Lamar Miller loses snaps

Dolphins rookies QB Ryan Tannehill and ORT Jonathan Martin have been significant contributors early on, and both are overachieving. The other two big-name offensive rookies, RB Lamar Miller and TE Michael Egnew, have needed more time to develop.

Miller showed flashes earlier in the season. In Weeks Two and Three, he rushed the ball 19 times for 113 yards (5.9-yard average), and we're told the team has had plenty of praise for the local back out of Miami (Fla.). But it puzzled observers when Miller didn’t get a single carry in Week Six, when No. 2 RB Daniel Thomas was out with a concussion, seemingly giving Miller an opportunity. Head coach Joe Philbin chalked that up to the lack of offensive plays. When Thomas returned for Week Eight, Miller was the only active Dolphin who did not step on the field.

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ILB Darryl Sharpton expects to practice next week

Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton has a lot bottled up at this point.

This week, for the first time all season, he’s started hitting bags at practice, still working on his own while on the physically unable to perform list. The Texans have said he is “very, very close,” and Sharpton thinks he’ll  be off PUP next week.

“It felt good just to get some of those animalistic instincts I’ve been harnessing back all this time on the shelf, just to let it go, and there’s a lot more to let go,” Sharpton said. “So I look forward to letting it go.”

Sharpton tore his quadriceps muscle all the way from his knee last October. He returned to practice for training camp when his injury was still not 100 percent healed. Sharpton said his health was “good enough to play,” but when he returned, he suffered a setback with an injury to his hip. That landed Sharpton on PUP.

“Now I feel a lot better overall,” he said. “I feel pretty good about everything. It’s all about going out there and playing at this opint because nothing I can do in the training room, the weight room can simulate actually playing. I’m just really excited about getting back out there. Can’t wait to put helmet and shoulder pads back on.”

Sharpton might have been starting anyway for the Texans, but with inside linebacker Brian Cushing out for the season, his presence could be even more impactful.

“Even if Cush was still here, I still think I can help the team with what I can bring to the table,” Sharpton said. “I just can’t wait to put what I’m talking about on display.”

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Ravens' Terrell Suggs: Ray Lewis loss is 'catastrophic'

You've heard this one before: The Baltimore Ravens haven't been the same team on defense this year.

Opponents have preyed on this once-dominant unit, pouring out yardage and points on a defense that spent the past nine seasons ranked in the top 10.

Pass rusher Terrell Suggs is back from the Achilles' injury that forced him to miss the team's first six games, but ailments have pulled too many other key players out of the mix.

Suggs rates the loss of Ray Lewis above them all.

"There's no word, really, in the English dictionary that can describe how important this man is to this team and this city," Suggs said in a Thursday appearance on NFL Network's "Around the League Live," set to air at 4 p.m. ET. "Losing him was catastrophic, and it's going to be hard to fill that void."

Suggs sees Baltimore's 30th-ranked defense as the product of injuries and transition. Young players have been asked to step in and fill the void left by Suggs, Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb during the team's 5-2 start.

It hasn't gone smoothly, but there's no sense of doom and gloom inside the building.

"We're a group of men built on doing the impossible," Suggs said.

What we saw against the Houston Texans on Sunday was disturbing. The Ravens couldn't stop the run or slow down the play-action pass. If the offense isn't singing, this team has trouble competing, and that's very new for the Ravens.

Baltimore's defense has rescued a typically floundering offense for a decade-plus, but times are changing. Suggs believes his teammates can weather the storm.

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Warren Sapp's luxury home auctioned for $2.1 million

Tampa, FL-- For 13 years Warren Sapp made a living of sacking the quarterback, making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders star earned over $60,000,000 during his career.

Yet, it's off the field through bad investments and a life of excess, that has put the sack on Sapp.

Thursday morning in Orlando, the 15,000 square foot luxury home the 7-time pro-bowler built for $7 million was auctioned off.

The Windermere property was appraised recently for $3.4 million. When the gavel fell by Fisher Auction Company the home went to the highest bidder for $2.1 million to fitness entrepreneur Brenda Dykgraaf.

"I think at the end my heart started beating a little fast, thinking this could actually be mine," said Dykgraaf. "I thought I would come here today and it would be sold for closer to $3 million."

The four bedroom home features a resort style swimming pool, a lazy river, a theatre room, wall to wall marble flooring and gold crown molding.

Other amenities include marble-countered indoor, and summer kitchens, with sub zero appliances, a wine cellar, a four car garage, a dock and a boat house.

The property tax alone cost $61,000 annually, making it among the very highest in Orange County.

Sapp owes Federal Bankruptcy court more than $6 million and is reportedly behind in his child support payments.

He wasn't on hand Thursday as bidders took turns raising their number.

"The lady said who bought it, she goes in to the closet and there are all these Air Jordan's," said The Sporting News Reporter David Whitley. "When you got 125 pairs of Air Jordan's you would think 'Ok I can get by with 50 pairs, and put the rest toward child's support'."

On Tuesday, November 6, a Federal Bankruptcy Judge will determine wither the $2.1 million bid is high enough in order for the home to be sold.

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Kenny Phillips ready to play against Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday

For four weeks, Kenny Phillips has been able to do nothing but watch.

The Giants safety has been sitting out with a sprained MCL in his knee, watching as backup Stevie Brown went from journeyman to star, making four interceptions in four games as opponents have tried to test him.

And now, Phillips is ready to join the party. On Thursday, the safety announced that he expects to play on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I’m going this week,” Phillips said. “I do feel confident in my knee. It’s been a long, long process, but I feel like it’s good enough for me to get back out there and make some plays.”

That means that for the first time since the start of the season, the Giants’ safety rotation is completely healthy.  Phillips practiced for the first time in nearly a month last week, and he’s continued to progress this week; he worked through his first full practice on Wednesday then went through a limited session on Thursday.

Safety Antrel Rolle also worked through a limited session Thursday, his first action since suffering a head injury on Sunday in Dallas.

Rolle said he didn’t know if he’d suffered a concussion, but he still needed to pass the league’s protocols for such an injury before returning to action.

“I went through the tests and everything, and I’m back out here to work,” Rolle said.

It all gives the Giants an overabundance of depth at safety. Phillips and Rolle began the season as undisputed starters, but Brown’s play has forced him into the Giants’ long-term plans.

The third-year safety began the season as a special teams demon, but he currently has five interceptions, second-most in the NFL. Brown made two interceptions and recovered a fumble in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys.

It’s no wonder Phillips said he’d take “whatever role they give me.”

He added that “there’s definitely a chance” that the Giants utilize a defensive package that includes all three safeties on Sunday, especially since they’ll face a Steelers offense that ranks ninth in the league in passing. But if that doesn’t happen, Phillips said, he’s content to be eased back into the action.

“If I have to back up my backup, I’ll do it,” he said.

Deep down, though, Phillips wishes he could be enjoying the season that Brown has had. He talked in the preseason of making more interceptions, but opponents, wary of his playmaking ability, have rarely tested him the last few seasons.

Teams have attacked Brown, though, so much so that Phillips wondered Thursday if maybe “they couldn’t see him.”

“Half the time, he’d be sitting in the middle of the field, and they’d just throw the ball,” Phillips said. “He’s making the play for it.”

“We’d all like to get interceptions,” he added, “but Stevie’s the guy right now.”

Phillips hopes his chance comes soon, though. Offenses must now account for Brown, he said, which could create chances for the Giants’ other two safeties.

“I hope so,” Phillips said. “That’s what I’m really hoping.”

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Antrel Rolle: Rules that protect receivers endanger defensive backs

Giants safety Antrel Rolle says the NFL’s rules that protect receivers from being hit when they’re defenseless are the reason he suffered a concussion on Sunday.

Rolle says that he suffered the concussion when he had to adjust on the fly as he was about to hit Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, concerned that he could incur a 15-yard penalty for hitting Bryant while Bryant was defenseless. According to Rolle, that adjustment left him off-balance, and he ended up tripping as he ran into teammate Corey Webster, ultimately resulting in Rolle falling head-first onto the turf.

“I was just worried about not giving them extra yards. But there’s no way around that,” Rolle told USA Today. “Does it suck for a defensive player? Yeah, it sucks. It definitely does suck. You can’t play a game the way you’ve been brought up how to play the game. We’re not trying to hurt anyone, but was I trying to detach him from the ball? Absolutely. Had he caught the ball, absolutely. I was there, I had perfect timing. I just couldn’t follow through with it.”

Rolle said that his desire not to take an illegal shot at Bryant led him to endanger himself.

“I definitely put myself in danger because it’s a split second where you have to make that decision,” Rolle said. “It’s not like I could make that decision on the ground because I was already airborne. So me twisting, turning and trying to get out of the way definitely put myself in harm’s way.”

The good news is that Rolle has been cleared to return from his concussion. The question is whether next time, Rolle will be so willing to pull up when he has a shot at a defenseless receiver.

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Watching Reggie Wayne work

The words attached themselves to Reggie Wayne long ago: crafty, deceptive, precise, strong, determined.

At 33, his speed might not be the same, but his route-running and hands are as good as ever, and the labels all remain accurate.

The Colts receiver said during Super Bowl week that he would be honored to be part of a Colts rebuild, that a youth movement required some veterans mixed in. An old friend, Chuck Pagano, took over as the team’s new coach and added the sales pitch Wayne needed to stay put.

Nearly halfway into his 12th season, Wayne’s been an incredible resource for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, and an incredible frustration for opponents.

In Indianapolis’ overtime win over the Titans in Week 8, Wayne snatched a couple of Luck throws, waiting to raise his hands until the last second and beating the better-than-decent coverage of Titans nickelback Ryan Mouton.

Defensive backs on all the teams the Colts play routinely return to the huddle shaking their heads over what Wayne just did against them. He can be acrobatic, for sure, but more often it’s just a workmanlike efficiency that leaves defenders confused as to how their good work didn’t prevent a catch.

“He knows what he’s doing out there,” Titans cornerback Jason McCourty said. “There are times when he comes off the ball and it seems as though he’s moving in slow motion, he’s not really trying to get open. Next thing you know, he breaks away from your leverage and he’s wide open.

“This year more so than usual, he’s moving around a lot. He’s in the slot, he’s in motion, he’s cutting off the backside defensive end on run plays. He’s doing a lot for them, and you can see he’s leading by example. He was able to make the tough catches against us. There was a third down where Mouton had him blanketed and he darn near catches it with one hand.”

Wayne has been targeted 92 times by Luck this season according to play-by-plays from the Colts’ seven games. ESPN Stats & Info says the count is a league-high 87.

One broadcast commentator said Wayne told him in a production meeting that he doesn’t like the tracking of targets, because an uncatchable ball thrown 20 feet over his head counts in the column. Out of context that designation suggests it’s something he should have, or could have, caught.

I spent Thursday morning watching all 92 of those passes thrown in his direction per the game-by-game stats. In doing so, I didn’t learn anything new really. I just got a fresh reinforcement of the things that have been talked about throughout his career. He’s crafty, deceptive, precise, strong, determined.

Of his 54 catches, I starred 13. That’s nearly a quarter of his catches that qualifies to one set of typically critical, tough-to-impress eyes as special.

Although I counted it only once, his reaching, one-handed catch against the Packers and Charles Woodson, who was flagged for pass interference on the play, got three stars. It’s a play that will be at the front of the team’s highlight reel this season, and will assume a prominent place on Wayne’s when his career ends.

That win against the Packers was a tribute to Pagano, who the team learned had leukemia at the start of the practice week. Wayne wore orange gloves and an orange mouthpiece -- the color attached to leukemia awareness -- as he posted a 212-yard receiving day. It was the second best receiver production against Green Bay since 1960.

Wayne’s never been predominantly about speed, so that he might be going through the slow-down natural to a guy who turns 34 on Nov. 17 hasn’t dented his effectiveness.

