Incomplete pass at Broncos practice cracks windshield of Willis McGahee’s Porsche

What does it say about your team when even your best, most accurate quarterback can't keep his passes from breaking windshields in the parking lot?

Here's the sad, sad story of Willis McGahee's Porsche, as told on Twitter by Lindsay Jones, Broncos beat writer for the Denver Post.

Inc pass into the end zone just cracked windshield on Porshe in players parking lot. Whoops.

Orton. Came in fast + hard. Off the bounce. RT @Jeff_Thornton: @PostBroncos Wasn't a Tebow pass, was it?

For what its worth, only about 10 yards from back of end zone to the players' parking lot. No fence. Not some crazy errant pass here.

Mystery solved: The Porsche belongs to Willis McGahee(notes).

As of yet, no one has tweeted a picture of the busted windshield, but let's cross our fingers that that's coming soon.

It's good to hear that it wasn't a crazy errant pass, either. Orton's an accurate thrower. If he's launching balls into players' windshields, Tim Tebow(notes) has probably totaled seven or eight cars during training camp.

Orton should go ahead and use it as a motivational tool, too. A lineman misses a block, he's going to need to pick up a Ding King on the way home. Someone drops a pass, the next one results in a call to The Auto Glass Guys.

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Frank Gore to meet with 49ers on Monday

49ers running back and current preseason holdout Frank Gore is scheduled to meet with the team on Monday along with his agent Drew Rosenhaus, to see if the two sides can make any head way on contract talks, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Gore’s contract talks have been described as “volatile.” He is reportedly looking for an extension similar to what the Panthers gave DeAngelo Williams last month (five-years, $43 million).

Gore, 28, has rushed for over 1,000 yards four times in his six-year career. He is in the final year of his contract.

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Harbaugh says McKinnie will start at left tackle

Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that the team’s plan is to start newly signed Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and move Michael Oher to the right side.

McKinnie, who signed with the Ravens on Tuesday, has started at left tackle for the past eight seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Oher started at right tackle as a rookie before moving to the left side, where he has played for the 2010 season and all training camp this year.

“We’ll see how it goes. Everything is fluid,” coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens’ 34-31 preseason win over the Washington Redskins. “I would love to say that’s set in stone, but that’s not set in stone. Michael Oher is about as good a person, great as a team guy as I’ve ever been around in my career. Ozzie and I brought him in and talked to him the night before last night and he said it before we said it: ‘Whatever I need to do to help this be the best football l team and the best offensive line that it can be.’”

McKinnie was reportedly cut by the Vikings earlier this month because he reported to training camp out of shape. Harbaugh said he was impressed by his first meeting with the 2009 Pro Bowl player.

“He’s been working out and he’s been eating right,” Harbaugh said. “I’m very impressed with him. He’s a very mature guy. He’s very excited to be here. He’s a very intelligent guy. I’m looking forward to getting him in the fold.”

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Ray Lewis Returns From Family Matter

The Ravens were happy to have their leader back on the field Sunday, as Ray Lewis returned from taking care of what Head Coach John Harbaugh called a “personal matter.”

Harbaugh said Lewis even led a prayer to kick off team meetings Sunday morning.

“It’s great to have Ray back,” Harbaugh said after practice. “Just to walk in this morning and see him sitting in his usual seat … it’s Sunday today, so we had a little prayer, and he did it for us. Ray’s our leader, so it’s great to have him here.”

Lewis, who did not speak to the media, issued a statement about the situation through a team spokesman.

“Family always comes first and is the most important part of our lives,” Lewis said.  “I want to thank everyone for every prayer and thought they’ve provided. I’d also like to give a special thanks to the coaches and Ravens organization who have always put family first and allowed me to leave and take care of my family during this very hard time.

“We will get through this together as a family and with God. Thank you again for the thoughts and prayers and for respecting our privacy during this challenging time.”

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Kellen Winslow will get major minutes against Miami Dolphins

TAMPA — Tight end Kellen Winslow is used to being held. But in the preseason, the guy who locks onto his jersey the tightest is Bucs coach Raheem Morris.

That's because Morris knows Winslow is going to post elite numbers as long as they get him and his chronically sore knee to the starting line of the regular season.

But even as hard as Winslow practices, he still needs some major minutes in a preseason game, and will finally get them Saturday against the Miami Dolphins.

"I'm a rep guy. I need game reps," Winslow said. "My situation is what it is, but I still have been practicing doing the things I need to get ready for the game. But nothing is like the game speed. You have to be hit, so I just need game speed and I'm ready."

By all accounts, Winslow has had one of the best training camps of his career, perhaps aided by the fact that for the first time since 2008 he didn't have at least an arthroscopic procedure done on his right knee in the offseason. But in order to play, he still has to have a lot of treatment, including a daily regimen of electro stimulation therapy.

"Surgery has nothing to do with my situation," Winslow said. "It's from the (motorcycle) accident and it will never change. But I'm able to do what I do because of all this stuff you see around here. It's a daily thing, even in the offseason, I have to do this stuff every day. It's just what I have to go through. It's what I do, it's my job."

Winslow's routine includes wearing full pads to the final practice of the week, even while his teammates are in only helmets, t-shirts and shorts.

"The first I guess he shocked everybody when he came out in full gear," Morris said. "But he likes to run around in his pads. ... We accept him for it and it is fun to watch him do that.

"He's a tempo setter and he certainly will set tempo this week."

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Video of the day: Vince Wilfork speaks on The U

Patriots DT Vince Wilfork met with reporters yesterday, speaking for the first time in public on the University of Miami controversy. When that was over, the topics moved toward the field. Wilfork is pretty psyched about the newly aggressive defense, and he didn’t mind saying so.

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Kellen Winslow looks strong

TAMPA, Fla. — TE Kellen Winslow will make his preseason debut in the Buccaneers game against the Dolphins on Saturday.

Winslow has had an outstanding camp and his knees are in excellent shape following a rare surgery-free offseason, but the team is still being cautious with him.

There was some talk in the offseason of possibly limiting Winslow’s play this season, but it looks like he’ll be an every-down player once again.
One thing that could free Winslow up to do even more this year is the presence of rookie TE Luke Stocker.

Stocker is proving to be a good blocker and his ability to get off the line and catch the ball will give the team another weapon that may create more opportunities for Winslow.

Another regular who will get his first game action this week against Miami is DT Brian Price.

Price’s status for the regular season is still uncertain, but the team is anxious to get a look at him and determine just what he’s capable of doing.

The Bucs don’t have big plans for Price this year. Their initial hope is that he can play 20 plays a game or so as a pass-rush specialist, spelling starting NT Roy Miller.

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Greg Olsen could be steal for offense

CHARLOTTE — Rookie quarterback Cam Newton completed two passes to wide receivers in the Panthers' first two preseason games—both to Armanti Edwards.

And while that stat speaks to Newton's struggles with his accuracy on longer throws, it also reflects the expanded role of tight ends in the passing attack of first-year offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

Chudzinski had a pair of two-year stints as the tight ends coach in San Diego, where tight end Antonio Gates was the Chargers' leading receiver for six consecutive seasons (2004-09). And while Panthers new tight end Greg Olsen might not be in the same class as Gates, don't be surprised if the former Bear puts up big numbers under Chudzinski, his coach for a year at the University of Miami.

Olsen is big (6-5, 255 pounds) and fast and has good hands. He has caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the first two exhibitions, and has quickly gained the confidence of Newton as a safety valve for the No. 1 overall pick.

Olsen was not being used much by coordinator Mike Martz in Chicago, which traded him to Carolina last month for a third-round pick. By the end of Olsen's first year in Charlotte, that deal could look like a steal for the Panthers.

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Leonard Hankerson trying to eliminate mental glitches

As he enters the third professional game of his career Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens, rookie wide receiver Leonard Hankerson has two items on his to-do list:

Stop thinking, and catch the ball.

Drafted in the third round out of Miami, Hankerson potentially could give the Redskins the big target that they have lacked for years now. Standing at 6-foot-3, weighing 205 pounds and boasting hands that measure 10-1/2 inches wide – the largest of any rookie at the combine – Hankerson has all the tools to be a prime red-zone and possession threat.

But he has to catch the ball first. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Hankerson has made spectacular, acrobatic grabs, only to drop the ball on routine pass plays.

In each of his two preseason games, the drops have hung over Hankerson’s head. In the preseason opener, he likely would have scored a touchdown if he could’ve secured the ball. Last week against Indianapolis, Hankerson dropped the first pass that came his way. He got back on track, caught the next three passes and finished with 46 yards receiving.

Despite the struggles, Coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan both continue to express confidence in Hankerson. Kyle Shanahan said the drops are a result of mental lapses that can plague any rookie adjusting to the NFL.

“I think he’s not used to coming off the bench,” Kyle Shanahan said. “I don’t think he’s ever done that in his life. Guys like that, their eyes aren’t ready, and the speed of the game, they’re off. We need him catching balls more on the sideline and getting ready, and have the mindset that there’s no makeup play. Even if it’s the last play of the game and he hasn’t played all game, he needs to be ready like it’s the first play of the game. It just shows what rookies go through.”

Hankerson acknowledged that he is going through growing pains.

“I’m still adjusting, man. Coming from college, the ball comes out quicker here in the NFL,” Hankerson said. “You turn your head and it’s already there. I’m just adjusting to looking it all the way in and trying to slow it down. Being that No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 guy on the depth chart, you wanna prove a point and go out and make a play. But I need to stop worrying about all that and go out there like I have been the last three years and make a play.”

Hankerson is one of the most prolific receivers in Miami history, so he’s used to playing in the spotlight. But the pressure of battling for a roster spot in the NFL has proved daunting. Hankerson has sought the advice of veteran teammates, all of whom have told him to simply play, and not focus on the situation.

“Coming off the bench in the third quarter is nerve racking. But I need to take my opportunities as they come and make plays to help this team,” Hankerson said. “I need to capitalize when I get in there, because that could be the last time I ever play. I need to put all that behind me. Even though I was the top guy in college and come here and I’m the two, three or four guy, that stuff, I got to put it behind me and go out and work hard.

“I’m getting more comfortable each and every game,” Hankerson said. “One game, now two games, and this is the third game. I just need to realize, football is football, no matter where you’re playing.”

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Jon Beason hopes surgery won't end playing streak

Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason, who has played in 64 consecutive games, had surgery on his left foot Tuesday to address the Achilles tendinitis that has kept him on the sideline throughout the preseason, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera characterized the surgery as a "minor procedure that's going to set him back about a week."

Beason signed a five-year, $52 million contract extension this offseason, and the Panthers are hopeful their defensive captain will be ready for the Sept. 11 opener at Arizona.

"We're still hoping for the opener," Rivera said. "It was to alleviate the discomfort. As he goes through the rehab portion of it these next few days, then we'll see how he is has he's running around."

Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen is questionable for Thursday's game at Cincinnati because of soreness in his throwing elbow, which he bruised last week against the Miami Dolphins. If Clausen can't play, Derek Anderson will relieve rookie Cam Newton.

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Reggie Wayne less than thrilled with Kerry Collins signing

We'll see what kind of chemistry Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne has with quarterback Kerry Collins on the field, but Wayne doesn't sound interested in establishing any rapport.

With the team uncertain about when Peyton Manning will be able to play — he still is recovering from neck surgery — Collins came out of retirement and signed with the Colts on Wednesday. Wayne didn't exactly lead the welcome wagon.

"We don't even know him, we ain't vanilla, man, we ain't no simple offense," Wayne told the Associated Press. "So for him to come in here and be the starter, I don't see it. I think that's a step back."

While Manning has been rehabbing — he hasn't even practiced with the team yet — third-year quarterback Curtis Painter has been working with the No. 1 offense. Dan Orlovsky is another quarterback on the roster.

"I don't care who you are," Wayne said. "I mean I'm not going to let anyone just come in here and just push someone (like Painter) aside like you're that dog now, you know what I mean?"

Perhaps Wayne was talking out of frustration because he hasn't been able to work with Manning, who has never missed a start in his previous 13 seasons. Painter, meanwhile, tried to be diplomatic about the Colts signing Collins.

