AllCanes Radio With Lance Hurdle

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Every week proCanes.com joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes. Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interview with proCane basketball player Lance Hurdle who is currently playing in the NBA D-League for the Springfield Armor in hopes of making the jump to the NBA this year.

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NFL U Weekly Matchup Guide: Week 7

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Devin Hester: Future Hall of Famer?

DevinHester
Devin Hester is already in the NFL's record book with his 16 kickoff/punt returns for TDs. Last Sunday's score off a 98-yard kickoff gave him 17 career non-offensive touchdowns -- including a 108-yard return of a missed FG in 2006 but not his 92-yard runback on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI -- tying him with Rod Woodson for second all-time and leaving him two back of Deion Sanders' career mark.

Granted, Sanders and Woodson largely built their Canton portfolios as defensive backs. But will the efforts of Hester, who's not yet halfway through his sixth season, earn him a place among the immortals?

He'd already been deemed the greatest return man in history on NFL Network's NFL Top 10 series before he broke the all-time TD record of Brian Mitchell, who scored on 13 kickoff/punt returns in a 14-year career.

Though Hester has started regularly at wideout for the Bear since 2008 -- he's got 185 career receptions and another 13 TDs through the air -- he's not nearly the same caliber of player as Sanders and Woodson outside his special teams role. To date, K Jan Stenerud is the only player enshrined at Canton who was inducted primarily for his excellence in the third phase of the game.

Will Stenerud be getting some company in the future?



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


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This Date in Miami Hurricanes History...October 20th, 1984....

This Date In Hurricanes History...October 11, 1968...
 
Brought to you by the UM Sports Hall of Fame!

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UMSHoF member Bernie Kosar set a then school record with 29 completions as the 9th ranked Miami Hurricanes claimed a 27-7 Homecoming Game victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers before an Orange Bowl crowd of 32,872 !
 
Kosar completed the 29 passes in 42 attempts and ended the game with 351 yards passing.  UMSHoF member Willie Smith caught 8 passes for 82 yards, UMSHoF member Alonzo Highsmith caught 4 passes for 31 yards and rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries, with 2 touchdowns.  All American and UMSHoF member Eddie Brown had 5 receptions for 67 yards.  Stanley Shakespeare caught 6 passes for 125 yards and Kosar's lone touchdown pass.
 
Kosar passed UMSHoF member Jim Kelly's season passing yardage record, with 3 regular season games to go !  He would end the 1984 campaign with 3,642 yards passing, STILL the UM record !  His 262 completions in 416 pass attempts are also school records !

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit, 501c3 corporation whose sole purpose is to recognize those student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have excelled at their sports and brought acclaim to the university through their accomplishments and championships.  All tax-deductible donations help showcase their achievements for Hurricanes fans to enjoy for generations to come !

To Donate to the UM Sports Hall of Fame, click below...


Click here to donate now
  
UM Sports Hall of Fame
5821 San Amaro Drive
Coral Gables, Florida
33146


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Sore right ankle forces Jimmy Graham to miss practice

JimmyGrahamSaints
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said tight end Jimmy Graham, who leads the team in receiving, missed Thursday's practice with a sore right ankle.

Graham has 39 catches for 620 yards and three touchdowns, and last week, he became just the second tight end to have four consecutive games in the same season with 100 receiving yards or more, matching the feat accomplished by Tony Gonzalez in 2000.

Graham practiced Wednesday, but Payton said the tight end was having ankle soreness afterward and was given Thursday to rest.

Graham is in his second NFL season out of Miami, where he played power forward for the basketball team for four years before playing one season of college football.

The Saints host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.

Graham was one of six Saints starters to miss practice Thursday. Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (ankle), defensive end Turk McBride (shoulder), linebackers Jonathan Vilma (knee) and Will Herring (hamstring), and offensive tackle Zach Strief (knee) all sat out for a second consecutive day.

Click here to order Jimmy Graham’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(nfl.com)
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Greg Olsen returns to full practice Thursday

GregOlsenPanthers
Panthers TE Greg Olsen (turf toe) returned to a full practice on Thursday.

Olsen is fully expected to start against a Redskins defense allowing the 20th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Greg Olsen's turf toe issue is not believed to be serious. The ex-Bear is averaging 4.1 catches for 47 yards with three touchdowns through six games. He'll be a borderline TE1 option against a Redskins team that gave up a decent game to previously dormant Brent Celek last week. Rotoworld ranks Olsen as the No. 12 fantasy play at the position this week.

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


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(rotoworld.com)
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Vernon Carey Feeling More Comfortable According To Sparano

VernonCarey
On how much more comfortable Vernon Carey feels at guard Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano said: “Honestly, I would argue Vernon played the best upfront the other night. Really starting to look like a guard in there, he really is.  I know there’s some people out there who don’t really believe in that. I’m telling you, you’re making a mistake. This guy is going to be a good guard, a really good guard, I think down the road. It’s just going to take time. It goes back to that deal there…if he was there in March, how much further ahead we’d be. When you’re pulling and something happens fast on the run and you’re not used to that, it takes a little bit of time to see some of that. Is a linebacker coming underneath me or is he coming outside of me. Do I come around this or do I come under it…and he’s starting to figure that out a little bit. Playing a lot faster in there right now.”

Click here to order Vernon Carey’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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Vince Wilfork: Walk to Stop Diabetes

Vince Wilfork: Walk to Stop Diabetes: MyFoxBOSTON.com



Click here to order Vince Wilfork’s proCane Rookie Card.


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Devin Hester ready to electrify NFL London Bowl

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Already the most prolific kick returner in the sport’s history, the 28-year-old from Florida will be aiming to add to the 16 kick-off and punt returns he has run in for touchdowns when his Chicago Bears face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in this year’s London Bowl.

No player has ever been elected to the Hall of Fame as a return specialist, but Hester is tipped to make history by coach Lovie Smith.
‘We have the greatest returner in the history of the game in Devin Hester,’ he said.

‘What a sight – every touchdown he’s had, and he just set the punt return TD career record, I’ve had the opportunity to see and it doesn’t get any better than that.’

Defensive end Israel Idonije added: ‘Every time Devin gets the ball in his hands he’s a weapon.

‘He has the potential to make a huge play and to get in the end zone.’
There is also praise from legendary coach Mike Ditka, who led the Bears to their only Super Bowl success 25 years ago.

That side, dubbed the Monsters of Midway, contained star names like running back Walter Peyton, linebacker Mike Singletary, quarterback Jim McMahon and defensive lineman William Perry – who was better known as ‘The Fridge’.

Ditka rightly sings the praises of his men, who remain heroes in the Windy City, but believes Hester is one of the few modern-day Bears who would have fitted alongside them, saying: ‘He could play in anybody’s team.’

Hester left Sunday’s 39-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings suffering from bruising after hauling in a 48-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Cutler and producing a trademark kick-off return, scampering into the end zone after a 98-yard sprint.

But he is expected to be fit to face the Buccaneers who must try to catch lightning in a bottle.

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


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(metro.co.uk)
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Tom Waddle lashes out at Bears safety Brandon Meriweather

BrandonMeriweatherWallpaper
Former Bears receiver Tom Waddle is lashing out at Bears safety Brandon Meriweather for a style of play that Waddle believes is dirty and designed to knock opposing receivers out.

“I don’t approve of the way he plays the game,” Waddle said on ESPN 1000. “And you can call me a sissy all you want. OK? I was on the receiving end of a lot of head-to-head hits. And maybe it’s the reason I act the way I do. But in football there are going to be moments when a guy is trying to make a tackle and his helmet hits yours. It’s going to happen, and in today’s game you’re going to get flagged for it. And that’s the way it is.”

Meriweather has been fined twice for helmet-to-helmet hits, and he might pick up another fine for a hit against the Lions on Monday night. Waddle says Meriweather deserves the fines because he plays with an intent to hurt.

“When I interpret the way you go about your job that you have the intent to hurt somebody, I’ve got no time for you. I’ve got no place for you. The game’s got no place for you,” Waddle said. “He’s going to hurt himself, and he’s going to hurt someone else because of the intent.”

In Waddle’s view, Meriweather’s style of play doesn’t belong in the NFL.

“I don’t know Brandon. I haven’t had a discussion with him. But it sure looks by the way he plays the game that the intent isn’t to put a big hit on someone and legally knock them out, it’s to hurt someone,” Waddle said. “What Brandon does is he leads with his helmet all the time. There’s no place in the game, brother, at this particular time for that. It’s vicious enough. And when your intent, in my humble opinion, is to hurt or maim, I’ve got no time for you, and I don’t think the game’s got any place for you.”

Click here to order Brandon Meriweather’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Vince Wilfork Says 'Take That, Revis' After Wes Welker's Big Catch Against Jets

VinceWilfork
As an organization, the Patriots always like to let their play on the field do all the talking rather than engaging in a war of words with other teams through the media. Vince Wilfork might be the best at it, as just last week he turned down the opportunity to respond to Cowboys center Phil Costa's assesment of Wilfork as a "speed bump."

But in the heat of battle against the Jets and with a microphone under his jersey, Wilfork showed some of the fire that generally is kept under wraps.

In a segment on Sound FX, Wilfork was mic'd up for the Patriots' win over the Jets in Week 5. Following Wes Welker's 73-yard catch-and-run behind vaunted cornerback Darrelle Revis, the camera showed Wilfork enjoying the show from the sideline.

"Take that, Revis," Wilfork said.

After the cornerback caught up with Welker and eventually tackled him, though, Wilfork was still impressed.

"Hey," Wilfork said to Kyle Love, "Revis can run a little bit, huh?"

Other highlights include:
Wilfork telling Bill Belichick to throw the challenge flag on Deion Branch's fumble -- a call that was eventually overturned
No. 75 showing some leadership and rallying the troops after the Jets scored
Wilfork telling Brian Waters that he looks like a "black Tedy Bruschi" (Waters wears Bruschi's old  No. 54)
Wilfork assuring Chad Ochocinco that he's "getting there" and is showing improvement each week
Wilfork telling an official what down it is in order to correct the sign on the sideline

Click here to watch the video.

