All Canes Radio With Tyler Horn

Every Thursday Night joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes live from the All Canes Store in Coral Gables. Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interview with former Hurricane and proCane-to-be Tyler Horn. Horn talks about his preparations and workouts as he gets ready for the NFL Draft, his days as a Hurricane, the 2012 Miami Hurricanes offensive line and much more!

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Sean Spence an intriguing prospect for New Orleans

Despite being one of the most productive linebackers in the history of a college program known for producing outstanding linebackers, Sean Spence will not be selected on April 26, in the first round of the NFL draft.

His 317 career tackles as a four-year starter at Miami ranks among the best in Hurricanes history.

But Spence's other numbers could turn some NFL teams off, as he measured just 5 feet 11 and 231 pounds.

"I can't do nothing about my height," Spence said. "I think I bring great production. All my years at Miami, I was very productive. If you just look at what I did on the field and not my height, you're going to be very happy."

Spence's measurables could have him still on the board when the Saints make their first pick of the draft, a third-round selection (No. 89 overall).
Although the Saints already have used this offseason to strengthen their linebacker position by adding free agents Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain, the availability of Spence could give Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis something to think about when they are on the clock on April 27.

Spence, who likely will play outside linebacker in the NFL after playing primary in the middle at Miami, is the type of defensive playmaker the Saints have lacked in recent years.

He also has displayed the ability to cover tight ends and running backs.

"That's one of my strengths," he said. "I definitely can cover any back in the NFL, any tight end. I know the guys are bigger, faster, stronger in the NFL, and I'm going to be, as well."

Although he had a disappointing showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he had just 12 bench-press reps of 225 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, he finished his career with 47 tackles for losses, which ranked second among active NCAA players. He had 14 last season.

Spence said a lingering shoulder injury prevented him from performing better.

"I'm a three-down linebacker, very fast, I can go sideline to sideline," Spence said. "I'm a smart, very instinctive player. I'm going to play hard. I'm a leader. I lead by example. And most of all, I make plays."

Apparently, NFL Network's Mike Mayock agrees.

"I love Sean Spence," Mayock said. "Someone is going to get a hell of a player."

Even if Spence is gone by the time the Saints pick, there still should be some quality linebackers available.

Florida State's Nigel Bradham, Oklahoma's Travis Lewis and Arkansas State's Demario Davis are all in the second tier of outside linebackers who could fall into the third or fourth rounds.

But Spence could have the most value.

He made more than 100 tackles his junior and senior seasons, earning him first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a senior and the Hurricanes' co-MVP as a junior.

Most scouts consider him a smart and instinctive player, capable of playing all three linebacker positions.

In the NFL, however, he'll likely spend much of his time on the weak side, which should free him to makes plays all over the field.

"I know it's going to be pretty difficult at first, just transitioning with the NFL speed; you're playing against veterans and Pro Bowlers," he said. "I know it's going to be a little difficult. Once I get a hang of the speed and catch up with the playbook, I think I'll be OK."

Spence said he's ready to carry on the legacy of linebackers from Miami, a school that has produced NFL standouts Ray Lewis, Jon Beason, Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams and Dan Morgan.

"That's one of the reasons I went to Miami, because they have a great history of linebackers and players," Spence said. "Coming in here as a freshman, I wanted to be one of those guys who could be in that group, the Ray Lewises, Jon Beason, Jonathan Vilma, Jesse Armstead, and the list goes on and on."

He has already been picking up tips and pointers from Vilma, the Saints' defensive captain and starting middle linebacker.
Spence said it's only natural for him to pattern his game after Vilma's.

"Being able to meet him down in Miami and seeing what he did on the field, he's been a great mentor for me," Spence said. "He's a guy I look up to."

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Jon Beason cleared for some activities

Panthers MLB Jon Beason (torn Achilles' tendon) and WLB Thomas Davis (ACL surgery) have been cleared for "some activities."
There is still no timetable for their full return to football activities. Coach Ron Rivera concedes the Panthers are "not sure" what they will get from Davis, attempting to become the first player in NFL history to come back from three ACL surgeries on the same knee.

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Brett Romberg Suing the NFL

The National Football League Management Council and the Atlanta Falcons are suing the National Football League Players Association and several former players who filed workers' comp claims in California.

The suit seeks "confirmation of an arbitration award that certain NFL players cease and desist from the pursuit of workers' compensation benefits in the state of California," the suit says.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, says Georgia is the exclusive jurisdiction for Falcon players who file claims. The recent arbitration ruling ordered the players to withdraw their California workers' comp claims and file in Georgia. The players named in the suit are Roderick Coleman, Wilrey Fontenot, Tony Gilbert, Kindal Moorehead, Stanley Pritchett, Karon Riley, Brett Romberg, Jason Webster, and Dez White. Players from outside California have filed in that state due to a legal loophole. Several states have taken action to prevent such claims.

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Nate Webster: 'I got a new move I want to try'

Nathaniel “Nate” Webster's accuser stood up to withering questioning Thursday as taped telephone calls played to jurors confirmed Webster had sex with the girl.

The accuser now is 18 but said she had sex with the former Cincinnati Bengal football player in the fall of 2009 when she was 15. She spent her second day on the witness stand answering aggressive questions from one of Webster’s attorneys who insist the girl was 16 when she had sex with the married Webster.

The tactic from Webster's team has been to put the girl on trial, questioning her drinking, smoking marijuana and having sex with an adult. Gregory Samms, one of Webster’s attorneys, got the girl to admit she was kicked out of a school for drinking alcohol.

The girl said Webster groped and sexually assaulted her in 2009 when she was 15. Later, she admitted they had a sexual relationship in the fall of 2009, also when she was 15. On Thursday, prosecutors played for jurors telephone conversations the girl had with Webster – she taped them with the help of police – who acknowledged he had sex with her.

“I got this new move I want to try,” Webster said on the tape.

“Like a sexual move?” the girl asked.

“A nasty move,” Webster said.

Webster’s lawyers, though, insisted the girl was 16 when she had sex with him. It’s illegal in Ohio for an adult – Webster was 31 in the fall of 2009 – to have sex with a 15-year-old. In Ohio, 16 is the age of consent.

Prosecutors also produced phone records that show in September 2009, when the girl was 15, she and Webster exchanged 450 text messages and 256 phone calls.

As the girl was testifying, prosecutors displayed three guns – an assault rifle, a handgun and a pistol-grip shotgun – seized from Webster. The allegations against Webster include him having guns near the girl when they had sex, possibly to intimidate her.

She and Webster often met, the tapes revealed, at “the spot,” the parking lot of an apartment complex near Webster’s Symmes Township home.
Mary Jill Donovan, one of Webster's attorneys, said Thursday she was unsure when or if she would call All-Pro LB Ray Lewis to testify in this case. She has subpoenaed him to testify. Prosecutors are expected to rest their case today and the defense to start Monday.

If Webster is convicted, he faces more than 30 years in prison.

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Darius Rice Leads Team With 24 Points

MANAMA last night gained a significant psychological advantage ahead of the Zain Bahrain Basketball Cup Final with a dramatic 82-80 victory over bitter rivals Muharraq in their final match of the Top Six round-robin stage.

The two sides will meet again in the best-of-three finals series next month but last night's result will give reigning champions Manama a great boost of confidence in the build-up.

Despite both having already secured their places in the final before last night's fixture, this was never going to be anything less than a fierce encounter between the two superpowers of the Bahraini basketball scene.

Indeed, despite what might have been an understandable urge to keep something up the sleeve for the challenges ahead, the respective coaches both made their intentions clear by sending their strongest sides onto the court for the start.

For Muharraq's Charlie Parker that meant the introduction of the evergreen and indomitable Ahmed Malalla alongside talismanic American star CJ Giles, while for Manama and Argentine coach Ricardo Daniel, there was a welcome return for the imposing Ahmed Al Mutawa.

While not quite the bearpit atmosphere of the previous encounter between these two sides earlier this month, which Manama won by 92-88, last night's battle at the Zain Bahrain Basketball Arena in Umm Al Hassam got underway in explosive fashion.

That was down mostly to a Muharraq side, who scorched out of the blocks all guns blazing to race into 10-2 lead with two and a half minutes played.

That brought about an explosion of another kind as Daniel called a time out at that point and proceeded to let rip at his players.

It seemed to do the trick however, as, within a few minutes had overturned that deficit and actually led 17-14 at one stage.

Muharraq came back into things thereafter and edged to a 24-21 first quarter win but the tone was set for an epic tussle.

Things continued in a similar fashion in the second period, after which the Muharraq lead was down to 38-37.

The second half saw frustration filter into the Muharraq ranks once again, as occurred during recent defeats to Manama and Al Hala, and their opponents duly took advantage and control of the match in a commanding 64-51 lead.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, it looked as though Muharraq had shot themselves in the foot and Manama would go on to take the win with relative ease but they showed a determined side to them and stormed back into contention, with Giles, who scored 25 points on the night, leading the charge.

Pulling back to 80-82, Muharraq had one last throw of the dice but Darius Rice, who top-scored for his side with 24, gratefully snaffled a rebound and Manama held on for victory.

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James Jones Ejected For Flagrant Foul

MIAMI -- Heat reserve James Jones has been ejected from Thursday night's Miami-Chicago game after committing a flagrant foul against the Bulls' Joakim Noah.

The hit came with 6:05 left in the first half. Chicago's Luol Deng missed a 3-pointer, and Jones stretched out both arms while trying to move Noah out of the way for a rebound. Replays showed Jones made contact around Noah's head.

After conferring, referees quickly motioned that the flagrant was a penalty-2, which carries with it an automatic ejection. After reviewing the play, referee Mike Callahan confirmed that the flagrant merited the more severe designation.

Jones quietly walked off the court, shaking his head slightly. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who sat on the scorers' table while referees reviewed the play, shouted "What?" in disbelief, and Noah clapped his hands in time with a chant from the stands.

It was the second flagrant foul and first ejection of Jones' nine-year career, according to STATS LLC.

Including his three scoreless minutes Thursday, Jones is averaging 3.2 points in 47 games this season.

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Brewers to honor Ryan Braun Sunday for MVP award

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers plan to honor Ryan Braun on Sunday for becoming the National League's most valuable player.

A ceremony will be held before their home game against the Colorado Rockies to honor his award for last season.

The slugger helped power the Brewers to the NL championship series.

Braun's achievements came under suspicion when ESPN reported that he failed a drug test with a high testosterone level. Braun went on to win his appeal and avoid a 50-game suspension.

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Ryan Braun could be called in Clemens trial

WASHINGTON – The prosecution in the Roger Clemens perjury retrial has filed a motion that could lead to additional major league players being called to testify about the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in the game.

National League MVP Ryan Braun, recently-retired Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Clemens' former Yankees' teammate Paul O'Neill are among the names already on the court's list of possible witnesses. But the scope could broaden.

The motion before U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton was filed late Wednesday night in response to the defense's five-page memorandum challenging the authority of the 2008 congressional investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. It is during that investigation that Clemens, according to the prosecution, deliberately lied to Congress about his use of PEDs.

The defense motion argues that the government must show that the hearings were a "competent tribunal" and that Congress went beyond its powers to investigate." The prosecution motion argues that Congress was investigating a matter of "national impact because of the widespread problem of steroid use and other performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball."

The prosecution's motion states:

"If defendant intends to contest … the government's proof on the 'competent tribunal' element of the perjury count by suggesting that Congress's purpose was illegitimate, the government must – of necessity – be permitted to show the 'broader context' surrounding this congressional inquiry. … This, in turn, may well mean the United States should be permitted to elicit testimony about, for example, drug use, by other Major League players."

Walton is expected to rule on the motions before opening arguments are presented Monday morning.

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Ryan Braun One-on-One

Ryan Braun One-on-One:

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Jon Jay (shoulder) could be headed for DL

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak conceded Thursday that a roster move might be needed now that Jon Jay is sidelined with a sprained right shoulder.
Jay was initially considered day-to-day, but he left the clubhouse Thursday with his arm in a sling and admitted that he was dealing with some pain and soreness. Erik Komatsu took his place in Thursday's game and Carlos Beltran has previously been discussed as an option for center field, but it's possible the Cards could rush Skip Schumaker (oblique) back from his minor league rehab assignment if Jay's condition doesn't improve in the next day or two.

