing column was tongue-in-cheek, where I boldly predicted ACU would crush Kentucky.

Even famed Kentucky fan, actress Ashley Judd, Tweeted me, “Good luck” (it’s already framed and on the wall).

How anyone took my prediction literally makes me sad for our future, but the column made sports talk radio and television coverage in Kentucky.

As an experiment, I wrote the following sentence, “Thursday/Friday of this week are one of the last places when David out of the SWAC is on a neutral floor with Goliath from the ACC.”

This sentence was an overview of the tournament, not about any specific matchup, such as UK vs. ACU.

I was not disappointed by my UK fans. Kathy Holder wrote me, “Get your facts straight dude. KY is in the SEC not ACC. What a pathetic piece of journalism.”

Nor is Abilene Christian in the SWAC, a conference comprised of historically African-American universities.


Write this down (in pencil): the Houston Astros will not make the 2019 MLB playoffs. That rotation is going to get them.


After introducing myself to Alvin Gentry, the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, on Monday he told me his son plans to attend TCU in the fall, and that the basketball team got screwed out on NCAA Tournament appearance. Gentry knows TCU on a level I was not expecting.

“How do you take St. Johns and not take them?” Gentry asked me. “The Big 12 is a hell of a league. I mean, how about the whole thing with the football team a few years back? There is no way in hell they should not have been in the playoffs (in 2014), man. I love college football. And the coach there (Patterson) is one of the best coaches in the country. With the resources he had to deal with, compared to everyone else. They were great for a long stretch. But that game against Baylor (a 61-58 loss in ‘14) was a killer.”


The duo who created “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker” have another score in the Netflix feature length film, “Triple Frontier.”

The combination of Katheryn Bigelow and Mark Boal combined to make another film about U.S. military figures; this time, a handful of former special-ops guys, including a thick Ben Affleck, head to South America to cash in on their training with an off-the-books mission to steal money from a drug lord.

This is a guy’s-guy movie, and the reason I mention it in this space is this is one of the few films I have seen in years that gave me a genuine sense of suspense against a conclusion that feels inevitable. You pull for the characters. “Triple Frontier” is not as good as “Locker” or “Zero Dark,” but it gives you an authentic feeling of ex-military guys trying to cash in after a system didn’t pay the type of dividends they need.


This week in a MLB regular-season game between the A’s and Mariners, one of the best players in the history of the game retired. By any metric, Ichiro Suzuki is one of the best players to ever play baseball. He also introduced a slew of players to make the jump from Asia to the majors, starting the big influx of Asian players to MLB.

In 2001, when he broke into the big leagues, the fear was that only Asian pitchers were good enough to deal with MLB players; that position players were merely minor-leaguers by comparison. Ichiro destroyed that.

That spring, on April 6, 2001, he hit his first major-league home run, an extra-inning shot to beat the Rangers in Arlington.

I dealt with Ichiro once, during ‘01 spring training. There were three of us in the Mariners clubhouse, and the thought was Ichiro would not do one-on-one interviews, because at that time he was overrun by the press. His translator was sitting next to him, and we were chatting and I asked, “Could I ask him a question or two.”

Ichiro looked at me, and in an enthusiastic English he said, “Of course!”

In that private setting, he could not have been any nicer, and few players were ever more entertaining to watch.


Texas Rangers’ Opening Day is Thursday against the most insufferable franchise in America, the Chicago Cubs. If you want to ask a player/coach anything, email me at

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