proCanes James Jones, Lamar Thomas, Andre Johnson, Clinton Portis headline 2014 UM Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Current Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Hurricanes football greats Clinton Portis and Lamar Thomas headline the UM Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.

All eight members will be formally introduced at halftime of Miami’s home finale against Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Class of 2014 also includes Heat forward James Jones (basketball, 1999-2003), Jeff Morrison (baseball, 1978-81), Wyllesheia Myrick (track, 1998-2002), Rio Ramirez (diving, 1997-99) and Javy Rodriguez (baseball, 1999-2002).

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1966 by eight Dade County Circuit Court judges, who wanted to establish an organization that would recognize those student-athletes, coaches and administrators who excelled at their sport and brought acclaim to the University of Miami through achievements and championships.

With the addition of the eight newest members, the Sports Hall of Fame will increase to 282 honorees. The eight-member class will be inducted at the 46th annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet, which will be held April 10, 2014.

For more information on the banquet, fans can visit or call 305-284-2775.

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Ed Reed No Longer Starting

When the Texans signed Ed Reed last offseason to a three-year, $15 million, they were probably expecting something more than one of the league's worst safeties. But through nine weeks, that's exactly what they have. According to, Reed ranks 72nd out of 85 players at the position.

Although Reed is still listed as a starter, he played just 32 snaps in last week's loss to the Colts; Shiloh Keo was on the field for 49 snaps and D.J. Swearinger played 63. Reed, meanwhile, saw the field mostly in the team's dime package.

“That's something that's best for the team and whatever is best for the team that's what we got to do” Swearinger told SportsRadio 610. “I would like to see him out there a lot but that's out of my hands, out of his hands and you know, that's what is best for the team.”

Reed missed the first two games of the season recovering from a hip injury. In the six games since, he has 16 tackles, is still looking for his first interception and has yet to defend a single pass.

Still, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is also serving as interim coach in Gary Kubiak's absence, said Thursday (via the Houston Chronicle) that the team is getting what it wants from Reed. That said, Phillips was noncommittal when asked if the veteran safety would remain the starter.

Reed is set to make $4 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015 -- neither year is guaranteed -- which means that the Texans could cut ties with him this offseason.

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Keyshawn Johnson: “Warren Sapp Bullied Teammates Too”

Warren Sapp appeared on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, and admitted that accused bully and harasser Richie Incognito called him a nigger once, and kicked him during one of their heated battles.

Sapp said “Incognito was simply attempting to provoke him and that it really was no big deal”. He also said “Martin was correct in not confronting Incognito physically after Incognito bullied him.”

Sapp’s former Buccaneers teammate and locker room adversary, Keyshawn Johnson, appeared on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and said that “Sapp should know a thing or two about bullying.”

Johnson told The Game that “Sapp bullied former Tampa Bay defensive lineman Chidi Ahanotu for a long time, and it didn’t stop until Ahanotu finally stood up to Sapp physically.”

“Chidi Ahanotu played with me in Tampa Bay, and I used to watch Warren Sapp do some similar things to Chidi Ahanotu,” Johnson said.  “Now I’m saying this on the record, and it’s going to go all over the country after I say this. I used to watch him try to bully Chidi Ahanotu, OK?  Because he felt he was more superior than Chidi.  So one day, you know what Ahanotu did? He got up and he told him, ‘Get your you-know-what in the middle of the floor right now. I’m tired of it.’
“And at that point guess what Sapp did?  He sat down.  And then everybody else in the locker room, me, the Derrick Brookses, the Brian Kellys, we all said, ‘Good for you, man.’  [Sapp] didn’t want no part of it.  Until you stand up for yourself and don’t allow these chumps to do that sort of stuff to you, they’ll keep doing it.  That’s the way bullies are.”

Chidi Ahanotu would later confirm Keyshawn’s story on a later appearance on 95.7 The Game.

Ahanotu doesn’t feel he was bullied, because he “always fought back.’

“Sapp likes to target certain people,” Ahanotu said. “And he was really bullying everybody in that facility, actually.  That’s what he turned into. . . .  I think fame and money kind of changes people, and he’s a prime example of that. . . .  Six years of dealing with that, and finally he said the wrong thing . . . talking about my dad, and that’s when I said, ‘OK, that’s it, man.’  I grabbed my helmet and I was about to beat his head in.”

I think it all goes back to the point that football at it’s core isn’t a game for the weak.

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Reggie Wayne takes up coaching

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts injured receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t go to Houston just to surprise his teammates the night before their game against the Texans.

Wayne also provided an extra set of eyes for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

“In between series, I would pass over the pictures and ask his opinion,” Hamilton said. “And, of course, during the series he had a job. His job was to watch their slot coverage and give myself and [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] feedback.”

Wayne’s season – his 13th – ended when he tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of their victory over Denver on Oct. 20.

Sunday was the first time Wayne had been around his teammates since he had his surgery. The plan is for him to be around the team and take part in meetings as much as possible during his rehabilitation. Coach Chuck Pagano said last week that they anticipate Wayne to be ready for the start of the 2014 season.

“Reggie, he loves this game,” Hamilton said. “He loves the horseshoe and it’s awesome that he’ll still be around even under the circumstances.”

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Cowboys view Jimmy Graham as wideout

IRVING, Texas -- At 6-foot-7, 265 pounds, the New Orleans Saints list Jimmy Graham as a tight end.

That doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys view Graham as one.

“He’s a wide receiver for sure,” safety Barry Church said. “That’s what we’re going to treat him as in this game.”

Graham leads the Saints with 49 catches for 746 yards and his 10 touchdowns lead the NFL. On Oct. 13, the New England Patriots were able to hold him without a catch by putting cornerback Aqib Talib on him all over the field.

The Cowboys have had cornerback Brandon Carr follow some of their opponents’ top receivers all over the field. The last time was Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 329 receiving yards, but Carr helped limit Demaryius Thomas, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

Will the Cowboys be as extreme as New England? Maybe not. Sean Lee said it will be a team defense on Graham.