"It was a business decision for them," Painter said. "It doesn't change much from my thought process. I need to go out there and be ready for any situation."

Wayne also had some words of support for backup Curtis Painter, which voiced an interesting but flawed premise (at least based on statistics).

"I don't want to make it seem like I'm not welcoming or having open arms to anybody that comes to our organization," Wayne said to the local media. "If they open the doors for Kerry Collins to come, then that's fine. I can't do (anything) about that anyways. But I'll be damned if we're going to open the doors for someone else, and just drop our heads on who we already have. The Colts are big on protecting their own, so I'm (going to) help protect our own."

One thing is certain: If Manning comes off the physically unable to perform list, it's unlikely the Colts would keep four quarterbacks on their active roster. Painter or Orlovsky probably would be the odd man out.

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Antrel Could Have New Rolle in Giants’ Secondary

I know what you’re going to ask…..why would the Giants’ move Antrel Rolle, who made the Pro Bowl at safety last year, to cornerback?

Well, many reasons. They don’t have enough depth at corner right now and may need Rolle to fill in at some point. He currently is taking reps at corner as well as safety in practice and – you never know – they may need him there at some juncture this season.

The way cornerbacks are dropping on this roster, the Giants need to explore all options and that appears to be what they are doing. The signing of Brian Williams will help depth-wise, but the 32-year-old cannot be expected to face-off against the Dez Bryants, Santana Mosses and DeSean Jacksons of the world. The Giants need a better player to do that and Rolle may be the one they call on.

The Giants do not feel comfortable even after signing Williams.  Their depth chart at CB after Aaron Ross and Corey Webster is littered with inexperienced players. Until they get Prince Amukamara back in late October, the Giants will have Webster, Ross, Williams, Michael Coe, Joe Burnett and Darnell Burks as their corners. In this pass-happy league we live in, that is not going to cut it.

Unless the Giants want to bring in another veteran – someone in the line of a Lito Sheppard – who worked out for the Giants along with Williams, or Dre’ Bly who was here last year for a tryout, the Giants will throw Coe or one of the others into the mix.

Coe appears to be ready for the challenge.  He was drafted by the Colts in 2007, but blew out his knee and missed all of 2008. He likes the way DC Perry Fewell uses the corners in the defense and feels he can succeed, especially now that he is getting more reps in game situations.

“We play a lot of man-to-man, which is what I played at Arkansas,” Coe told reporters yesterday. “We do a lot of pressing. When I went to Alabama State for my last year we did the same thing. Me being a taller (6’0″, 185lb), faster corner, those are the things I do well and feel comfortable doing.”

If he can’t, Rolle will be there to pick up the slack. Who will fill in at safety for Rolle in those situations? Deon Grant, for one. Or even rookie Tyler Sash if he is ready. One thing at a time, folks…

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James Jones still a Heat priority?

Q: Ira, can we afford to re-sign James Jones next year? I know we might have the mid-level exception, but can we use Bird Rights on him and still use the mid-level exception on another player, too? Thanks. — Alex.

A: I have checked on this, and, yes, the Heat can use Bird Rights on James, if, in fact, the old rules continue to apply. The greater issue is, with a tighter or harder cap, whether the Heat would opt to extend much more than a minimum salary to retain a player who became buried behind Mike Miller by season’s end. For that matter, whether James would want to return in such a role is another issue.

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Andre Johnson Ranked the 7th Best Player in the NFL by ESPN

Johnson brings a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. He is a good route runner who has the speed to challenge the secondary down the seam yet can run combination routes with excellent foot quickness, agility and acceleration.

Johnson can get in and out of his breaks with foot quickness and a burst to separate from defenders and has a wide receiving radius that allows him to extend to make difficult catches. He can go up and high point the ball in a crowd and has the strength to overpower most cornerbacks when challenged.

Ed Reed was No. 21, Ray Lewis No. 67.
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Matt Bosher wins punting, kickoff job

FLOWERY BRANCH – Matt Bosher, the Falcons sixth-round draft pick, has won the punting, kickoff and holder jobs.

The Falcons waived his main competitor, Ken Parrish, on Wednesday.

They also waived fullback Thor Merrow long snapper Andrew Schulze and tight end A.J. Simmons.

Merrow, 6-0, 252 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free-agent from North Alabama on July 26.

Merrow is the son of former Falcons defensive end Jeff Merrow who played with the team from 1975 to 1983 after being selected in the 11th round out of West Virginia.

Parrish, 6-2, 210 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a free agent on March 3. He was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a college free agent from East Stroudsburg in 2007.

 Schulze, 6-6, 255 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent from Iowa on July 26.

 Simmons, 6-3, 255 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent from Arizona on Aug. 3.

The Falcons roster now stands at 85.  They must reduce their roster to 80 players by August 30 as part of the NFL’s mandatory roster cut down. Atlanta will have to trim its roster to 53 players by September 3 and may establish an eight-player practice squad on September 5.

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Jimmy Graham seeing third-down targets

Jimmy Graham has been targeted four times on third-down plays through two preseason games.

In other words, the Saints are comfortable throwing to Graham in big spots. That includes the red zone, where the 6-foot-6 Graham did his best work last year. While a high reception total isn't likely in the Saints' "spread the wealth" offense, our 2011 Draft Guide projects eight touchdowns for the talented tight end.

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Jon Vilma the heart and soul of Saints defense

While the NFL lockout cost every team in the league time on the practice field, the New Orleans Saints players may have done the best job of coaching themselves through the down time.

Close to 50 Saints players gathered in New Orleans for weeks of player-organized workouts. Quarterback Drew Brees received most of the attention for getting the team together, but another Saints captain was instrumental in the offseason outings.

While Brees put the offense through its paces, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma did the same for the Saints defenders.

As the player responsible for calling all the signals when the defense is on the field, Vilma pretended to be Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams. Rumor even has it that Vilma and Brees wagered a few dollars each day on which of their units would play better.

"I think it helped us a lot when the lockout ended, especially the new guys because it gave us a base to work from," Vilma said. "It didn't surprise me that we got the kind of turnout we did because I know the kind of guys we have in our locker room."

Vilma, a first-round draft choice of the New York Jets in 2004, made an immediate impact in his rookie season.

Vilma lead the league in tackles with 187, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and Associated Press

Vilma was a mainstay of the Jets defense until injuring his knee midway through the 2007 season. Vilma was then traded to the Saints, in a move that many believed was of the best the team has ever made.

Returning to health, Vilma gave the Saints the force in the middle they were lacking.

In his first season with New Orleans, he led or shared the team lead in tackles in 10 games and recorded double-digit tackle totals in eight games. Vilma's 151 stops (100 solo), were the most tackles for a Saint since Winfred Tubbs had 160 in 1997. He had two fumble recoveries and added three forced fumbles, an interception, a sack and eight pass defenses.

The Saints rewarded Vilma with a long-term extension after the season.

In eight seasons in the NFL, the only year Vilma failed to make at least 100 tackles was 2007, when he had the injury.

"Jonathan is a true impact player on defense and one of our leaders," said coach Sean Payton. "He is consistent, he never comes off the field, and we rely on him to make plays. He proved to be everything we expected when we made the trade for him."

The 2008 season proved to be a warm-up for both Vilma and the Saints.

With Vilma in the middle, the Saints defense led the NFL in turnovers in 2009, which helped contribute to the team's Super Bowl title run.

After falling short of repeating as Super Bowl champions last season, Vilma said the team is determined to do whatever is necessary to get back on top.

It has started with the truncated training camp, which has moved to Oxnard this week.

Since arriving on Sunday, Vilma said the Saints have been in lockdown mode. He said most days begin around 8 a.m. and don't end until around 10:30 p.m.

"It's a business trip," Vilma said. "We have a bunch of guys on this team who are all committed to one goal and that's winning the Super Bowl again.

"We have plenty of guys here who are a year removed from that moment and we are chomping at the bit to get back to it. It's really easy to relate to these guys because we're all on the same page."

Like many teams, the Saints offense gets most of the headlines, while Vilma and the defense take a back seat.

While that might bother some players, the veteran linebacker has no problem with Brees and the offense being in the spotlight.

"We love that," Vilma says. "It sells tickets and makes fans happy. For us (the defense), we are focused on playing sound defense and getting the ball back for the offense. We have always been cool with that and we've won a lot of games that way."

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Frank Gore might test free-agent market in March

Frank Gore, who said he was happy to be back with his teammates after ending a short holdout earlier this training camp, acknowledged Monday that he is indeed frustrated by the status of contract negotiations with the 49ers and could become a free agent in March.

Gore is entering the final year of his contract with the 49ers that will pay him $4.9 million this season.

It is believed Gore and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, want a five-year, $43 million deal with $21 million guaranteed.

"If it doesn't happen, then I'm going to have to go out there and show everybody that I'm healthy and that I can be the Frank Gore I've always been," said Gore, a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005. "If I have to test the market, that's what I'll have to do."

Gore said he plans to play out the season and become a free agent in March if no contract extension is reached. He said he wanted to finish his career with the 49ers but was prepared to move on if he doesn't get a deal he thinks is fair.

On Sunday, first-year 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh dismissed as "water-cooler talk" two national reports that said Gore was upset over stalled negotiations. One report called the situation volatile and said Gore could request a trade soon.

That did not appear to be Gore's intent. He spoke twice about playing out his contract, adding that he was "going to come to work and be here for my teammates and try to do the best for me."

Asked whether he would request a trade, he said he had no comment.

"That's up to the team and my agent," he said. "If they want to trade me, that's what it is."

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Bryant McKinnie: Ravens say I'll play left tackle

The big question surrounding the Ravens' decision to sign offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie - I'll spare everyone yet another play on words with the word "big" - is whether the former Viking will play left or right tackle once he's ready to suit up in Baltimore.

McKinnie has played left tackle, and played it at a pretty high level, throughout his entire nine-year career. But leading up to this season, the Ravens said publically that they're committed to sticking with former first-round pick Michael Oher at the left tackle spot.

Well, according to McKinnie, Oher will be moving over to right tackle, where he played during his rookie season in 2009, and the newest Raven will take over on the left side.

"Yeah, they told me I'm going to play left, and I guess slide Oher over to right," McKinnie said on ESPN Radio's "The Brian Kenny Show".

If true, that alignment might give the Ravens the best chance to succeed in the short-term. Oher had a strong rookie season at right tackle, but hasn't carried that level of play over to the left tackle spot in his year-plus at that position.

If McKinnie can lock down Joe Flacco's blind side (there's a joke in there somewhere), Oher can get back to his 2009 form at right tackle and Marshal Yanda can return to right guard, the Ravens have the makings of a quality offensive line.

But McKinnie will turn 32 in less than a month, and isn't in the Ravens' long-term plans. Moving Oher back to right tackle could shake the confidence of a guy who those in the organization viewed as a rising star just a year and a half ago.

The other question everyone is asking about McKinnie is: What type of shape is he in?

Cut by Minnesota after allegedly reporting to camp close to 400 lbs., McKinnie acknowledged he showed up above his normal playing weight, but said he's been training in Florida the last few weeks and is ready to go.

"Well, honestly, we never took any conditioning tests in the two days I was (at Vikings camp)," McKinnie said. "We had two walk-throughs, so I wasn't really able to do anything. I never participated in any, ... there was never any conditioning test, so there was nothing to kind of determine where my conditioning was. But, I did come in heavy. I did come in heavier than I normally am.

"I feel like I've been in shape the whole time. But I was out here training the whole time. I'm pretty ready to go."

The Ravens will put McKinnie through a physical today, and if he passes, his two-year contract worth up to $7.5 million will become official.
McKinnie indicated that he thought he was let go by the Vikings more for monetary reasons than physical ones. The Miami product did acknowledge that he does have high cholesterol, but said that was something the Vikings were aware of.

The Vikings reportedly saved $5.4 million against the salary cap by cutting McKinnie, and avoided paying him workout and roster bonuses by letting him go.

"Minnesota, it was honestly more of a numbers game about having their salary cap at a certain point," McKinnie said. "That's what it was really about, restructuring my contract, stuff like that. And I didn't really agree with it, so we chose for me to be released."

