Photos From "The U" Premier

Click here to read our review of “The U” Documentary.

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Former Hurricanes Build Awareness of the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame & the Screening of "The U"

Miami Alums K.C. Jones, Mark Cooper and Ryan Clement Come Together to Put a Local Spin
on UM’s Sports Hall of Fame and Private Screening of “The U” produced by ESPN Films 

Denver, Colo. (December 1, 2009) — Former Denver Bronco, Super Bowl champion and current member of The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame, K.C. Jones joins former Bronco Mark Cooper and local high school and college star athlete, Ryan Clement in building awareness for The University of Miami (UM) Sports Hall of Fame as well as the exclusive screening of The U, part of ESPN Films’ critically acclaimed “30 for 30” series. 

On Saturday, December 12, 2009, ESPN will premiere a groundbreaking special about the dominance of Hurricane football over the last 30 years. Martha Berry, UM graduate and Denver native will host an exclusive screening of the special at her home in Hilltop with current and former Denver Broncos as well as other local celebrities and athletes with ties to UM.  

“We are proud to build awareness of UM’s Sports Hall of Fame and bring a local spin to the screening of The U, the two-hour documentary about the dramatic rise of the University of Miami football program in the 1980s and it’s impact on college and pro football in the decades that followed,” said K.C. Jones, former Denver Bronco, super bowl champion and current University of Miami Sports Hall of Famer, “With hundreds of UM alumni in Colorado, we thought this would be a great event to build awareness of the Sports Hall of Fame, the alumni affiliations as well as this amazing documentary.” 

The U, directed by Miami native and alum, Billy Corben (Cocaine Cowboys), and produced by rakontur and ESPN Films, is an intimate look at the program’s sudden and jolting transformation into a football powerhouse that essentially changed the rules of the game as told by the players, coaches, students and administrators who were there. The screening will air from 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2009. The Hall of Fame is generously underwriting the event and providing authentic Hurricane treasures shipped directly from Coral Gables including The Heisman trophy won by Vinny Testaverde in 1986. 

“The University of Miami, among other great traditions, has a history rich in athletics with many successes,” said Ryan Clement, local high school star and former starting quarterback at UM. “The Hall of Fame is a tribute to the battles won on many a different field and this special evening will mark a local celebration.” 

The Sports Hall of Fame, although affiliated with the University of Miami, is an independent Non-Profit Organization surviving on contributions and fund raising events. 

About The University of Miami (UM) Sports Hall of Fame

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame was the brainchild of a group of judges of the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, who were also UM alumni. Completed in 1989 as part of the extensive expansion of UM athletic facilities under the direction of former Athletic Director Sam Jankovich, the building is one of an elite handful of dedicated Hall of Fame structures gracing our nation's college campuses. The UM Sports Hall of Fame places on record forever the names and achievements of the men and women who have brought national and international acclaim to their university and who, after graduation, have gone on to bring further credit to their school, their communities and themselves by the manner in which they have assumed their responsibilities as citizens. To date, more than 100 athletes and coaches, including Vinny Testaverde, Russell Maryland, Jimmy Johnson, Jim Otto and Michael Irvin have been inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. For more information visit

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Charges Dropped Against Beason

Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason will not be prosecuted for assault, prosecutors announced Friday, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support a Huntersville man's allegation that Beason punched him in a Charlotte strip club last month.

Beason was arrested after Gregory C. Frye, 29, persuaded a Mecklenburg magistrate to issue a warrant, saying the linebacker punched him in the face at Uptown Cabaret in mid-November. Frye reported the incident to police on Nov. 16, but officers said then that there wasn't enough evidence to charge Beason.

A day after Beason was arrested on Nov. 30, Frye sued Beason for damages in excess of $10,000. That lawsuit is still pending.

Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Bruce Lillie outlined in a one-page statement why the charge against the 24-year-old football player was thrown out.

"Other than Mr. Frye's statement, police were not able to obtain evidence that Mr. Beason was the assailant," Lillie wrote.

Beason was "extremely pleased" with the dismissal, said his lawyer, George Laughrun.

"Right after Jon was arrested, he made a statement on his blog that he had faith in the criminal justice system," Laughrun said. "His faith was validated today."

In a prepared statement, Marty Hurney, the Panthers' general manager said: "We are obviously pleased and it validates what Jon told us from the beginning."

Beason, in his third pro season, is one of the Panthers' team captains and is their leading tackler. He was chosen to play in the Pro Bowl after last season and is regarded as one of the National Football League's premier middle linebackers.

Frye's attorney, Curtis Osborne, offered no comment on the dismissal of the criminal charge. But in a statement, he noted that the burden of proof in a civil trial is different than in a criminal matter.

"There is no dispute that Mr. Frye suffered serious injuries from an assault that occurred at the Uptown Cabaret, and there seems to be no dispute that the assault occurred within seconds of words between Mr. Frye and Mr. Beason. I am hopeful that civil discovery will reveal the truth."

The assistant district attorney's statement elaborates on the information investigators received from witnesses.
"Police made contact with numerous people who were in the club when the incident occurred," Lillie wrote. "No one indicated they saw Beason strike Frye. No witnesses have come forward to say they saw Beason strike Frye."
Lillie said Beason told police he had not struck Frye.

Frye's civil lawsuit says Beason hit Frye in the face after Frye told another Panthers player that he saw Beason at Lake Norman with an attractive woman, snorting cocaine.

"Beason said that he asked to have Frye removed from the VIP section in the club after Frye made accusations about Beason," Lillie wrote. "According to Beason, as he was leaving the club, he saw Frye. Beason said that he and Frye exchanged words and bumped chests. Beason said he was pushed away from Frye and left the club."
Lillie said a witness who was with Beason told police he put himself between Beason and Frye and that Beason could not have struck Frye.

The witness, John Simmons, told police that Frye attempted to strike Beason and missed, the prosecutor said.
"Simmons said that Beason drew back to strike Frye but that he (Simmons) hooked Beason's arm and pushed Beason back and out of the club," Lillie wrote. "Mr. Simmons said Beason never struck Frye but that he did see a man in a white long-sleeve shirt (not Beason) strike Frye. Simmons indicated he did not know this man."

The statement by Lillie said Frye was intoxicated during the incident and told CMPD officers and people in the club that he played for the Panthers.

"While being interviewed by CMPD officers after the incident, Mr. Frye claimed to play for the Panthers," Lillie's statement says. "When specifically asked by CMPD if he was a member of the Carolina Panthers team, Frye said he used to play for the Panthers and later said he was on the practice squad several years ago."

Frye has a history of criminal charges and civil complaints, according to court records.

He sued a woman in 2005 for assault and battery and for medical costs, records show, but the case was dismissed. He was charged in 2008 with assaulting a female. That case was also dismissed.

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Wayne's take? Let's play until the end

If coach Jim Caldwell is open to suggestions on how to handle the remainder of the regular season once the Indianapolis Colts have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, Reggie Wayne is more than willing to step forward.

Keep pressing on the pedal, the team's four-time Pro Bowl receiver insisted Thursday.

"If I had the opportunity to put my two cents in, I'd play," he said.

The issue could come to a head if the Colts beat Denver on Sunday. A win clinches the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Caldwell and his staff then must determine how aggressively to approach the final three games. Players nursing injuries certainly will be rested.

The debate will focus on how much to play selected front-line players in games that have no impact on the team's playoff status.

There won't be a lack of motivation. Foremost is the possibility of joining the 2007 New England Patriots as the only teams to post a 16-0 regular-season record.

"Whenever you get the opportunity to get records and history, it's always good," Wayne said. "Is it one of our goals? Not necessarily. We have the main goal and that's to (get) to the Super Bowl.

"But if that particular goal (16-0) is on the way and we can accomplish it, let's go ahead and knock it down."
Several players also might need normal playing time to reach personal milestones.

Dallas Clark needs 23 receptions to join Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in NFL history with 100 catches in a season. He needs 141 yards to become the first tight end in club history to reach 1,000 in a season.

Wayne needs 22 catches to surpass his personal best of 104 set in 2007 and 476 yards to eclipse the 1,510 he had in '07.

Wayne believes a majority of players share his opinion, but knows their votes don't matter.

"We all can get vetoed," Wayne said. "(Caldwell) has the ultimate decision. Whatever he says goes."

Click here to order Reggie Wayne’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Portis' future and the salary cap

Many in the league believe 2010 will be an uncapped year, but the current system and its rules still are in place. If the Redskins released Clinton Portis before June 1 in 2010, they could face a cap hit of as much as $14.8 million, according to league sources familiar with Portis's contract and the Redskins' cap situation.

Portis last renegotiated his contract in March 2008, receiving a signing bonus of almost $9.4 million. By the end of this season, Portis, under the terms of the renegotiated deal, will have been paid more than $2.35 million in salaries and bonuses in addition to his signing bonus. Most of Portis's 2010 base salary of almost $7.2 million is guaranteed, and he is also due roster and workout bonuses totaling about $507,000.

The Redskins also have "offset" language on the guaranteed portion of his contract. If Washington released Portis and he joined another team next season, the Redskins would receive a credit against his guarantee for any additional salary.

Click here to order Clinton Portis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Olsen looks to improve against Packers

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Charles Woodson's play against Bears tight end Greg Olsen in Week 1 has garnered quite a bit of attention this week -- especially since Olsen only caught one pass for eight yards. But rest assured, Olsen has done plenty of research on Woodson and the Packers defense in preparation for Sunday's contest at Soldier Field.

