proCanes Clinton Portis, James Jones, Andre Johnson set to join UM Sports Hall of Fame

James Jones has two NBA championships with the Miami Heat.

Andre Johnson ranks second all-time in NFL receiving-yards-per-game with the Houston Texans.

But the honor that ignites their already fierce pride in a way that can’t quite be compared to anything else, stems from their hometown dreams as children growing up yearning to be Miami Hurricanes.

Jones and Johnson will join a prolific class when they are inducted Thursday night into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

“To do anything here at home, in my backyard, is something that I’ll be close to forever,” said Jones, 33, a 6-8, 215-pound small forward who graduated from Miami American High, starred at UM from 1999 to 2003 and has been with the Heat since 2008. “Every time I go to a Hurricanes game or watch the Canes play or watch a Hurricanes football game or think about college sports and the U, I’ll know I have a place in history there.

“It’s a legacy. I’ll be the first in my family to do something like that. Hopefully I can set the mark for my family, my kids and especially kids from the city who dream of those types of things, but never really get the opportunity.’’

Johnson, 32, graduated from Miami Senior High and helped bring UM’s football program back to prominence from 2000 to 2002, earning a national title with the Hurricanes in 2001 while being named the Rose Bowl’s Co-MVP (along with fellow UM Sports Hall of Famer Ken Dorsey) with seven receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Nebraska.

“A tremendous honor,” Johnson said this week as he prepared to work out on campus. “Growing up as a child I always wanted to be a Hurricane. It was a dream of mine. Then, to be able to come here and win a national championship and help get the school back to where it had been before, that was the greatest feeling for me.

“Those were the best days of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. You were a kid and came together with a bunch of guys from different places and built something real special. You look at guys from other colleges and you can tell they don’t have the brotherhood we have here.’’

Johnson will be joined in being honored by fellow football inductees Lamar Thomas, a Hurricanes receiver from 1988 to 92, and running back Clinton Portis, who shared in the 2001 national title and went on to star with the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.

Thomas, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993, finished his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins (1996 to 2000) and returned to UM to earn his bachelor’s degree in 2008. He was recently hired as the wide receivers coach at Louisville, and will meet his Hurricanes on the other side of the field in the season opener at Louisville.

Portis now serves as a football analyst for the ACC Digital Network.

The other former Hurricanes being inducted include hometown athletes Wyllesheia Myrick, a two-time All-American in track who left UM with several school records from 1998 to 2002; and infielder and pitching star Javy Rodriguez (1999 to 2002), who led UM to its last two national championships in ’99 and ’01. He returned to complete his UM degree in 2011 and now coaches at alma mater Gulliver Prep.

Rounding out the honorees are Cuban native and current FIU diving coach Rio Ramirez, who earned four individual national titles with UM from 1997 to 99; and pitcher Jeff Morrison, who starred at Delray Beach Atlantic High and led the Canes to the College World Series three consecutive seasons (1979 to 81).
Morrison went on to receive his law degree from Georgetown and spent the next 30 years as an attorney in Atlanta. He is now working on his PhD at Georgia State, and will begin a second career this fall as a history professor.

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Frank Gore's value worth cap number

In February, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said he didn’t think the team would necessarily have to ask running back Frank Gore to take a pay cut.

Fast forward a month-and-a-half, with the heavy financial lifting of the offseason completed, the 49ers have not adjusted Gore’s pay. His 2014 salary cap number is $6.45 million. Barring an unforeseen development, the 49ers likely will not approach Gore to take a cap hit this year.

Gore has the highest salary-cap number among running backs in the NFL. Gore turns 31 in May. That is an ancient age for an NFL running back. Check out this Kevin Seifert piece on how running backs decline quickly.

But that’s the point about Gore -- he’s still productive. Gore had 1,128 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per rush in 2013. Four of the running backs with a higher salary-cap renumber in 2014 had more yards than Gore last season. They were Adrian Peterson, whose cap number is the highest for a running back at $14.4 million, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch.

Gore is older than all of the running backs with a higher salary cap number in 2014. But with his production in the same range, it doesn’t appear to be a stretch that Gore remains among the highest paid players at this position despite his advanced age.

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Devin Hester's heart still in Chicago

Return man Devin Hester departed for the Atlanta Falcons via free agency, but it’s clear he’d like to still be with the Chicago Bears.

Hester made that apparent Wednesday with a couple of posts on his Twitter account.