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Greg Olsen could lead Panthers in catches?

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer believes Greg Olsen could challenge Steve Smith for the team lead in receptions.
Olsen is the Panthers' No. 2 receiver based on talent and scheme. In coordinator Rob Chudzinski's system, tight ends are featured heavily in the passing game. Olsen already has five catches during limited playing time in two preseason games and is a good bet to reach 60 receptions this year. Olsen is offering good fantasy value.

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Jon Beason recovery going slower than expected

CHARLOTTE – Middle linebacker Jon Beason’s recovery from Achilles tendinitis is going to take a little longer than expected.

Coach Ron Rivera announced Wednesday that Beason, who has been to three straight Pro Bowls and has never missed a regular season game in four seasons, had a “simple procedure that’s going to set him back about a week.” Beason had the surgery on Tuesday in Charlotte, Rivera said.

Beason started training camp on the NFI (non-football injury) list and has yet to practice since signing a new $50 million contract. He had been working on the side with trainers up until this week but was noticeably absent from practice the last couple of days.

Rivera remains hopeful Beason will be ready to go by the team’s regular season opener Sept. 11 at Arizona.

“It was to alleviate the pressure on the Achilles,” Rivera said of the surgery. “After a week when he’s back running around we’ll see how he is for the following week.”

If Beason can’t start, Dan Connor will open the season as the starting middle linebacker.

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Bryant McKinnie is literally a huge risk for the Ravens

The Ravens made a risky move to bolster their offensive line  Tuesday, signing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year deal. The 6-foot-8, 350-plus-pound lineman was technically a Pro Bowl player for the Vikings in 2009 even though he didn't bother showing up for any of the Pro Bowl practices and was kicked off the NFC squad.

The talent is there for McKinnie to be the Ravens' short-term answer at right tackle -- or maybe even left tackle -- but there are a few reasons why the soon-to-be 32-year-old was still on the free agent market.

For one, he has been charged in three different incidents since entering the NFL in 2002, once for a street fight, once for a bar fight and once for allegedly performing and receiving sex acts in public in the infamous Vikings Loveboat scandal in 2005, when a bunch of players went wild on a boat with strippers and sex toys.

He also was cut by the Vikings this summer for showing up to camp in awful shape, reportedly more than 50 pounds overweight (no word on how much excess weight was edible underwear).

All these incidents -- even something as simple as skipping the Pro Bowl -- make you seriously question McKinnie’s dedication to his craft. I can guarantee you this: If someone says this guy plays like a Raven, they’re lying to you.

Well, that’s assuming he passes his physical.

But the offensive line is so unsettled right now, some have already suggested that some guy named Mark LeVoir, who was signed over the weekend, could be the team’s answer at right tackle in 2011.

Maybe the Bryant McKinnie experiment will work out. Maybe he and Michael Oher can be the bookend tackles the Ravens lost when Jared Gaither went AWOL. And maybe his off-field issues are behind him.

But if this large man finds the slightest bit of trouble in Baltimore, the Ravens need to cut ties instantly.

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

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Jemile Weeks Talks FanCave

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Yonder Alonso "has a special day"

MIAMI -- Yonder Alonso had dinner with his parents Monday night. His mother, Damaris, had a prediction about Tuesday’s game.

"She said, 'I have a good feeling. You're going to have good game,'"

Alonso said. "She's right about a lot of things. She doesn't say that too often. I guess she blessed me."

Mother knows best.

Alonso drove in four runs, including the go-ahead runs in the ninth, to lift the Reds to a 8-6 victory over the Florida Marlins Tuesday night before a crowd of 21,204 at Sun Life Stadium.

Alonso, making his first start of the season at first base, went 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run and a double.

Alonso grew up in Miami after fleeing Cuba. He went to University of Miami, so having his best day as a pro in his adopted hometown was sweeter than sweet.

"A special day," he said.

The Reds went to the ninth down two runs and facing a closer for the second straight game. They roughed up Leo Nunez, just like they did Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan on Sunday.

With one out, pinch-hitter Joey Votto walked. Brandon Phillips followed with a single. Dave Sappelt doubled off the wall in left to get both home. The RBI were the first of Sappelt's career.

"I was just trying to get a pitch I could," Sappelt said. "The first two pitches he was at the knees outside corner. There's not too much you can do with it at 96, except foul it off. The third pitch he hung a change-up. I was on one."

The Marlins walked Jay Bruce intentionally. After Miguel Cairo struck out, Alonso lined one to center that Mike Cameron tried to make diving catch.

The ball went off his glove. Sappelt and Bruce scored to make it 8-6.

Comeback versus a closer complete.

"It's a huge boost for the whole team," Alonso said. "You're facing a closer. That's your best guy in the bullpen. Those guys have good arms and have been around. It's satisfying for us."

The last two games have been reminiscent of the 2010.

"It's not magic," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's getting hits and playing good ball."

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Two hits for Giants' Pat Burrell in first rehab start

Giants' left fielder Pat Burrell made his first rehab start with the Single-A San Jose Giants on Wednesday, going 2-4 with one RBI against the Stockton Ports.

"It would be nice to get some at bats for him so if something happened, which happened last road trip," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants' win Wednesday. "He would be ready with some ABs under him." Bochy also stated Burrell would have the day off on Thursday.

Burrell was placed on the 15-day disabled on Aug. 3 because of a bone spur in his right foot.

Burrell, 34, was hitting .233 with seven home runs and 21 RBI this season for the Giants.

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Pat Burrell might retire

Pat Burrell (foot) might end up retiring if he determines that he's unable to play on his chronically injured foot.

Burrell will DH in a rehab game with High-A San Jose Wednesday before taking Thursday off and DHing again somewhere on Friday. There's been no indication that the pain in his foot has subsided, so he'll evidently just see how much he can take. At best, he'll probably be limited to pinch-hitting duty in September.

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Yonder Alonso could see action at third base

MIAMI -- Like he has often over the previous couple of weeks, Reds rookie Yonder Alonso took pregame ground balls at third base on Wednesday. Reds manager Dusty Baker hasn't ruled out getting Alonso into a game there.

"There's a chance," Baker said. "I'd like to get him in a blowout game -- one way or the other -- first before [he make a start]. It depends on who is pitching. You have [Johnny] Cueto going for an ERA title. Those things don't come along very often. You'd rather not put him in a situation where a guy like [Mike] Leake or Dontrelle [Willis] throws mostly ground balls to the pull side. It's not fair to him or us or the guy pitching."

Alonso played his natural position of first base on Tuesday and went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs in an 8-6 Reds win over the Marlins. Of course, that spot regularly belongs to Joey Votto. Alonso has had four starts in left field but has yet to demonstrate a comfort level at the position.

If Alonso could handle third base well, it would give the organization an option beyond Scott Rolen, who is currently on the disabled list.

"It's a situation where we'll pick our spots, he'll continue to work," Baker said. "I will pick the situation. Offense wins you games. Generally speaking, defense loses you games."

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Inside the Marlins: Gaby Sanchez" premieres Friday

<a href='' target='_new' title='Inside the Marlins: Gaby Sanchez'>Video: Inside the Marlins: Gaby Sanchez</a>

“Inside the Marlins: Gaby Sanchez” premieres on Saturday, August 27 at 10:30 p.m. immediately following the Marlins at Phillies game on FOX Sports Florida.

FOX Sports Florida’s sixth episode of “Inside the Marlins” profiles Marlins All-Star first baseman and Miami native Gaby Sanchez.

"Inside The Marlins" takes viewers into the life of Gaby Sanchez, beginning with his tenure at Brito Private High School where he helped his team win two state titles, before becoming the starting third baseman at the University of Miami for two seasons. Sanchez was drafted by the Marlins in the fourth round of the 2005 draft.

Viewers will learn about Sanchez’s path to the big leagues. The slugger’s first year in professional baseball with the Marlins Class A Short Season affiliate Jamestown Jammers was wildly successful earning the New York-Penn League batting title as well as been named the MVP of the All Star Game.

Sanchez moved up to the majors in September, 2008, after winning Southern League MVP honors that year. He became a full-time major leaguer in 2010, and was decidedly in the running for National League Rookie of the Year. In 2011, Sanchez was named to the National League All Star team for the 82nd annual mid-summer classic held in Arizona.

The show allows viewers to see Sanchez away from the field, as he tours the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Dunham. Sanchez is always willing to make appearances around his hometown to promote his team and the game of baseball.

“Inside the Marlins” features interviews with Gaby Sanchez, his father Remberto, his mother Ileana, his brother Remberto, Jr., his wife Judy, his high school coach Ralph Suarez, his college coach Jim Morris and his college teammate and current St. Louis Cardinal John Jay.

“Inside the Marlins” is hosted and produced by Frank Forte.

AIRDATES ON FOX SPORTS FLORIDA: 8/27, 10:30pm; 8/28, 5:00pm; 8/31, 10:30pm; 9/2, 10:30pm; 9/3, 9:00am; 9/5, 10:30pm; 9/7, 2:00pm; 9/9, 10:30pm; 9/13, 10:30pm; 9/20 2:00pm and 6:00pm; 9/21, 10:30pm; 9/26, 10:30pm; 9/28, 7:30pm

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Ravens reach two-year agreement with Bryant McKinnie

The Ravens reached two-year agreement with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, the team announced. The deal can be worth up to $7.5 million and includes a $1 million signing bonus, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

To fill the void at offensive tackle, the team is bringing in one of the most talented and troubled free agents available.

“Through the years, we’ve been fortunate to obtain players late in training camp or just before the start of the season who help us win,” Ravens general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome stated. “A couple of years ago, it was Willie Anderson. Last year, it was Josh Wilson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who each made big plays at the end of games that gave us wins.

“Bryant falls in this category. He’s been a productive player at one of the hardest positions to play, and he has been in sync with Matt Birk when Matt was a Viking. Plus, he has a relationship with Michael Oher and our Miami players."

The deal is pending tomorrow's physical, which could remain a hurdle. The Minnesota Vikings released the Pro Bowl offensive tackle on Aug. 2 after he reported to training camp out of shape.

It's not surprising that the Ravens added an offensive lineman. It is surprising that the the Ravens are taking this gamble with McKinnie after parting ways with another character risk in Jared Gaither.

"Ray [Lewis] and Ed [Reed] vouch for him as a person and as a player who can help us," Newsome said. "I know these veteran players are happy we’re adding Bryant.”

McKinnie's role is uncertain at this point. He started eight years at left tackle for the Vikings. The Ravens could insert the 6-foot-8, 386-pound McKinnie at right tackle (which has had three linemen start at that position during training camp) or start McKinnie at left tackle and move Michael Oher to the right side.

McKinnie was voted to the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season, but he did not show up for practices and was scratched from the game, eventually having to pay back almost $5,000 in travel expenses to the league.

He has been charged in three different incidents since being the seventh overall pick of the 2002 draft.

In 2005, McKinnie was arrested along with former Vikings guard Marcus Johnson on suspicion of disorderly conduct in a street fight. Also that year, he was involved in the infamous “Love Boat” incident, eventually pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.

In 2008, he was charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after taking part in a brawl outside a Miami nightclub.
But he has at least one staunch supporter among his new teammates.

“Some people look for speed, some people look for youth," Lewis said. "But give me heart, wisdom and the will to play and win the game, and I will take that player on my side any day of the week. That is what Bryant has. I have played against him, and I know from experience how tough he is. He has a proven track record as a winner, and he is a Raven. He is one of us, and I know he will make us better.”

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

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Orlando Franklin sticking with first team

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- RT Orlando Franklin continues to run with the first team, as he has from Day 1 of training camp.

Franklin initially had to hunker down with veteran linemen Chris Kuper and Russ Hochstein to assimilate all the information from the thick playbook after no OTAs. But now it’s mostly about refining technique.

Offensive line coach Dave Magazu likes Franklin’s aggressiveness, power and work ethic, but, especially, is continuing to refine the rookie’s pass-protection skills.

The main component Franklin is hearing about from Magazu is trying to remain patient and playing with a controlled violence especially in his pass sets, by using proper footwork, body positioning and reach to control opposing rushers.

