NFL U Week 2 Matchup Guide

NFL U Matchups 2013 Week 2

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2 proCanes Nominated for the NFL HOF Class of 2014

The complete list of modern-era candidates for the Class of 2014 consists of 126 nominees was announced exclusively during a one-hour special on NFL Network tonight.

From the list, that includes 16 first-year eligible candidates, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 semifinalist nominees will be announced in late November. That semifinalist list will be further reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January.  The Class of 2014 will be selected from the list of the 15 modern-era finalists plus the two senior nominees (former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter Ray Guy and former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey) who were selected last month by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection Committee. The actual voting for the Class of 2014 will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the day before Super Bowl XLVIII. The election results will be announced at a live announcement show that evening.

The 2 proCanes nominated are:

OTTIS ANDERSON – 1979-1986 St. Louis Cardinals, 1986-1992 New York Giants MVP of Super Bowl XXV. Named first-team All-Pro and All-NFC once and voted to two Pro Bowls. Rushed for 10,273 yards and 81 touchdowns, and caught 376 passes for 3,062 yards and 5 TDs in 14-season career.

JEROME BROWN – DT – 1987-1991 Philadelphia Eagles A dominant figure on defensive line. Earned two All-Pro, All-NFC, and Pro Bowl selections. Promising career cut short in 1992 when killed in car accident.

To see all the nominees click here.

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Santana Moss advises teammates to erase loss from memory

After the Redskins‘ third consecutive offensive possession of the season ended in disaster, veteran wide receiver Santana Moss huddled his teammates and told them to settle down. He reminded them of the success they experienced last season, and told them they needed to “flush” the struggles, which included a fumble, an interception and a safety on the first three possessions.

“I just told the guys to calm down. Stuff’s going to happen,” Moss said. “It’s football. We saw the game the night before and watched the Giants go through some of the same things, but we know that’s not our team, so let’s get back to what we’ve done before. Don’t dwell on this.”

The Redskins dug their way out of a 26-7 hole, but still lost 33-27.

Although the offense finally settled in to a rhythm in the final quarter-and-a-half of play, Moss said little can be taken from the game. His advice to teammates was to erase the game from their memories – something he already had done.

“It’s already out. What’s done is done,” said Moss. ”Can’t go back. Now the week is already started and it’s time for us to prepare for Green Bay. That’s Monday. It’s over, it’s far from here right now.”

Moss added: “The thing in this game is, somebody has to take a loss. It’s nothing about – you lost one game, what is that going to affect? That’s not going to affect nothing but the people that don’t really know nothing about the game. You’re going to have to lose. Somebody has to lose, so you have to go out there with the mentality of ‘Okay, we’ve got one loss on our record. Now, we’ll go out and start all over.’ ”

Moss said his teammates shouldn’t even use the poor performance as a source of motivation because in his opinion, they should approach the meeting with the Packers as if they have a clean slate.

“No motivation. For what? You’re motivated to come out here and know you still have 15 more games left. You can’t be motivated by you went out there and laid an egg. Now we have a loss, we know we have to prepare, we know what we didn’t do right, and now we have to capitalize off that.”

Moss conceded that there were a few positives that he and his teammates can take from that second half.

“The rhythm felt a little better because we weren’t in a rhythm, but it’s far from what we can be and what we are made of. But it’s a step toward what we can be,” Moss said. “That’s our first game with Robert. To be honest with you, I didn’t expect it to be more. I didn’t expect the fumbles and stuff, and this and that, but I didn’t expect us to go out and look phenomenal. This was his first game. Every week he’s going to get better and we’re going to get better because we’ll have more time together to mesh. When you’re out there practicing, you can practice sharp and crisp, but until you play in a live game, with live bullets flying, you’re not going to really know how to take it. I’m glad he got a game under his belt, I’m glad we played better in the second half as a team, and we have to take and build off of it.”

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Jason Fox not making excuses for latest injury

ALLEN PARK -- Detroit Lions right tackle Jason Fox might seem snake-bitten, after suffering yet another injury over the weekend. But he's not making excuses.

"I'm not going to answer any of those questions," he said, when asked about his spate of injuries. "It happened, and I'm working to get back."

Fox won a highly competitive job battle with Corey Hilliard to start at right tackle, seemingly the culmination of a three-year fight to get into the lineup. But then he suffered a groin injury just 15 snaps into Sunday's opener.

He underwent tests this week and did not practice Wednesday. His status for Sunday's game at Arizona is unknown.

"I just turned, and it just kind of gave out," he said. "Didn't feel too good. I got to the sideline and tried to give it a go, but it wasn't cooperating. I knew Corey was going to do his job, which he did.

"I was engaged in a block. We were engaged, he made a move and I tried to react real fast and it just gave out."

It's just the latest setback for Fox, who once was graded as a first-round talent out of Miami before dropping to Detroit in the fourth round in 2010 due to a knee injury. He missed most of that season because of the knee, then all of 2011 with a foot injury.

He was active just one game in 2012.

But Fox entered this season healthy and seemingly made a major step forward during camp. He was a strong, consistent producer, which helped him finally win the starting job.

But his first career start lasted just 15 snaps. And now he's right back in the trainer's room.

Fox couldn't give a timetable for his return, but said he's improving every day.

"I'm feeling better than Sunday," he said. "It could have been a lot worse. I'm going to get back as soon as I can."

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Darryl Sharpton set to pass concussion test; active against Titans

Texans linebacker Darryl Sharpton had a successful practice Thursday and is expected to pass the final stage of the NFL’s concussion protocol test this evening.

Sharpton will be active against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Reliant Stadium and is set to make his 2013 debut.

“He’s fine. … He should be cleared (Thursday) afternoon and ready to go,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.

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Kellen Winslow has three-catch night

Kellen Winslow caught three passes for 16 yards on six targets in New York's Week 2 loss to the Patriots.
Winslow's presence wasn't really felt outside of a false-start penalty and nine-yard catch in the third quarter that could have been a touchdown had he not fallen down. Winslow's 14 targets through two games give him a modicum of fantasy value, but he's definitely a barrel-scraping option.

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Ed Reed game-time decision for Week 2

Texans FS Ed Reed (hip) is a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Titans.

According to coach Gary Kubiak, Reed wouldn't start even if he was active, leaving Shioh Keo to play opposite SS Danieal Manning. Reed has barely practiced since signing his three-year, $15 million deal. We don't expect him to play this week.

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Danny Valencia Performing at Career High Levels

DH Danny Valencia tied a career high with his 4-for-4 effort. He went 3-for-3 off starter Andy Pettitte. Valencia's now gone 30-for-78 (.385) off left-handed pitchers this season. But he's been hot overall since Aug. 4, hitting .564 (22-for-39), the best average among major leaguers with at least 35 at-bats in that time period.

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Yonder Alonso cleared to play defense, will take swings soon

PHILADELPHIA -- First baseman Yonder Alonso, who hasn't played since Aug. 30 due to soreness in his right hand, has been cleared to play defense and will likely hit in the cage this weekend when the team heads to Atlanta for a series with the Braves.

"I've been throwing the past couple of days and it's still a little sore," Alonso said.

Alonso missed 34 games earlier this season with a fractured metacarpal bone in his hand. He returned from the disabled list on July 12, but the strength in his hand wasn't the same as it was earlier this year when he hit .284 with six home runs in his first 190 at-bats.

After returning from the disabled list in July, Alonso hit .278 with no home runs and four doubles and said he wasn't able to do the same things with his swing that he could before the initial injury.

"Yonder is doing great, he's going to be able to play defense," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We're comfortable with him throwing and are comfortable with him if he has to dive. There's motivation for Yonder to get back on the field."

He's running out of time. After Thursday's series finale against the Phillies, the Padres have only 17 games left in the regular season.

"I'm optimistic about it [returning]. But it's just a matter of time for this thing to heal," said Alonso, who noted that he'll likely have a grip-strength test when the team returns to Petco Park on Monday.

The Padres have used Kyle Blanks at first base, though rookie Tommy Medica -- who hit a home run on Wednesday for his first Major League hit -- got the start there again on Thursday.

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So how will Brewers fans react to Ryan Braun's return from banishment on March 31, 2014?

ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney lists nine "dates to circle" for the 2014 Major League Baseball season and high on his list is March 31 when the Brewers open their season at Miller Park against the Braves.