@D_Hest23: “To all my Bears fans I never wanted to leave the Bears, the organization decided to go another route with me. The things I did in Chicago”

@D_Hest23 : ”probably would never happen again and I always wanted to retire as a Bears

Hester’s correct that there’s a good chance his exploits in Chicago won’t ever be duplicated, but he shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of eventually retiring as a Bear. From the looks of everything, the sides parted on good terms. When the Bears announced they wouldn’t be re-signing Hester, general manager Phil Emery put out a complimentary statement, thanking the return man for his contributions over the years.

One team source even said that “Devin holds a very special place for me. He is loved and well-respected by everybody. This is one of the harsh realities of the business aspect of the NFL.”

“For the past eight seasons we have been honored to have Devin Hester as a part of our organization,” Emery said in a statement. “While Devin has redefined the pinnacle standard of the return position in the NFL, the memories and contributions he has given us cannot be measured by stats or numbers. Not only is Devin a special player, he is also an exceptional person. He is a great teammate, husband and father. Devin represented the organization off the field as well as he did on it. When his career is over, he will always be a welcome member of the Bears family. We thank him for his dedication and wish his family the best.”

Hester finished the 2013 season averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return and 14.2 yards on punt returns, and is the NFL’s all-time leader in punt return touchdowns (13) and total kick return TDs (18). In all, Hester has produced 20 return TDs, which is an NFL record.

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Ryan Clark plans to wear Sean Taylor’s No. 21 in practice

SeanTaylor copy
Last Wednesday, newly signed Redskins safety Ryan Clark posed a question on Twitter.

@Realrclark25: “Redskins fans I've worn #21 to practice for 6 years now. Would it be disrespectful to wear it in Washington?”

The reaction from fans was mixed, while former teammate Clinton Portis seemed to indicate that he’d prefer the late Sean Taylor’s number remain off limits, even in practice.

Clinton Portis, @TheRealC_Portis: “ @Lizzs_Lockeroom @Realrclark25 one of my favorite players & has a lot of respect for ST21 but no need to give a glimpse of hope let 21RIP

During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s LaVar and Dukes show later that day, Clark explained his close relationship with Taylor, with whom he played for two seasons in Washington.

“The day that Sean passed, I had just got out of the hospital, battling for my life,” Clark said, referring to the emergency operation he underwent after the combination of his carrying the sickle-cell trait and playing in the high altitude of Denver deprived his major organs of oxygen. “The day I got the opportunity to fly down for the funeral, I had just gotten the tubes taken out of my side in order for me to get on the plane. So that’s what he means to me.”

Clark, who signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2006, began wearing No. 21 in practice to honor Taylor in 2008 after the NFL denied his request to change his number from 25.

“Every time somebody asks me why I wear a different number to practice, I get to tell Sean’s story,” Clark continued. “I get to tell people about the guy I love. I get to tell people about the guy who was possibly on his way to being the greatest safety to ever play the game. And that got cut short. He never got to realize his full potential. But it gives me the opportunity to remind people of him. And maybe people in Washington don’t need that. Maybe that’s the thing.”

Clark, who will wear No. 25 in games, said he would have tried to switch to No. 21 if he signed with any team but the Redskins. A few days later, he tweeted that he received the go-ahead to wear No. 21 in practice from Jackie Garcia Haley, the mother of Taylor’s daughter.

@Realrclark25:” Spoke to Jackie whom was engaged to Sean before he passed and she gave her blessing to wear #21 to practice. All I needed!!”

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Ryan Braun channels the booing to his advantage

Philadelphia – Ryan Braun knows he’s going to be booed at every stop on the road this season for the Milwaukee Brewers, some places louder than others.
But, according to manager Ron Roenicke, boo the Brewers’ embattled star at your own risk.

“At times, it certainly drives him,” Roenicke said Tuesday night after Braun whacked three home runs and drove in seven runs in a 10-4 romp over Philadelphia.

“There’s no question about that. He’s a special hitter. Those guys, when they turn it up, they turn it up.

“I was with the Angels (as a coach) a few years back and we let Jose Guillen go. And there were some kind of negative things along with that. And every time he came back in town, our fans would boo him. And every time they’d boo him, he got a huge hit. And I was just like, ‘Leave him alone.’