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‘Good’ Isn’t ‘Good Enough’ For Leonard Hankerson

On Friday night, Leonard Hankerson was the Redskins top receiver, with four targets and three receptions for 46 yards.  He had a 25-yard catch and run over the middle for a first down.  He moved the chains again with an 18-yard reception over the middle.

But no congratulations for this rookie; the only play that Hankerson wanted to reflect on after the game was the one that got away.

“I felt good actually playing out there, but I still gotta focus,” he said after the game.  ”I still had that one drop that I wish I could go back and catch it, but it’s over now, man.”

Hankerson has talent to spare, but he said that his concentration is to blame for his drops this preseason.

“I just gotta go out there and keep my focus and stop trying to run before I get the ball, because if I keep doing that I won’t be playing for long,” he said matter-of-factly. “I just gotta keep working in practice to put it all together, and just keep coming back and translating that into the game.”

Part of his struggles can be attributed to the old cliche of the game coming too fast.  With two games under his belt, however, Hankerson said that he’s starting to grasp the pace of the game.

“It’s starting to slow down especially when these teams coming out here playing zone,” he said.  ”If they playing zone, then it’s just run your route and get open–run your route and you’ll be open.  It’s a little different man-to-man, but in that zone you wide open.”

Hankerson has drawn a line in the sand and does not accept drops as part of his game.

“I can’t just drop that one pass and expect that to be okay,” he said.  ”I gotta be mentally stronger to catch the ball before I try to run. I gotta keep improving each and every week and get better.”

The Redskins thought they were getting a future No. 1 receiver with Hankerson in the third round of the draft, and only time will tell if they were right.  But for now, he certainly has the required mentality to develop into that guy.

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Clinton Portis Works Out With Miami Dolphins, Dolphins Sign Johnson

The Miami Dolphins were interested in a running back and specifically a veteran running back. A few weeks after working out free agent RB Tiki Barber, the Dolphins reportedly worked out RB Clinton Portis on Tuesday, who was released by the Redskins after a seven-year career in Washington.

Portis is turning 30 years old in a few weeks which is worrisome for any running back. That's usually about the team running backs start to break down, especially those with as much wear and tear as Portis.

Turns out the Dolphins went ahead and signed RB Larry Johnson instead of Portis. Johnson, 31, gained 2 yards in two games before he was released by the Washington Redskins last September. He was released by the Chiefs after nearly seven seasons in November 2009 and finished the season with Cincinnati.

His time in Kansas City included two suspensions in his final 12 months with the team. The Chiefs released him after he posted a gay slur on his Twitter account and questioned the competence of Coach Todd Haley.

“It’s kind of hard to convince anybody with my colorful background that, yeah, I’ve changed,” Johnson said. “But you change with every situation you go through.”

Click here to order Clinton Portis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Chris Myers talks offense

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Reggie Wayne returns to practice after missing 5 days for personal reasons

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts receiver Reggie Wayne has returned to practice after missing five days for personal reasons.

Coach Jim Caldwell still has not said why Wayne was out.

The five-time Pro Bowler hadn’t practiced since last Wednesday and skipped Friday night’s preseason game against Washington. Indy lost 16-3.
On Monday, Caldwell said he expected Wayne back within 24 hours. He made it back onto the field Tuesday.

Wayne has been a vital cog in the Colts’ high-scoring offense for years, first as the complimentary receiver to Marvin Harrison, then as Peyton Manning’s No. 1 option. Last year, Wayne had a career-high 111 receptions for 1,355 yards and six touchdowns.

His return comes as Peyton Manning missed yet another practice while he rehabs from offseason surgery to repair a nerve in his neck.

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

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49ers GM wants to make Frank Gore a “49er for life”

49ers running back Frank Gore isn’t happy with his contract.  He’s frustrated regarding the lack of progress on a new deal, and he won’t comment on a PFT report that he could soon request a trade.

Coach Jim Harbaugh has dismissed accounts of frustration and a possible trade request as “water-cooler talk.”  Meanwhile, G.M. Trent Baalke has expressed a strong desire to keep Gore around.

“The best thing we can say is we’re doing everything we can to make Frank a 49er for life and whether that gets accomplished in the near future or not remains to be seen,” Baalke told Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan of SiriusXM NFL Radio.  “But Frank’s a 49er.  He’s a heck of a football player, he’s a heck of a young man, and he’s a leader.  You can’t say enough good things about Frank.”

It all comes down, as it usually does, to money.  And with Gore, who is 29 and who has a lengthy injury history, wanting to be paid like Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (five years, $43 million, $21 million guaranteed), our own money currently is on the “or not.”

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

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Living the Life with former Miami Tailback Jarrett Payton and Mr. Greenweedz

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Santana Moss: Continuity will make a difference

If there’s one thing that Santana Moss has experienced very little of during his six season with the Washington Redskins, it’s stability.

Moss has been the team’s leading receiver in each of those six seasons. But during that time, he has played for three different head coaches, in four different offensive systems with seven different quarterbacks and 17 other receivers.

John Beck would make it eight quarterbacks, but Moss believes that the continuity the Redskins are otherwise experiencing in their second straight year under Coach Mike Shanahan will make a big difference.

The Redskins’ offense has been able to move up and down the field in its first two preseason games, and Moss and fellow holdover receivers Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin say they all feel more natural having played a full season under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. That comfort makes a big difference, Moss ays.

“This is my seventh year, and we’ve never had the chance to grasp an offense,” said Moss, who last season had 93 catches for 1,115 yards and six touchdowns last season. “It was always change here, change coordinators, change this and that. This is one of those moments when we actually feel like we have an advantage now because we really have this offense in our hands for a second year now and have a chance to do something with it.”

Another aspect that Moss expects to make a difference is the maturation of Armstrong and Austin (both in their second seasons in the NFL), and the addition of veterans Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth.

Mossreceived little help from the rest of the receiving corps last season. Besides Armstrong (44 catches, 871 yards, three touchdowns) the rest of the wide receivers combined for just 25 catches for 339 yards and no touchdowns. Moss still managed to produce despite drawing frequent double teams, but he expects that bolstering the receiving unit this year will take pressure off him and help the Redskins execute more effectively.

“It should help. But at the end of the day, teams are going to take out of the game whoever they want to take out,” Moss said. “If it’s me, it’s me. If it’s someone else, it’s someone else. But it should help more on critical downs. Now you can’t just look at that one person. Now you have different weapons and I think our offense as a whole, the personnel as a total, we have guys everywhere they line up on offense.”

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

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Antrel Rolle shaken by loss of Thomas

Anyone who saw safety Antrel Rolle after Monday night’s preseason victory over the Bears could see he was shaken up about the loss of cornerback Terrell Thomas, who went down with torn knee ligaments and is out for the entire season.

A day later, Rolle didn’t sound as if he had overcome any of his disappointment.

“I had a huge comfort level [on the field] with Terrell Thomas,’’ Rolle said Tuesday on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio channel. “We worked a lot together, we talked a lot, because our roles were similar in a lot of ways. That’s why it hurts me a lot to see him go down, it really did. Honestly, I don’t know what to do. I still don’t know how to handle it at this point but I’m going to have to try to find a way. I have to. We have to as a defense.’’

Thomas was emerging as a star cornerback, and Rolle said his loss cannot be minimized.

“That’s going to have a huge impact on our season and most of all on our hearts, you know, as players,’’ Rolle said. “He’s a great football player but most of all he’s a great guy and it’s very unfortunate for a situation like that to happen to someone of his caliber.

"You know, you can’t question what the guy above does, his plan is always different than what you may think it is, and I think it’s only going to make T2 stronger. I think it’s going to make him a better person, which is hard to believe, I don’t see how you can become any better than what he already is but, you know, there’s always a way. And, you know he’s going to be fine. We’re just gonna make sure we keep his spirits uplifted and just make sure he comes back to us better than he was when he left.”

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

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Yonder Alonso homers, drives in 4 to help Reds rally past Marlins 8-6

MIAMI — Yonder Alonso homered and drove in four runs, including a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning that sent the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-6 victory over the fading Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.

Dave Sappelt tied the game at 6 with a two-run double and the Reds scored four times in the ninth off closer Leo Nunez (1-4), who blew his sixth save in 39 chances. They were the first career RBIs for Sappelt, who had three hits.

Jay Bruce hit his 27th home run for the Reds. Emilio Bonifacio homered and drove in three for the Marlins, who have lost six in a row. They are 2-16 in their last 18 games.

With the Reds trailing 6-4 going into the ninth, Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips singled. Sappelt then laced a double to left field, scoring both runners. Three batters later, Alonso lined a two-run double to center.

Alonso, who attended high school and college in Miami, had more than 200 friends and family members in attendance to see him go 3 for 4 while making his first start of the season at first base. He hit a solo homer, his second, in the second inning and had an RBI single in the third.

Alonso was the offensive star for the Reds Tuesday, belted a home run and also driving in the go-ahead runs in the ninth inning with a two-run double.

Reds manager Dusty Baker decided to give Joey Votto a night off, but the team's offense didn't miss a beat with Alonso. He also singled, giving him the first three-hit game of his young career. Alonso is now batting .448 in 29 at-bats for the Reds, and they might be forced to play him more in left field to keep his bat in the lineup.

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Pat Burrell (foot) to begin rehab stint Wednesday

Pat Burrell (foot) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with High-A San Jose.

He'll serve as the designated hitter Wednesday. Burrell hasn't played since July 14 due to a bone spur in his right foot. The 34-year-old was batting .233/.342/.419 with seven homers and a .760 OPS prior to the injury, but he won't be of much use to the Giants if he can't run without discomfort.

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Danny Valencia homers in loss

Danny Valencia hit a solo home run in Minnesota's loss to the Orioles on Tuesday.

Valencia's third-inning bomb was the extent of the offense for the Twins in an 8-1 setback at home. He's now batting .277 with four home runs and 15 RBI since the All-Star break, though his season triple slash remains an uninspiring .248/.295/.400.

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Ryan Braun, Brewers continue to roll

Ryan Braun continued his MVP push on Tuesday, notching two doubles, two walks, two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases as the Brewers dumped the Pirates 11-4.

It’s hard to have a night much better night than that. Now batting .328/.399/.586 to go along with 85 RBI and 28 stolen bases, Braun has likely been the best offensive player in the National League this season.

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Danny Valencia ejected from Monday's game

Danny Valencia was ejected from Monday's game against the Orioles in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Valencia struck out swinging, but didn't like the strike two call by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was also given the boot after standing up for his player. Valencia went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts before leaving the ballgame.

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Allen Bailey Comments On Nevin Shapiro

Chiefs rookie defensive lineman Allen Bailey, a third-round draft pick from Miami, shed little insight on the football program that has been rocked by allegations of NCAA violations involving a booster, Nevin Shapiro.

“I really don’t know what’s going on there right now, but I still take pride in everything I did down there,” said Bailey, who has been impressive in preseason in the Chiefs’ nickel defense and on special teams.

Asked whether he had any dealings with Shapiro, Bailey said: “I was a freshman. As a freshman, you’re not paying attention … I never really saw him.”

Bailey said he was never offered anything by Shapiro.

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Falcons from ‘The U’ mum on the scandal

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons only have two players from the University of Miami in linebacker Spencer Adkins and punter Matt Bosher.
Adkins was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft and Bosher, who’s attempting to replace Michael Koenen, was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.

The university and NCAA are conducting investigations following a report by Yahoo! Sports that a former booster, in prison for his role in a Ponzi Scheme, lavished more than 70 players and coaches with cash, jewelry, travel, parties, prostitutes and an aborition.

“I haven’t gotten involved with it,” Adkins said last Friday after the Falcons game against Jacksonville. “I’m just here with Atlanta trying to get better.”

The scandal alleged lasted from 2002 to 2010. Adkins wasn’t sure if any of former teammates were involved.

“I really can’t speak on it because I really don’t know anything,” Adkins said. “I haven’t focused on that at all.”

Bosher, a sixth-round pick from the University of Miami, was instructed by the Falcons not to discuss the current scandal at the school.