"Everybody will be watching and listening to see what the reaction will be to the all-star leftfielder, who will be playing his first game since serving a 65-game suspension this year. Rest assured: It will be mixed, with a lot of Brewers fans cheering him."

You do wonder what the local fan reaction to Braun's return from banishment will be.

Not so much the cheers, which as Olney says will be there. But the level of jeers.

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Reggie Wayne's streak

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne extended his NFL record to 65 consecutive games with at least three receptions. Wayne finished with eight catches for 96 yards and one touchdown. That's a solid start toward the possibility of another season with 100 catches and 1,000 yards receiving.

Wayne has had 1,000 yards in eight of the last nine seasons, missing by 40 yards in 2011 when the Colts used three different quarterbacks. Wayne's 1,355 yards receiving in Andrew Luck's first season last year was identical to the 1,355 yards Wayne had in Peyton Manning's final healthy season with the Colts in 2010.

Wayne praised Luck after the game.

“He plays better than the average second-year quarterback,” Wayne said. “He inspires everybody in the huddle. Nothing seems to get him down, even when they took the lead. We went out there and he said, 'This is going to be the drive. This is going to be the drive to win the game right here.' He's always confident and knows what he can do with his ability.”

Wayne has caught at least one pass in 113 straight games.

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Kellen Winslow proving he still has plenty left

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Kellen Winslow Jr. always believed he'd be where he is now.

Even when he was sitting at home a few months ago, anxiously waiting for a phone call from an NFL team - any team, really - that would give him another chance.

"It was very hard,'' the New York Jets tight end said Tuesday. "Besides my motorcycle accident (in 2005), it was the toughest part of my career. And it was unnecessary.''

Winslow played in just one game last year - one catch for New England - after being a late-summer cut by Seattle, a situation at which he is still bitter. He had a solid training camp with the Seahawks, but was released just before the season. Winslow said the move was over money, and he reportedly didn't want to restructure his contract.

"That's just the way they do things over there, I guess,'' he said. "But I'm back, and it's good to be back. I'm happy to be back.''

The Jets offered him a tryout in minicamp in June, signed him a few days later and he could end up being one of the smartest signings of the season - as long as he can stay healthy.

The former Pro Bowl tight end had a terrific debut Sunday, catching a team-leading seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in the 18-17 win over Tampa Bay while also serving as a dependable option for rookie quarterback Geno Smith.

"When it's clutch time and it's time to make a play, that's what I live for, man,'' Winslow said. "That's what it's all about. I don't want to let these guys down, and vice versa.''

Winslow is only two years removed from catching 75 passes for Tampa Bay in 2011, but a balky and surgically repaired right knee and the fact he turned 30 this summer might have scared off some teams. Sensing he'd get very little playing time, he asked for his release last season after that one game with the Patriots, who he'll face Thursday night.

"It was just wrong timing,'' he said, adding he enjoyed his brief time in New England. "Rob Gronkowski was there, Wes Welker was there and Aaron Hernandez was coming back real soon from injury, and it was just wrong timing.

"Right team, wrong timing.''

He's certainly hoping the Jets are the right team at the right time.

After allowing Dustin Keller to leave as a free agent, the Jets were thin. During his three-day tryout, Winslow impressed Rex Ryan, flashing some of the skills that made him one of the league's best young tight ends during his first few seasons in Cleveland.

"As soon as the name pops out, you're intrigued,'' Ryan said. "But then when you get here, you realize, `Hey, this guy still has great receiving skills.' He's smart, and he's `a warrior,' to quote himself. That's kind of his mentality, there's no question.

"Is he as good as he once was? Maybe not, but he's pretty darn good.''

Jeff Cumberland is still listed as the team's starter, and Konrad Reuland is a solid blocking tight end, but Winslow provides an invaluable amount of experience whenever. He has caught 445 career passes, including 24 touchdowns, and is a guy the raw Smith will be able to look for.

Just as he did late in the game Sunday, when he connected with Winslow on a 25-yard pass that helped set up the winning field goal.

"Kellen is great, not only from a leadership standpoint, which is something I think he brings to the table every single week, but a physical standpoint,'' Smith said. "He's one of those tight ends who constantly gets open. He can be a safety valve for me. He communicates well, he's extremely smart, he knows defenses. He's just a wily vet.

"It's good to have a guy like that on your side.''

Reuland has been impressed by Winslow's football acumen, something he thinks people might overlook. His ability to read defenses has been something Reuland has tried to pick Winslow's brain about, as well as how he "puts his own little twist on a lot of routes and blocking techniques.''

The one thing, though, that has stood out most to Reuland has been Winslow's desire to be what he once was.

"He's hungry,'' Reuland said. "He's got a chip on his shoulder. He's one hell of a competitor. Really, he's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around. He took last year as 32 teams passed on him.''

Winslow acknowledged that it's just one game, and he has plenty more work to do. The Jets have been routinely given him "rest days'' to make sure he doesn't overdo things in practice.

But he's already on his way to showing 31 other teams that maybe they should have picked up the phone this offseason. Make no mistake, all the doubters still drive Winslow.

"I think I need to be like that,'' he said. "Knowing myself, I have to be that way. It motivates me when guys think they're better than me. It's fun.

"It's all just competition, and I like that.''

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Ed Reed gets a walker for his birthday

It was wrapped in bright, colorful paper and placed next to Ed Reed’s locker.

When the just-turned 35-year-old unwrapped his birthday present, the unveiling came with an announcement.

“It’s a platinum walker,” Reed joked.

Free safety Danieal Manning gave the gift to the 12-year veteran. The Texans also presented Reed with a Hall-of-Fame jacket cake.

Despite having not played a game in a Texans uniform, Reed’s already become a hit during practices and in the locker room. And his steadily advancing age has become an easy target for constant humor.

“Because his birthday’s on 9-11, we were asking him, like, ‘Where were you at on 9-11? And he was like, he was in college in his senior year,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “And I was, like, ‘Wow, I was a junior in high school.’ So, yeah, it is funny.”

As for the veteran safety’s playing status?

“I’ll probably answer that question better (Thursday) … when we go back out there and get our pads on for a little bit again,” coach Gary Kubiak said.

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Kellen Winslow looks fondly on time with Patriots

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Kellen Winslow only spent one week with the Patriots last season, but the Jets’ veteran tight end considered it a positive experience.

“It was real good there, just wrong timing,” Winslow said yesterday. “Tom Brady is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The way he leads that team is phenomenal. You understand why they are who they are because of Tom Brady.”

Winslow signed with the Patriots on Sept. 18, three weeks after the Seahawks cut him for refusing to take a pay cut. Winslow had one catch for 12 yards in the Patriots’ 31-30 loss to the Ravens on Sept. 23 and then asked to be released four days later.

“Rob Gronkowski was there, Wes Welker was there, Aaron Hernandez was coming back real soon from injury, and it was just wrong timing,” Winslow said. “Right team, wrong timing. For me, it’s a lot of hard work put into it because of my knee, and it wasn’t worth it with me sitting. It was better for me to just chill out for a year, soak it in and come back next year.”

Winslow’s knee has been problematic since he was in a motorcycle accident in 2005. The injury has prevented him from reaching the potential he possessed when the Browns made him the No. 6 pick in the 2004 draft, but he has been productive throughout his career.

Winslow made the Pro Bowl in 2007 with 82 catches for a career-high 1,106 yards. He signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Buccaneers in 2009 after they traded for him.

Winslow had 75 catches for 763 yards with the Bucs in 2011 before being traded to the Seahawks. Seattle cut Winslow a week before last season’s opener when he wouldn’t reduce his salary.

“Besides my motorcycle accident, (Seattle) was the toughest part of my career,” Winslow said. “It was unnecessary. That’s just the way they do things over there, I guess. But I’m back, and I’m happy to be back.”

Winslow has found a home with the Jets after impressing the team during a three-day tryout in June. The 30-year-old had a vintage performance in the team’s 18-17 season-opening win against the Buccaneers, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.

“I knew I’d be here,” Winslow said. “This is expected of me, and I have a lot more to go. I haven’t really done anything yet. It’s one game and I have a long way to go.”

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Darryl Sharpton Close To Return

The Texans ran through a light workout Wednesday. But it was another day of practice for Darryl Sharpton, and coach Gary Kubiak said the fourth-year linebacker could be cleared to return Sunday against the Tennessee Titans if he runs through a successful session Thursday.

Sharpton is toward the end of the NFL’s concussion protocol. He didn’t travel with the team to San Diego for a Week 1 road-opener.