Pro Football Reference defines this as his “age 34 season.” Wayne’s currently averaging 108 yards a game. If he maintains a triple-digit average this season, he’ll be the first player in the AFL or NFL to average 100 or more receiving yards over 14 or more games in his “age 34 season” or later.

Per Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info, Jerry Rice did it in 1995 in his “age 33 season” with 115.5 receiving yards per game. Don Maynard did it in his “age 32 season” for the Jets in the AFL in 1967 with 102.4 yards a game.

In the past 10 seasons (2003 to 2012), five receivers have averaged 100 or more yards while playing at least 14 games. All of them were younger than 30 when they did it, with Carolina’s Steve Smith the oldest to do it, at 29.

In the midst of it all, he’s a significant piece of the blocking that’s helped the run game break out the past two weeks, something that will need to continue for the Colts to stay in the playoff hunt.

That he takes as much pride in his role there as he does in his ability to raise his hands and reach out to snare a pass at the last second tells us a lot about Wayne.

“I’m in the trenches,” he told Indianapolis reporters last week. “I’m definitely keeping my feet moving, because that’s how a lot of O-linemen get rolled up on. I’ve seen it. It’s interesting. It is, but I’m eager to go out and step up to the challenge. It’s been fun, man. Especially when you are blocking a linebacker, and in your mind, you got the best of him.

“It’s a good feeling when the ball goes off your block and you get a 6-, 7-, 8-yard gain. It pushes you to continue to go out there and do it. We have a lot of little packages where I’m motioning and blocking, and it’s fun. It keeps me young.”

The age of the prima-donna receiver seems to have largely passed, which is a wonderful development. The down-to-earth Wayne has always done his part. He’s not about flash. He’s about work.

Despite all the change around him, the work is working for the NFL’s leading receiver in yardage right now.

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PFF mid-season All-Pro team features Calais Campbell

About a week ago, I presented to you the Pro Football Focus Pro Bowl cheat sheet list. On it were Daryl Washington and Calais Campbell, but only one of them was mentioned in a positive light. Washington was excluded from their list, as they believed that due to a few missed tackles, NaVorro Bowman and Sean Lee made it ahead of him. Patrick Willis, another 49ers linebacker, was also in the mix, but didn't make it.

Even with his 2 sacks and 6 tackles against the 49ers on Monday Night Football, nothing has changed. D-Wash was excluded from another Pro Football Focus list.

PFF still has Washington on the outside looking in on their mid-season All-Pro team. With Sean Lee out for the season, Patrick Willis has stepped in to take the second 3-4 inside linebacker spot next to Bowman. Here is their reasoning:

The hardest decision out there. It was near impossible to leave Daryl Washington and his eight sacks off the team, but he can at times be a little erratic in the run game and has a tendency to miss tackles (11), which puts him a whisker behind the 49ers' duo. Both men have shown their versatility with some excellent play going backwards and coming forwards. If Sean Lee was still healthy he'd be in consideration as well.

Honorable Mentions: Daryl Washington (ARZ)

And just like last time, I still disagree with their analysis. Even if he misses a few tackles, it his presence on the field that makes all the difference. He commands attention wherever he is and can make plays from any position on the field. Can Willis or Bowman play safety? I don't think so. Washington can.

But don't be too sad, Cardinals fans. We still have Calais Campbell. He was one of the top names listed among 3-4 front defensive linemen next to Aubrayo Franklin and J.J. Watt. PFF doesn't mention much about Campbell other than, "the Cardinals' right end (is) having another stellar season."

Campbell has certainly been dominant, but has been near invisible for a couple of games this season. I was surprised to see Washington be snubbed, but Campbell make it. It's all in the positions they play, I guess.

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Broncos figure to work D.J. Williams into lineup quickly, creatively

Q: I'm as frustrated at the D.J. Williams issues as anyone, but I also recognize his talent. And given how well things are going for the Broncos now, it's exciting to think that we could be making a midseason "acquisition" of a linebacker with Williams' skills. Where do you see him fitting into the lineup and how much of an impact can he have given the amount of time missed?

A: Bill, the Broncos are frustrated with Williams' suspensions as well. But with the NFL rules regarding suspensions involving substance abuse (alcohol and/or illegal drugs, etc.), Williams has been able to attend team meetings and meetings with his position group of late.

He can also work out with the Broncos strength and conditioning staff. With his six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy, that was not the case. Williams could not go to the Broncos' Dove Valley complex during that suspension.

During the current three-game suspension, which ends the day after the Broncos play the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Williams can be in the building. So, he won't be as far behind in terms of his conditioning and ability to work in the Broncos' new defensive scheme when he is reinstated.

He was also in training camp, so he's been around the team when things were installed.

So, if he's ready physically, and after three weeks with the team's strength and conditioning staff there is no reason he shouldn't be, Williams should be able to quickly contribute in some way.

That said, the question will be how. Wesley Woodyard has played in what was once Williams' weakside spot in the 4-3 base defense. Woodyard is the team's leading tackler and is coming off his best game as a pro with 13 tackles, a sack, forced fumble and an interception in the Broncos' win over the Saints.

To take him off the field to play Williams on the weak side doesn't make sense. And to take Von Miller out of the strong side to play Williams doesn't make sense, though when Williams sent some items from the playbook on Twitter in the preseason about his "position change," it had to do with the strongside spot.

The Broncos like what Keith Brooking has done at middle linebacker. Williams has started a full season at each of the three linebacker spots in a 4-3 defense during his career with the Broncos, but in the past he has consistently said publicly it's his least favorite spot to play.

Which is why upon his return it would be no shock, in fact look for it in some situations, for the Broncos to play a 3-4 look once in a while and simply play all four of the linebackers with Miller and Woodyard as outside linebackers, Brooking and Williams on the inside.

The key to making that work, especially on early downs, would be to find a way for Elvis Dumervil to play in the defensive line. Dumervil would be undersized for that duty in any 3-4 look, so the Broncos could go with a more traditional three-man look up front with Derek Wolfe, Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan up front and use Dumervil in a rotational role, with the focus being on passing downs.

Dumervil also led the league in sacks, with 17, as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. He then played down in a three-point stance for most of those sacks.

The Broncos align themselves at times like a 3-4 defense, even though their scheme is a 4-3, with multiple fronts and personnel packages. That will only increase with Williams' return.

They also have a three-linemen, three-linebacker package they use in their nickel defense (five defensive backs), and Williams would certainly be a candidate in that look as well.

Beyond Miller, Broncos coach John Fox has said Williams is potentially one of the impact players the Broncos have at the position. So, Fox figures to use Williams plenty just as soon as the veteran is in uniform.

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Scout's Notebook: Texans C Chris Myers

C Chris Myers, #55 Houston Texans Height: 6-4 5/8 Weight: 296 Speed: 5.12

Notes: Lettered at Miami (Fla.), where he was a three-year starter, seeing action at center, both guard positions and right tackle, starting his final 38 games. Was selected by the Broncos in the sixth round (200th overall) in the 2005 NFL draft. Saw limited action on special teams his first two seasons before being thrust into the starting lineup at left guard in ’07, moving to center for the final 11 games for an injured Tom Nalen. Former Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak traded for the restricted free agent in 2008 as part of a sign-and-trade deal after Myers agreed to a four-year, $11 million contract with $3 million guaranteed. Proceeded to start every game at center for the Texans the next four years, earning Pro Bowl honors in ’11. Has started all seven games in ’12, giving him 87 consecutive starts.  

Positives: Excellent hand technician ­— locks out in pass protection and controls and steers defenders. Can dig his feet in the dirt and anchor against massive widebodies. Comes off the ball low and can move big pluggers off the line when he gets underneath their pads (see Baltimore vs. Terrence Cody). Good agility to pull, play in space and seal off run lanes working up a level. Good athletic ability and recovery speed. Alert and aware in pass protection ­— can peel off blocks and help cut off the wide rush. Understands and takes very good angles. Versatile and can play multiple positions. Football-smart, hardworking, highly durable and dependable.

Negatives: Is not a nasty or violent glass eater. Lower-body strength is adequate and still can stand to improve. Does not always run his feet and can be stalled on contact in the ground game. Can do a better job sustaining and finishing blocks. Has a tendency to set a bit tall in pass protection and could stand to play with more consistent knee bend. Average punch strength ­— pushes more than he pops and slips off defenders with athletic spin moves while trying to overcompensate for his lack of power. Will leak the edges to quick, slanting penetrators.

Summary: One of the most unheralded movement centers in the league, Myers keys the Texans’ high-paced ground game, possessing the savvy, technique and agility suited so well for Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. Is one of the few pivots in the league who's alert and athletic enough to reverse out of pass pro and help his left tackle handle an elite edge rusher. Grades out very highly in both the run game and pass protection and is a key piece of one of the most light-footed and athletic lines in football that has helped generate Arian Foster’s exceptional production. A highly respected, savvy, veteran O-line leader.

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Jon Vilma goes to court with former coach's email

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The attorney for New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma has filed a court brief in the bounties case with an email from a former assistant coach who called the Saints a "dirty organization."

The email from Mike Cerullo to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello is part of a motion that seeks to block former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue from hearing appeals of the alleged program to pay for injury-producing hits. Vilma claims that Cerullo had a vendetta against Saints interim coach Joe Vitt after being fired.

The motion by Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, also challenges the NFL's plan to have Cerullo and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testify by telephone at the hurricane-delayed appeals hearing. Ginsberg writes that both men should be at the hearing if it goes forward.

Vilma was suspended for the entire season - the stiffest suspension of four players named in the bounties case - but he was allowed to suit up while appealing. Tagliabue was scheduled to hear the case this week, but it was delayed because of Superstorm Sandy. The other players are Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

Cerullo's email, dated Nov. 2, 2011, tells Aiello that he has information on Vitt lying to an NFL investigator about a bounty program "along with proof!!" Cerullo has been fired by the Saints after the 2009 season, which Vilma claims led him to seek revenge against Vitt and the Saints.

"I was there, in the cover up meetings, with players and Joe," Cerullo wrote. "I love the NFL and want to work there again, but I am afraid if I tell (the) truth I will never coach again in NFL. But I was fired for a situation the Saints encourage."

Cerullo said he was hoping to be hired by another NFL team and if talking with Aiello jeopardized his chances, "I will have to get back to you, but The Saints are a Dirty Organization."

Details of the email were first reported by

Ginsberg said the NFL has agreed to make Cerullo and Williams, the alleged mastermind of the scheme, available by telephone for the appeals hearing. The attorney said that won't do.

"Given their importance to this matter, testimony by telephone is not an adequate substitute," Ginsberg wrote. "The NFL should be required to produce for in-person testimony any witness upon whom it intends to rely during the upcoming hearing so that the witness can be adequately examined and his or her credibility adequately evaluated."

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Ed Reed adds reporter to list of responsibilities

Every week, the opposing team makes available a player to be interviewed by Baltimore media via conference call. On Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was the interview participant.

Towards the end of the conference call, Ravens free safetyicon1 Ed Reed made his way through the media room at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills. After finding out from public relations coordinator Tom Valente that Thomas was on the phone, Reed jumped in.

“Hey, Joe, how you doing? This is Ed Reed,” he said.

“Good. Hey, good. How’s it going?” Thomas said with a laugh.

“How’s the weather in Cleveland?” Reed asked.

“Oh man, I haven’t had power since Monday,” Thomas replied. “I can’t wait to go homeicon1 and see what’s going. Maybe they’ll have my electricity turned on.”
“The hurricane came through there, man?” Reed asked.

“Dude, it’s been crazy,” Thomas said. “I can’t believe it. They said that New York, New Jersey and Cleveland were, like, the hardest-hit areas from this hurricane. I can’t believe we got messed up this bad by a hurricane.”

“Well, that’s crazy, man,” Reed said. “I hope everything is well, man.”

“Alright, thanks,” Thomas said.

Sounds like Reed could be lining a future gig as a member of the media like former Ravens Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and Trent Dilfer.

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Antrel Rolle passes tests, back on the field

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Antrel Rolle returned to the practice field Thursday, four days after suffering a head injury against the Cowboys.