"They mix it up," Olsen said. "Sometimes he (Woodson) plays man, sometimes he presses and tries to jump you at the line, and sometimes it's more of a catch (technique). If they are in zone, sometimes they try to inside out, or underneath trail with help over the top. They do a good job. They're not just going to line up in the same coverage, same front, same set up every time. That's what makes them successful. Obviously, he's one of the rare guys that can do multiple techniques because of his abilities."

Green Bay cornerbacks have also perfected the art of using an arm bar on opposing receivers -- forcing a wide out to basically try and catch the ball with one arm. Sometimes it draws a flag. Sometimes it does not.

"Everyone finds things that give them an advantage," Olsen said. "At this level, those advantages sometimes can mean all the difference.

"The have good guys out there, and I know Al Harris isn't playing anymore, but when they had that combination of Woodson and Harris, it was one of the top tandems in the league. They're veterans, they're savvy, and people can say what they want about the technique, but it's effective. Most of the time it's not going to be called. You have to do a good job of continuing to battle downfield with your hands, and try to get hand placement, and just go up and fight for the ball. You can't let them pin you down, so you kind of have to take the attack to them."

We should point out Olsen has been successful against Green Bay in the past. He caught 4 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown at Lambeau Field in 2007, and had 5 catches for 49 yards and a score at home last December. It probably goes without saying that the Bears could really use a big game from Olsen if they want to snap the Packers four game winning streak.

Click here to order Greg Olsen’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Moss predicts Portis will be back next year

No player in the Redskins' locker room is closer to Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis than wide receiver Santana Moss, a fellow Floridian and a teammate in college at the University of Miami. The two have side-by-side lockers at Redskins Park, and they frequently socialize off the field.

Moss, then, offered the strongest defense of Portis of any Redskin. The running back was placed on the season-ending injured-reserve list Tuesday, and he hasn't played since suffering a concussion Nov. 8 at Atlanta. But even before that happened, Portis's production was down, and analysts and fans alike questioned whether he had lost a step and, in fact, his career might be coming to an end.

"People always say stuff when you're not doing something," Moss said. "But you look at what we had this year. What do you expect? What do you expect from a running back to be going through what we [are] going through season-wise, and not getting the carries that he's normally getting to get himself going? You can't do nothing.

"I mean, people are always going to have their mixed views, and that's what you hate about this game, because it's never up to you to say what you really [are] going thorugh, or what you have going on. It's always someone else's opinion."

Moss's opinion: Portis will be back next year. "When it comes down to his situation, health is more important than anything," Moss said. "He'll get his time to rest, and I'm sure, if everything goes well, he'll be badder than ever next year."

Portis acknowledged on ESPN980 earlier this week that his career might be over. But Moss believes that the challenge presented by those who doubt him could serve as a motivator to Portis.

"Knowing the competitor in him, if Clinton [is] ready to go, he's going to be ready to go," Moss said. "He loves the challenge. I remember last year, when they start talking about different things last year with him about the year before, and you see what he did out there [in 2008, when he ran for 1,487 yards].

"If you look at it, Clinton never had the line that he had back in Denver. That's not saying nothing against our line; it's just it's a different kind of league over here. The lines over here [have] been pretty good, but when it comes to what he had in Denver, man, you would pay for that. He's been grinding it out. He had to gain weight to be able to take on the load. He had to do a lot of different things that he wasn't accustomed to doing, and is still one of the greatest backs of this time. I always get caught up in it. I'll stand up for him."

Click here to order Clinton Portis’ or Santana Moss’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Hester's absence could cause Bears problems

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Devin Hester made a quick exit from the Walter Payton Center Thursday, refusing to go into much detail about his status for Sunday.

"I'll just leave it up to the trainers," Hester said about potentially practicing on Friday. "I feel better."

Hester has missed the last two days with a calf strain he suffered last weekend versus St. Louis.

"It's never good when a guy misses two days of practice, so hopefully he'll be a lot better tomorrow," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said.

If Hester is out, that would leave a very inexperienced receiving core to face a very savvy and veteran group in the Green Bay secondary. Is Smith concerned about that potential mismatch?

"We have confidence in them, of course they finished out the game last week," Smith said. " Devin Aromashodu has really stepped up. Guys are very comfortable with him. We know what Earl Bennett can do, we know a guy like Johnny Knox can do. Rashied Davis has played a lot of ball for us. We rely on our tight ends too, and of course [Matt] Forte. We still have a lot of options, but of course, we'd still like to play with Devin. Hopefully we will."

Aromashodu and Davis each have two catches on the season.

Click here to order Devin Hester’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Did Bryant McKinnie's 'tell' lead to the Vikings blowout loss?

A poker player with a tell is an easy target for opponents. So too are offensive lineman.

Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie(notes) was evidently tipping his team's play selection on Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals, according to NFL-great-turned-analyst Tony Boselli, who mentioned it on Westwood One's radio broadcast of the game.

Dan Patrick recounted Boselli's observation on his radio show earlier in the week (quote courtesy Vikings Now):
"Boselli points out that (left tackle) Bryant McKinnie of the Vikings, he said that the Cardinals know when they're going to pass because of his leg. He would have one of his legs back a little bit further. ... He said they know what's going to happen because they're looking at his feet and they can tell when it's a run and when it's a pass."
I'm skeptical. I don't doubt that McKinnie has a tell, but I think it's a total stretch to credit the Cardinals' victory to the manner in which he lines up.

First of all, the defense has its play called well before the Vikings get to the line of scrimmage. They could theoretically audible once McKinnie gets set, but is there really enough time?

Another hole in the tale of "tell as doom": How many Arizona players can realistically see the position of the left tackle's foot in the five seconds the Vikings are lined up for the snap? Five, tops? The two guys on the other side of the defensive line wouldn't be able to see and neither would any linebacker, corner or safety on that side of the field. There's a clear advantage in a defensive end going up against McKinnie to know that information, but that's far different from the entire Cards defense.

The biggest question I have is how much of an advantage it even is to know what's coming. A good defensive coordinator should be guessing correctly in terms of pass or run, what, 75 percent of the time? The Vikings play calls aren't exactly rocket science. They tend to run Peterson on first and second down to set up deep Favre passes. When the Cards took the deep ball away by dropping back eight defenders, Favre got flustered and tried to work the ol' gunslinger magic by forcing the ball into spots. It's hard to believe that playing so many guys in coverage was because McKinnie was leaning back a bit.

Joe Bugel, the famed Washington Redskins offensive line coach, is fond of saying that a good offense could tell the defense what's coming on every play and still be able to execute. That's what the game is about, execution.
If Bryant McKinnie is tipping the plays, he needs to correct this immediately. But if he did, on Sunday night at least, the Vikings had much bigger problems than that.

Click here to order Bryant McKinnie’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Cleveland Browns giving Bernie Kosar leadership role?

The owner of the Cleveland Browns, Randy Lerner, supposedly met with former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis recently to talk about bringing him on as an offensive coordinator once he cans current coach Eric Mangini. Lerner towed along Bernie Kosar to the meeting and now word is coming via ProFootballTalk that Kosar could be in line to be a big part of the Browns' decision-making process soon enough.

Nobody seems to know if Kosar would actually be put into a role as big as general manager, but Kosar does seem to have the ear and trust of Lerner.

Lerner has also supposedly asked a few people to come interview for a czarlike position over the team such as Bill Parcells has with the Miami Dolphins but they have all declined.

Click here to order Bernie Kosar’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Cardinals believe 49ers will get back to featuring Frank Gore

Toss out the game film. Burn the stat sheet. Ignore the blather.

No evidence can persuade Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson that Frank Gore's role has diminished in the 49ers' offense.

"Let's not make a mistake. Frank is the focal point of that team,'' Wilson said.

Gore had only nine carries last week, much to the delight of the Seattle Seahawks.

In fact, the 49ers have only 42 carries over the past three weeks, the lowest number of rushes over a three-game stretch in 49ers history, according to Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau.

To put it another way: The 49ers have never relied so heavily on the passing game, not even when Joe Montana or Steve Young were around.

Still, Wilson isn't buying it. He expects Gore, Gore and more Gore when the Cardinals visit Candlestick Park on Monday night.

"We expect him to get the ball 30 times,'' Wilson said in a conference call Thursday with Bay Area reporters. "You have to have the mind-set that he's not going to go two weeks without touching the ball at least 25 times."

Gore has 25 touches only twice this season, in a Week 1 victory against Arizona and a Week 10 victory over Chicago.

Those games came before the 49ers decided they were better off spread. They opened up the offense starting with the second half of the Packers game on Nov. 22 and have been airing it out since.

"We'll continue to run the offense that we've been running the last couple of weeks and try to include Frank to create balance for us,'' coach Mike Singletary said. "Maybe that balance doesn't mean 50-50. Maybe it's 70-30 or whatever."

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Lewis: Don't give up hope, Ravens fans

At 6-6 and in the midst of a four-team crowd chasing the Jacksonville Jaguars for the sixth and final wildcard berth in the AFC playoffs, the Ravens have a shot at making the postseason.