“He did take a step forward,” Kubiak said. “So practicing is another step in the protocol. He puts his pads on (Thursday). … That’s the last step. So he could be cleared as of (Thursday).”

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Jason Fox Misses Practice

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions started practicing for their game Sunday at Arizona on fairly hot Wednesday morning.

The heat, in theory, could help the Lions deal with the all-too-typical weather in the desert.

Two players -- starting right tackle Jason Fox and reserve safety Don Carey -- were not practicing. Both have "soft-tissue" injuries, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday, and were injured in Sunday's 34-24 win over Minnesota.

Corey Hilliard replaced Fox at right tackle in the Minnesota game and he would likely get the nod if Fox's groin doesn't heal in time.

Running back Reggie Bush, who hurt his thumb and groin Sunday, participated in the media portion of practice. So did safety Louis Delmas, who has chronic knee issues.

An update on Fox and Carey -- and in Carey's case, exactly what his injury is -- will be available later today.

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Giants Sign Emmanuel Acho, not Adewale Ojomo, to Practice Squad

Emmanuel Acho was a 2012 third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but spent the duration of his rookie season on Injured Reserve (IR) with a leg injury. Earlier this offseason he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back Dion Lewis, but was released on September 2nd.

Acho will take the place of wide receiver Marcus Harris on the practice squad, who was released on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, the Giants have chosen not to — at least for now — re-sign defensive end Adewale Ojomo, who was also released on Monday.

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D.J. Williams’ job: Slow Adrian Peterson

D.J. Williams has played in 128 NFL games but has shared the field with Adrian Peterson fewer times than a Soldier Field rent-a-cop.

While many members of the Bears’ veteran defense are used to seeing the Minnesota Vikings twice a year, Williams has faced their running back exactly once in his regular-season career. In 2007, the rookie gained 36 yards on 11 carries against Williams’ former team, the Denver Broncos.

“I’m excited to play against him — he’s considered to be one of the best backs in the league — and just go against him,” Williams, signed in March to replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker, said Wednesday after practice at Halas Hall. “Not physically, myself, but the whole defense.”

Fairly or not, Williams will be compared to Urlacher against a power runner such as Peterson. But the Bears swear a group effort is the key Sunday to stopping the man who last year ran for 2,097 yards, nine shy of the all-time record.

Cornerback Charles Tillman said the Bears need to “population-tackle.” Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said “everyone’s got to do their job” against “one of the best backs to ever play the game.”

“You very seldom see the first guy bring him down,” said strong-side linebacker James Anderson, who faced Peterson three times with the Carolina Panthers. “When you’ve got a guy that can make the first guy miss, he can get yards after contact. It makes for a very difficult tackle.”

That it does.

“I’m sure most corners don’t want to tackle Adrian Peterson,” said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, a Bears cornerback from 1981 to ’86. “Nor did they want to have to tackle Walter [Payton].”

Group effort worked for the Detroit Lions last Sunday.

Peterson ran a ridiculous counter to the left side for a 78-yard touchdown on his first touch of the season — he sat out the entire preseason — but was bottled up afterward, gaining 15 yards on his last 17 carries.

The reason: Detroit put eight defenders in the box on 15 of his first 16 tries.

“He’ll be all we can handle,” coach Marc Trestman said. “The guys here know that. They’ve played against him enough to know that.”

Not so with Williams, who started Sunday despite missing all four preseason games with a right calf injury. He made seven tackles — four were credited after re-evaluating tape — on 42 defensive snaps.

More telling: His backup, Jon Bostic, didn’t appear on defense.

Williams’ conditioning “was better than we thought,” Trestman said.

“I think he’s going to just get better,” he said.

Williams is used to change — Denver had seven defensive coordinators in his last seven years there — so he adjusted to the Bears’ preseason scheme without taking the field.

“It was frustrating because I still gotta prove that I can play,” Williams said. “I wanted to see the guys actually see me play.”

Williams thought he “flew around pretty well” against the Bengals.

“Coming off a month and a half of basically doing nothing, just practicing, the game’s going to feel a lot faster,” he said. “I felt I made the right keys. I didn’t do anything to hurt the defense.

“But, you know, each week you’ve got to pick it up and progress and play better the next week.”

Even if that week features Peterson, fresh off one of the great seasons in NFL history.

Like Williams, Trestman doesn’t need to see Peterson in person — he hasn’t — to know what the Bears are facing.

“I don’t have to look at the tape to evaluate him,” Trestman said. “He’s exactly what you see every time he touches the ball.”

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Outside the huddle with Arizona Cardinals' Eric Winston

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Murielle Ahoure delighted with Moscow glory

She made Cote d’Ivoire proud at the event after winning two silver medals in the ladies’ 100m and 200m races. Upon her arrival, she expressed dip delight for her records as well as expressed determination to work hard for a gold medal in the next edition of the Olympic games. “I’m happy for what I did in my first World championship. I am running for my country Cote d’Ivoire. It’s the natural choice I’ve made. I will not change my nationality”, she said. In should be noted that Ahoure is the first African athlete to be vice champion in the 100m race.

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Frank Gore Gave Words of Encouragement to Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller received words of encouragement by phone from Frank Gore after Miller’s poor opener Sunday (10 carries, 3 yards). “He said things will work out," Miller said. "I could have run harder. [But] it doesn’t affect my confidence because I know what I’m capable of.” 

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Trial Of Sean Taylor’s Alleged Killer Delayed Again

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The trial of the alleged shooter of Washington Redskins star safety Sean Taylor has been delayed again.

Miami-Dade County Courts said the trial of 23-year-old Eric Rivera, Junior will not begin on Monday as was previously scheduled.

The delay was due to scheduling conflicts and availability of witnesses.

Taylor was murdered six years during a botched robbery of his home. Rivera and four other suspects from the Ft. Myers area have been charged with the killing.

A fifth suspect pleaded guilty to murder and burglary charges.

Rivera and the other four defendants pleaded not guilty and will be tried in separate trials. All face a possible life sentence if they’re convicted.

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Shanahan: Hankerson needs some playing time

Coach Mike Shanahan was pleased with Leonard Hankerson's Week 1 opener, saying the third-year receiver "needs some playing time."
We take that as Hankerson is in line to see the field more after his five-catch, 80-yard, two-touchdown performance on Monday night against the Eagles. "What a lot of people don’t see is the routes he is running and when he doesn’t get the ball and he’s open," Shanahan continued. "That’s what you are impressed with." Hankerson played 44 snaps, while starting Z receiver Josh Morgan was on the field for 34 plays. Hankerson may be able to overtake Morgan by mid-season.

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Source: Giants tried out linebacker Tavares Gooden

Besides trying out and agreeing to terms with running back Brandon Jacobs following an audition that included running backs Willis McGahee and George Winn, the New York Giants worked out a trio of linebackers, according to a league source.

The Giants also worked out former Buffalo Bills first-round linebacker Aaron Maybin, who last played for the Cincinnati Bengals, and also has played for the New York Jets.

The Giants also worked out former Baltimore Ravens third-round linebacker Tavares Gooden, who has also played for the San Francisco 49ers, and former Cleveland Browns sixth-round linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

The GIants also tried out quarterback Mike Hermann.

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DeMarcus Van Dyke Works Out For Bucs

The Bucs worked out free agent cornerbacks Crezdon Butler and DeMarcus Van Dyke on Tuesday.

Butler was waived by the Bills during final cuts and would be a depth signing behind rookie RCB Jonathan Banks and slot corner Leonard Johnson. The Bucs also visited with free agent safeties Tyrell Johnson and Tyler Sash. Van Dyke was waived by the Steelers, then put on IR, but then reached an injury settlement with Pittsburgh.

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Shawnbrey McNeal Added To Practice Squad

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have added 22-year-old import running back Shawnbrey McNeal to their practice roster.

Listed at 5-9 and 181 pounds, McNeal played at Southern Methodist University in 2009, where he rushed for 1,188 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus two receiving TDs.

McNeal spent his freshman and sophomore years at Miami, Fla., in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Undrafted, McNeal has had tryouts with the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and New York Giants of the NFL.

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Jarrett Payton speaks to the Schaumburg Business Association

Jarrett Payton, the son of the late Walter Payton, the star Chicago Bears running back, was the featured speaker at Tuesday's Schaumburg Business Association breakfast. His topic was "Discovering Your Greatness."