Did he actually have a concussion? That's not entirely clear.

"To be honest, I don’t know what it was," Rolle said Thursday. "I just know I was dinged up at the moment, but for whatever it was, we had to go through and make sure we went through the right protocol. I saw the doctors. I went through the tests and everything and I’m back out here to work."

Coach Tom Coughlin liked what he saw. "He worked well today and he seemed to feel real good," Coughlin said.

With Kenny Phillips poised to return this week after missing four games with a knee injury, the Giants should have their starting safety tandem back in place for Sunday's game against the Steelers.

"It’s always great to have Kenny back," Rolle said. "I’m looking forward to having him back, looking forward to him making plays in this defense as he always does."

In Phillips' absence, the Giants unearthed another playmaker -- third-year safety Stevie Brown, who has five interceptions on the season, including three the past two weeks.

(The five picks puts Brown one behind the league leader, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings.)

Coughlin said Wednesday that he will find ways to utilize all three safeties. The Giants sometimes employed a three-safety look on defense last season.

Rolle was asked about that possibility Thursday.

"I think we can do whatever we want to do at this point," Rolle said. "It’s not our call to make as players. It’s just our job to do whatever we’re assigned to do, whatever we’re told to do and that’s all we’re going to continue to do."

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John Salmons returns to team

MINNEAPOLIS – Kings swingman John Salmons returned to the Kings on Thursday, more than two weeks after leaving the team because his wife, Taniesha, gave birth to the couple's third child.

What Salmons thought would be a brief return to Philadelphia ended up being much longer because, as Salmons put it, Caleb Josiah Salmons was "stubborn."
"I thought I would only be there for a couple days," Salmons said after practice at Target Center. "I went home early to induce, and (the baby) ended up being five days overdue.

"So, there's going to be some rust, getting back in game shape. I only played in one preseason game."

Salmons said mother and son are doing fine, which is why he is back with the team.

"There was a lot of back-and-forth to the hospital, a lot of waiting around," Salmons said. "When he actually came out, I had left to go work out, and my wife called me, and I almost missed it."

Kings coach Keith Smart said Salmons will not play tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Salmons last played in a game in the Oct. 10 preseason opener.

Smart said Salmons would spend a lot of time with strength and conditioning coach Daniel Shapiro before playing in a game.

"He's been gone for too long," Smart said. "We're going to make sure he gets the right, proper practice under his belt, doing some extra work. I don't see him getting on the floor in the next couple of games."

Meeting at the point – Smart said he met with his three point guards – Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks and Jimmer Fredette – about how to better run the offense.
Smart wants the guards to be more "demonstrative."

"A lot of the problems we had (Wednesday resulted from) how they were on the floor and not getting guys in the right spots," Smart said.

Smart said the Kings' spacing was "atrocious" against the Chicago Bulls. Even though the Kings cut a 14-point deficit to three in the fourth quarter, Brooks said the offense was a concern.

"We're still a little stagnant," Brooks said. "I think out of timeouts we did a good job of executing, but there was still a lot of standing around during the fourth quarter."

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Bryant McKinnie To Be Traded To Cardinals?

Could Bryant McKinnie be the answer for someone? McKinnie's the odd man out in the Baltimore tackle rotation (Michael Oher's taken his old left tackle job, with Iowa State rookie Kelechi Osemele now the right tackle. McKinnie played but 23 offensive snaps in the last three Ravens game. But he'd be a good temporary Band-Aid for the reeling Cardinals, who I hear have some interest in him. They should. Their two starting tackles are the lowest-rated tackles in the NFL, according to, which has Bobbie Massie and D'Anthony Batiste blamed for the incredible total of 25 sacks and 74 quarterback hits or hurries -- in eight games!

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proCane DB Cory Nelms Gets A Workout

Per Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson (who also works for the NFL and, reports that the Oakland Raiders have worked out QB Aaron Corp, WR’s Shaky Smithson and Saalim Hakim, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Buddy Jackson, and DB Cory Nelms. Here is a bit of information on the players who the Raider kicked the tires on.

Cory Nelms – DB – 2012 Undrafted free agent signed by the San Francisco 49ers . Nelms stands at 6′-0″ and lat weighed in at 195 lbs. and is currently on the 49ers practice squad.

College: University of Miami. He was a track star in his rookie year at Miami. His combine 40-time avareaged at 4.41 with a lowest time of 4.35. Once signed by the 49ers, he was moved from corner to safety.

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Olivier Vernon named AFC Special Teams Player of Week

Dolphins rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon, who scored a touchdown off a blocked punt and blocked a field goal in Sunday’s 30-9 victory over the New York Jets, was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Wednesday.

The award is the first won by a Dolphin this season and marks the first time a rookie has won since 2008, when placekicker Dan Carpenter won for his performance against Buffalo on Dec. 7, 2008. Carpenter kicked three field goals _ from 50, 35 and 27 yards _ that accounted for the margin of victory in that 16-7 win.

Vernon is one of only four non-kickers to win the award. The others were punt returners Nate Jacquet in 1992 and Wes Welker in 2009, and kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. in 2008, who had two returns of 100 and 101 yards for touchdowns in another win over the Jets.

A third-round pick out of the University of Miami, Vernon was in the right place at the right time after Jimmy Wilson blocked a Robert Malone punt, grabbing the ball just as he was headed into the end zone to give Miami a 10-0 lead.

Then, just before the half, Vernon broke through the line to get a hand on Jets’ kicker Nick Folk’s 35-yard attempt that would have cut the Dolphins’ halftime lead to 20-3.

Vernon has two tackles on special teams and a forced fumble this season to go with the blocked field goal. On defense, he ranks third on the team with 2.5 sacks and has also been credited with 10 tackles, three passes defensed, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits.

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Warren Sapp's $7 million mansion to be auctioned Today

Warren Sapp's 15,000-square-foot, multi-million-dollar Windermere mansion is scheduled to hit the auction block this morning.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle's home features a wine cellar, movie theater and resort-style swimming pool with a water slide and lazy river. It was built in 2005 for almost $7 million.

The Tuscan-style mansion on Lake Butler is in an exclusive subdivision home to celebrities, professional athletes and executives.

Sapp, a Super Bowl champion who once was a contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Florida earlier this year.


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Ed Reed on NFL fining Ravens $20,000: 'They're taking away from football'

Standing in the locker room today, Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed laughed when asked if he would kick in to help the Ravens pay a $20,000 fine for failing to list him on the injury report with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

And then the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year unloaded on the league for punishing the Ravens, saying it doesn't make sense to him considering he didn't miss any practice time or snaps in games.

However, the NFL told The Baltimore Sun that any injury to a significant player has to be listed.

"It wasn't a serious injury that should have been reported because I wasn't out," Reed said. "That goes to show you about the integrity of the game and how it's changed and how they're making more decisions and fining us and taking away from football, so to say. They're taking money and fining you for small stuff. Anything possible they can fine for you that takes away from them, the NFL, and we are the ones who really are the NFL, the players. I don't even know how to answer this question."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is expected to increase the amount of players he lists on the injury report going forward to comply with the NFL rulebook.
The Ravens are the third team to be fined this season for not following the injury reporting guidelines. The Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins were previously fined $20,000 for not listing defensive end Mario Williams and quarterback Robert Griffin III, respectively.

"I didn't miss any games or any practice," Reed said. "How can you fine somebody for something like that when nothing is being missed? As years go by and I'm out of the league, I'm sure that this will be brought more to people's attention, how we get treated as players, and it's not right. The CBA and the NFLPA should have probably negotiated this stuff better. They have to have a way to get their money back. It's crazy that we get fined the way we do."

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Life Isn’t Fun For Eric Winston Right Now


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Antrel Rolle: “After Going Through Hurricane Andrew … This Is Quite A Breeze”

Antrel Rolle joined Richard Neer on WFAN in New York to discuss the challenges the team faces with the New York/New Jersey area dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, the head injury he suffered in Dallas, his status for this week’s game against Pittsburgh and the great play they’re getting from Stevie Brown, while generally refusing to bite on a war of words with Jerry Jones.

On the flight back into New Jersey just beating Hurricane Sandy:
“The flight wasn’t bad at all — very little turbulence, at least from what I can remember. Everything was pretty smooth. I think they did a great job of getting us in in a timely manner and getting us back to our homes safe and sound.”

On if he was worried as the storm loomed:
“I’m from Miami, so we go through the worst of the worst. So I’m pretty much used to this, but I know the people out here in New York are not too much used to this weather and this forecast. But this is something that I’ve gone through several times in my life before. And after going through Hurricane Andrew, to me, this is quite a breeze.”

On if the storm has thrown a wrench into their schedule:
“I think we had to adjust our schedule just a little bit due to the weather conditions, but we will be in a facility come Wednesday and everything should be A-OK.”

On the “head injury” he suffered against the Cowboys:
“They run you through a string of tests to check and see if you are concussed and whatnot. My tests came back pretty good. I was fully aware of where I was, I was fully aware of what happened on the play, what happened the play before … and things of that nature. Just little things like that. So overall I was OK with the tests, but being that they’re taking things very seriously when you’re talking about concussions in this league, they told me I wasn’t able to return to the game. Being that it was so late anyway, the trainer thought it was best for me just to sit the rest of the game out.”

On if he expects to be able to play Sunday against Pittsburgh:
“I just have a few more tests to go through come Wednesday, but if it’s up to me I’m definitely going to be out there come Sunday. I feel fine. I feel very good.”

On the surprisingly good performances the Giants’ secondary has been getting from Stevie Brown, who’s replacing the injured Kenny Phillips:
“Stevie has a knack for the ball. … Whenever the ball is in his area, he does his best to go get it. And whenever he touches it, he comes down with it. And that’s always good. Stevie, he’s had a rough road. I think he’s been cut from a couple different teams, and sometimes that’s what it takes in order for you to find your mark in this league.”

On Jerry Jones predicting at training camp that the Cowboys would “beat the Giants’ asses” in the game that was played Sunday at Cowboys Stadium:
“That’s something that was brought up before the season started, and I can tell you right now I haven’t thought about it unless I’ve been asked about it in the media. And that’s always going to be my approach — I can care less about who says what. The game still has to be played come Sunday. He invited a whole lot of people out there to watch the Giants get their butts whooped and it didn’t quite turn out that way. We went out there to take care of business. I think Dallas did an exceptional job of fighting back. A lot of teams in that situation would not have fought back the way they did, so I tip my hat to those guys for being the competitors that they are.”

Listen to Antrel Rolle on WFAN here

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Cowboys TE Jason Witten nears Michael Irvin’s career receptions mark

IRVING, Texas — Jason Witten still remembers vividly his first NFL catch, though at the time the Dallas Cowboys tight end didn’t think enough about it to even keep the ball.

It was a 13-yard pass from Quincy Carter in the fourth quarter of a loss against Atlanta, the only catch of his NFL debut in the 2003 season opener.

“It’s one of those deals, you catch it, you get up. It’s just football, this is what we do,” Witten recalled Wednesday. “It seems like it was yesterday.”

When the Cowboys play at Atlanta on Sunday night, Witten might catch a ball really worth keeping.

With four more receptions, Witten will surpass Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin’s career mark of 750 that stands as the Cowboys’ franchise record.

“Their exterior might be different but they’re all about the same thing,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who was Irvin’s teammate. “Each of those guys is as good a teammate as I’ve been around, as passionate about this game as I’ve been around, works as hard at this game as anybody I’ve ever been around. Really, really well liked.

“Michael is obviously flamboyant. Jason is not quite as flamboyant. But the passion in both of those guys is there.”

Witten broke his own single-game franchise record by catching 18 passes in a loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. The seven-time Pro Bowler has 43 receptions over the last four games after a slow start while he recovered from a lacerated spleen.

Now he is close to passing Irvin’s career mark established over 12 seasons (1988-99).