The best way to do that would be to win the final four games of the season. Otherwise, the Ravens would need help. Linebacker Ray Lewis thinks the team controls its own destiny and was surprised when he was asked by reporters Wednesday if he sensed that fans are disappointed in the Ravens' .500 record.

"The fans are disappointed? Wow," Lewis said. "I know there’s a lot of people 2-10, 2-8. There are a lot of things to wake up and be disappointed about, but to still be in the playoff hunt, I don’t find that as a disappointment. Around here, it’s always been the same thing: we’re grinders. If it’s going to come, it’s going to come late, as it’s always been around here. We’ve had a couple of seasons where we started out 4-0 here or there, but the bottom line is every year I’ve been around here, our best football probably came in the later part of the year. Here we go again. Nothing is out of the picture. You look at the whole AFC picture, everything is right there. I just think you’ve got to go play football and not be worrying about the ups and downs of the season. Once you get caught into that, you lose your energy and passion, truly, for the game."

Click here to order Ray Lewis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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( Review of "The U"

So fans, I just got back from the worldwide premier of “The U” which was produced by rakontur in conjunction with ESPN and their 30 for 30 series.

One word: WOW. Actually two more words: Holy Sh*t. And one more word: Amazing.

If you’re a Hurricane fan you will feel what I felt: intrigue, chills, laughter, concern, proudness, happiness and I could go on. It’s an emotional roller-coaster. It’s not a documentary. It’s a ride, a ride through history, through the ups and downs of the program presented in a very “real” way. You hear it all from the mouths of people that were very involved in the program in the 1980’s and 90’s. You hear it from players, coaches, athletic directors, the mascot (John Routh), and of course Luther Campbell.

Let me go through some of the highlights for me:

- Howard Schnellenberger. His stories, that I am sure you have read about, about leaving his pipe in recruit’s homes and his low intimidating voice were great, but one thing really stood out for me. When he spoke about how he left for the USFL, you could see how emotional it was for him even now to talk about it. He would look down, hands fidgeting, voice slightly cracking as he described leaving the University of Miami. It showed an emotional side of Coach Schnellenberger that you didn’t see in the old clips of him and that you wouldn’t expect from such a historically stoic person. You could tell he still loves the U without having to say it.

- Jimmy Johnson on the other hand said it. He said that out of all the places he went to school or coached, the University of Miami is his home and he will always be a Hurricane. To see his passion still alive was great.

- The players describing Coach Schnellenberger recruiting and coming into “the hood,” to their homes was truly priceless. A white man going into a neighborhood during those days was unheard of and when he was there he had to be escorted by a bunch of people into a home.

- Melvin Bratton and Bennie Blades were the two most heard from players in the movie, and it was really great to see the movie mention Bratton’s devastating knee injury during the Orange Bowl. It was sad too.

- The focus on the state of the City of Miami at the time and the racial tensions really set the stage for the film and really put into greater perspective what this team did, not only for the University but also for the City of Miami. The film showed a great contrast between Coral Gables and the rest of Miami and as Michael Irvin said, they never dreamed of going to a place like Coral Gables.

- Michael Irvin talking about how when they would go to clubs they would get in no problem by skipping the lines as they passed Miami Dolphins players who were waiting in line and begging them to get them into the club. It was flat out said that the Canes were the team in Miami and Dolphins took a back seat.

- Video from the steak fry before the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State was great. The contrast shown between a predominately white Penn State team and an African American Miami team was very interesting. But as one former player said: “Even the white boys on our team were tough!”

- The highlights from the Cotton Bowl were priceless and probably one of the funniest parts of the film was the thorough review of the new NCAA “Miami” Rules that were put into effect after that game. A rule would show on the screen and then a Hurricane dance, hit, celebration was then played to show where the NCAA got the idea for the rule. Great, great part of the movie.

- Players saying how Robert Bailey before the Cotton Bowl kickoff said he was going to knock someone out on the opening kickoff and then following it up with actual knockout of the returner just showed you with what confidence these players played with. It was a pretty funny part too.

- I felt a little bad for Tad Foote, but the film did a real good job of depicting the contrast between him and the team. Jimmy Johnson describing his meetings with Foote were great.

- The end is sad. Very effective. The sanctions come along but they also fast forward to show the tearing down of the Orange Bowl. That was a real heart wrenching point.

- Dennis Erickson saying he learned more from the players than they probably learned from him was very interesting to hear but very believable. At that point the players obviously ran the show and he was along for the ride.

- It was pretty shocking to hear how some players to be able to survive stole things to support their children. That I can’t say I expected to hear.

- The stories of calling Brian Bosworth at 5am the day of a high noon game talking trash to him while smashing things in the room just showed how intense these players were and how seriously they took this.

- The clip of the coin toss before the Oklahoma game where Miami players refused to shake hands was quite memorable as you can see what the Miami players were saying to the Oklahoma players. You can see and feel they were instilling fear in their opponent before the kickoff.

- I don’t remember what game the clip was from, but the sideline announcer was reporting that former Hurricane players like Cortez Kennedy were on the sidelines coaching the current players. You could tell the shock in the sideline reporter’s voice that former players were on the sideline, a tradition kept to this day.

- Melvin Bratton saying he took his helmet off so the ladies could see his face, and Lamar Thomas saying that during the Oklahoma National Championship game, he knew they were going to win, so he was just thinking about how he was going to balance all of his women was classic.

- The extensive description of the quarterback competition between Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde was very interesting to hear from both Schnellenberger’s perspective and Kosar’s. I must say Kosar sounded weird in the film, almost drunk.

- Cameos by more recent Hurricane alums like Willis McGahee, Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma were nice surprises.

- Luther Campbell and his sarcasm about not giving players money was quite entertaining.

- It hit me hard once the Pell Grant allegations came up in the film, along with the arrests and other problems. It really hits you hard and makes you realize things were somewhat spinning out of control.

I could honestly go on and on but I will stop so some things can be a surprise. I will say this though, Hurricane fans you will fall more in love with your Canes while being shocked at times, but this film doesn’t hide anything. It’s the real deal. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer and you’ll be saddened, while also feeling chills. Non-Hurricane fans? Well, you’ll probably like the Hurricanes even less, but you will be entertained and if anything you will have more ammo to throw at Hurricane fans.

Lastly, I’d like to congratulate rakontur on an amazing job. It truly is an amazingly entertaining film while also being more than a sports film. Yes there are highlights, but there are deep social and racial issues addressed in the movie and you real get the raw details of how things were back then. Truly riveting.

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Photos From "The U" Premier

Bennie Blades, Evan Rosenfeld (rakontur), Brian Blades and Tolbert Bain

K.C. Jones and Kevin Brinkworth

Tolbert Bain, Lamar Miller, Mike James, AJ Highsmith and Brian Blades

Brett Perriman, John Routh and Don Soldinger

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Baraka Atkins Signed By the 49ers

So I guess that injury to DT Kentwan Balmer ended up a bit more serious than previously expected.  Balmer had shoulder surgery this morning and has been placed on the Injured Reserve List, ending his season.  To fill Balmer's roster spot, the team has signed DT Baraka Atkins.  Atkins (6-4, 268) originally entered the NFL as a fourth round draft pick (120th overall) of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 Draft. He has played in 21 career games and recorded 28 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one pass defensed. Atkins was released by the Seahawks in September.  Atkins, a 25-year-old native of Sarasota, FL, played collegiately at Miami (FL).

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Darnell Jenkins Signed By Patriots

Two new faces were roaming the locker room, and both had to be asked, “So… who are you?”

Meet quarterback Jeff Rowe and receiver Darnell Jenkins (pictured). That’s what I did… I met them, as our friend Twitter told us here and here.

All this on a day when Tom Brady welcomes a new boy, and coach Bill Belichick boots four players for being late. Whew.

Rowe, a former Nevada player, said all the right things, how he’s excited about being here and what-not. Then I’m talking to Jenkins, the former Miami receiver, and he’s telling me that “it’s a great feeling to play under Coach (Bill) Belichick and how he runs the organization...”

As we’re talking, he’s checking his folder to see meeting times. And before he finishes the sentence, Jenkins gets a tap on the shoulder, telling him he’s late for a meeting. Awesome.

Our string of awkward moments with practice squaders continue…

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Frank Gore isn't a forgotten man in 49ers offense

Just because the 49ers are moving toward the spread offense, it doesn't mean they're putting their bell cow out to pasture.

Coach Mike Singletary met with Frank Gore recently to assure him of his place in the 49ers offense. Singletary said he knows from experience that frustration tends to go up as the statistical totals go down.

"Any great player that I've been around — whether it's Walter Payton, whether it's Jerry Rice — when they're not getting the ball, they feel like they're not contributing," Singletary said. "They feel like they're not a part of it.

"I've talked to all of our guys and had them understand that we need to understand that, going forward, everybody will have their part in the success."

Gore has topped 20 carries in a game only once since sustaining an ankle injury Sept. 27. The 49ers threw 41 times last week, and Alex Smith's success in the spread offense has meant a shift away from the running game.

Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye had memorably described Gore as the "bell cow of our operation." But Gore had 59 rushing yards against Green Bay two weeks ago and only 33 against Jacksonville on Sunday. Still, he's in the mix. Gore is the first 49ers player to score a touchdown in five consecutive weeks since Terrell Owens did it in 2001.

"If we're winning, it's good with me," he said. "Whenever my number is called, I'll do my best."