Payton played in five major bowl games in five years for the University of Miami (Florida), was MVP of the 2004 Orange Bowl, and played in the NFL for two years with the Tennessee Titans. That was followed by time with teams in Europe and Canada, and with the Chicago Slaughter.

Now he works as a radio and TV personality, and motivational speaker, as well as working with the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, dedicated to the emotional healing of neglected, abused and underprivileged children. He and his wife also have established The Jarrett Payton Foundation, working with Chicago area schools to implement anti-bullying messages.

The breakfast was at Chandler's Banquets at the Schaumburg Golf Club.

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Aaron Rodgers: No call from Ryan Braun

GREEN BAY – Although Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been calling some of the team’s season ticketholders and apologizing to them for his suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal and his use of performance-enhancing substances, his one-time friend Aaron Rodgers has not received one of those calls.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback said so on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and Tuesday afternoon.

“I haven't gotten one of those calls,” Rodgers said.

Asked if that was disappointing to him, Rodgers replied simply, “No.”

After news of Braun’s 65-game suspension broke, Rodgers was asked about their relationship on the opening day of training camp, July 26.

"I was shocked, I really was, just like many of you were,” Rodgers told a throng of reporters at his locker after the first practice of camp. “I was backing up a friend who looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations, said they weren't true.

"So, it is disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but for obviously Wisconsin sports fans, Brewer fans, Major League Baseball fans. It doesn't feel great being lied to like that and I'm disappointed about the way it all went down."

Asked then if Braun has reached out to him, Rodgers replied, “Yeah, I’ve talked to him.”

At the time, Rodgers wouldn’t address how the turn of events will affect their friendship or the Milwaukee-area restaurant 8-Twelve, which they are both involved with. However, he certainly didn’t rule out the possibility of ending his business association with Braun

“That’s yet to be determined yet,” Rodgers replied. “I don’t regret backing a friend up. Obviously, in hindsight, a more measured approach next time would obviously be the better course of action.”

Last week, SURG Restaurant Group announced that it was ending its relationship with Braun and that 8-Twelve would be renamed. Ryan Braun's Graffito Restaurant will stay open until the end of the year "to honor its pre-existing obligations to its customers and employees" before being shuttered, the group had said.

Michael Polaski, CEO and co-owner of SURG Restaurant Group, said in making the announcement that Rodgers will continue his relationship with SURG with a focus on community relations and charitable activities.

Asked Tuesday if he was talking with punter Tim Masthay, who wears No. 8 for the Packers, to replace Braun as a restaurant partner, Rodgers suggested Milwaukee Bucks player Larry Sanders, who also wears No. 8.

“He just signed an extension,” Rodgers joked, referring to Sanders’ recent $44 million deal. “I'm very happy for my Bucks there.”

According to SURG, however, the restaurant in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield will be renamed. A second 8-Twelve location, set to open at Bayshore Town Center, will still open but when and under what name has yet to be decided.

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NFLU TD Streak Extended to 12 Weeks

Current Streak (Week 7 2012 – Present) Totals: 12 Weeks & 37 Total TDs

Week 1, 2013
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1TD vs. Oakland Raiders; 12-yard TD reception)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Atlanta Falcons; 7-yard TD reception)
Kellen Winslow Jr., New York Jets (1 TD vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 7-yard TD reception)
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. Green Bay Packers; 1-yard TD run)
Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins (2 TDs vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 10-yard TD reception; 24-yard TD reception)

Week 17, 2012
Jon Vilma, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Carolina Panthers; 18-yard INT return for TD) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Carolina Panthers; 19-yard TD reception)

Week 16, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 22-yard TD reception) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 7-yard TD reception)

Week 15, 2012
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (1 TD vs. Indianapolis Colts; 3-yard TD reception) Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins (2 TDs vs. Cleveland Browns; 54-yard TD reception; 2-yard TD reception) Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (1 TD vs. Washington Redskins; 69-yard TD reception)

Week 14, 2012
Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 93-yard punt return for TD) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (1 TD vs. Atlanta Falcons; 25-yard TD reception) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Tennessee Titans; 4-yard TD reception) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 1-yard TD run)

Week 13, 2012
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 47-yard TD reception) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. St. Louis Rams; 1-yard TD run)

Week 12, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Dallas Cowboys; 6-yard TD reception) Thanksgiving Day Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. New Orleans Saints; 6-yard TD reception)

Week 11, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 61-yard TD reception) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (1 TD vs. Jacksonville Jaguars; 48-yard TD reception) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Oakland Raiders; 1-yard TD reception)

Week 10, 2012
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (2 TDs vs. Atlanta Falcons; 29-yard TD reception; 14-yard TD reception) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (2 TDs vs. Denver Broncos; 4-yard TD reception; 5-yard TD reception) Colin McCarthy, Tennessee Titans (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 49-yard interception return for TD) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. St. Louis Rams; 20-yard TD run)

Week 9, 2012
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 9-yard TD reception)

Week 8, 2012
Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins (1 TD vs. New York Jets; Punt block recovery in end zone) Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Pittsburgh Steelers; 2-yard TD reception) Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (1 TD vs. New Orleans Saints; 1-yard TD run) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Denver Broncos; 18-yard TD reception)

Week 7, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. New York Giants; 26-yard TD reception)

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Reggie Wayne now 13th-best receiver of all time

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne passed Steve Largent for No. 13 on the NFL's career list for yards receiving with his performance against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Sept. 8. Wayne, who had eight catches for 96 yards, now has 13,159 yards. Largent had 13,089.

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Santana Moss catches five passes in Week 1

Santana Moss caught five passes for 54 yards in the Redskins' Week 1 loss to the Eagles on Monday night.

Moss was targeted nine times, two behind Pierre Garcon for the team lead. The 34-year-old worked as the slot receiver, just as he did last season. The Redskins threw the ball 49 times on Monday night. It would be silly to expect Moss to see even a handful of targets in a normal week, let alone the nine he saw Week 1. Moss is off the fantasy radar in standard 10- and 12-team leagues.

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Leonard Hankerson reels in two TDs in MNF loss

Leonard Hankerson caught five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins' Week 1 loss to the Eagles on Monday night.

Hankerson was targeted seven times on the night, scoring both of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give the Redskins a chance at a comeback win. His first score came from 10 yards out out of a bunch formation, while his second touchdown was a 24-yard strike with 1:14 left in the game. Eagles SS Patrick Chung let Hankerson slip behind him on the final score and badly misplayed the ball. Hankerson is a guy to keep an eye on in re-draft leagues, but he's going to struggle to post consistent numbers in a run-heavy offense. He also is behind Josh Morgan at Z receiver. Santana Moss mans the slot.

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Giants release Adewale Ojomo

Some quick transaction news here: The Giants have released defensive end Adewale Ojomo, opening up a spot on the 53-man roster heading into tomorrow's running back tryouts.

The spot could also be used to bring up a cornerback from the practice squad as well. Peyton Manning is coming to town and Prince Amukamara left Sunday's game with a concussion.

Ojomo was best known for two straight years of preseason production. He was brought up to the active roster this week as insurance for Jason Pierre-Paul but was inactive.

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More on Ed Reed's injections

SAN DIEGO -- The news came from our Adam Schefter this morning that safety Ed Reed isn't expected to play in tonight's season opener.

It's not exactly unexpected, although the Texans spent all week insisting he had a chance.

When Reed spoke on Friday, it sounded less likely, though. He talked more specifically about the injections he received in Vail, Colo., from his hip surgeon, Dr. Marc Philippon. I held off on writing exactly what Reed said until I could offer some more insight. For that, I consulted our medical expert, Stephania Bell.

Here's what Reed said: "Those injections, it takes like two weeks to kick in and two weeks will be Monday, Monday night. I still kind of feel the injections, the needles are this long. Put me to sleep basically. I had four of them all in the same spot. It's a little different feeling for me. ... Once you get the blood flowing a little bit and everything, I'm starting to feel a lot better. You can say that I got a step or two back. ... The injections basically, in layman's terms, helped speed up the healing process. Takes the blood out, spin it, if I'm not mistaken, I could be saying it wrong, put the good blood back in."

Based on that description, Bell said Reed's injections sounded like platelet-rich plasma injections, whose efficacy for certain conditions are still debated within the medical community. The thinking by those in favor of PRP injections is that there is only upside to doing them because injecting a person's own blood back into his body doesn't introduce anything synthetic.