“I think in a lot of areas we’re going to have to make sure we know where he is on the field and whoever is on him will know, hey, the ball could be coming your way at any point,” Lee said. “And he’s a guy even if you’re on him, Drew Brees can put it in places and he can go to where, hey, he’s covered but he’s not covered.”

Technically Graham is a tight end and other tight ends have given the Cowboys trouble. San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates caught 10 passes for 136 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown. Denver’s Julius Thomas caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Myers of the New York Giants had seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. In last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, Kyle Rudolph had a 31-yard touchdown catch.

“Against elite quarterbacks we weren’t that good and against pretty good tight ends, they’ve been able to hurt us in the past,” Church said. “Hopefully the game plan we do have set up will switch that around and we’ll have a better day.”

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Mike Rumph taking American Heritage to new heights

When he took over the head coaching job at Plantation American Heritage this year, former University of Miami standout Mike Rumph realized that he was stepping into a special situation.

Having been an assistant on the team the past few years under Jeff Dellenbach, the one-time NFL defensive back was ready for the challenge.

Even in his debut against nationally rated Miami Central, Rumph found a way to put his team in a spotlight against the potent Rockets. The Patriots have been in that spotlight ever since.

Loaded with talent, American Heritage has been able to roll over the competition — and after last week’s convincing district title-clinching win against Cardinal Gibbons, there are few teams who will have the athletes to match up against this outstanding football team.

For a program that had been all about gifted running back Sony Michel for the past four years, there has been a change in focus. While the University of Georgia-bound standout is the centerpiece of this team, he is not alone.

“This is a program that has benefited from a strong offseason — and that’s why we continue to improve each week,” Rumph said. “This is a team and a coaching staff that have worked too hard not to see some real results.”

The Patriots are one of the strong favorites to reach Orlando and play for a 5A state title because of players like Michel, and fellow seniors Isaiah McKenzie (Notre Dame), safety Carter Jacobs (Cincinnati), versatile linebacker Brandon Vicens, defensive back Juwan Dowels (Northern Illinois) and receiver Dallas Perez.


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Vinny Testaverde Points To The Positives of Hazing

Former Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde talks about the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation as told to Steve Serby:

I certainly have never heard or seen anything like this before where a player (Jonathan Martin) files a grievance against another player (Richie Incognito).
It sounds like one guy is a racist (Incognito) and it seems to me the other guy (Martin) is soft. I don’t know what other way to put it. Of course I have compassion for him for whatever he’s going through right now.

Trying to toughen players up. … You go back to Bill Parcells with Lawrence Taylor and Jumbo Elliott getting ready for the Super Bowl XXV and Bruce Smith. Lawrence, I guess, was just kind of egging Jumbo on to get him to fight just to get him ready for the game. It’s all about getting players ready to play and getting them to perform at the highest level.

If somebody’s going to make racial slurs, you need to stand up and defend yourself. If it happened to me, I would go to that individual and say, “Listen, this isn’t funny. You need to stop doing it. You need to stop texting, or else we’re going to have a bigger issue than just what it is at this moment.”

Maybe he should have gone to the head coach first: “It’s going to come to a physical confrontation between the two of us before it’s done, you need to help me prevent this from happening.”

Most guys, it comes down to having to fight the guy. Maybe that’s just the mentality of a football player. I guess there are some guys that don’t have that mentality.

When Chad Pennington was a rookie with the Jets, we made him wear his helmet to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cafeteria one day. That was kind of our prank or joke on him to welcome him into the NFL.

In Cleveland, I had this straw hat I got in the Bahamas that had donkey ears on it. We made (backup quarterback) Eric Zeier wear the donkey hat four or five different times in training camp. Nothing painful, nothing that would hurt. A lot of guys would see him and kind of laugh.

I would take the offensive line out occasionally. One year we had two rookie linemen, I had the waiter send over a fake bill for $17,000. They were nervously calling their agents saying, “I don’t have the money.” After 20 minutes of that, I picked up the check. Almost all of the time, it was in good fun.

One year, a group of guys — I won’t say the team or the parties — they shaved their (rookies&rsquoWinking heads, and some of the guys didn’t want to do it, but they held them down and did it anyway. I was against that — violation of personal space. Not everybody likes to have their head shaved. I know guys wear long hair now for religious reasons, or they don’t have facial hair, or whatever it may be. You have to respect his wishes.

I don’t think, when you’re in that environment, the player really believes the guy holding the clipper in his hand is going to shave a chunk of hair out of his head. I think they realized maybe they went too far. I think they (the rookies) went in fight mode and other players had to hold them back. Once they calmed down, guys realized they went too far. There was an apology. There was an acceptance of an apology. That was no longer done from that point forward.

The way it works in the locker room, the strength coach and the training staff are hearing and listening to what’s going on. The coaches are always upstairs. They’re not able to see, hear, listen to what’s going on in the locker room. If something is very bad or wrong, they would take it upstairs to the coach. They’re the head coach’s eyes and ears to what’s going on in the locker room. On the teams I’ve been on, the head coaches have never gotten involved.

You’ve seen guys tied to goal posts on “Hard Knocks” over the years. They laugh and go along with it. They understand nobody gets hurt. When you go along with it as a rookie, the older guys, the veteran guys, they know you’re a good sport, a good teammate. When it comes time to get into battle, they know they have your back and you have their back and you can go forward.

There have been times when rookies refused to sing for the team, and ended up getting tied up to a goal post, or thrown in the cold tub. Most guys realize, “OK, I screwed up, I’m going to sing next time they ask me.”

I know when people say the word “hazing,” they think the worst. It’s practical jokes, maybe that’s the definition of hazing. It’s almost like, “Welcome to our team. We’re glad you’re here, but it’s part of your apprenticeship, so to speak. We all went through it, now we get a chance to pull a couple of practical jokes on you young guys.” It does create bonding and camaraderie.

I don’t see the future being good for either one of them. My mentality is different. I just look at it as take care of your business. Now guys are going to be looking at him [Martin] like, “Hey, you know what? I don’t know if I can play with this guy, he doesn’t seem like a team guy.” Teammates will wonder, does he [Incognito] really have my back because I’m black?”