“Really, it makes a difference. Those guys who can turn it up, you don’t want to be messing with him. Here, definitely, it is rough. He’s going to deal with this issue. There’s no better way to quiet people up than doing what he’s doing.”

During the Phillies' home opener, Braun definitely heard his share of boos – and then some. But it wasn’t the first time that happened, and it won’t be the last, so Braun said he just tries to channel that energy to his advantage.

“I dealt with it the last two years,” said Braun, who became a primary target of boo-birds by finally admitting to PED use during his 2011 MVP season and accepting a season-ending 65-game suspension in 2013.

“It’s nothing new to me. I dealt with it in 2012 season. It’s not anything that’s really new to me or anything I haven’t experienced before.

“I try to use it to my advantage. As a competitor, the more hostile the environment, the more enjoyable it can be. I just focus on things I can control. I focus every day on trying to be successful.

“It’s great when we’re coming into places like this and winning games. I think here and Boston are probably two of the most challenging places to come in and win games. Just do what I can to help our team win.”

If the booing actually fuels Braun, he was asked if he’d like it to continue.

“I wouldn’t say that I want it, if it’s my choice,” he said with a smile. “But I don’t know that I have much of a say in the way fans are going to react. So, I might as well make the best of it and use it to my advantage and use as motivation.”

No matter how motivated he was in Boston, Braun struggled at the plate because a chronic right thumb issue flared up. But, with a change in the padding in his batting glove and an adjustment in his stride at the plate, he produced the second three-homer game of his career against Philly.

“I’ve dealt with it for a while,” said Braun, who had no homers or RBI before his big game against the Phillies. “There’s some ebb and flow, good and bad. I’m optimistic and hopeful that eventually we’ll figure something out that makes a difference but I’ve dealt with it for a while.

“The longer you deal with any injury, the easier it becomes to find a way to compensate. So, hopefully I’ll find a swing that I’m comfortable with.”

That’s the hope of everyone with the Brewers, because a productive Braun makes a deep lineup considerably more dangerous.

“Everybody knows he’s been struggling with this,” said Roenicke. “When that power shows up again, it’s a relief for all of us because this guy is important for us in our lineup. He doesn’t necessarily have to drive balls all the time but it’s important, in that third spot, to be good hitter.

“We need him to be that kind of guy. Not always launching balls out of the park, but to just be a good hitter.”

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Ryan Jackson Placed On DL

Triple-A El Paso Places Ryan Jackson On The Disabled List & Calls Up Jake Lemmerman From Double-A San Antonio.

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Jemile Weeks Get Called Up, But Sent Back Down

Baltimore Orioles OF David Lough (head) passed concussion tests and was cleared, so he will not be going on the disabled list. 2B Jemile Weeks, who was with the team, will be sent back to Triple-A Norfolk.

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Jon Jay gets rare start in right for Cards

Jon Jay will make his first start in right field for the Cardinals since 2011 in today's series finale against the Reds. First pitch is at 12:45 p.m. (FSM)

Jay has made appearances in right field since then -- he's been there twice already this season -- but has started only in center field since the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus in 2011.

With the acquisition of Peter Bourjos, that might be a more commonplace event this season. Bourjos will start again in center field today.

Starting Jay in right field means a day off for Allen Craig (3 for 31, .097) and moves Matt Adams up to the cleanup spot against Reds righthander Mike Leake.
"I just wanted to get Jay going and I definitely wanted to get Allen Craig going," manager Mike Matheny said. "Sometimes a couple days -- I'm not saying we won't see Allen late in the game -- some time to get in here and get some extra swings, get out of the routine that isn't working for him right now. He's real close. He really is. I know he feels it. We're seeing some things that look like it. It's kind of breaking it up and giving him a couple days to get some things changed."

Craig has just one hit in his past 20 at-bats.

"It's amazing how it's magnified when it's at the beginning of the season," Matheny said. "This happens in June, July, people just say it's a little rut. Everyone wants to have a good start, no question. He'll be fine. You just have to go through it, figure it out, he'll be right where he's always been. ... It's confidence, rhythm. There a number of different things that go into it and none of them feel right for him right now. You're going to have those. I don't care how much success you've had or how long you've played. It's inevitable. It's just a matter of how quick you can get through it."

Jay, meanwhile, has had just eight at-bats in the first eight games. He's hitting .250 with two runs batted in.

Otherwise, the lineup is pretty similar to what Matheny used on Tuesday night. With an off day on Thursday, Yadier Molina will start behind the plate for the day game after the night game.