Click here to order Vince Wilfork’s proCane Rookie Card.


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UM to honor 2001 football and baseball national title teams

NFLU2009
CORAL GABLES – The Hurricanes’ 2001 national championship football and baseball teams will be honored at next Thursday’s game against Virginia at Sun Life Stadium.

Individual UM champions from other sports will also be honored at halftime.

Kickoff for the game, which will be shown on ESPN, ESPN HD and ESPN3D, will be 8 p.m.

UM’s 2001 football team won the program’s fifth national championship with the school’s third undefeated season.

NFL Pro Bowlers Andre Johnson, Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Jonathan Vilma, and Bryant McKinnie, and other former Hurricanes and current NFL players have been invited for the celebration.

UM’s 2001 baseball team, which entered the College World Series, scored 49 runs in four games to win the school’s fourth national championship.

Tom Farmer, Kevin Brown and Charlton Jimerson, as well as Coach Jim Morris will be among the team members at Sun Life.

Also, 2011 400-Meter Hurdles National Champion Ti’erra Brown, 2011 10-Meter Platform Diving National Champion Brittany Viola, 2006 Triple Jump National Champion Tabia Charles and 1986 Tennis Doubles National Champions Lise Gregory and Ronni Reis will also be honored.

In the coming years, UM plans to honor individual and team national champions the year after their feat, as well as recognizing their five, 10 and 25-year anniversaries.


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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Warren Sapp Challenges Phelps to Swim Rematch



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Man sorry for slapping Devin Hester

DevinHesterBears2
The man who slapped Devin Hester on the back of his head at a Des Plaines, Ill., casino apologized Wednesday and offered to donate money to a charity of the Chicago Bears star's choice and perform community service.

Daniel Rago, 52, of Mount Prospect, Ill., was charged after slapping the back of Hester's head while the receiver was in a cash transaction line Friday night at Rivers Casino.

"Rago comes up from behind and slaps Mr. Hester with an open hand and walks away," Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini said Tuesday. "Mr. Hester turned around and notified casino security. The offender was escorted to a security office and we were contacted. We were able to review the incident on video, and that verified the facts as stated by Mr. Hester."

Rago told Fox Chicago that he didn't know it was Hester and said he was wrong for touching him.

"We were all waiting in line. We were all happy, we won a little bit of money and all of a sudden the gentleman in front of me walked over two tellers to the left," Rago said. "I said 'Excuse me, these two elderly people were in front of you.' And that person replied, 'They waved me up.' I'm like, 'No, the next person in line should have went to the left.'

"No response after that, so I went over to the left of him and as a father would reprimand a kid, not saying he's a kid but a young man, and I just gave him a biff on the back of the head. And I was wrong for doing that. Nothing justifies another person hitting or touching another person. It's wrong on my part."

Rago, who has a Dec. 1 court date, said he was trying to stand up for the two elderly people in line with him.

"I was trying to defend the defenseless because they were elderly and they were not going to speak up to a young man," Rago said. "I felt that I'm just a fairness type of guy, and so I took that into my own thought process, which was totally wrong."

Rago, who said he is a big Bears fan, wants to make it up to Hester.

"Devin, if you're listening and if you can see me here, I am so, so sorry," Rago said. "I'm the bad guy here, and I apologize. I'm going to ask you right now, I will donate $500 to the charity of your choice and 20 hours of community service on your behalf. I messed up."

Rago, who said he "did not have one drink" Friday night at the casino, didn't know it was Hester until he was released from the police interrogation room and saw the complaint signed by Hester.

Two days later, Rago and his brother had end zone seats to watch Hester score two touchdowns during the Bears' 39-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. Hester was named NFC special teams player of the week on Wednesday.

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


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(espn.com)
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Win A 4x6 Orlando Franklin Signed Photo!

For more information and to have a chance to win the SIGNED Orlando Franklin Photo “Like” Facebook.com/prointerviews

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To enter for a chance to win the SIGNED Orlando Franklin Photo “Like” Facebook.com/prointerviews


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Sam Shields not yet ruled out for Week 7

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Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers CB Sam Shields (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 19, but he has not yet been ruled out for the Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings. "Sam went through the testing (Wednesday), and he'll continue to go through the week," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "The doctors feel very good about the progress he's making."

Click here to order Sam Shields’ proCane Rookie Card.


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(kffl.com)
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Devin Hester Sits Out Practice

DevinHesterWallpaper
Devin Hester brushed off being named the NFC's special teams player of the week for the second time in three weeks. He's more concerned about getting on the field Sunday against the Buccaneers in London.

Hester sat out Wednesday's practice as he continues to recover from a chest injury. He said he was "hurting'' after getting banged up in the 39-10 victory over the Vikings.

Hester had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday night but the Bucs might pose a much stiffer challenge.

"(The Bucs are) just physical on special teams,'' Hester said. "But there are some things we feel we can hurt them with.''

The Bucs rank second in the league in opponents field position after kickoff (18.8-yard line) thanks to the kicking of Michael Koenen. And since 2002, the Bucs have surrendered just four kick return touchdowns, tied for third-best in the league.

"I was hoping the Bears would leave (Hester) at home and not bring him to London," Bucs coach Raheem Morris joked. "If he shows up, hopefully we still won't see him. Hopefully, we can keep him somewhat out of the game."

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


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(chicagotribune.com)
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Kubiak won't rule Andre Johnson out against Titans

AndreJohnsonWallpaper
Texans coach Gary Kubiak refuses to rule Andre Johnson out for Sunday's game at Tennessee, even though the wide receiver hasn't practiced since undergoing a minor procedure on Oct. 6 to repair his injured right hamstring.

On Tuesday, Johnson mentioned to a local radio station that he was told his absence might total six weeks - although he was skeptical of being out that long. On Wednesday, Kubiak said the recovery is "right on schedule."

"He's running," Kubiak said. "He ran some routes and caught the ball. There is still progress to make before Andre is going to be on the field. It may be that he gets on the field and practices a little bit before the week's out. I don't know right now.

"He continues to progress, and what are we - two weeks and a couple of days into this thing? There have been no setbacks. Everything has been positive, so we'll keep going."

Click here to order Andre Johnson’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(chron.com)
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Hester wins 11th special teams player of week honor

DevinHester
Chicago Bears star Devin Hester was named the NFC's special teams player of the week for the second time in three weeks.

Hester returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in the Bears' 39-10 win over the Vikings. It was the 16th kick return score of his career, extending an NFL record. Hester had 134 total return yards in the game.

It is the second time he has earned the distinction this season, also winning the honor after a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Week 4 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

The latest honor marked the 11th special teams player of the week award for Hester.

Hester joins six other non-quarterbacks who have earned player of the week honors 11 times or more in their career. The list: Jerry Rice (13), Adam Vinatieri (13), John Carney (13) Barry Sanders (11), LaDainian Tomlinson (11), Jason Hanson (11), Hester (11).

Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris talked about the possibility of kicking to Hester in London Sunday, with Hester coming off a chest injury.

"I was hoping the Bears would leave him at home and not bring him to London," Morris joked. "If he shows up, hopefully we still won't see him. Hopefully, we can keep him somewhat out of the game."

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


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(chicagotribune.com)
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Michael Irvin among those selected to join local Hall of Fame

MichaelIrvinCane
Jack McKeon, Michael Irvin, Jennifer Rodriguez and Juan Pablo Montoya each made their marks on the South Florida sports community.
On Wednesday morning, they were honored for their efforts.

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Sports Hall of Champions on Wednesday afternoon with its annual awards banquet at American Airlines Arena.

Montoya, McKeon, Irvin and Rodriguez joined a pantheon of athletes and coaches with ties to Miami that have been honored over the past two decades. The list includes Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Dan Marino, Don Shula and Arthur Ashe.

Longtime Miami Heat announcers Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino were also recognized with the Lifetime Contribution to Sports Awards for their contributions to the franchise and the community.

rvin, the former UM and Dallas Cowboys standout, wrapped up the luncheon with a powerful speech about making a difference in people’s lives.

The Hall of Fame receiver spoke about being a mentor to Cowboys receiver Jesse Holley, who earned an invitation to the team’s training camp after winning Irvin’s reality show 4th and Long in 2009. Holley is playing this season for Dallas.

“We want to be a light for others and most importantly, you want to shine a light on the people that helped you get here,” Irvin said. “An award like this really comes down to the journey.”

Click here to order Michael Irvin’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(miamiherald.com)
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Ray Lewis Still Hears His Doubters Every Time He Prepares for a New Season

RayLewis
Ray Lewis’ NFL resume is incredibly impressive and yet his record-setting career is a long way from over. He has been the NFL’s Defensive MVP twice, he has a Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP to his credit, and just recently he became the first defensive player in the history of the league to notch 40 sacks and 30 interceptions. He’s not done though. Even though some people continue to think it’s just a matter of time before Lewis loses a step, the Ravens captain just continues to make plays and show the world why he is the best middle linebacker to ever lace up the cleats. Ray Lewis is the unquestioned leader of the Baltimore “D” and has his team in position once again to make another playoff run. As the Ravens have gotten off to another great start, Lewis is right where he has been since he stepped onto the field in 1996: At the center of the defense making plays and adding to his Hall-Of-Fame resume.

Ray Lewis joined WNST in Baltimore with Gleen Clark, Luke Jones, and Brendan Ayenbadejo to talk about whether or not he can sense how much a win means to the city of Baltimore, how he feels about the team sitting at 4-1, what he credits much of his NFL success to, whether or not individual numbers mean something to him, and if he laughs at people that say “this is the year Ray Lewis finally slows down.”

Whether or not he can sense how much a win means to the city of Baltimore:
“Let’s just keep it on both ends because we’re human as well. We know exactly how you guys feel. For years, for years I had to really find myself getting over something. My mom used to always get mad at me because after a loss nobody in the car can talk on the way home, nobody can talk at the house, and I used to really change the mood of my entire family by losing a game. Trust me we know exactly how you feel. We feel the same way in the locker room.”