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Chris Perez willing to pay the price for his Tweets

SEATTLE -- A $750 fine is not going to take the Tweet out of Chris Perez.

The Tribe's closer says his Tweeting style isn't going to change and that he may appeal the fine imposed on him by Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's dean of discipline, stemming from the Tweet he posted following Saturday night's dispute between the Indians and Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

In the letter Perez received from MLB on Wednesday informing him of the fine, Garagiola told Perez he "demonstrated a reckless disregard for the players on both clubs."

"To me that would be saying to the Royals, 'Look out, I'm coming for you. And then hitting somebody. Inciting it,'" said Perez. "Looking back, nothing happened [Sunday]. We played a regular game. Nothing happened the rest of [Saturday], I pitched that night. I don't see where the reckless disregard for the players safety was."

Three Indians were ejected Saturday in the third inning of their 11-9 victory over the Royals -- starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, third baseman Jack Hannahan and manager Manny Acta. Gomez was suspended five games and fined for hitting Kansas City's Mike Moustakas after Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez hit Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third. Hannahan was fined $500 and Acta was fined an undisclosed amount.

Gomez and Acta were automatically ejected because warnings had been issued after Choo was hit. Hannahan was ejected for his actions during the two bench-clearing incidents.

"I'm still kind of baffled that I got fined more than someone who got thrown out of the game," said Perez. "How do you justify that? [Hannahan] got thrown out of the game for being aggressive and instigating and he got fined less than I did?

"But I showed reckless disregard for safety? I just don't understand."

Two years ago team president Mark Shapiro embraced Twitter and other social media platforms as a way for the Indians to reach out to their fans. He encouraged players to open accounts. Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti and Acta have their own accounts.

"For me, I think our players have been extremely responsible and done a good job promoting the team, the game and themselves," said Shapiro. "I look at this as a learning opportunity."

Shapiro said that when he read Perez's Tweet, "I thought that's probably borderline. I think that quote probably would have been disciplined no matter where it appeared."

Here Perez's Tweet: "Huge team win tonight, time for a sweep of the Royals. It's not 'Our Time,' it's TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period."
The Royals slogan this year is "Our Time." Perez said he read MLB's and the Indians' social media policies. He did not feel he crossed any lines.
"It's freedom of speech," said Perez. "I felt I was within my rights as an American."

Perez is one of several players who have been fined over the last two seasons for what MLB determined to be inappropriate Tweets. When asked what his thoughts were on the subject, Acta said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... and their own thoughts."

Shapiro believes Twitter represents a good opportunity for the Indians to bond with their fans.

"There will always be a line ... instances that require judgment," he said. "Sometimes mistakes will be made."

Perez, in his own way, agreed with Shapiro's take.

"You have to take the good and the bad," he said. "I don't think it was that bad, unless you're the Royals. But who cares? We're not the Royals. We're not supposed to be friends with them. I don't have any friends on that team and I don't really care for them all that much."

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Blake Tekotte hits in 12 straight games

Center fielder Blake Tekotte extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games and left fielder Daniel Robertson was 2-for-3 with a double, but Triple-A Tucson (3-11) was shut out 2-0 in Colorado Springs.

Right-handed starter Jorge Reyes (0-3, 5.23 ERA) allowed two runs on nine hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings.

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Mel Kiper Jr. Says Sean Spence: “one of the best tackling linebackers in this draft.”

Kiper Jr. called UM’s Sean Spence “one of the best tackling linebackers in this draft.”

At 5-11, 231 pounds, “With Spence, the big thing is the size,” Kiper Jr. said. “You look at him, I thought he’d be a safety at certain points in his career because he didn’t look like a linebacker.”

Kiper Jr. said Spence is similar to Nebraska’s Lavonte David in that both are “throwback type guys” that are not big, but are the perfect fit at weakside linebacker in the 4-3 defensive scheme. Despite Spence’s size, “I think he will be a late second, early third-round pick and he’ll help you on spec ial teams.”

“He’s one of the true 4-3 weakside linebackers, and that will help him maybe even get into the late second round,” Kiper Jr. added.

Click here to read more from Steve Gorten’s Blog.

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Mel Kiper Jr. Says Teams Still Concerned With Lamar Miller

Kiper Jr. said that “lack of versatility” continues to be the biggest concern about UM running back Lamar Miller.

The redshirt sophomore, who at one point was projected as a first-rounder and the second running back taken behind Trent Richardson, now is regarded as a second or third rounder that Kiper Jr. recently had rated as the fourth-best RB behind Richardson, Oregon’s LaMichael James and Boise State’s Doug Martin.

“At the NFL level, you’ve got to be able to be an accomplished receiver, you’ve got to block and you’ve got to be durable. And I think that’s where Lamar Miller has some questions to answer in that regard,” Kiper Jr. said.

Click here to read more from Steve Gorten’s Blog.

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Olivier Vernon a sleeper?

He played at a major college program, but he hasn’t gotten the same pub as some of the household name talents in the 2012 draft class. Miami DE Olivier Vernon won’t come off the board on the first two days of the draft in all likelihood, but he could be a very good value on day 3.

“Vernon to me, I think he’s a better player than maybe the perception, and at 6’3″, 262, I think he played defensive end, can play outside linebacker, can do a little bit of both,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. ”Has some stiffness, there’s no question.  He’s not a great athlete, and his production didn’t always match up, and I’ve heard some things, is he mature enough, how does he work and all those things.  But if he is focused and doing the right things and working at it and 100 percent dedicated to football, he’s well built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line, and I think he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level.”

The problem for Vernon is he’s very raw. He was caught up in the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami and was suspended for the first six games in 2011. That’s why it was surprising to see him declare early for the draft. But he was a highly touted prep player and has talent. Scouts just have to be convinced that there’s long term potential there.

He’s the kind of player that the Giants and Steelers usually draft because they have starters they can rely on while grooming a kid like this. Most draft services have him forecast anywhere from late round 5 to round 7. He also made a pre-draft visit with the Bills for what it’s worth.

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Mel Kiper Jr says Benjamin is a ‘very intriguing’ prospect

CORAL GABLES – Tommy Streeter is widely considered to be the premier Miami Hurricanes receiver available in next week’s NFL Draft, but ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. considers Travis Benjamin “very intriguing” as a more proven alternative.

“He can probably give you a little bit more in terms of overall versatility, which is what teams want early on,” Kiper Jr. said on a conference call Wednesday.

“He’s a flier. He’s a great athlete. Tremendously fast. And when you think about what he can do in the return game, he might give you a little more early on while Streeter is developing.”

Kiper Jr. said Streeter “needed some more time at Miami,” where he was a factor just one season. He led the Hurricanes in receiving with 46 catches for 811 yards and eight touchdowns as a redshirt junior in 2011. Benjamin was second on the team with 41 catches for 609 yards and three touchdowns after 43 catches for 743 yards and three touchdowns as a junior in 2010.

“As a pure receiver, maybe Streeter down the road can…push for the third [receiver] spot [on a team], maybe the second spot,” he said. “He’s a big kid. 6-5, angular. At 6-5 he can definitely present some matchup problems.

“But he’s a one-year wonder. He’s got some work to do. Down the road, two, three years, Streeter may be the better pure receiver, but I think the versatility that Benjamin provides will help him.”

Click here to read more from Steve Gorten’s Blog.

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Warren Sapp To Judge: Jeremy Shockey Might Come After Me

NFL legend Warren Sapp has warned the judge in his bankruptcy case that Jeremy Shockey might sue his ass for defamation ... because Sapp accused him of being the "snitch" in the NFL bounty scandal.

As we previously reported, Shockey has been considering taking legal action against Sapp ... claiming Warren went on the NFL Network and FALSELY identified Jeremy as the man who blew the whistle on the New Orleans Saints just a few months ago.

For those unfamiliar with the bounty scandal ... the Saints were punished BIGTIME when league officials discovered players were encouraged to intentionally injure certain opponents ... and were even rewarded with cash prizes. Bad stuff.

Now, Sapp has filed new docs in bankruptcy court, listing Shockey as a potential creditor ... joining a long list of creditors that includes baby mamas, the IRS and a speech therapist.

Since Sapp initially filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- claiming he's broke-ass broke -- he's required to inform the court about any person who could make a financial claim against him.

Obviously, Sapp feels there's a chance Shockey will come after him in court.

Stay tuned.

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Rocky McIntosh to visit Bears

CHICAGO -- Veteran free-agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh visited the Chicago Bears this week, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

A former second-round draft choice out of the University of Miami, McIntosh played six seasons for the Washington Redskins and started 69 regular-season games at both inside and outside linebacker.

He recorded 80-plus tackles in four straight seasons and had a career-best 110 in 2010. During his six-year career, the 29-year-old linebacker has 471 tackles, eight forced fumbles, eight sacks and three interceptions.
McIntosh returned to the Redskins last season on a one-year deal, but eventually lost his starting spot to second-year linebacker Perry Riley.

The free agent also is known to have visited the Miami Dolphins.

The Bears also brought in several additional linebackers for visits Tuesday, including Bryan Kehl and Zac Diles, according to league sources.
Kehl, a four-year veteran out of BYU, spent the majority of the past two seasons with the St. Louis Rams, where he made two starts while also playing a key role on special teams. He broke into the league with the New York Giants in 2008 and remained in New York until early in the 2010 season. Kehl also made an official visit to the Dolphins last week.

Diles was a former starter for the Houston Texans, where he spent time at both strong side and weak side linebacker. He started 30 games from 2008 to 2010, and recorded a career-high 82 tackles during his final season in Houston.

Diles bounced around last year between the Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. He was waived by the Colts in early February.

The Bears are in the market for experienced depth at linebacker behind veteran starters Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Nick Roach. Rounding out the depth chart at the position are two former undrafted rookie free agents, Dom DeCicco and Patrick Trahan; former St. Louis seventh-round selection Jabara Williams; the Bears' 2011 sixth-round pick, J.T. Thomas, plus newly signed special teams ace Blake Costanzo.

Thomas spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve and was arrested in the offseason on a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

Urlacher and Roach both have one year remaining on their current contracts. Briggs recently was rewarded with an extension and is under contract through 2014.

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Reggie Wayne taking part in off-season workouts, 'I don't speak Greek'

WR Reggie Wayne usually doesn't take part in the Colts' off-season conditioning work during the spring, opting instead to train near his home in Miami. But with a new offensive system being installed, Wayne said Wednesday he thought it would be good to get back to Indy earlier than normal.

Wayne understood the mindset of many of his teammates but begged to differ.

"I've got 11 years of resume built," he said. "If you can't find something on that to appreciate, then maybe I'm overmatched. I'm not going to slack any. I'm still with the same thing I've been doing, trying to get better each day."

Wayne's presence was a surprise. He traditionally spends his offseason training at the University of Miami but is in Indianapolis this week. The massive changes going on at West 56th Street required him to alter his routine.

There's a new offense to assimilate, and even the team's 2001 first-round draft pick and No. 2 all-time leading receiver needs quality time with the playbook.

"Right now this playbook is Greek to me and I don't speak Greek," Wayne said. "I've got to be here to figure it out. The faster I can learn it, the earlier I feel I can leave.

"I'm here, man. I'm taking time away from my family, who's not used to this, either. They're pretty upset with the 2-14 finish just like we are."

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Tennessee Titans Film Study: Colin McCarthy is Awesome Edition

am going to being doing a few more of these film studies, so if you would like me to do a specific one, please do not hesitate to suggest it. I will read all suggestions.

We will start this series off in style with MCM's favorite linebacker, Colin McCarthy and his hit on Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Follow me through the jump for pictures and analysis.


The Bills start with 4 wide and 1 in the backfield. On the other side of the ball we have ATV and McCourty on the outside, with Finnegan playing in the slot. Griffin is playing center field as he is not even in the picture to prevent the big play. McCarthy is standing at the 29 yard line.