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Reggie Wayne says he is “way ahead of schedule” on return from torn ACL

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne says he expects to be cleared for football activities on April 25th after tearing his ACL last October, according to Chris Wesseling of

Wayne told Indianapolis’ 1260 WNDE that he “felt great” and that his recovery was “way ahead of schedule.” The longtime Colts receiver also said he was looking forward to playing with the team’s newest offensive weapon, Hakeem Nicks.

“I’m a fan of (Nicks). We can combine all the winning he’s done and we’ve done and come out with a nice mixture,” Wayne said. “He’s a big target, great skills, big hands … I really don’t think there are a lot of guys that can cover him.”

The Colts will look to have one of the nation’s most potent passing attacks next season with Nicks and a healthy Wayne joining T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener, who combined for 134 catches and 9 touchdowns in 2013.

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Bombers add Leon Williams

Kyle Walters continues to add veteran pieces to his training camp roster including a pair of NFL experienced defenders on Tuesday.

The Bombers GM has signed import linebacker Leon Williams and import defensive back Brandon Hogan.

Williams (6-3, 248, Miami, July 30, 1983, in Brooklyn, NY) was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by Cleveland.

Williams played three seasons with the Browns and in 46 games totalled 120 tackles, five sacks, five passes defended, and one fumble recovery. Williams has also played games with the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

Hogan (5-10, 190, West Virginia, April 1, 1988, in Manassas, Virginia) was a fourth round pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played in three games that season with the Panthers and recorded four tackles. Hogan was also with Carolina for part of the 2012 season.

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Rob Ninkovich talks Vince Wilfork

FOXBORO — Rob Ninkovich talked about the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on Tuesday morning, but also addressed a handful of other topics, including the return of Vince Wilfork, the loss of coach Pepper Johnson and some of the other offseason moves made to this point by the Patriots:

On the return of Vince Wilfork: I’€™m happy I’€™ll be able to look inside and see him next to me. I’€™m happy that he’€™s still my teammate, and we’€™ll be able to go out there and win some football games.

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Michael Irvin won’t win an Oscar, but he can act

My love for movies goes back to those childhood days when I spent practically every Saturday afternoon at the Ritz theater in downtown Fort Worth.

I saw some of the greatest films of all times — and some of the worst — in that segregated picture show, which usually got the “first-run” movies two to three weeks after they had opened in the white theaters downtown.

But that didn’t matter, because it was at the Ritz that I saw pictures like The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, The Ten Commandments, Imitation of Life and the terrifying Psycho, all instant classics.

It’s because of my appreciation of true classic movies that I never want them to be remade — and when they are, I make every attempt to avoid seeing the new production.

I’ve never seen in full the remake of The Defiant Ones, for example, or the television production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. There’s no way they could have matched the original, so why bother?

There’s another film that I swore I would never watch, no matter what. Then the other day, while flipping through cable movie channels, I caught a glimpse of a former Dallas Cowboys player.

I’d already gone about two channels past the film when I realized, “That was Michael Irvin!”

I went back to the Irvin movie, and it took only a few seconds for me to realize that the former wide receiver, nicknamed “The Playmaker,” could act.

He was cast in the remake of The Longest Yard, a movie first released in 1974 about a quarterback (Burt Reynolds) sent to prison and then forced to lead a team of inmates in a football game against the prison guards.

“OK,” I thought, “This can’t be any good, so let me move on.”

But I couldn’t. Irvin had trapped me into watching this new version, which was made in 2005 and starred Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. The next day, I made it a point to see it in its entirety.

I know the former football player has been blamed for a lot of things, but this is probably the first time he’s been accused of making someone watch a movie.
Irvin has always been a showman, on the field and off, but it had never occurred to me that he could pull off an acting role and make it believable, even while playing a football player wearing number 88.

Back in the days when he was with the Cowboys, sometimes getting in trouble with the law and the NFL, I was often considered an apologist for him, primarily because in some cases he was falsely accused and other times I felt he had been unfairly targeted by law enforcement.

Regardless, I think Irvin would be the first to say that he’s responsible for having put himself in positions that brought him his legal problems and negative publicity. And it didn’t help his image or bring him sympathy when he showed up at a courthouse in Dallas during his drug trial wearing a full-length mink coat.