How he feels about the team early in the season:
“I just think we’re at a great place right now. The first quarter of the season is over and the second quarter is starting. I just think now having that bye week and now having a Monday night game we get an extra week to get like everybody back. We haven’t had our starting rookie corner for the last three weeks, we haven’t had Lee Evans who’s been dealing with an injury, and we haven’t had Chris Carr so we’ve been kinda mixing around and shuffling some pieces as well. So for us to get completely healthy now that’s kinda what we’re excited about really as a team getting completely healthy.”

What he credits much of his NFL success to:
“I just credit a lot of that to longevity and really making my mind up at a young age about what I wanted to do. I didn’t shy away from it because I knew I was willing to work at it. I don’t have a secret or blueprint that I can pass along to anybody. The blueprint is very simple. Believe in yourself and once you believe in yourself set a goal, set a journey, create your own legacy, and chase it every day of your life. That’s all I did. That’s why I tell people a lot of times I don’t ever want to go back to being a 22 or 23-year-old Ray Lewis because there was too much I didn’t know then. Now playing the game now I appreciate the game more now than I could ever appreciate the game. That’s why you hear me speak about most of the time it’s all about the moment. It’s all about living right now in the moment.”

Whether or not his individual numbers mean much to him:
“A man told me a long time ago that men and women lie but numbers don’t. It speaks volumes when you have a certain number because a number is a legacy and somebody is chasing. You just set a legacy. At the end of the day the numbers are gonna remain one thing but your name is what is going to exist forever and somebody is going to be chasing that name for a long time. For that name to come to Baltimore in 1996 when we didn’t have a ball club and that name to 16 years later become the first player in NFL history to do it, it’s overwhelming. It’s kinda hard to put that into emotions ya know because I’m not done yet.”

If he laughs at the experts that doubt him and say “this might be the year Ray Lewis loses a step”
“Absolutely. Let me tell you something and this isn’t just for myself but this is to any young kid that wants to do anything. I’ve heard every critic say anything and everything they wanted to say about me since 1993. I was too small and could never play middle linebacker in this business, in 1996 Mel Kiper said I would go fourth round, year five I’m getting slow, year seven I’m getting slow, and every year it’s always something. They have to find something. To any critic I always say watch tape. That’s it. You don’t have to argue with anybody. The eye in the sky don’t lie. The only thing that follows work is results. I guarantee every time. Every time I go back to work, every offseason there’s always some voice that I hear in my ear saying you’re getting a step slower. Okay. Sooner or later somebody’s child is gonna have to report that message.”

Click here to order Ray Lewis’ proCane Rookie Card.


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(sportsradiointerviews.com)
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Antrel Rolle's versatility impresses Merritt

AntrelRolleGiants2
Antrel Rolle rarely if ever comes out of games.

So when he has to cover slot receivers on third down, he may be tired.

That’s what makes his play so impressive, says Giants secondary/safeties coach Dave Merritt.

“For him to go into the slot position and cover that third wideout that comes into the game fresh when he has been on the field the entire time is tough,” Merritt said. “That is the one thing that I want to make sure everyone understands. A lot of times when that third wideout comes in, you bring in your third or fourth DB and they are both fresh and going to battle. Antrel is on the field the whole entire time and then all of a sudden he has to cover that third wideout who just came on the field as a fresh player. We have put him into man-to-man situations as well as zone and he has responded. He really has and he is doing a really good job.”

Rolle began his pro career as a corner in Arizona, but was moved to free safety in 2008. At that point, he never thought he’d have to switch back to his former position, but injuries to Terrell Thomas and Prince Amuakamara led to the veteran being thrust emergency slot corner duty.

“It actually goes back to when we first came into camp, we said we were going to use Terrell Thomas as the nickel and use Prince on the outside as well as Corey Webster or Aaron Ross,” Merritt said. “Then all of a sudden Prince and Terrell Thomas go down and you say who is the next best guy now. It is Antrel Rolle. We were never going to use Prince in that position right away. It would have been Antrel as the second nickel and when Terrell Thomas went down, that is when it accelerated his mental as far as learning the slot position which he hasn’t done in a couple years. If you go back to last year, he actually played in our three safety package at the nickel position. I actually related it to when we called it x, y, or z last year and that is all you are doing but just a little more. It is a little more man-to-man. He has responded well.”

Click here to order Antrel Rolle’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(espn.com)
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Frank Gore Highlights vs Lions Week 6 2011



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Kellen Winslow still dealing with knee issues

KellenWinslowBucs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow (knee) said he is still dealing with issues with his injured knee but is doing whatever he can to produce for the team. "I'm on one leg out there, but it's all about helping your team out there. You can hurt later," Winslow said.


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(kffl.com)
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Vernon Carey says “Put it on our shoulder”

VernonCarey
The Miami Dolphins offense has become allergic to touchdowns. At least it certainly seems that way.

Vernon Carey hints that Dolphins should run more in the red zone.

For some reason the end zone has become the dead zone for this 0-5 team, which can efficiently move the ball from the 20 to the 20, but freezes when it comes to scoring anything but field goals.

The Dolphins have had 18 possessions inside the 20-yard line, but came away with 63 points in those critical opportunities

Click here to order Vernon Carey’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(fantasysp.com)
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Antrel Rolle: 'We don't plan on being upset'

AntrelRolleGiants
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin may not like the bye, but safety Antrel Rolle does.

“My body’s banged up,” Rolle said Wednesday during his weekly appearance on WFAN. “I can’t even feel my fingers, they’re jammed every which way. But the bye allows us to get some of our key players back and get them healthy. I think it came at the right time.”

During the Giants Week 7 bye, Rolle will be hanging out in Miami. Then he’ll come back up to New Jersey on Monday for practice.

The 4-2 Giants host the winless Dolphins on Oct. 30, and Rolle doesn’t think his team is going to have a post-bye letdown.

“We don’t plan on being upset on Sunday,” Rolle said.

Rolle thinks at worst the Giants should’ve won five of their first six games heading into the bye. But due to some mental errors and missed assignments, it didn’t happen.

“The biggest thing is being smarter, more disciplined in our technique and not beating ourselves,” Rolle said when asked what the team needs to improve going forward. “In a couple games, we beat ourselves.”

Rolle knows the Giants have a very difficult schedule on the horizon, but feels like the team will be ready.

“We have to make sure we keep our eye on the prize, and I’m sure we will,” Rolle said. “We’re gonna be ready for battle. We don’t take anyone lightly.”

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(espn.com)
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Santana Moss ready to support John Beck

SantanaMoss
Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss spoke out Monday as the team’s strongest supporter of quarterback Rex Grossman, who was benched Sunday after throwing four interceptions in the team’s 20-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Moss believed that Grossman, the team’s starter for the last eight games (three in 2010 and five this season) deserved a chance to redeem himself. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan obviously felt differently and instead named backup John Beck the starter for Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Moss said Wednesday afternoon that he respects Shanahan’s decision and hopes Beck makes the best of his opportunity. He said the quarterback can expect Moss and the rest of his teammates to rally around him.

“It’s nothing we can do about it,” said Moss, who ranks first on the team in catches (23) and touchdowns (two) and second in receiving yards (284). “Whatever coach decides that we’re going to do, we’re going to go with it. We have two quarterbacks that we are very confident in and we knew when the decision was made on who was going to start or who was going to play, we were going to have to go with it.

“I just stated my opinion,” Moss explained about his comments Monday. “Everybody has an opinion, whether it gets heard or not. I felt like [Shanahan] felt the same way, but when it comes down to the decisions about the team, he has to make the right decisions for the team. Therefore, whatever decision he makes, it’s going to be the right decision for the team.”

Moss has a limited on-field rapport with Beck, who joined the Redskins last season and spent all of 2010 as the third-string quarterback, throwing to scout-team receivers. Although they worked together during training camp and preseason practices, Beck and Moss have seen limited action together in games. Beck completed one of only two pass attempts to Moss in the preseason, and the two connected for two completions during the fourth quarter of the Eagles game.

But Moss said he has observed Beck’s hunger to succeed.

“He’s a very talented quarterback who hasn’t really had his shot yet to prove who he can be in this league. I think he had a shot and hasn’t really done anything since that shot, hasn’t really had a chance since then,” Moss said of Beck, who before last week hadn’t played since his rookie year in Miami in 2007. “He’s a guy who wants to prove himself every day.”

When asked how long it would take Moss and Beck to develop the chemistry needed for Washington to succeed, Moss said, “You never know. It’s just the more and more we’re out there together, the more confidence we build together. It doesn’t just happen over night, but there are times that it does happen over night. I remember Mark Brunell being thrown in at the beginning of the [2005] season, and he hadn’t had any reps.”

Beck will be the seventh starting quarterback to play with Moss during Moss’s seven seasons in Washington. The receiver has said it would be nice to have some stability at that position, but said Wednesday he won’t dwell on the revolving door at quarterback.

“You can’t look back at all that stuff. All you can do is try to build on what we’ve got going on now,” Moss said. “I feel like this year, we have two quarterbacks. We have Rex or we have John, and now it’s John’s chance.”

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(washingtonpost.com)
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Man arrested for slapping Devin Hester At Casino

DevinHesterBears2
Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester was the victim of a battery Friday at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, police said Tuesday.

The assault, which occurred about 10:40 p.m. inside the casino at 3000 S. River Road, was caught on surveillance camera, Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini said.

Daniel G. Rago, 52, of the 200 block of Wille Street in Mount Prospect, is charged with one misdemeanor count of battery as a result.

Police said Hester, 28, was waiting in line for a cashier when Rago approached from behind, slapped the back of Hester’s head with an open hand and walked away.

Hester notified casino security and signed a complaint against Rago, who was detained until Des Plaines police arrived and arrested him a short time later.

“Hester was a perfect gentlemen through the whole thing,” Prandini said. “There was no argument between them beforehand. (Rago) had been drinking. Mr. Hester did not retaliate in any way, shape or form. He was extremely professional throughout and there was no problem.”

Rago later posted 10 percent of a $1,000 bond to go free while the case against him is pending. He is set to appear for a hearing at Cook County’s Skokie courthouse at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 1. If found guilty, he could face up to a year in jail or $2,500 fine.