And he’s got to wonder, “Hey, do these guys have my back?” It’s kind of like Riley Cooper in Philadelphia.

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Cleveland Browns Waive Rashad Butler

The Cleveland Browns lost the first two games of the season without injured offensive guards Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston. Now both of them are back.

Pinkston rejoined the team from the injured list yesterday, according to The Browns made room for him by waiving offensive lineman Rashad Butler.

Pinkston was a third-round draft pick for the Browns in 2011. Butler was also a third-round pick, for the Carolina Panthers in 2006. He spent most of his career with the Houston Texans before signing with the Browns in the offseason.

Lauvao and John Greco are the Browns' starting guards, so we'll see how much playing time Pinkston is able to earn in the second half of the season.

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Source: Jon Vilma's career might be over

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's career may be over after he was placed on season-ending IR on Wednesday.

Vilma, who had just returned for his first game of this season, began the season on short-term injured reserve because of an arthroscopic procedure in August on his left knee, which has troubled him through multiple surgeries over the past two-plus seasons. The designation allowed the 10th-year linebacker to return to practice in Week 8 and to the active roster in Week 9.

Vilma was activated Saturday and played 12 defensive snaps in a 26-20 loss to his former team, the New York Jets, on Sunday. That represented about 20 percent of the Saints' defensive snaps. He was credited with one tackle.

Still, teammates expect him to be around and play a role in their success going forward.

''He's the heart and soul (of the defense). His voice speaks very, very loud,'' veteran safety Roman Harper said. ''He's always with us. He taught me how to play this game. There's a mental aspect of what he brings to a team and the leadership aspect is matched by none. He'll still be around and still be doing whatever he needs to do.

''We've always called him player-coach anyway,'' Harper added. ''He knows everything.''

Vilma was not present in the locker room at Saints headquarters when it was open to reporters on Wednesday.

After Sunday's game, Vilma said he ''felt fine,'' but added that he was eager to see how his knee responded in the coming days.

''It felt good to get back on the field to run around, really be with the guys, be with my teammates,'' Vilma said.

Coach Sean Payton did not explain or even acknowledge the roster move when he met with reporters after practice Wednesday, about two hours before it had been formally posted by the NFL. Payton generally declines to address roster moves until they've been made official.

However, the coach on Monday offered few compliments when asked about Vilma's return to action in New York.

''He looked OK; rusty,'' Payton said. ''There are some things that we have to get cleaned up.''

Vilma was traded by the Jets to the Saints in 2008 and was a captain of the 2009 Super Bowl championship team.

For his first four seasons in New Orleans, Vilma started at middle linebacker and was designated as the on-field defensive play-caller, with the earpiece in his helmet that allowed him to hear the defensive coordinator's instructions before each play. That ended last season, when Vilma was unable to train with the Saints for much of the offseason because of his suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty probe. The league named Vilma a ring-leader in a cash-for-hits program administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Vilma denied the allegations and his suspension was overturned, but he still missed the first five games of 2012 while rehabilitating his knee. His 2012 offseason procedures included one in Germany by a specialist in platelet rich plasma therapy, a relatively new blood-spinning technique also used by Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Vilma played the final 11 games of last season, but not at his regular middle linebacker spot, which was assumed by Curtis Lofton.

''The thing about JV is he's very cerebral, just like having a coach in there. He sees stuff I don't see because I'm playing. He sees the whole picture,'' Lofton said, describing Vilma's exhaustive studies of opponents' game video. ''He's just been a great player for this team for many years. It's just a tough break for him. He spent a lot of time getting his knee ready to come back.''

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Warren Sapp claims Richie Incognito called him the ‘N-word’ during game

Richie Incognito's racist tendencies go way beyond bullying Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin.

NFL Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp claims Incognito went full-on bigot on him years ago during a game in an attempt to make him lose his cool.

"One time he kicks me in a game and calls me the ‘N-word,’” Sapp revealed on Dan Patrick's radio show Wednesday. "I look at him and I say, 'Oh, you want me to punch you in the mouth so they kick me out the game?'"

Years later, Sapp laughed off the incident as the actions of a desperate opponent trying to gain the upper hand.

"I said, 'That's all you got?'"

When pressed by Patrick over the severity of the word, the former Buccaneers and Raiders defensive tackle dismissed it as a "term of endearment from where I'm from."

"He (Incognito) don't want to fight, cause the only thing he gotta do is call me after the football game, come over to the locker room and say it after the game."
While Incognito's racial taunting is a source of amusement for Sapp, the effect on Martin was far more serious.

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Steelers place Sean Spence on injured reserve

The Comeback Player of the Year award is given annually to the player in the NFL who overcame the most, in the opinion of the voters, to return to prominence in the league.

Perhaps that award will be Steelers linebacker Sean Spence's to win next year. It won't be this year.

The Steelers placed Spence on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his gallant efforts to return to the field this season, one year after a significant knee injury cast doubts over his playing career.

Spence returned to practice in October, only to break his finger (some reports indicate it was his hand), thus affecting his ability to practice and show his full range of ability.

There was optimism among the team, as well as among Steelers fans, that Spence, the team's third round draft pick in 2012, could not only return to the field, but eventually, see action within the defense. Varying reports obtained by Behind The Steel Curtain indicated he was close physically, but the hand injury set him back enough the team had no choice.

Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET was the deadline to make a decision on Spence, who began the year on the PUP list. His placement on injured reserve means he can no longer practice with the team, although he can participate in meetings.

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Mike James can do it all for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not much has gone right for the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, but amid the muck of an eight-game skid, a gem has been unearthed.

One year after drafting the hard-running Doug Martin, the Bucs have another rookie back playing inspired football down the stretch.

Mike James, a sixth-round pick out of Miami -- starting in place of the injured Martin -- blistered Seattle's defense for 158 yards on the ground in Sunday's overtime loss to the Seahawks. To the naked eye, he looked as good as Martin has all season.

We first noticed James in Tampa's Week 7 loss the Falcons. He was an asset in pass protection, throwing himself in front of Desmond Trufant's corner blitz to give Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon that extra second to unleash this pass to Vincent Jackson.