Despite some of his antics, he was the darling of the news media because he usually provided great copy and super quotes, a trait that has served him well as a broadcast analyst, a job at which he is a master.

He’s been on Dancing with the Stars, a couple of reality shows and guest-starred in another Sandler movie, Jack & Jill — which I haven’t seen, but I’ll put it on my list.

Make no mistake, The Longest Yard remake is no Oscar winner and does not come close to being better than the original. But it is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see “The Playmaker” act.

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Jon Beason on Off-Season Training: 'I Know When I Have to Focus'

In his first four NFL seasons, Jon Beason made an astounding 540 tackles. Then the injury bug stung him, derailing his 2011 and 2012 seasons. But after taking a new approach to how he trains and prepares his body, the veteran linebacker again surpassed 100 tackles during the 2013 season. We spoke with Beason at the Arnold Classic RSP Nutrition booth to learn what he did to get back to the top.

STACK: Do you have a specific pre-game routine?
Jon Beason: I would go from being a laid back, chill dude on Friday to really serious before a game in college. I’d have my headphones on and wouldn’t talk to anyone. But I felt like I played stiff.

So one week in college, I went out and I was like, "man, I am going to have fun, be loose and crack jokes." It’s a party out there—you’re making plays and having fun. So I try not to give way to superstition. I am going to show up and have a great time. I know when I have to focus.

STACK: What do you do after a game, and what does it feel like Monday morning?
JB: Usually your adrenaline is still pumping. Whether you played well or you didn’t, you are still kind of on this high. You’re just trying to wind down. You’re sore a little bit the next day, but Tuesday is when atrophy sets in and you are hurting.

On Tuesday you are just trying to make it in. Everyone is off, so you come in on your own merit. The best thing to do is get a workout in. Unfortunately, you want to run because it flushes the body. You may get a massage, hit the ice tubs or take a contrast bath [hot and cold]. If you need treatment, that’s when you get it. You don’t feel so great at practice on Wednesday, but you start feeling better as the week goes on.

STACK: What does your training program look like?
JB: I have a great trainer in Pete Bommarito down in Aventura, Florida. We alternate upper- and lower-body days throughout the week. On Wednesday, we do our same active movements in the pool to take some stress of the joints.

Monday is a linear speed day where everything is straight ahead, but it’s over-speed. And then Thursday is specific to your position. I go and train with the defensive backs because I want that footwork.

Friday is our extended cardio day, where we run 200s, but we call them play drives. We go from a long sustained run to a short 30 or 40 where it’s quick.

At the same time, I like to do my own thing at night. I may double up on a lift or run 110s on the beach. It’s to the point where I’m almost paranoid, because I don’t know what someone like Patrick Willis is doing.

STACK: We heard you spin. Is that true?
JB: Yes, I’m in spin class. In our sport, you always try to get your body back to normal, especially after an injury. So you need to modify your workouts to where you’re not going to stress it, but get some work at the same time. So for me, it’s great to get a secondary workout coming off of a knee surgery.

STACK: What are some of the things you learned about training smarter?
JB: I was always trying to get ahead of the competition, do more and train longer. But that wears on the body because our sport is high impact. A guy like me who’s had some injuries from football should stay away from things like CrossFit. It’s a great workout, because you feel like you accomplished something, but I know I can’t do that. I went three and a half years and didn’t miss a snap. I practiced the same way I played. And all of a sudden, I wake up and my Achilles is bothering me. My knees are bothering me. So learning how to recover is huge.

STACK: What have you learned about recovery? 
JB: In my first game back from my Achilles injury, I went out there and was actually upset because I wasn’t in the best possible shape. Not because I didn’t want to train, but because I was forced to relax and let the injury heal. And I went out there and was winded and said to myself, "man, I always pride myself on being in the best shape so I can play at a high level the longest."

But then I hit my second wind. It was more mental. I believed in myself and in my ability. So, I don’t have to actually go and run miles after I train or do this and do that. I can do what my trainer tells me to do and then spend all of my time recovering in terms of nutrition and rest. Knowing when to stop is the most important thing.

STACK: What do you eat on a regular basis?
JB: It’s funny, the meal plan never changes from team to team. We eat four hours before a game. You’ll have your pasta and broccoli for complex carbs, and breakfast will be out there for the guys who want that. I’ll eat a little chicken, but not too much because I want to actually be hungry when the game starts.