“I love Miami, but I’m here to talk about the Falcons right now,” Bosher said after practice on Sunday. “If you have any more questions about that you can talk to [the communications staff.]”

When asked if he thought Miami should receive the NCAA’s death penalty, Bosher said, “I don’t have anything to say about that.”

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Father of Sam Shields calls Nevin Shapiro’s allegations ’a bunch of crap’

MIAMI — Former University of Miami cornerback Sam Shields isn’t talking. But his dad is plenty mad. And so are other parents.

Samuel Shields called the allegations by convicted felon Nevin Shapiro "a bunch of crap" on Friday when reached by The Miami Herald, and criticized the university for not doing more to prevent Shapiro from infiltrating the Hurricanes program.

Shapiro alleged that he gave Shields’ son, Sam, now with the Green Bay Packers, a 42-inch Toshiba flat-screen TV, drinks and VIP access in nightclubs, as well as food, drinks and entertainment at Shapiro’s $6 million Miami Beach mansion.

"It’s definitely bad for the school, and I know for the administration it should be even worse," Samuel Shields said.

"He was a booster for, what, 10 years? The administration should have known a whole bunch of stuff, compliance should have known a whole bunch of stuff. If Sam sneezed over there they’d throw him out. They threw him under the bus so many times."

On Thursday, Shields was briefly in the locker room and addressed the allegations to reporters.

"They contacted me," Shields said of Yahoo! [YHOO] Sports. "But I just told them that I didn’t want to get into that right now. I’m just focusing on the Packers right now."

His dad said he doubted his son took the TV.

"I doubt a 42-inch TV was in his dorm room," he said.

Of Shapiro, Samuel Shields said, "That little guy needs to be where he’s at. And I hope he doesn’t run into any Miami fans in the penitentiary. He needs to be isolated."

As for Sam, his father said he didn’t have time for such nonsense. "He’s working on another Super Bowl," he said.

Former UM running back Graig Cooper, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, was alleged by Shapiro to have lodged on his $1.6 million yacht for four days in January of 2007 — the same time Cooper arrived in Miami from Milford (N.Y.) Prep.

Shapiro also said he provided food, drinks and entertainment for Cooper at Lucky Strike Lanes during the same month, and transportation in Shapiro’s car.

"If you come in town, enroll in school, meet some friends and they say, ’Let’s go hang out at the bowling alley,’ nine out of 10 times you’re going to hang out with them," said Cooper’s father, Tino Thomas. "How did he know my son? He didn’t because he had just arrived. Somebody had to bring Graig to him.

"The real question is, why isn’t anybody asking something about the president at the University of Miami? They have a picture of her taking money from him. I know it’s a donation, but she’s getting money in that same bowling alley.

"Everybody is caught up with the players and this and that. But the president was at that same bowling alley where a lot of stuff was going on. She should have known.

"These kids are 18 and 19 years old, but the one they needed to get off the field was (Nevin Shapiro). He looked like a 35-year-old kid. I tell everybody, if somebody tries to do something for you, there’s always a price to pay, because in the long run they think you owe them."

Former UM great Alonzo Highsmith, the father of safety A.J. Highsmith (who is not implicated), told The Miami Herald on Friday that he was considering suing the NCAA on behalf of parents.

"Here’s the issue I have with this whole thing," Highsmith said. "In NCAA football, why do we punish so many people for the actions of a few? These athletic programs and football programs are people’s livelihoods. Kids commit to these colleges so they can get an education, win national championships and play in bowl games. And you’re going to take all of that away from them because of the actions of a few people?

"I question a lot of things in this Yahoo! [YHOO] investigation. My thing is, don’t show me pictures you took with kids. Don’t show me a receipt. Show me evidence. . . . You took some pictures with former players. So what?

"You know how many times these kids pose for pictures with random people on the street? You’re going to convict 80 other kids because of what happened five, six, seven years ago?

"They were in junior high when this was going on. Now they pay a price while everyone lives a good life?"

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Willis McGahee provides needed power running to Broncos

There is making yourself at home. Then there is Willis McGahee really making himself at home.

"It's a great fit. I just love it here," McGahee said as he squinted into the Colorado sun Monday. "Believe it or not, I don't want to go nowhere else. Whenever I decide to end it, I'd like to end it here."

McGahee, 29, is only a few weeks into his Broncos tenure, but he likes what he sees. And the team likes him, as it has shown by handing, throwing or pitching him the ball near the end zone.

The Broncos tried to pound McGahee into the end zone on back-to-plays Saturday night in their 24-10 preseason win over the Buffalo Bills. He scored on a 1-yard run. Denver quarterback Kyle Orton tossed him a short pass later, and he turned that into a 13-yard touchdown reception.

McGahee already has the look — and the sound — of a closer.

"You always want to get that ball in there when you have the chance," McGahee said. "You don't want to be one of those teams that gets all the way down there and has to pass."

"It's about touchdowns," Orton said. "I've always said you can run for as many yards as you want, you can throw for as many yards as you want, but the whole idea is to score touchdowns, to do whatever you need to do to get points on the board. (McGahee) is going to be a big help in doing that."

McGahee signed a four-year contract to join the Broncos this summer. That's the longest deal Denver gave to a free agent, showing the importance of acquiring McGahee.

At 235 pounds, McGahee has the size head coach John Fox desires in a running back.

McGahee also is an option as a receiver and blocks well enough when needed to play in long-yardage situations.

After passing on a first-and-goal play at the 1-yard line in their preseason opener against the Cowboys at Dallas on Aug. 11 — Orton's toss to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was incomplete — the Broncos did nothing like that Saturday against Buffalo.

When they moved the ball to the Bills' 1-yard line to open the second quarter, the Broncos ran McGahee on first down on the right side. When that play was stuffed, they ran McGahee again on the right side — this time for a touchdown.

"That's how you want it to go. It's why I came here," McGahee said. "(The Broncos) are known for running the ball. Coach Fox is known for running the ball, and if you're a running back, that's what you want to do. You want to run the ball."

The Broncos are hoping McGahee can be the consistent finisher in the running game they have sought for years. The last time the Broncos scored 20 touchdowns rushing and had a running back contribute at least 10 was the 2005 season. That's the last season the Broncos won more than 10 games — they won 13 — and the last time they made the playoffs.

McGahee has rushed for 55 touchdowns in his NFL career, including 13 with the Bills in 2004. Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville was McGahee's position coach in 2004 at Buffalo. McGahee rushed for 12 touchdowns in 2009 with the Baltimore Ravens.

"The good run teams have that ability to run the ball in the situations when they want to run the ball," Studesville said. "They have to have those guys who can convert opportunities into touchdowns."

"When I came here, I didn't even meet with Coach Fox. I didn't have to," McGahee said. "I met with Coach Eric and I said, 'C'mon, let's go.' And that's what I'm going to do.”

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Allen Bailey "has a long way to go"

Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley had this to say on Allen Bailey: “This Bailey has a long way to go. He’s a guy that played multiple positions in college but I’ll tell you what separates him a little bit, he definitely helped our sub-rush in the game against a pretty good offensive line. But what separates him from maybe some of the guys in that group is that he’s got the label defensive lineman but you watch him run down the field, he’s not a defensive lineman from an athletic-ability or speed [standpoint]. And that’s at 285 pounds right now. He’s an interesting prospect for me as the head coach because if I can get a defensive lineman that can still run down on kicks in this day and age with some of the rule changes or being on your punt team or your punt return team, that’s a big thing.”

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3 proCanes in the Ranked as the Top NFC South Players in Madden 12

Real quick, name the top two players in the NFC South?

Off the top of my head, I’d say Drew Brees and Roddy White and you could flip a coin on the order. Well, the folks at Madden NFL 12, who are pretty good at what they do, came up with two different players when they did their annual rankings for the video game.

According to them, the best player in the division is New Orleans guard Jahri Evans, who ended up with a 98 overall grade. Carolina linebacker Jon Beason is next with a 97. I wouldn’t argue too much with either of those rankings. Evans and Beason are very good, but play positions where they sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. White and Brees came in right behind them, each with a 96 grade. That ties them with New Orleans guard Carl Nicks, who some scouts say may be better than Evans.

After those five, here’s the list of NFC South players with grades of 90 or better.
• Ovie Mughelli, fullback, Falcons: 94
• Michael Turner, running back, Falcons: 93
• Tyson Clabo, tackle, Falcons: 93
• John Abraham, defensive end, Falcons: 93
• Jordan Gross, tackle, Panthers: 92
• Tony Gonzalez, tight end Falcons: 92
Jonathan Vilma, linebacker, Saints: 91
• Matt Ryan, quarterback, Falcons: 90
• Jabari Greer, cornerback, Saints: 90
• Curtis Lofton, linebacker, Falcons: 90

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t have a player crack the 90 mark, but they came close. Tight end Kellen Winslow is at 89, guard Davin Joseph is at 88 and quarterback Josh Freeman and tackle Donald Penn each graded out at 87. Since I know there’s big interest, Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton had an overall grade of 77.

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Allen Bailey creating separation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Third-round draft pick Allen Bailey could help the Chiefs in a variety of ways this year. Bailey could take some snaps in the rotation as a defensive end but his real value could come in other areas.

He is getting a long look as a down pass rusher in obvious passing situations. The Chiefs believe he has the ability to consistently push the pocket and help the edge rushers. Bailey also is fast for a 290-pound player, so he can get down the field and cover on punts and even kickoffs.

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Kenard Lang on scandal: It hurts your heart

The sting is going to last for quite some time.

Former University of Miami All-American Kenard Lang still was distraught Thursday night last week when asked about the allegations of major NCAA rules violations made against his alma matter.

"It's extremely disappointing and very disturbing how all of these things can happen," said Lang, who played for the Hurricanes from 1994-96 and now is head football coach at Jones High School in Orlando. "It hurts your heart. I don't condone any of it, at all. Accepting gifts? Players know they're not supposed to, but what are they going to say? Some of them have parents who fight to keep them fed. What are they going to say if someone wants to take them for a $300 dinner … no thank you?"

Yahoo! Sports a week ago reported claims that more than 70 former, current or prospective Miami student athletes were provided cash, gifts, and other improper benefits by former UM booster Nevin Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi schemer. Shapiro provided Yahoo! with receipts, photographs and other evidence to corroborate his claims, made during jailhouse interviews over an 11-month period. The NCAA is now investigating the UM program.

Shapiro claimed top-notch prospects during recruiting trips to the school would be treated to expensive dinners, parties on Shapiro's $1 million yacht, trips to Miami strip clubs and sessions with prostitutes."They were taking advantage of these young kids," Lang said, "just so they could say, 'Hey, I was out with so-and-so, and I had my picture taken with so-and-so.'

"Everything is all hunky dory and he's this big Miami booster hanging with the players. But then, he does something wrong and gets caught and he wants to sit there like a little bird and chatter. You go to jail and now you want to snitch?"

Lang has two players looking at Miami for their futures. Junior ATH Lavante "Kermit" Whitfield committed to the Hurricanes in the spring, while senior OL Duaron Williams has been strongly considering UM.

That was before Tuesday's revelation.

"Everybody knows it's the kind of thing that goes on sort of behind the scenes," said Williams, the No. 10-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60. "But when it gets reported, that's really bad for the school."

Other Miami prospects are re-thinking their futures, as well.

Winter Garden West Orange safety Lucas Thompson, the No. 9 player in the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60, has had Miami atop his list of possible colleges from the beginning of his recruitment.

"Miami is still like my top school. All that stuff happened years ago and this coaching staff has nothing to do with that," said Thompson, who will make his college decision on national TV at the Under Armour All-American Game in January. His top five schools are currently Miami, South Carolina, Louisville, West Virginia and East Carolina. "I'm still playing high school football, so I'm just worried about West Orange right now. We're still waiting to hear what's going to happen (with the Miami investigation)."

Thompson said if the Hurricanes get slapped with anything like a four-year post-season probation, they are off his list. As for a shorter penalty, say two-year probation, "That wouldn't really bother me too much really, because I'd just be a sophomore. The junior and senior seasons we could still go to bowl games as juniors and seniors."

