Tracking proCanes - Bruce Johnson is continuing our “Tracking proCanes” feature with former University of Miami and current New York Giants defensive-back Bruce Johnson. Johnson played in 42 games with 25 starts for the Hurricanes and finished his career with 69 tackles, 2 interceptions, 11 pass break-ups and 3 tackles for loss. Johnson signed as an un-drafted free-agent with the New York Giants in 2009 and has played in the Giants first two games of the season logging 5 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception returned for a touchdown in week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys. Johnson is the cousin of former Hurricane cornerback and current Seattle Seahawk cornerback Kelly Jennings.

Bruce was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule after the Giants’ week 2 win against the Dallas Cowboys and in between signing a lease on a new apartment and preparing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to speak with us. Read below to see how he went from being an un-drafted free agent to returning a Tony Romo interception for a touchdown in week 2.
proCanes: So have you started to settle down in New York?
Bruce Johnson: Yes Sir. I just finished signing a lease yesterday for an apartment.
pC: Let’s start with after you graduated from the University of Miami, you were supposed to be the only Hurricane draft pick yet you ended up going un-drafted, talk about that.
BJ: It was a little nerve racking but I also knew anything could happen. I was just sitting there watching and I was a little upset but I sort of wasn’t. It just became more motivation for me when I got here [New York Giants] and when I got into Rookie Mini camp, OTAs, Mini Camp and Training Camp. I wanted to show them that I was supposed to be a draft pick and that’s been my goal ever since I got here. So far it’s been pretty good, but I still feel like I have a lot to prove.

pC: So you weren’t that surprised instead of you being the Cane sole draft pick it was Spencer Adkins?
BJ: I think that either one of us could have gotten picked up. Congratulations to Spencer, I really like how he got picked up in the draft. I’m not upset about it or anything. Stuff happens like that. I just had to take it and move on from it and that’s what I am doing now.

pC: I would assume you had a couple of teams to choose from in terms of signing a free agent contract.
BJ: I got a call from my agent and he told me that New Orleans, Tamp Bay and the Giants wanted to have me come in for a tryout. Then he called me back five minutes later and told me that the Giants wanted to sign me, so I took that and went with it and I’m here right now.
pC: Were you pretty confident that you were going to make the squad when you went up for Rookie Camp and OTAs?
BJ: I was pretty confident because that was my whole goal when I came up here. I had something to prove the whole time I was up here. No matter how many plays I made or what I did right I felt I had to improve even more. They don’t really give you feedback when you do a couple of things or you think you’re doing something good. That’s what has kept me going and kept me trying to do the best I can. I was trying to get a reaction, just to keep doing my best to get a reaction and see where I was. You know, you never get a reaction and I’m still trying to get a reaction [laughter]. That is what is still driving me to be the best.

pC: If you have a good day in practice they don’t tell you?
BJ: They’ll say something like ‘good job’ or you did this good, but it won’t be like they are praising you. There are certain guys who, I wouldn’t say have a certain leeway, but they may not have to worry about too much. I am trying to get to that point where they won’t have to call my name so much for certain things, and I can just go out there and play and do what I have to do. I ‘m progressing each day, I just have to take it one day at a time. Hopefully after a couple of years I can be that guy.

pC: What has been the toughest part about from going from college to the pro’s?
BJ: In college, I started for like my last two years and I played a lot before that. Coming in and being un-drafted and being on the bottom of the totem poll [was different]. You’ve got a guy ahead of you who’s got years of experience. I am just trying to prove what I can do. They already have their money invested in someone and penciled in as the starter, so the hardest adjustment was that I have to continuously prove what I can do. It was hard for me because I knew they had the guys in there that they probably wanted in there already, but just trying to show them and keep working because you never know what is going to happen week in and week out.  During mini camp and stuff like that you never know if you’re going to be cut or they’re going to bring somebody else in. I wouldn’t say it’s the worrying but just the fact that you could be cut the next week or even the next day.

pC: What was the one part of your game you had to work on?
BJ: The one part of my game I had to work on was just taking every receiver like they’re the best. In college you play a bunch of different teams and not every team you play is up to the caliber of Florida or Oklahoma. Every practice I went in, I had to approach every receiver like he was Randy Moss or T.O. [Terrell Owens] because everyone is good. Just staying focused on the receiver that I was going against and studying more was the main thing for me.

pC: You’re playing most in the nickel formation, are you playing more in the slot or the outside?
BJ: I’m playing on the outside when they have three receivers, so that’s not too big of a change from my UM days.

pC: Talk about having former Hurricanes Sinorice Moss, Kenny Phillips and Jeff Feagles there. How have they helped you being up in NY.
BJ: When I first got signed Sinorice called me and told me he was proud of me and just told me to come in and be ready to work. When I got there they took me in and showed me the ropes and they’ve been looking out for me ever since. I work against Sinorice almost every day. He doesn’t take it easy on me and makes sure I get good work, and I make sure he gets good work. He tells me that he’s proud of me and to just keep working hard and he’s going to work me. I talk to K.P. [Kenny Phillips] and he just tells me to keep doing what I’m doing and just make plays. When I first got here I sat down with K.P. and went over some of the coverages and formations and everything. Jeff Feagles is actually my mentor on the team and that’s pretty good. So, I just came and it was like I didn’t miss a step. Coming from the University of Miami they just took me in and showed me the ropes and they have been doing that ever since.

pC: I’m sure that helped your transition.
BJ: Yeah that helped my confidence a lot. Having those guys here was a big boost for me.

pC: Did you expect to play as much as you have in the first two weeks?
BJ: To be honest with you, this is what I came in to do. I didn’t know I was going to play this much, but I told myself that if I did get the chance I would make the best of my opportunity. I’ve been having my chance so every chance I get, I just make sure that I make the best out of it to help this team and help myself out as well.

pC: Week 1, you force a fumble and week 2 you have a huge pick 6. Talk about the pick 6 and how you played it and what you saw.
BJ: Basically during that whole play we were in a cover 3 coverage and Romo saw something in our defense and checked off. When he did that Antonio Pierce, the quarterback of our defense basically, checked off into a cover 2 and switched the whole defense around. I have to give props to him because if it wasn’t for him I probably would have been somewhere else that I wasn’t supposed to be, [laughter] so I give him a lot of props for that. When Pierce checked, it put me in a totally different mindset of how I had to play my coverage and what I had to do. Once I jammed the receiver and he was going in, I passed him off to the nickel back and once I was about to go to the other receiver I just see the ball up in the air and caught it and then all I was thinking was that I just have to get to the end zone before anyone touches me. That gave me a good opportunity to show my speed. Some people kind of questioned my speed around the combine so that was a great opportunity to show my speed. I was just making sure that I didn’t get caught before I got into the end zone.

pC: Talk about your transition of going up and living in New York.
BJ: When I first came up, it was my first time coming up to New York. To be honest with you, we’re based out of New Jersey, but I have been to the city and it is a lot different from Miami. You see a lot more people walking, there’s a lot of commotion. When they say that city never sleeps, they’re right, it’s always going. I had to get adjusted to that because I’m not used to taking trains, cabs or anything like that. Having all those people close together on the sidewalk walking by you, I had to get used to that because I didn’t like that at first. I really wasn’t used to that. I was used to having my own space and riding in the car and it was kind of funny to see people in business suits getting on buses and doing a lot of walking. When I see people in Miami in business suits they’re in nice cars and everything. It was sort of like a culture shock to me, but since I’ve been here I have sort of gotten used to it and I’ve been just trying to make the transition.

pC: Do you go to the city often?
BJ: I’ve been there a couple of times, but I don’t go too much.

pC: What’s your schedule like during a game week if you play on Sunday?
BJ: What it is, is we’ll play Sunday and then we’ll come in on Monday we might lift and basically we’ll watch some film of the game and we’ll be done by around 1 o’clock and then we have Tuesday off as well and then we’ll come back on Wednesday and that’s pay day, so we get paid on Wednesday. Then we’ll do some preparation from Wednesday until Saturday. Saturday we’ll go to our team hotel if it’s a home game or we leave on a plane to go to an away game. If it’s a late night game like this past Sunday, we’ll eat and have little meetings on Sunday if it’s an early Sunday game then we’ll do all that the night before.

pC: Who has helped you most in your adjustment to the Giants.
BJ: Pretty much all the DBs from the safeties to the veteran corners. Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Kevin Dockery all of them have helped me out a lot. There are no secrets everybody is trying to help everybody. I ask all those guys questions about certain plays so I can’t pinpoint one person and the coaches are very helpful as well.

pC: You’ve gotten a lot of playing time in the first two weeks because of injuries do you know what’s going to happen when people get healthy?
BJ: I’m just going with the flow right now, only time will tell. Until then, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.

pC: Let’s Talk about the Canes right now, what do you think of their start so far?
BJ: Yeah man, they’re looking real good. I hate that they had to start when I left [laughter] but at least they started it. I’m glad to see those guys doing good because there are a lot of guys that I played with [on the team] so it’s good to see them playing well and being ranked in the top 10 right now. I hope that they can just keep it going just for themselves so they can have a better outcome when draft day comes.

pC: What do you think is the key to this week’s game against Virginia Tech?
BJ: As long the offense keeps clicking like they are and the defense keeps attacking, bringing that pressure and everybody keeps hitting I think we’ll be fine.

pC: What is the difference between last year’s defense, which you played on, and this year’s defense?
BJ: I feel like they have a lot of stability now. I think they have everything set and everything how they want it. With the coaches being set and being there for a while, that’s the big thing that they need and the players getting used to them and buying into the system and knowing what to do. Plus those guys have a lot of talent and putting the coaching and the talent together is a big improvement. Guys are also hungrier this year.

pC: Did you think Bill young was going to be there for a while?
BJ: As a matter of fact I did, but things happen and you just have to keep moving.

pC: You played in both the Orange Bowl and Land Shark Stadium. What’s the difference, did you miss the OB?
BJ: There will never be anything like the OB [Orange Bowl]. It’s tradition and it’s been with the Hurricanes for the longest. Whoever’s decision it was, we had to move and playing at Land Shark wasn’t bad, but you did miss the OB sometimes because you just had that feeling, the Orange Bowl voodoo. I did miss the OB but having a big screen too, was pretty nice. They both had their pro’s and con’s.

pC: You played under both Randy and Larry, how did things change?
BJ: Both coaches demanded greatness out of their players. I didn’t really see much of a difference. I don’t want to say they had different coaching styles but they both demanded greatness and perfection out of their players. They both wanted to win and I couldn’t really tell much of a difference between them.

pC: This week you’re going up against Kellen Winslow Jr. Any thoughts?
BJ: If I have to guard then I have to guard, just like anybody else.

We at would like to thank Bruce Johnson for being so gracious with his time to do this very insightful interview for our new feature "Tracking proCanes." Click here to check out our past interviews with Leon Searcy, Steve Walsh, Frank Costa, John Routh, Chad Wilson, Sinorice Moss, Twan Russell and more!

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proCanes Photo of the Week - NFL U Family

proCane Edgerrin James congratulates fellow running back and proCane Frank Gore, after Gore racked up 207 yards on 16 carries and 2 TDs along with 5 catches for 39 yards leading the San Francisco 49ers to a win over the Seattle Seahawks

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Rosenhaus Tweets Phillips' Injury Not Career Threatening

After discussing Kenny Phillips' medical situation with several specialists, I'm pleased to say that the future prognosis is very positive!

Furthermore, this injury will NOT have a significant impact on Kenny's NFL career. All the negative speculation is off base and unfounded.