STACK: What’s your favorite food? Do you have a cheat meal?
JB: I am not a big sweet guy. If we go to dinner, you will never hear me ask for dessert. I don’t crave it whatsoever, but I love to eat. I would say my favorite meal is probably surf and turf. But, if I am cheating, I want fried chicken. Anything fried, really. I want macaroni and cheese. I want pizza. All of the fat greasy stuff is right up my alley.

STACK: What have you learned from your seven years in the NFL and four years of college ball that could have helped you back in high school?
JB: I was fortunate that I had people around me like my mom and head coach who taught me about hard work and doing what’s required. My high school coach would always say, "you can do everything right, have great talent, go to class on time, work hard and win every game, but it still just gives you a chance to be a champion at the end of the day." If you don’t do those things, you simply don't have it.

So for me, it’s about setting small goals and being in the moment. A lot of times I was like, "I want to win a Super Bowl." Well, we all want to win a Super Bowl, but how are you going to get there? So, I just take it day by day. I ask myself what I did to make sure that I’m better than the competition every day.

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WATCH: proCane Ryan Braun Hit 3 Homeruns Vs Phillies

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was welcomed to the City of Brotherly Love with a hearty chorus of boos on Tuesday, but the jeers only seemed to inspire him. Braun, who just finished serving a suspension for violating MLB’s substance policy, knocked out two home runs in the game, including the three-run shot shown above. UPDATE: Braun added a third home run.

He also robbed a base hit with this incredible diving catch.

Learn the lesson, fans in other cities: Don’t boo Ryan Braun. It only makes him stronger.

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Kayne Farquharson wants to add another color to the team's green and black

Over the weekend, the annual "Race for Grace" took place in Grand Island. Over 2,000 participants showed up to help raise money for cancer awareness. With that same cause being so close to one players heart, this Saturday the Nebraska Danger are hoping for a similar result.

Danger receiver Kayne Farquharson wants to add another color to the team's green and black. In honor of his aunt he lost to breast cancer, he's hoping the danger will paint the heartland events center pink this weekend.

"You always see breast cancer awareness in professional sports, college football, college basketball. it don't effect you until something happen to you personally so when it effected me personally I did some research and I wanted to start a foundation basically." said Farquharson.

Kayne started the Real Deal Foundation and approached the the Bosselman's to see if the Danger football family would like to help.

"When he came to us asking to do something for his aunt who he lost to breast cancer, we didn't think twice about it. We're just so proud of him." said Laurie Bosselman, the head of Danger merchandise.

This Saturday, The Real Deal Foundation alongside the Grace foundation, the Danger will be putting on their 1st Pink Out.
Where Kayne is hoping to see a crowd full of loyal Danger fans swinging their pink towels in support.

"It's an awesome cause and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Grace Foundation as well as Kane's project so were really excited about our pink Out night and to just get a lot of excitement and awareness going on." said Stephanie King-Witt, the director of communications for the Danger.

Currently the all-time leading receiver in Danger franchise history, Kayne Farquharson has reached many goals at the Heartland Events Center and since losing his aunt, his vision making a difference in her memory, will become a reality on that very same field.

"I took a chance and it came together so dreams do come true." Farquharson said.

The Pink Out will be played at the Heartland Event Center this Saturday, April 12 against the Texas Revolution.

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Titans waive DE Adewale Ojomo after arrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have waived defensive end Adewale Ojomo more than two weeks after he was arrested in a prostitution sting.

The Titans announced the move Monday afternoon, hours after the team started its offseason program.

Ojomo had joined the Titans’ practice squad in December after stints with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and on the practice squads in Seattle and Buffalo last fall.

He was booked March 21 in Miami on a charge of soliciting a prostitute after police say Ojomo offered the undercover detective $100 for sex. The police report said Ojomo was planning to go to a nearby store for condoms but was arrested before he could drive away.

Ojomo played at the University of Miami.

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Chris Myers on Texans: Everyone needs to be 100 percent committed

The Texans start their offseason workouts on Monday, giving new coach Bill O’Brien his first chance to work with the entire team he took over after Houston’s dismal 2-14 season in 2013.

A new coach means new schemes and new ways of doing things, something that isn’t always easy for veterans used to the way of life under former coach Gary Kubiak. Center Chris Myers isn’t one of those veterans, though. He called it an “exciting” time for the team and said that he’ll be on the lookout for any players who aren’t willing to buy in to the new approach in Houston.