“He was one of the greatest,” Witten said. “So just to be mentioned with Michael Irvin is special, and hopefully we’ll have a good discussion after a big win about it, once it happens. But really, until then, my focus is trying to help this team win and where we’re at in the season.”

The Cowboys (3-4), after missing a chance to get within a half-game of the Giants (6-2) for the NFC East lead, now play the NFL’s only undefeated team.
That also means Witten has a chance to break Irvin’s record with Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez on the other side of the field.

Witten ranks third on the tight end list with his 747 catches, trailing Gonzalez (1,195) and retired Shannon Sharpe (815). Witten is also third among tight ends with 8,396 yards receiving.

“I have all of the respect for him. He plays the position the way it’s supposed to be played,” Gonzalez said of Witten during a conference call with Dallas media. “He’s definitely, without a doubt, a dual tight end. That means he blocks and catches, and obviously where the state of the tight end is in the NFL right now. I mean a lot of these guys are just catching passes so I love seeing a guy like him blocking and catching the ball and doing both things very, very well.”

Gonzalez and Witten have become friends over the years while playing in Pro Bowl games and attending Super Bowls. For all of their catches and records, they have only one playoff victory among them — Gonzalez is 0-5 and Witten 1-4 with an NFC wild-card victory three seasons ago.

This is the 16th NFL season for Gonzalez, who plans on retiring after this one. He said he is “95 percent sure” of that even though he has no doubt he could play at a pretty high level for a couple of years more.

“He’s the greatest to ever play the tight end position,” Witten said. “It’s amazing, he’s still going at the level that he’s doing it. You talk about durability and consistency, he kind of defines that, especially at this position.

“I’m a big fan, and it’s great to see him still at a high level the way he plays and how he carries himself both on and off the field.”

Witten has played in 150 NFL games. The only game he missed was because of a broken jaw as a rookie in Bill Parcells’ first season as Cowboys coach.
It was Parcells who used to say then about Witten, “don’t put him in Canton yet.”

But there could be a future spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for Witten, who never even considered being the Cowboys’ career receptions leader when he first arrived as a third-round draft pick out of Tennessee.

“I was just trying to survive that first training camp,” Witten said. “You’re always in search of the perfect play and the perfect game, so it’s just this process you’re always trying to be better and better and better. You don’t really get to that point that you can enjoy it, because you’re always looking for more, and expectations get higher.

“If it happens, it will be special.”

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Vilma's lawyer might question Mike Cerullo's motivation

While the appeals hearings for the suspended Saints bounty program players had been postponed because of Hurricane Sandy, there seems to be a chance that an email provided to Jonathan Vilma's lawyers by the NFL could possibly help Vilma in his appeal.

According to Pro Football Talk, Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, attached an email sent from Mike Cerullo, one of the major whistleblowers in Bountygate, to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in a new court filing.

PFT had a copy of the email, which reads:

“So I have info on Saints Joe Vitt Lying to your NFL Investigators on Bounties from 2010, along with proof!!! I was there, in the cover up meetings, with players and Joe, I love the NFL and want to work there again, but I am afraid if I tell thge [sic] truth I will never coach again in NFL, But I was fired for a situation that the Saints encourage. All I want is a Job back in the NFL as a QC Coach anywhere, so If talking to you jepodizes [sic] that I will have to get back to you, but The Saints are a Dirty Organization. Contact me.”

As PFT writes, this could lead the person hearing the appeals to believe that Cerullo is trying to exact revenge on Vitt, which would call his whistleblowing role for the NFL into question.

As Mike Florio writes, “The Cerullo email is marginally relevant to the effort to disqualify former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the bounty suspension hearing officer. But it will be extremely relevant to the overall appeal and litigation process, given that it makes a full cross examination of Cerullo even more critical to a fair disposition of the case.”

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Help Santana Moss remember the name of his favorite scary movie

Santana Moss is a big fan of horror movies, especially classic slasher films. When he was a kid, those scary movies were a household tradition.

“My all-time favorites was anything that scared you,” the Redskins wide receiver told me. “Like the Freddys and the Jasons and Michael Myers and all them. I love those movies. Every Friday we used to go and rent movies, and it was movies that you never heard of. You’d go in the horror section at Blockbuster and you’d find stuff that was so random.”

The movie offerings now don’t scare him like the classics, and one film in particular was his favorite. The problem is, he can’t remember the name of it.
“It was a movie about a janitor at a school, and for years I’ve been trying to find out the name of this movie because I’ve been wanting to watch it,” Moss explained. “Anyway, the kids played a prank on him in the bathroom. And one day they had a school dance or a play or something, and the janitor got into some chemicals and his face was hanging off. And he killed damn near everyone in the school. He would walk the street at night, and anybody he saw he brought terror to.

“That was real horror to me,” he continued. “Nowadays you have stuff that people think is scary, but it’s not really scary.”

A cookie to the reader who knows which movie Moss is talking about. 

As for current movies, Moss is putting out a call to action.

“You have to wait for another Freddy or another Jason or another Michael Myers movie to come out,” he said. “Hopefully someone will hear me, someone out there directing those movies and put some frightening to something.”

UPDATE: Reader @dcuniverse figured out the name of the movie, Slaughter High. I passed it on to a incredibly grateful Santana Moss, who thanks you all for the help and says “Man, the internet is incredible.”

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John Salmons (personal) will return to the Kings on Thursday.

John Salmons (personal) will return to the Kings on Thursday.

His wife had a baby and he should be available for Sacramento's game on Friday. He'll have to earn his minutes and he's not on the fantasy radar right now.


Blue Jays claim lefty Maine from Indians

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays continued their busy month of October on the waiver wire by claiming left-hander Scott Maine from Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon.

Maine appeared in 30 games for the Cubs and Indians last season, while posting a 6.07 ERA. The 27-year-old also pitched in 30 games at the Triple-A level, and went 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA.

The Blue Jays have now made six claims this month, with the main goal of acquiring some players through waivers in order to build depth at the Minor League level.

Toronto also announced on Wednesday that Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Dustin McGowan, Sergio Santos, J.A. Happ and Luis Perez were all activated from the 60-day disabled list. Santos and Happ are the only pitchers from that group that are expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Scott Cousins and right-hander David Herndon were designated for assignment by the club. Toronto currently doesn't have any openings on its 40-man roster, but that is expected to change in the near future.

Cousins was claimed off waivers from the Marlins earlier this month, and has batted .183 with nine RBIs in 175 career at-bats at the big league level. If no team puts in a claim, the Blue Jays would be able to outright Cousins to Triple-A Buffalo.

Herndon was also claimed earlier this month, after allowing four earned runs in 7 2/3 innings in Philadelphia last season. The 27-year-old is coming off Tommy John surgery and is not expected to be available until at least June.


Bryant McKinnie denies running up $375,000 in strip club bills

Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie says the first he heard that he’s being sued for $375,000 in strip club bills was when he read about it this morning, and he says the owner of the strip club is someone who has repeatedly tried to get money out of him.

“I got no papers, I was never served,” McKinnie told the Baltimore Sun. “I just called my lawyer about this because this is a bogus story. I just read the article. He was working at those places and he’s tried to borrow money from me. People can put anything out there. What strip club gives you a $375,000 tab? It just sounds stupid to me. I’ve never heard of this in my life. This is bogus to me. For it to be even reported is stupid to me.”

The lawsuit claims that McKinnie ran up tabs at strip clubs owned by the plaintiff, Charles “Pop” Young, and that McKinnie promised in writing to pay his bill in full and then broke that promise. But McKinnie says no strip club would let a customer have that kind of bill.

“You could never run up a tab like that,” McKinnie said. “For somebody like that to say something like this, they figure if they go to the media that you’ll pay them, I guess. I would never pay this guy because what he’s saying isn’t true. I just found out about this morning when people started texting me. This is the least of my worries.”

It’s definitely true that McKinnie has greater financial worries: His wages are already being garnished because he failed to pay back a $4.5 million loan he took out during last year’s lockout. If McKinnie is telling the truth when he says this lawsuit is just an unwarranted attempt to get money out of a professional athlete, the financially strapped McKinnie would seem to be a bad athlete to go after.

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Could the Chicago Bears trade Devin Hester?

With Hurricane Sandy crippling much of the East coast, the NFL has moved the trade deadline back to this Thursday at 3pm Central time. The deadline was moved back to week 8 in the off season, from week 6, in an attempt to drum up a trading frenzy!

Which won't happen...

But what if the Bears were looking to deal? What if they had Devin Hester on the trade block? Would there be much interest?

There's no question his mere presence is enough to alter game plans. The sky punt, directional punting, the shank punt (thank you Carolina), squib kicks, and pooch kicks, are common to see from Bears opponents. Teams still fear the Ridiculous One. While the Bears enjoy the field position they are handed - even if they don't always take advantage - could they benefit from having someone else return kicks and punts? With the great schemes of special teams coordinator Dave Toub, wouldn't the Bears be better off with, say... former Pro Bowl returner Eric Weems back there? At least he'd get a chance to run with the ball.

Are the Bears better off watching teams kick and punt unreturnable balls, or would they be better off utilizing the expertise of Toub in designing returns for a returner that will get some opportunities?

The Bears would never take Hester off returns, but if he were removed from the team via a trade, would Toub's units still shine?

Here's how Rotoworld lists Devin's contract;

7/27/2008: Signed a four-year, $40.975 million contract extension through 2013. The deal contains $15 million guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus and $5 million roster bonuses in both the second and third years. Another $18.939 million is available through performance-based escalators. $250,000 annual workout bonuses are also available throughout the contract's life. 2012: $1.646 million, 2013: $1,857,523 (+ $10 million "deescalating" roster bonus), 2014: Free Agent

Is that an untradeable deal? I guess it depends how bad a team would covet his unique skills. Spotrac sees the Hester contract a bit differently. They have a cap hit for about $7.6 million this year, and $12.8 million for next year. Both have his base salary the same for the next two years, but they differ on the bonus money.

Many of bonuses were tied to his success as a wide out, so it's probable he'll come up short on the total money owed anyway. However you cut it, trading him would see the Bears taking a hit for a portion of the bonus money. How much exactly I'll leave to a capologist.

But back to the matter at hand... What could the Bears get in trade for Devin Hester?

Should they look to add a few picks to their already depleted 2013 total?

Should they look for offensive line or tight end help?

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Willis McGahee Presents Play 60 Grant

BRIGHTON, Colo. – Students at Bromley East Charter School will soon see a marked increase in the school’s emphasis on exercise, thanks to NFL Play 60.
Running back Willis McGahee visited the school Tuesday morning to present a $10,000 grant for health and wellness that is meant to encourage kids to exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. The grant will help Bromley East upgrade its equipment and increase its commitment to physical activity in a big way.

“This is absolutely the most amazing thing I’ve ever came across in my 13 years as being as a teacher,” athletic director Eric Heinz said. “There’s been nothing this amazing at school. Being able to actually do it on my own accord, I applied for the grant for our kids, not for me. It’s for them.”

Lori Sheldon, the school’s executive director, said receiving the grant marked a historic day for the school. Getting to see a role model like McGahee made the moment even more special for the kids.

“To have Mr. McGahee here as a celebrity, if you will, to address our students is very exciting for them,” Sheldon said. “It’s once in a lifetime for some of these students and we’re thrilled to have him on our campus.” 

At an assembly attended by all of the school’s 925 students, McGahee entered a gym full of Broncos orange and blue to raucous applause from the Kindergarten-through-eighth grade student body.

“It’s crazy,” McGahee said of the students’ reaction. “When I walked in, it was just ridiculous. I did it last year and it was me and Von Miller and Von did all the talking so I was really just laid back. So now it was my turn to do all the talking, I got a little nervous, but I pulled it together.”

McGahee said the program’s goal is one he fully supports and emphasized the fact that it’s never too early to begin establishing an active lifestyle.