The ball has been snapped and McCarthy has not moved at all, he is letting the play develop and waiting for someone to cut across field. Notice Fitzpatrick standing tall in the pocket.


I would first like to point out how quickly the pass protection broke down. Look at the previous photo, the clock says 2:16 and Fitzpatrick has all day to throw it. Within the next second, you can see how quickly things went bad as he begins to run for his life. McCarthy does a nice job of picking up Scott Chandler cutting across field.


With Fitzpatrick still scrambling, McCarthy has to stay back still covering Chandler.


At this point, McCarthy recognizes that Fitzpatrick is trying to pick up the first down on his own and takes off for him.


In this photo, we can see the hit McCarthy put on Fitzpatrick, thus stopping him from completing the first down.


But wait, there's more! Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball when he was hit, and McCarthy can see the ball is loose.


Several Titans defenders missed the fumble recovery, but Colin was in pursuit of it.


He recovers it 15 yards down field.

This sequence shows McCarthy's ability to stay back in coverage, but he knows exactly when he needs to take off for the quarterback. Very impressive to see from a rookie linebacker.

Like I said before, suggest any plays you want me to look at.

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The Rock developing action-adventure reality series

Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, is tired of playing hero, he wants to find a real one. Well, a “real” one.

Johnson is in the process of developing an action-packed reality “global adventure” series, titled The Hero, which he would also executive produce along with producing partner Dany Garcia and entertainment studio, Electus.

The series, which is in the early stages of development, would place three teams on three different continents and “challenge contestants with difficult moral dilemmas, incredible feats of courage, and individual leadership and sacrifice.” (So…Amazing Race meets NCIS?)

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Chris Perez Fined For Tweet

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Fines, suspensions, tweets. Are the Indians becoming the bad boys of Major League Baseball?

It sure seems that way, as just hours it was announced that pitcher Jeanmar Gomez was hit with a five-game suspension for throwing at the Royals on Saturday night, closer Chris Perez was hit with a fine for throwing out a tweet from the bench during the game.

The Indians closer was hit with the fine according to the Plain Dealers Paul Hoynes, who tweeted out earlier tonight from Seattle the following:
MLB fines Tribe closer Chris Perez for Tweet about Royals following Sat’s melee at Kauffman Stadium. Said he “crossed the line.” #Indians.”

The tweet in question that Perez threw out eluded to “You hit us, we hit you, period.” That of course could be where the crossing of the line came into play for Perez.

The amount of the fine was not disclosed.

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Meet The Padres: Yonder Alonso

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Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso house tour

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Pat Burrell: Boom or bust?

It’s a debate that rages across all of the major league sports and there is never a right (or wrong answer). In fact, it’s one of the few sports arguments that rarely gets old and the passage of time only adds more interesting elements.

So who is the biggest bust of a No. 1 draft pick ever? What about the biggest success story?

Strangely, the Philadelphia teams have not had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft very often. What makes this odd is the decades of mediocrity a lot of the franchises have suffered through over the years. For instance, the Eagles have had the No. 1 overall pick just three times and not once since 1949 when they grabbed Chuck Bednarik out of Penn.

That one turned out pretty well for the Eagles.

In the NBA, the Sixers had the No. 1 overall pick just twice, taking Olympic hero Doug Collins out of Illinois State in 1973, and undersized guard Allen Iverson from Georgetown in 1996. Again, both of those picks worked out pretty well for the Sixers. 

Meanwhile, the Flyers and the Phillies had the No. 1 overall draft pick just once. In 1975 the Flyers took Mel Bridgeman, who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL including parts of six seasons in Philly. Bridgeman’s teams made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three times, including twice with the Flyers. He also led the league in games played twice and finished second in shorthanded goals once.

Again, Bridgeman worked out well for a top pick. Not a Hall of Famer, but a solid career.

Where the debate gets interesting is with the Phillies’ lone top pick… just how good was Pat Burrell?

By all accounts, Pat Burrell had a solid 12 years in the big leagues. He won the World Series twice, finished in the top 10 in the MVP voting once and cracked the 100-RBI plateau twice. In seven postseason series, Burrell’s teams are 6-1 and take away his rookie year and the 2002 season, Burrell never played for a losing team.

Not bad.

However, Burrell always seemed like an underachiever. He was never an All-Star and never could leave that slider away alone. Meanwhile, by age 35, the 1999 top draft pick was washed up and is now working in the scouting department for the Giants.

So how good (or bad) was Burrell as a No. 1 pick? The good folks over at The Good Phight rated all of the top picks using the advanced metric WAR and based on those numbers Burrell is 18th out of 46 No. 1 picks. Of course players like Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Bryce Harper and Gerrit Cole are just beginning their careers while others like Ben McDonald, Tim Belcher, Mike Moore and Darin Erstad have seemingly been helped by a handful of strong seasons and longevity.

Burrell … was he a boom or a bust or somewhere in the middle?

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Dolphins Workout Travis Benjamin

The Dolphins recently continued working out draft eligible receivers. The latest of these is University of Miami receiver Travis Benjamin, who worked out for the team.

Benjamin finished his career at UM with 2,146 receiving yards, one of only six players in school history to to eclipse 2,000 yards. He caught 41 passes for 609 yards in 2011. Benjamin also was an outstanding punt returner for Miami, avering 11 yards per return and served as the kick returner as well.

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Todd McShay: As many as nine Miami Hurricanes could get drafted

CORAL GABLES – ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay said he wouldn't be shocked to see as many as nine former Miami Hurricanes players selected next week, but "a safe bet" is seven.

McShay said on a conference call Tuesday he expects running back Lamar Miller, receivers Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin, linebacker Sean Spence, offensive lineman Brandon Washington, defensive tackle Marcus Forston and defensive end Olivier Vernon to be drafted.

He described defensive end Adewale Ojomo and defensive tackle Micanor Regis as "on the fringe," and listed receiver LaRon Byrd and tight end Chase Ford as "sleepers" late in the seven-round draft.

Miller is projected to be the first 'Canes player taken. McShay said on-air Tuesday that Miller would be a "steal" for the Denver Broncos at No. 57. Later, on the conference call, he noted, "Olivier Vernon of all those guys after Miller is most intriguing to me. … I think he's a better player than maybe the perception [of him]."

McShay said the 6-foot-2, 262-pound Vernon can play both end and outside linebacker in the NFL.

"He has some stiffness, there's no question," McShay noted. "He's not a great athlete and his production didn't always match up [to his talent]. And I've heard some things. Is he mature enough?

"But if he his focused and doing all the right things and working and 100 percent dedicated to football, he's well-built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line and he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level."

McShay said "there's a strong chance" Streeter will be drafted in the third or fourth round, but he personally would have a hard time drafting him in the first four rounds.

"There's a lot of interest because of his height, weight and speed and certainly he's a great athlete. He has more potential than we've seen him do at Miami," McShay said. "But the tape just doesn't match up with what I see."

McShay said he doubts quarterback Jacory Harris will be drafted at all.

"He showed some flashes this past year. I thought he would be better this past year, but the inconsistency jumps out," McShay said, citing turnovers. He added that there are concerns from NFL teams about Harris' durability because of his relatively thin frame.

"But he has enough arm talent, so it's not to say he won't one day land on a roster if he's able to continue to develop somehow. It's just tough to develop as a quarterback. There's nowhere to really go and get good from this point on."

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4 proCane-to-be WRs Ranked in the Top 58

31. Tommy Streeter, Miami, 6-5, 219. This is a big receiver who ran a 4.37 40 at the combine. He does not play that fast, however. Streeter does not have ideal body control and is not an efficient route runner. He makes catches in traffic, but his hands are suspect. He came out early and was not a very productive player. Streeter is a similar prospect to Stephen Hill but isn't as gifted.

34. Travis Benjamin, Miami, 5-10, 172. He's a smaller receiver with very good speed and return ability. He ran a 4.36 40 at the combine and vertical jumped 38 inches. He was a four-year letterman and a productive college player.

45. Aldarius Johnson, Miami

54. LaRon Byrd, Miami

See the rest of the rankings here.

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Nate Webster sex trial begins, Ray Lewis subpoenaed

While former Cincinnati Bengal Nathaniel “Nate” Webster had his trial start today, the big news was another linebacker who is scheduled to testify.
Mary Jill Donovan, Webster’s attorney, issued a subpoena requiring the Baltimore Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis to testify in the trial.

Donovan, representing Webster against allegations he had sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2009, wouldn’t say why she called for Lewis to testify.
A message about Lewis’ testimony left with the Ravens wasn’t immediately returned today.

The case began Monday with jury selection. The actual trial is expected to begin Tuesday with opening statements.

Webster, who has denied all allegations, was 31 and the girl 15 when she said he had sex with her at least four times in 2009 in and around their Symmes Township neighborhood. He now is 34 and she is 18.

Webster is charged with sexual touching, sexual battery and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Hamilton County prosecutors were unconcerned with Lewis’ possible testimony, saying the only issue in the case is if Webster has sex with a minor. If they can convince a jury he did, he could go to prison for more than 30 years.

That’s far less than the plea deal Assistant Prosecutors Seth Tieger and Katie Burroughs offered Webster earlier.

Tieger, who said the plea deal was offered to try to spare the alleged victim from having to testify in a high-profile case, said the plea deal included a mandatory prison sentence for Webster that also required him to register as a sex offender after his release.

Common Pleas Court Judge Ralph “Ted” Winkler told the sides he would send Webster to prison for four years if such a plea was accepted by the former pro football player, who has seven children from four women.

The judge also raised a potential conflict of interest in the case: Webster is represented by the wife of Sean Donovan, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy who is running for Sheriff this fall. He is also is the boss of the police officers who arrested Webster and will be testifying in the case for prosecutors.

Mary Jill Donovan said there was no conflict.

“It's fraught with danger for everybody and I'll leave it at that," the judge said.

Webster played in Cincinnati for four games over two years, 2005 and 2006, before knee injuries ended his Bengal career. He played three more years in Denver, the last in 2008. He also coached for a time in 2010 at Bellevue High.

Winkler said the case is expected to go into next week.

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WR & TE U Goes To The proCanes

Deciding Miami led all FBS programs in producing quality NFL running backs was a tough call.

Picking Miami as the top school to find future pro receivers and tight ends wasn't nearly as difficult.

Miami's contingent of NFL wide receivers includes Houston Texans star Andre Johnson and Indianapolis Colts standout Reggie Wayne, who have each earned five Pro Bowl appearances while combining for 125 touchdown catches and over 21,000 receiving yards.

Other Miami receivers on NFL rosters last season included Devin Hester (Chicago Bears), Leonard Hankerson (Washington Redskins), Santana Moss (Washington Redskins) and Roscoe Parrish (Buffalo Bills, now with San Diego Chargers). Moss is a former 1,000-yard receiver, while Hester arguably is the greatest kick returner in NFL history.

Miami was an even more obvious pick at tight end. In fact, tight end may have been the easiest pick of any position for this entire project. Miami's tradition of sending tight ends to the NFL has even caught the attention of high school prospects.

"I felt like this is where I'm going to be the best and I'm going to reach my full potential," New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr junior tight end Standish Dobard told after committing to the Hurricanes this month. "They have a history of really good tight ends here."

Former Miami tight ends now in the NFL include Dedrick Epps (New York Jets), Richard Gordon (Oakland Raiders), Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints), Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers), Jeremy Shockey (Carolina Panthers) and Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Shockey is a four-time Pro Bowl pick and Winslow has earned one Pro Bowl invitation.

But the biggest success story of all is Graham, who actually came to Miami on a basketball scholarship. He switched to football in 2009 and showed enough in that one season to get drafted in the third round.

All he did last season was catch 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns. The only tight end to ever accumulate more receiving yards in a season was New England's Rob Gronkowski, who compiled 1,327 yards last year.