We've seen plenty of young backs get benched because they can't help on passing downs, but James shows promise. On Sunday, he also ran with purpose, often right into the second wave of Seattle's defense.

It's frustrating to watch a runner who bounces around in the backfield, unable to make a decision (we're looking at you, Trent Richardson). But James showed opposite traits against the Seahawks.

"One of the things that was the most promising, there were no negative plays, no negative runs," coach Greg Schiano said Monday. "It was all positive runs, whether it was a gain of 1 (yard), it was still no second-and-11s, -12s, -13s, as far as related to the run game. I think that's what gave us a chance early on. We put ourselves in manageable third downs in the first half and we converted them."

The Seahawks overcame a 21-0 deficit largely because Tampa's pass game is a big bowl of vanilla ice cream. Their route combinations are bland and, Glennon, like the rookie he is, is taking off to run when an ounce of pocket patience would make all the difference.

The Bucs helped Glennon early by using James creatively. They targeted the back on a direct snap in the first half before allowing him to operate as a master of disguise on our favorite play of the game:


The Bucs have their issues, but Martin's injury has led to the discovery of another solid young runner. We'll find out soon enough how Schiano plans to use them both. It's one of the few good problems Tampa has right now.

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Brandon Meriweather didn't back down

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather didn't draw a penalty. At times he changed up the way he hit; other times he still went high -- albeit lower than he had in the past. Whether he'll continue this style will be answered in coming weeks. But for one game, Meriweather exited without any issues (though San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews didn't like one hit).

Meriweather did not head hunt or knee hunt, though he certainly tackled low at times (as do many defensive backs). Here's a breakdown of his tackles:

• Second and 10, Redskins' 42-yard line, second quarter. Meriweather is about seven yards off the ball at the snap and runs up to tackle Mathews up the middle; Meriweather hits him under his pads and tries to wrap up as Mathews leans forward, bringing him down after six yards.

• Second and 1, Chargers' 37, second quarter. Mathews bounces outside and Meriweather lines him up, sprinting from deep middle. Meriweather lowers his head on his approach but appears to first hit with his left shoulder, hitting Mathews just below his right shoulder pad as the Chargers' back lowers his head a little as well. It's a bit close for comfort. Mathews exchanges words with Meriweather after the play, pointing at him as officials separate the two.

• First and 10, Chargers' 15, second quarter. Meriweather, playing deep half on the right side, reads a swing pass to running back Danny Woodhead in the left flat. Meriweather aggressively pursues and hits the 5-foot-8 Woodhead in his legs, just above the knees. It's his only tackle attempt that low. I wouldn't say he was aiming for knees considering this was his only tackle in that area.

• First and 10, Redskins' 45, second quarter. Another pass to Woodhead with Meriweather in deep middle. Again, he pursues aggressively and hits Woodhead just under his shoulder pads.

• Third and 3, Chargers' 30, fourth quarter. Rivers dumps a short pass over the middle to receiver Keenan Allen, with Meriweather about 10 yards downfield. Allen spins away from one tackle, running away from Meriweather. The Redskins' safety hits him between his waist and shoulder pads, wraps him up and tackles him. A good tackle.

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James Jones to lead UM Homecoming parade Friday

No, James Jones said, he will not have to wear a crown or carry a scepter, "only a Hurricanes T-shirt and a big smile."

The Miami Heat forward will serve Friday as Grand Marshal of the University of Miami's Homecoming parade.

"I've always stayed close to the University and with the athletic department," said Jones, who graduated from the school with a 2003 degree in finance.

"With Blake, we had a conversation about opportunities to come back and be involved in some of the Homecoming stuff during the season," he said of his discussions with University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James.

Jones, who spoke of the honor before Tuesday's game against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, said the timing works out, with the Heat idle Friday, between a Thursday home game against the Los Angeles Clippers and a Saturday home game against the Boston Celtics that will force him to miss the Hurricanes' Homecoming game that night against Virginia Tech at Sun Life Stadium.

"It just so happens that this year is one of the few years where the schedule actually worked out," Jones said. "It wasn't that there wasn't a desire to be a part of it before, but with our schedule and the school's schedule, Homecoming, it never really came together."

Jones said he felt honored that he would be considered by University of Miami President Donna Shalala.

"President Shalala, she's done an amazing job down there, and more than anything it's an honor for me to be a part of it," he said.

The Homecoming parade will be at 7 p.m. Friday and run along Merrick and Stanford Drive.

Previous athletes to serve as Grand Marshal at UM's Homecoming include Michael Irvin, Russell Maryland, Bennie Blades, Alonzo Highsmith and Darrin Smith.

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WATCH Mike James throws jump-pass touchdown to Tom Crabtree

Tampa Bay running back Mike James rushed for 158 yards in the Week 9 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. While James didn't find the end zone he did average 5.6 yards per carry against the Seahawks defense. It was a big improvement over the 3.6 yards per carry average he took into the game. James doesn't have a rushing touchdown on the year but he does add some value in the passing game.

Fantasy impact: Doug Martin is still sidelined with a shoulder injury that will ultimately require surgery and with James coming on you would think the Buccaneers would put him on injured reserved. James will retain the lead back role and is a must start right now. The Buccaneers face the Miami Dolphins in Week 10 on Monday Night Football. The Dolphins are giving up the 4th most fantasy points to running backs.


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Teammates Of The Week: Adrian Peterson And Chase Ford

Our Teammates of the Week for this week are a pretty unlikely pair. One is the reigning and defending National Football League Most Valuable Player. . .the other is a guy that's been signed to and released from the practice squad numerous times, was active this week thanks to a bunch of injuries, and on the field largely because of another injury. It might sound like a wacky buddy comedy that's coming to a network near you this fall, but it actually made for a pretty decent pairing on Sunday in Dallas.

Trailing the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 20-17 in the fourth quarter, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves facing 4th-and-inches at the Cowboys' 11-yard line. The Vikings did the natural thing in that situation, which is turn around and hand the football to running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson rumbled over the right side of the line of scrimmage and easily got the necessary yardage, but it appeared that he would be stopped short of the end zone. He was nearly picked up off of the ground by Dallas safety Jeff Heath, and it looked like the Vikings would be looking at a first-and-goal situation.