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Beason Blogs About Assault Accusation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers linebacker Jon Beason reached out to his fans Wednesday in light of the accusation that he assaulted someone at a strip club.

Beason was charged with assault in late November, after Greg Frye claimed Beason punched him at the Uptown Cabaret.

Beason posted a blog entry about the accusations.

He wrote: "I look at it as a learning experience, and an opportunity for my true character to ultimately be revealed.”

Detectives reviewed surveillance video and interviewed witnesses, but don’t believe there is enough evidence for the charges to stand.

Beason also wrote that he has the “utmost confidence in the judicial process.”

He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 11.

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Retirement is on Clinton Portis's mind

The Redskins put Clinton Portis on injured reserve yesterday, ending his season. The way Clinton is talking, it might also be the end of his career.

Concussion-related problems are what have him on the sideline, but I had no idea they were bad enough to put retirement in his mind. Here's what he had to say.

"If it's my time, I think I had a great career."

"I think I'll get well. I think I have to go and really put the time into rehabbing and continuing to do what the doctors say," Portis said.

"But at the same time, man, to have the opportunity to play for eight years and play, compete and not miss many games and to carry the organization, I'm thankful for Mr. [Daniel] Snyder and Coach [Joe] Gibbs bringing me to the Redskins and the Broncos drafting me."

He's not saying anything definitively, of course, as he notes that he believes he'll "get well." But he's also clearly taken the time to look at the big picture, too, reflecting back on his career with the Redskins and Broncos.

I didn't even know retirement was on the table. This seems to come out of nowhere. If it is the end, it's a shame it'll end this way: with a season he didn't get to finish on a team that wasn't very good. Because Portis is right, he has had a great career.

Hopefully, we'll see him run again. If I had to bet one way or the other, my money would be on him returning in 2010. One thing Portis has never been, though, is predictable.

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Vilma says Tony Gonzalez has best hands in NFL

Jonathan Vilma has been providing mini scouting reports each week on his PlayMaker Mobile page. Today he wrote about facing the Falcons and said that no one in the league is better at making plays with his hands than Tony Gonzalez.

by jonathanvilma 9. December 2009 07:32 What we see first is what we have to gain. We have a chance to clinch a first round bye. It's a division opponent, they understand how we operate and we know how they operate. Division games are always important. If we can knock them out of the playoff picture too that will be a little extra for us. They're a dangerous team. I don't know if Matt Ryan will play but we know they can run the ball and you can never forget about Tony Gonzalez. What makes him special is basically he's a basketball player playing football. He's a great athlete and he uses his body and hands as well as anyone. If the defense puts a corner or safety on him he can just use his body and size and box him out. If you cover him with a linebacker, the way he breaks off his routes and uses his hands instead of his body to catch makes it very difficult for a linebacker to defend. There is no one in the league better at making plays with his hands than Tony Gonzalez.

The biggest things we learned from the Washington game is that we need to limit the quick throws to 5 yards and not allow them to turn them into first downs and we have to eliminate the big plays. We have limiting big plays all season, but Washington hit some on us so we have to clean that up. Atlanta has a lot of talent and as a defense we need to get off the field and get the ball to our offense.

We thank proCane fan Kirk for bringing our attention to Jon Vilma’s entry on his PlayMaker Mobile page.

Click here to order Jonathan Vilma’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Reed has strain in his hip, MRI reveals

Free safety Ed Reed is questionable for Sunday's game against Detroit after a magnetic resonance imaging test revealed a strain his hip, coach John Harbaugh said.

"It’s just a matter of how well it heals," Harbaugh said. "He’s going to play like crazy to get out there and go this week. We’ll just have to see."

Reed was a late scratch Monday at Green Bay after it was determined in pre-game warm-ups that he couldn't play. It ended his streak of 64 straight games played for Reed.

"When he got out there, it was clear that he couldn’t go," Harbaugh said. "He wanted to go. He did everything that he could to go, and the doctors weren’t going to let him go with what he had."

Reed was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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Dixon succeeding beyond his wildest dreams

NONE OF IT was all that bad.

And he never expected to have it this good.

Antonio Dixon has been in some strange places. An orphanage. Homeless shelters. Bunking with his big brother, Darrell.

Dixon never thought he would be here, on the goal line, stringing out a Redskins running play, the first defensive tackle off the Eagles' bench as an overweight, undrafted rookie.

Not here, hands in his blocker's chest, feet churning, technique perfect, suddenly, reading the Bears' running play and stopping it. Twice.

Read the play?

Shoot, not long ago, Dixon couldn't read, period.

In college, he couldn't digest defensive plays on paper. Still can't. His speech impediment has mostly disappeared. It only surfaces when he's nervous, when he's talking about his mother's rehab, or his drug-dealing father's 17-year jail stint, or his . . . well, that very speech impediment.

Dixon pauses, and kind of stutters, and his hand pats his chest, and his foot taps the floor. But he gets it out.
Without self-pity, and without self-consciousness, he gets it all out.

"I think about all of that a lot. A lot of people go through different things. I ain't the worst case," Dixon said. "Somebody in this league has been through worse than me."

He has no self pity. He is not self-conscious - his gift, said one former coach.

One current coach agreed.

"I'm speechless," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "It's . . . I probably can't even fathom where he's come from, and where he is now in his life, and the type of person he is . . . that's what great stories are all about."

It is a great story. It's only getting better.

Dixon was always fat. He was never cool. He seldom had a real home.

He didn't play pee-wee football. He was never on a track to play in high school, which he fell into, or in college, where he was only lightly recruited, despite his prodigious size. For that matter, size always was an issue. By the time he finished high school he weighed more than 350 pounds, way too much for a 6-3 frame.

He lost some weight while at the University of Miami, where defensive line coach Clint Hurtt supervised his every move, but he gained weight, too. Even after college, Dixon, who sometimes tipped the scales at 370, still weighed too much to interest the Eagles. But when they saw him with the Redskins in the preseason, playing effectively at a lumpy but acceptable 320 pounds, they were impressed. When the Redskins waived him in August, the Eagles snatched him up.

"He was able to lose some weight and he was very effective with the Redskins in the preseason," said Eagles coach Andy Reid, a weight-control expert. "He's really just carried that over to what he's doing now. You never know when you bring them in how they're going to fit into your system."

Dixon, 24, has done more than fit in.

His blocked field goal set up the winning touchdown in a 24-20 win in Chicago three games ago. Last week, just after starter Brodrick Bunkley was injured, Dixon was inserted as part of the goal-line stand against the Redskins that saved the Birds from a terrible loss.

And to think: For Dixon, simply learning the playbook is a serious challenge.

"I've got problems with reading long words," Dixon said. "For me, to learn plays, I've got to see them. I can't just talk about them. I have to see them."

After Dixon's dyslexia was diagnosed at Miami, Hurtt realized that he needed to make things easier for Dixon. Hurtt cut game film so Dixon could see how players at his position correctly executed plays. Hurtt repeatedly called out the play during the film sessions. Then, still in the film room, he would quiz Dixon. Then, he took Dixon and a couple of other defensive linemen out on the field to practice the play against garbage cans.

They did this every week - remedial coaching, remedial learning. Dixon never resented it, was never embarrassed. He accepted this to be his lot - like the stuttering, and the fractured family, and the shelters, and the weight.

"I believe he has a gift," Hurtt said. "A lot of people can't be humble enough to accept what he has to accept. Antonio is very aware of what his limitations are. That's a gift that goes unrecognized."

It is a gift that has evolved.

Like any kid, Dixon had his pride, and his shame. Unlike most 12-year-olds, he could pulverize other kids who made him feel worthless and ashamed.

"I stopped fighting like, around, seventh grade. I was bigger than everybody, but they'd always laugh at me anyway. I used to hate people laughing at me," Dixon said. "So, I used to fight a lot. I used to get suspended. Expelled. Had anger problems."

Eventually, he matured.

"I just got used to it. And I figured, 'I can beat this guy up. I don't have to prove myself,' " Dixon said.

Street-corner teasing didn't approach the other issues in his life.

When he was 6, his father, Frazier Hawkins, went to prison for selling crack.

When he was 11, his mother, Corenthia, then a cocaine addict, went to rehab.

It split the family. The state of Georgia sent Antonio, Darrell, 13, and Jarvis, 5, to the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home in Atlanta. Mikesha, 2, went to a foster family.

Corenthia saw a crash coming. She sought rehab in order to keep her kids, she said; "The state was fixing to take them."

For years, this sort of end seemed inevitable.

Corenthia's mother died of AIDS-related issues in 1989, leaving Corenthia, at 21, without an anchor . . . and without a second income.

An Atlanta native, she routinely shuttled herself and her family between the cities, sometimes living with her sister, Patricia, in Atlanta, but always returning to the allure of Florida's most lurid town, Miami, never with much more than a fast-food job to support them.

"I made mistakes, I know. I was confused. I had all these kids, work . . . it was too much for a single mother," she said.

She fell into the cycle of homelessness and drug addiction, and, in 1996, she knew she needed help.

She stayed in rehab 3 months longer than the prescribed 9 months, she said, to make sure her cocaine cravings were fully gone.

Corenthia - called "Peaches," she said, because her father couldn't pronounce her real name - was excused from rehab every weekend to visit her children.

Antonio enjoyed the orphanage. There was stability. There was familiarity.