Although no other schools can approach Miami's success at developing NFL tight ends, a few other programs also deserve mention. Former Iowa tight ends Dallas Clark and Tony Moeaki have enjoyed solid NFL careers. Arizona State produced NFL veterans Todd Heap and Zach Miller. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez joins Cameron Morrah and Craig Stevens as former California tight ends in the NFL. Wisconsin has sent Travis Beckum, Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks to the NFL in recent seasons.

LSU was worth considering at the wide receiver spot. Dwayne Bowe has developed into a star for the Kansas City Chiefs. Early Doucet (Arizona Cardinals), Brandon LaFell (Carolina Panthers) and Devery Henderson (New Orleans Saints) each collected over 500 receiving yards last season.
But nobody compared to Miami at either position.

Even though Miami has enjoyed similar success at the wide receiver and tight end spots, the Hurricanes have relied on different strategies at each of those positions.

Most of the NFL receivers to come from Miami were South Florida products. Johnson and Parrish both played at Miami Senior High. Moss went to Miami Carol City. Hankerson graduated from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and Hester came from Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast. A notable exception is Wayne, who went to Marrero (La.) John Ehret.

But most of its star tight ends didn't play for Florida high schools.

Olsen comes from New Jersey. Miami landed Shockey from Oklahoma. Winslow made the coast-to-coast move from San Diego to Miami. Graham's from North Carolina. Dobard looks to continue that tradition when he arrives at Miami in 2013.

Both strategies have worked quite well for Miami.

The only legitimate criticism that could be made about Miami's ability to send receivers and tight ends to the NFL is that many of its top guys at this position are at or past their primes.

Hankerson, a third-round pick last year, is the only Miami receiver to get drafted since 2007. Wayne ended his Miami career in 2000. Johnson's last two years at Miami were the 2001 national championship season and the 2002 campaign that ended with a Fiesta Bowl overtime loss to Ohio State.

And even though Graham has emerged as an immediate star in the NFL after a brief college career, most of Miami's other productive NFL tight ends left college long ago. Shockey's last season at Miami was 2001. Winslow finished his college career in 2004 and Olsen left Miami after the 2006 season.

Olsen, who caught 38 passes in 2006, was the last Miami tight end to catch more than 22 passes in a season. Miami's main pass-catching tight end last season was Clive Walford, who caught 18 passes for 172 yards as a redshirt freshman after playing just one year of high school football at Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central.

Tommy Streeter should assure that Miami has a wide receiver drafted for a second straight season. After catching 46 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns last year, Streeter has been projected as a mid- to late-round pick in this year's draft.

Miami might not have a tight end drafted anytime soon, mainly because of its youth at that position. Walford still has plenty of time left in his college career. Miami didn't sign a tight end in its 2012 class, but the Hurricanes rectified that issue by getting the early 2013 commitment from Dobard.
"I hope to be one of the best tight ends ever to come through Miami," Dobard told

That would be quite an accomplishment indeed.

Our choice: Miami.
Who they've sent: Leonard Hankerson (Washington Redskins), Devin Hester (Chicago Bears), Andre Johnson (Houston Texans), Santana Moss (Washington Redskins), Roscoe Parrish (San Diego Chargers), Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts).
Who's next: Tommy Streeter is a projected mid- to late-round selection in this year's draft.
Why we picked them: Johnson and Wayne are two of the most productive receivers of the last decade. Each has five Pro Bowl appearances. They have combined for 125 touchdown catches and over 21,000 receiving yards. Moss also is a former Pro Bowl selection. Hester remains an unpolished receiver, but he's one of the best kick returners in football history.
Other finalists: Florida (Denver's Andre Caldwell, Philadelphia's Riley Cooper, Washington's Jabar Gaffney, Minnesota's Percy Harvin, Oakland's Louis Murphy, Buffalo's David Nelson), LSU (Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, New York Giants' Michael Clayton, Arizona's Early Doucet, New Orleans' Devery Henderson, Houston's Trindon Holliday, Carolina's Brandon LaFell, Detroit's Terrence Toliver), Michigan (New Orleans' Adrian Arrington, Philadelphia's Jason Avant, Kansas City's Steve Breaston, San Francisco's Mario Manningham), Ohio State (San Francisco's Ted Ginn, New England's Anthony Gonzalez, Miami's Brian Hartline, New York Jets' Santonio Holmes, Minnesota's Michael Jenkins)
Candidate you might not have considered: Tennessee, Texas Tech.

Our choice: Miami.
Who they've sent: Richard Gordon (Oakland Raiders), Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints), Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers), Jeremy Shockey (free agent), Kellen Winslow Jr. (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
Who's next: Nobody's on the horizon. Miami's top pass catching tight end last year was Clive Walford, a redshirt freshman in 2011.
Why we picked them: Miami would have been the clear pick even if we'd done this a year ago, before Graham delivered a breakthrough season in which he caught 99 passes. Graham, Shockey and Winslow have all earned Pro Bowl invitations at some point in their careers.
Other finalists: Arizona State (Arizona's Todd Heap, Seattle's Zach Miller), California (Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Cameron Morrah, Tennessee's Craig Stevens), Iowa (Buffalo's Scott Chandler, free agent Dallas Clark, Kansas City's Tony Moeaki, Oakland's Brandon Myers, Minnesota's Allen Reisner), Notre Dame (Seattle's John Carlson, Miami's Anthony Fasano, Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph), Texas (Green Bay's Jermichael Finley, Cincinnati's Bo Scaife, New Orleans' David Thomas), Wisconsin (New York Giants' Travis Beckum, Houston's Owen Daniels, Houston's Garrett Graham, St. Louis' Lance Kendricks)
Candidate you might not have considered: Colorado State is the alma mater of Denver's Joel Dreessen and San Diego's Kory Sperry. Dreessen caught six touchdown passes for the Houston Texans last season before signing with the Broncos as a free agent.

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RB U Goes To The proCanes

Miami hasn't produced a first-round draft pick since 2008. It's only fitting that a running back has the best chance to end that drought.

Yes, it's a bit of a reach to refer to three years without a first-round pick as a "drought." That represents a long slide only because Miami had produced at least one first-round draft pick every year from 1995-2008.

Lamar Miller could become Miami's first opening-round pick since Kenny Phillips went to the New York Giants with the 31st overall pick in 2008. Miller is set to become the latest in a long line of Miami running backs to earn a shot in the NFL.

Even though both of Miami's Heisman Trophy winners were quarterbacks (Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta), the Hurricanes' running backs have made much more of an impact in the pro ranks lately.

"As much as any position for Miami, the running back position has been strong," said Rob Rang, a senior draft analyst for
Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers and Willis McGahee of the Denver Broncos earned Pro Bowl invitations last season. Gore ranked sixth in the NFL with 1,211 rushing yards, while McGahee was eighth with 1,199 yards. No other school had multiple 1,000-yard rushers in the NFL last season.

And it isn't as if Gore and McGahee are one-year wonders. They've been doing this for quite some time.

Gore is a three-time Pro Bowl pick who has rushed for over 1,000 yards five of the last six seasons. He has run for a total of 7,625 yards and 43 touchdowns during his seven-year career. McGahee is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark four times.

Other former Miami running backs on NFL rosters include Damien Berry (Baltimore Ravens) and Graig Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), though neither player has a single career carry thus far.

Miami's running back contingent looks even stronger if you add Clinton Portis, a two-time Pro Bowl pick who has run for nearly 10,000 yards in his pro career. Although Portis didn't play last season after getting released by the Washington Redskins, he indicated earlier this year that he wants to play again and has been medically cleared.

Texas' collection of NFL running backs looks equally impressive.

Ricky Williams retired in February after rushing for more than 10,000 yards in a career that included five 1,000-yard seasons. Cedric Benson ran for 1,067 yards with the Cincinnati Bengals last year, which marked the third straight season he had exceeded the 1,000-yard mark.

Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs rushed for a combined 2,567 yards in 2009 and 2010 before a torn anterior cruciate ligament limited him to two games last season. Chris Ogbonnaya rushed for 340 yards with the Cleveland Browns last year.

Texas very easily could have been the choice. After all, while Miami seemingly sent running backs to the NFL with assembly-line precision about a decade or so ago, it's worth noting that not a single Miami running back has been drafted since the 49ers selected Gore in 2005. Berry and Cooper were both undrafted free agents.

Miami ultimately got a slight edge in part because of Miller's pending arrival.

"We have him as a second-round pick," Rang said. "He is a slashing style of running back who runs a little upright, but he has excellent straight-line speed. And he showed a little more toughness last year than a lot of people anticipated from him because he had been kind of typecast as kind of just a speed threat.

"At the same time, he's only been productive for one year. ... He's not quite as polished as other Miami running backs have been in prior years."
History is on Miller's side. Miami running backs have a habit of outperforming their draft position.

Although McGahee and former Indianapolis Colts star Edgerrin James were first-round draft picks, Portis went in the second round and Gore lasted until the third round. If Miller is as productive as either Portis or Gore, whichever team drafts him will be thrilled.

Our choice: Miami.
Who they've sent: Damien Berry (Baltimore Ravens), Graig Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers), Willis McGahee (Denver Broncos), Clinton Portis* (free agent, intends to play in 2012).
Who's next: Lamar Miller is a projected second-round pick in this year's draft.
Why we picked them: Gore and McGahee each earned Pro Bowl invitations and ranked among the NFL's top 10 rushers last year. Miami was the only school that had two of its former players rush for at least 1,000 yards last season. Portis also is a former Pro Bowl selection. Gore, McGahee and Portis have each accumulated over 7,000 career rushing yards.
Other finalists: Arkansas (Cleveland's Peyton Hillis, Dallas' Felix Jones, Oakland's Darren McFadden), California (Detroit's Jahvid Best, Seattle's Justin Forsett, Seattle's Marshawn Lynch, New England's Shane Vereen), Oklahoma (Dallas' DeMarco Murray, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson), Texas (free agent Cedric Benson, Kansas City's Jamaal Charles, Baltimore's Chris Ogbonnaya, recently retired Ricky Williams).
Candidate you might not have considered: Tulane has produced 2011 Pro Bowl pick Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Mewelde Moore of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Nate Webster says sex with teen was legal

Former Bengal Nathaniel “Nate” Webster, Jr., had sex with a teen girl, his attorney told jurors Tuesday, but she was 16, not 15 as prosecutors allege.

The correct age could mean the difference between Webster’s freedom and more than 30 years in prison.

“Something immoral takes place between Nate and” the girl, Gregory Samms, one of Webster’s attorneys told jurors. “When it happens, she’s 16 ... and it is consensual.”

In Ohio, except in rare specific instances, the age of consent is 16. Webster is accused of having sex with the girl when she was 15 – and he tells police that on a recording. But his attorneys said Tuesday that Webster’s recorded recollection was wrong.

Webster, now 34, is accused of sexual battery, gross sexual imposition (sexual touching) and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Webster was 31 in 2009 when he was accused of having sex with the 15-year-old girl who prosecutors said used to babysit for Webster.

“He knew her when she was a kid, 10 or 11 years old,” Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Seth Tieger told the eight-woman, four-man jury.

Webster was chided by the girl’s father, Tieger said, for not paying her for babysitting. When he did, he started the sexual relationship, the prosecutor added, and threatened to kill her and her family if she told. “As time went by this became a full-fledged secretive relationship,” Tieger said.

Eventually, they often had sex in Webster’s car, with heavily tinted windows, in Webster’s Symmes Township home or in a nearby park.

The girl finally told her parents. They contacted police who put a wire on her and had her talk to Webster. On those recorded conversations, Tieger said Webster admitted having sex with the girl when she was 15.

After Webster’s arrest last year, he “repeatedly denied any sexual relationship” with the girl – until police played for him the secretly recorded conversations with the girl. Then, “he confessed,” Tieger said.

But in court Tuesday, Samms insisted Webster had sex with the girl when she was 16 and made it clear Webster’s defense was to attack the girl.
This is a “story of a troubled young girl, so troubled that she doesn’t want to live in her own home,” Samms said, adding the girl often partied at Webster’s home by drinking and smoking marijuana, often supplied by Webster.