The event didn’t seem to bother Hester much on the field this weekend, as he scored two long touchdowns — on a 48-yard reception and a 98-yard kickoff return — during the Bears’ 39-10 win Sunday night over the Vikings.

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(dailyherald.com)
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Frank Gore up for award

FrankGore2
Three weeks ago, the 49ers had the league’s 30th-ranked rushing offense at 69.7 yards per game. Today, the 49ers are all the way up to No. 5, courtesy of Frank Gore surpassing the 100-yard rushing mark in three consecutive games.  Gore had a season-high 141-yard rushing effort in Sunday’s 25-19 win over Detroit.

For Sunday’s output, Gore has been nominated for the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Week award. He also was nominated last week, and quarterback Alex Smith was dominated the week prior. Voting is done by fans through noon on Friday at NFL.com/FedEx.

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(mercurynews.com)
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Ray Lewis Just Keeps Going

RayLewis
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has won countless awards, set numerous records.

So one would think setting another – no matter how impressive – would almost slide off Lewis’ back.

But what Lewis accomplished Sunday against the Houston Texans truly hit home for the Ravens’ leader. It’s because at 36 years old, Lewis still takes a whole lot of pride in being an all-around linebacker.

With a sack on the first series of Sunday’s game, Lewis became the first player in NFL history to register at least 40 career sacks and 30 career interceptions. He now has 40.5 sacks and 31 picks.

“It’s a combination of playing with some great people, some great coordinators and me being very versatile and being on the field all three downs,” Lewis said. “Any time you’re called the complete linebacker, that’s the ultimate.”

“You play the game to one day leave a legacy. To set that mark, that’s one of those marks that won’t register to you until you sit back and think about it.”

It doesn’t look like Lewis will be kicking back to soak up his accomplishments any time soon.

He once again leads the Ravens in tackles (42) and has two sacks and one interception this season. Lewis was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after forcing a fumble and dominating the St. Louis Rams three weeks ago.

He hasn’t been coming off the field in third-down coverage, and is still intimidating opponents in pass coverage.

“I’m not done, that’s the thing,” Lewis said. “Those [sack and interception] numbers will only get higher.”

Ed Reed and Lewis were talking about their legacy before Sunday’s contest against Houston.

“It’s something we were born to do,” Reed said. “You do other things off the field, business-wise, but football is what we were born to do.
“We’re talking about Ray Lewis. Ray is an awesome player. One of the best football players of all time because he loves this game.”

Lewis looped around the right side of the Texans’ line to register his record-breaking sack for a seven-yard loss on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Head Coach John Harbaugh joked that Lewis owes Reed a thank you considering two Texans went to block him and left Lewis open.
“Our guys will joke about that,” Harbaugh said with a laugh.

“He is doing things that are just indescribable. I think he is the greatest linebacker who has ever played the game – I have said it many times. I think he proves it. You look at his [16th] year, he is playing as well as he had ever played, or at least that I have seen in the four years that I have been here. I am not sure that he has ever played any better than this. What kind of statement is that? It’s a big statement.”

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Bryant McKinnie finds happiness with Ravens

BryantMcKinnieRavens
Bryant McKinnie said he's happy, healthy and 28 pounds lighter than the day his nine-year Vikings career came to a surprise end on Aug. 2.
"I was 383 pounds when I showed up in Mankato for training camp," said McKinnie, now the starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens at what he calls his normal playing weight of 355. "Yes, I was heavy. No, I wasn't 400 pounds.

He once was a larger-than-life-size symbol of the baggage the Vikings needed to purge for the good of the team. Now, he's atop the AFC North with his 4-1 Ravens while the Vikings are last in the NFC North with a 1-5 record and some serious pass protection issues.

"When we signed him (Aug. 24), I told him this isn't our first rodeo as far as dealing with players that have issues," said Ozzie Newsome, Ravens general manager. "We will take on some of the issues if that player is willing to work with us. Bryant was more than willing. He's met every (weight) mark he was supposed to make and has actually been even better than we thought in making those marks."

McKinnie has started every game this season for a team that's fifth in the league in scoring. He's improving with each game, said Newsome, and gives Baltimore a 10-year veteran and former first-round draft pick who, like him or not, has never missed a game because of injuries or health issues.

"I wish the Vikings well," McKinnie said. "They did what they felt they had to do. I did what I felt I had to do. I'm doing fine. I look around and I can't help but think that things happen for a reason."

McKinnie said he knew his release was coming when his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, threatened to file a grievance against the Vikings for putting McKinnie on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. McKinnie said he had already rejected an offer to restructure his contract, per Rosenhaus' advice, in part because the team wanted to move some of his guaranteed money to incentives to reduce his $5.4 million salary cap figure.

"I was on the NFI, but I wasn't injured," McKinnie said. "Knowing the grievance was coming at 3 o'clock the day I was released, and knowing that they had to be under the cap two days later, the only option was to release me."

Coach Leslie Frazier never once said McKinnie was released because of his weight or poor conditioning. He simply said McKinnie was released "in the best interests" of the team.

Because of McKinnie's appearance, however, it was assumed Frazier had used the opportunity as a first-year head coach to take a stand against an out-of-shape player with a checkered past off the field.

The assumptions continued during the three weeks that McKinnie went unsigned. There was speculation that he needed a year to get back in shape and lower his cholesterol to a safe level.

"A year?" said McKinnie, apparently not aware of the rumors. "I played in Week 1. I played well. Against a good player, (Pittsburgh's) James Harrison. And we won the game, 35-7.

"As for my cholesterol, it's been high since I was 22, and they checked me at the combine. It's hereditary. I take medication to control it."

Finding a home
Newsome said it took some time to investigate McKinnie and to then secure the team's preferred two-year deal. Ravens coach John Harbaugh got a positive report from former Vikings coach Brad Childress, with whom he had coached under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Newsome also got a couple of strong endorsements from two current Ravens who one day will join him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis lobbied Newsome hard. Reed and McKinnie were teammates at the University of Miami. Lewis was a Hurricane before them.

"I have a lot of confidence going to the players and asking them about former college teammates," Newsome said. "Ed was giving Bryant a raving endorsement when Ray overheard the conversation.

"Ray comes over to me and said Bryant would fit in with us. When you get Ray and Ed saying, 'Hey, look, if there's additional work that needs to be done with this guy, we're going to do it with him,' that makes the decision easier."

Newsome also liked that McKinnie offered to play right tackle for the first time in his life if Michael Oher, another former first-round draft pick, wanted to stay at left tackle. But Oher, who has experience at right tackle, said it would be best for the team for him to move to right tackle.

Newsome said he'd ideally like to keep McKinnie beyond two seasons and see the younger Oher move back over to left tackle when McKinnie retires.

"That's a comforting factor for me," Newsome said. "But, more importantly, it's also a comforting factor for our young quarterback, Joe Flacco."

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(mercedsunstar.com)
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Six weeks without Andre Johnson?

AndreJohnsonWallpaper
Texans Pro bowl receiver Andre Johnson underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair an injured hamstring. He told SportsRadio 610 Tuesday morning that he’s ahead of the typical rehabilitation schedule for this procedure.

“I’m headed in the right direction,” Johnson said. “I just want it to heal faster. Right now it’s still weak; it’s not as strong as it use to be.”

The Texans (3-3) have lost two in a row without Johnson and would like to see him back on the field soon, but the long-term goal for Johnson is to prevent this injury from being something he deals with in the future. Since he’s unable to run at full speed, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to play during Sunday’s game against the Titans in Tennessee.

“They say it could take up to six weeks at the most,” Johnson said. ”But I don’t think it will take me that long.”

Johnson says this injury might have stemmed from an old injury he’s dealt with for a long time. He suffered pain behind his knee, but he says the recent surgery to his hamstring has even cured him of that knee pain.

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(chron.com)
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Jimmy Graham says there is still a lot for him to learn

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0">

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DeMarcus Van Dyke Talks About the Raiders Win



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Jimmy Graham can tell LeBron a thing or two about the crossover

JimmyGrahamSaints
As the NBA's long and reportedly fruitless mediation process enters another day of meetings Wednesday without much optimism, it might soon be time for LeBron James to turn last week's playful football chatter into a reality.

I found one player -- a budding NFL star who seamlessly made the sport-to-sport transition three years ago -- who agrees.

"Listen, if that guy was on the New Orleans Saints, he would break records," said Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who spent his four undergraduate years as a scholarship basketball player at the University of Miami.

If anyone would know, it might be Graham. He just tied an NFL record of his own Sunday for most consecutive games (four) with 100 or more yards by a tight end. Tony Gonzalez, a future Hall of Famer, is the only other guy to have matched him.

But Graham isn't just an expert on making a successful jump from basketball to football. He's also an expert on all things LeBron.

Just how big of a fan is the second-year NFL pro? Get this: He watches James' high school highlights on his iPad for inspiration before Saints games. When James held The Decision, Graham hosted a small party and "went crazy" when he announced he was headed to South Beach.
Graham then immediately bought Heat season tickets despite the fact that he spends football season in New Orleans.

"During the (NFL) preseason last year, I actually flew back on my days off to go to the Heat games," said Graham, who became a Cavaliers fan because of James and transferred his loyalty to the Heat right along with him. "I also go to every game when it's my offseason."

With the NBA's situation only growing more depressing on Tuesday, Graham and I managed to collaborate over the phone on some advice for James.

So, LeBron, listen up: This whole NBA lockout is getting lame. If NBA commissioner David Stern decides to cancel games through Christmas, it's time for you to make the jump. And here, according to Graham, are five tips toward accomplishing your goal:

No. 1: Forget tight end and play receiver
"No matter what anybody says, I would tell him to play wide receiver and not tight end. He would be a dominant wide receiver. Because he's so athletic at his weight, I wouldn't want him to gain weight to have to play tight end. Plus, you'd have to learn to block, and it would slow down the process. So if he was just doing it for this one season, I would tell him to be a wide receiver. Also, I would love for him to be a wide receiver because if he plays tight end, I'm going to be on the bench, and that's going to be frustrating."