"Being there was fun," Antonio said. "Except when momma had to go away again."

Corenthia completed the program and got her kids back, but the hard times continued. She took on two jobs, but that wasn't always enough. Darrell quit high school to help out, she said. Now, with a family of his own, he's a cook in Miami, 5 minutes from where Antonio played at the university.

Jarvis went to live with his father from the age of 9 until he was 15. The money problems always bothered Jarvis, Antonio said, so Jarvis stayed away from school. Now Jarvis, 19, is pursuing his graduate equivalency diploma, and Antonio reflects:

"He got so consumed with trying to look good, but he didn't have certain things, and didn't want to go to school because he didn't have things. He's got no excuse now."

None has gone to jail. All are alive. That, Corenthia said, was her chief goal: Keep them clean, keep them living, and, foremost, keep them out of the prison system.

"I scared them," she said. "I told them, 'Look at your friends in jail, or dead. Look at me. I'm broke. You go to jail, I can't get you out.' And if they did something wrong, I'd tear their butts up."

Antonio laughs. "She would beat us for doing something bad . . . but not for me fighting. And I didn't get in trouble, not in high school. I didn't go to jail or nothing. I didn't ever sell no drugs. I wasn't going to use all that as an excuse."

He never uses excuses.

He couldn't read when he got to high school, he said, but, like any kid, he had dreams. Like few kids, he had uncanny resolve - and unusual detractors.

"Early in high school, I told one of my teachers, 'I'm going to go to the University of Miami.' She was, like, 'Your [butt] ain't going to no University of Miami. You can't even read,' " Dixon said.

It took a year of prep school, but Dixon became a 'Cane.

"When I did get a scholarship, and was admitted, she came up to me and was, like, 'I was just playing,' " Dixon said. "I was like, 'You weren't playing.' "

Dixon is playing now, every game, in the NFL.

Peaches, now 43, is in her 16th month as a cafeteria worker at the homeless shelter in Miami where the family often stayed. She and her three youngest children - Jarvis, Mikesha, 15, and the youngest, Michael, 11 - keep an apartment, with Dixon's help. She has been with the same man for 7 years, she said. She does informal, over-the-lunch-counter counseling of young mothers: "They remind me of myself."

Hawkins is out of prison, back in Miami, working as a personal trainer in a health club. Dixon speaks daily with his father - hourly, sometimes - making up for years of lost time. Peaches admitted that Hawkins, before he was locked up, provided not only for Antonio but also for Darrell, who is not Hawkins' son.

There is no animosity . . . but there is little familiarity.

"When he got locked up, we lost contact," Dixon said. "We kept moving back and forth, and he kept getting shipped from one prison to the next."

The moving wasn't all that bad, Dixon insisted.

"I never didn't have a roof over my head. I always had enough to eat," Dixon said. "We all did."

His dream, of course, is to make sure his mother and his siblings always have a roof over their heads. That is his first goal.

He will put off marriage and children for a few years. He hopes to establish himself in the league, to significantly increase his salary - he's making the rookie-minimum $310,000 this season - and to find a regimen, and the discipline, to control his weight for good.

Considering Dixon didn't really learn the game until college, and that he's a painfully raw rookie, everyone who watches him is eager to chart his progress.

Said Hurtt, "Antonio has not remotely come close to reaching his potential."

He is on his way, unimpeded by his past.

Dixon returned to Atlanta this past weekend for the first time since Miami played in the Peach Bowl in 2005. It is not a happy place for him.

He seems to be happy in his independence.

He spent Thanksgiving alone, in his Philadelphia apartment, suffering from a stomach virus. He hasn't seen Peaches since July 29, when he left Miami for the Redskins' training camp, just after he graduated, on time, with a degree in liberal arts.

Yes, he misses Peaches, and her sinful macaroni and cheese. He might fly her to Philadelphia for Christmas. He might not.

He can't wait until the offseason, when he can see coach Hurtt and his family and their new house.

For now, though, there is business - the continued business of being where he has no business being.

He has 10 total tackles, seven solo, a blocked field goal and a sack, of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. He'll be gunning for Manning again Sunday night.


"I ain't going to sit here and say 'I always knew.' I ain't no psychic," Dixon said. "I never thought I'd reach this point, this fast."

If ever. *

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NFL U Week 13 Photos

Check out Week 13 photos from around the the NFL of our proCanes. Click here or above on the proCanes Gallery link.

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proCanes Stats from Week 13 of NFL U

Andre Johnson: 7 catches 99 yards 1 TD

Vince Wilfork: 2 solo tackles

Brandon Meriweather: 1 interception returned 19 yards

Jeremy Shockey: 4 catches 47 yards

Jonathan Vilma: 5 solo tackles, 1 INT returned 8 yards

Santana Moss: 5 catches 68 yards


Rocky McIntosh: 8 tackles, 6 solo tackles

Calais Campbell: 4 tackles, 3 solo tackles, 1 sack

Antrel Rolle: 6 solo tackles

Kelly Jennings: 1 solo tackle

Frank Gore: 9 carries 25 yards, 5 catches 37 yards, 1 fumble lost

Kellen Winslow: 4 catches for 69 yards

Roscoe Parrish: 2 punt returns for 11 yards

Greg Olsen: 2 catches, 1 yard

Devin Hester: 1 catch, 48 yards, 1 punt return for -3 yards, 1 carry for -4 yards

Darrell McClover: 1 solo tackle

Willis McGahee: 4 carries, -4 yards, 1 TD

Ray Lewis: 7 solo tackles, 2 tackles for loss


Tavares Gooden: 1 solo tackle

DJ Williams: 8 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss


Jeff Feagles: 5 punts for 198 yards with a 39.6-yard average and 1 punt inside the 20-yard line

Bruce Johnson: 7 tackles, 5 solo tackles

Reggie Wayne: 4 catches 48 yards

Jon Beason: 6 tackles, 4 solo tackles, 2 interceptions returned 36 yards

Damione Lewis: 4 solo tackles

Phillip Buchanon: 5 tackles, 3 solo tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble

Antonio Dixon: 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss

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Belichick Talks Beason

BB: [Jon] Beason’s definitely one of the best inside linebackers we’ve seen all year. He’s very active and he gets in on a lot of plays. Those are some challenges for us this week.

Q: Going back to the draft when you were evaluating Jon Beason, did you see him as a pure 4-3 player or could he have been a fit in a 3-4 for you? BB: I think he could play for anybody. I think he could play for anybody, no matter what defense they had, I think there would be a place for Jon Beason. He runs well. He’s big. He’s physical. He’s got great range, good tackler. I think any defense would get him on the field somewhere, probably off the line of scrimmage as an inside linebacker, but he can play over the center, over the guard, play over the tackle, [or] off the line. He looks very comfortable and very productive in all those spots for the Panthers. I think he’s really a good football player and does an excellent job in pass defense, similar to [Jonathan] Vilma, but bigger. They are different but they are both very athletic, they run well, they cover a lot of ground. I would say Beason is bigger and a little bit more physical. And Vilma’s a pretty instinctive player, but they are both very good.

Q: Am I right in thinking you spent some time with Jon Beason prior to that draft and how close were you? Because he was right around the area you were picking and you ended up with Brandon Meriweather. How was it spending time with him and how close were you to bringing him here? BB: I can’t remember exactly how close it was, but obviously we had a lot of interest in him. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s a good football player in the National Football League because he does a lot of things well. He’s a smart guy that’s big, athletic. He’s a good tackler, plays good pass defense and those guys are hard to find at middle linebacker – guys that are real good pass defenders. There were a lot of good football players on that Miami team and those are two of them that you mentioned.

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Beason Has a Great Game in Week 13

Jon Beason(notes), LB, Carolina Panthers -- Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Freeman(notes) was throwing up goatballs all over the place against the Panthers; his five interceptions included three in the red zone. Beason came up with two of those picks, leading the league last week, and he added six solo tackles to his stat line (he's third in the league with 84 solo stops)as the Panthers beat Tampa Bay, 16-6. However, challenges face Beason and his team down the stretch -- the linebacker was recently charged with aggravated assault, and the Panthers finish the season with a brutal four-game stretch: New England, Minnesota, the New York Giants, and the New Orleans Saints.

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Portis placed on IR list

In a move that became more likely each week Clinton Portis sat out, the Redskins today put the veteran running back on the season-ending injured-reserve list because of his health problems stemming from a concussion suffered a month ago.

"We felt at this juncture in season, it was best to place Clinton on
Injured Reserve," said Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations. "After consulting with our medical staff and other specialists, Clinton's prognosis is good and we expect him to make a full recovery and return to the Redskins."
Coach Jim Zorn was not quoted in the news release. Portis joins tight end Chris Cooley and left tackle Chris Samuels as Redskins' offensive Pro Bowlers on IR. He's the 10th player this season the team has placed on injured reserve.

Portis on Monday traveled to Pittsburgh to begin a two-day evaluation process under the supervision of concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But after physicians determined that Portis had not improved enough to be cleared to resume full participation in football activity, the Redskins decided to end Portis's season.

Portis's main doctor "didn't like what he saw," the eight-year veteran said during his regular scheduled appearance on ESPN 980's "The John Thompson Show."

"I was really hoping I could get back on the field."