Injuries limited Webster’s Bengals career to a few games after he signed a five-year, $11.3 million contract. Coach Marvin Lewis once compared him to All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis.

Ray Lewis, who played college football at the University of Miami as did Webster, has been subpoenaed to testify in the case. Mary Jill Donovan said Ray Lewis is expected to testify later this week.

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Antonio Dixon In Great Shape

Not that this is an exact science, because we are just eyeballing now, but I would say that Antonio Dixon is in fantastic shape. I won't guess his weight, but he looks to have shed big-time pounds and understands that he got too heavy last season. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn wants quickness off the ball and up the field and I know Washburn thinks Dixon can be a really good player. Imagine what a much-improved Dixon would mean to this defensive line.

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McGahee Projects Broncos Will Still Have A Strong Ground Game With Manning

DENVER (CBS4) – Willis McGahee thinks the Broncos will still be strong on the ground next season, despite what’s expected to be a much improved passing game with Peyton Manning running the offense.

CBS4′s Vic Lombardi joked with McGahee about the topic Monday during his guest appearance on Xfinity Monday Live. He asked how things went that morning when Manning joined his new teammates at Broncos headquarters for the first time.

“Is it true that you walked up to Peyton Manning and said ‘I don’t care who you are, where you’ve been or what you do, I get 30 carries a game, I’m Willis McGahee?” Lombardi said.

McGahee laughed and said he “wouldn’t entertain that,” but in all seriousness he wants the Broncos’ rushing attack to remain a force to be feared.
“At the end of the day, we still want to be the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL,” he said.

The Broncos were indeed No. 1 in that category last season, and it wasn’t even close. Their 2,632 yards on the ground exceeded the Texans — the NFL’s No. 2 squad — by a whopping 184 yards.

And speaking of those Texans, a fan in the crowd at the Tavern Downtown on Monday posed a question to McGahee about them, asking if they might be the favorites to win the AFC this year.

“No. We’re the favorites in the AFC this year,” said McGahee with no hesitation.

McGahee’s excellence last season — his year included 1,199 rushing yards — earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu. While on vacation Lombardi checked out some of the Pro Bowl practices and found a lot of joking around among the players and hamming it up for the fans.

Lombardi wondered if the offseason workouts that have just begun in Englewood have a similar vibe.

“We don’t mess around, it’s all work,” McGahee said. “I don’t want people to get that illusion that we’re just out there playing around. That’s what you do at the Pro Bowl; we have a good time there. That’s Hawaii. But when we’re in our home city, who we’re playing for, it’s all about work.”

That work will include plenty of drills with Manning, a quarterback known for his exhausting work ethic.

“I think he made a good decision as far as coming to play for the Broncos,” McGahee said of Manning. “This is a great organization and a great city to play for. The people are going to back him up 100 percent.”

Another fan asked McGahee about the Mile High Salute, which McGahee did several times this season after scoring a touchdown. The popular gesture was a signature move for Ring of Famer Terrell Davis during his career with the Broncos.

“I talked to Terrell and Terrell said it was okay. You know, you’ve got to get permission from the older guys nowadays,” McGahee said. “He said it was all good, so it worked out.”

With Manning at the controls in the fall, fellow Running back Knowshon Moreno, who specializes in catching the ball out of the backfield, could see more action. McGahee said he’s plenty comfortable catching short passes as well, but he hopes Moreno’s knee injury last season doesn’t have an impact on his production.

“Knowshon is a big part of our offense. He’s one of those guys that can get out there and miss in open space and we’re counting on him to be back,” he said.

There are fewer and fewer mentions of McGahee’s former teammate Tim Tebow in Broncos Country now that the trade that sent him to the Jets is in the rear view mirror, but McGahee was quick to praise him for his leadership last season.

“He had a lot of courage. He played with heart and he had a lot of emotion in his game, so that’s what I like about him.”

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Jimmy Graham wants Brees back “as soon as possible”

The Saints opened their offseason program with two weeks of lifting and running and catching passes from quarterbacks.  But tight end Jimmy Graham will be catching no passes from quarterback Drew Brees until Brees signs a contract.

And Jimmy Graham wants that to happen, now.

“I can remember last year, during the lockout, other teams, they didn’t get together,” Graham told WWL radio in New Orleans, via  “Drew orchestrated [workouts] and paid for a lot of the younger guys and even got me a place to stay and said, ‘Jimmy, I want you here.’  He paid that out of his own pocket for all of us to be here training together and we saw what that translated into and what that meant as far as us jelling.  I’m not sure what’s going on or all the details but I just want him back as soon as possible.”

The details are, generally speaking (which means they’re not really details), that Brees wants more than what the team has offered, and that no one has blinked, yet.  Also, each side likely thinks that the other side has more leverage in light of recent events, which has given rise to a high-stakes game of chicken that could eventually make it even harder for the Saints to be ready to put together the kind of regular season that prevents them from having to leave the Superdome in the playoffs.

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Harper, Smith, Vilma coud face severe punishment in bounty program

A story on is reporting that safety Roman Harper and defensive end Will Smith could be facing punishment in the Saints bounty program scandal.

Much of the attention had been focused on Jonathan Vilma, according to an report by Jason La Canfora, citing sources "with knowledge of the situation."

The report said Harper and Smith could face more severe discipline than a majority of the players the league believes participated in the bounty program. Somewhere between 22 and 27 players are believed to have been involved.

La Confora says Vilma, a linebacker, could face a suspension of anywhere from two to eight games this season.

On Monday, former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns, and quarterback Drew Brees, both reps with the NFL Players Association, met with NFL officials in New York. Fujita is on the union's executive committee.

Brees said Monday that the NFL still has not presented him with "meaningful evidence" in the Saints' "bounty" case, La Canfora reports.

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Ravens 2008 Draft Class - Tavares Gooden Biggest Miss

The Ravens are the only team to have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. That’s a credit to G.M. Ozzie Newsome, who has given coach John Harbaugh enough talent to mold this team into a contender.

As we close in on the 2012 NFL draft, we’ll take a look at how the Ravens have fared in recent drafts. It’s too soon to give a fair evaluation from the 2010 and 2011 classes, but three years of NFL service time is enough for us to grade their 2007, 2008 and 2009 classes. In today’s blog post, we will break down the 2008 class.

Total picks: 10 (No. 18 overall, 55, 71, 86, 99, 106, 133, 206, 215, 240).

2011 starters: quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice

Players still with the team: two (Flacco and Rice).

Best pick: Rice. It was mildly surprising when the Ravens used a second-rounder on Rice since they had a highly paid starter in Willis McGahee, but Rice, a two-time Pro Bowler, eclipsed McGahee in his second year.

Biggest miss: Tavares Gooden. With the first of their three third-round picks, the Ravens took this speedy inside linebacker out of Miami -- and he was immediately mentioned as the eventual successor to Ray Lewis. Needless to say, Gooden didn’t live up to those unfair comparisons and was cut before the 2011 season.

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Dwayne Hendricks Talks about PRO-NRG by Fame Tank

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Antrel Rolle Has Some Laughs In The Allstate Studio

Giants safety and Super Bowl champion Antrel “At The End Of The Day” Rolle paid Boomer & Craig a visit in the Allstate Studio on Tuesday. And by the sound of things, I’d say all three had some fun.

Rolle talked about the Giants’ triumph over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI and everything that led up to that moment.  He told the guys how, even when the Giants were just 7-7, he knew he was part of a special team.  Rolle also talked candidly about players being held accountable and what he expects from his teammates.

He was asked about his spat with Boomer’s pal Cris Collinsworth, seemed to get a kick out of Craig’s impression of his head coach Tom ‘kiss my a–’ Coughlin and said he has never been part of or heard anything about any kind of bounty program.

After acknowledging his overuse of  his catch phrase ‘at the end of the day’ (for which he blames his mother), Rolle was treated to a montage of him doing his thing.

Before saying goodbye, Rolle showed the guys his new chest tattoo — and drew Craig’s attention because of his well-toned, hairless body…

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Beverly Goebel signs a preliminary agreement with INAC Kobe

Beverly Goebel has signed a preliminary agreement with INAC Kobe from the Nadeshiko League in Japan.

Goebel’s formal statement regarding the big opportunity:

“I am so thrilled and thankful for the opportunity. When traveling to Japan with Sky Blue I really got an insight to the culture and the Nadeshiko League, I fell in love with both right away. The style of soccer that INAC Kobe implements is truly one of a kind. It is so extremely technical, smart, and simply beautiful to watch. After interacting with the players for a practice I realized I could definitely see myself as a part of such a great organization. Not only was the soccer phenomenal to watch, but they are also great people and the country itself holds a great appreciation for women’s soccer. This will be an amazing opportunity for me to continue to grow with the game. Yes, a challenging one but nonetheless one of the most amazing and exciting ones. I am excited to take such a plunge with teammate Becca Moros as I have played two WPS seasons as her teammate and have enjoyed both.”

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Silver Stars' pick of Shenise Johnson addresses needs

The Silver Stars needed rebounding. They needed a guard with size. They needed a versatile player who would provide athleticism and, at the least, give the team some added depth.

They think they found the answer to all of those equations in 5-foot-11 Shenise Johnson.

The Silver Stars selected the University of Miami product with the No. 5 overall pick in Monday's WNBA draft.

“Shenise is a player that brings a lot of versatility, not only in her game but to the lineup,” Silver Stars coach and general manager Dan Hughes said. “She can play any position from the (small forward) to the (point guard). She also brings a high degree of athleticism, and a high degree of skill.''

Needing to make the most out of their lone draft pick, the Silver Stars landed Johnson, a two-time All-American who started all 131 games that she played in at Miami — the longest streak in the nation.

Johnson, 21, averaged 17.0 points and eight rebounds this past season, helping the Hurricanes reach the second round of the NCAA tournament. She finished her career with 2,262 points, 1,020 rebounds, 556 assists, 401 steals and 90 blocked shots.

“I'm excited to have the opportunity to play in San Antonio,” said Johnson, who this past season was a finalist for both the Wooden Award and Wade Trophy, given to the nation's top player.

She was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection four times, the 2011 league player of the year, and a two-time all-defensive team honoree. This past season, she led the league in steals, assists-to-turnover ratio and free-throw shooting.

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Chris Perez records third save

Chris Perez allowed the Mariners to load the bases in the ninth inning Tuesday, but he rebounded to pick up his third save.

Perez escaped without surrendering the lead in a 9-8 game, but his inning was a whole lot shakier than Vinnie Pestano's eighth, even though Pestano faced the top of the order and Perez got the bottom. Perez has now pitched four scoreless innings since a disastrous blown save on Opening Day.

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Pat Burrell throws out first pitch before game with former Phillies, Giants teams

SAN FRANCISCO — Retired outfielder Pat Burrell got one more moment in the spotlight at AT&T Park after he became a key member of San Francisco’s improbable World Series run two years ago.

The former Giants and Philadelphia Phillies star threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate and pal Aubrey Huff to a warm ovation before the middle game of the teams’ series Tuesday night.

Now doing some scouting work for San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean, the 35-year-old Burrell retired after last season because of a troublesome right foot that never fully healed, and he is also currently rehabilitating his left shoulder in Arizona after undergoing offseason surgery.
“Now working for the team, everything has kind of come together the right way,” Burrell said. “It’s been fun.”

Burrell appreciated the gesture from Giants president and CEO Larry Baer to pay tribute to the former left fielder, who became a key part of the team’s 2010 band of “castoffs and misfits” that brought the franchise its first championship since moving West in 1958.

Next month, Burrell will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire with the Phillies, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. He will sign during an interleague series with the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park and will be honored May 19 and throw out the first pitch. Burrell also won a ring with Philly in 2008.

The Phillies reached out to him last fall.

“Of course, I said ‘I’d love to’” Burrell said, sitting in the San Francisco dugout Tuesday afternoon and wearing his Giants’ World Series ring. “I watched (Mike) Lieberthal, Doug Glanville. It’s a special deal. The more fortunate thing is they even asked me to do it.”