And then something happened.

Tight end Chase Ford saw that Peterson was about to be taken down and. . .well, he did this.
(Just ignore the caption. . .please.)

Ford, seeing that Peterson was about to be taken down, grabbed Peterson, held him upright, and then basically tackled his own teammate into the end zone. Not to take anything away from Peterson's run, because it's one of the better ones of his career, in all honesty. . .but it doesn't happen without the help of Chase Ford.

We've heard of teammates picking each other up when they're down. In this case, we have a teammate actually, physically helping another team member when they were down. It was a great run by Peterson, a great heads-up move by Ford, and together it's good enough to make them our Teammates of the Week for Week 9.

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Lamar Miller's role could increase

Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said RB Lamar Miller could be given more work after his recent production. Miller is only averaging 11 carries per game through nine weeks.

Fantasy Tip: Miller looked solid in his effort against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9 Thursday night. If Sherman holds true to his word, Miller's stock is rising at the expense of Daniel Thomas.

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Brandon Meriweather: I aimed a little lower

Safety Brandon Meriweather returned to the Redskins defense last weekend with a whimper rather than a bang.

Meriweather didn’t draw any penalty flags for drilling opposing players in the head and/or neck with his own helmet, a longstanding habit of his that resulted in a one-game suspension earlier this season. He also didn’t go after the knees of his opponents, something he said he’d do in order to end careers of others rather than earn another suspension for himself.

Meriweather explained on Tuesday how he was able, for one game at least, to play Goldilocks and hit just right. 

“I think I played the same,” Meriweather said, via the Washington Post. “I still was aggressive. I aimed a little lower. I celebrated with my team. We got the win…To be honest, I didn’t even think about it. I just went and just let what happens happen. I’m not trying to think about it and say, ‘I’m gonna aim lower. I’m gonna aim higher. I’m gonna do whatever.’ I’m gonna just play and whatever happens happens.”

We’ll see if Meriweather can continue to avoid the temptation of the hits that got him in trouble with the league, but last Sunday’s game certainly provided Meriweather with evidence that one can play a game of football without going out of one’s way to hurt opposing players in the head or knees. 

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Steelers Sign Former CB DeMarcus Van Dyke

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed former cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke after working him out on Tuesday.

Van Dyke who suffered a serious hamstring injury early on in training camp, failed to play during the preseason and as a result he was waived injured prior to the start of the regular season. Once he reverted back to the Steelers injured reserve list Van Dyke was waived from in late August with an injury settlement.

Van Dyke was on the Steelers 53 man roster last season but only played on special teams. He ended the season on the injured reserve list after suffering a shoulder injury early in the game against the Dallas Cowboys.

We have yet to learn what the corresponding move is, but it might include Curtis Brown.

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Shanahan: Brandon Meriweather 'brought it'

ASHBURN, Va. -- Brandon Meriweather didn't hesitate and did not take repeated shots at opposing players' knees, a tactic he hinted he might have to adopt given the NFL's new rules and his own penchant for high hits.

In his first game following a one-game suspension, Meriweather was not penalized, nor did he look less aggressive in the Washington Redskins' overtime win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

"A lot of times when a guy comes back after being fined, he's a little tentative when he hits," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "[Meriweather] brought it. He brought it both in the running game and the passing game and made some great open-field tackles, and he was ready to play. Really proud of him, the way he handled himself."

Meriweather was credited with six tackles, including four solo stops. None of them drew a penalty, although Chargers running back Ryan Mathews appeared to take exception to one of Meriweather's hits.

"He had one of his better games that I've seen him play -- very physical, was really on-point in the passing game as well," Shanahan said.

Meriweather was suspended for a Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos for repeated violations of the NFL policy on hits. He has been fined multiple times in the past for his hits, including after a Week 2 loss at Green Bay.

Meriweather indicated last week that he would target opposing players' knees in order to avoid further discipline from the NFL.

"I guess I just got to take people's knees out," he said. "That's the only way. I would hate to end a guy's career over a rule, but I guess it's better other people than me getting suspended for longer."

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said after the suspension that his concern was not on the fines or suspension, but on Meriweather's style of tackling.

But against San Diego, Meriweather handled his job to the Redskins' liking -- as well as the officials.

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Lamar Miller's role could increase

Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said RB Lamar Miller could be given more work after his recent production. Miller is only averaging 11 carries per game through nine weeks.

Fantasy Tip: Miller looked solid in his effort against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9 Thursday night. If Sherman holds true to his word, Miller's stock is rising at the expense of Daniel Thomas.

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Patrick Graham says Vince Wilfork remains involved in Patriots meetings

The Patriots knew Vince Wilfork would remain close by, even though he's out for the season.

Wilfork's voice carries as much weight in the Patriots' locker room as any, so his presence in meetings as a pseudo-coach helps everyone do their job better. It's surely been appreciated by defensive line coach Patrick Graham, too.

“Vince is always involved," Graham said. "He’s always involved, whether it’s helping those guys out with the stuff I probably don’t see. Vince is involved in the classroom when I put up the film to say, ‘This is how Vince did it. You all do it like that.' So Vince is always involved no matter how it is. I mean, he’s the guy that everybody in that room, including myself, we learn from. We try to emulate that because he’s the pinnacle of a good defensive lineman, and that’s the man who is our closest example of being a great football player, and that’s what we try to learn from.”

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Leonard Hankerson draws praise for Sunday’s improved effort

With his team still waiting for a player to establish himself as a consistent pass-catching threat opposite Pierre Garcon, third-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson on Sunday turned in one of the better performances of his career as the Redskins defeated the Chargers.

Targeted six times against the Chargers, Hankerson recorded five catches for 55 yards as the Redskins improved to 3-5 with the 30-24 overtime win. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on Monday evening praised Hankerson’s efforts — some of which didn’t show up in the statistical report.