"The intent behind these injections is to promote healing in the area," she said. "It's not necessarily routine.

"... Is the hip going to be perfect in a player with extensive wear and tear on the joint? Nope. But that's not necessarily the goal. Being functional so it's not constantly painful so he can still perform at a high level is."

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Giants Bring In Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee

New York Giants RB David Wilson found himself in a familiar place last night when he was benched after another fumble. He has had this happen to him before and Tom Coughlin was not going to let it continue on.

Today, the team is working out a few running backs in order to get some depth on the roster and in order to push Wilson. The team brought in former Giants RB Brandon Jacobs,former Denver Broncos RB Willis McGahee and former New York Jets RB Joe McKnight for a workout.

The Giants lost Andre Brown in the preseason to a broken leg, so the depth at that position already needed some bolstering. It looks like the Giants will be bringing in someone to help out.

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Jason Fox banged up

During his Monday press conference, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz mentioned that two players are undergoing further tests because of injuries they suffered on Sunday. Offensive tackle Jason Fox and safety Don Carey both are dealing with "soft tissue" injuries, and their status is up in the air going forward.

Fox, who started at right tackle for the Lions, only played 15 snaps before he pulled his groin. Corey Hilliard took over for Fox at right tackle and finished the game. Generally speaking, he did a pretty admirable job of filling in for Fox, who won the starting job with a strong training camp and preseason.

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Shock's Williams Is WNBA Western Conference Player Of The Week

TULSA, Oklahoma - Riquana Williams of the Tulsa Shock was named the WNBA's Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 8.

Williams capped her week by scoring a WNBA-record 51 points in San Antonio on Sunday. For the week, she led the league in scoring with 34.5 points per game and tied for first in free-throw percentage, converting all 13 opportunities from the charity stripe. This marks her first Player of the Week honor.

Williams' record-setting game to beat San Antonio featured 17-for-28 shooting from the field including 8-for-14 from three-point land. She scored eight points in each of the first two quarters before erupting for 20 in the third and 15 in the fourth as the Shock emerged victorious by a 98-65 final score. The 51-point effort surpassed the previous mark of 47 set by Phoenix's Diana Taurasi in 2006 and Seattle's Lauren Jackson in 2007. Two days earlier, Williams scored 18 points while pulling down seven rebounds in a losing effort to Los Angeles, 74-70.

The Shock have two games remaining this season, both against the Seattle Storm. First up is a home contest at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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Jon Jay shreds NL Central while lifting Cards to first

Jon Jay has a lot of fans in St. Louis. But he shouldn’t expect any Christmas cards with a Pittsburgh return address.

Jay, whose resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time for the unsinkable Redbirds, has worn out the Pirates all year and is a big reason why the club finds itself atop the National League Central Division.

In fact, if the Cardinals played the Pirates in all 19 games remaining this season, you probably wouldn’t hear him complain.

Jay is 22-for-56 against the Bucs in 2013, a .393 average, with five doubles, 10 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He was especially pleased to see Morton on the bump for the Pirates because he beats him like a rented mule.

Jay is 6-for-14 against Morton this season, a .429 average in a small sample size. Morton, who couldn’t finish two innings in Sunday’s game, left due to a foot injury trailing 5-0. 

You’ll forgive Morton if he wakes up screaming in the middle of the night before trips to Busch; he is 1-4 there with an ERA of about 7. Coming into Sunday’s game, Morton was one of the Bucs’ most effective pitchers recently. He was 3-0 in his last three games and surrendered only two earned runs in 20 innings of work. 

Sunday, not so good. His line reads six hits, five earned runs, and two walks in an inning and two-thirds for an ERA of 27 and a WHIP of nearly 5. Ouch.
Jay and his teammates now face the Milwaukee Brewers, a team, it has been written, that will play a large role in determining who wins the Central title.
Nearly a third of the remaining 19 games are against the Brew Crew, so how does Jay stack up against them?

Well, if he’s lights out against the Pirates, he dims them considerably against the Brewers; 16-for-45 for a .356 average with 12 RBIs, two taters and an OPS of .983. Curiously, he has also been hit three times by Brewers pitchers, perhaps to express their displeasure at his success against them.

The season ends with three against the Chicago Cubs, Jay’s third favorite team in the Central. Against the Northsiders, Jay is 19-for-55 (.345) with five doubles, a homer and 9 RBIs. And has been hit twice.

In light of that, perhaps Jay should not expect too many Christmas cards from anywhere other than St. Louis, which, no doubt, is fine with him.  

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Danny Valencia talks about his red-hot bat

To say the least, Danny Valencia is a hot hitter.

Valencia will bat fifth as the DH tonight for the Orioles against CC Sabathia and the Yankees in the opener of a four-game series.

On the year, Valencia is batting .314 with seven homers, 15 RBIs and a .973 OPS in 33 games.

But in his last nine games, he has eight multi-hit games. Even being optioned to the minors couldn't slow him down. His hot hitting began when he went 2-for-4 with a homer Aug. 4 against the Mariners.

Two days later he returned to Triple-A Norfolk, only to come back to the Orioles on Aug. 19 and resume the hitting.

Over those nine games, Valencia is batting .563 at 18-for-32 with six doubles, three homers and seven RBIs. The .563 average, according to STATS, is the second highest in a nine-game span in the majors this year behind Robinson Cano's .571 mark (20-for-35) from Aug. 12-20.

Is Valencia just locked in right now?

"I think every hitter goes through points where they are hot and cold and you just want to try and balance it out and be as consistent as possible," he said. "It's definitely one of the better streaks I've been on in my career and hopefully I keep it going."

He is known as a player that can hit left-handed pitching and this year for the Orioles is batting .375 in 75 at-bats against southpaws and .167 in 30 at-bats vs. right-handed pitching.

He'd eventually like to be known as someone that could play every day against all pitchers.

"Absolutely, that is my goal," Valencia said. "I don't think anyone is content being a guy that just faces a lefty or a righty. Everybody's goal is to play every day and that is certainly my goal. I believe in myself that, if given the chance, could contribute off right-handed pitching."

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Chris Perez, Indians survive shaky 9th inning

CLEVELAND — Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 10 in seven innings and Asdrubal Cabrera, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana each hit solo homers, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 win against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in a matchup between two teams in the thick of the AL wild card chase.

The Indians, who won despite having only five hits, stayed even with Baltimore, 1½ games back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot. The Royals dropped to four games behind the Rays.

Jimenez (11-9) allowed one unearned run and didn’t walk a batter. The right-hander left with a 4-1 lead after throwing 99 pitches, but Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer off Cody Allen in the eighth.

Chris Perez survived a shaky ninth for his 23rd save, retiring Gordon on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end the game. The Indians have won six of their past eight.

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Ryan Braun helps build homes for veterans with Habitat for Humanity

Ryan Braun may not be able to play baseball due to his 65-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, but he was still working this weekend on a Habitat for Humanity project in Sylmar, Calif. Braun who accepted his suspension in July, was helping build housing for veterans.

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proCane Riquna Williams sets WNBA record with 51 points

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Riquna Williams has always been able to score points in bunches, never though at the rate she did Sunday to set the WNBA record.
Williams broke the league's scoring mark with 51 points to help the Tulsa Shock rout the San Antonio Silver Stars 98-65 on Sunday.

The second-year guard out of Miami surpassed the previous record of 47 points set by Phoenix's Diana Taurasi against Houston on Aug. 10, 2006 and matched by Seattle's Lauren Jackson against Washington on July 24, 2007.

"It's amazing, I'm still speechless," Williams said. "It feels great. This is only my second year in the league, so to capture that at such a young age and such a young player, it's amazing. And I shot it pretty well; it wasn't a bad shooting night."

Williams, who came into the game averaging 14.4 points, was 17 for 28 from the field and hit eight 3-pointers for Tulsa (11-21). The 23-year-old had 20 points in the third quarter after scoring 16 in the first half.

"She can flat out shoot the ball," said San Antonio's Shenise Johnson, Williams' teammate at Miami. "She had that LeBron (James) look, that Kobe (Bryant) look in her eye. Everybody moved out of the way and was out there getting it done."

With Williams approaching the record, fans were cheering for her to get the ball in the final minutes of the game on every possession. She tied the mark with a layup with 1:22 left in the game and then broke it with jumper 24 seconds later.