No. 2: Take your talents to the Big Easy
"Don't go to any team but the New Orleans Saints because Sean Payton is a genius and will figure out a way to get him the ball in all kinds of situations -- and Drew Brees will throw him the ball in all kinds of situations. I know on this team, with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, he would definitely be utilized immediately."

No. 3: Get into the playbook
"Definitely got to get in the weight room. Actually, no, because he's already stupid strong. He's such a beast. For him, it would be all about play calling. That's simply what it would come down to. Where to go. When to go there. Just the intricicies of the offensive playbook. You're already athletic enough. I know you can catch. You're going to run by everybody or jump over everybody. The biggest thing would be to get into the playbook. That is a process for anyone because it's so detailed. I wish I could invite him to a practice just to see how crazy it is. Sean will put the headset on him just to listen to the play calls."

No. 4: Do it for the love of the game
"A lot of basketball players have reached out to me and asked what I've thought about it. They're thinking about trying to play football again or trying for the first time. I just tell them if you don't honestly love football -- absolutely love it -- then don't do it. It's not worth it. Everyone sees Sunday. Everyone sees the craziness in the Superdome. But there's also Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Every week is the same. There are no breaks but the bye week. You're going to be in there every day. I tell a lot of those guys if it's about money -- if it's about anything but the love for the game -- don't do it. But Lebron doesn't need the money. It'd be about the passion."

No. 5: Don't overthink it
"Trust his natural abilities. That's going to be important. He's a phenomenal athlete. And he's very, very smart. I've watched almost every game that he's played. I know his court vision -- how he not only looks to get himself open but everyone else open. He's not a selfish player. I honestly think that transition for him wouldn't be that hard. He's one of the best athletes in the world."
So there you have it, LeBron. Follow those five easy steps, and you'll be starring right alongside another player who already proved it's possible to seamlessly jump from hoops to the NFL.

See you on Sunday.

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(nfl.com)
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Yonder Alonso keeping eye on Jon Jay in Series

YonderAlonsoReds
CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Yonder Alonso is home in Miami and already commencing with his offseason workouts. This week he will likely have, at the least, a wandering eye on the World Series.

Is Alonso pulling for either the Rangers or Cardinals? Not exactly.

"I have no rooting interest," Alonso said on Tuesday just before heading out to do some weight lifting. "When you're not there, it's a bummer. But I know a couple of guys on each team. I want them all to do well."

Perhaps none more than Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.

The Reds and Cardinals have had a deep, and occasionally bitter, National League Central rivalry in recent years. But it's friendship that extends beyond the clubhouses and all the way back to childhood in South Florida.

"We've known each other since I was 11 or 12 years old," Alonso said. "We played at the same baseball academy."

Alonso and Jay remain roommates in the offseason and are workout partners. They also starred for rival Miami high schools -- Alonso for Coral Gables and Jay for Christopher Columbus. Both played for the Univ. of Miami baseball team. Jay was a junior when Alonso was a freshman.
"He was always an older brother type of guy," Alonso said. "He always does all the little things right. He never lied to me, always told me the truth and is a good guy to look up to. I'm always there for him."

The 24-year-old Alonso was the Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2008 and one of his organization's top prospects. This year, he made the transition from first base to left field and is planning to dedicate all his winter to shedding pounds and adjusting fully to his new position. He will rely partially on Jay to help improve his skills.

Jay, 26, was the Cardinals' second-round pick in 2006. He played his second full season in 2011 and batted .297 in 159 games.

Alonso, who also knows Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso and Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, spoke with Jay on the phone as recently as Monday. Game 1 of the World Series begins on Wednesday in St. Louis.

"I wished him well and good luck," Alonso said. "I'm waiting for him to get here so we can do our outfield workouts."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay soaring as catalyst in Cards' attack

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals almost single-handedly wrecked the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 2 of the NLCS. He strung together four hits and collected five RBIs in an 12-3 rout Monday to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

But a guy who contributed plenty and flew under the radar was outfielder Jon Jay. He went 3-for-4 and scored three times — all on Pujols’ hits. Jay, a left-handed hitter positioned in the No. 2 spot, supplied a bunt single, a hit-and-run single to left field and a double down the right field line.

“I want to be the guy on the line,” Jay said. “I enjoy those moments. You see guys like Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman do it. I want to be the guy everyone can count on in those situations.”

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said, “I think is playing well and he has been consistent. He’s a very intelligent player who is talented and tough.”

Jay, 26, has been tough enough this season to emerge as the Cardinals’ starting center fielder. St. Louis thought so much of him that they traded outfielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto in a key July deal that enabled the Cards to land Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel.

“He does a lot of good things and he’s a catalyst,” Cards outfielder Lance Berkman said of Jay.

It was Jay providing a pair of hits, two RBIs and a walk in the Game 2 comeback win against the Phillies. The Cardinals trailed 4-0 but rallied for a 5-4 victory in what could have been the turning point in the best-of-five series.

“My job is to get on base and have other guys drive me in,” Jay said. “It worked out well in Monday’s game and I hope it can continue. I try to focus on every pitch during each at-bat. It worked out well in Monday’s game, and I hope it can continue.”

Jay hit .297 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 159 games during the season. He hit .300 with four homers and 27 RBIs in 105 games during his rookie 2010 season. The Miami native, a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder, was a second-round pick of the Cardinals five years ago.

“I’m still trying to establish myself and do whatever is best for the team on that day,” Jay said. “I’m working hard and trying to be consistent.”

So far, so good, he said.

“I think it’s going great,” Jay said. “But it’s one game at a time.”


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(thetelegraph.com)
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NFL U Week 6 2011 Full Stats

NFLU2009
Andre Johnson WR (Texans): DID NOT PLAY DUE TO INJURY (Hamstring)

Darryl Sharpton LB (Texans): 2 solo tackles

Brandon Harris* DB (Texans): Played but did not record any stats.

Vince Wilfork DT (Patriots): 2 tackles, 1 solo tackle, 1 pass deflection

Brandon Meriweather S (Bears): Played but did not record any stats.

Jeremy Shockey TE (Panthers): 4 catches 60 yards

Jonathan Vilma LB (Saints): 5 solo tackles

Santana Moss WR (Redskins): 2 catches 38 yards

Rocky McIntosh LB (Redskins): 11 tackles, 6 solo tackles

Leonard Hankerson WR (Redskins): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Calais Campbell DE (Cardinals): BYE WEEK

Antrel Rolle S (Giants): 8 tackles, 6 solo tackles

Kelly Jennings DB (Bengals): Played but did not record any stats.

Colin McCarthy* LB (Titans): BYE WEEK

Frank Gore RB (49ers): 15 carries for 141 yards, 1 TD and 2 catches 5 yards. Gore averaged 9.1 yards per carry.

Kellen Winslow TE (Buccanneers): 5 catches for 40 yards

Roscoe Parrish WR (Bills): PLACED ON IR DUE TO INJURY, OUR FOR SEASON

Greg Olsen TE (Panthers): 5 catches 42 yards

Devin Hester WR (Bears): 5 catches, 98 yards, 1 TD 1 punt return for 27 yards, 2 kickoff return for 107 yards, 1TD

Willis McGahee RB (Broncos): BYE WEEK

Ray Lewis LB (Ravens): 12 tackles, 8 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss. Lewis became the first player in NFL history to have 30 interceptions and 40 sacks in their career.

Ed Reed S (Ravens): 4 tackles, 3 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection

Tavares Gooden LB (49ers): Played but did not record any stats.

DJ Williams LB (Broncos): BYE WEEK

Bruce Johnson DB (Giants): PLACED ON IR DUE TO INJURY, OUR FOR SEASON

Kenny Phillips S (Giants): 7 tackles, 5 solo tackles

Reggie Wayne WR (Colts): 5 catches 58 yards. Led te Colts in Receiving.

Jon Beason LB (Panthers): PLACED ON IR DUE TO INJURY, OUR FOR SEASON

Phillip Buchanon DB (Redskins): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Antonio Dixon DT (Eagles): PLACED ON IR DUE TO INJURY, OUR FOR SEASON

Sam Shields DB (Packers): 5 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 INT

Jimmy Graham TE (Saints): 7 catches, 124 yards. Led the Saints in receiving yards and recorded his 4th straight 100-yard receiving week.

Allen Bailey* DE (Chiefs): BYE WEEK

Spencer Adkins LB (Falcons): 1 solo tackle

Matt Bosher* P (Falcons): 3 punts, 129 yards, 43.0 Average, 2 inside the 20, long of 46 yards

DeMarcus Van Dyke* DB (Raiders): 2 solo tackles, 2 Pass Deflections

Dwayne Hendricks DT (Giants): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Richard Gordon* (TE) (Raiders): DID NOT PLAY DUE TO INJURY (Broken Hand)

Jason Fox LT (Lions): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Eric Winston RT (Texans): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Rashad Butler RT (Texans): PLACED ON IR DUE TO INJURY, OUR FOR SEASON

Bryant McKinnie LT (Ravens): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Chris Myers C (Texans): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Vernon Carey RG (Dolphins): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Orlando Franklin* RT (Broncos): BYE WEEK

Brett Romberg RG (Falcons): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.


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Ray Lewis Sets NFL Record

RayLewis
With a sack Sunday, Ray Lewis became the first player in NFL history to record 40 career sacks and 30 interceptions.

Lewis now has 40 1/2 sacks and 31 interceptions after getting to Matt Schaub in the third quarter yesterday. He continues to be a tackle machine at age 36, racking up 42 through five games this season. The Ravens are also ranked third against the run, giving up just 76.6 rushing yards per game.

"We're talking about Ray Lewis," free safety Ed Reed said. "Ray is an awesome player. One of the best football players of all time because he loves this game. Me and him were talking before the game, and it's something we were born to do. You do other things off the field business-wise, but football is what we were born to do."

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(rotoworld.com)
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Sam Shields got concussion vs. St. Louis Rams, coach Mike McCarthy says

SamShields2
Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields sustained a concussion in Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed at his press conference today.

Shields will go through the normal testing process mandated by the NFL regarding concussions.

Shields was attempting to run back an interception from the end zone when he was blindsided by a tackle.

Instead of taking a knee in the end zone, Shields ran across the end zone, trying to take the ball back up the field, and he was drilled hard.