Portis has experienced vision problems since he suffered the concussion in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons. On the radio show, Portis said he' has been feeling better, but test results the past two days indicated otherwise. In a couple of areas, "I had went down," Portis said.

Portis said he thought his vision was improved, but results showed that one eye wasn't as strong as the other and another strong hit could cause further damage. The "doctor said he wasn't going to" clear him, Portis said. "That's life, man."

In the brief interview today, Portis didn't seem to know what his long-term future might hold. "I think I'll get well. I think I have to go and really put the time into rehabbing and continuing to do what the doctors say," he said. "At the same time, man, to have the opportunity to play for eight years and compete ... I look back today, I feel like I've had a great career."

Portis last renegotiated his contract in March 2008, receiving a signing bonus of almost $9.4 million. By the end of this season, Portis, under the terms of the renegotiated deal, will have been paid more than $2.35 million in salaries and bonuses in addition to his signing bonus.

Most of Portis's 2010 base salary of almost $7.2 million is guaranteed, and he is also due roster and workout bonuses totaling about $507,000.

Before his concussion, Portis struggled in the Redskins' first seven games. He rushed for only 494 yards with a 4.0-yard average and scored one touchdown. Last season, Portis rushed for 1,487 yards with a 4.3-yard average and nine touchdowns.

Although the move was not entirely unexpected because of the amount of time Portis has been sidelined, his teammates were nonetheless disappointed and expressed concern about Portis's health.

"Clinton is a tough guy, he's real tough, and he's definitely been the face of the franchise of the Redskins the last few years," wide receiver Devin Thomas said. "It's tough when you lose a guy like that for the rest of the season. He's one of those guys like [tight end] Chris Cooley, a Pro Bowler who means a lot to our offense. You look forward to seeing those guys play.

"But you also look forward to seeing those guys in the locker room and just being around the team. As a young player, those are the guys you watch and you learn a lot from. You could say they definitely leave some big shoes to fill. But the most important things is their health. Clinton's been a great player for a long time, so you just want to make sure his health is good."

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Kosar dismisses notion that top candidates might shun Cleveland.

Bernie Kosar says Browns owner Randy Lerner is actively talking to potential football operations hires but isn’t sneaking around.

“He’s just sick being 1-11, but he’s not going to break the rules to go do stuff,” Kosar, an adviser to Lerner, said this morning on WKNR. “But if there are guys out there, you’re allowed to talk to, or teams have given permission. ... Yeah, he’s starting to look for those type guys, because we need to define especially the football operations side of the team.”

Lerner is seeking a football operations leader and perhaps entourage to help dig the team out of a cold spell that includes 17 losses in the last 18 games. Head Coach Eric Mangini’s fate probably rides on the eventual front-office hires.

WKNR host Tony Rizzo asked Kosar if it will be hard to attract quality people to a franchise that has tasted so much defeat.

“Because it’s been so bad for so long,” Kosar said, “the guys have nowhere to go but up.

“Because of (Lerner’s) reputation in the inner circle of the league ... of being able to spend and wanting to spend money, that’s one thing in the Browns favor and in his favor.

“And the other thing is, there’s 11 draft picks next year. I think Eric (Mangini) started last year with four picks. You can’t build a good team with four, five and six draft picks.

“I think there’s people who would really enjoy that challenge.”

Kosar, who quarterbacked the 1980s Browns to three AFC championship games, said he has worked more closely with Lerner in “the last month or two” than ever before. He said he does not know what his role with the team will be next year, but ...

“I really want to do football stuff,” Kosar said. “I do love it. I feel like I get it. And I do want to be involved.”

Kosar shed little light on Mangini’s future, but he made it clear that the Browns’ somewhat competitive loss to San Diego on Sunday only counts for so much.

“I try to stay away from when-I-played type of statements,” he said, “but these type (seasons) happened at times with me in my career, and I remember arguing with some front-office people because ‘we almost won a game.’ And they were happy. They thought they saved their jobs. And I wanted to throw up on ’em to be honest with you.

“College football and high school football is somewhat about sportsmanship and competition and the purity of the game. Pro football’s not. Pro football’s about winning and losing.

“Almost wins don’t count in the NFL.”

Click here to order Bernie Kosar’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Huff Wants To Return To Baltimore

I exchanged e-mails with Aubrey Huff, who doesn't have a sense for where he'll play next season. There's nothing hot at the moment.

Huff would love to come back to Baltimore, but it seems improbable.

Click here to order Aubrey Huff’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Robert Hite Out 5 Games

MONTEGRANARO (AP) - Hite was having a good game but unfortunately had to stop after a collision with an opponent. Hite was submitted this morning to ultrasound by Dr. Marco Sebastiani, to assess the extent of the problem which was blamed to be a muscle injury Sunday during the game against the virtussini Giallorossi. It is suspected that the injury is an elongation of the muscle biceps femoris of the right leg with strong contracture. The medical staff will assess the situation physiotherapy every day, but certainly Hite will be out for at least 5 days.

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NFL U Week 11 and 12 Photos

Check out Week 11 and 12 photos from around the the NFL of our proCanes. Click here or above on the proCanes Gallery link.

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proCanes Extend TD Streak to 118 Regular Season Weeks

Did you know that a former Miami Hurricane/current proCane has scored at least one touchdown in 118 consecutive regular season NFL weeks? Dating back to Week 15 of the 2002 season where Clinton Portis scored 4 TDs, at least one proCane has scored a TD in each regular season week since then. We have chronicled every touchdown since 2002. See below:

Week 13 2009:
Andre Johnson - 1TD - Houston Texans
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens

Week 12 2009:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens

Week 11 2009:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Andre Johnson - 1TD - Houston Texans

Week 10 2009:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Reggie Wayne - 2 TDs - Indianapolis Colts

Week 9 2009:
Greg Olsen - 3 TDs - Chicago Bears
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Kellen Winslow - 1 TD - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 8 2009:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 7 2009:
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Brandon Meriweather - INT returned for a TD – New England Patriots
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Week 6 2009:
Jeremy Shockey - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Week 5 2009:
Clinton Portis - 2 TDs - Washington Redskins
Ed Reed - INT returned for a TD - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 2 TDs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Andre Johnson - 2 TDs - Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 4 2009:
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins

Week 3 2009:
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Sinorice Moss - 1 TD - NY Giants
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 2 2009:
Antrel Rolle - Blocked Field Goal Return for a TD - Arizona Cardinals
Andre Johnson - 2 TDs - Houston Texans
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 1 TD - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Frank Gore - 2 TDs - San Francisco 49ers
Bruce Johnson - 1 TD - New York Giants

Week 1 2009:
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 1 TD - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Jeremy Shockey - 2 TDs - New Orleans Saints
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Click below to see the rest of the list:

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Bruce Johnson Plays Extensively

Jonathan Goff replaced Chase Blackburn at middle linebacker, and CB Bruce Johnson got his most extensive work of the season. The changes appeared to send a clear message: It's about the team. The Giants almost seemed to admit after the game that they had gotten a little caught up in preseason hype and individual attention, and this series of moves undercut all that. Desperation, maybe, but reminding this defense that it's getting late in the season turned out to be the right move.

Johnson finished with 7 tackles, 5 solo tackles.

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Beason's 2 game-changing INTs lead defense

A difficult week ended in a gratifying manner Sunday for Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason.
Beason intercepted two Josh Freeman passes and had six tackles, helping the Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-6 at Bank of America Stadium.

The interceptions - Beason's fourth and fifth of the season - were pivotal. Both came with the Bucs deep in Panthers territory and with Carolina hanging onto a precarious lead.

"When it's your turn, you have to make a play," Beason told reporters after the game. "I had the opportunity and I came up big."

Beason's tough week began when he was arrested last Monday for assaulting a man at a local strip club in November. Later in the week, the man named Beason in a civil suit.

"At the end of the day the truth will come to light," said Beason, who is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 11. "It's unfortunate that some stuff gets out before it's investigated or reported. But that's part of it. You come out and do your job and you move forward."

Beason led a Panthers defense Sunday that, while allowing 469 yards, intercepted Freeman five times (second most in franchise history) and didn't allow a touchdown. Most impressive defensively for the Panthers were the four trips the Bucs took into the red zone (inside the 20), which resulted in just one field goal for Tampa Bay. The other three yielded a missed field goal by Connor Barth and one of Beason's interceptions and another by strong safety Chris Harris.

Beason's second interception, while not in the red zone, might as well have been, since it came on a play from the 20. The strong-armed Freeman, looking for Antonio Bryant, fired a pass down the middle. Beason snatched it at the 3.

"I talked to (Beason) about it after the game," said Freeman. "Right when I popped up to let it go to Bryant, (Beason) just saw it and got his hands on it. It was a remarkable catch for how hard I threw that."

Harris, free safety Charles Godfrey and cornerback Chris Gamble also had interceptions. It was Gamble's third in three games and Godfrey's first since returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of four games.

"This is what happens when you're disciplined," said Godfrey, sporting a split lip from when his helmet jammed into it after he made a tackle. "Then they make mistakes and we capitalize."

Godfrey also saved a certain touchdown in the first half when he slapped the ball from Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow's hands in the end zone.

"He's kind of a choppy guy," Godfrey said. "We had talked a little before the play. I was running with him, I saw his eyes get big and I knocked it out."