Burrell joined the Giants on a minor league deal on May 29, 2010, after being cut by the Tampa Bay Rays and spent a short stint with Triple-A Fresno before being called up on June 4.

“We all think a lot of Pat, he’s very popular with his teammates,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s good to have him here to throw out the first pitch. He works for us, too. He’s a guy I talk to to get a different perspective from somebody who’s behind home plate watching our hitters. He has been some help already.”

He batted .266 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs in 96 games for San Francisco, becoming the everyday left fielder.

The Giants went on to clinch the NL West title on the final day of the regular season, ending a six-year postseason drought before making their World Series run.

“I have some great memories, obviously, firstly with the situation I was coming from being released and getting a second chance,” Burrell said. “Having the kind of year we had as a team to go out and win the World Series, it’s something I’ll never forget.”

He is a career .253 hitter with 292 home runs and 976 RBIs in 1,640 games over 12 seasons with Philadelphia, the Rays and San Francisco. He grew up in the Bay Area in San Jose.

Burrell — who re-signed for $1 million to stay with the Giants in 2011 — was placed on the disabled list last July 15 with a mid-right foot strain and didn’t play again until Aug. 31, though he was still in pain after missing 43 games.

“When I couldn’t play in interleague, I kind of knew then I probably wouldn’t get to play after that season,” Burrell said. “So I had three months or so to kind of prepare for it. The part about spring training, I was there for all the games. I just knew I couldn’t do it. “

He played nine seasons with the Phillies and is fourth in team history in home runs (251), eighth in RBIs (827), and ninth in extra-base hits (518).

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Blake Tekotte Extends Hitting Streak

Triple-A Tucson (3-9): SALT LAKE 6, Tucson 2 – CF Blake Tekotte extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games with a double. 1B Matt Clark was 2-for-4 with an RBI. SS Everth Cabrera was 2-for-4. RHP Greg Gonzalez made an emergency start for the injured Casey Kelly gave up six runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. Relievers Eddie Kunz, Ryan Kelly and Alex Hinshaw followed Gonzalez and combined to allow four hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

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Pat Burrell: Not just a pretty face

TONIGHT, Pat Burrell will throw out the first pitch in San Francisco.

On May 19, he will sign a 1-day minor league contract so he can retire a Phillie

For years, Burrell's influence on the organization will be felt.

Around Burrell, the Phillies constructed a ballclub that won the last five National League East titles; a club that won the World Series in 2008 and went to another Series in 2009, after Burrell left for Tampa Bay.

He was not the best player on any of his Phillies teams. Just once was he the most valuable player on a Phillies team, in 2002, when he teased the baseball world with a breakout season.

Still, Burrell's influence rests less with his 251 home runs, fourth in team history; his 827 RBI, eighth all-time; or his 1,273 strikeouts, an ignominious second-place stat.

Burrell always was the biggest star. For better or worse, Burrell taught a generation of Phillies the way to act as a big-league player . . . and how to best survive in a demanding, sometimes vicious city.

He was born to the role.

After a princely high school career in California and a Ruthian stint in college at Miami, Burrell landed in Philadelphia in 1998 the No. 1 overall pick - and the antidote to a poisonous courtship with J.D. Drew, who spurned the Phillies after they took him second overall in 1997.

The Phillies were fortunate, because Burrell was a better fit. Drew, strait-laced and sensitive, would have drowned in the acidic waters of the Phillies franchise. Standing 6-4, movie-star gorgeous and often without scruple, "Pat the Bat" thrived.

He rocketed through the minors. After two seasons in the majors, by 2002 it didn't matter who else was in the clubhouse: Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard.

The corner locker belonged to Burrell. He radiated charisma, with his Ray Liotta eyes and his Rat Pack exploits.

"He handled his business," says Howard, grinning. "If you're going to go out and party or whatever, you have to come in the next day to handle your business . . . I know it's hard to believe, but he was very professional.

"He was a big-leaguer."

"He was the guy," says Shane Victorino. "He was a cornerstone piece on this team, But, when you think about Pat Burrell, and what he was in this city, not just from a baseball standpoint, he was an iconic person.

"He was everybody's dream. Every girl's dream," Victorino says.

Every player watched how Pat dressed, what Pat drove, where Pat lived, how Pat tipped clubhouse attendants and barkeeps, says Victorino: "He was similar to a godfather."

Blessed with heavenly looks, Burrell proved mortal most of his 11-year career. A foot injury has ended his run. Incredibly, Burrell is only 35.

Only twice did he reach his production potential. In 2002 and '05, he drove in more than 100 runs and hit at least .280, the only times he hit those marks. As his career waned, the 6-year, $50 million contract extension he signed after the 2002 season seemed less wise, especially since he proceeded to hit .209 in 2003.

"We made that contract a success," insists Charlie Manuel, who took over as manager in 2005. "He was more of a producer than people realize. He was a better player than what he got credit for."

Indeed, even as Burrell fought routine slumps, even as Rollins and Utley and Howard took over the team, Burrell never was a bad investment. He averaged 31 homers and 93 RBI over the last three seasons of the deal, which cost the Phillies just over $37 million.

In the same span, Alex Rodriguez averaged 41 homers and 127 RBI . . . but then, Burrell made about half as much money. And, despite shining in the Steroid Era, Burrell never was tainted by a scandal involving performance enhancers.

"He was one of the hardest-working guys I've ever been around," says Jim Thome, the centerpiece of the Phillies' thrust that began in 2003. "Showed up at noon, 12:30, which a lot of people don't see."

The work ethic trickled down. When Manuel took the reins, Burrell began in earnest his mentorship of Utley. Thome witnessed that.

"Once you get one guy on board, you get other guys. Like Chase Utley," Thome says.

Still, as Burrell stood in leftfield night after night, abuse rained on him. Fans were maddened by his tendency to watch third strikes as he raised his arms and locked his left knee; incensed at his compulsion to swing at tight sliders from righthanders; and fed up with his legendary evening jaunts into Center City, which could turn boorish.

Still, weren't these Burrell's people? Where was the love?

"I've been everywhere: New York, Boston, you name it," Manuel says. "As far as [self-]abuse, Philadelphia is No. 1."

Burrell never reacted. But it affected him.

Eroded by years of derision, dealing with Burrell meant a snarl one day; thoughtful perspective the next; an up-yours walkoff with the third. He created a culture of dismissiveness that often resurfaces in the Phillies' clubhouse, like a foul odor.

When new general manager Pat Gillick deconstructed the Phillies in 2006, Burrell and Rollins were the only tenured stars left untouched. Aaron Rowand was part of that team, a mercenary trade product of the Thome deal. Howard, Utley and Cole Hamels were the new cornerstones, untouchable. Burrell was, by contrast, untradable, with a no-trade clause and that burdensome contract.

His time was nearly past, but Burrell remained.

"He was very dedicated to the game . . . more than people think. Always the first guy to the ballpark," Manuel says.

Manuel never minded that Burrell sometimes was the last guy to return to the team hotel.

"There are people who can stay out until 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning and still do their job," Manuel says. "With Pat, that might not be all that bad. The less he could think about his performance, the better he hit."

Burrell wasn't just showing up early to drink coffee and soak in the hot tub. Placido Polanco arrived in 2002, part of the Rolen trade, and immediately was struck with Burrell's professionalism.

"I remember him doing exercises in the training room to keep him strong all year," says Polanco, who has played with star-studded clubs in St. Louis and Detroit. "He was a great teammate. He treated everybody the same: American, white, black. Didn't matter."

Burrell could have been a clubhouse bully, but he wasn't.

Burrell could have been a clubhouse cancer, as he became more and more marginalized with the ascension of Rollins, Howard and Utley. But he wasn't.

"He bought in with the fact that we were changing the face of our team. He let those guys do their thing," Manuel says, appreciatively. "There was never a bitch."

Burrell could have benched himself, too. Instead, he played though chronic pain for 8 years.

Burrell developed a degenerative condition in his right foot in 2004. Surgery after the 2005 season did not fix the problem. By 2007, he hobbled to leftfield every night. He usually was replaced for a better runner or a better defender in the game's latter stages; speedy Michael Bourn was a late-game replacement 90 times in 2007, mainly for Burrell.

Fittingly, Burrell's biggest moment as a Phillie - and his last - played out that way. Tied at 3 in Game 5 of the World Series against Tampa, Burrell led off the seventh with a double and immediately was replaced by Eric Bruntlett. Burrell watched from the dugout as Bruntlett scored the run that won the Series.

It was his only hit in 14 at-bats in the Series.

It was his last at-bat as a Phillie.

During the victory parade and the culminating series of speeches at Citizens Bank Park, Burrell was treated as a dignitary headed for an amicable exile.

He somehow convinced Tampa Bay, of all teams, to give him $16 million for the next two seasons.

After a season-and-a-half of dismal DHing, the Rays traded him to San Francisco. There, he rejoined Rowand, by then also a bit player, on a Giants team that beat the Phillies en route to a title . . . and a second ring for Burrell. The Giants then re-signed him for $1 million last season.

It has been 3 years of pain and of failure. Since he doubled off J.P. Howell in his last at-bat as a Phillie, Burrell has averaged 111 games, 14 homers, 50 RBI and hit .235.

Really, his career ended that night against the Rays.

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Lamar Miller Will Be A Steal in the 2nd Round

I’m starting to get the feeling that Lamar Miller is going to be a huge steal for some team in the 2nd round.  While I think Trent Richardson is the top RB prospect in the class, I don’t put Miller very far behind him.  Richardson is better on contact, but Miller possesses the natural power to improve in this area, and he’s a faster, more explosive back in terms of initial burst and 2nd level pull-away, and I don’t see any major advantage that one has over the other as a receiver.  I’m not usually an advocate of drafting RBs high in the first, unless they can do more than run.  In other words, if they give you multiple high-level weapons from one position, I’m all for grabbing them in the first.  If they can run between the tackles, beat you outside, get the tough, hard yards on contact, catch the ball out of the backfield and block in the passing game, they’re a worth a consideration.  Since when did moving the chains and scoring points suddenly not become important?  It’s almost as if there’s been a concerted effort to devalue running backs and there’s really no reason for it.  Show me proof that a high-octane passing attack is better than a dominant running attack, and maybe I’ll think differently about it.

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Vince Wilfork picks Tebow, interceptions, himself, and chicken. What?

Vince Wilfork entertained a packed house at the Hall at Patriot Place a short time ago with an engaging Q & A session as part of the Hall’s Speaker Series.

Naturally, fans weren’t shy about asking a few loaded questions, and Wilfork didn’t exactly dodge.

Here are some of the highlights.

Question: If he were Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who would he start, Mark Sanchez or the newly acquired Tim Tebow?
Wilfork:  ”Tebow. He’s a winner. He’s proven. I mean, I’ll tell you what, both have positive and negatives. You really can’t go wrong. I’m glad I’m not in that boat. Put it like that.”

Question: ”What would he rather have, an interception or a sack?”
Wilfork: ”’I'll take an interception over a sack any day. That’s me. Some people like getting the sack. No, give me the ball!”

Question: ”Who’s faster, you or Tom Brady?
Wilfork: ”Me. That’s the easiest question to answer.”

Question: ”What part of the NFL would he like to change if he had the powers to do so.”
Wilfork: ”One thing I’d get rid of is the penalties, certain penalties. I can do without them. You have a guy that’s making $30 million a year (the quarterback), but you can’t touch him. C’mon. Let’s be for real now. Me as a defensive lineman, it’s okay for somebody to hold me up, and another guy to come and chop my legs, and I can’t protect myself. I can do without that. That’s probably the main thing. Being able to hit a quarterback good . . . we need that. We need that back right there. But, you hurt the franchise of your team if you’re allowed to tee off on the quarterback. Cuz you know, quarterbacks are wimpy.”

Question: ”What’s you favorite food?”
Wilfork: ”Chicken . . . anything dealing with meat, I’ll eat.”

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Jonathan Vilma expects two to eight game suspension

Jonathan Vilma is still waiting to hear about his punishment for his role in the Saints bounty program and, according to a report on Monday, he thinks it is going to be fairly severe.