Shields will go through the concussion tests, then he needs to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he's able to play.

Head coach Mike McCarthy says it's a lesson for the other players.

"Be smart. Don't want players taking unnecessary hits. You have to learn from that."

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(wbay.com)
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Andre Johnson may practice later this week

AndreJohnson
Texans coach Gary Kubiak suggested Monday that Andre Johnson (hamstring surgery) could get in some practice time this week.

Johnson's most likely return date remains Week 8, but he's making progress. "He made a lot of improvement last week," said Kubiak. "We’ll increase his work. I have a hard time saying right now (if he'll play at Tennessee). Maybe there’s a chance he sees the practice field before the end of the week." Fantasy owners shouldn't be counting on Johnson to play in Week 7.

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(rotoworld.com)
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Colin McCarthy Could Be Out This Week Again

ColinMcCarthy
Tennessee Titans LB Colin McCarthy's (hamstring) status for Week 7 is uncertain because of a hamstring injury.





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(kffl.com)
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Kenny Phillips Gets X-Rays

KennyPhillipsGiants
Giants safety Kenny Phillips underwent X-rays on his ribs after being kicked by Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brad Smith while trying to make a second-quarter tackle during Sunday’s 27-24 victory, but head coach Tom Coughlin says he’s fine.

“He did have a little strain in the rib area, but it didn’t prove to be anything,” Coughlin said Monday.

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(espn.com)
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The going gets tougher for New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

JimmyGrahamSaints
TAMPA, FLA. - Tight end Jimmy Graham is no longer a secret weapon for the New Orleans Saints. From now on, he expects to see a lot of defenses focus on him like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did in their 26-20 victory over the Saints on Sunday.

Although Graham still caught seven passes for 124 yards and became the first Saints player ever with four straight 100-yard receiving games, he was critical of himself after the game. He said he did "a lot of things wrong" as a receiver and route runner, including one dropped pass.
Graham said the Buccaneers were much more aggressive in their defense against him than teams had been earlier this year, using double coverage and having guys chip him at the line of scrimmage to affect his routes.

"Earlier most people let me just kind of do my thing, but after the first two drives I knew I was gonna have to start cutting harder, making more sharp cuts," Graham said. "In the past, I could be sloppy and make up for it with my quickness. But Sean (Payton) talks to me all the time about how defenses are going to start playing me different. They had a safety over the top, they were jamming me at the line. They had guys jam me who weren't even supposed to guard me. Little things I just have to get better at.

"I'm still new to this game. Right when I start to learn everything, everything changes on me."

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(nola.com)
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Andre Johnson's absence is hurting Texans' offense

AndreJohnsonWallpaper
Without Andre Johnson to double-team, Texans opponents are committing an extra defender to stop the run. The Texans are 0-2 without Johnson this season. They were 2-1 without him last season.

"We're getting played different," coach Gary Kubiak said. "There's a level of consistency when Andre's on the field with what people try to do.

"I don't think it has affected where Matt (Schaub) goes with the ball. (Sunday) we went toe-to-toe with a dang good team, and we needed a new hero. Until Andre gets back, someone has got to assume that responsibility."

(chron.com)
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Devin Hester's injury not serious

DevinHesterBears2
Bears coach Lovie Smith reiterated at his Monday press conference that Devin Hester's chest injury is not serious.

"Shouldn't be serious," Smith said. "We're going to put him in the bumps and bruises section." Hester will likely miss some practice time this week, but should be a safe Week 7 start in leagues with return yardage.

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


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(rotoworld.com)
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Leon Williams Tries Out For Chiefs

LeonWilliams
The Kansas City Chiefs auditioned a pair of linebackers, according to a league source: Matt Wilhelm and Leon Williams.

Neither was immediately signed.

Williams is a former Cleveland Browns fourth-round draft pick who played collegiately at the University of Miami.

He has also played for the Dallas Cowboys and in the UFL with the New York Sentinels.


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Matt Bosher Showing Significant Improvement

MattBosher
Rookie Punter Bosher has been criticized lately for his lack of good punting, but on Sunday he lookied good on punting and kickoffs. Bosher averaged 43 yards on three punts and placed two punts inside the 20-yard line.




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Joe McGrath Added To Practice Squad

JoeMcGrath
CALGARY -- The Calgary Stampeders added some experience to their practice roster Monday.

The Stampeders placed defensive lineman Demonte' Bolden, offensive lineman Joe McGrath, linebacker Jason Nugent and defensive back Quincy Butler on their practice roster. All four have previous CFL experience.

McGrath was originally selected by Calgary in the 2003 Canadian college draft and spent time on the club's practice roster. He went on to play the last seven seasons with Edmonton, Saskatchewan and the B.C. Lions.


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(tsn.ca)
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Anthony Reddick Continues His Stellar Season

AnthonyReddick
B.C. LIONS
Overall record: 9-6
Streak: Eight wins

DB Anthony Reddick was terrific with 10 tackles and a sack. To win out, the Lions will have to beat Hamilton on the road, Edmonton and Montreal at home.


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Antrel Rolle Performing Well at Corner According To Justin Tuck

AntrelRolleGiants2
Many Giants have been playing out of position this season because of injury.

But Justin Tuck hopes that will change at least somewhat when rookie Prince Amukamara comes back, which he could do in two weeks.

Antrel Rolle has been playing a lot of slot cornerback in 2011, and has been doing a fantastic job according to Tuck, but would be better served playing his regular safety role when Amukamara returns and takes over as the third corner covering the slot.

“I give Antrel a lot of credit because a lot of people don’t understand what we’re asking him to do,” Tuck said Monday on WFAN. “He’s playing the slot receiver, who’s always the quickest, the toughest guy to play, and he’s a safety playing that position. But I give him a lot of credit because the coaches have asked him to do it and he’s stepped up for us. We’d like to have him play center field, but that’s unselfish thing for him to say ‘Yeah, coach. I’ll do it.’ I think he’s done an admirable job at it.”

Amukamara has yet to play a game this season because he's still recovering from foot surgery, but Tuck says the first-year pro has stayed mentally sharp in meetings and will be able to pick up the defense faster than people think.

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(espn.com)
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Another stellar game for Devin Hester

DevinHester
Devin Hester already had scored a touchdown on a 48-yard pass reception and 98-yard kickoff return against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night when he took a punt in the third quarter that looked pretty close to another fastball down the middle.

He found an opening, cut to the outside, but was hemmed in by Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. Hester coasted out of bounds and slammed the ball to the ground in frustration.

For all Hester has accomplished in his six-year NFL career, the triple-crown — touchdowns on a kickoff, punt and pass reception in the same game — remains elusive.

But just give him time. At the rate he’s going, he’ll get plenty more chances.

Hester had two touchdowns in the Beasr’ 39-10 rout of the Vikings at Soldier Field. But his night ended early when he left the game with a chest injury. His status is not known.

Hester helped set the tone when he beat Vikings safety Husain Abdullah and cornerback Cedric Griffin in the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead just 2:13 seconds into the game.

It was a team effort, with excellent protection, including tight end Matt Spaeth on Vikings pass rusher Jared Allen and a perfect throw from Jay Cutler.

‘‘Great throw, good route by Devin,’’ Spaeth said. ‘‘It was good for us because it really jump-started the night for us.’’

After the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson scored on a four-yard run to close to 26-10 in the third quarter, Hester extended his NFL record for career kick return touchdowns when he took a kickoff in the third quarter, darted through a crease around the 35-yard line and outran what remained of the Vikings’ coverage unit for a 98-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 33-10 lead.

‘‘When he’s back there and the music comes on and he’s on that big screen, I even get goosebumps — I’m about to block for the best kick returer who’s every played the game,’’ said Dom DeCicco, who helped block for Hester’s touchdown. ‘‘It makes you want to do your job that much more.

‘‘My guy was close [to Hester], but he’s just really fast and outran my guy. In situations like that one, you don’t get the best block on your guy, there’s still a good chance he’s going to make him miss, which makes our job so much easier. He’s just an unbelievable player and an even better guy. It’s awesome blocking for him.’’

Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd said he could tell Hester was going to break something.

‘‘Because right before we got out there, he smiles and has that look like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s eat. To the house,’’’ Hurd said. ‘‘That means every play can go to the house and I’m going to do my best to [make it happen]. He’s phenomenal.’’

Hurd credited the Bears’ special teams coaches for being well-prepared for the Vikings’ coverage scheme. But when asked what strategic move made it happen, it always comes back to the same thing.

‘‘Having Devin Hester back there —that’s what made work,’’ Hurd said. ‘‘Everybody picked up their blocks and went out there and made sure they got their job done and Devin did the rest.’’

Rookie tight end Kyle Adams also had a key block on the return.

‘‘I had to climb up and get my guy, and I was able to get him,’’ Adams said. ‘‘I wish I could take a lot of credit, but Devin set up the block and scooted the 80 yards. It was a good block, but I think that return was a lot of Devin.”’

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(suntimes.com)
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Jon Jay Advances To the World Series

Jon Jay (St. Louis Cardinals) Replacing the traded Colby Rasmus(notes) in center, Jay produced as do so many of La Russa’s favored players: He hits for a high average but displays little power or base-stealing ability. He can do the little things batting in the two-hole, but rarely does anything special. Jay is slightly below average defensively.

Here is Jon Jay’s 9th inning grab in the NLCS:




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The Streak Is Extended to 145 Straight Weeks

Did you know that a former Miami Hurricane/current proCane has scored at least one touchdown in 145 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 6 2011:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Devin Hester - 2 TDs - Chicago Bears

Week 5 2011:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Carolina Panthers

Week 4 2011:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Graham - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Carolina Panthers
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins

Week 3 2011:
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Denver Broncos
Jimmy Graham - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Carolina Panthers

Week 2 2011:
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Denver Broncos
Andre Johnson - 1 TD - Houston Texans
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers

Week 1 2011:
Jimmy Graham - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Andre Johnson - 1 TD - Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Click below to see the rest of the list:


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Devin Hester's 17th Career Return For a TD



CHICAGO -- Devin Hester extended his NFL record for combined touchdowns on kick returns with his 16th when he ran a kickoff back 98 yards for the Chicago Bears early in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings' Adrian Peterson had just scored on a 4-yard run when Hester delivered the longest kickoff return of his career.