Williams added two emotional free throws with 5 seconds left for her final points after colliding knee-to-knee with Chelsea Poppins. The fans' reaction was almost too much for Williams, a native of Pahokee, Fla., whose population of less than 6,000 was surpassed by the 6,650 in attendance.

"I kind of got a little teary (due to the fans' cheering) even after taking the hit, so it was a combination," she said. "I was able to hide it a little. But it's great. I'm a small-town kid; this is my dream come true. I never thought I would be at this point."

The 5-foot-5 Williams had 16 points in the first half, continually rising high above taller defenders for 3s and long jumpers. She hit a 21-foot jumper over Jia Perkins before draining a 3 to pull Tulsa within 33-25 with 6 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Perkins scored 21 points to lead San Antonio (11-21) and Johnson added 18.

Skylar Diggins added 20 points and Tiffany Jackson-Jones had 10 for Tulsa.

Tulsa took control in the second half outscoring San Antonio 59-22. Williams had 35 herself in the final 20 minutes.

"We didn't show heart, we didn't show pride," Johnson said. "We didn't represent what was on the front of our jerseys. Honestly, we're all embarrassed."

Williams, who scored 2,148 points at Miami, had 20 points in the third quarter, going 5 for 7 on 3s. Williams had a look of bemusement after soaring over the 6-foot-2 Shameka Christon for a 3 with 1.9 seconds left in the third, giving the Shock a 71-58 lead.

"That was an amazing performance," Diggins said. "It was just so great being on the court with her. Once she got started, when she got to 20, then she got to 25, 28, I said, 'Make it 40. Get 40.' And she just looked at me, and then she got 40. We were like, oh my gosh, she might get 50.

"She just got it through the natural flow of the offense. We weren't isolating her or anything. She had the hot hand and was catching it on swings and she was just making plays."

Williams hit consecutive 3s to give Tulsa a 59-54 lead.

"In a zone, don't think," Williams said. "When I think, I miss."

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Kellen Winslow shines in return

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sunday didn't just mark Darrelle Revis' return to the field.

New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow also made his return after nearly a year off.

And what a return it was for the veteran.

Winslow caught a team-high seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown to help the Jets to an 18-17 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. It marked Winslow's first game since Sept. 23, 2012, when he played with the Patriots, and his first touchdown since 2011.

"It feels really good," Winslow said. "It was real emotional before the game and I had to control myself. But it felt real good and we came out with the win."

It hasn't been smooth sailing for Winslow since he caught 77 balls for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. The Bucs traded him to the Seattle Seahawks in May 2012, and he was cut at the end of the preseason when he wouldn't take a pay cut. He signed with the New England Patriots and played in one game last year, catching one pass for 12 yards, before the Patriots granted him his release.

The Jets took a shot on Winslow in hopes that he might rediscover the form that made him one of the league's top tight ends before his right knee became problematic. To help Winslow manage the pain, the Jets are giving him one rest day per week.

On Sunday, Winslow looked like he hadn't missed a beat, catching seven of the eight passes thrown his way. With 34 seconds left in the first half, he hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Geno Smith to slice the Buccaneers lead to 14-12.

In the fourth, he had his biggest moment of the game on a 25-yard catch that helped set up the eventual game-winning field goal. Winslow's reception put the Jets at Tampa Bay's 45-yard line, and after Smith ran for 10 yards and drew a personal foul on Tampa Bay, Nick Folk kicked a 48-yard field to win the game.

"He's a tremendous receiver. We all know that," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "To make that huge catch at the end, holy cow, and then he runs with it some. [It's a] big play. He gets a touchdown catch. To say I'm surprised by it? No, I'm definitely not surprised by it."

Winslow praised Smith for the job he did, and said he wasn't surprised by the poise he showed in leading the Jets to a win. Smith appreciated having a veteran like Winslow to help him out there.

"To have a guy like that on your side is great," Smith said. "He knows how to get open in zones. He constantly got open all night. He had a really big game for us. He 's one of the main reasons why we were able to pull it out late."

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Reggie Wayne goes for 96 yards & touchdown

Reggie Wayne caught eight balls for 96 yards and a touchdown in the Colts' Week 1 win over Oakland.

Wayne was fantastic, getting open at will on crossing routes and gashing the Raiders' defense with chain-moving receptions. Although Wayne is not the explosive player he once was, he has an obvious knack for getting open and remains Andrew Luck's go-to guy. He'll be a borderline WR1 in Week 2 against Miami.

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Jimmy Graham has 4/45/1 day in win

Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in New Orleans' Week 1 win over the Falcons.

A quiet day by Graham's standards, but the score should placate fantasy owners. Drew Brees simply wasn't locking onto any one pass catcher today, targeting seven different receivers at least three times. Graham's seven looks led the team. He remains a man with his own tier atop the tight end ranks.

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Greg Olsen paces Panthers in receiving Sunday

Greg Olsen led the Panthers with 56 yards receiving on five catches in Sunday's Week 1 loss to the Seahawks.

Olsen saw a team-high ten targets, two more than Steve Smith. Olsen could have had a much bigger afternoon. He dropped two passes, and one could have gone for 20-plus yards up the right sideline. Olsen is locked in as an every-week TE1. He and Steve Smith are all Cam Newton has to throw to.

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Jason Fox injures groin in season opener against Minnesota

DETROIT — Lions offensive tackle Jason Fox has left Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a groin injury. His return is questionable.

Detroit is trying to replace both starting tackles from last season after Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus left via free agency. Fox and 2012 first-round draft pick Riley Reiff are expected to play bigger roles this year.

Fox left in the first quarter against Minnesota. Corey Hilliard is the next man on the depth chart at right tackle.

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Ed Reed will be game-time decision against Chargers

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after practice today that free safety Ed Reed will be a “game-time decision” before the Monday night opener at San Diego.

Reed had his best practice today.

“He made a lot more improvement, and I wouldn’t rule him out,” Kubiak said. “He looks good. He’s come a long way.”

Reed hasn’t played in a game since Baltimore beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl. He’s recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. Shiloh Keo has been starting in Reed’s place.

The Texans have one more practice before they travel to San Diego on Sunday.

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Darryl Sharpton won’t travel with Texans to San Diego

Darryl Sharpton won’t travel with the Texans to San Diego and is still dealing with concussion symptoms.

The third-year linebacker played in seven games last year, starting five. He’ll join starting defensive end Antonio Smith as Texans who are officially out for a season-opener Monday against the Chargers. Safety Ed Reed is a game-time decision but won’t start.

“It’s disappointing for Darryl because he’s had a really good camp and everything was going fine and he has this issue,” coach Gary Kubiak said Saturday at Reliant Stadium. “But we trust Darryl. He’s found a way when he’s healthy to really help this team. He’s a good football player and I don’t see this year being any different. I wish he was going to be there Monday night but hopefully this is a minor setback and he’s there for the next 15 (games).”

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Andre Johnson will eventually have to consider a pay cut

We’ve gotten a look at the money-shifting restructuring signed earlier this week by Texans receiver Andre Johnson.  While the more immediate reality is that the deal created $4.125 million in 2013 cap space for the Texans, the deal now sets the stage for a tough decision as soon as 2014.

The conversion of $4.5 million in base salary and a $1 million roster bonus to a signing bonus simply pushes an extra $4.125 million into future years, at a rate of $1.375 million for each of the next three seasons.  It increases Johnson’s cap number in 2014 to $12.1 million and in 2015 to a whopping $16.1 million.

With the salary cap staying fairly flat and the free-agency market currently depressed, the 32-year-old Johnson’s skills likely will at some point intersect with the financial commitment, compelling Johnson to take less in order to stay on the team.

Maybe Johnson will do it in order to stay with the only team for which he’s ever played.  Either way, the bridge will need to be crossed at some point in the next two years.

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NFL's odd couple: Ken Dorsey in charge of making Panthers' Cam Newton a better QB

It's the stuff of a made-for-TV NFL dramedy: the cannon-armed quarterback with the million-dollar smile and the 50-cent sulk, joining forces with the beanpole coach with the aw-shucks grin. The two are thrown together in the pursuit of victory and the recognition both deserve yet neither is getting.

Cam Newton, meet your new position coach: Ken  Dorsey.

At first, it's a knee-slapper: as if the little boy from Newton's NFL Play60 ad grew up and became Cam's boss with the Carolina Panthers. But as with everything in life and football, it's a different story upon closer inspection.