“You want to be one of those active kids that’s out here running around,” McGahee said. “I was always active when I was little, so it paid off in the long run. I’m pretty sure some of these kids have dreams of playing in the NFL or the NBA or Wimbledon or something like that. It starts now, it doesn’t start later on in life. It starts now at an early age and this is the time you need to capture it.”

Tuesday also gave McGahee an opportunity to involve himself in the local community, something he both values and enjoys.

“It’s always good to give back to the community just to let everybody know we’re regular people,” McGahee said. “We’re not on this high pedestal where we don’t come back and interact. It shows the community that we’re involved and we’re here – we’re not going anywhere.”

After the assembly, McGahee joined 50 of the kids outside for a variety of physical activities including a relay race, jump rope, push-ups, sit-ups and curls with light dumbbells. To determine who got to join McGahee on the recess field, each of the students submitted an essay with the principals grading them and selecting the top 50.

“Because we have 925 in our student body, of course everybody wanted to participate,” Sheldon said. “So we had to think of an idea. What we did is we had everyone write an essay about why they should be chosen to work out with Mr. McGahee today. So they submitted those and the principals sat down and we graded and graded and graded. What I’m so thrilled about is it’s a wide selection of our whole school, Kindergarten through eighth grade. And it takes into consideration all types of students, whether they have special needs or they’re gifted, it was a whole broad spectrum.”

McGahee made it clear that he had no intentions of taking it easy on the kids chosen for the workout.

“I want to see who has the best agility out here,” McGahee smiled. “I put them to work. I really tested them.” 

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Jimmy Johnson To Be Honored Thursday Night at Miami VTech Game

DALLAS - The University of Miami and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that they will jointly honor Coach Jimmy Johnson with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments®, Nov. 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens during the game between the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech. Coverage of the game will start 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

"It's a special day for me because I spent so much time in college as both an assistant coach and a head coach," said Johnson at the time of the announcement in May. "My time at the University of Miami really defines my career. It was probably the most fun time I ever had in my life prior to now, and we were able to do some things that I was extremely proud of."

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee's Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

"Jimmy Johnson was a master at moulding his players, instilling confidence in them and subsequently producing some of the most successful stretches of victories in college football history," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are excited to immortalize his accomplishments in the College Football Hall of Fame, and we look forward to celebrating his stellar career with the Hurricane faithful this weekend."

The Oklahoma State head coach from 1979-83 and Miami head coach from 1984-88, Jimmy Johnson continuously led his teams to victory, earning numerous coaching honors along the way and the national championship with the Hurricanes in 1987, capped by a 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl.

At Miami, he enjoyed a 52-9 mark in five seasons with five New Year's Day bowl appearances. During his final four seasons in Miami, he posted a remarkable 44-4 record, including four top 10 finishes and two national title appearances. He earned two National Coach of the Year distinctions while coaching 12 first-team All-Americans. Johnson's star pupils included future College Football Hall of Famers Bennie Blades and Russell Maryland as well as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in Vinny Testaverde. Johnson's tenure was the genesis of an NCAA-record 58-game home winning streak, which lasted from 1985-94.

Johnson began his head coaching career in Stillwater, Okla., leading the Cowboys to a 29-25-3 mark. He won Big 8 Coach of the Year honors his first year after taking Oklahoma State to a 7-4 record. Under Johnson, the Cowboys participated in the 1981 Independence Bowl and the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl. He coached 15 First Team All-Big 8 performers during his five seasons with the Pokes. His combined record at Miami and Oklahoma State enters the records books at 81-34-3.

A member of Arkansas' 1964 national championship team, Johnson became the only person to win a college national championship as a player and coach and lead a team to a Super Bowl victory when he guided the Dallas Cowboys to victories in back-to-back Super Bowl victories following the 1992 and 1993 seasons. In the NFL, he held the Cowboys head coaching job from 1989-93 and with the Miami Dolphins from 1996-99.

A member of the University of Arkansas, University of Miami, State of Texas and State of Florida Sports Halls of Fame, Johnson supports charities such as The Children's Health Fund, Malaria No More, City of Hope, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Johnson, who works as an NFL analyst on FOX, has donated his time visiting troops overseas and hosting a fundraiser for the Gridiron Greats Foundation, which raises money for former NFL players in need of medical assistance.

Johnson becomes the third Hurricane head coach to earn induction, joining (listed with year of induction) Jack Harding (1980) and Andy Gustafson (1985). Miami players in the Hall of Fame include Gino Torretta (2009), Ted Hendricks (1987), Don Bosseler (1990), Bennie Blades (2006), Arnold Tucker (2008) and Russell Maryland (2011).

Including the 2012 FBS class, only 918 players and 200 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly five million people who have played or coached the game over the past 144 years. In other words, only two ten-thousandths of one percent (.0002) of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction. For a complete list of players and coaches in the hall, please visit

The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City's historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tue., Dec. 4. This year's hall of fame class includes: Charles Alexander (LSU), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Steve Bartkowski (California), Hal Bedsole (Southern California), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), Ty Detmer (BYU), Tommy Kramer (Rice), Art Monk (Syracuse), Greg Myers (Colorado State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech), Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), Scott Thomas (Air Force), John Wooten (Colorado), and coaches Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State, Miami) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M). For more information, please contact Will Rudd at or by calling 972-556-1000.

The 2012 season marks the third season that Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans to higher education employees, is serving as the national presenting sponsor of the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes. The salutes are one component of a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. Other highlights of the sponsorship include Fidelity becoming the first presenting sponsor of the organization’s prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and helping launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.

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DeQuan Jones (abductor) doesn't practice on Monday

Forward DeQuan Jones does not have a timetable for return from a strained abductor muscle.

Jones, an undrafted rookie, has turned heads this season and found a spot on the Magic's roster. He can defend the 1-3 positions on the floor, and though he will start the year outside of the regular rotation we wouldn't be surprised if we call his name again this year.

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Gold Glove eludes Ryan Braun

The Milwaukee Brewers took a big step forward defensively in 2012. Still, it wasn't enough to net them their first Rawlings Gold Glove winner since Robin Yount in 1982.

Despite posting the best fielding percentage in the National League, Aramis Ramirez was beaten out in his quest for his first career Gold Glove on Tuesday. Ryan Braun, a Gold Glove finalist for the second consecutive season, also fell short.

As a result, the Brewers now have gone 30 years without having a player regarded as the best defensively in their league. They're also the only team in the major leagues to not have a player win a Gold Glove in the 2000s.

Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres was the winner at third base, where David Wright of the New York Mets was the other finalist. Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies was the winner in left field, where Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves was the third finalist.

That Ramirez was even in the conversation as one of the top fielders at third was noteworthy, considering his reputation coming from the Chicago Cubs as an offense-only performer.

But from the outset of 2012 Ramirez played as well as anybody, displaying good range and excelling at rushing in to field bunts.

Ramirez finished the year with a .977 fielding percentage, a career high for him and a hair better than Headley's mark of .976. He also cut his error total in half, committing only seven after finishing with 14 in 2011 with Chicago.

History suggested that Ramirez would have a hard time winning the award despite his numbers, as year-after-year winners seem to be chosen more on reputation than anything. But defense can also be a tough category to quantify, with fielding percentage and errors no longer providing a complete picture of a player's ability in the field.

According to Rawlings, each manager and up to six coaches on his staff vote from a pool of qualified players from their league and cannot vote for players on their own team.

Braun, meanwhile, finished seventh in fielding percentage among NL leftfielders at .979. He had six assists and committed six errors. For comparison's sake, Gonzalez finished with a .982 fielding percentage, seven assists and four errors.

Interestingly, none of the top four leftfielders as far as fielding percentage in the NL - Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs, Jason Kubel of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ryan Ludwick of the Cincinnati Reds and Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals - made the cut as a finalist .

Braun was beaten out by Arizona's Gerardo Parra in 2011 despite committing just one error.

The Brewers have had nine Gold Glove winners in all: George Scott (five, at first base); Cecil Cooper (two, at first base); Sixto Lezcano (one, outfield); and Yount (shortstop).

One former Brewers player, J.J. Hardy, won the Gold Glove at shortstop in the American League for the Baltimore Orioles.

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PHOTO: Olivier Vernon Dances Gangnam Style


Miami Dolphins' Olivier Vernon (50) celebrates with teammate Jonathan Freeny (59) after returning a blocked punt for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets.

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Antonio Dixon Waived

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts have waived running back Mewelde Moore and nose tackle Antonio Dixon.

Indy also promoted cornerback Marshay Green and fullback Robert Hughes from the practice squad to the active roster on Monday, and signed cornerback Teddy Williams to the practice squad.

The moves come one day after starting cornerback Vontae Davis left the Colts' 19-13 overtime victory at Tennessee with a left knee injury. Interim coach Bruce Arians says Davis' MRI results were not yet available.

Moore had nine carries for 14 yards and four receptions for 36 yards and one TD in six games this season. Dixon made one tackle in two games.

Green and Hughes were cut in August and signed to the Colts' practice squad in October. The speedy Williams was cut by the Dallas Cowboys in August.

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Week 8 FULL proCane Stats

Lamar Miller (RB) Miami Dolphins: ACTIVE but did not receive any carries

Olivier Vernon (DE/LB) Miami Dolphins:
 1 tackle, 1 bocked field goal, 1 TD on a blocked punt recovery. 

Vince Wilfork (DL) New England Patriots:
 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss

Ray Lewis (LB) Baltimore Ravens:
 BYE WEEK - Place on Injured Reserve

Ed Reed (S) Baltimore Ravens:

Bryant McKinnie (OL) Baltimore Ravens:

Travis Benjamin (WR) Cleveland Browns:
 ACTIVE but did not record any stats.  

DeMarcus Van Dyke (DB) Pittsburgh Steelers:

Andre Johnson (WR) Houston Texans:

Chris Myers (OL) Houston Texans:

Brandon Harris (DB) Houston Texans:
Darryl Sharpton (LB) Houston Texans: BYE WEEK

Reggie Wayne (WR) Indianapolis Colts:
 7 catches for 91 yards. Led the Colts in receiving.

Antonio Dixon (DL) Indianapolis Colts:

Colin McCarthy (LB) Tennessee Titans:
 11 tackles, 9 solo tackles, 2 tackles for loss

DJ Williams (LB) Denver Broncos:
 INACTIVE due to suspension

Willis McGahee (RB) Denver Broncos: 
23 carries for 122 yards, 1 TD. 2 catches for 33 yards.

Orlando Franklin (OL) Denver Broncos:
 ACTIVE but did not record any stats.

Allen Bailey (DE) Kansas City Chiefs:
 1 tackle

Eric Winston (OL) Kansas City Chiefs:
 ACTIVE but did not record any stats.

Richard Gordon (TE) Oakland Raiders:
 ACTIVE but did not record any stats.

Kenny Phillips (S) New York Giants:
 INACTIVE due to injury

Antrel Rolle (S) New York Giants:
 2 solo tackles.

Adewale Ojomo (DE) New York Giants:

Santana Moss (WR) Washington Redskins:
 4 catches for 21 yards, 1 TD.

Leonard Hankerson (WR) Washington Redskins:
 1 catch for 16 yards. 

Brandon Meriweather (S) Washington Redskins:

Devin Hester (WR/PR) Chicago Bears:
 1 catch for 5 yards, 2 punt returns for 11 yards. 

Jason Fox (OL) Detroit Lions:

Sam Shields (DB) Green Bay Packers:
 INACTIVE due to shin injury.

Matt Bosher (P) Atlanta Falcons:
 1 punt for 52 yards. 

Jon Beason (LB) Carolina Panthers: INACTIVE
 Placed on Injured Reserve. Out for Season

Greg Olsen (TE) Carolina Panthers:
 3 catches for 23 yards.

Jimmy Graham (TE) New Orleans Saints:
 5 catches for 63 yards, 1 TD. Led New Orleans in receiving.

Jon Vilma (LB) New Orleans Saints:
 5 tackles, 4 solo tackles

Calais Campbell (DE) Arizona Cardinals:
 6 solo tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss.