Jason La Canfora of reports that a source close to Vilma said that the linebacker is bracing for a suspension of two to eight games when the league decides to hand down their decision. Because Vilma was the only player named in the NFL’s initial report about the bounties, the belief is that he will be suspended for at least the low end of that estimate.

The NFLPA’s statement about the league’s failure to provide detailed evidence of a “pay-to-injure scheme” could become part of any action against Vilma. The allegation about Vilma putting up $10,000 to any player who could knock Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game is damning, but a fight over whether there is direct evidence of such a scheme could wind up working out well for Vilma’s attempt to avoid a long suspension.
For their part, the Saints seem content to move on without Vilma. They’ve signed Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne as free agents, leaving no clear role for Vilma on the New Orleans defense whenever he is available to resume playing.

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Greg Olsen's Foundation Donates $50K to Levine Cancer Institute

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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Goes Into Detail About G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Dwayne Johnson sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about his movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

What can you tell us about G.I. Joe: Retaliation?
I can tell you this one is creatively much different [from the first]. It’s rooted, it’s grounded, it’s real. The studio came to me and I loved the idea of starring in the movie because I grew up on G.I. Joe and it’s a massive property. I spoke to the studio and they told me about the creative shift that they wanted to make with the movie, which made it easy for me to sign on.

Franchises are often “rebooted” after three or four movies. Did the studio talk about why they wanted to do so after just one?
Sure, sure. We all talked about that. The very frank discussions that I had with the studio was, ‘We know we can do better. And let’s challenge ourselves and sit down and make the movie that’s going to entertain the world.” I can appreciate that transparency and that directness. When you’re that open from the beginning it makes things much easier and it makes the creative process that much better.

Can you give us some idea about the plot?
Absolutely. The Cobra command is trying to take over the world. I emerge as the leader. I go get Bruce Willis and we start kicking a– all over the place and stopping that!

What can you say about your character, Roadblock?
In the mythology of G.I. Joe, Roadblock is the glue that holds the Joes together. The added layer to that for me was to make him a B.A.M.F.

Who does Bruce Willis play?
Bruce Willis plays the original Joe, Joe Colton. He fitted so nicely into this role. I’ve been not only a fan of Bruce since I was a teenager but a friend of his for years now. And us together, in these roles, as a fan of movies but also as a fan of action heroes, I’m excited about this. Bruce does that very well. And when I say “That” I mean, “There’s a problem, I’m going to fix it, and I have a gun.” [Laughs] We both do that very well.

I believe Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played one of the villains in the first movie, isn’t in Retaliation. Can you say who, if anyone, has replaced him in the role?
Well, to be honest with you, I didn’t see the first one. So I’m not quite too sure. I know he’s not in it, but I’m not quite too sure what role he played.

Have you still not seen the first one?
No, I didn’t want to see it. I just didn’t want that to cloud my judgment in any way as we were going down a new creative route.

Channing Tatum returns from the first one, as does Jonathan Pryce. So there are some plot connections between The Rise of Cobra and Retaliation?
Yeah, sure, sure. There are some plot connections with the first and the second. I’ll tell you this: Out of great tragedy often emerges new leaders and, through a great tragedy that takes place with the Joes, new leaders emerge.”

John M. Chu directed the movie. What was he like as a collaborator?
He was great to work with.

Where did you shoot the movie?
We were all in New Orleans. We were the first production that was allowed to shoot inside of NASA there in New Orleans. They were nice enough to let us shoot in there, and utilize everything that they had, which was amazing. We made a complete mess of the place and probably screwed it up for any production that’s going to come in there after us. We had a lot of explosions there. But we cleaned up everything nicely!

Would you be up for making another G.I. Joe?
I would. Definitely. The world ain’t saving itself! Me and Bruce and the Joes, we’ve got some saving to do!

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Shenise Johnson, Riquana Williams drafted by WNBA

BRISTOL, Conn. - Miami seniors Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams were selected by the San Antonio Silver Stars and the Tulsa Shock with the fifth and 17th picks, respectively, in Monday's 2012 WNBA Draft held at ESPN Studios.

Johnson and Williams become the third and fourth players in Miami's history to be selected in the WNBA Draft and are the first pair of Miami teammates to hear their names called onto the draft stage.

"I am so thrilled for Shenise and Riquna," Miami head coach Katie Meier said from the draft. "It is a dream-come-true moment for them both. It's a statement to these young ladies and the great careers they had."

Johnson ended her stellar collegiate career as only the second woman in NCAA Division I history to amass 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 400 steals in a career. Only Nancy Lieberman (Old Dominion, 1976-80) can share that distinction.

In March, the Henrietta, N.Y. native became just the 11th player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named to three First Team All-ACC squads. Johnson was named All-America her final two seasons at Miami and earned ACC Player of the Year honors after her junior campaign.
"Shenise being a Top 5 pick is just awesome for her, her family and frankly for this university and program," Meier said. "Moe can do it all and will be very successful at the pro level."

Williams, known as one of the most explosive players in the draft, ended her Miami career with 2,148 points, fifth on the school's all-time list. Her 272 made three-pointers are 104 more than the next closest Hurricane and her 64 blocks are the most of any player under 5-foot-7.

The Pahokee, Fla. native was named to Third Team All-America by the Associated Press after this season and she was a two-time First Team All-ACC performer.

"Riquna is such a tremendous scorer and her game projects so well for the next level," added Meier. "It is going to be fun watching them both compete."

In 2006, Miami's Tamara James became the first Hurricane selected in the first round, when she went eighth overall to the Washington Mystics. Ocatavia Blue (1994-98) was the first player from UM taken in the draft, when the Los Angeles Sparks took her with the 15th overall pick.

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Willis McGahee flexes his pecs on set of Shanell's "So Good" video

It's the off-season. Do you know where your Broncos are -- uh, we mean, the ones who aren't huddled around fawning over their fearless new leader? We know where one of them is, or was, rather, earlier this week. Broncos running back Willis McGahee was in Miami, his old stomping grounds, on the set with Lil Wayne for the filming of the new video for Shanell's "So Good," her song with Drake and Weezy. Shirtless and flexing his pecs, the Broncos ball handler was evidently cast to play the Young Money diva's love interest. NecoleBitchie posted some pics from the shoot, including the one and the one below.



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Kayne Farquharson Scores 4 TDs

Rocky Hinds completed 20 of 31 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns and the Nebraska Danger scored 28 second-half points to cruise to a 42-27 victory over the Wichita Wild at Heartland Event Center in Grand Island, Neb.

Nebraska scored first, when Hinds connected with Corey Surrency on a 9-yard pass.

Wichita answered with a 17-yard field goal from James Chandler.

The Wild held the Danger scoreless in the second quarter, but Nebraska led 14-13 at halftime.

Wichita couldn’t keep up with Nebraska’s offense outut. Danger receiver Kayne Farquharson hauled in four passes — all touchdowns — and finished with 56 receiving yards.

Wild quarterback Marcus Jackson completed 9 of 18 passes for 97 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The Wild’s record dips to 2-5, while Nebraska improves to 2-4.

The Wild will have two weeks to get back on the field, when it hosts the Allen Wranglers (7-5) on April 28.

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Bryant McKinnie set to attend workouts

Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie will participate in the team's voluntary offseason workouts, the Carroll County Times reported Friday.

The Baltimore Sun reported earlier this month that team officials want McKinnie to be in slightly better shape than he was for the 2011 season. Coach John Harbaugh told the Sun at the NFL Annual Meetings that McKinnie was in the "same shape he was when he left."

The 32-year-old McKinnie, listed at 360 pounds, fell out of favor with his previous team, the Minnesota Vikings, because he was in poor shape for camp before the 2011 season.

The Ravens recently paid McKinnie, who is reportedly having trouble with loans taken out during the lockout, a roster bonus worth $500,000. The team is currently set to pay him $3.2 million for the 2012 season.

McKinnie, a first-round pick by the Vikings in the 2002 NFL Draft, started seven of eight games in his rookie season and has been a perennial starter since.

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Vince Wilfork pumps up the Pats and his annual draft day fundraiser

Vince Wilfork is prepping his annual draft day fundraiser at Pinz in Milford on the 26th which benefits the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Diabetes Research Institute.

Of course, this year’s edition - No. 9 for those counting - will be bigger and better than the previous eight. That’s how Vince & Bianca roll.

The Pats nose tackle will be bowling, chatting and hanging out with fans while waiting for Bill Belichick to make the picks at Nos. 27 & 31, or do his usual manuevering around the draft board.

In my story in today’s Herald, Wilfork talked about the confidence he has in Belichick and the decision-makers to bring the right people in. 

”They’ve proven they can go out and grab guys, guys people never heard of, or guys who have a different role somewhere else, and come here and be successful,” Wilfork said when reached by phone. ”I know Bill knows what he’s doing. I don’t get caught up into why he’s bringing so and so in. I don’t think he would jeopardize this franchise or this organize by bringing in someone that’s a flat out knucklehead.”

For those interested in the draft day fundraiser, you can get more informatiion on tickets, sponsorship, and ways to donate by reaching out to CJ Yanofsky at the Vince Wilfork Foundation: Donations can also be made online at

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Marcus Forston Draft Profile

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Santana Moss to hold fundraiser for Miami-Dade commissioner

A big name in sports was scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan this weekend: pro football star Santana Moss.

Moss, a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, grew up in Carol City, which is in Jordan’s commission district.

Jordan is one of four commissioners up for reelection who are being targeted for defeat by wealthy auto magnate Norman Braman. She has already drawn an opponent, Wade Jones.

“Santana believes that children deserve the opportunity for academic achievement that enables them to realize their potential,” a press release for the event said. “So does Barbara Jordan.”

The cocktail reception was scheduled for Saturday night at the Kyma Lounge at the posh Epic Hotel in downtown Miami. Tickets cost $100.

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Vince Wilfork relishes his foundation

Vince Wilfork has been in a reflective and introspective mood recently. The reason has nothing to do with football. The Patriots [team stats] nose tackle is coming up on the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing.

It hits him this time of year, when he throws his annual draft day fundraiser benefitting the Joslin Diabetes Center and Diabetes Research Institute.

Last week, he was telling his kids stories about grandpa, and sharing conversations with his wife, Bianca, about his late father David, who died after a lengthy battle with the disease. Mostly, he thinks about what he’s become since his father passed and his mother Barbara died six months later of complications following a stroke. A decade is a pretty long time.

“In 10 years, what have I learned? What have I seen?” Wilfork said rhetorically in a phone interview with the Herald last week. “So many things have gone on. Different people have come in and out of my life. My father always said, ‘You have one life to live. You have to live it to the fullest. So you have to enjoy your life while you’re here.’ I think about that every day.”

Wilfork knows he was taught well by both of his parents. His father would be proud of how Vince and Bianca have turned the fundraiser into such a worthy event and have raised a ton of money. They’re so passionate about the cause, and making the event better each and every year.

While diabetes research is close to Wilfork’s heart, the event is also important for other reasons. It’s an opportunity for fans to get to know the Pats defensive lineman outside of the football arena. And again, Wilfork heeds his father’s advice of living for the day, living for the moment.

“One thing I want to get out of this, I want the fans to be happy. That’s my main thing. I want them to get a chance to interact with me. To see me as Vince Wilfork [stats] the father, Vince Wilfork the husband, Vince Wilfork the friend. Not Vince Wilfork the football player,” he said. “I think sometimes people see me on TV and automatically assume something. Then, when they meet me, they see I’m a regular person. I go to the grocery store. I shop. I don’t need nobody to shop for me; I do all that myself. That’s what I want people to get out of this. I think that’s why every year (the event) grows. I want them to see me as a person. That way, they’ll really get to understand who I am.”

Sure, the burly nose tackle who routinely occupies two defenders, and makes plays in the trenches with a violent sense of authority has a much different off-field persona. He’s mild-mannered and smiles constantly.

“I don’t argue much. I don’t dwell over petty stuff much,” Wilfork said. “I just shrug off stuff. I try to be stress-free. You can’t be stressed out all the time. You can’t kill yourself worrying about stuff weeks from now.”