Chris Hays covers college football recruiting for the Sentinel. He can be reached at

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Frank Gore still wants new deal

Frank Gore has rushed for 6,414 yards in his 49ers career, and he has scored 44 touchdowns. But the number he most wants to change is 2.9.
That's the number, in millions, that Gore is due in base pay (he could get an additional $2 million should he stay healthy the entire season).

What Gore wants is a contract extension on par with the five-year, $43 million deal with $21 million in guarantees that the Panthers just gave running back DeAngelo Williams.

Gore, 28, is a month younger than Williams and has missed nine games in the past three years to Williams' 13. Gore also has 530 more career carries than Williams.

While many contend Gore is the team's best offensive player, tight end Vernon Davis signed a six-year deal last year worth more than $42 million, with $23 million in guaranteed money. Davis is also younger and plays a less demanding position. So what should a fair deal for Gore look like?

That's what Gore's agent and the 49ers are grappling over. The website reported that Gore might insist on a trade if his contract demands are not met. Gore staged a four-day holdout at the start of training camp in hopes of getting an extension.

He spoke to the media about his contract status Monday and said he had no comment on trade demands.

"I'm a football player, and it's my job to play football and hopefully, things get right," Gore said. "I would like things to get done before the season so I could just focus on football, not whether they will get it done or not. Like I said before, I want to remain with the 49ers for my career. If it (doesn't) happen, hopefully I'll have a great year and I'll test the market."

In speaking with reporters Sunday, coach Jim Harbaugh said he believed a deal would be forthcoming. He also repeated his desire for Gore to be his main running back and possibly his chief offensive weapon.

Whether Gore gets an extension or not, he'll be highly motivated this year.

"I have to go out there and show everybody that I'm healthy, that I can be the Frank Gore that I've always been," he said.

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10 Questions for Arizona Cardinals' Calais Campbell

PHOENIX - It isn't always the big events that make us turn our head when we hear about politicians, celebrities and athletes.

Sometimes, we just want to know that when you boil it down, they're all ordinary people like us.

What's in their fridge? What are they reading? What do they do in their off time? is asking the same 10 questions of a newsmaker. But don't jump to any conclusions; these aren't the typical interview questions.

They are not meant to be probing or controversial. Instead, they're fun questions that let you get to know the person in ways you probably don't already.

This week, we continue our "10 Questions for the Arizona Cardinals" series with defensive end Calais Campbell.

Campbell, a Denver native, had a breakout year in his first season with the Cardinals. As a starter in 2009, Calais tied for the team lead with 7.0 sacks and 53 tackles.

Before joining the Cardinals, Calais was named MVP while playing at the University of Miami. At 6-8, Calais was the tallest lineman ever to suit up for the Hurricanes and was the tallest defensive lineman in the 2008 draft.

When Calais is not on the gridiron he has a passion for giving back to young people in communities across the country. He is co-founder of the CRC Foundation, named after his dad, Charles Campbell. Calais established the foundation to teach skills that are not typically learned in a traditional classroom setting he says are vital for real life; such as accounting, drug & alcohol awareness, diversity and writing. The CRC Foundation has plans to construct a youth facility by 2013.

10 Questions for Calais Campbell:
1. What is your all-time favorite movie or song?
I like Forrest Gump a lot, but The Program was one of my favorite movies growing up because it was the first football movie I ever liked.

2. Do you have a Smartphone? If so, what is your favorite app?
I do. I use probably four or five different ones. I like to play a lot of Texas Hold 'Em, so I have a Texas Hold 'Em app that I do a lot of practice on.

3. Have you come up with a few things you'd like to do before you die? If so, what is on your bucket list?
I'm certainly trying to add to that list. There are a lot of things I want to do before I die. I guess the most important one is to have a family.

4. Who do you count as your mentor?
My father

5. What was your very first job?

6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Nothing. I love who I am. Even my negative parts make me who I am.

7. What do you consider your greatest success?
I got chills when I got my degree from college. I got chills when I got drafted in the NFL. I definitely got chills going to the Super Bowl my rookie year.

8. What is something about you most people don't know?
I'm going to write movies one day.

9. If you could have dinner with three or more people (living or dead), who would it be?
I'd have to say Michael Jackson (the old Mike), President Barack Obama and Michael Jordan.

10. If you could have a different career, what would it be?
Well I guess since I want to write movies one day, being a movie producer would be kind of cool.

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Vince Wilfork: Don't want to be distraction

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork addressed reporters as a group for the first time since a Yahoo! Sports report that he received benefits while attending college at Miami.

Wilfork entered the locker room with about four minutes remaining in the allotted time for reporters to be present. He was asked about the last week.

"It's tough," he said. "But you know what? I released a statement a couple days ago, and that's where I'm at with it. I'm going to move forward. I'm done with that situation. I'm just focused on my football career. One thing I don't want to do is be a distraction to this team, to this organization. I won't be that. My teammates stuck behind me 100 percent, my family, the organization. I'll move forward. I'm definitely towards the Detroit Lions now and it feels good to be around a great group of guys. It feels real good."

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Chris Perez comes undone in 9th

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Indians' plan to get healthy at the expense of the lesser lights began with a thud Monday night against the Seattle Mariners.

Not that the Indians are heavyweights at the moment, or since late May. But they seemingly are in a division race and are supposed to beat the non-contending Mariners at home, especially when Felix Hernandez does not start.

Instead, Seattle received strong pitching from lefty Jason Vargas and capitalized on wildness by Tribe closer Chris Perez to win, 3-2, at Progressive Field.

Vargas gave up two unearned runs in seven innings as the Mariners (54-72) defeated the Indians for the first time in five games this season. The Tribe (62-62) has lost four straight and fell into a tie for second with the White Sox in the AL Central. Both are 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers, who won at Tampa Bay.

The Tribe has not been in third since April 3.

With the score tied at 2, Perez opened the ninth by plunking right-handed batter Miguel Olivo with his first pitch. Perez hit right-handed Brendan Ryan with a 3-1 pitch, which the Indians thought might have ticked the bat.

"I guess I was flying open to righties, and the ball was taking off," Perez said. "By the time I made the adjustment, it was too late."

No. 9 batter Trayvon Robinson bunted toward the mound, where Perez fumbled the ball attempting to throw to third.

"I tried to do too much, too fast," Perez said.

Ichiro Suzuki whiffed. Former Indian Franklin Gutierrez popped to shallow center, where Ezequiel Carrera caught the ball and threw a strike to the plate with decent velocity. Olivo slid under the tag of catcher Lou Marson in a bang-bang play.

Tribe manager Manny Acta, who has seen more than a few calls go against his club, argued briefly with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.

"I watched it on replay," Acta said. "It was very, very, very close -- but he was right."

Perez walked Dustin Ackley, then struck out Mike Carp swinging.

"It was one of those bad outings, and it's unacceptable," Perez said. "I gave up a run without giving up a hit. That's pretty embarrassing."

Perez has been a superb closer this year, but several non-save situations have ended ugly.

"I think it's more coincidence than anything," he said. "The game is still on the line. I'm mentally in it. I'm still trying to get three outs without a run scoring and get my team back in the dugout."

The Indians threatened in the bottom of the ninth against Brandon League. With two outs, Jack Hannahan singled to left and sprinted to third on pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall's single up the middle. Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan should have made the play on Chisenhall's grounder, but the ball went under his glove.

With Carrera at bat, Chisenhall stole second unopposed. Carrera fouled three full-count pitches before grounding to first.

"Our pitching gave us a chance one more time; we just couldn't execute offensively," Acta said. "We had plenty of opportunities but couldn't take advantage."

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Chris Perez has not been solid in non-save situations for Indians

CLEVELAND - It’s been an ongoing debate all season.
Should closer Chris Perez be employed in the ninth inning in a non-save situation?
Cleveland manager Manny Acta says yes, but the results keep screaming, “Noooooooo!”
Once again Perez took the mound in the ninth inning without a save on the line Monday night, and once again he imploded, paving the way for a 3-2 loss to the Mariners at Progressive Field.
Perez allowed an unearned run in the ninth on his own error, as Seattle handed Cleveland its fourth straight loss without a getting a hit in the final inning.
The right-hander hit the first two batters he faced, the first on his first pitch, then committed an error on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Miguel Olivo barely beat the throw to the plate on a one-out sacrifice fly from former Indians outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to win it.
“I got off to a terrible start, first pitch,” Perez said. “It was an adjustment I couldn’t make in time. By the time I made the adjustment, the bases were already loaded.
“It was just one of those bad outings, unacceptable - you name it.”
Though his numbers in non-save situations aren’t terrible - 0-2 with a 3.37 ERA in 21 appearances - it is when Perez has been least effective. He has taken the mound in the ninth inning without a save on the line 15 times and allowed at least one run in seven of the outings.
Still, Acta keeps running Perez out there and will continue the approach the rest of the season, no matter the consequences.
“That’s part of his job, simple as that,” Acta said. “He’s the one that should be there. He should be comfortable, because last year he wasn’t pitching in save situations. He was backing up (Kerry) Wood.
“You’re not going to play with a 24-man roster because someone’s not comfortable in a situation.”
“I think it’s more of a coincidence,” Perez said. “I have more of a chance to fail in those situations because if they score we’re going to lose the game. But there’s obviously something I need to change.”
The Indians need to change something fast. They have fallen back to .500 at 62-62, and thanks to a Detroit win Monday, are facing their biggest deficit of the season - trailing the first-place Tigers by 5 1/2 games in the Central Division standings. Chicago, which was idle Monday, is also 5 1/2 games back.
Indians starter Fausto Carmona continued his effective stint since leaving the disabled list, allowing just one earned run on six hits, while striking out six over six innings.
Carmona, who is 2-2 with a 2.49 ERA in seven starts off the DL, wasn’t dominant, tossing too many pitches during the early stages of his outing, but he got credit for a quality start.
“Fausto kind of labored a little bit and got his pitch count up,” Acta said. “But he made pitches and gave us a chance to win the ballgame with six strong innings.”
As has been the case throughout the majority of the season, a Cleveland starter got little run support.
Mariners starter Jason Vargas allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings, surrendering both as the Indians tied the game in the second. Cleveland outhit Seattle 9-7 but left seven on base and struggled to come up with a big hit - something that has plagued the Indians all year.
“We just couldn’t execute offensively,” Acta said. “Hits don’t help you win games. Hits with runners in scoring position help you win games.”
The Indians got much of their production from the bottom of the order, with Lou Marson, Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera combining for six hits and both of their club’s RBIs out of the last two spots in the lineup.
It was part of that mix that helped produced Cleveland’s final chance in its final at-bat.
Jack Hannahan sparked the would-be rally with a two-out single and moved to third when Chisenhall pinch hit for Marson and delivered a base hit through the middle.
Carrera had a quality at-bat, fouling off three straight 3-2 offerings from Mariners closer Brandon League before grounding to first to end the game.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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DJ Williams makes statement in support of UM

Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams still isn’t talking to reporters here in Denver about allegations made by a former University of Miami booster that Williams was among the UM players who received illegal benefits while they played for the Hurricanes.

Williams’ actions, though, show he’s strongly supporting his alma mater.

After Williams intercepted a pass off Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald Saturday night, he celebrated on the sideline by making the famous “U” sign with his hands. He later Tweeted that he would “rep till I die” in reference to UM. A picture of him making the U sign is now his avatar on his Twitter account.

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Tyrone Moss tells television station he didn’t take $1,000 from Nevin Shapiro

Former UM running back Tyrone Moss, who is quoted in a Yahoo! Sports story admitting he accepted $1,000 from rogue booster Nevin Shapiro is now denying he was given any money.

Moss was interviewed by Channel 10 in Miami and made these remarks:

“I wanted to clear the air and let everyone know I’ve never received 1,000 dollars from Nevin Shapiro. Nor have I ever been on his boat or anything like that. Someone has taken my name and tried to destroy my name. I have always been loyal to Miami. Miami is a great place. Miami has been good to my family and good to me. I had some of my best years at the University of Miami. I just wanted to clear the air and make a statement that I have never taken any money or been on any boat like that. For something like this to happen is just crazy.