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(RosenhausSports Twitter)

Andre Johnson Fined

Texans receivers Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones have been fined for their roles in the fight on the sideline during Sunday's 34-31 victory at Tennessee.

Johnson, who was going at it with cornerback Cortland Finnegan on the Texans' sideline, was fined $7,500 by the NFL.

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Gooden going through growing pains

Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison virtuallysaid linebacker Tavares Gooden is going through growing pains.

Gooden has played, essentially, only two NFL games, but hasn't done much on the field. In fact, it appears backups Brendon Ayanbabejo and Jameel McClain are playing better and making bigger plays.

"He has improved every game," said Mattison of Gooden. "The mistakes he has made early he hasn't made a second time."

In Gooden's defense, he also missed the last 12 games of last season, his rookie year, because of a hip injury which forced the Ravens to put him on injured reserve.

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Cardinals raving about Campbell

In two NFL starts, Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell has batted down two passes, blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown and recorded eight tackles and a half-sack.

Yet, it's the missed opportunities that dominate Campbell's thoughts, and in an ironic way, excite the Cardinals coaches about Campbell's potential. At 23, Campbell already has learned a valuable lesson: He doesn't know everything.

"Calais is a guy who wants to learn," said nose tackle Bryan Robinson, in his 13th season. "He's always asking what he's done wrong and wants to get better. He's a humble guy already. You don't have to get into his head and bring him with you. He's ready to go."

Entering this season, Campbell was one of the bigger question marks on the team. A second-round draft pick in 2008, he is replacing Antonio Smith in the starting lineup. Smith was a productive player who blossomed in the postseason. He left via free agency for Houston after the season. The Cardinals didn't do much to keep him in Arizona because they had Campbell ready to step in.

Campbell has started only two games, but he has given strong indications that he one day could be better than Smith. And that day could come soon.

Campbell, though, doesn't see it like that. He looks at his statistics and kicks himself that he has only a half-sack. He thinks of all the times the quarterback slipped from his hands.

"I know I'm good enough to make those plays," he said. "I should have five sacks by now, and that would put me second in the league. That's crazy. I'm getting my opportunities, and I've got to capitalize when they come."
Campbell, from Aurora, Colo., grew up with a houseful of brothers. Three of them played college football, including Jared, now a defensive back at Miami.

At 6 feet 8, Calais was the tallest of the siblings, and at one time could complete a variety of dunks, including 360s and windmills. Now at 290 pounds, Campbell still can dunk, but the fancy stuff is gone from his arsenal.

"There was never a time we were bored," Campbell said of growing up. "We had football, basketball. We'd be out there, competing three-on-three. I used to be the shut-down corner or Randy Moss out there, but that was back in the good days when I could move a little better."

Campbell, who went to Miami, moves well for a guy his size. With his long arms, he can hold off blockers and deflect passes.

"It's great being tall," he said. "I start out low, and you try to stay low as long as you can, then eventually you get high. It's just natural."

Campbell knows, however, that he needs considerable work on his technique. He needs to refine his pass-rush moves and admitted there were times last year as a rookie that he was driven off the ball.

He added some weight and strength in the off-season, and if the first two games are an indication, Campbell should be the Cardinals' right end for years to come.

"He's going to be one of the greats as a Cardinal player," Robinson said. "He wants to learn, and you love that about him. He's a guy who is going to play a long time."

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Giants lose S Kenny Phillips for the season with knee injury & maybe more

Safety Kenny Phillips' (FSY) season with the New York Giants ended just days after the best game of his career.
Phillips, who had two interceptions in Sunday night's win over Dallas, was placed on injured reserve by the Giants (2-0) on Thursday because of an unhealthy left knee. The team also announced it was awarded safety Aaron Rouse (FSY) off waivers from Green Bay.

"I really feel for Kenny because he had worked so hard during the offseason to prepare himself for the '09 season," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He had a great camp and was just beginning to come into his own and showed flashes of being one of the premier safeties in the NFL. We expect him to recover from this setback and come back stronger than ever. This league is about making adjustments and we will do that."

Phillips had been bothered by the knee since training camp. An MRI on Wednesday revealed that the patella femoral arthritis in his knee has worsened. A final determination has not yet been made on how to treat the condition.

Phillips was stunned that he would have to miss the rest of the season.

"It never crossed my mind, ever," Phillips said. "I knew the situation. I just felt I could push it through the season. So to get this news is a real shock."

Phillips was leading the team in interceptions (2) and tackles (16) and was tied for the lead in passes defended (2).
"The most important thing for us right now is to realize it's an emotional time for Kenny Phillips," said coach Tom Coughlin, noting that Phillips looked like he had lost his best friend after getting the news. "He had an excellent training camp. He played the deep ball, really, unlike anybody we've had around here."

With Phillips out, C.C. Brown (FSY) will start Sunday at Tampa Bay.

The 31st overall selection in the 2008 draft, Phillips played in every game and had three starts as a rookie. He finished with 66 tackles (43 solo), seven passes defended and an interception.

With the loss of James Butler (FSY) to free agency, he took over the starting job next to Michael Johnson (FSY).

"That is probably the toughest part. I worked hard this offseason and I felt like this was going to be a big year not only for me, but for the Giants," Phillips said. "I started the season off pretty well with a few tackles, interceptions and for it to just get snatched away from me like this is real tough."

Phillips, who missed two of the Giants' four preseason game, does not know when he hurt his knee.

"Everybody gets nicks and bruises in training camp, so that's just what I thought it was," he said. "Swelling occurred, but most people get swelling. As long as it goes down, it's not a big deal.

Phillips is the third Giants player to go on injured reserve. Rookie running back Andre Brown (FSY) ruptured his Achilles' tendon in training camp. Defensive tackle Jay Alford (FSY) suffered a knee injury in a preseason game in Chicago.

The Giants' safety has been diagnosed with an ailment called patellofemoral arthritis, a knee problem that could wind up requiring microfracture surgery.

According to the Sinai Hospital (Baltimore) website, the problem affects up to 10 percent of the population, and patients often undergo multiple operations, only to end up with a severe disability. Among the operative approaches to deal with the situation: 

   1. Arthroscopic debridement    2. Microfracture articular restoration    3. Lateral release    4. Soft-tissue realignment of the extensor mechanism    5. Osteotomies of the tibial tubercle    6. Mosiacplasty/autologous chondrocyte implantation    7. Lateral patella partial facetectomy    8. Patellectomy (removal of the kneecap)    9. Total knee replacement

Wow. Some serious stuff here. Especially when you read this: 

"While operative replacement of any portion of the knee joint is one of the last options,it is often the only good choice left when other treatments fail of result in increased pain. We have found a definite trend of more rapid recovery,better function, more predictable return to work,and decreased dependency on pain medication with this operation. Patients can become very depressed and socially drained by the stress of constant pain and ineffectual prior treatment. Patellofemoral replacement offers more predictable relief from these problems in our experience."
Sounds like Phillips will be lucky to get the microfracture surgery as a way of getting him back onto the football field.

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Moss Confidently Waits for His Moment

In two games, Santana Moss, the Redskins' top wide receiver, has caught five passes for 41 yards. Only once, during a 79-catch 2008, did Moss go through a two-week stretch in which he caught fewer balls.

"That's something that the team got to deal with. I'm a player," Moss said Thursday. "I'm going to want more. But what can I do about it? All I can do is just keep doing my job. Maybe they'll see me one day. Y'all watch football. Y'all know what's going on. I don't have to sit here and tell you that I need something more. Teams are playing to me, so therefore, somebody else got to get open."

That, of course, hasn't happened with enough regularity yet. Second-year receiver Malcolm Kelly, who earned the starting spot opposite Moss during the preseason, has five catches for 47 yards, and Devin Thomas, also in his second year, doesn't have a catch yet. The bulk of quarterback Jason Campbell's throws have gone to tight end Chris Cooley (14 catches-151 yards) and slot receiver Antwaan Randle El (11 catches-137 yards).

"I can't control the things I can't control," Moss said. "The only thing I can control is be the guy I am, continue to practice hard, and when it all swings over, you'll see that circle on the field, they'll be showing the highlights, saying, 'Okay, here he goes, he got freed up and he made a play.'"

Last year, Moss's most explosive day came at Detroit, where the Redskins play this year. He caught nine passes for 140 yards - including a 50-yard touchdown - and also returned a punt for a touchdown.

"They might double the crap out of me, too," Moss said of the Lions. "I always expect the worst but hope for the best. All I can do is continue to be the player I am. I can't really worry about what's going on. I just feel like with me getting some of the looks I've been getting, somebody else is going to get a chance. If you play me like that the whole year, then hopefully that guy who's getting that chance has an outstanding year, you know what I mean? Just one of those years that's going to make you say, 'Man we got to do something different.'

"But I'm very confident just knowing the guy that I am, when I do get the opportunity, I'll show up. So I'm not tripping about it."

Still, Moss said he was hopeful that coverages would roll away from him if Kelly or Thomas established himself as a legitimate threat. He said it hasn't happened yet.

"I didn't expect the first two games to have guys pressing on me, safeties over the top," he said. "Even when you think the safety's blitzing on your side, the back side safety's coming over the top. I mean, it's weird. But I guess you can say they know something that hopefully that everybody else know."

Coach Jim Zorn made a concerted effort to target Moss in the Redskins' 9-7 victory over St. Louis last Sunday. But he said he can't just force the ball to his top wideout.

"I can just tell you we're trying," Zorn said. "Our effort is there. I think it would be a real problem if you'd see him coming to my office going, 'What's up man? What about me?' So I think he realizes that we're making efforts, and we're going to continue to do that."

Moss, for his part, is trying to be professional about the lack of production. His longest catch is for 21 yards. After two games last year, he had 12 catches for 201 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown.

"I'd be an expert if I had a solution for what we going through, or knew more," Moss said. "At the end of the day, I'm a player that's hungry as all outdoors, and trying to be all I can be for this team, whether I'm going to take a couple of guys out of the formation by them covering me, or whether I'm going to beat a couple of guys. However I'm going to have to do it, I'm going to do it."

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Kelly Jennings: Hawks comeback cornerback

Renton – Kelly Jennings always thought he would one day find his way back into a starting cornerback spot with the Seattle Seahawks.

Of course, he didn’t want it this way.

Thanks to an early injury to Marcus Trufant and now Josh Wilson, Jennings will return to a starting cornerback spot this Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Qwest Field.

Trufant has yet to suit up this season, while Wilson suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to San Francisco, meaning Jennings will slide from the nickel back in passing situations to the starter on every down on defense.

“It’s not the way I wanted to get an opportunity, but I’m glad to be back starting,” Jennings said.

It isn’t as if he hasn’t had opportunities to start in the past.

When the Seahawks selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft, the idea behind it was that Jennings would start opposite Trufant for years to come.

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

Jennings played the nickel back most of his rookie season, starting two games while showing some promise.

In 2007, he started 15 of 16 games and showed hints of solid play. But his lack of experience and physical strength still showed through. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, he just couldn’t match up size- and strength-wise.

Last season, it was much the same. Jennings was bullied, beaten and beaten up by bigger NFL receivers such as Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. He eventually lost his starting job to 2007 second-round pick Josh Wilson, who is two inches shorter, but plays with a more physical nature.

“Some things happened and I didn’t play up to the potential I’m capable of playing,” Jennings said.

Those things included minor dings, a concussion and nagging shoulder pain, none of which he would use as an excuse.

“I don’t want to use anything as an excuse,” he said. “You’re in this business to make plays. You are paid to make plays and you have to make them.”

Coach Jim Mora likes to refer to certain moments in the game as “moment of truth” plays and Jennings’ moments led to an ugly truth – he wasn’t cutting it at cornerback.