“Well, more than just stepping up — and you see the catches –— what we see is every play that he’s in the game, both in the running game and the passing game,” Shanahan said. “If the quarterback did go to him, is he open? And he played a very good game. He stepped up and did a lot of good things that if the quarterback would have looked his way, would he have been open or not? The majority of the time he would have. He played an excellent game.”

Prior to Sunday, Hankerson had only 19 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns with five of those receptions and 80 of those yards and two touchdowns coming in the season opener. He had yet to make a consistent impact in the games since the opener, however.

As a result, the Redskins had rotated Hankerson, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson in and out at that  ‘Z’ receiver position. But none had emerged as true complement to Garcon.

Those inconsistencies had prompted Shanahan to say last week, “I think we do have a second guy,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “Who that guy is right now, I’m not sure. But we’ve got guys competing, and we’re going to have a guy step up. We’ve got guys with the ability to be a number two, but you want to take control, and that takes everybody. . . . When they go in and they get an opportunity, then they better show us that they deserve to be in there more time, and if you do, then you’ll stay in there longer. If you don’t do something outstanding and you’re full speed, the chances are you’re not going to be in there all the time.”

Hankerson took a step toward doing that this past week when he proved himself to be more sure-handed than in previous games and made tough catches to bail out Robert Griffin III and the offense and keep the chains moving. Now, Hankerson and the Redskins will see if the former third-round pick is capable of making those types of solid performances more of a regular occurrence in the second half of the season.

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Mike Tomlin Says Sean Spence Decision Has Yet To Be Made

The Pittsburgh Steelers now have less than 24 hours to make the decision on whether or not second-year linebacker Sean Spence will be part of the 53 man roster for the remainder of season and as of Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said during his press conference that a final decision hasn't been made as to his status.

"He did some good things [last week in practice] and we'll put our heads together at the appropriate time and make that decision," said Tomlin of Spence. "I think we have until four o'clock or so tomorrow. That discussion hasn't been had yet and will be had very soon. But I like his growth in his play, but we'll see where that takes us."

Spence's three week window is now closing after returning to practice in Week 7 and the Steelers now must decide where he is exactly from a health standpoint as he looks to make it all the way back after suffering a serious knee injury during the 2012 preseason finale. If he is not placed back on the 53 man roster, he must be put on injured reserve or waived outright.

During his first week, the Miami product suffered a hand injury of some sorts, but by the sounds of things, he is back practicing in some capacity.

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Brandon Meriweather’s tackle at the knees


Brandon Meriweather remained in the news on Sunday, both before and during the Redskins’ win.

First, the before: Michael Irvin had some harsh words for Meriweather on NFL Network’s pregame show, in reference to Meriweather’s comments last week about taking out guys’ knees and ending careers.

“I don’t ever want to hear you talk about taking that opportunity away from another man,” Irvin said to Meriweather. “That is not what we are about.”

Criticism or no criticism, Meriweather did as he promised on Sunday; his biggest hit of the game was this open-field tackle on Danny Woodhead, in which the safety went low and made the play.

That led to a spirited halftime discussion on CBS about head shots vs. knee shots, with at least one analyst saying he’d rather be hit in the head than in the knees.

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Andre Johnson has big game for Texans

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson came up huge for his team and for fantasy owners on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Johnson caught nine passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns, though it wasn't enough to lift them past the Colts, who won 27-24.

Johnson accounted for all of Houston's touchdown production, and was crucial in Case Keenum having a strong game. He out-performed everybody else in the game, and has catapulted himself into the top five of receiving yardage for wide receivers in the league.

He comes in at No. 4, behind A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson and Calvin Johnson, and is just ahead of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. He's one of the better receivers in the league, but had come up short of 100-plus yards over the past three games.

Fantasy Impact: Johnson needed to have a big game, given that the Texans have been so poor lately. They're 2-6 on the season, with Johnson being one of the lone bright spots. He's as big a must-start as there is at wide receiver at this point. Fantasy owners have to be happy with his performance.

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Kellen Winslow blames PED ban on allergy meds

Tight end Kellen Winslow returned to the Jets on Monday after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Winslow was leading the team in receptions when he was suspended. During that time, he could not be at the team’s training center or attend games. Winslow said Monday he is still unsure what caused his failed test.

“It’s something I really couldn’t control,” Winslow said. “I think it was something over my allergies, some medicine I was taking and it was on the banned substance list. It’s just life. You deal with stuff. People that know me know I’m not trying to gain an edge or something like that illegally. I respect the game too much for that.”

Winslow said he is waiting to hear from the NFLPA what exactly caused the failed test. He said he only changed one medication he was taking, but was not clear when pressed about that drug. Winslow said he got it from a doctor, but said it wasn’t a prescription but “more like vitamins.”

The NFL notified Winslow a couple of weeks before he was suspended, he said, but he chose not to appeal, saying he’d rather take the suspension early in the season. Winslow said he is not concerned about his reputation taking a hit.

“I know who I am and I’m comfortable with who I am and that’s not who I am,” Winslow said. “I’m not trying to go out and take illegal stuff. That’s just not what I do.”

Winslow’s playing time was reduced in the game before his suspension against the Falcons. He admitted he was bothered by that.

“I was frustrated about my playing time and I want to help my team more, but that happens,” he said. “There’s more games to be played and I’ll be utilized. I’ll be ready.”

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Sean Taylor's death still resonates

SeanTaylor copy
The trial of his shooter is over (four other men were charged in the case and three await trial), which can’t bring a whole lot of joy and relief to anyone who was close to late Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Closure, maybe, but even that will be tough. Taylor is still gone. His daughter will still grow up without her dad and a son will never return to see his parents.

That’s the saddest part, of course. That won’t be forgotten.

The media did not get to know Taylor that well during his time in Washington; he allowed some people in, but rarely revealed much of himself. You had to earn his trust, something even the coaches discovered. Then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams spoke of this often, before and after Taylor’s death.

Was there real growth in Taylor during his four seasons there? Teammates I spoke to at the time said yes. One of them said his opinion of Taylor changed because he saw a young kid maturing. No players are 100-percent beloved, and everyone has critics. Still, players I trust recalled a kid they saw evolving. They knew him better.