“I don’t care how it was quoted, I don’t care how it was written or I don’t care how it was said. But just to let everyone know, I have never been involved with Nevin. I have no ties to Nevin. I have never taken any money from him, and I have never been on that guy’s boat. I just wanted to clear the air, because a lot of people around here are saying this, saying that. What did you say, what did you talk about? I haven’t talked to anybody. I have not had direct contact with anybody. I’m tired of the rumors and things like that. The last few days have been crazy around here for me. I just wanted to clear the air and let everyone know I Iove Miami. I went to school there and had four great years there. I would never bash Miami in any type of way or talk negative about Miami. Basically, he (Shapiro) wants attention. That’s all.”

Yahoo! Sports stands by its story and said there are audio recordings of Moss making his admission.

“I don’t have any ill feelings toward Tyrone Moss,” said Yahoo writer Charles Robinson on his Twitter account. “But I don’t know why he would lie about an interview he knows we can prove happened.”

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Jimmy Graham bulked up

New Orleans Saints second-year TE Jimmy Graham has put on 10 pounds of muscle, weighing in at 265 pounds. He still has his explosive speed and leaping ability with the added weight, and QB Drew Brees targeted him regularly in drills at the start of training camp. Graham isn't surprised by the extra looks, as he believes Brees is trying to help him become more comfortable and build a rapport. Graham said he has consistently worked on improving as a blocker this year, because he is going to be required to do more of it during the upcoming season than he did as a rookie.

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Colin McCarthy to be Titans No. 5 linebacker

Fourth-round pick Colin McCarthy is expected to be the Titans' fifth linebacker in his rookie season.
He's behind MLB Barrett Ruud, WLB Will Witherspoon, SLB Akeem Ayers, and nickel 'backer Gerald McRath on the depth chart. McCarthy will be strictly a special teamer in 2011. Ruud is on a one-year deal, so McCarthy could enter the starting lineup at middle linebacker eventually. That's where he played in college.

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Leonard Hankerson headed for No. 4 WR role

Beat writer John Keim confirms rookie Leonard Hankerson is ticketed for the No. 4 receiver job.
After struggling with drops early in camp, Hankerson has put in his best week. But he's still not ahead of Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney or Anthony Armstrong. The No. 79 overall pick isn't on the re-draft radar.

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Willis McGahee scores two TDs against Bills

Willis McGahee carried the ball five times for six yards and a touchdown in Denver's preseason game against the Bills on Saturday.

He added two catches for 33 yards and another score in what was a vintage McGahee performance. McGahee is locked in as the Broncos' goal-line and short-yardage back, but is an incredibly low-upside pick in 10-to-12 team leagues.

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Sinorice Moss Might Have To Focus on Special Teams

Former Giant Sinorice Moss may have to focus on special teams just to make the Philadelphia Eagles. The positive news: the oft-injured younger brother of Santana Moss told The Philadelphia Inquirer in August that he's finally 100 percent and still has his explosiveness. He's a player with some upside, but not this year. Johnnie Lee Higgins will focus on returns, and Chad Hall may not even make the roster.

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Randy Phillips placed on IR

The Detroit Lions have placed SS Randy Phillips (shoulder) on Injured Reserve, ending his 2011 season.

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Jeremy Shockey, Greg Olsen react to UM scandal




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Clinton Portis works out with Pats

Chalk up another veteran skill player heading to Foxborough for a workout.

According to PFW correspondent and Boston Herald writer Ian Rapoport, former Redskins RB Clinton Portis had a workout with the Patriots on Friday.

Portis, 29, is a free agent. He has played in 13 combined games over the last two seasons. In five games in 2010, he rushed for 227 yards on 54 carries and two touchdowns.

The Redskins released Portis on Feb. 28. He missed most of last season with a groin injury.

Rapaport says the Patriots' signing of appears to be a long shot, but sometimes Bill Belichick has a knack of taking a guy thought to be past most productive days and squeezing quality performances out of him. See Moss, Randy among many others.

With a loaded backfield, this seems to be yet another case of due diligence being done by the Patriots' personnel staff. It will be hard as is to decide which current backs to keep. The team reportedly worked out WRs T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Mark Clayton this week.

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Ray Lewis returns to practice

After missing Thursday's practice and Friday's preseason game against the Chiefs as he dealt with an illness in his family, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was back at team headquarters today.

The Ravens had given Lewis the last few days off to deal spend time with his aunt, who is seriously ill, but the veteran linebacker was back on the practice field this afternoon.

"Family always comes first and is the most important part of our lives," Lewis said, in a statement released by the team. "I want to thank everyone for every prayer and thought they've provided. I'd also like to give a special thanks to the coaches and Ravens organization who have always put family first and allowed me to leave and take care of my family during this very hard time. We will get through this together as a family and with God.

"Thank you again for the thoughts and prayers and for respecting our privacy during this challenging time."

As would be expected, Lewis took his spot with the first-team defense this afternoon, and looked to participate in full.

"It's great to have Ray back," head coach John Harbaugh said. "Just to walk in this morning and see him sitting in his usual seat ... it's Sunday today, so we had a little prayer, and he did it for us. Ray's our leader, so it's great to have him here."

Third-year linebacker Dannell Ellerbe had been getting the reps at Lewis' inside linebacker spot during the veteran's absence.

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Frank Gore's frustration with 49ers

Frank Gore should be frustrated over his contract situation, and he is, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Unfortunately for Gore, he's a 28-year-old running back coming off an injury-shortened season with one year remaining on his contract. Getting a lucrative long-term extension right now will be harder than getting one when he's pushing 29 years old next offseason.

The reality is that Gore has probably signed the final long-term, big-money deal of his career. He's sacrificed his body for the 49ers when they didn't have enough help around him. He's played hurt, demonstrated tremendous toughness and remained a team player even when the organization was suffering through dysfunction, particularly on offense.

There are two sides to this story.

The 49ers tore up Gore's rookie deal in 2007 after only two years, rewarding him for exceeding expectations that came with his status as a third-round draft choice.

"It's a little early," then-49ers coach Mike Nolan said at the time. "Frank just finished his second year. But we identified somebody we want in Frank. He's a young player and we wanted to extend it and it's still very early in his career."

The alternative for Gore would have been playing out that rookie deal, then signing a more representative extension a year or two later, in which case Gore would have multiple years remaining on his deal. Cashing in when he did, in 2007, reset the clock.

I do not envision the 49ers giving Gore millions in new money under the current circumstances. The team has a first-year head coach, a promising backup in Kendall Hunter and legitimate questions about Gore's durability.

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DeMarcus Van Dyke Does His Part in the Community

YOUNTVILLE — DeMarcus Van Dyke is a rookie cornerback who played with the first-team defense for the Oakland Raiders in a preseason game Saturday night. He was matched up against the 49ers’ Braylon Edwards, Ted Ginn Jr., and Josh Morgan at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. 

On Sunday, Van Dyke and 11 of his Raiders’ teammates visited with residents of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville during the dinner hour in the main dining room. It was a chance for Raiders players to leave their Napa training camp, to give their eyes a rest from studying the playbook and sit down with veterans to talk football.

“It meant a lot, just to have the coaches believe in me, to put me with the starting group,” said Van Dyke, who was selected in the third round out of Miami (Fla.) by Oakland in the 2011 NFL Draft. “I think I did pretty good. I played more comfortable, played fast. I’m trying to get better every day in camp by going against guys like Denarius Moore and all the other guys. I try to get better every day.”

Van Dyke and other players filled the hour by signing autographs, having their photos taken and getting to know some of the Home residents on a more personal level. Founded in 1884, the Veterans Home of California in Yountville is the largest veterans’ home in the United States, offering residential accommodations with a wealth of recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for independent living. Some 1,100 veterans (both men and women) of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom currently live at the Veterans Home. 

“It’s such a thrill for the vets here to actually meet some of these team members,” said Jaime Arteaga, public information manager for the state of California’s Department of Veterans Affairs. “They just love the idea of being able to see them on a 1 on 1 basis. They can ask them any questions they want. For the Raiders, this is a great opportunity, because I always think that whenever you have two generations come together, there’s a lot of mutual sharing and respect.”

Players went around the large room, introducing themselves and spending time at different tables. Other players who made the trip were Chimdi Chekwa, a rookie cornerback from Ohio State; Bryson Kelly, a rookie fullback out of Central Washington; Darryl Blackstock, a fifth-year linebacker out of Virginia; Stefen Wisniewski, a rookie center-guard from Penn State; Lou Eliades, a rookie tackle from Penn State; Alex Parsons, a first-year offensive lineman out of USC; Roy Schuening, a second-year guard out of Oregon State; Alan Pelc, a rookie guard from North Carolina; Seth Wand, a sixth-year tackle from Northwest Missouri State; Damola Adeniji, a first-year wide receiver from Oregon State; and Mason Brodine, a rookie defensive end from Nebraska-Kearney.

“It’s an honor to sit with these people,” said Eliades. “I’m sitting with these people and they feel privileged to be with me. But in reality, I’m honored to be with them right now on a day off.”

Said Wisniewski: “It was a lot of fun, met a lot of good people here. It was nice to get out of camp and do something for somebody else for a little while. It was a good time. A lot of Raider fans out here, which is cool.”

Van Dyke said he was honored to be at the Veterans Home, “to pay respect to the guys that fought for us to have the freedom that we have.”
Van Dyke played the first quarter, lining up at right cornerback, and was on special teams during the second and third quarter in Saturday’s game. The Raiders are in their final week of camp, which takes place at Redwood Middle School.

“This is a really big week just to keep grinding and get better every day at what I do,” said Van Dyke.

Veterans Home residents have long been big baseball fans, attending American Legion and Joe DiMaggio League games at Cleve Borman Field throughout the summer months for years and years. But they are also into football.

“They are football fans like nobody’s a football fan,” said Marcella McCormack, administrator of the Veterans Home. “Some of them like the Oakland Raiders, some of them like the 49ers.”

McCormack said the interaction between the professional players, who have been in camp since late July, and the Vets Home residents is a good thing.

“Whenever you can get them talking and working together, it’s great,” said McCormack, a retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. “We know the preseason’s on, they’re busy, they’re in training (camp). For them to take the time out to see our vets is great.”

The Raiders return to the Oakland Coliseum on Aug. 28 for a nationally televised Week 3 preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. In the preseason finale, the Raiders travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks in Week 4.

The Raiders open the 2011 NFL regular season in prime-time for the fifth time in seven seasons when the Silver and Black travel to Denver to face the AFC West Broncos on Sept. 12 in the second half of the ESPN Monday night doubleheader. The Raiders then travel to Buffalo to face the Bills on Sept. 18.

Wisniewski played center on the Oakland offensive line Saturday, but the Raiders are also taking a look at him at guard.

“Played pretty well, but still a lot to work on,” said Wisniewski. “Just trying to help the team wherever I can, no matter what position it’s at.

“I’ve had a lot to learn, certainly got a lot to work to do. But I’m happy with how it’s going — still trying to fight and get a starting job.”
Blackstock played from second quarter to the end of the game Saturday. He doesn’t grade himself personally on his play.

“I think that I did what I could to help the team, doing my job and playing physical and tough and intelligent,” said Blackstock. “I think as a group, we take this as a lesson and just really learn from it, be critical with the film and critical with our craft. As far as the learning process, you learn something new every day in football. The thing is to grasp the information and let it stick and keep rolling, because football is a craft. It takes time.”

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Reggie Wayne has been absent from Colts with “personal issue”

Rosenthal mentioned in his preview of Friday night’s preseason games that the Colts, already without their most important player in Peyton Manning, could be without receiver Reggie Wayne against the Redskins.

They were.

After the game, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters (via comments distributed by the team) that “Reggie was out of town on a personal issue, he’ll be back.”

But when will he be back?  Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star pointed out on Wednesday that Wayne was gone, due to a personal issue.
The nature of the personal issue is unclear.  It’s impossible to rule out that Wayne is merely unhappy with his personal income.

Before training camp opened, Wayne continued his pitch for a new contract, but he said he wouldn’t hold out.  “I’m a Colt. What else I’m gonna be?” Wayne told the Star. “I’m going to go to work. That’s what I do.”