LaRon Byrd (WR) Arizona Cardinals:

Rocky McIntosh (LB) St. Louis Rams:
 ACTIVE but did not record any stats.

Frank Gore (RB) San Francisco 49ers:
16 rushes for 55 yards, 1 catch for 11 yards.

Tavares Gooden (LB) San Francisco 49ers:
 2 solo tackles.

Roscoe Parrish (WR) Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
 3 punt returns for 1 yard.

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Bryant McKinnie sued over $375,000 in strip club bills

Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie owes the father of rapping superstar Trick Daddy $375,000 for bills run up at South Florida strip clubs, a new lawsuit says according to Willard Shepard of NBC Miami.

The rapper’s father, Charles “Pop” Young, filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Monday afternoon. Young says that McKinnie, who is currently an offensive lineman for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, racked up big bills at the strip clubs between February 2009 and September 2010, borrowing the money from him.

McKinnie frequented clubs at which he was present, said Young, who at the time was the general manager of the King of Diamonds club. He is now the vice president of the Diamonds Gentlemen’s Club and CEO of the Queen of Diamonds strip club, which is located off I-95 just north of Golden Glades.

McKinnie agreed to repay the money but to date he has not repaid any of it, according to the lawsuit. Young is seeking to recover the money plus interest, as well as his costs, through his suit.


Coughlin not sure if Rolle has a concussion

Tom Coughlin said on Monday that he does not know if safety Antrel Rolle suffered a concussion late in Sunday’s 29-24 victory over the Cowboys but indications are he may have been spared.

“Antrel could not come back in after hitting his head, taking a tumble and hitting his head on the ground,’’ Coughlin said.

Asked if Rolle had been diagnosed with a concussion, Coughlin said “I don’t know that, I’m not sure about that just yet. He was a little dizzy when he came off the field, last night on the plane he said he was fine, he didn’t seem to have any issues, he had no headaches. I’m sure he’ll still have to go through the protocol. Hopefully he’ll be okay.’’

The medical reports are not as thorough as they would be in a normal week, as the Giants on Monday had no access to any MRIs, given that Hurricane Sandy shut everything down outside their facility. The Giants team charter landed in Newark without incident about 1:15 Monday morning. “For the most part it was a good plane ride,’’ safety Stevie Brown said. “It wasn’t awful, it got bad at a few points but my definition of bad could be a little bit more than others, I don’t really like flying like that so when the plane starts shaking I get a little uneasy.’’

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Latest Vilma brief attaches whistleblower email from Cerullo

Earlier today, I mentioned that the latest court filing from Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma in the bounty case contains no new facts or legal arguments.

Man, was I wrong.

Attached to the brief is the email sent by former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo that resurrected the NFL’s investigation.  In a November 2, 2011 message to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, Cerullo states as follows:  “So I have info on Saints Joe Vitt Lying to your NFL Investigators on Bounties from 2010, along with proof!!!  I was there, in the cover up meetings, with players and Joe, I love the NFL and want to work there again, but I am afraid if I tell thge [sic] truth I will never coach again in NFL, But I was fired for a situation that the Saints encourage.  All I want is a Job back in the NFL as a QC Coach anywhere, so If talking to you jepodizes [sic] that I will have to get back to you, but The Saints are a Dirty Organization.  Contact me.”

The message contains proof of Cerullo’s alleged bias against Vitt.  As alleged by Vilma earlier in this process, Cerullo had vowed revenge against Vitt for firing Cerullo.  Separately, Cerullo’s zeal to return to the NFL calls into question everything he says.  Also, Cerullo’s reference to being fired “for a situation that the Saints encourage” requires that claim to be explored and compared to the stated and actual reasons for his termination, in order to properly evaluate Cerullo’s overall perspective and mindset.

The email is attached to a new declaration from Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, who explains that the email was produced by the NFL on October 23, 2012.  Ginsberg contends that the NFL completely removed Aiello’s response.

The Cerullo email is marginally relevant to the effort to disqualify former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the bounty suspension hearing officer.  But it will be extremely relevant to the overall appeal and litigation process, given that it makes a full cross examination of Cerullo even more critical to a fair disposition of the case.

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Roscoe Parrish on struggling punt return game: "I know the big one is going to come"

The Bucs brought in veteran return man Roscoe Parrish a month ago to do one thing – jump-start the team’s struggling punt return game. The position had been a revolving door since the season opened, with Sammie Stroughter’s injury and WR Jordan Shipley getting cut after a key fumble in Week 3.

But Parrish, 30, hasn’t given the Bucs much of a boost, averaging just 6.1 yards on 12 returns over four games, with the longest 13 yards. He also muffed a punt against the Vikings Thursday, though he recovered it in the pile-up. With Tampa Bay still last in the league with a 5.5 yards per punt return average, personnel changes aren’t out of the question, especially with that being Parrish's primary role. But Parrish says he doesn’t want to press.

“You can’t get frustrated, you have to make smart decisions, be patient, because one return can change everything,” Parrish said. “It’s a long season, and I understand that being a veteran returner. That’s the best way I can put it right now.”

Coach Greg Schiano has acknowledged that fielding punts is “the hardest skill there is in football.” Parrish, the eighth-year pro out of Miami, entered the year averaging 12.0 yards per punt return, ranking him seven in league history among players with at least 75 returns.

“I know the big one is going to come,” Parrish said. “You don’t want to press right now. That’s something I’ve done as a young returner. But I was able to have success with that.”

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Reggie Wayne Fired Up The Colts At Halftime Of Titans Game

Reggie Wayne is having his greatest season, ever. 54 receptions, 757 yards, 2 touchdowns. He's on track for a 100 catch, 1400 season, but it is not necessarily his production that has been so critical for this young Colts team.

In the past, Peyton Manning and Bill Polian were the dominant personalities of this franchise. If you screwed up, they got in your face. It created what would become a very unhealthy culture of fear. Now, with Peyton and Polian gone, players are a little freer to be who they are. Reggie Wayne is one of those players, and his leadership skills have been allowed to showcase themselves this season.

Sunday's 19-13 win over the Titans is one such example.

As Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star wrote of today, it was Wayne who delivered a fiery halftime talk to his team, down 10-3 and looking dejected after a field goal attempt was blocked just before the second quarter ended.

From Chappell's article, via Darin Gantt of PFT:

"Sometimes you have to do more than lead by example," Wayne said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

"I was [upset]," Wayne said. "There was no false enthusiasm on this one. I was [upset] because I knew what we were capable of. We should have had a lead at halftime and we were behind.

"I felt like we needed a little fire. I had to speak up."

The team took notice of Wayne's passion.

"Reggie told us to look at everybody and see if we wanted to fight for each other," center Samson Satele said. "It just fired everybody up. I was looking around and thinking, ‘I don’t want to leave here with a loss.’

"Not after that speech Reggie just gave."

The Colts came out in the second half and scored ten points in regulation and another six on Vick Ballard Superman Swirl Dive into the endzone for the game-winning touchdown.

Defensively, Indianapolis held Tennessee to just three second half points and to 0-4 on third down. Prior to halftime, the Titans were 5-7 on third down.

Much of the turnaround from last season's 2-14 disaster can be attributed to Wayne's production and leadership. Re-signing him this past offseason might have been just as critical as the team drafting Andrew Luck. Wayne caught 7 passes for 91 yards in the win over Tennessee.

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Forte, Hester the center of latest Bears' mystery

CHICAGO | There are two stories taking shape this Bears season that won't cause coach Lovie Smith to lose any sleep, though he may keep one eye open.

What's the deal with running back Matt Forte and return "specialist" Devin Hester? One is on fire but repeatedly overlooked it seems, while the other is slumping worse than those Detroit Tigers.

All this talk about being the game's greatest return man ever and a can't-miss Hall of Famer is less frequent now because Devin Hester has gone from "Beast" to "Bambi."

Sunday, he was invisible with two punt returns for 11 yards. You could do better carrying a bowling ball.

Hester didn't return a kickoff, of which the Bears had seven for a 6.3 average.

A few games back, Hester told us he needed to be more aggressive on returns; had to quit running east-west and more north-south.
He hasn't done either.

Hester insists wide receiver duties haven't interfered with his kick return duties. He's adamant about that.

In the 13-7 win over Detroit on Monday Night Football, Hester signaled a fair catch on a punt he fielded at the Lions 47-yard line.

Special teams coach Dave Toub was spitting razor blades, he was so angry, saying Hester had a sure sideline touchdown if he had just taken off.

Hester hasn't had a return touchdown since Nov. 13 of last season when he took a punt 82 yards against Detroit.

He is ranked in the high teens among punt and kickoff return leaders, quite a drop for the man whose 17 career kick-return touchdowns are an NFL record.
"I know Devin, lately, hasn't had a lot of big returns for touchdowns but it's just a matter of time," Lovie Smith said.

Hopefully, soon. Ever try sleeping with one eye open?


Blown Tire Relegates Tim George Jr. to a 27th-Place Finish at Martinsville

Start – 33          
Finish – 27        
Laps Led – 0       
Points – N/A

In his career-first NASCAR Camping World Series start at Martinsville Speedway, Tim George Jr. was improving his position when a blown right-front tire resulted in laps lost to the leader and relegated the No. 93 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Group team to a 27th-place finish. Starting the Kroger 200 from the 33rd position, the New York City native exercised patience and methodically made his way into the 21st position by lap 89. On lap 93, the bead of the right-front tire melted with the heavy brake use that is typical at the Virginia-based short track, sending the No. 93 Chevrolet Silverado into the outside retaining wall. George drove the truck to pit road for four new Goodyear Eagles, fuel and minor repairs to the fender. Returning to the track in the 30th position, two laps down to the leader, George regained what ground he could in the remaining 100 circuits to bring home a 27th-place result.

“That was fun. Martinsville Speedway is a fun little track. The Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet Silverado was fast. We should have had a better finish except for that (blown) tire. I learned a lot today, especially racing with (teammate, Kevin) Harvick. I can see how guys can either love or hate this place. It’s a real challenge to get it right here. Right now, I like it.”

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Jack McClinton to enter D-League draft

According to ex-UM Hurricane shooter and European veteran Jack McClinton (Agency: Alti Sport) -- now more then ever -- is the perfect time to pursue his NBA ambitions.

"I've reached a point in my career where I don't want to look back in regret and say 'what if,'" McClinton told his circle of trusties. "My goal is to show NBA teams I can compete at a high level so I'm willing to sacrifice one season overseas for a potential call up," he added.

Since establishing himself as a prominent European shooter in Turkey, Israel and the Ukraine, collecting multiple team and individual awards, McClinton has recently declined offers from teams like Lagun Aro (Spain), Nancy (France) and a pair of Italian clubs, in attempt to work his way through the NBA Development League and jump-start his NBA career.

McClinton will look to become eligible for the D-League draft on November 2nd and is hopeful that his talents will standout, resulting in a call up from the NBA.

When he's not working out with recently waived Celtic guard Dionte Christmas at St. Joes University in Philadelphia, the Baltimore native shooter spends valuable time studying the game of basketball on Synergy with close friend Dorell Wright of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Last month, while the Miami Heat entertained roster possibilities before the start of training camp, 6-foot-1 McClinton was invited for a couple of workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena. However, journeymen veterans Rodney Carney and Garrett Temple (who have since been waived) were chosen over him.

Disappointed he didn't make camp but encouraged by the pep-talk with Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who resembled both his game and size to former Heat shooter Eddie House, for McClinton, a two-time All-ACC 1st Team (2008 and 2009) member and Israeli League All-Star Game 3-Point Shootout champ, a minor setback for a bigger comeback seems to be the calling.

McClinton spent the 2011-2012 season in the Ukraine with Budivelnyk Kyiv, where he won the domestic cup. He averaged 13.6ppg, 2.0rpg and 2.0apg in the league play and upped his performances in the European VTB League where he finished as the league's fourth leading scorer with 14.8ppg (shooting 44.6% from beyond the arc), adding 3.0rpg and 1.8apg.