Newton and Dorsey have at least one crucial thing in common: an undefeated college season. Newton led Auburn to a championship in 2010 and Dorsey did the same for Miami nine years before. You can make an argument that the two are the most dominant quarterbacks of the BCS era, making an allowance for Vince Young and Tim Tebow. Newton did it with all eyes on him, whether because of the unproven allegation that his family took money, or because of his unstoppable talent. He went No. 1 overall to the Panthers in 2011 and is still the franchise's present and future.

Dorsey won by vanishing in plain sight. He made nary a mistake in his time at Miami, going 38-2 as a starter, and yet attention usually fell to Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, or any of the other fellow future pros on his team. Dorsey came within one pass of winning back-to-back BCS titles, and Bobby Bowden once called him the toughest quarterback to game-plan against. However, Dorsey was drafted almost as an afterthought by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL draft. He went to the Cleveland Browns and then Toronto before becoming a Panthers scout. His first NFL coaching job came last January, when he was hired to train Newton. The Panthers' quarterback admitted shock when the decision was made, and most fans were just as surprised.

How would the star take instruction from a 32-year-old first-time whistle?

"When I have to get on him about something," Dorsey says, "he takes it very well."

Really? Newton is the guy who is so distraught after some losses that teammates have given him wide berth even in a crowded visitors locker room. His rep is one of petulance, not patience.

"Mentally, he's a lot different than what he's given credit for," Dorsey says, explaining that Newton's on-field awareness has grown considerably with the kind of time in the film room that Peyton Manning might appreciate. The two have worked together in the past, as Dorsey was an instructor for IMG before catching on with Carolina. Then as now, Dorsey has pushed Newton to forget the immediate past and worry about the next play or game.

"The day he was announced the quarterbacks coach, we had a long talk," Newton told the Charlotte Observer. "We challenged each other. I wanted him to make me the best quarterback he could, and I was going to accept the challenge. I was going to take coaching."

Mostly, that has meant working on mechanics, including keeping Newton's feet under him when he throws – something extra difficult for a mobile quarterback. But it's also meant an honesty Newton asked for and Dorsey isn't afraid to dole out.

Just like Newton is more of a student than most would think, Dorsey is more of a firebrand than he lets on. It was Dorsey who led the charge to get Larry Coker the Miami job when Butch Davis left for the NFL. Newton has called him "a very passionate person."

Will it work? There's reason to believe so. Newton is now a team captain for the first time, as voted on by teammates. That's a step in itself. And the departure of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to Cleveland has been met with some degree of relief.

"The prior offensive coordinator really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job," wide receiver Steve Smith told reporters this week. "I think our offense suffered a bit because of that. At times, we got cute."

New coordinator Mike Shula may use a more vertical offense, which not only benefits Newton's arm but also mirrors what Dorsey employed at Miami. "Cute" need not apply when your quarterback can overpower a defense with his arm or his legs.

It's a little silly how overlooked Newton has been over the past several months. The hype over the reign of young quarterbacks has focused nearly entirely on Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Newton was more successful than all of them in college, Newton is more physically imposing than all of them, and Newton had better rookie-year stats than all of them. He threw for more than 4,000 yards in 2011 and ran for more than 700, with 35 total touchdowns. Newton's media session pouting has stuck to him (as has the losing), even though more popular athletes would probably be given a pass for the same behavior. Dorsey isn't deeply bothered, saying Newton has a "burning desire" and explaining how "Cam even wants to win every meeting."

While the similarities get overshadowed, they indeed have a lot in common: both successful yet somehow underestimated. Shula has called Dorsey's hire "probably the best thing that has happened this year for the organization." We'll see if there are any results on Sunday, as the Panthers host Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. A win over the team picked by many to go to the Super Bowl would reawaken the Newton buzz and focus more attention on Dorsey. Newton's new mentor may not have the physical tools of the former No. 1 pick, but Dorsey had an interesting answer when asked if he's just as competitive.

"My wife would have a good answer to that one," Dorsey quipped.

If the NFL's odd couple works out, Mrs. Dorsey may start to feel like a third wheel.

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Matt Bosher: 5 Things About My Teammates

We get into the regular season version of this particular feature with a player you may not think too much about, unless he somehow has a bad performance.
Kickers, long snappers and punters are guys you don’t hear too much about, but in my experience, they have some of the best personalities in the locker room.

Punter Matt Bosher is no exception — and neither are his teammates Matt Bryant and Josh Harris, who also make up the team’s specialists positions.
I waded into their corner of the locker room this week to pose the question of what we need to know about his teammates to Bosher, and while he stuck with the guys he knows best, we dig up some great nuggets.

Here are five things Bosher would like you to know about his teammates, in his own words:
• “Matt Bryant isn’t as grumpy as he looks. You just have to get to know him.”
• “Matt Bryant, his family has raised miniature horses his entire life. For real.”
• “Josh Harris was so scared the first time he did standup paddleboarding in southern California that he actually didn’t fall.” (There were Great White Sharks in the water at the time, Harris adds).”
• “Kevin Cone enjoys eating copious amounts of candy. … Copious amounts of candy, underlined and bold.”
• “Matt Bryant does not enjoy when he does not tee off well (on the golf course). Matt Bryant is 2-for-3 when playing Josh and I in breaking a club.”

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Ray Lewis makes a winning debut on ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown'

I am going to be honest, I did not think Ray Lewis was going to be nearly as good on TV as he was on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."

Frankly, some of the stuff Lewis said as a player sometimes sounded, well, a little off the wall. Like his comments last week about the power outage in the Super Bowl possibly being intentional.

And I wondered how his incredible visceral intensity as a player would translate to the screen in a medium that favors cool.

But after three hours of watching Lewis and his new TV teammates, I am here to tell you he had an outstanding debut. One week in, he is already better than two-thirds of the ex-NFL-players drawing paychecks as TV analysts.

ESPN has itself a winner -- a big-time winner -- in Lewis. And he's going to be one of the best in the business before long.

You had to admire the physical poise with which Lewis made his onstage entrance Sunday. He had the grace and sense of humor to trust the producers that he wouldn't look silly giving viewers a little of "The Squirrel" dance that he used to make his entrance with at M&T Bank Stadium. He gave just enough to make fans remember the joy of seeing him take the field as a player while remaining in control of his body image as he took the stage for the start of his career as a TV analyst.

Overall, Lewis' greatest contribution to ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" was the genuine sense of energy, enthusiasm and even joy that he brought to the conversation.

Last year, I thought the show felt flat and, frankly, kind of old. But not today. It was jacked up and juiced from beginning to end with energy, information and insights.

Lewis added to those insights with his keen understanding of the game.

For example, in talking about the pounding that the Ravens took Thursday night from the Denver Broncos, he said, "Baltimore will be fine. They're that type of team, alright. Our pedigree has always been that.

"One stumble in the road ain't never stopped nothing ... In the first half the other night, they played checkers. You see? The second half, you was supposed to play chess."

At first I thought, "OK, there's the inscrutable Ray Lewis talking checkers and chess. What the hell does he mean by that, and how many hundreds of thousands of viewers did he just leave scratching their heads?"

But as Lewis went on to explain how Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reads defenses, and how he would move Ravens players out of position to try and confuse Manning with disguised alignments, I thought, "That's exactly what was going on in the second half: Manning started playing chess with the Ravens, and Baltimore had no one to play against him."

That's an astonishing insight. I think someone might have coached Lewis and told him he has to translates those kinds of insights into language that even the least football savvy viewer can understand.

I say that because of Lewis adding the phrase, "You see?" It's like saying, "Do you know what I mean?" Or, "Am I making myself clear?"

And the trick is to make yourself understood to the widest possible audience without losing your unique way of speaking.  That's a challenge. But I think Lewis is well on his way to pulling it off.

Understand, though, that the triumph of Lewis' debut was not all his doing. Time and again, the producers put him in a position to succeed, and his TV teammates were skilled and gracious helping him climb aboard the Sunday morning TV train.

Mike Ditka literally did extend a helping hand.

After Lewis did a bit of his signature dance and walked across the stage to join Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson, Tom Jackson, Chris Berman and Ditka, there was a moment of tension if not awkwardness even though they all gave Lewis a handshake and manly backslap/hug.

Berman, the veteran host, asked Lewis how it felt not to be in uniform on the opening Sunday of the NFL season, and Lewis said "Weird."

"But a good weird," he quickly added.

Maybe it is because he's the former coach who is used to taking charge in such moments, Ditka walked over and grabbed Lewis' wrist and held up the hand with the supersized Ravens Super Bowl ring on it.