Last year, Wayne skipped a mandatory minicamp due to his desire for a new deal.  He then hinted he’d hold out from training camp, but he ultimately showed up.

The Colts usually don’t share chapter-and-verse detail regarding potential distractions and/or disappointments.  So it’s hard to tell at this point whether Wayne’s “personal issue” has any link to his ongoing desire to get a new contract.

Wayne, 32, is due to earn a base salary of $5.95 million in 2011.

UPDATE:  Philip Wilson of the Star reported via Twitter last night as to Wayne, “I heard he’s a new dad.”  Why wouldn’t the team just say that instead?

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The key to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' longevity? Hard work.

About a month after last season ended, Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano received a text from a friend that read: "I'm watching one of your players run in the sand for an hour."

Later that morning, another text flashed on Pagano's phone: "Now, I'm watching your player swim 30 minutes in the ocean."

When Pagano finally asked for the name of the player, it was as if he already knew the answer: Ray Lewis.The enduring face of the franchise is entering his 16th season — a feat impressive for any NFL player, much less an inside linebacker — and the secret of Lewis' longevity is really no secret at all.

The 36-year-old Lewis prides himself on outworking everyone, whether it's on the field, in film study or inside the weight room.

Lewis' 210 games played rank fourth-most among active players, but the others ahead of him are a kicker (Jason Hanson), long snapper (David Binn) and fullback (Tony Richardson). None of them have been in as many high-impact collisions or logged as many plays as Lewis.

That's why coaches praise him and players look up to him. Even baseball's "Iron Man" admires Lewis' durability.

"The fact that Ray has been able to play the game at such a high level for so long is amazing to me," said Cal Ripken, who holds the baseball record for consecutive games played at 2,632. "His passion for football is clear and I would imagine that it is that love of the game that keeps him going so strong. As a Ravens fan, I have enjoyed watching him play since his career began here in Baltimore."

Just like no one can talk about Orioles history without mentioning Ripken, the same goes for Lewis.

He is the longest-tenured Raven on this roster by six seasons (Ed Reed is second). The Ravens actually selected Ray Lewis in the draft before they had selected their team colors.

Lewis did not play in the Ravens' second preseason game, a 31-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at M&T Stadium Friday night, because he has been excused from team activities to deal with a serious family medical issue. He rarely misses time due to injury; he has played in 14 or more games in all but two of his 15 seasons.

Lewis is the team's ultimate survivor, lasting through three head coaches, two salary-cap purges (2002 and this year) and one trip into free agency. This year's first-round pick, cornerback Jimmy Smith, was 8-years-old when Lewis played his first NFL game.

While few players have lasted as long as Lewis, even fewer have been playing as well at this stage of their careers. Lewis was the highest-rated defensive player in an NFL Network poll of current players and ranked No. 4 overall behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson.

"He's still playing as well as any middle linebacker in football today," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I want him to play as long as he wants to play, and I think he'll know when it's time. But as he has told me before, it's not time."

Trying to figure out that "time" is as difficult as breaking a Lewis tackle.

He recently said he may retire this year if the Ravens win a Super Bowl, but he doesn't guarantee it.

"I don't know when it will all be over for me," Lewis told CBS Sports. "People want to use my age against me. They say I'm too old. People fear getting old. I don't fear that because now I have wisdom and a tough body to go with that wisdom."

When Lewis will end his Hall of Fame career has been a hot topic in recent years.

Four months ago, Lewis hinted that he will play for two more seasons, telling the NFL Network that he can't see playing football past 37. His contract runs through 2015.

"People would always ask me about when Ray would retire and I used to say, 'Next year," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "Now, I don't even say anything. I don't even guess. To me, he could play 25 more years because he comes in every year in better and better and better shape."

No other great middle linebacker has played as along as Lewis.

Mike Singletary retired after 12 seasons before his play declined. Jack Lambert walked away after 11 years because of a severe toe injury. And Dick Butkus stopped after nine seasons because of multiple knee injuries.

One of the reasons why Lewis can continue to take the field is how he takes care of his body off of it.

His offseason regimens over the years have included kickboxing, martial arts, swimming and wrestling. This past year, he's even picked up cycling because it improves cardio-vascular conditioning "without all that pounding."

"My world is a violent world," Lewis said. "That's why I train so hard. I don't know if I have ever found a man on this Earth that would flat-out outwork me."

Lewis can talk boldly after playing in 1,111 snaps last season. He missed only five of the Ravens' total defensive snaps and that was due to a thumb injury.

His 12th Pro Bowl season included 139 tackles (sixth-most in the NFL), two interceptions (including one for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

There has been talk within the organization of reducing Lewis' snaps to extend his career. When asked if the Ravens are thinking about lessening Lewis' workload, Pagano said, "You can't take him out of there. It would take a tractor and chain to pull him off the field. Because all of those other guys feed off his energy, he raises everyone else's bar. They see No. 52 on all of those downs and it's all about accountability — we're not going to let this guy down."

Criticism of Lewis and his play appears to increase with each passing year, which only motivates him more to keep playing and proving them wrong.

"I listen to people that say, 'Oh, he lost a step,' " Lewis said. "Then you go watch film yourself and you see why players say he's still the best in the game. Bottom line, it's about making plays. It's not about running a fast 40. I'm not trying to run against Usain Bolt.

"As long as I take care of my body and I love the game like I did from Day One, I can honestly play as long as I want."

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Brandon Harris rookie diary: First game in the books

EDITOR'S NOTE: Texans cornerback Brandon Harrisicon-article-link, drafted in the second round (60th overall) out of Miami (Fla.), will chronicle his rookie season with periodic diary entries for

First of all, there’s obviously a lot going on right now at Miami. It’s pretty much nothing I can control, nothing I’ve got a hang on. I just talk to my teammates out there now and tell them to keep their heads up and keep working and everything will work out for the best.

It was exciting to be able to play my first NFL game on Monday – just going through the whole process of going to the hotel with the team, coming to the stadium, seeing all the fans waving to you and applauding on the drive in. You’ve been in that practice atmosphere a little bit, but the stadium is a completely different atmosphere when you walk in on gameday. Everything is set up so professional, you realize, ‘Man, I’m in the league now. This is it.’

Playing against the Jets, it was my first time actually being out there and playing against guys that I’ve watched on TV for a long time. Just during warm-ups, watching Darrelle Revis, watching Antonio Cromartie – watching players on my team, also – I was like, ‘Man, for years I watched these guys play, and now I’m here. This is actually it. I finally made it to this point.’ Even though it’s the preseason, it was still an NFL game, and it felt good to finally get out there and finally play some snaps. I was able to make a couple of tackles and get my head in there a lot, and I felt good about it after the game.

It was my first time since I don’t how long that I’ve played a game when I didn’t have one of my parents there. It was a little different. It was OK, I was adjusting to it, but ever since I’ve been in little league, I played for my dad in high school, went to college in Miami and they were able to come to all my games. So I was kind of looking around for them when I first got on the field a little bit and then I realized, ‘OK, you gotta go play.’

I played a total of 35 snaps. My first couple of snaps, I was out there on the kickoff team. That was my first time being on the kickoff team since I was in high school, and that was exciting. I was able to make a couple tackles on the kickoff team, so those are the plays that really stuck out because I hadn’t done it in so long.

When we went back and watched the film, I graded out pretty good. Coach Vance Joseph applauded me on the performance, a lot of things he was proud of. That was actually the best I felt, watching film. Even though you’re still working and you still know you’ve got to continue to get better, hearing it from him and hearing the guys around you was good. It’s your first one out; you always want the approval of your teammates. That’s always extra motivation.

The short week this week is all a part of being a professional. I see the adjustments that guys make, being able to turn the switch on and off from last week’s game to this week. It’s a lot of extra studying in a short period of time, but Coach Kub does a great job of designating the proper meeting times and stuff like that and making sure we’re getting all the information. That’s been the funnest part right now is just going through the process with Coach (Wade) Phillips drawing up game plans. He’s real sharp with it, too, so I learn so much just sitting there and listening to him talk and why he’s calling this play and why he’s doing this.

I’m excited to play against New Orleans. I just want to earn more snaps; continue to at least be put in the position to showcase my talent and show what I can do. It’s all about being patient, being a rookie. You have to be patient. It was tough at first coming from the University of Miami where I started as a freshman, started all three years there and coming in here as a rookie and being drafted in the second round and just scratching and clawing. You’re starting from the bottom. You have to try to work your way up to a role where you can play. I accept that, so I just choose to go out there and work hard. I just want to keep proving over and over again that I can play in this league and that I can help this team.

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Jeremy Shockey believes in Reggie Bush

When times were toughest for Reggie Bush this offseason, when it appeared his playing future was at its cloudiest, he talked things over with a former Saints teammate who knew the feeling: Jeremy Shockey.

Shockey and Bush referred to that talk during a pregame chat on Friday night, shortly before Bush’s new team, the Miami Dolphins, handed Shockey’s new team, the Panthers, a 20-10 beatdown.

“He’s excited to be here,” Shockey said afterward when I asked him about Bush. “He just thanked me for the advice I gave him early in the offseason. Told him to keep his head up, things would work out and it’s good to see things are.”

Bush received 10 touches in his Dolphins debut, shaking free for 81 yards on eight carries and a couple of receptions. His longest gain was 17 yards, but even then there was enough shimmy and shake in his gait to fill onlookers’ heads with the possibilities.

“He’s got the talent,” Shockey said. “Sure looks like they know how to use him. He’s a good friend, and I wish him the best as well. I hope all of  Miami cherishes him and respects him as the running back he is.”

Shockey and Bush have fond memories of Sun Life Stadium. It’s where they won a Super Bowl with the Saints a little over a year and a half ago.
Shockey spent the past three seasons as Bush’s teammate, so he knows better than most what the all-purpose threat is capable of doing.

“He’s a very special person running the football,” Shockey said. “No one wants it as much in the league as he does. You know he’s going to work and get it and achieve the things he wants to do in this league. It’s good to start over sometimes. I have no doubt he’ll do well this year.”

Shockey and Bush didn’t get a chance to talk after Friday’s game — “He blew me off again,” Shockey joked — but his old friend will be watching from afar to see what Bush can do in his first season in the AFC.

What should people know about Bush’s ability to take over a game?

“There’s not a guy in the NFL that could do it as good as him,” Shockey said. “It’s a health issue, like you said. It always is in this league. It’s very hard to find people that are 100 percent healthy year-round. He can control a game at the drop of a dime, man. I’ve seen him do that so many times. I’m just excited for him.”

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Jon Jay working on getting out of slump

Cardinals OF Jon Jay was left out of the starting lineup Friday against the Cubs, but he didn't remain on the bench. Jay entered the game and finished 1 for 2 with a caught stealing. He wasn't in the starting lineup because manager Tony La Russa wanted to rest the slumping Jay, who is batting .212 in 17 August games. 'I think he went through a period where he was a little funky,' La Russa said before the game. 'I think he's really close to being where he's going to be fine. Him and [hitting coach Mark McGwire] have done some good work. He'll be out there in the next couple days.'

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Ryan Braun, relentless Brewers keep rolling

Ryan Braun went 3-for-5 with a double, RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases as the streaking Brewers won again on Sunday, downing the Mets 6-2 in New York.

The Brewers are now an amazing 22-3 over their past 25 games. Braun is hitting .362 with four home runs, 13 RBI and seven stolen bases in that timespan. Up to 26 swipes on the season, he has a legitimate shot at a 30-30 campaign. He should be given a long look for the National League's MVP award.

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Chris Perez perfect for 27th save

Indians closer Chris Perez entered Thursday's series finale against the White Sox in the ninth inning with a two-run lead. The right-hander needed just 12 pitches to retire the side in order and secure the 4-2 win. Perez also lowered his ERA to 3.06 while collecting his 27th save of the season.

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Tim George Jr. fails to qualify in Montreal

Tim George Jr. failed to make the field for the Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

One of the ‘go-or-go-homers’ required to qualify on speed, he ran a 45th fastest lap in the No. 21. This was not good enough to make the 43-car field.

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