“I wasn’t making those plays,” Jennings admitted. “I won’t use anything as an excuse. If I’m out there I have to make those plays and I wasn’t doing it.”

To make a forgettable season worse, Jennings, in an attempt to make one of those plays, suffered a nasty shoulder injury in the final game of the 2008 season. It would require offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament.

During offseason workouts and fall camp, he was slowed by the recovery. It robbed him of strength, particularly on plays on the ball with receivers.

He wasn’t able to practice enough to put up much of a competition for a starting job with Wilson or free agent signee Ken Lucas.

Slowly he has worked himself back into shape. He’ll never be viewed as a physical, high-contact cornerback. His strength is speed, not size. But in his practice repetitions and game snaps as the nickel back, he’s shown improved coverage and ball skills.

“We talked about this earlier in the season that I thought one of the things that helped Kelly mature as a football player was the fact that his role was a little bit more limited to pass situations,” Mora said.

More than maturity, there’s a confidence to Jennings now. He doesn’t hope he can make plays against bigger receivers, he knows he can do it.

With a return to starting, he will have to make things happen on running plays as well, something where his size is a detirment.

“Kelly’s done a nice job, and now he’s going to have to step it up even a little bit more because he’s going to be out there every down,” Mora said. “That role is going to expand a little bit, so his level of maturity has to expand with it, and I believe it will. I absolutely believe it will.”

Jennings has changed his preparation because of it.

“I have to be ready for the whole game in general,” he said. “I’m not just out there on third downs. I’m going from 25 to 30 plays to 65 to 70. It’s different. But it’s a position I’ve played before. I’m comfortable. I’m ready.”

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Clinton Portis: "We All Believe"

Clinton Portis's weekly appearance on ESPN 980's John Thompson Show was most notable for his optimism and team spirit. In (I believe) his first public comments since the 9-7 win over the Rams on Sunday, Portis said he still thinks the team will be successful, expressed mild disappointment in the home fans who booed the ugly win, declined several opportunities to second-guess Jim Zorn's playcalling, and said that he and the team's other offensive stars are on the verge of a breakout. Some highlights. (Please bear in mind this was typed off live radio, and a few words might be off here or there.)

The Failed Fourth and 1
Jason Reid got into this in his recent Insider post, but Portis said the problem wasn't with Jim Zorn's playcall, but with the blocking call at the line. According to Portis, the Rams were lined up in a goal-line defense, and the Redskins had two tight ends on the field, hoping the Rams would match up with that defense. The alignment called for the Redskins to use one blocking scheme, but someone at the line called for a different approach, which ruined the chance of success.

"It's always the wrong [play] when they stop it, but we've had a lot of success on that same play...." Portis said. "I think it was a play that if we had executed would have been a walk-in [touchdown], but we made the wrong [blocking] call."

All that said, Portis acknowledged that his preference in such situations "would always be downhill" running, because "you see everything in front of you and you've got the choice to jump, dive, slide, whatever you need to do to get through there."

Life at .500
Portis isn't all angsty about the record, turns out.

"From the criticism we take you would think we're the worst team in the NFL," he said. "We're 1-1, just like the Patriots, just like the Cowboys, just like every other 1-1 team. It's better to be 1-1 than 0-2, and for the teams that are 2-0, I'm sure they'll get a loss soon."

Boo Birds
"For the fans to come out and boo us?" Portis said near the end of the spot. "You put in a lot of work, and people are never satisfied. If [we] lose the game, boo us. We won the game. We 1-1. There's a lot of teams in the NFL that are 1-1. I think we're in the position to go and do something special, we've got the opportunity to do something special, and I think we will do it."

Faith in Zorn
On the absolute crucial question--whether this team still has confidence in Jim Zorn as its leader--Portis said the right things.

"I think so," he began. "I mean, I think everybody in the organization believes in what we're capable of. Like I said, when we go back on Monday and watch the film, it's obvious. It isn't the play that Jim Zorn called isn't successful."
Instead, Portis said, it's the execution. One time, for example, he said that Santana Moss was open on a deep route, but Will Montgomery was "overpowered" at the line. Portis didn't fault Montgomery, and said he was blocking the right man, but that ruined the deep chance.

"We execute the plays--Coach Zorn, ohhh, he's a great play caller," Portis said. "Being that we haven't executed, we're dropping passes, we're a second away, it makes it look like--Oh, what'd he call that play for? If the play is successful-- Oh, Coach Zorn, Coach Zorn, Coach Zorn....Like I said man, we all together, we all believe and we gonna keep fighting as a team."

Randy Thomas's Replacement
We've all assumed the next man up would be Chad Rinehart, but Portis didn't mention him when asked about replacing Thomas at right guard.

"The same thing that's happened ever since I've been here, we lose a key lineman," Portis said. "For us, what we do have in Will and, uh, uh, what's my man's name, number 50? Edwin, in Edwin [Williams] and in Will Montgomery I think we have players that are capable of filling in. I think Edwin's a hard-nosed player, and here's his opportunity, so hopefully he comes out and proves he's worthy of the job."

Offensive Frustrations
This isn't breaking news, but Portis said he thinks the offense can work, it just needs to start working in the red zone.
"I think players was glad we got the win, but I think everybody on our team know we have to go back to the drawing board and get things corrected," he said. "Once we perfect it and run this offense the way it can be run, we have the opportunity to put up a lot of points."

Portis said he was at fault in one of the red zone chances, when he ran the wrong direction on a play that "would have been a walk-in touchdown."

"Then we had two drops, that's 21 points you're talking about, compared to the nine points we got," he continued. "Then we had a turnover in the red zone, that's 28 points. Everyt ime we go back and look at our mistakes, we see where we went wrong," he concluded, saying the issues are more about the Redskins than their opponents.

Later, he said that the offense needs to find a way to make big plays for long touchdowns, as opposed to endless drives that bog down in the red zone after 10 or 12 plays.

"Until we develop that, teams are gonna continue to think we're gonna self explode," he said. "Until we get that right, it's gonna be hard to do anything, because our drives are so long."

The Stars
But is that big-play paradise attainable in this lifetime, or, better yet, this calendar year? Portis said yes.

"I know it can happen, but what we need to do until it do happen is find a way to continue to win," he said. "Once it strike and all the playmakers explode...I mean, me or Santana have yet to have a big game, how long is that gonna last? Jason have yet to have a big game, how long is that gonna last?...When we catch on fire and we all get a chance to strike, we'll be fine."

In the meantime, he said, Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El and others have carried the offensive slack. Asked why himself and Moss haven't yet gone off, Portis cited the defenses.

"I mean, [Doc Walker] seen for himself how many people was in the box to stop the run, I heard him on the sideline talking about it," Portis said. "Right now, it's the focal point. They playing an over-under on Santana, they trying to take me away from the game, and Cooley and Randle El is really making plays. And it's only another week or two before teams realize, 'Well, now we got to stop Cooley, now we got to stop Randle El....It's only a minute away before we snap on, and when we do, I think we'll be fine."

The Halfback Pass
Like Zorn, Portis faulted the execution, not the play call on the controversial halfback option near the goal line.

"We really didn't sell the run on the play," he said. "From the start of the play, if you look, you see them dropping back. Nobody really bit on the run; because of us running sideways they didn't really bite that it was a run play."

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LB Beason says banged-up Panthers face 'must-win'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Another new defensive tackle moved into his locker Thursday not long before linebacker Jon Beason made it clear the Carolina Panthers are running out of time to plug the leaks in their banged-up defense.

After consecutive losses to open the season, the Panthers face a critical game Monday night at Dallas. And Beason wasn't shying away from its importance.

"I mean 0-3 is just not a possibility," Beason said. "This is a must-win."

Not the best scenario to be breaking in another defensive lineman. But that's what the coaching staff was doing with Antwon Burton, signed Tuesday after being released by St. Louis this month in final cuts.

For those who have lost track, Burton is replacing Louis Leonard, who was acquired from Cleveland on Sept. 1 for a late-round draft pick. Leonard was filling in Sunday for the injured Nick Hayden when he broke his left ankle and is lost for the season.

Hayden had been filling in for Maake Kemoeatu, Carolina's top run-stuffer who ruptured his right Achilles' tendon before the Panthers even got to their first team drill on the opening day of training camp.

Hayden, who was on Carolina's practice squad for most of last season, returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. He said the bruised toe on his left foot was a little sore, but hoped he would be well enough to start Monday - just in time to face the league's top running game.

"You want to get some chemistry because I think with Big L (Leonard), he was just starting to come around," Beason said. "He was kind of developing that personality. It's tough when guys keep getting hurt."

Carolina's poor start comes after it was 2-0 at this point last year. The Panthers played 14 games in 2008 before a defensive starter was sidelined with an injury.

Not so in 2009, where strong safety Chris Harris (knee) has also missed the first two games. He returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and could play against the Cowboys.

"We've been doing it since the preseason," coach John Fox said of the rash of injuries which also kept Beason and linebacker Thomas Davis out of much of training camp. "We'll keep battling through it and get the guys ready that we're going to have available."

Damione Lewis, Carolina's only veteran defensive tackle, could only chuckle as he saw another new teammate in his row of stalls in the locker room.

"He's kind of getting scheme overload right now, but I think he'll be fine," Lewis said of Burton, who has played in seven NFL games. "The one good thing is that Nick (Hayden) is going to be back this week."

But the Panthers usually rotate at least three defensive tackles during games, meaning either Burton or rookie Ra'Shon Harris, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Sept. 6, will have to suit up against the Cowboys. Dallas, with running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones, is averaging 184.5 yards rushing through the first two weeks.
"I really believe I can contribute to this team and help them get over that hump a little bit from that 0-2 start," said the 325-pound Burton, who played under defensive line coach Brian Baker in St. Louis.

The problems don't stop at defensive tackle. The ends haven't gotten a consistent pass rush and there's been poor tackling by the linebackers and secondary. The performance Sunday at Atlanta resembled the 2008 outfit that allowed 30 or more points in five of the final seven games.

That was supposed to change with the arrival of defensive coordinator Ron Meeks and his Cover-2 system. But the injury shuffling has caused a slow learning process.

Beason, who led the team in tackles the past two seasons and made the Pro Bowl in 2008, acknowledged he's sometimes thinking too much on the field.

"I've played better. I've played more consistent. I've made more plays," Beason said. "For me it's definitely frustrating. But I know for me it's a comfort level I need to develop. It's just going to come from watching more tape, studying my plays a little more. That way it's more instinctive."

So while the offense quickly recovered from Jake Delhomme's five-turnover nightmare against Philadelphia in Week 1, a defense using spare parts needs a similar turnaround.

"We still haven't played (together) as a whole starting unit yet," Lewis said. "It's kind of strange to be coming into the third week of the season and not have all your bullets in the gun."

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Carey limited in practice

Vernon Carey was limited in today's practice while nursing a knee ailment, according to Armando Salguero's (Miami Herald) twitter page.

Our View: Carey can be inconsistent at times, but is a good starting right tackle overall, and the team cannot afford to be without him in Week 3 while dealing with a tough Chargers' defense at Qualcomm Stadium.

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Greg Olsen off to a slow start

Jay Cutler attributed Greg Olsen's slow start to the Bears "taking what's given" to them by the defense.

Olsen followed up his one-catch opener with 41 yards on three grabs last Sunday. Along with Matt Forte, Olsen is another strong buy-low Bear in fantasy leagues with Johnny Knox emerging on the outside to distract attention. "(Olsen) might have a 10-catch game coming up," Cutler predicted.