He turned to his right and was touched once on his way to the end zone, making it 33-10. It was his first kickoff return for a touchdown since Nov. 25, 2007, against Denver.

Hester set a record with his 11th punt return for a touchdown against Carolina on Oct. 2.

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Frank Gore's 46-Yard Run Versus the Lions



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


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Devin Hester Catches Long Bomb To Put Bears Up Early Over Vikings



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Jimmy Graham Ties NFL Record

JimmyGrahamSaints
Jimmy Graham tied an NFL record today for TEs with his fourth consecutive 100 yard receiving day. Graham is the second TE in the NFL history to do that behind Falcons’ TE Tony Gonzalez. He very well may break NFL record of six 100 yard receiving games in one season held by Gonzalez.

Graham caught seven passes for 124 yards in the Saints' Week 6 loss to the Buccaneers.
Graham also set a new franchise record with four straight 100-yard games. The 24-year-old is simply unstoppable, using his big body to wall off defenders for both short and long catches, and his deep speed to kill defenses down the field. Facing Indianapolis' Cover-2 defense in Week 7, Graham will be the best fantasy tight end play in the league.

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Source: Eagles In Talks With Denver Broncos To Bring D.J. Williams to Philly

DJWilliams2
According to NFL INSIDER Rich Smith the Philadelphia Eagles have been in trade talks with the Denver Broncos regarding linebacker D.J. Williams. While the asking price was a mid round draft pick, Smith has just said via Twitter that the Broncos are now asking for a second round pick. Stay tuned……

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(yardbarker.com)
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Sam Shields gets concussion on interception return

SamShields2
Green Bay - Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields probably avoided a butt-chewing for trying to bring an interception out from the end zone late in the third quarter.

But there are better ways to do it than suffering a concussion.

Shields may have to miss the Minnesota Vikings game next week because of his decision to return a ball he caught 7 yards deep in the end zone.

Shields had inside position on quarterback Sam Bradford's poorly thrown fade route to receiver Danario Alexander and reached up with two hands to snare it in the back corner of the end zone. He then took off running laterally across the end zone before eventually being tackled and struck hard.

NFL rules state that is not a safety because the pass was not a defensive play that pinned Shields in the end zone. The rules did not save him from getting clobbered, however.

"You have to make smart decisions with the football," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It probably wasn't the best decision."

Shields' teammate, Charles Woodson, had some advice for the second-year pro.

"He should have come out the same place where he caught it, instead of trying to reverse field," Woodson said. "He lost vision of who was on the other side of the field and took a pretty good shot.

"We have to get him to look upfield first instead of across the field."

It's not the first time Shields has made a bad decision on an interception return. His game-clinching pick against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game came close to being a fumble recovered by the Bears after he chose not to kneel down in the final seconds.

The way concussions are treated in the NFL now, it's no slam dunk that Shields will be back next week. He'll have to go through a series of tests and be cleared by an independent neurologist before being able to play.

(jsonline.com)
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DeMarcus Van Dyke Plays Well In His 2nd Start

DeMarcusVanDykeRaiders
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke and FB Manase Tonga both started for the second time this season because of injuries at their positions. Van Dyke missed a couple tackles but played fairly well in coverage.




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(pressdemocrat.com)
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Jeremy Shockey goes for 60 yards in Week 6 loss

ShockeyPanthers
Panthers TE Jeremy Shockey caught four passes for 60 yards in the team's Week 6 loss to the Falcons.

Shockey's role was increased with Carolina trying to pick on Atlanta's safeties, but the 60 yards were his season high, and Shockey hasn't scored a touchdown yet this year. He won't be a fantasy option against the Redskins in Week 7.

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(rotoworld.com)
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Kellen Winslow goes for 40 yards in victory

KellenWinslowBucs
Kellen Winslow caught five passes for 40 yards in the Bucs' Week 6 win over the Saints.

Winslow has settled in as a possession receiver only, averaging under 10 yards per reception on the season and failing to score a touchdown through six games. He's just a low-upside TE2 heading into Week 7 against the Bears.

Click here to order Kellen Winslow’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Get to know: Packers cornerback Sam Shields

SamShieldsWallpaper
The Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne sat down for an informal Q&A with Packers cornerback Sam Shields, who is in his second season in Green Bay. Shields, 23, was acquired as a non-drafted free agent out of Miami in 2010 and earned the nickel cornerback spot in his rookie season.
If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be? Wiz Khalifa, Keri Hilson and Beyoncé.

Who plays you in a movie and what's the premise? It'd be a sports movie. Not just football. It'd have all sports - baseball, basketball, everything, track. A guy that does it all. I can't think of the actor right now.

What's one of your hobbies outside of football? I love watching movies, playing ping-pong and bowling.

What's your ping-pong game like? Speed. I'm not sure if anybody plays here, but back home we play ping-pong a lot at the recreation center. I played all the time growing up, since I went to summer camp. We used to play ping-pong. I can serve fast, everything. I can put a little spin on it. At the recreation center we had tournaments. Sometimes, I'd win them. Some of my friends are way better than me.

Favorite TV show? "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns." It's real funny. Everyday stuff in a household.

Favorite musician/band? Lil Wayne. He came here. It was surprising when I saw him. I didn't know he was that short. It was after the throwback game after San Francisco last year. He came in. His lyrics, oh, man. He says some off-the-wall stuff you wouldn't even think about. He's smart, too. He went to college and all that stuff.

What's playing on the iPod right now? Young Jeezy and Rick Ross.

Favorite team/player growing up? The Cowboys and Emmitt Smith.

Worst job you ever had? I worked for a week doing dietary at an old folks' home. I was in high school, my sophomore year. I just set up the tables, brought the food out. I just couldn't do it because they'll throw the food back at you. I couldn't do that. If they don't want it, they push it away and say, "I don't want this!" It's crazy. One week and I was done. I couldn't do it.

What would you do as NFL commissioner? I would change all of these unnecessary flags and calls. I'd loosen up (pass interference) and clean up a lot of stuff.

Favorite movie? "Man on Fire" with Denzel Washington and "Secret Window" with Johnny Depp.

Who's your best friend on the team? Morgan Burnett. As soon as we started training camp (in 2010), he was my roommate at the Wingate. We were in the same conference, the ACC. I didn't know him at the time but I knew him from being on the field playing.

Do you talk trash on the field? Yeah. Just "You're soft" and a lot of cuss words. Me and (Devin) Hester got into it. He was out there playing dirty, man. So I got tired of it. I retaliated. He retaliated. And he got caught. We used to talk. I know him. But on that field, you're not friends anymore. He was pushing me in the facemask. Me and DeSean (Jackson) got into it. Me and (Jeremy) Maclin got into it.

If you weren't an NFL player, what would you be doing? I'd be in school, trying to finish school. I'd try to do something with sports. Probably coaching.

Will you miss the NBA if the lockout drags on? Oh, yeah. I used to love Chicago because of Michael Jordan. But right now, it's the Heat. It was crazy, it was crazy (when LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed). It was all Heat then. That's all anybody talked about.

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(jsonline.com)
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Santana Moss catches two balls in loss

SantanaMoss
Santana Moss caught just two passes for 38 yards in Sunday's loss to the Eagles.

Moss was as frustrated as anyone by Rex Grossman's inaccuracy. He was unable to even catch any of his trademark drag routes over the middle as the starting quarterback was inept. The situation doesn't figure to get much better as the Redskins turn to John Beck, leaving Moss as a mere WR3 that hasn't topped 76 yards in a game this season.

Click here to order Santana Moss’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Giants promote Dwayne Hendricks from practice squad to active roster

DwayneHendricks
Throughout the week, Giants coach Tom Coughlin deflected questions about who he will fill Jimmy Kennedy's spot on the active roster while Kennedy serves a four-game suspension.

The answer came today, when the team promoted long-time squad practice squad member Dwayne Hendricks, a defensive tackle from Millville.
Hendricks, 25, was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Miami in 2009. e spent 10 weeks in 2009 on the practice squad, seven weeks last season and was signed to the practice squad again this year after failing to make the team out of the preseason.

Hendricks played in all four preseason games this year, including a start in the finale at New England. He had five tackles (four solo), a sack and a forced fumble.

Hendricks was inactive for the Giants versus the Bills on Sunday.


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(nj.com)
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Kyle Shanahan says Leonard Hankerson is getting better

LeonardHankerson
I know that many of you are very interested in the progress of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, who has yet to be active for any of the Redskins’ four games this year. Here is what Kyle Shanahan had to say about him on Thursday:

“He gets a chance every day on the scout team. We coach our scout team hard. It’s as important as anything. If your scout team slacks at all, it’s going to hurt your starting defense or your starting offense. We stay on those scout team guys hard and I think it really benefits those guys, too, because they actually get a year to really practice and develop their craft. I think it really helps them. I think he’s getting better each day. He’s showing improvement each week.”

I realize that “scout team star” is far short of the expectations that many fans had for him a quarter of the way through his rookie season. The Redskins, however, traded for Jabar Gaffney and signed Donte Stallworth because they suspected that Hankerson would not be ready to play anytime soon. They have to luxury of letting their third-round pick develop without any pressure.

One issue preventing Hankerson from being active is that he does not play special teams. If you’re one of the top two or three receivers, that’s fine. But if you’re not there — and Hankerson clearly is not — you probably are not going to be active if you don’t. 

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(csnwashington.com)
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Jim Irsay: Reggie Wayne 'trade rumors not true'

ReggieWayne
Somewhere, somehow, rumors about Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis getting traded popped up. As Phil Wilson at the Indianapolis Star notes, the rumors aren't really rumors so much as conjecture, based on the fact that they're free agents and there was a mention that the Colts should trade both guys in order to acquire picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

That's not an unreasonable take, but Colts owner Jim Irsay said Saturday that neither player will be heading anywhere other than Lucas Oil Stadium for their home games this year.