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DeQuan Jones enjoys storybook trip onto the Magic's roster

DeQuan Jones won't forget what happened June 28.

He waited for NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to announce that a team had drafted him in the second round.

He waited.

And he waited.

But Silver never uttered the words "DeQuan Jones."

In retrospect, that painful night might have been the best thing that ever happened to Jones, a 6-foot-8 swingman who played four seasons for the Miami Hurricanes. That excruciating disappointment fueled him and propelled him on an unlikely journey to a spot on the Orlando Magic's regular-season roster.
"I'm ecstatic," Jones said.

Jones could not stop smiling when general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry sat him down inside Amway Center on Saturday and told him he had made the team.

All the extra effort — the late nights shooting jumpers in a quiet gym, the extra running under Florida's harsh sun, the intense focus studying game video with Magic coaches — paid off.

He played for the Magic's summer league squad and accepted an invitation to Magic training camp without any guarantees, only a pledge from team officials that he would receive an opportunity.

"He came in and worked really hard," Hennigan said. "He was consistent. He listened. He stayed late. He put himself in a position to really take advantage of that opportunity, and we're proud of him."

The 22-year-old appeared in all of Orlando's preseason exhibitions, and he embraced the "dirty-work" chores of defending dangerous wing players and scrapping for loose basketballs.

He also showed some flash. He often punctuated fastbreaks with highlight-reel dunks that demonstrated his uncommon leaping ability. He sometimes sped past defenders as he dribbled into the paint.

Jacque Vaughn and his assistant coaches noticed that athleticism, and they view Jones as someone who has the potential to defend opposing small forwards and shooting guards and point guards. If Jones can deliver, he will be a valuable asset to the Magic.

"I think that's the most important aspect for young guys when they come into the league: define a role as quickly as possible," Vaughn said. "That's how you stay in this league."

Jones accepted that role.

It remains unclear how, exactly, he will fit into the Magic's playing rotation. Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick are ensconced as the team's top two shooting guards. Hedo Turkoglu likely will be backed up by rookie Maurice Harkless once Vaughn feels Harkless is fully ready after offseason sports-hernia surgery.

But the Magic are in rebuilding mode, and team officials will give youngsters chances for on-the-job-training.

"Whatever the team needs," Jones said. "I know defensively they're going to need me to be a defensive stopper."

Veteran players, including Afflalo and Quentin Richardson, who was cut to make room for Jones, gave Jones advice during breaks in exhibition games.
That meant something to Jones.

So did a moment Friday after the final exhibition game. Jones returned to his hotel to find someone waiting outside the room.
It was his dad, Clady Jones, who had made a surprise trip to Orlando to encourage his son.

It just so happened that Saturday was Clady's birthday.

They had plenty to celebrate.

DeQuan sent out a Twitter message after he learned he had made the team.

He wrote: "If my story teaches you anything, it's to never give up."

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Jon Heyman and Pat Burrell almost came to blows in a bar?

I was so sick the past few days that I was surprisingly OK with having to cut my World Series trip short. Really, as Games 3 and 4 went down, there was no point — thanks to hacking, aching and stuff — where I thought “damn, I wish I was in Detroit right now.”

Well, there was one point. It was when I read on Deadpsin yesterday that, on Saturday night, Jon Heyman and Pat Burrell allegedly almost came to blows out and about in Detroit someplace. The person making the allegation: Jon Heyman:


Had to be a bit unsettling for Heyman. In person his chosen mode of defense from those who challenge him — pretending they don’t exist — may not work as well as it does on the Internet.

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The Giants to decline their option on Aubrey Huff

Like a lot of refusals to decline options, this one is not really news. But the way it is stated by Andrew Baggarly is Tweet of the Day-worthy: Nothing official, but Giants will decline $10 million option on Aubrey Huff and choose $2 mil buyout.

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Ryan Braun named Gold Glove finalist

Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun have been named National League finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at their respective positions.

The winners will be announced tomorrow at 8:30 Central on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. You can find more details about the show, and the complete list of finalists from both the NL and AL here.

Ramirez, who came to the Brewers last off-season with a reputation as a shoddy fielder, actually posted a career- and National League-best .977 fielding percentage at third base.

He also cut his error total in half, committing only seven after committing 14 in 2011 with the Chicago Cubs.

Joining Ramirez as finalists at third base are Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres and David Wright of the New York Mets.

Headley finished just behind Ramirez in fielding percentage in the NL at .976, while Wright was third at .974.

Reputation seems to matter more than anything as far as this award goes, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ramirez fail to win despite having performed so well in the field.

Wright won Gold Gloves in 2007 and 2008.

Braun, meanwhile, is a finalist in left field for the second time in as many seasons. Last year he was edged out by Arizona's Gerardo Parra despite having committed just one error.

This past season, Braun finished seventh in fielding percentage among NL leftfielders at .979, having committed six errors.

Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves are the other finalists. Interestingly, none of the top four leftfielders as far as fielding percentage in the NL -- Alfonso Soriano, Jason Kubel, Ryan Ludwick and Matt Holliday -- made the cut as a finalist for the award.

The Brewers haven't had a Gold Glove winner since 1982, when Robin Yount won it as an American League shortstop.

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Jon Jay not among Gold Glove finalists

ST. LOUIS - Jon Jay may win a Gold Glove at some point in his career. It won’t come this year.

Rawlings announced the finalists for the Gold Glove Awards Monday and the talented Cardinals outfielder was not among the three National League finalists for center field.  Selected instead were Michael Bourn of the Atlanta Braves, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Drew Stubbs of the Cincinnati Reds.

Voting was done by managers and up to six coaches per team. They are not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny campaigned numerous times for Jay to be considered for a Gold Glove Award. Jay didn’t commit an error in the regular season and made several highlight reel catches near or at the wall in center field.

Working against Jay was the fact that he only played in 117 games due a shoulder injury suffered while slamming into the wall in April.

Catcher Yadier Molina was the only Cardinals player listed among the finalists. He’s going for his fifth straight Gold Glove Award.

The awards will be announced Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT. Former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith will participate in the presentation.

Here is the complete list of finalists for both leagues:

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Mark Buehrle, Marlins; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals; Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks; Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
First base: Freddie Freeman, Braves; Adam LaRoche, Nationals; Joey Votto, Reds
Second base: Darwin Barney, Cubs; Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks; Brandon Phillips, Reds
Third base: Chase Headley, Padres; Aramis Ramirez, Brewers; David Wright, Mets
Shortstop: Zack Cozart, Reds; Ian Desmond, Nationals; Jose Reyes, Marlins; Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Left field: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; Martin Prado, Braves
Center field: Michael Bourn, Braves; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; Drew Stubbs, Reds
Right field: Jay Bruce, Reds; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Jason Heyward, Braves

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays; Jake Peavy, White Sox; C.J. Wilson, Angels
Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers; Russell Martin, Yankees; A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox; Matt Wieters, Orioles
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox; Eric Hosmer, Royals; Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Mariners; Robinson Cano, Yankees; Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers; Brandon Inge, A's; Mike Moustakas, Royals
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Rangers; J.J. Hardy, Orioles; Brendan Ryan, Mariners
Left field: Alex Gordon, Royals; Desmond Jennings, Rays; David Murphy, Rangers
Center field: Austin Jackson, Tigers; Adam Jones, Orioles; Mike Trout, Angels
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Indians; Jeff Francoeur, Royals; Josh Reddick, A's

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Olivier Vernon dances Gangnam Style after Dolphins blocked punt for touchdown


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Sean Spence rehabbing

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Sean Spence (knee), who suffered two torn ligaments and a dislocated kneecap in the team's last preseason game Aug. 30, is rehabbing but is still walking with a limp. He's unsure when he'll be cleared to run, but he has been able to drive his car.

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Redskins Song Pays Tribute To Sean Taylor

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Santana Moss finds end zone

Washington Redskins WR Santana Moss had four catches for just 21 yards in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he was able to score a touchdown.

Fantasy Tip: The veteran now has five touchdown receptions this season, and four scores over his past four games. Despite the scoring, he remains more of a WR3/4 or 'flex' fantasy play heading into Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers.

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Ray Lewis given National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Outstanding American award

Before Ray Lewis became a football star at Miami and a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Ravens, the future Hall of Fame middle linebacker was a dominant state champion high school wrestler.

Growing up in Lakeland, Fla., Lewis won the Class 4A state championship in the 189-pound class as a senior at Kathleen High School.

Lewis was honored Sunday by the Maryland chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, given the organization's Outstanding American award for exemplary accomplishments beyond the sport.

Lewis didn't attend the event at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, but his high school coach, Stephen Poole, accepted on his behalf. Poole said Lewis was unable to travel because of the rapid approach of Hurricane Sandy, a previously-scheduled therapy session for his surgically-repaired torn right triceps and a meeting with his surgeon.

Lewis, 37, is on injured reserve-designated to return after injuring his arm during a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Although a return this season is regarded as unlikely, Poole predicted that Lewis will play football next season.

"Never bet against him," Poole said. "Knowing Ray, I think he's going to come back. He'll want to go out with a flair, a big splash. He'll come back if he can physically doing it. I can definitely see Ray coming back." 

Poole recalled Lewis as a fierce competitor on the wrestling mat.

"He's a natural leader, a great person," said Poole, who coached Lewis for his junior and senior years. "No hassles, you tell him to do something and he just did it. Whatever the opponent gave him, he took advantage of whatever there was to take advantage of. He wrestled some great athletes. The wins weren't easy. He was sweating bullets doing it."

Lewis was twice named the Most Valuable Player in football at Kathleen, recording 207 career tackles, 10 sacks and eight interceptions with three blocked field goals. He returned four punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns.

He also doubled as a running back who rushed for 591 yards and eight touchdowns,

"I'm sure wrestling helped him in football, and football helped him in wrestling," Poole said. "He was just great for us. This is a huge honor, and he's very deserving."

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William Joseph Pleads Guilty, Awaits Sentence

Former Raiders RB Michael Bennett has received a 15-month federal sentence for taking part in a Florida fraud scheme.

Bennett was arrested in May as part of an identity theft ring that conspired to file false tax returns. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks. Former Raiders and New York Giants DT William Joseph and former Syracuse player Louis Gacheline also have pleaded guilty to related charges and are awaiting sentencing.

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Question-and-answer with Jason Fox

DETROIT -- Detroit Lions offensive lineman Jason Fox is ready for the most wicked time of year.

Halloween is on Wednesday, and it was one of Fox's favorite holidays as a child. It is debatable whether Fox still loves Halloween, but he spoke about everything trick-or-treat related during this week's question-and-answer session.

Anwar: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid? Jason: I'm drawing a blank I can't remember stuff that happened last week, let alone as a kid. I was Batman as a kid.

Anwar: Weren't you kind of big for Batman? Jason: No. I looked good.

Anwar: You didn't wear any other costumes? Jason: One year I was lazy because I had baseball practice. We had a game, so I just wore my uniform out. I just went as a baseball player.

Anwar: Was this in high school? Jason: No, this was little league.

Anwar: Basically, you went dressed as yourself? Jason: No. Well ...

Anwar: Technically, you went dressed as yourself. Jason: Yeah, you're right.

Anwar: Would you have given yourself candy for that effort? Jason: Probably not as I look back. I didn't bring it that year.

Anwar: Which guy is scarier - Michael Myers or Jason? Jason: Michael Myers. He was a little worse.

Anwar: Which guy on the team doesn't need a mask to scare someone? Jason: There's a lot of people. I will probably say Louis Delmas.

Anwar: Do you think he would scare old ladies or children? Jason: All of the above.

Anwar: What does a trick-or-treater have to do to get candy from you? Jason: They got to have a good costume. They can't go halfway. They got to go all out.

Anwar: What are your most memorable experiences trick-or-treating as a kid? Jason: I always liked the houses that went all out. They would invite you in and have the inside of their house decorated with the dry ice. They really wanted to scare you. Not just the guy who threw candy at you.