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DJ Williams One of the Top 12 Broncos

5. LB D.J. Williams. The Broncos did Williams a heck of a disservice by moving him around so much early in his career. If he can stay at weak-side inside linebacker and adds a few more big plays, he’ll be in the Pro Bowl.

To see the rest of the rankings, click here.

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Berlin Released From Practice Squad

Brock Berlin was released from the Detroit Lions Practice Squad with the return of Drew Stanton from injury.

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Leggett Released From Practice Squad

Lance Leggett was released from the Cleveland Brown Practice Squad today.

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What's Different This Year For McGahee?

Said Ravens RB Willis McGahee, "You know, last year was difficult.  I think I was losing hair last year worrying about what was going on.  Right now, no worries.  It's all about having fun and staying healthy, and that's what we're doing right now."

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Ray Lewis’s Greatest Hits

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh called it one of the best plays he had ever seen.

The NBC analyst Rodney Harrison said it was “the greatest play of Ray Lewis’s career.”

On the TV broadcast (above), Dan Fouts said it was a “Hall of Fame play.”

Via Peter King, the Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said, “You can’t appreciate how fast Ray was going and how hard he hit Sproles unless you were there live.”

Michael Rushton, NFL Contributing Editor for the Sports Network, set the scene:

It was 4th-and-2 at the 15-yard line and San Diego already had nearly 500 yards of offense, most of that coming through the air. Yet the Chargers were about to try and sneak 5-foot-6 running back Darren Sproles up the middle.
Afterward, Lewis said: “For my teammates, I told them we would not lose this game. That was probably one of the greatest plays of my career, because of my team, because of what we did as a team. It wasn’t a called blitz. I just read the play.”

Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun asked his readers if it was Lewis’s best. One reader’s picks seemed to reflect a consensus — close but not quite:

1.) Interception for touchdown in the 2000 playoffs vs. Tennessee.
2.) Sideline tackle on Tiki Barber in the Super Bowl.
3.) Tipped pass in the Super Bowl that Jamie Sharper picked off.
4.) 4th Down tackle on Darren Sproles to end the game.
5.) Ridiculous block that sprung Chris McAlister’s 106-yard missed field goal return vs. Denver.

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Steve Walsh leads Ring of Honor honorees

Steve Walsh, who led the University of Miami to a national championship in 1987, is one of three former players named Wednesday to the Hurricanes' Ring of Honor.

Joining Walsh - who is now the head coach at Cardinal Newman - are safety Bennie Blades, a teammate of Walsh on the '87 team, and running back Eddie Dunn, who played from 1935-39 and also served as UM's coach in 1943-44.

The three players will be honored at Land Shark Stadium during halftime of UM's game against Clemson on Oct. 24.

"I'm overwhelmed," Walsh said. "We could fill several rings with all the outstanding players that were at Miami but aren't up there. To look back and have this as a complement to my career down there is just an unbelievable honor."

Walsh, 42, compiled a 23-1 record during his two seasons as a starter in 1987 and 1988. In 1988, Walsh was named a first-team All-America and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Walsh said being selected for the Ring of Honor with Blades is particularly special.

After leading the Hurricanes to a 31-4 victory against Florida in his first career start on Sept. 5, 1987, Walsh said Blades addressed the team in UM's locker room.

"Bennie stood up and said, 'Hey, we got ourselves a quarterback,' " said Walsh, who tied Vinny Testaverde's school career record for touchdown passes with 48 - a record since broken by Ken Dorsey. "It meant a lot to me at the time. I was a big question mark in '87. The thinking was, 'We're going to be good if Steve can come through at that position.' So that was very affirming to me."

With the addition of Walsh, Blades and Dunn the Ring of Honor will have 16 members. The others are Edgerrin James, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy, Jim Otto, Gino Torretta, Ottis Anderson, Don Bosseler, Bernie Kosar, Burgess Owens, Jim Dooley, George Mira, Ted Hendricks and Testaverde.

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How Willis McGahee got his groove back

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Willis McGahee has his smile back, and no one's happier about it than his Baltimore Ravens teammates.

McGahee has scored four touchdowns and totaled 164 yards in two games. He is tied for the NFL lead in scoring, ranks second on the Ravens with 123 yards rushing and has six catches, one off the team lead.

What makes all this even more impressive is that McGahee isn't Baltimore's starting running back. And, unlike last year, he doesn't care where he stands on the depth chart.

McGahee struggled last season in a variety of ways. He reported to camp out of shape, missed the opener while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, then battled eye, ankle and knee injuries over the next 16 weeks. He played in only 13 games, started eight and finished with career lows in carries (170) and yards rushing (671).
Entering the offseason, McGahee knew something had to change if he was to be a significant contributor to the Baltimore offense.

"Basically, don't come in with a hard head," he said. "That's about it. Don't do that."

So McGahee trained hard during the offseason. He participated in virtually every minicamp practice. He didn't miss a day of training camp. And he accepted his role as a part-time ball carrier.

"I think Willis had a great attitude when he came in. He obviously worked really hard to get himself in shape," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think it's made a difference in his play."

McGahee had two options: Get in step with Harbaugh's way of thinking, or endure another frustrating season. He chose the former.

"He's definitely taken a different approach this year, and it's for the better," said Ray Rice, Baltimore's starting running back. "I just think there comes a time and point where it's going to be one way or the other. I think he became accustomed to how the coaches want it here, and now he's become a great teammate to all of us. That's how great teams pull together -- you buy into one vision."

Once McGahee got to know Harbaugh, he could easier deal with his expectations.

"When you've got a new head coach coming in, you don't know what to expect. Sometimes things tend to go a different route," McGahee said. "They want you to come in at a weight they think you're good at. When you've got another year under that coach, you know what to expect from him. So you try not to make those same mistakes."

It working out perfectly. The Ravens are undefeated, and McGahee is playing a major role in their revived offense.

"Last year, it was difficult," McGahee said. "I think I was losing hair last year worrying about what was going on. But right now, no worries. It's all about having fun and staying healthy, and that's what we're doing right now."
Le'Ron McClain, who had more carries and yards than McGahee last year, is content to block for the 7-year veteran.

"I just feel like he's getting back to that old Willis that he was," McClain said. "I remember watching him growing up, when I was in high school and he was at Miami. ... I told him I've got his back 100 percent. I said, 'Just follow me man, I'll going to try to get you back to destiny.' "

At the University of Miami and throughout his NFL career, McGahee felt his destiny was to put up gaudy numbers. Even last year, before Baltimore's first playoff game, he proclaimed, "My season is over with. My season was over Week 5. I haven't done anything at all. I'm just playing my role."

Now, after scoring four of Baltimore's nine touchdowns in two games, McGahee realizes that six points for the team is more important than his own numbers.

"Stats versus six points? If you would have asked me that a couple of years ago, I would be all for stats, but I'm going for six points right now," he said. "You can't worry about stats because sometimes you might just have a 36-yard game and it is what it is. When you get the touchdowns, it overlooks the stats."

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Portis: We're All on the Hot Seat

In a week when an unknown Redskin found himself, wittingly or unwittingly, insulting large numbers of fed-up Redskins fans, leave it to Clinton Portis to make things right. Clinton Portis of all people, the man who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on his birthday presents to himself, accidentally dumps teammates and coaches in the middle of oncoming traffic, and supposedly has a bi-lateral alliance with a certain local sports owner.

"It's just people growing tired," Portis said Wednesday, when asked about the teenage angst that's had D.C. sports fans wearing tight black t-shirts and writing weepy poetry this week. "You come out, you bring a family of four or five to come to a game, that's $500, and then you've got to eat and park. You're spending $700 a week to come out and see some entertainment, and you get there and it's really not a lot of entertainment. I think people just growing weary of that.

"We would love to make it exciting. You know, myself included. I'm sure everybody around here, nobody want to go out and score nine points. Everybody want touchdowns. Everybody want to go to the Pro Bowl. Everybody want to win....I really do think on paper we've got the most talented team in the NFL. It's just putting it together and making it work."

During Portis's weekly sessions, the reporters come and go, and so questions can sort of catapult from one topic to a second and a third before returning to an earlier point. And so a few minutes later, someone asked Portis whether Jim Zorn is on the hot seat, which brought us back to the macro existential despair thing.

"Hey, I feel like I'm on the hot seat," Portis said. "I can't speak on Coach Zorn, I don't know. I feel like I'm on the hot seat."

Why, came the follow-up.

"I mean, performance, as a team," Portis said. "We're getting booed coming off the field. So I think everybody in this organization on the hot seat. You know, I think you look at the owner, he on the verge of losing fans. You know, how long before people just give up and stop coming? You look at the players, and people want you out of here. You look at the coach, people want you out of here. So who's not on the hot seat? Until we come out and play to our potential, I think everybody on the hot seat."

There has not been a more honest or accurate quote from anyone in the Redskins organization this season, with the possible exception of "It is what it is" or "A win is a win." Though I guess some would argue that "on the verge of" was an unnecessary addition to that sentence.

Anyhow, just in case you were worried that Portis was straight mainlining the comments from Extreme Skins and then spitting them back to the media, he was asked what the team needs to do to play to its potential. And here, he kind of mentioned that you, in particular, Dear Reader, don't know the answer to this question.

"You know, everybody's got the answers to every thing," he said. "And you really don't. I really wish you could take some of these people and put 'em on the field and let them try to execute, let them go and get their bell rung, let them pick up a blitz, let them try to catch a pass in traffic, let them be Jason Campbell and sit back and try to throw a pass while pressure is on. And I really would love to see how they execute.

"Because I think a lot of people from the outside looking in, you know, everybody feel like they know football. But you can go and pick up a joystick on Madden and play the computer and realize your coaching really is not what you think it is. Oh, I'm gonna throw a deep route. Well, there's two safeties back there, and they're covered. Or they pick it off and then you slam the joystick down and you're mad. So everybody's got the answers when it don't work. Who knows?"

He also earlier joked that fans should "send in some plays," so there's that. And look, we're all in this together, because Portis also sort of wondered about the wisdom, or loyalty, or mindset of the media.

"I don't know who happy, I don't know [who are the ] Redskins fans in this media, I don't know who want us to win; I think it's all about just selling the story," he said. "And it get rough. You don't know who got your back, you don't know who to high five, you don't know who to give an exclusive to and sit down and talk with. I think it get rough just for everybody. But at the same time, this is what we ask for, this is the position we're in. We're in one of the best media places in the world, so we're gonna take fire, and hopefully we can prevail. If we go out and prove the naysayers wrong, then there's not a problem. It's only a matter of time before you've got to jump on the bandwagon and congratulate us and stop throwing us under the bus."

As for this week's exciting news that Portis is on Twitter, well, don't get your hopes up.

"No, not really," he said. "That's my new account, but it ain't me."

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Beason says blame him for Panthers' 0-2 start

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason is upset.

He has a hard time believing that Carolina is 0-2, and he's ready to blame somebody: Himself.

Beason told me Tuesday in an exclusive interview that he played a "horrible" game against Atlanta on Sunday and that he and the Panthers defense are doing some personal "soul-searching" to figure out what they must do better at Dallas on Monday night.

Always a stand-up guy, Beason said fans must stop blaming Jake Delhomme or Julius Peppers for Carolina's first two defeats.

"You can make this your headline," Beason told me. "With Pep, it's just because he's Pep. People are like, 'OK, we're 0-2. Who we are going to point the finger at?' Last week, Jake played bad. This week he was a lot better - good enough to win. So, who are we going to point the finger at? Pep.

"You tell 'em if they want to point the finger at somebody, they can point the finger at me. You tell 'em I said I am not playing as good as I should be and I need to get better."