"No,the trade rumors aren't true," Irsay tweeted on Saturday morning. "I'm negotiating 2 buy Mars though..so I can ensure inter-galactic,NFL dominance for the 25th century."

OK. Well at least I know I have something in the bag for Sorting the Sunday Pile, even if it lacks a clear-cut, pop-culture reference.

But back to dealing Wayne and Mathis -- it's not that likely to happen even though it probably should. (And, technically, still could.) Both guys are older than 30 and in the final year of their respective contracts. Wilson believes the Colts should extend both guys after this year; others feel differently.

Indy might not net all that much for the pair (or, more likely, if they're individually wrapped), but it seems reasonable that a contender with issues at wide receiver might be interested in Wayne. The Bills, the Titans, the Ravens, the Texans, the Chargers, the Redskins -- really anyone with a winning record would be upgraded by adding Wayne.

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(cbssports.com)
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Frank Gore is a real student of the game

FrankGore
When he started coaching Frank Gore two years ago, Tom Rathman quickly learned a new piece of football strategy: Switch the cell phone to vibrate before bedtime on Sunday nights, because the call could come at any hour.

Usually, the phone would go off between 1 and 2 a.m., and Rathman wanted a shot at keeping everyone else in the house asleep. He'd answer, stumbling sleepily to take the call. The 49ers' star running back would be on the line, obsessing over the game and eager for a critique of certain plays.

" 'Did I read that one right?' " Rathman said, impersonating a wired Gore before he mimicked his own drowsy voice. "Yeah, you read it right, Frank. Go to sleep."

One might think that dozing off would be easier for Gore now that the 49ers are 4-1 and becoming more offensively proficient than they've been at any previous time in his seven-year NFL career. But he says he can't sleep after any game, win or lose.

"Some things you can't get out of your head," he said. "You know what I mean?"

A lot of football players obsess into the night after games. Very few make the kinds of compulsive demands on their bosses that Gore does. None, at least in this region, has ever turned a string of coaches into sentimental mush, smiling like doting parents whenever they discuss him in public. It's the one style point that Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary and Jim Harbaugh - the three head coaches in Gore's 49ers career - have shared.
He has a similar effect on the matriarch of the franchise. Denise DeBartolo York deliberately stays in the background of the 49ers, allowing her husband and son to run the team. But she becomes fairly visible when she visits Gore outside the locker room after a game. She has been known to greet him with hugs and kisses, exclaiming: "There's my guy."

In a typical offseason, Gore said, he can expect her to check in by phone, and occasionally he calls the team owner "Ma." Gore can't explain exactly how the two of them bonded, but the connection grew stronger when DeBartolo York attended his mother's funeral in South Florida four years ago.

"I was kind of out of it that day, so I don't remember who all came," he said. "But I remember seeing Denise sitting there in the front row."

In keeping with her low profile, DeBartolo York declined an interview about Gore through the 49ers' public relations office. So we can only assume why she has such a fondness for the 28-year-old running back. The coaches' reasons are easier to discern.

He has long been the 49ers' most productive skill-position player on offense, and with a combined 252 yards rushing the last two weeks, he erased any concerns about whether he can still deliver with a body that has endured multiple severe injuries, including a fractured right hip that ended the 2010 season for him.

The rushing numbers alone would warm any coach's heart, but Gore's football IQ and the completeness of his game - especially his pass-protection skills - explain his special charm.

"A lot of guys struggle with retention of what you're coaching," Rathman said. "It takes them a period of time to learn it, maybe six months, maybe two months, maybe a month, maybe a week. Frank, you can tell him something one time, and it doesn't come up till Week 11, and it had not been addressed or emphasized from Week 1 to 11, and he'll know exactly what it is."

He soaks up every bit of information he can get, Rathman said, meeting with coaches at times that other players wouldn't consider. The preparation helps him read defenses better and faster, understanding an opponent's body language. He has always been attuned to defenders' eye movement and what that suggests about an upcoming play.

Tight end Delanie Walker said Gore had been counseling him on how to read defenders for a while. "Now I'm starting to see it," he said. "A couple of years ago, I didn't really see it the way he does."

Defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois works out with Gore in the Miami area during the offseason. This year, he said, their training took on special purpose because Gore had to prove he could return from the hip injury and because the lockout put so much else in doubt. They trained at a community center with several other NFL players, and Gore insisted that they behave as if they were in game-day mode, not revealing a single weakness, Francois said.

"He was trying to show we were going to outwork everybody that was there," he said. "Frank was like, 'Don't you bend over and grab your knees; don't you quit. We're going to show them what's the difference between a 49er and the rest of the league.' "

All in all, he sounds like a 1950s coach.

"Actually, he's the exact image of coach Harbaugh," Francois said. "He's all ball."

Though the 49ers have moved on with a new administration, Gore stays in touch with many of the former coaches, from Nolan, who now works in Miami, to Jimmy Raye, the deposed offensive coordinator from the Singletary era and a recipient of some of those late-night calls.

Rathman thinks he has found a way to eliminate the post-midnight chats. On game days, he and Gore now talk shortly after they get home. Then Rathman goes over the film, grading him before they talk again.

"I've got him down to 9:30 or 10 o'clock," Rathman said, sounding a little overconfident. Containing Frank Gore just isn't that easy. He'd better keep that phone on vibrate.

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


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(blogs.sfagte.com)
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Brandon Merriweather Fined $25K

BrandonMeriweatherWallpaper
Chicago Bears safety Brandon Meriweather has been fined $25,000 for his hit on Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson on Monday night, Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reports. Last week, Meriweather was fined $20,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. One would expect that another illegal hit would put Meriweather in position for further discipline from the league office, but those opportunities may be limited. Meriweather continually looking to make the big hit, and not the correct play, has prompted the Bears to remove him from the starting lineup. During the 2010 season, Meriweather, then with the New England Patriots, was fined $50,000 for a hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap, Meriweather appealed that fine, which was reduced to $40,000.

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(gridironfans.com)
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Michael Irvin: Welker is ‘bar none’ NFL’s best receiver

MichaelIrvinCane
We’ve been tuned-in for the recent debate over whether Calvin Johnson of the Lions is truly the NFL’s best receiver. Johnson, and the other Johnson — Andre — certainly could stake claim to that title and not raise any eyebrows (unlike certain other boasts for Miles Austin and Dez Bryant).

But are we too readily omitting the receiver who is currently leading the league in receptions and yardage, and on pace to break the NFL’s single-season record in both categories?

For those of you not in the know, that’s Wes Welker.

“The job of a wide receiver is to catch passes, move the chains and score touchdowns,” NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin said on ‘NFL Total Access’ Saturday. “No one — and I’ll say this again, no one — in the National Football League is doing it better than No. 83 for the Patriots.
“He’s the best receiver in the NFL, bar none, period.”

Other than being among the best at what he does, Welker has few characteristics of what most think of when it comes to prototypical No. 1 receivers. It was a point raised by Irvin, who believes Welker is doing something never seen before in the NFL.

“He’s unconventional. He does things differently,” Irvin added. “We’ve never seen anything like Welker, because we have never, ever in the history of this game watched the primary receiver from the slot.”

On the way out … who gets your vote as the NFL’s best receiver?

Click here to order Michael Irvin’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(nfl.com)
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Jarrett Payton shares ‘most important’ lessons with Elgin youths

JarrettPaytonSoldierField
ELGIN — Friends and family are what are most important in life, giving back is part of being a good person, and children should always believe they can do whatever they set their minds to do, Jarrett Payton said.

Payton, the son of the late National Football League and Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, was at the Elgin Salvation Army on Wednesday to talk to children there about teamwork, but also talked with them about what should be important in their lives.

Hannah Reynolds works with the children’s Spark Academy program at the Elgin Salvation Army, and asked Connie Payton — whom she knows “a little bit” — if her son would be interested in speaking to the Elgin group.

Each Wednesday, the Salvation Army holds the Spark program for Elgin children ages 3 through 18. The night includes singing and devotions, as well as musical classes and homework help time, Reynolds said.

The program is just a year old, brought to Elgin when Salvation Army Captains Fred and Nancy Mead came in as the new leadership at the Elgin location.

Payton walked into thunderous applause from the 100 children assembled on Wednesday — applause that he videotaped on a cellphone and promised to upload to his Facebook page.

The 30-year-old, a former NFL player himself, told the children about his connections to Elgin. For kindergarten through second grade, he attended Elgin Academy. When he was in his early teens, he also stepped in to help a friend with her dance recital and performed on stage at The Hemmens Cultural Center — a location where he saw many performances in his younger years.

Teaching giving
A recently published book on Walter Payton contains allegations of infidelity and abuse of painkillers. But his son told a different side of his father, including sharing a story about a family shopping trip right before Christmas.

His father took the 11-year-old Payton to Toys ‘R’ Us in Schaumburg after the store had closed. Walter Payton told his son that he could have any toys he wanted, and that he had to pick out toys for his sister, too. But instead of going home with those toys, the Paytons stopped at an apartment complex. All of those toys instead went to a family who was out of work and wouldn’t have had a Christmas if not for his father’s help.
“That taught me the value of giving back. You have to get to know the person next to you” and find out about his or her life, he said. “That was the first gift my dad gave to me … the first time I really understood giving.”

Family, friends and faith — and the place those things should have in their lives — is another lesson he learned from his father before his untimely death in 1999, when the younger Payton was just 19 years old and about to leave for college at the University of Miami, where he was a Hurricane for five years.

That experience — going to college across the country — is where he learned how to rely on friends when family wasn’t nearby. While many of his high school friends attended college at Notre Dame or Wisconsin and could drive home on the weekends, going home for him meant scheduling a flight back. So he ended up spending time with his classmates and fellow players. They were the people he relied on through that tough time in his life, he said.

“Life is hard, but you have to make your life simple,” Payton said. “The biggest thing, for me, is family and friends.”

He also learned the value of hard work. When he was a junior in high school, the younger Payton was disappointed when his name was not included in the Chicago Sun-Times list of the best high school football players in the region. That made him work hard every day to ensure his name would be on the list the following year. It was that determination, followed with good grades, that got him into Miami, Payton said.


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(suntimes.com)
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