For myself, I didn't know Taylor all that well. In all honesty, for most of us, he was the moody, young kid we were trying to get to know, but every time a corner was turned, another obstacle emerged. In time, I thought, he’ll come around. He was getting closer. It takes time for some.

But from a football perspective, I knew him well. And his death still haunts the franchise at the safety position. They've had plenty of time to recover, from a football point of view; it’s hard to find a similar talent, but that doesn't mean they've done a good job in doing so. They've made too many poor decisions here, and that haunts them as well. You can only blame his death for so long. But had Taylor lived, he would have been in his 10th season, probably with a handful of Pro Bowls on his resume and, assuming good health, several more years to go.

Taylor was playing at an elite level in 2007, prior to his knee injury and murder. He could move like few other safeties, allowing the Redskins to disguise coverages longer. For example, he would be over a slot receiver on the left side only to drop to a Cover 2 on the other side. I haven’t seen that since.

He would have been the perfect safety for how the NFL has evolved, too. When offenses go to empty sets, if you have a safety who can run like Taylor and cover like a corner, then you can stay with your base defense and not limit your calls. His speed and aggressiveness would have been a good foil to help defend the read option, too. A corner blitz from the numbers? Go ahead; Taylor could get to the receiver in a hurry. After Taylor died, they had to move rookie LaRon Landry to free safety; he's better at strong but could get away playing free.

It’s too bad did not offer the All-22 coaches film when Taylor played, to see how much ground he covered and to see the multitude of ways the Redskins used him to disguise coverages. It would have been revealing.

Taylor played with a passion few have for the sport. He left behind a legacy with his play. He also left behind a lifetime of what-ifs for anyone who watched him.

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Jeremy Shockey: NFL bullying 'very common'

In July 2002, Jeremy Shockey, then a rookie tight end with the New York Giants, entered a locker room full of veterans as the hotshot first-round pick with a BCS title on his resume and flowing blond hair bouncing out of his helmet. From Michael Strahan to Kerry Collins to Tiki Barber, the room was loaded with established performers and household names.

On Shockey’s first day of training camp, one of those veterans, linebacker Brandon Short, stood in front of the team in the cafeteria at the University of Albany, pointed to the rookie and said, “Name, school and signing bonus, son. Then sing.”

It was a Giants' camp tradition –a simple, good-natured hazing that every rookie had faced before him.

But Shockey wasn’t feeling it.

As he told FOX Sports on the phone Monday, “There’s a story there. I had a limo driver with one eye who was partially blind. He had an eye patch. He was swerving all over the road and didn’t know how to get to the dorms in Albany the night before. I was up all night and slept at a truck station. So that day, I just wanted to finish my food.”

Brandon Short didn’t know, and Short didn’t care.

Agitated, Shockey muttered his name. He muttered “Miami.” And then he mumbled, “$3.3 million” — his rookie signing bonus — in a barely audible tone. Short wasn’t satisfied. He asked Shockey to repeat his name, his school and his signing bonus one more time. An ornery Shockey obliged. Then, Short asked him to sing.

Shockey did it, begrudgingly. With anger in his eyes, the rookie mumbled the fight song he’d grown to love during his time at the University of Miami: “Drive on over the goal line, and on to victory. M-I-A-M-I, M-I-A-M-I. Fight. Fight. Fight.”

He finished the song and looked straight at Short. Then he added one more line: “That's for you and your hearing problem, B. Short."

The next few minutes went down as Giants training camp legend. Short swung at Shockey, Shockey swung at short, and veteran Giants tight end Dan Campbell helped break it up. The rookie stood up to the veteran, and everyone took notice.

“I would have sung the fight song,” Shockey recalls. “It escalated. He took a swing. He missed.”

After a laugh, Shockey adds that he and Short are still friendly to this day — 11 years after the incident. He notes that the Giants roster was filled with respected leaders and that was important in getting past the July dustup.

In light of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito news this week, I thought Shockey would be an interesting guy to speak with. In addition to being the rare rookie to take a stand against a veteran, he was a senior leader on three different NFL teams over the course of 10 years.

“The bullying thing is a very common thing in the NFL,” says Shockey, who’s now retired and living in Miami. “It’s common for rookies to take the older players out to eat and to spend a lot of money. Once a week, usually a defensive rookie or an offensive rookie does it.”

“But I never did it, personally,” says Shockey. “The Visanthe Shiancoes, the Eli Mannings — I never did any of that to them.”

Weighing in on Martin-Incognito, Shockey notes that he doesn’t know either man. “If you’re thrown in the cold tub, it’s all fun and games. But for a person to
leave the facility or his employer, it must have really gone south.”

Shockey saw it all in his 10 years of NFL service. “I’ve been to dinners where I’ve seen rookies spend $30,000. $30,000! When I was a rookie, I had to buy donuts every morning from Krispy Kreme. Every Saturday and every Friday, I bought coffee. No problem.”

“But I can’t stress enough how much people should know that there’s a lot more than what you read in the newspaper. There’s probably more to this story than we know.”

As details continue to emerge, it appears there was a lot more than what met the eye with Incognito and Martin. For as much access as the media is granted, it’s often just scratching the surface of the relationships NFL players have with one another.

As a veteran on the Giants, Saints and Panthers, Shockey says he often would step in and put an end to hazing rituals when he thought they were going too far.

“Several times, I’d say, ‘This guy is here to help us. This kid is young.’ I remember several times doing that," he said. "I wasn’t a person who ever picked on another person. I wouldn’t make them carry my pads. I could carry my own pads. I could pay for my own meal.”

He never hazed Cam Newton when Newton was a rookie. He never hazed Manning.

But Shockey never played for the 2012 and 2013 Miami Dolphins.

“Remember, every team is different,” he says. “The Saints are different than New York and New York was different than Carolina. Every team has its own fraternity when it comes to rookies and stuff.”

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Clinton Portis Interviews Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez

On the day the Boston Red Sox were parading around Boston to celebrate their latest World Series championship, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was down in Tallahassee to root on the Miami Hurricanes from field level.