Beason further said of his own performance: "I haven't played well. I haven't played comfortable. I haven't played free yet. I'm out there, I'm doing my thing, but I need to step up and really be that dominant force that I know that I am."

Beason spoke with me at a quiet table in a ballroom at The Westin Charlotte. This was about 45 minutes after he had entertained a crowd of several hundred folks at the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Only 24, Beason is a natural at both speaking and at leading football teams. That's why he's the youngest Panthers team captain.

But he has not looked like himself the past two games . And he knows that must change.

Beason is the heart of the defense. He has played only two full seasons for Carolina, yet ranks both No. 1 and No. 2 in the Panthers' record book for most tackles in a season.

Beason said he is also well aware that only three NFL teams have started the season 0-3 and gone on to make the playoffs since 1990.

"So it's desperation time," he said.

The linebacker hasn't been terrible. He has 18 tackles, second on the team to Thomas Davis. He had an interception against Philadelphia.

But Beason admits to still thinking too much in new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks' system, saying he does not feel "fluent" in it.

Beason said that even in mid-play right now he will sometimes catch himself thinking about what he's supposed to do next rather than instinctively just doing it.

"I'm used to playing the way I played it the last two years," Beason said. "It's second nature."

Meeks' system-which Beason and other Panthers defenders agree is a simplified version of what Mike Trgovac ran-still doesn't feel like second nature to him.

"Lots of times last year with (Trgovac), I'd know what he was thinking before he called it," said Beason, who was quick to add "I love Meeks."

Another problem: Beason and all inside linebackers need their defensive tackles to keep offensive linemen off of them. "For me, as a (middle) linebacker, you're only as good as your two interior guys," Beason said.

Beason would never say this, but I will: his two interior guys have struggled to even be average.

Without Maake Kemoeatu clogging up the middle on run plays, Beason has found himself trying to fight off one blocker after another and still tackle somebody.

Also, Beason was hurt for much of the preseason. A sprained left knee Aug. 22 against Miami kept him out for the last two preseason games.

I thought it would at least keep Beason out for the opener, too, but instead he played. He has now taken the brace off his left knee, which he said "is huge mentally for me."

As Beason kept criticizing his own play, I wondered: is he simply trying to take the heat off other players because of Carolina's bad start?

No, he said.

"Even if I had played the same but we were 2-0, I'd be saying the same thing," Beason said.

"I've got to be the orchestrator of the defense. Fluent. Fundamentally sound. So I'm doing some soul-searching."

As for the Panthers, he said: "We're still a good team. We've dealt with a lot so far. We're still there. We're still getting better. The stage is set.

"What better game-against the Cowboys, new stadium, Monday night game, for the world to see-to silence all the critics? Go out and-not just play well-but beat the Dallas Cowboys."

That sounded almost like a guarantee. I asked Beason if it was.

"It'd be great for you," Beason laughed. "Foxy (coach John Fox) wouldn't like it very much."

So Beason wouldn't guarantee a win against Dallas on Monday night. But he did say this: "I'll be better. That's my guarantee."

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Gore, Peterson ready for Sunday showdown

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Frank Gore got so much attention from his two long touchdown runs last week that even he grew sick of it.

Now he knows how Minnesota's Adrian Peterson must feel on Sundays and every day in between. Peterson even does commercials. His people call him "Purple Jesus" or "AD," short for all day.

Gore watched the highlights of his TD runs of 79 and 80 yards enough times that San Francisco's star running back finally turned the channel.

"I kinda got tired of watching the same thing over and over," he said.

Gore went untouched all the way to the end zone on long runs twice in a win against Seattle, setting a new career-high with the 79-yard run then later topping it to help the 49ers to a 2-0 start. The performance earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Gore called the recognition a "blessing," largely crediting his offensive line.

He didn't need to show off his improved strength by barreling through the defense. Did anybody even get a finger on him?

"None of 'em," Gore said with a grin.

For Peterson, it doesn't seem to matter how many would-be tacklers touch him, he still plows through with a vengeance.

Come Sunday, the two will be on the same field for a showdown of sorts to see who can pile up the most yards, game-breaking plays, touchdowns and, most of all, keep his team unbeaten.

"I know he's a great back but I really don't try to focus on that," Gore said. "I'm trying my best to go out there and be the best guy on the field, whatever it takes to get my team a win."

Same goes for Peterson, who says he's admired Gore since his college days at Miami but doesn't want to make this into a competition between the two.

"It's early, Week 3 we're going into. It's more than that to me," Peterson said Wednesday. "Frank Gore, he's dominating. I recognize talent and I recognize guys who run the ball hard. Frank Gore, that's what he does."

Gore's outstanding game in Week 2 and this upcoming trip to face the Vikings and Peterson—arguably the NFL's most dangerous and explosive running back—is generating all kinds of hype this week from Northern California to the Twin Cities.

A hot topic for so many reasons. They're Nos. 1 and 2 in the NFC in rushing: Peterson with 272 yards on 40 carries and Gore at 237 yards on 38 rushes after his sensational day against the Seahawks. He wound up with 207 yards on 16 carries. Peterson has four touchdowns, Gore three.

Gore bounced back from a poor season debut Sept. 13 at Arizona in which he had 30 yards on 22 carries and the 49ers finished with only 21 rushing yards, a franchise-worst in a win.

On Sunday, he sprained his right ankle and didn't even play most of the fourth quarter, needing only 5 yards to match the career best of 212 he set during his 2006 Pro Bowl season.

That's the year Gore is trying to duplicate, having spent a rigorous offseason back in familiar territory at the University of Miami under the direction of Hurricanes strength coach Andreu Swasey. He's been giving props to Swasey at every opportunity so far.

Gore called this the best training camp yet of his five-year NFL career. His intensity rubs off on others.

"I'm proud of him," tight end Vernon Davis said. "I really appreciate having him on the field."

Might Gore be in for a tough time against a stingy Minnesota defense?

"How can I say that, man?" he said.

The Vikings have been No. 1 in the NFL for rushing defense three years running, but have had their challenges the first two weeks.

"He's a top, elite back in the league and we're going to really have to be on our P's and Q's and watch a lot of film and make sure that we can get a lot of guys on him at all times," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said.

The 49ers feel the same way about defending Peterson, whose size, speed, field vision and ability to change directions make him a threat to break a big play each time he touches the ball. San Francisco has missed its share of tackles in the first two weeks, too.

In 26 career starts, Peterson has 17 100-yard rushing games—giving him a career average of 105.4 yards, joining Jim Brown as the only players with 2,000-plus career yards to average more than 100 a game.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for us defensively to see where we are," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "He's a guy that you have to contain him every play. We're going to have our hands full. ... Stopping Peterson is not about one guy, it's about everybody doing their job."

And Peterson is beyond eager for a big day. The only time he faced the Niners previously, as a rookie in 2007, he was held to just 3 yards on 14 carries at San Francisco—the worst day of his career.

In particular, he remembers relentless 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.

"I felt like I was getting attacked by bees in that game," Peterson said. "That's a game that sticks in my mind constantly. That was the worst game in my career. I'm not taking it lightly. ... I love Patrick Willis. I love the way he plays the game. He plays the game like me."

Last week, Peterson tossed his shoes into the stands during the Vikings' 27-13 victory at Detroit in which they rallied from an early 10-0 deficit, getting the go-ahead touchdown on Peterson's 27-yard run midway through he third quarter.

"I like showing fans love," Peterson said. "They show me a lot of respect, not all of them. Some of them don't like me but there are some Detroit fans out there that really like my game and how I play."

Gore, meanwhile, was so frustrated about his inability to run in Week 1 against the Cardinals that he called new offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, waking him up at 2 a.m. afterward to talk things over.

During a joint practice with the Raiders last month at Oakland's wine country training site, Gore had to be reined in by running backs coach Tom Rathman for going too hard in a hitting drill.

In the past, Raye said, he's received similar calls from stars like Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson.

"All the great ones that I've had, they have so much pride in their performance," Raye said. "They've had restless nights. Basically his call was more reassuring him we're going the right direction."

With Gore leading the way, the 49ers sure believe that's the case after a franchise-worst six straight losing seasons. In Minnesota, the Vikings know success will continue if they keep riding Peterson week after week.

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Lauryn Williams To Compete At The Colourful Daegu Meet - Korea

With the International Association of Athletic Federations World Track and Field Tour concluded, athletes are now competing on the Asian Circuit looking to improve upon their seasons best performances and to earn additional prize incentives.

Lauryn Williams is set to compete at the Colourful Daegu Pre Championship Meeting in Daegu, Korea where she is the meet record holder in the 100m event. The meet is set for Friday, September 25th.

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McClinton Asks For His Release From San Antonio

According Jack McClinton’s official twitter account, he asked for his release from the San Antonio Spurs and it looks like it was granted. Here are a few of his tweets:

@ChristianDudley i asked them to release me, it wasnt like that,

@hotleo20 it aint bad i asked to be released so i could go elsewhee

@beastleyBLVD we r working to see wasup,, short notice , but things werent working in san an so had to make a decision

@HuseinLakhani fa sho i asked them to release me , there were no spots there for mee

@J_Flynn na i asked them to release me bro, im tryna get in wit somebody else it just wasnt working out over there

@J_Flynn idk my agent calling around , so im just waiting , hopefully i hear something by friday,,cuz camp start tuesday

@Malcolmgrant3 alreadsy i had to make a move bro, so i asked them to release me, the situation just wasnt a fit for me over there

@HuseinLakhani just waiting to see wasup with other teams
JackMcClintonin response to all,yes, I have been released from san an.I enjoyed working with them so much this summer &learned alot from the veteran club

JackMcClinton bc there was not an open spot 4 me, I asked to be released to pursue my dream elsewhere.Thank u 2 the san an fans for all of your support!about 5 hours ago from web reports: In somewhat of a surprising move, the Spurs waived guard Jack McClinton, one of their three picks from the June draft.

The Spurs billed McClinton, who was the 51st overall selection after a standout career at Miami, as the top collegiate perimeter shooter on the board. In five games in the Las Vegas summer league in July, however, McClinton shot just 21.7 percent from the field and made 1 of 4 from 3-point range.

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Where Are They Now: Darius Rice

Almost is probably the best word to describe the career of Darius Rice. If you remember, Rice was one of the most celebrated preps in the country back in 2000. The nephew of the football legend Jerry Rice, Darius has always been on NBA GM’s radars ever since he graduated from the University of Miami in ’04. Although he has been close several times to earning a contract, it’s now 2009 and D-Rice is still not in the league.

When Rice balled at Lanier High School (Monta Ellis’ alma-mater) in Mississippi about a decade ago, he was looking like he was going to be the next high school star to make the jump to the pros. The 6-10 forward was part of the same McDonald’s All-American class as Zach Randolph, DeShawn Stevenson, Darius Miles and the late Eddie Griffin.

Rice opted to attend Miami instead - a move that proved to hurt him. Darius was pegged a “tweener” by most NBA scouts. Too skinny and soft to be a power forward and not quick enough to guard a three. Like guys like Terrence Morris, Rice’s stock dropped every year he stayed in college. In the ’04 Draft, he went undrafted.

Although Rice had summer league and preseason stints with the Heat, Blazers, Mavs, Nets and Cavs, he spent most of his first few years out of college grinding through the D-League. As a member of the Dakota Wizards, he scored a record 52 points in route to victory in the 2007 NBDL Championship Game. That fall, Rice accepted an invite to the Cavaliers’ training camp. Rice was close to breaking the opening night roster after a strong preseason showing but was the last man cut. Ever since Cleveland waived him, he has decided to go the overseas route and has spent the last few seasons hooping it up in leagues in Uruguay, the Philippines and Singapore.