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Buchanon Has a Big Game

Lions CB Phillip Buchanon recorded the first sack of his eight-year career on Sunday. He also forced a fumble on the play.

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Ray Lewis: Injured players have to make 'sacrifices' sometimes

Ravens LB Ray Lewis said that game circumstances can dictate whether a player suffering from a concussion will agree to take himself out of a game.

A debate about how concussed players are treated has raged since Steelers WR Hines Ward questioned QB Ben Roethlisberger for not playing last Sunday as he battled the effects of a concussion.

Lewis told the Baltimore Sun it's a "hard decision" for players to lift themselves:

"You've got to ask yourself what point in the game you're at, what stage of the season you're at, how big is the game? Are you really needed at that point? If you're blowing somebody out, no. If you're fighting to go to (the Super) Bowl, then you've got to suck it up.

"You watch a guy years ago in Terrell Davis, who did the same thing (returned to play for the Broncos in the Super Bowl), went in the game, and the coaches just told him, 'We don't need you to run in this play, but we need you to be in there or they won't even think we're running it.'

"So some sacrifices you do make. Some sacrifices you do make in big games. You saw that one was made, so I think if I had the same decision, I'd do the same thing."

The NFL formalized a new policy last week that requires concussed players to be reviewed by independent doctors and to be asymptomatic before being cleared to return to play.

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Gore passed over in game plan

One of the curiosities about the 49ers' fading season is how, in the last month, they've morphed from coach Mike Singletary's deeply held philosophy of being a smashmouth running team into a pass-happy bunch.
Not that Seattle, mind you, was complaining Sunday.

After dealing the 49ers a tough-to-swallow 20-17 loss, several Seahawks — including coach Jim Mora — rubbed salt in the wound by expressing their profound gratitude that Frank Gore didn't carry the ball more often.

"It's a load off when they take care of one of our problems for us," said Seattle linebacker Aaron Curry of Gore's nine carries for 25 yards. "It was ... beautiful."

While 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had another strong afternoon operating a spread offense-like attack — completing 27 of 45 passes for a career-high 310 yards and two touchdowns — finding a balance between the run and pass continues to elude a team now in danger of missing the playoffs.

Singletary, as he conducted his post-mortem Monday, once again said that he doesn't care how the 49ers win, just as long as they do.

The Seattle defense, he added, was focused primarily on stopping Gore, who burned the Seahawks for 207 yards rushing in a Week 2 49ers victory. So San Francisco tried to make them pay through the air.

"I don't want us to outsmart ourselves," Singletary said. "If they have a package out there where it's better to throw the ball, then we need to take advantage of that matchup. You have to be smart about the matchups."

In fact, he added that "some" calls intended to be running plays were changed on the field once Smith got a better look at the Seattle defensive scheme.

That said, even tight end Vernon Davis expressed some mild surprise that the 49ers' offense has been opened up so dramatically in recent weeks.

"But it takes everybody on the team to make things happen," he added. "Frank just can't do everything all by himself."

Of course, it didn't add up to a win Sunday in large part because the 49ers made too many mistakes — highlighted by two fumbles and numerous dropped passes. And now the math doesn't ´╗┐favor their playoffs hopes.

The 49ers (5-7) are three games behind NFC West-leading Arizona (8-4) with four left to play as the two teams head into a showdown Monday at Candlestick Park. The 49ers could run the table and it still might not be enough considering the depth of the hole they've dug for themselves.

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Bears' Hester injury not stopping him from next week's game

Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester(notes) had only one catch in Sunday's win over the St. Louis Rams. But it was for 48 yards so he packed a punch with that one catch. But he left the game with a strained calf that had plenty of folks worried that he would be missing next week's game.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Hester did not have an MRI and should be ready for next week even though he's feeling "really sore" in that calf.

He'll need to be as healthy as possible next week when the Bears take on the Green Bay Packers, a team that has a pass defense that is in the top 10 of the league.

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UM linebacker Sharpton eyes the NFL

Armed with a degree in finance and the nickname ``D-Money,'' University of Miami linebacker Darryl Sharpton has long considered a future in finance and entrepreneurship.

But these days, the 6-0, 235-pound son of CPA Darryl Sharpton Sr. and nephew of the Rev. Al Sharpton, is playing well enough to warrant another profession: NFL player.

``We're going to train for a bowl game and then it's time for the next saga of my life,'' Sharpton said. ``I'd like to give professional football a shot.''

Sharpton, 22, grew up in Coral Gables, graduated from Coral Gables High as part of the prestigious International Baccalaureate academic program and played his first three years at UM without much fanfare.

Now, with 14th-ranked Miami (9-3) about to begin preparing for No. 24 Wisconsin (9-3) in the Champs Sports Bowl, Sharpton leads the Hurricanes in tackles with 91. He was named a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker last week and also earned ACC Player of the Week honors after matching a career-high 12 tackles and causing a fumble at South Florida that led to a UM touchdown.

The previous week against Duke, Sharpton returned his first interception 73 yards for a touchdown.
On Sunday, Hurricanes coaches named Sharpton the team's most valuable defensive player at the awards ceremony.

``This is a great way to end my personal career and great for this program,'' Sharpton said after UM's 31-10 regular-season finale Nov. 28 at USF. ``It'll be good to have a little break, let my body heal, spend a lot of time in the ice tub, do some stretching and get into academics.''

Sharpton finally seems to have overcome knee problems and appears to be modeling other UM linebackers who had their best seasons as seniors. They include Tavares Gooden of the Baltimore Ravens, Spencer Adkins of the Atlanta Falcons and Glen Cook, who went undrafted last season but led in tackles and had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Jonathan Vilma (New Orleans Saints), in his sixth NFL season, also graduated from Gables High.

``I told Sharpton he needs to come play wide receiver,'' UM quarterback Jacory Harris said of the Duke interception on Senior Day, when Sharpton sprinted down the the left sideline untouched. ``I've never seen a linebacker with that much concentration. He showed a little speed down there.''

Long known for his ferocious hits (he also earned UM's hard-hitter award), Sharpton has finally crafted the mental part of his game as well. ``Darryl has always been a guy, when he first got here -- `Big hit, I want the big hit, Coach! I want the big hit,' '' Shannon mimicked. ``[Sometimes], big hits come when you don't wrap up and you throw your forearms out. I had to explain to him when we worked with him this year that big hits can come when you wrap up. And that's what he has been doing.

``Darryl has changed his mind set. Hit people as hard as you can, but you've got to wrap him up and go through the guy.''

Shannon said he is proud of Sharpton for his maturity and leadership. ``He has improved every week, making all the checks and lining up the defensive linemen. He's having more fun.''

Sharpton attributed his improvement to ``trusting the scheme, studying and really understanding the mental aspect. I believe physically I always had it,'' he said. ``But I had to tie the two [together] and right now I think I've reached that point.''

Academically, Sharpton is thrilled that he has already earned his degree. He is currently finishing four classes for 12 credits in extended studies. ``I'm trying all kinds of different stuff,'' he said, ``African-American studies, women's gender studies, geology.''

After the Hurricanes take on the Badgers on Dec. 29 at The Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, Sharpton will return to the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 23 for the East-West Shrine Game. No doubt he'll play hard.

``When I'm playing, I'm in my zone and it doesn't matter who's watching. I live for the moment.''

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Mets Deny Reported Burrell Trade

INDIANAPOLIS — The Mets, contrary to a report on the website, are not close to acquiring Pat Burrell in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs. A club official shot down the report, saying that the report was uncategorically false.

It’s no secret that the Rays want to move Burrell, the Cubs want to deal Milton Bradley and the Mets are trying to unload Luis Castillo. Bradley is owed $21 million over the next two seasons, Castillo $12 million through 2011 and Burrell $9 million in 2010. That’s a lot of salary to match up.

Even though Burrell fits the Mets’ need for a right-handed slugger, he might not be a good option for another reason: his defense. The team values speed and defense even more now that they’re playing in Citi Field, and Burrell doesn’t really supply much of either. There’s also not much of an indication that he would move to first base, where he could be used in tandem with Daniel Murphy. That, though, would seem like a lot of money spent on a right-handed-hitting caddie in the National League.

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Zach Railey shapes up for London

For Zach Railey, working out in the gym has little to do with looking good on the beach. Sailors like Railey, a silver medalist at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, don't need a lot of strength in their chest and pectoral muscles.

Instead, sailors mostly focus on exercises to improve their hips, quadriceps, lower back and shoulders, said Chris Herrera, strength and conditioning coach for U.S. Sailing. Olympic-style lifts like cleans and snatches strengthen those areas, Herrera said.

Sailing is unique, Herrera said, because it involves anaerobic exercise, which builds up strength needed in short bursts such as in football plays, and it also involves aerobic exercise, which can build up cardiovascular benefits for longer distance events such as cross country skiing.

Herrera and Railey met in 2005 at the University of Miami when Herrera was working on his doctorate in physical therapy and Railey was an undergraduate student. Since then,  they have created exercise routines designed specifically for sailing. For example, sitting on an exercise ball while doing repetitive lifts might mimic the instability of sitting in a boat on the water.

While Railey will undoubtedly anchor his quest for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games with work on the water, about half of his work is on land as well. A 25-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., Railey estimates 30 percent of his Olympic preparation involves time in the gym and mental preparation, and 20 percent involves other activities such as fundraising.