That’s the same philosophy he applied to the Super Bowl loss. Wilfork didn’t let that fester for too long. He knew he had to forge ahead. It’s also Bill Belichick’s preferred method.

“Whatever the outcome may be in life, it is what it is. The only thing you can do is be the best person you can be,” he said. “Be the best father, be the best husband, be the best friend, be the best teammate.

“I’m not one to sit back and dwell over wins or losses. That’s just something I don’t do. Life is too short. No matter how great I played, or how crappy I played. Right now, I’m getting ready for next (season). Last year don’t matter. I attack each day like that.”

After sitting back, and looking over the past 10 years, Wilfork believes his father would approve of and appreciate the man he has become.

“Yeah, I really do. And trust me, I’m not perfect. I’m not saying I’m perfect,” said Wilfork, who attended the Jaden’s Ladder “Bright Lights, Big City” charity event last night at the Ritz-Cartlton, “But I think he’d be proud . . . I treat people the way I want to be treated. I respect people. My father was big on respect. So I know he’s happy. He’d be smiling.”

For those interested in the April 26 draft-day fundraiser, which is being held at Pinz in Milford, you can get more information on tickets, sponsorship, and ways to donate by contacing CJ Yanofsky ( ) at the Vince Wilfork Foundation. Donations may also be made online at

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Gaby Sanchez double gives Marlins first Marlins Park win

Remember how fans and media members spent the last two seasons wondering why Clinton Portis perpetually ran with two hands around the ball, hunched over, and willing to pitch forward for an extra half-yard rather than attempt to break outside for a touchdown? Yeah, that was deliberate.

“I mean, for an older running back, once you’ve been in this league you get wise enough to know every carry not gonna be the big one,” Portis said Tuesday on Sirius XM’s Late Hits with MJD. “You look at a young Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson and hard they run and how tough they run, play-in, play-out. That’s the early years. You know, I can look back at my highlights, and when I touched the ball I was running just as hard and just as fast. It was all-out. But at the end of the year, you’re still pounding out 1,500-1,800 yards.

“And I think for an older back, once you get wiser you know it’s moving the chains, protecting the ball, protecting yourself, staying on the field, and staying above 4 yards [per carry], trying to keep your average up to 4 and 5. You know, you get opportunities to go out and take a chance, but you put that ball out there and put it on the ground, now you’re prone, oh, fumbleitis.”

The thing is, moving the chains but not getting points seemed not to work for the Redskins. Anyhow, Portis then launched into a discussion of his role in the offense. Apparently, it wasn’t what he might have liked it to be.

“It’s kind of hard to go into the third quarter and you’ve got 6 or 7 carries and they’re like ok we’re gonna feature you now, and you’re like ‘We’ve got 2 quarters left. What you gonna do, give me the ball every play? We’re only gonna have a good 30 plays this half.’

“So it’s kind of frustrating. And I think you’ve just got to be strong enough to keep the mentality, stay focused. And I think for myself last year, [I was] battling with just the focus. It seemed like the last two years we wanted to throw the ball, and I was the designated sixth lineman, because all I did was block. And we’re running the ball for two plays, there was somebody else jogging onto the field. It was kind of frustrating, but I never really pouted or never got down, and always tried to help Torain and Keiland Williams out, tell ‘em whatever I could just to go out and win the game.

“I think they wanted to see my attitude change and didn’t want me to be selfish. I think you’ve got to play football with a selfish mentality. You know, it’s not about me and oh rah rah and look over here, but I think you want to feel as if you’re part of the game. You know, saying Jones-Drew going to go in the game and he gonna be ok with getting 12 carries or 15 carries? For myself, when I [asked for the ball] it’s oh, he’s selfish, he think he can do everything. Then when I say ‘Ok, I’m gonna play the role you want me to play,’ it’s like well he don’t care about what’s going on. So you can’t win.

“Basically you’ve got to have a selfish mentality and a selfish attitude, and just try to do whatever’s asked of you.”

Portis also said that his practice habits had frustrated Redskins coaches as far back as 2006, when Al Saunders arrived.

“I don’t think Al Saunders system fit me,” the back said. “I think me and Al kind of clashed when he was in D.C. I’m not sure he was a big fan of mine and the practice habits, but I think so many people formed an opinion and it became practice practice practice. When I wasn’t practicing, I was coming out producing 100 yards week in and week out, and all of a sudden it turned to I give you everything during the week, and then I get banged up the last two years after practicing every day in practice.”

Click here to order Clinton Portis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Jemile Weeks hits second homer

Jemile Weeks hit his second homer of the year Friday off Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush.

Weeks already has as many homers in 34 at-bats this year as he finished with in 406 at-bats as a rookie. Unfortunately, he isn't doing much else yet. He's batting .206, his only ribbies have come on the solo homers and he's 1-for-2 stealing bases.

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Aubrey Huff homers, drives in three vs. Pirates

Aubrey Huff went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, three RBI and a walk in Friday's win over the Pirates.

Bruce Bochy's unwavering faith in Huff has been rewarded. He had an RBI single in the bottom of the first and connected for a two-run blast inside the right field foul pole in the eighth. Brandon Belt better get comfortable on that bench.

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Chris Perez defends his Tweet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chris Perez wears his emotions on his sleeve and sometimes expresses them in a tweet.

Like Saturday night, after the Indians beat the Royals 11-9 in 10 innings in a game that featured two bench-clearing incidents when Shin-Soo Choo and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas were hit by pitches.

Perez tweeted the following: "Huge team win tonight; time for a sweep to tell the Royals it's not 'Our Time,' it's Tribe Time. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period."

"Our Time" refers to the Royals' 2012 marketing slogan.

When asked about the tweet, the Tribe closer said, "It's the same as when I'm talking to you. I'm not afraid to say what I believe."

Trouble began in the third inning Saturday night, when Jonathan Sanchez hit Choo with a fastball just above the right knee, and Choo had a few words for Sanchez, as players swarmed the field.

Last year, when he was with the Giants, Sanchez broke Choo's left thumb with a pitch, putting Choo on the disabled list for almost seven weeks.
Moustakas led off the Kansas City third and was hit in the back by Jeanmar Gomez. Again benches cleared. Gomez, Jack Hannahan and manager Manny Acta were ejected.

Choo has been hit three times this season and almost was struck a fourth time. Perez's point: Even if no one threw at Choo intentionally, it's time the Indians send a message that recklessly pitching inside will not be tolerated.

"I'm not saying we let this go in the past, but we didn't have the right mindset on our staff," Perez said. "Choo is our No. 3 hitter for a reason. We can't afford to have people come inside (with abandon) and have them think it's no big deal.

"Last night, I don't think Choo was hit on purpose. But that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've seen him hit six times already (including spring training), and I missed three weeks of camp. So enough is enough."

The book on Choo is to pitch him inside so he can't extend his arms.

"I know the scouting report on Choo," Perez said. "But if they miss, they hit him (and didn't worry about it). Sanchez hit Choo last year, and he lost six weeks of his career. He's not going to get those six weeks back."

Hannahan expressed similar feelings after Saturday night's game.

"If you're going to hit our studs, we're going to hit your studs," he said. "That's the way baseball has always been, and that's the way it should be."

Perez seems to think the Royals might feel bolder because they are considered the Central Division's up-and-coming franchise.

"The way I look at it, they're still behind us," Perez said. "They might be building a better team, but we still think we're better."

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Pat Burrell grateful for chance to retire with Phillies

Even on the last day of his playing career, wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Pat Burrell found himself thinking about the Phillies.

He had already decided this would be it. Bone spurs in his aching right foot had limited his role all season. Burrell had spent time on the disabled list. Surgery wasn't an option. Even though he was still just 34 years old, the end would come on Sept. 28, 2011 at AT&T Park.

So Burrell went to manager Bruce Bochy and asked for a favor. The defending World Series champions had been eliminated. He couldn't damage the foot any more. Burrell asked to start one last time. The manager wrote his name into the lineup card, playing left field and batting cleanup.

Burrell was already pretty emotional when Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery walked up before the game and handed him something. It was the circular patch with "VUK" stitched in white letters against a black background that the Phils wore during the 2007 season in memory of beloved coach John Vukovich.

"Put it in your pocket and play with Vuk today," Flannery told him.

Said Burrell: "I think I started crying right there."

Burrell slipped the patch into the back pocket of his uniform pants and lined a single to left his first time up.

How appropriate. Burrell's professional career started when the Phillies drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998. He ranks fourth in club history in home runs (251), fifth in walks (785), eight in RBIs (827) and ninth in extra-base hits (518).

It ended in the top of the seventh, when Bochy had Burrell take his position then called him off the field. He got a standing ovation as he trotted back to the dugout and came out for a curtain call as well.

Now Burrell will complete the circle during the Red Sox series at Citizens Bank Park May 18-20, when he'll sign a one-day contract and officially retire with the Phils. He'll throw out the first pitch on May 19 and will also sign autographs in the Hall of Fame Club and appear on the telecast.
Burrell remembered Doug Glanville and Mike Lieberthal coming back to retire with the team, but initially wasn't sure he wanted to make that much of a fuss about it.

"'Hesitant' isn't the right word -- I just don't like to make a big deal about things," Burell explained. "But the more I thought about it, it's the right thing to do. I was with that organization for so long. I have such good memories. You realize it's an honor and I'm very appreciative of the fact they wanted to do this for me. I'm looking forward to it. I really am."

The final indelible image of Burrell at the end of his Phillies career was riding the Budweiser wagon at the head of the championship parade with his dog, Elvis, sitting next to him.

"That was the top," Burrell said. "[Club president David Montgomery] asked me to ride with the Clydesdales, and of course I said yes. But I didn't understand that I was going to be the first guy to turn onto Broad Street. And that was incredible -- to look up and see all the people hanging out of the buildings. I just couldn't imagine.

"It's funny, because Mike Schmidt and some of those guys from the 1980 [World Series championship] team always said the best part of it was the parade. And I was thinking, 'How could that be better than the actual moment of winning the whole thing?' But it is."

Burrell was the team's longest-tenured player at the time. And his seventh-inning double in Game 5 (Part II) turned into the winning run, as the Phils clinched the second World Series championship in franchise history.

There's more, of course, much more.

"I remember getting there as a young player and the teams not being very good. We were short in a lot of areas," Burrell said. "And then to watch it grow to what it us now and where we finished up when I was there, we went through everything -- the good, the bad. And fortunately for me, we ended on a really good note. All the players and the fans and the organization and all the people I got to know throughout the years, playing at the Vet -- the whole experience was just so much fun."

Burrell spent the final three years of his career with the Rays and Giants, winning another World Series with San Francisco in 2010.
He's been rehabbing since February 16 surgery. Not on his foot -- on his left shoulder.

"There's nothing I can do for my foot. That's why I had to stop playing," Burrell said. "I was playing a lot of golf and my shoulder kept bothering me. Finally I decided I might as well just go get an MRI. And the doctor goes, 'What did you do to your [left] shoulder?' I said, 'I didn't do anything.'

"And he said, 'Your labrum is completely torn and your rotator cuff is a mess.' He was convinced I separated my shoulder at one point. I told him I played every day and never had a problem. I told him I'd had some problems with my neck over the years and he said, 'This is probably why.'"

Burrell is staying in baseball. He now works as an assistant to Giants general manager Brian Sabean and as a special assignment scout.

"Just kind of getting a different perspective on the game, evaluating," Burrell said. "Kind of transitioning and learning the other side, which I've enjoyed. It's been great."

One of the players Burrell talked to about what to expect in his new role was former Phillies third baseman Dave Hollins, who is now a scout for Philadelphia.

"I'm not sure where it will lead," Burrell said. "I'm open-minded about it. At some point, I'd imagine being back on the field in some capacity. I just don't know what that's going to be. We're going to play it by ear."

When Burrell goes to a game, he carries a binder to keep his notes. And when he opens it up, tucked inside a transparent protective cover, is the VUK patch that Flannery gave him, a constant reminder of his time with the Phils.

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