Rodriguez, of course, has some ties to Miami but we'll leave his alleged performance enhancing use for our friends at The Outside Corner to digest. As you can see here, A-Rod was repping The U with a Miami cap and windbreaker. He also took a couple seconds to talk to former Miami running back Clinton Portis, who is now doing video work for the ACC Digital Network. Rodriguez said he would run through the Miami smoke entrance and flashed The U with Portis.

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Giants swapped seventh-rounder for Jon Beason

The trade for Jon Beason keeps getting better.

The Giants acquired their starting middle linebacker for a seventh-round pick, according to an NFL source with knowledge of the deal. It had previously been reported as a late-round selection.

Late round in this case means the seventh and final round. The Giants still have their first six selections in next year's draft.

Beason has lived up to the hype since joining the Giants a month ago. He has 26 tackles in three starts, and the Giants haven't allowed a defensive score in 10 of the 12 quarters.

Maybe more importantly, Beason has been a steadying force in the locker room and huddle. He's been constantly praised for adding a veteran presence to the defense.

"He's been a godsend for us," defensive end Justin Tuck said after the Minnesota game. "The leadership is something we needed and he's done a great job."
Beason, 28, is a free agent at the end of the season. He's expressed his desire to remain with the Giants for the remainder of his career.

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Vikings re-sign Chase Ford, drop DE again

The Minnesota Vikings signed tight end Chase Ford off the practice squad on Saturday and released defensive end Justin Trattou.

This is a reversal of a move made earlier this week when the Vikings cut Ford and re-signed Trattou as rumors swirled that the Vikings might trade defensive end Jared Allen.

Ford offers depth behind Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson with Rhett Ellison (ankle) out this week.

Ford signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami last year and spent time on the Dallas practice squad as well.

Trattou played in five games with the Giants earlier this season before New York released him and the Vikings signed him.

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Leonard Hankerson gets five grabs in win

Leonard Hankerson caught five passes for 55 yards in Sunday's Week 9 overtime win over the Chargers.
Hankerson continues to play the possession, blocking complement at Z receiver. It's a role that doesn't have any upside in the Shanahan and Son offense. Hankerson is on pace for 48 catches, 618 yards and six touchdowns. It's a pace we'd expect him to maintain.

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Greg Olsen goes 4/66/1 versus Falcons

Greg Olsen caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in Carolina's Week 9 win over the Falcons.
Olsen's 14-yard touchdown came on a naked bootleg on 4th-and-1 from the Falcons' 14-yard line midway through the second quarter. Olsen was all alone for the score on a daring play-call from "Riverboat" Ron Rivera's newly adventurous staff. Olsen also appeared to tweak his lingering foot injury, but stayed in the game. 4/66/1 isn't a high-end TE1 performance, but the kind of stat-line owners can expect from Olsen on a weekly basis. On pace for 68/852/6 this season, Olsen will remain a locked-in TE1 for Week 10 against the 49ers.

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Shane Larkin back at practice

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks first-round pick Shane Larkin practiced Monday for the first time since breaking his right ankle this summer.

Larkin, a point guard out of Miami who was selected with the 18th overall pick, needed surgery after breaking the ankle in the Mavs' summer league team's final practice before leaving for Las Vegas.

There isn't a firm timetable for when Larkin will start playing games.

"I felt good out there," Larkin said. "I don't have my quickness back yet, but that'll come in the next couple of practices. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks -- a week, week and a half, I'll be back being able to play."

Once Larkin is cleared to play, he will compete with fellow rookie Gal Mekel for backup point guard minutes behind Jose Calderon.

Mekel, a 25-year-old Israel native, has averaged 4.3 points, 3.3 assists and 13.3 minutes in the Mavs' first three games. Veteran Devin Harris, who is recovering from toe surgery, still hasn't been cleared for any on-court work.

The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Larkin, the ACC player of the year last season and son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, reminds the front office of former Mavs point guard J.J. Barea, a sparkplug whose prowess as a pick-and-roll ballhandler was a key component to Dallas' 2011 championship run.

The surgery on Larkin was performed July 16. He had hoped to be cleared by the beginning of training camp, but the Mavs took a cautious approach with the rookie, who called the process "frustrating."

"It's a step," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Larkin's first practice. "He's picking things up. For the first day of live practice, he did well."

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Yasmani Grandal off DL in series of moves

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres continued to tidy up their roster Monday when they reinstated pitcher Casey Kelly and catcher Yasmani Grandal from the 60-day disabled list, while also making several procedural moves.

Also reinstated from the 60-day DL was pitcher Jason Marquis, who then declared for free agency. Infielder Ronny Cedeno and outfielder Mark Kotsay also declared for free agency.

In September, Kotsay declared his intent to retire following the season after playing parts of 17 seasons -- including two stints in San Diego -- in the big leagues.

Finally, the Padres announced that pitcher Tommy Layne -- who was designated for assignment a week ago -- has been outrighted to the team's Triple-A affiliate in El Paso.

Kelly and Grandal are each coming off major surgeries. For Kelly, he had reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on April 2, and he won't be ready when the 2014 season starts.

Kelly is regarded as the Padres' No. 3 top prospect, according to

Grandal had surgery to repair his right anterior cruciate ligament on Aug. 6. He said in September that he expects to be ready to take part in workouts during Spring Training.

"It's still pretty early, but all signs are positive," Friars general manager Josh Byrnes said last week.

The Padres liked what they saw -- particularly on defense -- from backup catcher Rene Rivera, who filed in after Grandal landed on the DL. San Diego still has club control of Rivera, and he could open the 2014 season as Nick Hundley's backup if Grandal isn't ready.

Marquis, 35, made 20 starts for the Padres, going 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA before being placed on the DL with a strained right elbow on July 21. He eventually needed Tommy John surgery in August. He told in September that he's not yet willing to retire, and will attempt to pitch when healthy.

Cedeno, 30, proved to be more than merely an admirable fill-in after shortstop Everth Cabrera was suspended for the final 50 games of the season. Cedeno hit .268 in 38 games for the Padres.

The team could possibly resign Cedeno or look elsewhere for infield bench options.

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