Then, Ditka, held his finger with a much smaller Chicago Bears Super Bowl ring alongside it. It was a perfect snapshot of the difference in the rewards players and coaches received in the two different eras of Ditka and Lewis.

Or, maybe, it was just a knock on cheap Bears ownership. But whatever it was, it broke the tension on the set, and everybody relaxed.

Jackson, a former linebacker and the most veteran of the player-analysts on the set, was most gracious. After the remarks Lewis made about checkers and chess, he tried to make sure everyone got what Lewis was saying as he reminded viewers that "no one ever scored 49 points" against the Ravens when Lewis was at linebacker.

Berman, too, was reaching out to Lewis constantly during the three hours, prefacing questions with statements like, "Ray, you know this better than I do, so let me ask you about...."

Some of Lewis' best moments Sunday came in a discussion with Carter and Johnson about former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and the issues of character, criminality and the NFL.

Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun Ravens beat writer, talks about that discussion here.

In the end, maybe the highest compliment I can pay Lewis is that he really did seem to make everyone around him on the ESPN set better -- just as he did on the field with the Ravens.

Again, it was definitely a two-way street with the producers and teammates constantly reaching out to him.

But what I saw today was someone successfully navigate a major rite of passage from one profession to another.

And I now have a new place to be on Sunday mornings for my first NFL gameday TV fix.

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Jeff Feagles at forefront of 'Heads Up Football' in Ridgewood

RIDGEWOOD — Jeff Feagles remembers how coaches used to deal with head injuries when he played high school football.

During his days at Gerard Catholic in Phoenix, Ariz., the former New York Giants punter heard them say things like, "You’ve got to be tough to play the game. You’re going to get hit, and you’re going to see stars every once in a while, but that’s part of the game."

"It was just the way things were," Feagles said earlier this week, chuckling at the notion. "Nobody ever knew about this concussion stuff."

The Ridgewood resident and retired 22-year National Football League veteran now knows plenty on the subject. He has begun serving as the ambassador between USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling program and the Ridgewood Junior Football Association (RJFA), in addition to continuing his work as RJFA secretary for a third straight season.

That connection helped bring about the Ridgewood sixth-grade Jets’ appearance at halftime of the Giants/Jets NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 24.

Feagles’ long-term hope is that his work with the Heads Up program raises the profile of concussion awareness within the RJFA and the village as well.

"The more we can get this out so the community can know what we’re doing as a league, the better," he said. "The whole premise behind this is to make sure everybody understands that, one, what we’re doing in Ridgewood is teaching safe football, and two, for anyone that’s on the fence about their kids playing football, they can be assured that our program is going to do everything it can to help the safety of the kids."

The RJFA is planning to hold an informational meeting for parents with regards to Heads Up Football next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Ridgewood High School Campus Center.

All four of Feagles’ sons have attended RHS, including the youngest, Zach, now a freshman football player there. Though no longer coaching his boys in junior football, Jeff is still keeping an eye on players throughout the league as Heads Up player-safety coach.

"I did a clinic with all the coaches, showing them the techniques [of proper tackling] and what the program is all about," said Feagles, who has been involved with the RJFA as a coach and/or board member since 2004. "Then, our coaches have had to go online – and about 95 percent of them have, at this point – to take an hour-and-20-minute course to get certified. The third part [requires] them to apply what the Heads Up program is all about toward their practice plans."
Thus far, "they’ve all been very receptive," he added.

So, too, have coaches and trainers at the high school.

RHS head football coach Chuck Johnson noted that he has been a staunch proponent of proper tackling technique since he took the helm of the Maroons’ varsity in 1984.

"It’s bizarre to me that it has taken so long for this to become popular," Johnson said, "and it’s unconscionable to me that coaches as recently as five or 10 years ago were teaching kids to tackle [by] putting their head or their face in the middle of a ball carrier. So I think it [the Heads Up program] is awesome, and it’s way, way, way, way, way, way, way overdue."

The coach pointed to the well-documented injury of Marc Buoniconti (whose father, Nick, was a hall of fame linebacker for the Dolphins) as an example of why tackling technique is so critical. The younger Buoniconti was rendered a quadriplegic after absorbing a blow to the crown of his helmet while making a tackle in a 1985 college game for The Citadel in South Carolina.

"You don’t want to tackle with your head down," Johnson said. "That’s what happened to Nick Buoniconti’s kid; some… trainer taped his facemask so his head would be down, and that’s why his spinal column collapsed like an accordion.

"You teach tackling with the face up," added Johnson, who teaches physical education and wellness at RHS. "When your face is up, the muscles in your neck are contracted, and your neck is in its strongest natural position."

In addition, RHS trainer Nick Nicholaides has become increasingly involved with concussion diagnosis and awareness in his nine years on the job.

He initiated the ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program at the school in 2006 and received a grant from Seton Hall in 2010 to create a concussion awareness program for the entire district, which adheres to the slogan: "When in doubt, sit them out."

As far as the Heads Up program goes, "It’s really great, because I think that youth-level athletics is someplace where there’s always been a misunderstanding of concussions," Nicholaides said. "A lot of times they don’t have athletic trainers on the sidelines like we do here at the high school level, so it’s really important to educate the coaches on what signs and symptoms of a concussion are."

Feagles confirmed that for the 2013 season, the RJFA has hired certified trainers to be at all Pee-Wee, Junior and Senior home games. He is also hoping that his connections with the NFL – as well as the pro league’s advocacy of Heads Up – will further draw attention to the cause.

"Brian McCarthy, who lives in town here, is a good friend of mine who works with the league, and he’s assured me that they’re going to continue to support the program," said Feagles.

"There’s even a chance that we may be able to get — and, I’m still working on this," he stressed, "but maybe surprise visit by [NFL] Commissioner [Roger] Goodell at one of the Ridgewood Junior Football practices. That would be a huge, huge thing."

At its core, though, the Heads Up program remains a grassroots initiative set in motion by USA Football, the national governing body of the game at the youth and amateur levels. The organization’s website ( outlines not only the protocol for concussion treatment but also for injury prevention, which even goes beyond tackling technique.

"Sometimes, the kids’ helmets aren’t fitting correctly, and that’s why their heads are hurting," Feagles said. "So we have to start at that level when we’re fitting equipment to make sure that these kids are safe."

In his eyes, the goal of healthy players will have the ripple effect of creating a healthier RJFA.

"Our [participation] numbers are down at the lower levels because everyone is so concerned about concussions," said Feagles. "Especially with the third through sixth grade teams, that’s where we’re really trying to make sure our numbers stay up."

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Still no timetable for Yonder Alonso

Padres manager Bud Black said there is no specific cut-off date for 1B Yonder Alonso to ramp up baseball activity for him to return to the lineup this season, although Black said Alonso might return defensively before he’s able to contribute at the plate.

Alonso added that hand strength continues to be an issue for the right hand he injured during a check swing Aug. 30.

On a scale of 1-to-140, Alonso said his left hand registered a 125 and his right hand an 85.

“I’d like to be back; I’d like to be 100 percent,” Alonso said. “That being said, I don’t want to come back hurting. I want to be careful.”

Also on the injury front, OF Carlos Quentin was in the clubhouse before Friday's game -- three days after undergoing surgery on his right knee.

"Carlos is in a good frame of mind," Black said. "Nobody likes to have surgery, but I think there is some clarity, and a little bit of Carlos’ mind is at ease knowing what was causing the pain hopefully was taken care of surgically to a certain extent, and he can move forward in his rehab process and be a big part of our team next year."

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Indians expected to shop Chris Perez

The Cleveland Indians are expected to shop closer Chris Perez during the offseason, reports Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The closer entered Friday with a 3.59 ERA, recording 22 saves in 25 chances. Perez has served as the team's closer since 2010, compiling 120 saves over the past four seasons.

Perez is eligible for aribitration after the 2013 season. Cleveland paid the closer $7.3 million this year, and Pluto estimates that Perez will earn close to $9 million next year.

The Indians reportedly tested Perez's trade market last season, but did not find strong enough value to move the closer.

His value is unlikely to increase despite a solid campaign. Perez has battled off the field issues, including a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession. He has also seen his average fastball velocity drop to 92.6 mph, his lowest since joining Cleveland.

Cody Allen is a strong candidate to close next season if Perez is moved, according to Pluto. Allen has a 2.34 ERA over 64 appearances, racking up 77 strikeouts.

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