Anwar: So you're saying as a kid you went into a stranger's house because they offered you candy? Jason: (Laughing) I mean, nowadays, I don't know if that's cool. I'm just saying ... I really enjoyed Halloween as a kid. I liked the houses that went all out.

Anwar: Candy corn - yes or no? Jason: Yes, I like candy corn.

Anwar: Pumpkin pie? Jason: Yes. You're probably not going to find any of those I will say no to.

Anwar: When is the last time you got dressed up for Halloween? Jason: My rookie year. I went as Kenny Powers. We had a team Halloween party, so I was Kenny Powers.

Anwar: Who had the best outfit? Jason: There were some good ones. Tony Scheffler was a cowboy, and he had a little horse that came out on both sides of him, and he was standing up in between.

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Darryl Starpton close to practicing

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak indicated LB Darryl Sharpton (quadriceps) is close to taking part in practice. Kubiak said Sharpton worked with trainers on the side during practice last week and was running very well.

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Life without Ray Lewis: Once-dominant Ravens struggle

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain knows he is no Ray Lewis.

But McClain emulated the team's injured spiritual leader when he summoned a Ravens front-seven meeting at his home two nights after Baltimore surrendered 227 rushing yards in Week 6 in a 31-29 escape against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Ravens lost again Sunday, getting pounded 43-13 at the Houston Texans as they allowed another 182 yards on the ground.

The Baltimore defense has gone from feared to feeble, from dominant to bent and broken. The Ravens are an NFL version of the 2012 New York Yankees postseason lineup, whiffing on a lot of tackles.

The Ravens missed 21 tackles against the Cowboys along with suffering the possible season-ending losses of Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker, and shutdown cornerback Lardarius Webb, who had eight interceptions in 2011, including the postseason.

The once-proud Ravens have been bludgeoned for a combined 623 rushing yards in three consecutive games — two of them wins — against the Kansas City Chiefs, Cowboys and Texans.

"If we didn't get used to it today, something's wrong," Ravens safety Ed Reed said after Sunday's loss. "Ray is not here. We know Lardarius is out for the season.

"We have to move on and know that those guys will be back around here and motivating and encouraging. Everybody needs to look at themselves and make those corrections that we need to make."

The first step took place before the Texans game, in what defensive end Pernell McPhee described as a defensive come-to-Jesus meeting.
"This will bring us closer together," McPhee says.

The group watched film and worked on fixing mistakes, and McPhee thought its impact was reflected Sunday.

"We were way more disciplined in playing the run," he says.

The Ravens had two consecutive three-and-outs to start the the game before the Texans took over with two interceptions, five front-seven bat-downs of quarterback Joe Flacco's passes, four sacks and a defensive feeding frenzy that limited Baltimore to 201 yards in total offense.

The 43 points allowed by the Ravens were the most since a 44-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.

"Adversity builds character," Reed says.

Shifting identity
Baltimore had already flipped its identity from a defensive dominant team to an attack-oriented one relying more heavily on the new alpha Ravens — Flacco, running back Ray Rice and a no-huddle attack that ranks 11th in scoring, averaging 24.9 points a game. They're covering for a trap-door defense.

The 30th-ranked run defense wasn't stopping the run even before Lewis was lost to a torn right triceps injury and Webb suffered a season-ending shredded left knee. The defense has not ranked lower than 10th against the run since 2002.

McClain, now calling defensive signals, is 10 years younger and faster than Lewis but has missed his fair share of tackles. Dannell Ellerbe, who fills McClain's spot on the weak side, acknowledges the overall problem.

"We just want to wrap up ballcarriers and use better fundamentals instead of trying to go for shoulder hits so we can play fast on defense," Ellerbe says.

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Devin Hester agrees he has made return mistakes

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Devin Hester does not refute the notion that he's been too passive in the return game.

One day after Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said Hester "probably made some decisions he would probably take back" in the club's Oct. 22 win over the Detroit Lions, the three-time Pro Bowler vowed to get more aggressive when returning kicks moving forward.

"He's right," Hester said of Toub's comments. "I have to be more aggressive to the ball. I'm going to man up and confess that I haven't been as aggressive as I normally should.

"The good thing is I know what mistakes I've made, and the mistakes I've made I know how to fix them. Being the type of player that I am I know my mistakes and I know what I got to do to fix them. Point blank."

Hester appeared to have a shot at a lengthy punt return in fourth quarter of Monday night's win over the Lions when a short 35-yard punt by Nick Harris landed at the Lions' 47-yard line. But Hester called for a fair catch on the play, even though it looked as if he had room to run if he would have fielded the punt. Earlier in the game Hester let a punt drop instead of calling for a fair catch that resulted in a 58-yard kick by Harris that put the ball on the Bears' 19.

"He probably made some decisions in that game he would probably take back," Toub said. "He might have returned that last one possibly, but that's just the way it is. Most of the time he's going to make the correct decision. We just want him to get that aggressiveness back and we think we'll get it sooner or later.

"That's probably the hardest position to play -- that punt returner. You have to make a lot of decisions. You have to check the coverage. Is it high hang time or is it a line drive? You have to make those decisions and think fast on your feet. Sometimes you make the right decisions, sometimes you don't. It depends where you are on the field. If you're backed up and the ball is real deep and it's high hang-time you let it go. If it's a short kick you want to take it and try to steal one especially if there's no coverage. So we're going to continue to work and eventually it will come."

Hester holds the all-time NFL record for combined career kick return touchdowns with 17, but is averaging only 7.6 yards per punt return on 12 attempts with a long return of 23 yards over the first six games this season. Those numbers pale in comparison to Hester's career punt return average of 12.9 yards. He averaged 16.2 yards per punt return last season and brought back two kicks for touchdowns.

"When you get those opportunities you got to be aggressive and make those plays and try to steal one," Hester said. "That's something that I got to start doing. The returns that I'm capable of returning, I just got to go ahead and be aggressive and make them."

Hester does not believe his increased role on offense has played a part in his drop off on special teams. Hester played 59 snaps on offense in the win over the Lions due to the fact rookie Alshon Jeffery is out with a fractured hand.

"That really didn't hinder my return game," Hester said. "At the end of the day, I need to be more aggressive. I know that, and I know how to fix it. We're looking forward to this week."

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Ravens fined $20,000 for not reporting Ed Reed injury

The Ravens failed to disclose an injury to safety Ed Reed, and now they’re paying for it.

The NFL confirmed today that it has fined the Ravens $20,000 for not listing Reed’s shoulder injury on their injury reports. When Reed revealed publicly that he had a shoulder injury, it was the first anyone knew about it, and although Ravens coach John Harbaugh said plenty of guys have injuries like Reed’s and they’re just the nature of the NFL, the rule in the NFL is that every injury has to be disclosed.

“The Ravens failed to list safety Ed Reed on the injury report for a labrum tear in his shoulder,” the league said in a statement. “Reed publicly acknowledged the injury on October 17 prior to Week 7 games and said it could be affecting his play. Although Reed fully participated in practices and games after sustaining the injury, he should have been listed on the report with a shoulder injury and fully participating in practice.

“The Injury Report Policy states that, ‘All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.’”

But while the Ravens have been busted by the league, a $20,000 fine is not much of a deterrent to an NFL team. This fine is the going rate for these violations — it’s the same fine the Redskins got for not immediately disclosing that Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion, and the same fine the Bills got for not disclosing Mario Williams‘ wrist injury — but for a billion-dollar business it’s basically a slap on the wrist.

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After the Patriots gave up a season-low seven points while limiting the Rams to 326 total yards (the fewest yards permitted by New England since Week 2), New England defensive lineman Vince Wilfork expressed enthusiasm about his team's performance and the direction of the defense following the Patriots' 45-7 win in London. 

"We knew how important this game was to us – going into the bye week 5-3, winning two key games, get us going. We’re right where we want to be," Wilfork told reporters. "It feels good, finally, to put one game together as a team, doing a lot of things correct, just playing good football all the way around. It’s just a stepping stone. Guys can see that, when we play together, don’t hurt ourselves, we can be a dangerous football team."

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Magic waive 3 players and keep DeQuan Jones

The Orlando Magic made three moves Saturday that enabled them to keep their most athleticicon1 player. By waiving wing Quentin Richardson, combo forward Justin Harper and wing Chris Johnson, the team created a space for undrafted rookie DeQuan Jones, an explosive wing who offers potential as a defender.

The roster moves took on a symbolic significance, too. In cutting Richardson and Harper, the new-look Magic front office severed yet more vestiges of the Otis Smith era — but not without a lingering cost.

The franchise still will owe Richardson $2.6 million this season and $2.8 million next season unless another team takes the unexpected step of claiming him off waivers within 48 hours.

"When we started the transition period over the summer, we said to ourselves we want to evaluate everything, and we want to make sure that we judge our players based on the work they put in and the merit that comes with that," new Magic general managericon1 Rob Hennigan said.

"All throughout the preseason, we evaluated everything, and we made the decision that, yeah, financially we're going to have to make a decision that impacts us in that way. But we feel that the decision was [best] for the organization and the culture we want to start to set."

Harper's guaranteed salaryicon1 of $760,000 for this season is a pittance by NBA standards, but the franchise still owes the Cleveland Cavaliers a second-round pick in 2013 and a second-round pick in 2014 for acquiring the combo forward's draft rights last year.

The cuts trimmed Orlando's roster to 15 players, the maximum allowed under league rules.

Only five people — Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redickicon1, Ish Smith and Hedo Turkoglu — remain from last year's team.

Richardson, 32, didn't fit into the Magic's long-term plans. Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn broke the news to him Saturday morning at Amway Center.
"Actually, Rob did a great jobicon1 just getting out front and being open and everything, so it wasn't something that blindsided me," Richardson said. "He kept in constant communication with my agent, Jeff Wechsler. I've got nothing but the utmost respect for the way Rob handled everything.

"I've been around long enough to know it was definitely a possibility, and I just appreciate the way Rob handled it. From Day One, I just wanted him to be honest and open with me, and that's how he handled it. So I have no ill feelings about it."

Harper, 23, worked tirelessly in the weight room over the last year and willingly attempted to make the transition from power forward to small forward. But he would have struggled to earn playing time at either forward spot.

"They both gave me effort, which was great," Vaughn said of Harper and Richardson. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they both did while they were here in camp. It's just a part of the numbers game."

Jones, 22, worried about his chances to make the team until he met with Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry on Saturday morning.
"I couldn't stop smiling," Jones said. "They were talking, and I just had this grin on my face. It still hasn't fully hit me yet."

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Pat Burrell lauded for info on Tigers

One Giant who had a terrible 2010 World Series made a much bigger contribution this time, though he wears no uniform, carries no bat or glove, and does not set foot on the diamond.

Team officials say rookie scout Pat Burrell made a significant contribution reporting on the Tigers. Burrell, along with former Giants catcher and Detroit resident Brian Johnson, attended the American League Championship Series between the Tigers and Yankees and provided insights that helped the front office and field staff create a game plan for the World Series.

That includes how to pitch Tigers hitters, the tendencies of Detroit's pitchers and where to station the Giants on defense.

Burrell is part of a large team involved in the process, but several Giants officials say they have leaned heavily on information provided by Burrell, who has a unique perspective, having played so recently.

"Pat has done a really remarkable job all year helping out with advancing, but also here as we're playing a team we haven't seen," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bochy acknowledged that rookie scouts rarely get an assignment as important as advancing the World Series, "but he's a huge baseball fan. He loves the game. Even as a player, he was always one of the first guys at the ballpark. When he wasn't playing, he studied the game. He's done a great job."

Burrell helped the Giants reach the 2010 postseason but batted .143 once they got there. He was hitless in the World Series and struck out 11 times in 13 at-bats.

Toward the end of the regular season, Burrell said he was not sure what he would do for the Giants in 2013 but said he loved scouting this season. A foot injury forced him to retire last year at 35.

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