“Everyone’s committed 100 percent. We expect that. If not, there’ll be some talking to do to some guys,” Myers said, via the Houston Chronicle. “When you’re in the NFL, if you have a close-minded personality – not open to having this new regime come in and implement its scheme – it’s not your spot. You’ve got to be able to have all the openness to be able to learn and treat it like it’s brand new. … I’m treating it like it’s my rookie year all over again.”

There’s a lot of work to be done to turn things around for the Texans, but it will have to start with the team’s leaders in the locker room embracing what O’Brien is selling. If they share Myers’ view, that should be taken care of fairly quickly.

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Ryan Bruan to Play Through Thumb Injury

(NEW YORK) -- Even though he's dealing with a thumb injury that could effect his performance at the plate, Milwaukee Brewers  outfielder Ryan Braun will play.

Braun's thumb has bothered him in the past, but he elected to not undergo surgery. Despite the setback, he still has no plans to undergo a procedure to help him recover.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I've dealt with it a long time. Like I said, I'm optimistic we'll figure something out and make it better. But when it gets to a point I can't come close to taking a normal swing, it's counterproductive to the team and to me to continue to play."

It's still very early, but Braun has struggled this season for the Brewers. In five games, he's batting .150 and has no extra base hits.

Braun returned this season after serving a 65-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

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Yasmani Grandal could see time as DH this series

CLEVELAND -- In previous seasons, when the Padres have traveled to an American League city, manager Bud Black has often used the designated hitter spot to get a position player off his feet defensively for a few days during an Interleague series.

A year ago, Carlos Quentin got 25 at-bats as a designated hitter in six Interleague games. He got 21 at-bats in five Interleague games the previous season.
But this season is different, as the Padres, just six games into the regular season, find themselves in an AL ballpark for three games this week against the Indians.

"I think this is the earliest Interleague series we've ever played," Black said.

The Padres decided to give Yasmani Grandal the start at designated hitter Monday, though that game was postponed by rain.

The club has three catchers on the 25-man roster and Grandal has already started three times with Rene Rivera getting two starts. Monday's game would have been the second start behind the plate for Nick Hundley.

Grandal, coming back from major surgery on his right knee last August, isn't to the point where he can catch nine innings in consecutive days. This allows the team to keep his bat in the lineup, as he has five walks and three hits in nine at-bats.

How will Black proceed with the designated hitter Tuesday and in Wednesday's doubleheader?

"I guess you'll know when we post the lineup," he said, smiling.

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Jon Jay is Making a Case to Start for St. Louis Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay used to be the starting center fielder. He lost that job in Spring Training to Peter Bourjos, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for David Freese. Although he had a terrible spring, Jay is making the most of his opportunities so far in this young season.

Jay does not have the speed or range of Bourjos. What he does have are reliability and durability. Jay holds the NL record for errorless games by a center fielder at 245. He has only one stint on the DL, when he injured his shoulder in 2012 running into the wall at Busch Stadium. He’s a somewhat streaky hitter, but he often gets clutch hits. In his two starts so far this year, he has two RBIs and they were key. Both times the Cardinals were behind and Jay’s hits tied the game.

Bourjos is getting off to a very slow start for his new team. Pitchers Adam Wainwright and Joe Kelly have more hits than he does. He has one error, although it was on a ball that Jay might not have gotten to. His speed on the bases will be exciting to see if he ever gets on. As the old saying is that you can’t steal first base.

It’s clear so far in this young season that Jay is not going to ride the bench without a fight. That’s a good attitude for him to have, because even more competition may be coming his way soon.

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Cardinals release wide receiver LaRon Byrd

LaronByrd 2
The Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver LaRon Byrd and linebacker Dan Giordano Friday.

Byrd, a 6-foot-4 220-pounder, spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve. He played in four games and caught one pass as a rookie in 2012

Like Byrd, Giordano did not play a down last season after spending the whole year on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound linebacker signed with the Cardinals after not being drafted in 2013.

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Seantrel Henderson to take visit with the Dolphins

The Dolphins will host Miami T Seantrel Henderson for a visit this week.
Miami desperately needs offensive tackle reinforcement in this draft, and the local product Henderson figures to be one of their contingency plans if circumstances dictate that they wait until the third-round. Henderson has taken a beating in the media over the past year, including reports that he "quit" his pro day. It should be noted that he was actually forced to withdraw due to dehydration.