Previous to 2007, Rice had one negative experience playing outside of the country. He briefly played in China in the summer of ’05 where he had a scary and surreal experience. According to a 2005 South Florida Sun-Sentinel article, Rice’s Chinese team refused to allow him to return home to the US.

“It wasn’t a happy leaving,” Rice said. “I was on the run. I had a couple of good games, and the next thing you know it’s the scariest experience I ever had.”

This season, Darius will lace it up for Szolnoki Olajbanyasz of the Hungarian A-Division league.

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NEW FREE Devin Hester Wallpaper

Check out our new Devin Hester Wallpaper featuring. Click here to download our Devin Hester Wallpaper and many other ones or click above on proCanes Wallpapers. Enjoy and stay tuned to more wallpapers in the near future.

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Vote For Bruce Johnson as NFL Rookie of the Week!

Click here to vote for Bruce Johnson for NFL Rookie of the Week. Bruce had 2 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection and an interception returned 34 yards for a TD.

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Campbell gets NFC special teams award

The Cardinals’ Calais Campbell was lamenting how many sacks he missed out on Sunday when he couldn’t quite tackle David Garrard a couple of times, but his key block of a field goal – that turned into Antrel Rolle’s game-changing 83-yard touchdown return — earned him the NFC special teams player of the week award.

Now Campbell just has to work on getting the defensive player of the week honor.

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Gore named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

I don't think this should come as a surprise to anybody.  The 49ers announced that they were informed by the NFL that RB Frank Gore was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Gore was an absolute beast this past weekend, more than making up for a subpar week 1 performance against the Arizona Cardinals.  It only gets more difficult this week as Gore gets to battle an always solid Vikings defense, and most notably the "Williams Wall."  It will be a big test for Gore and the team, but I'm certainly glad we're going to battle with Frank the Tank.

Even with his week 1 struggles, Gore is putting up the best touchdown numbers of his career.  His career high in rushing touchdowns is 8 back in 2006, and he's already at 3 two games into this season.  In 2006 he also set his career high for total touchdowns at 9 and with 4 so far is on a solid pace.  Gore also sits third in the NFL right now with 237 rushing yards, behind Chris Johnson and week 3 opponent Adrian Peterson.  Maybe we'll see Gore return to the Pro Bowl this year.

Some details from the game, per the 49ers:

With touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards, 49ers RB Frank Gore became the only player in NFL history, other than Barry Sanders (80 & 82 at TB, 10/12/97), to register two scoring runs of 75 yards-or-more in the same game.

On the day, Gore posted his second career 200-yard rushing performance (16-207-2TDs), while leading his team to a 2-0 start and a spot atop the NFC West.

His 12.9 yards per carry average ranks second in franchise history (min. 10 carries) and is the third-highest single-game average (min. 15 carries) in the NFL, since 1970.

Gore’s 80-yd. touchdown run was the longest run of his career, while the 79 yarder now ranks second.

He also set a career-high, and the 6th-highest total in 49ers history, with 246 yards from scrimmage, having led the team with 39 yards receiving.

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Sharpe re-signed to practice squad reports the Atlanta Falcons have re-signed free-agent CB Glenn Sharpe to their practice squad.

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Zach Railey Wins the Bronze at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup Event

Hurricane graduate (2006) and proCane Zach Railey was brought to our attention by his former floormate from the University of Miami Adam Barocas. Unbeknownst to Zach is proCane as professional sailor. Zach won the Silver Medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and this past week competed in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup Event in Weymouth, England where he won a bronze medal in the Finn Class.

We are grateful to Adam for notifying us of Zach’s achievements and look forward to covering Zach in the future. Adam told us in his email that Zach “is ALWAYS wearing his Miami Hurricanes hat during his big races.” As everyone can see, Zach in the photo above is wearing his Hurricanes hat after his Silver Medal finish in Beijing.

For those who want to follow Zach visit his website where he posts video blogs frequently.

We would like to thank Adam for bringing Zach to our attention and encourage any other fans of our site to bring to our attention any proCanes we are not covering in other sports. We support ALL proCanes not just ones in the major sports.

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Niners' RB Gore looks ahead to Vikings game

A day after he picked up a sore ankle as a result of rushing 16 times for 207 yards, Frank Gore said he's feeling fine and expects to practice Wednesday.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I came in, got my work in. I feel all right."

Gore said he expects a tough game Sunday in Minnesota, against the Vikings' fifth-ranked defense featuring twin sumo wrestlers at tackle in Pat and Kevin Williams (no relation) and relentless defensive end Jared Allen.

"As long as we execute and keep the ball, we should be fine," Gore said. " I'm going to go out there and try to be the best guy on the field."

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Ravens' Lewis still leads by example

The Baltimore Ravens defense had been bending but not breaking all game. Now with under 40 seconds to go, the group was determined not to give in.

Four times prior, the San Diego Chargers had reached the red zone against the Ravens defense, and all four times they had been held to field goals. With Baltimore up 31-26, the Chargers needed a touchdown in their fifth visit.

It was 4th-and-2 at the 15-yard line and San Diego already had nearly 500 yards of offense, most of that coming through the air. Yet the Chargers were about to try and sneak 5-foot-6 running back Darren Sproles up the middle.

No doubt, the hearts of Baltimore's defense were beating with authority. However, the heart of the Ravens' unit, Ray Lewis, was about to explode.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers dropped back and handed off to Sproles. Lewis was on him milliseconds later, darting through the line and dropping the Chargers back for a five-yard loss.

Game over. Ravens win.

Lewis' 12th tackle and third for a loss was his biggest, as it iced the Ravens' five-point victory and improved Baltimore to 2-0 for a second straight year.

"For my teammates, I told them we would not lose this game," said Lewis. "That was probably one of the greatest plays of my career, because of my team, because of what we did as a team. It wasn't a called blitz. I just read the play."

While the Ravens can't be too happy with their overall defensive performance -- 474 total yards allowed, including 81 on a touchdown catch by Sproles in the first quarter -- they were taken off the hook by Lewis, and not for the first time. After all, he hasn't gone to 10 Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl MVP and taken home the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year honor twice by just making the small plays.

One day later, head coach John Harbaugh was asked if he still thought that Lewis' play was one of the best he has ever seen.

"I'm trying to think of a bigger one," he responded. "I guess it's as big as it is to the people involved in it. David Tyree's play [in Super Bowl XLII] was probably better for the Giants, but I wasn't on the Giants so I didn't really care. This game mattered -- that play mattered to us. It mattered to the Ravens."

Baltimore now gets ready for Week 3 and a home test versus Cleveland. The Ravens lost three straight after starting 2-0 last year, a stretch that began with a tough overtime defeat in Pittsburgh. While the Browns appear to be an easier opponent on paper, Baltimore does have two tough road games in New England and Minnesota around a home test with Cincinnati on the horizon.

Best believe Lewis will be ready, though.

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Gore's second run

hmblaw asked whether if Frank Gore can continue to burn teams that play eight in the box. The 49ers can't depend on this happening every week, and while no one likes to use injuries as an excuse, the inexperience of Seahawk linebackers Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne and Will Herring contributed to Gore's success. On the second run, you could see how tentative they were.

Nevertheless in training camp, Gore consistently broke through during the team's run drills; it seemed like he did it over half the time. Also, Gore had plenty of long runs in 2006.

Gore, by the way, was walking around the locker room Monday without a limp and when asked how he felt while he was walking to a union meeting with the rest of his teammates, he simply lifted his thumb straight to the ceiling in an optimistic gesture. It will be interesting to see if he practices on Wednesday.

Here's a closer examination of Frank Gore's second touchdown run an 80-yarder on the first offensive play of the fourth quarter that essentially sealed the game.

1. JOSH MORGAN: Even though this was a totally different play, Morgan did the exact same thing as he did in the first run; again going with "21" personnel and "Blue Right" (west coast term) meaning the fullback was lined up staggered ahead of the running back to the strong right side, Morgan went in motion to the right and then turned back to the left. He settled like an H-back behind left guard David Baas. At the snap, Morgan took on rookie linebacker Aaron Curry and sealed him off. In fact, Morgan kept blocking long after Gore had sped past. You have to admire the nastiness, but Morgan also could have gotten called for a hold.

2. VERNON DAVIS: He comes out of his stance like it's a pass causing cornerback Kelly Jennings to back pedal. When the play goes to the other side, Jennings has no chance.

3.JOE STALEY: Gore mentioned Staley on this play, and Staley showed off his athleticism by firing out and obliterating linebacker David Hawthorne, which formed one side of the hole for Gore, while Morgan created the other side. Staley took five steps and then hit Hawthorne in space, a tremendous play for a tackle.

4. DAVID BAAS: With Seattle slanting their line to the right, Baas takes full advantage by getting on Colin Cole's left side and washing him out of the play.

5. ERIC HEITMANN: First, Heitmann starts off on Cole and then rubs off to take linebacker Will Herring out of the play. Heitmann gets quickly to the "second level" to block Herring.

7. CHILO RACHAL, ADAM SNYDER: They get on their men and block them well, but really, Gore sets up the run by breaking the run back all the way to the left side, giving defensive linemen Lawrence Jackson and Craig Terrill no shot.

8. FRANK GORE: He did as much with his pre-snap read on this play as did when he actually had the ball. Seattle had nine players in the box, but most were stationed on the 49ers' right side, where the play was supposed to go. On typical zone runs, Gore has three options, take it all the way to the front side, find a hole in the middle, or break it back to the outside and Gore chose the latter. It allowed Staley and Rachal to get their wash down blocks, but there was still a few unblocked Seahawks, including defensive end Patrick Kearney, who would later blame himself for this play. With the huge hole created by Morgan and Staley, Gore had enough room to juke Kearney, and that's exactly what he did. He then benefitted from safety Jordan Babineaux, who took a wrong angle and Gore easily got past him. Then it was just Gore's speed, and here's what he said about that: " The past three years, when I get in the open field I kind of looked back and put my hand out. I just told myself, 'They're going to catch me. They're going to catch me.' Now I just look straight ahead and go.

9. ISAAC BRUCE: Bruce hurls another down field block on cornerback Ken Lucas again, to give Gore the space to take it to the house.

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Lewis not focused on Jets’ Ryan, past

As the Ravens celebrated their dramatic victory in San Diego on Sunday, reliving Ray Lewis’(notes) game-ending stop in the cramped visitors’ locker room at Qualcomm Stadium, it occurred to me that it had also been a landmark afternoon for a man near and dear to their hearts.

While watching Terrell Suggs(notes) put the finishing touches on his postgame outfit – a gaudy gold, jewel-encrusted Star of David medallion that was the Pro Bowl pass rusher’s apparent acknowledgment of Rosh Hashanah – I asked if he was happy for Rex Ryan, the former Ravens defensive coordinator who earlier Sunday had coached the Jets to a 16-9 upset of the Patriots.

Before Suggs could answer, Lewis looked over from a nearby locker and treated my question like it was Darren Sproles(notes) on fourth-and-2.

“That’s dead to us, man,” Lewis said, shaking his head for emphasis. “That’s lastyear. We’re all about the here and now.”

It seemed like an extreme reaction, but upon reflection I understood Lewis’ point: Each year in the NFL is its own, separate entity, and the people who truly get that have a huge advantage over those who don’t. The ’08 Ravens, for example, rode a rookie coach (John Harbaugh) and a rookie quarterback (Joe Flacco(notes)) to a stunning AFC championship game appearance, and now their 10-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker is thinking even bigger.