"Obviously, performance on the water is number one," Railey said. "Practice time on the water is one big aspect. The second big one is off the water with physical training in the gym and mental training. The third one is financial."

Herrera now runs Bow Down Training, an exercise business designed specifically to prepare sailors for competition. He works closely with the U.S. sailing team. Railey acts as a consultant for the business.

"Our goal is to be the fittest sailing team in the world," Railey said.

Standing 6-4 and weighing more than 200 pounds, Railey can count on physical strength as an asset. He needs it for sailing in the Finn class.

"It's kind of like an animal," Railey said of the Finn. "It's probably the hardest boat to sail in Olympic-class sailing."
Railey started sailing before he knew it was an Olympic sport. He took up sailing at 8 and was hooked after one lesson.

"I got in the car, and I told my mom that I absolutely loved it," he said.

Kenneth Andreasen, now the head coach of the U.S. Olympic sailing program, first saw Railey sail at 9.

"He was very determined and committed for sure," Andreasen said. "You could tell he was going to go somewhere."

Andreasen served as Railey's coach for about four years, including when Railey, at 11, became the youngest sailor to qualify and compete at the Optimist World Championships. Railey invaded the U.S. sailing team rankings in 2001 and has never left.

Railey in 2006 asked Andreasen to coach him again in preparation for the Olympic Games. His first-place showing at the U.S. Olympic Trials was followed by his silver medal in Beijing. Great Britain's Ben Ainslie became a three-time gold medalist and kept Railey off the top spot of the medal stand.

In 2012, Railey again could face Ainslie, and this time, they would meet in Ainslie's home country. Railey sailed at the 2012 Olympic Games site in Weymouth, England, this year when he won a bronze medal September 19 at Sail for Gold.

While the light air was a factor at the Olympic Games last year in Beijing, Railey said the ever-changing winds at Weymouth will definitely present challenges. The light air in China allowed Railey to drop down to 190 pounds, which he did over the course of about a year. He's now slowly getting back closer to 220 pounds through proper diet and time spent in the weight room.

Railey hopes to be in London along with his sister, 22-year-old Paige. An alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, Paige Railey won a gold medal in a Laser Radial fleet at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, this past April. In July, she won the European Laser Radial Women's Championship in Charlottenlund, Denmark.

Zach Railey is aware all Olympic dreams need funding. He estimates he needs $120,000 to $150,000 a year to train. He receives support from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The U.S. team goes by the name U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics because of that company's support.

Railey said he still has to raise another $40,000 to $60,000 in funding each year on his own. He said his degree in business administration from the University of Miami comes in handy. He has found such sponsors as Sunsail and Sperry Top-sider. Auctions are another source of income. His Web site explains how personal donations can qualify people for a drawing that will give away a sailboat from Sunsail.

Railey also uses social media tools on his Web site, and he Twitters. His Web site,, leaves no doubt about his goal.

That goal will require a commitment on land.

"He's enthusiastic about training," Herrera said. "He's always wanting to learn more, and because he wants to learn more, he retains more. He's a dream athlete to work with."

But, of course, that goal will ultimately come down to his performance on the water.

"He can perform when he has to under pressure," Andreasen said. "He's very strong, and he can keep his cool."

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Devin Hester KO'd by calf strain

Receiver Devin Hester has a mild calf strain, an injury that should not keep him from playing against the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Hester injured his left calf on a third-quarter run in the Bears' 17-9 victory over the Rams. He fumbled the ball, then recovered. Hester left with just over 13 minutes remaining in the quarter.

"We're going to test it out (Monday)," Hester said. "It's just real sore right now. (Monday) we'll see how it feels."

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Darnell Jenkins Works Out for Patriots

The New England Patriots auditioned quarterback Jeff Rowe and wide receiver Darnell Jenkins today, according to a league source.

Neither player was immediately signed, though.

Jenkins was signed by the Houston Texans after going undrafted out of Miami last year

He has also had brief stints with the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Leon Williams Impressive in UFL

These are some of the top players who joined the UFL ranks after the first of the season:

New York outside linebacker Leon Williams made 33 total tackles (23 solos and 20 assists) in just four games with the Sentinels, including a UFL-record 11 total stops in Game 3 vs. California.

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The Cutler/Hester combo

I realize that Devin Hester needs to refine his routes, but the man is a playmaker and I think Cutler needs to get him to be THE guy. Now that the season is over I say save Matt Forte (overused last year) and try to get Hester involved a LOT MORE. Bennet and Knox are nice also but if Cutler doesn't overthrow Hester a couple times we are still in hunt. -- Bill Marchetti; Freeland, Pa.

I'm with you Bill. I wish Cutler would look for Hester more. Whenever he has thrown to him, Hester has not disappointed. He has shown an ability to run good routes and get open, good hands and run after the catch. Hester has too much talent to be overlooked the way he has been overlooked in recent games. It seems like he had one bad game, against the 49ers, and Cutler has forgotten about him since.


Curry says 49ers helped by not using more Gore

Considering Frank Gore ran for 207 yards and single-handedly changed the game the last time Seattle played the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks were pleasantly surprised Sunday to see very little of the standout running back.

Gore carried just nine times for 25 yards as the Seahawks pulled out a 20-17 victory at Qwest Field.

The 49ers have gone to more of a spread passing attack in recent weeks behind quarterback Alex Smith, but Seattle's defenders seemed stunned that San Francisco stubbornly stuck with that ploy given their history against Gore.

In seven previous starts against Seattle, Gore had averaged 128 yards rushing and 160 yards of total offense.
This time he caught five passes for 37 yards and had just nine rushes, his lowest output of the season outside of a game when he got hurt after just one carry.

Was that strategy a relief for a Seattle defense that gave up 256 yards in a 23-10 victory in Week 2?

"Anytime you play a team that you rushed for almost 300 yards, why not do it again?" said rookie linebacker Aaron Curry. "I mean, at least attempt to. It was just weird that they came out and wanted to spread us out and go deep and pay attention to the pass."

Seattle coach Jim Mora noted that Gore ran the ball just four times for 14 yards in the first half and said, "Interestingly enough, they didn't attempt to run the ball."


"I'm not really concerned about their strategy, their philosophy," Mora said. "I'm just glad that he didn't have the ball more because the guy's an outstanding football player. But they've got a lot of outstanding football players."

Curry actually saw less playing time because of the 49ers' spread attack as he and fellow linebacker Leroy Hill often come off the field in nickel and dime pass-defense packages.

"It's tough on me and Leroy both," Curry said. "But whatever it takes for us to win."

As for holding Gore in check when he did get chances, Curry declined to take much credit, even though Jordan Babineaux forced a critical fumble in the fourth quarter that set up Seattle's first go-ahead field goal by Olindo Mare.

"I don't think he touched the ball enough to do much with it," said Curry. "Frank Gore is one of those guys, every time he touches it you have to figure out how to stop him. Their game plan wasn't necessarily to run the ball like last time."

Gore has had only one 100-yard game since the Seattle outburst, running for 104 yards against the Bears three weeks ago. He ran just seven times for 59 yards against Green Bay and 16 times for 33 yards last week against Jacksonville, so the Seahawks had seen this trend coming.

They just found it something of a relief to not get a face full of Gore once again.

"Well, I don't want to call it relieved," said Curry. "But it's a load off when they take care of one of our big problems for us. We didn't have to come out there and stack the box every play and allow them to go deep whenever they feel like it.

"For them to take that load off for us was beautiful."

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49ers' shift moves value from Gore to Smith

At halftime of an eventual loss to the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers changed their offensive mind-set, putting the ball in quarterback Alex Smith's hands more.

The result has been three games in a row with multiple passing touchdowns for Smith, including two more on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, plus his first career 300-yard game. Smith has 86 attempts the past two weeks, and the 49ers have been competitive, so it's not as if Smith is winging it in a wild comeback effort.

But owners of running back Frank Gore are not happy with Smith's newfound success. Gore had 25 rushing yards Sunday, his worst total since getting hurt in Week 3. Gore helps as a receiver he caught TD passes in weeks 11 and 12 but he appears unlikely to be a premier back.

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Reed expected to start

Ravens safety Ed Reed, who has missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday with ankle and hip injuries, is expected to start Monday night at Green Bay, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said Thursday.

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Portis might miss Dec. 13 game at Oakland

Running back Clinton Portis might sit out next week's road game against the Oakland Raiders because of lingering affects from a concussion.

On Monday, Portis will travel to Pittsburgh to be examined again by concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Coach Jim Zorn said after practice today at Redskins Park. After the two-day evaluation, Portis is scheduled to return to Redskins Park on Wednesday.

It seems highly unlikely that Portis, who as of this week still was experiencing dizziness during workouts, would play in the game at Oakland.

"He still has a little bit of dizziness or just not feeling right," Zorn said.

But Zorn would not rule out Portis, who has missed three straight games after suffering the concussion in the Week 9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and will not play in Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints at FedEx Field.

"I'm not going to say that," Zorn said. "If they [the concussion specialists] can clear him, he'll get right back into it.
And that'll be the test, because they'll be the ones that ask him. And as they work through all the issues, if he comes back then we can get him out [on the practice field].

"I can't tell you he'll play against the Raiders. But if we can get him active, and he feels better, they've completely cleared him and our doctors have completely cleared him to play, not just to have activity, then we'll go."

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