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Antrel Rolle not worried about contract

Hester racked up a league-leading 1,698 combined return yards this season.

Working strictly as a return specialist this season, Hester appeared to regain his fastball, so to speak. His 14.2 average on punt returns would have ranked third in the NFL had he received enough opportunities to qualify, as punters wisely chose to kick away from him often. Hester was less easy to avoid on kickoffs, finishing with an average of 27.7 yards on 52 returns, good for the second-best mark of his career. The 31-year-old is set to become a free agent in the offseason, but with few players capable of replacing Hester's impact on special teams, look for the Bears to submit a competitive offer to retain his services.

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Homecoming trip special for proCanes Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal

The Opening Weekend series between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres was a homecoming for the Padres' Miami duo Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal.

The two shares plenty of similarities. They were born in Cuba, raised in Miami and were teammates at the University of Miami during the year the Hurricanes won their first ever ACC Tournament Championship in 2008.

Then they got drafted by the same team. The Cincinnati Reds selected Alonso in the 2008 MLB Draft and Grandal in 2010. They were part of the same trade package that was used to bring ace pitcher Matt Latos to Cincinnati.

At least once every year, the Cuban duo returns home to Miami to see their families and play the Marlins who they grew up watching.

"It means a lot," Alonso said. "You really get a sense of having your family and friends here. So it's very special to me."

There is an inner fraternity that comes with playing baseball in Miami. Not just for the Hurricanes, but even in high school. Alonso said that he keeps in touch with fellow Canes like Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, Dodgers reliever Chris Perez and even local high school stars like Nick Castellano who won the state championship with two different South Florida schools.

"All the guys in South Florida have a special bond," Alonso said.

There are two types of Cuban big leaguers: those who defect and immediately start their baseball career and those who make it to the States in their childhood and go through the assimilation processes through high school and college. This is where people see the difference between Yasiel Puig and Yonder Alonso.

The love of the game is still the same," he said. "They way they play, the fire of the game is still the same because in South Florida, they play just like how they do in Cuba. If anything they show their emotions a little bit more and as players, we're taught to never show your opponents emotions."

The handling of a newfound fortune is also a major difference between the two Cubans.

"I've talked to people in their mid-twenties and teams give them 3-4 million dollars and all they can think of is how to spend it all," Yasmani Grandal said. "The guys who have lived here take that money and think about how invest in it and make more money."

Unfortunately for them, they lost the series to the Marlins and now have to go from one extreme (Miami) to the other (Cleveland). That being said, they can only hope that they can reach the playoffs and the Marlins meet them there.

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Ryan Braun has two hits in return to field Sunday

Ryan Braun went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and run scored in Sunday's win over the Red Sox.

Braun played designated hitter in Friday's game and sat out Saturday due to a nerve issue in his right thumb, but he was back in right field for Sunday's contest. The hits were his first since Opening Day, and it was his first multi-hit game of the year. The nerve issue is still a concern, but Sunday alleviates at least a tiny bit of concern about his ability to hit while managing the issue.

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Hot, cold: Grandal continues to push knee

MIAMI — Yasmani Grandal’s surgically-repaired right knee continues to pass test after test. The next – the varying climates of an April schedule – might prove the most telling of all as he leaves behind breezy San Diego for South Florida’s humidity and ultimately the Midwest, where rain and sub-40-degree temperatures are expected to greet the Padres upon their arrival in Cleveland on Monday.

Consider Grandal prepared.

“As soon as you change climates, I’ve heard a lot of people say you’re going to feel it,” Grandal said. “But I’ve rehabbed in San Diego and Miami and Arizona and I’ve had that change going back and forth already. It will be fun, but that’s going to be a challenge.”

To date, Grandal has felt virtually nothing in the knee despite an accelerated return from ACL surgery just eight months ago. He made good on his promise to ready for opening day, stole his first career base in that game for good measure and caught nine innings Tuesday afternoon.

Now, Grandal’s bat is starting to come around.

The University of Miami product singled twice and walked twice in four plate appearances, upping his career average to .438 (7-for-16) against the Marlins. That success, not to mention the number of friends and family who flock to Marlins Park to support him – enough to let his agent handle ticket requests – was among the many reasons Grandal targeted an early return to the season.

“Obviously, it was a benchmark here to come here and play here,” Grandal said. “But it’s a process with the knee and we’re going to keep on working.”

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