I guarantee Lewis wasn’t amused late last month when, after a preseason game between the Ravens and Jets, New York linebacker Bart Scott(notes) – a former teammate who’d been wooed away in free agency – told reporters that Ryan “was the head coach of that football team last year, whether you guys know it or not.”

On a chilly Monday night last December, I sat in a suburban Baltimore bar with Lewis and got a clear indication of his views on leadership. Discussing the notion that he had to adjust to the no-nonsense Harbaugh after years of enjoying ample locker-room latitude under Brian Billick, Lewis laughed and said, “Let me tell you something: He had to adjust to me.”

He later told a story from the 2000 season about having literally taken Billick’s head in his hands and convincing him to swallow his pride and “do it my way” – a formula which led to the franchise’s lone Super Bowl championship.

“The bottom line is this,” Lewis said. “Players make plays. Coaches make decisions.”

So I suppose I can comprehend why Lewis, after having just made perhaps the most significant individual play of the young season, wasn’t eager to shift the focus to the feats of his former defensive coordinator.

In the here and now, the Jets are one of the teams competing with the Ravens for a possible AFC postseason run – and, less important, for positioning in our weekly top-to-bottom trip through the NFL, inquisition-style.

I can’t tell you who’ll prevail come February, but right now our list begins with the Ravens, who’ve allowed Flacco to trade in his learner’s permit for a real driver’s license and now seem to possess the offensive horsepower to take some of the burden off of Lewis and his defensive mates.

So say hello to our new No. 1 – or, as Suggs said just before leaving the locker room Sunday with his conspicuous bling, “Shalom.”

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MIAMI, Fla - Three of the state of Florida's most talented football alumni are playing for a little more than a shot at the Super Bowl this season, they're playing for a variety of youth programs around Florida, as well as their hometowns and current NFL cities around the country through the ‘Yards for Youth' campaign.

Anquan Boldin (FSU), Percy Harvin (UF) and Andre Johnson (UM) have established themselves as some of football's most elite playmakers. As leaders, they're coming together to create awareness and donations for youth programs through the Make a Play Foundation, a charity that partners with legendary Gator, Hurricane and Seminole players to provide academic and recreational grants for Florida youth programs.

Through the campaign, fans can pledge any amount (10 cents, $1, $100) per touchdown, reception or yard for the 2009 season, combining the fantasy football obsession with an old-fashioned jog-a-thon. Not only does each touchdown catch provide for their team this season, it will provide for youth programs and their adopted charities with the support of fans and corporate sponsors. Fans can also make a one-time donation or an automatic monthly contribution. 100 percent of fan donations will directly benefit youth and family programs, turning stats into resources and opportunities.

As top fantasy football picks, fans can also purchase shirts to for a $25 donation, with profits supporting the initiative.

All three players have been a part of championship teams: Johnson winning MVP honors in 2001 as part of the Hurricanes national championship team, Boldin was a freshman on the 1999 Seminoles title team and Harvin putting together a highlight reel during the Gator BCS championship runs in 2006 and 2008.

Florida State's Boldin will be participating to raise donations to build a new Boys & Girls Club near his hometown of Pahokee. Florida's Harvin will be playing for youth programs of Gainesville and Minnesota. Miami's Johnson will be playing for youth programs of Miami and Houston. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Make a Play Foundation's academic and recreational youth programs in Florida.

Johnson and Boldin have well-established charities, two players that are just as valuable to their hometown communities as they are to their teammates on Sundays. Boldin's high school has recently named their new stadium in his honor for his contributions to the school and community. He was also presented the "Distinguished Service" award on behalf of the Pahokee Chamber of Commerce and awarded a key to the city from mayor
Wayne Whitaker. Johnson was recently recognized as a finalist for The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP award, having worked with numerous organizations in Miami and the Houston area during his professional
career. Harvin, the rookie, plans to establish his own charity within the year, and has volunteered his time with Gainesville's Shands Hospital, Children's Miracle Network and Ronald McDonald House.

Fans can make a pledge to their favorite player online or make a one-time donation at or call (352) 514-2681 for a pledge form. All pledges are tax-deductible, will be accepted throughout the season and will include all post-season stats.

Opening the 2009 season, the Make a Play Foundation partnered with Warrick Dunn (FSU), Kevin Everett (UM), Willis McGahee (UM), Ed Reed (UM), Myron Rolle (FSU) and Samari Rolle (FSU) to raise donations for a
variety of charities during the week of the UM-FSU game. Last November, the foundation collected nearly 10 tons of food during the week of the UF-FSU game for Gainesville and Tallahassee food banks. The foundation has a variety of awareness events and fundraisers scheduled for the 2009 season. For more information, please visit the official Web site at

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NFL U Week 2 Video Highlights

Check out the return of our NFL U Video Highlights. Like we did back in 2006 & 2008, will provide our fans every week video highlights of all of our NFL U stars along with pictures from the current NFL Week. Click here to check out our Week 2 Video Highlights or click above on NFL U Video Highlights. Enjoy this week's highlights which feature a two Frank Gore TDs, two Willis McGahee TDs, two Andre Johnson TDs, Ray Lewis, Shockey, and much more!

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Ray Lewis - proCane of the Week - The Daily

Every week The Daily Caneshooter will feature a photo of a proCane. This week’s proCane is Ray Lewis.

While many former 'Canes had great games and better numbers during Week 2 of the NFL season, our proCane of the Week is Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens.

On fourth-and-two in the final minute at San Diego, with the Ravens leading by five, the Chargers had the ball at the Ravens 15 yard line. Lewis blasted through the line and tackled Darren Sproles, arguably one the fastest players in the league, for a four yard loss to clinch the win.

Rodney Harrison, of NBC's "Football Night in America," called it "the greatest play of Ray Lewis' career."

Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told Sports Illustrated's Peter King after the game, "you couldn't believe it when you saw it. First the speed of the play. You can't appreciate how fast Ray was going and how hard he hit Sproles unless you were there live. But that play was so big in the game, and to have Ray make it as powerfully as he did. Just amazing."

Click here to see a large version of Ray Lewis from the 1995 season with the Hurricanes.

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NFL U Week 2 Photos

Check out Week 2 photos from around the the NFL of our proCanes. Click here to see the photos.

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Bills PR Parrish on trade block again

Drafted by the Mike Mularkey Bills in 2005, wide receiver Roscoe Parrish has had four different offensive coordinators during his tenure in Buffalo.

And none of them have known exactly what to do with him.

So with Parrish mostly riding the pine these days, the Bills have decided to see what they can get for him.

A league source tells PFT's Mike Florio that Parrish is on the trade block and he could be dealt as soon as the week.

Possible destinations include the Chiefs, Jaguars, and Redskins. 

The Bills are rather short on the offensive line, but it seems more likely that Buffalo would be able to get a late-round draft pick in exchange for Parrish, who is under contract through 2011.

Parrish has no catches on the season as a wide receiver.  He has one punt return for five yards.

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Redskins Stud

LB Rocky McIntosh. He's playing physical and flying to the ball. He looks healthy and it shows. He caused a fumble that the Rams recovered and another one that Washington recovered was wiped out by a penalty (on Kedric Golston, a slap to the face of Marc Bulger).

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Kenny Phillips & Bruce Johnson Get Giant Game Balls

S Kenny Phillips. What incredible reaction on the INT that went off Jason Witten's foot. And a very heads up play to watch the ball all the way down. You can also see him watch the ball drop to Witten's foot, which a lot of defenders don't always do. If he doesn't react the way he does -- and if he doesn't catch the ball -- maybe that doesn't get replayed and the Cowboys are ahead at the half.

CB Bruce Johnson. Kenny Palmer of The Giant Insider caught up with Johnson in the locker room and said Johnson told him one of his former coaches schooled him "to run like you stole something after picking off a pass." Looked to me like he stole a loaf of bread the way he tucked it and ran.

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What is/was Ray Lewis' greatest play?

Hey everyone:

After the Ravens’ Ray Lewis tackled San Diego Chargers Darren Sproles for a loss with 30 seconds left and fourth down on Sunday, I heard an announcer refer to the game-clincher as possibly the greatest play in Lewis’ career.

I immediately scoffed. Great play, sure. But come on, this is Lewis we are talking about. This is a Hall of Fame career we’re talking about.

No way it was his best ever, right?

Well, after the game, Lewis called it “probably one of the greatest plays of my career because of what we did as a team.”

OK, well he would know.

It got me thinking. In your opinion, what is Lewis’ greatest play? Certainly something from the Ravens’ Super Bowl run qualifies.

I am going with the now famous Eddie George hit that teleported the Titans running back into another zip code.

Maybe it didn’t end a game, but it served notice about the force that was Lewis and the Ravens.

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Johnson roasts Titans' secondary

Andre Johnson caught 10 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans' 34-31 victory against Tennessee.

Johnson worked over Titans' aging corner Nick Harper several times and beat Cortland Finnegan on occasion after being shutdown last week by Darrelle Revis. He was consistently open after Titans' safeties constantly bit on play action. Johnson had a couple big drops in the first half but turned up his play in the second. With Kevin Walter out, Matt Schaub threw towards Johnson 15-20 times today.

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Special Teams Players of the Week

Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona; Antrel Rolle, CB, Arizona

With the Jaguars aiming to cut a seven-point deficit to four on a Josh Scobee field goal, Campbell found a seam in the Jags punt-team line, slithered through it, blocked the field goal, then helped form a convoy for the sixth touchdown of young Rolle's career. Rolle, catching the ball at the Cardinals' 17, weaved down the left sideline, then cut across and scored against the grain on a play I can guarantee you Jack Del Rio will replay in Jacksonville film study this week. He'll ask his team: "Why'd so many people not sprint to the ball, even after Rolle ran past you once?''

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Rutledge Released

The BC Lions Football Club announced today that import offensive lineman Chris Rutledge has been released and import offensive lineman Damane Duckett has been signed to the practice roster.

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proCanes Stats from Week 2

Jon Beason: Six solo tackles

Damione Lewis: 2 solo tackles, 1 tackle for a loss

Phillip Buchanon: 5 tackle, 4 solo tackles

Andre Johnson: 10 catches for 149 yards and 2 TDs including a 72-yard touchdown

Vince Wilfork: 6 solo tackles

Brandon Meriweather: 4 tackles, 2 solo tackles and 1 tackle for a loss

Jeremy Shockey: 4 catches for 49 yards.

Jonathan Vilma: 7 tackles, 5 solo tackles

Santana Moss: 3 catches for 35 yards

Clinton Portis: 19 carries for 79 yards

Rocky McIntosh: 5 tackles, 4 solo tackles

Calais Campbell: 1 tackle and .5 sack and one blocked fieldgoal

Antrel Rolle: 4 solo tackles and 1 blocked field goal returned 83 yards for a TD

Edgerrin James: 2 ruches 6 yards

Kelly Jennings: 4 tackles, 3 solo tackles

Frank Gore: 16 carries, 207 yards and 2 TDs and 5 catches for 39 yards

Kellen Winslow: 7 catches 90 yards 1 TD

Roscoe Parrish: 1 rush for 9 yards and 3 punt returns for 15 yards

Greg Olsen: 3 catches for 41 yards

Devin Hester: 4 catches for 21 yards and 2 punt returns for 14 yards

Willis McGahee: 15 rushes for 79 yards 2 TDs and 2 catches for 10 yards

Ray Lewis: The second Ravens player on our list, Ray Lewis may have had two of the most important plays of the game against San Diego. First, Lewis blitzed and pressured San Diego QB Philip Rivers, causing an interception. Second, on a 4th and short in the final minutes of the game, the Chargers tried to send Darren Sproles up the middle. Lewis sniffed the play out, tackling Sproles in the backfield as soon as he got the handoff. Ray finished the game with 10 tackles and a forced fumble.

Ed Reed: 1 solo tackle

DJ Williams: 5 solo tackles and 1 pass deflection.

Sinorice Moss: 4 kickoff returns for 90 yards

Kenny Phillips: Phillips had an outstanding game against the Dallas Cowboys, recording 5 tackles and two interceptions. One of Phillips interceptions came off the heel of Jason Witten and was returned for a touchdown. The problem is, the refs called it an incomplete pass and blew the whistle. Upon review, the pick counted, but the touchdown didn’t. The Giants won with a last minute field goal.

Bruce Johnson: 1 tackle and 1 interception returned 34 yards for a TD

Antonio Dixon: 1 solo tackle

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Can Gooden Hold Up?

There's some concern about Ravens ILB Tavares Gooden's ability to hold up physically throughout an entire season, the way we hear it. Gooden suffered a sprained knee vs. Kansas City in Week One and played in only four games in 2008 before a hip injury ended his season.

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Moss has just three catches in Redskins' win

Santana Moss caught just three passes for 52 yards and lost a fumble Sunday in the Redskins' Week 2 win over the Rams.

Moss showed his great ability to create space on a beautiful comeback route in the second quarter, but wasn't a major part of the offensive game plan for a second straight week. He's a deep threat, and the Redskins don't like to throw downfield. Moss has just five catches for 58 yards through two weeks.

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Portis nets 88 yards in win over Rams

Clinton Portis rushed 19 times for 79 yards and caught two passes for nine yards Sunday in the Redskins' Week 2 victory over the Rams.

A typical game for Portis. He got his yardage, but showed little burst on first down runs and failed to reach the end zone for a second straight week. He was also removed on most third down situations in favor of Ladell Betts.

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Ray Lewis stuffs Sproles to save Ravens' win

SAN DIEGO — Ray Lewis met Darren Sproles head-on on fourth-and-2 in the closing seconds, preserving a 31-26 win for the Baltimore Ravens over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

The star linebacker's big play spoiled a monster afternoon by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who almost single-handedly kept the short-handed Chargers in the game. Rivers threw for a career-high 436 yards and two touchdowns, completing 25 of 45 passes.

The Chargers needed a touchdown to win and had the ball on Baltimore's 15 with 33 seconds left. Lewis came in unblocked and slammed the little running back to the ground for a 5-yard loss, and the Ravens (2-0) ran out the clock.

Baltimore's Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes and Willis McGahee ran for two more.

San Diego (1-1), missing four starters due to injuries, had the ball at or inside the Ravens 10-yard line four times and had to settle for field goals by Nate Kaeding each time.

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McGahee does it again vs. Chargers

Sorry Ray Rice owners -- Willis McGahee is the most valuable running back in Baltimore. And he proved it during the Ravens' 31-26 victory over San Diego on Sunday.

For the second straight week, McGahee scored two TDs. He even added more yards this time around, going for 79 yards on 15 carries and another 10 yards on two catches.

Rice wasn't completely forgotten. He had 36 yards on eight carries and 46 yards on five receptions. He still has plenty of flex-back value, but it doesn't look like McGahee will let him enjoy a true "breakout year."

Baltimore's third RB, Le'Ron McClain, was the odd man out today, gaining just 12 yards on four carries and not getting the goal-line touches.

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Gore runs wild as 49ers top Seahawks

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards, including TD runs of 79 and 80 yards, as the San Francisco 49ers handled the Seattle Seahawks, 23-10, in a battle between NFC West rivals at Candlestick Park.

Gore, who carried the ball 16 times, also had five receptions for 39 yards for the 49ers (2-0), who started the season with an impressive win over the defending NFC champion Cardinals. Shaun Hill completed 19-of-26 passes for 144 yards.

The 49ers got the ball back after a Seattle punt, and Gore electrified the crowd. On the first play, Gore brought the crowd to its feet with an exciting 79-yard TD run with 2:36 remaining in the first quarter. San Francisco carried its 10-0 lead into the second stanza.

Another dazzling run by Gore in the beginning moments of the third period put San Fran ahead 20-10. On the first play of the stanza, Gore took the handoff from Hill and sprinted 80 yards into the end zone. It was the longest rushing touchdown of his career.

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Phillips will deal with knee all season

The New York Daily News is reporting that the injured knee of Giants' safety Kenny Phillips is likely to remain weak all season. Phillips missed Week 1 with the injury, but he is expected to play in Week 2.

Our View: It sounds like Phillips is just going to have to battle through all season, because he will experience soreness and swelling. This was supposed to be Phillips' breakout season, but it might be tough if he is slowed by injury all year.

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Olsen evens score with Steelers safety after big hit

CHICAGO – Like a heavyweight champion, Greg Olsen picked himself off the canvas after absorbing a crushing blow and helped the Bears deliver a knockout punch Sunday against the Steelers.

Streaking down the left sideline in the second quarter, Olsen was about to haul in a long pass from Jay Cutler when Steelers safety Tyrone Carter obliterated him with a big hit, causing an incompletion.

Both players, who remained down for several minutes before being helped off the field, met again early in the fourth quarter. Only this time Olsen hung into a 29-yard pass from Cutler after another collision with Carter, setting up the Bears’ tying touchdown in an eventual 17-14 victory.

“The first one he won,” Olsen said. “He timed it up really well and was able to break the ball up as it got there. But the second one I won, and I’ll take that.”

After being held to one reception for eight yards in the season-opener at Green Bay, Olsen caught three passes for 41 yards in Sunday’s comeback win over the Steelers. On his 29-yarder, he dashed across the  middle before turning up the middle of the field.

“It’s a great play,” Olsen said. “We’d been working on it all offseason and training camp, but we hadn’t broken it out. We got the exact look that we needed. The safeties were wide in a cover-two look and we were able to get downfield, split the safeties and Jay put the ball on the money. It was a big play for us.”

Olsen’s catch gave the Bears a first down at the Pittsburgh 23. Five plays later, Cutler tossed a 7-yard TD pass to rookie Johnny Knox, tying the score 14-14 with 6:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.


Rolle has uneven day

Well, you can say this for Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle: It’s never dull when he’s around the ball. Both the exhilarating and exasperating sides of Rolle were on display in the Cardinals’ 31-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday.

First, the good:

Rolle scooped up a Jacksonville field goal attempt blocked by defensive end Calais Campbell and weaved through the Jaguars for an 83-yard return. Amazingly, it was the sixth touchdown of Rolle’s career, four coming on interceptions and the fifth on a fumble recovery.

“A lot of the really good players in the league have that knack and I can’t really explain what it is, but Antrel has it,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

Rolle said he knew he had a chance to score even though he was playing on a sore left knee that swelled up after a first-quarter hit.

“Their field goal blocking, they have a majority of big guys on the field so once the all got in my hands I knew pretty much I could take it the distance.”

Now, the bad:

It was an adventure watching Rolle return punts. Early in the second quarter he failed to catch an Adam Podlesh kick that bounced just a few yards from him. He compounded the mistake by not waving off his teammates, and the ball hit rookie Greg Toler. Jacksonville recovered at the Arizona 26-yard line.

“I was mute on that play,” Rolle said. “I was supposed to give him (Toler) a call to back off and I didn’t do it. So I take full responsibility for that.”

Then, late in the second quarter, he muffed a Podlesh punt and was fortunate to recover the ball at Arizona’s 17-yard line.

“I don’t think I played the best game. I made a couple of bad decisions,” Rolle said.

Whisenhunt had seen enough by halftime. Steve Breaston returned punts in the second half.

“I’m going to have to talk to him about the punt returns,” Whisenhunt said.

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One catch in opener doesn't tell real Olsen story

Jay Cutler got all the headlines after failing to meet expectations last week in his disastrous debut at Green Bay, allowing Greg Olsen to go largely undetected.

The tight end’s first game as the starter ahead of veteran Desmond Clark looked like one to forget. He caught one pass for eight yards, dropped another and was targeted six times by Cutler, more than anyone but Earl Bennett. So much for a breakout start to what many predicted would be a breakout season for the first-round pick from 2007. A review of the game film showed something different, though.

The Packers went to their nickel defense for 47 of 71 snaps (66 percent), and at least some of their motivation was to match up cornerback Charles Woodson on Olsen. It’s something Green Bay did last season because the Bears’ tight ends have given the Packers trouble. When Woodson wasn’t covering him, Packers defenders bracketed Olsen. The combined strategies meant 13 of Cutler’s 17 completions went to wide receivers, and Devin Hester and rookie Johnny Knox had big games.

‘‘It was just one of those games,’’ tight ends coach Rob Boras said. ‘‘That’s part of team offense. We were confident with what they have on the outside. If you take something away, something else will be there.

‘‘It was one of Greg’s best overall games that he has had here. I know everybody wants to get caught up on the catches, but it was one of his best games he’s had all-around. Just based on his route running, his blocking. The catches will come with patience, and I know that’s where everyone judges success is whether or not you catch the ball.’’

The overriding issue then is how the Bears failed to be more productive running the football against a nickel defense. Matt Forte was held to 55 yards on 25 rushes (2.2 per carry).

But Boras said Olsen has made strides in that area, even if scouts from other organizations remain skeptical. With Clark sidelined by a cracked rib, Olsen will have to take on a greater role as a blocker in the coming weeks.

‘‘That’s been the knock from the outside,’’ Boras said. ‘‘He went in there and battled. He had a very, very solid game.’’

Olsen has been Cutler’s tour guide to the city since he arrived in April. He greeted him at the introductory news conference, and they’ve been tight since. Cutler went over to Olsen’s on Thursday night to watch the Miami-Georgia Tech game. Based on how Cutler used Tony Scheffler in Denver, the assumption has been Mike Ditka’s team record of 75 catches by a tight end in 1964 would fall in December.

The Bears have moved Olsen out wide more. Obviously, the goal is to get him matched up on linebackers so he can use his speed as an advantage instead of his size against players such as Woodson. Pittsburgh usually does a nice job covering the tight end, allowing only four touchdown receptions by opposing players at that position last season. Without All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ defense will be different with Tyrone Carter filling in.

The Bears have $15 million in salary-cap room left, and if the past is a good indication, they’ll consider a short list of players — Cutler, Olsen, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and free safety Danieal Manning — for extensions in season. Olsen is in the third season of his five-year rookie contract, and the Bears always look to be proactive to save a dollar now and keep the cap situation healthy moving forward.

‘‘You’re always receptive to that,’’ Olsen said. ‘‘That’s the nature of the game. But the way I think about it is the better I play on the field, it kind of takes care of itself. As long as I go out and play well and handle what I have to do, my responsibilities for this team, I’ll be fine. My main concern is going out and having a good season and kind of getting the season off to a good start.’’

Even with only one catch, he might have done that.

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Lauryn Williams Place 6th in the Shanghai IAAF Golden Grand Prix

Lauryn WIlliams Placed 6th in the 100m sprint at the Shanghai IAAF Golden Grand Prix. Congratulations to Lauryn.

100 — 1, Carmelita Jeter, United States, 10.64. 2, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jamaica, 10.89. 3, Chandra Sturrup, Bahamas, 11.03. 4, Gloria Asunno, United States, 11.24. 5, Sherone Simpson, Jamaica, 11.30. 6, Lauryn Williams, United States, 11.43. 7, Yujia Tao, China, 11.54. 8, Wang Jing, China, 11.55. 9, Joice Maduaka, Britain, 11.60.

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