15 May 2011

Photo of the Week - Jimmy Graham Works out in the Offseason

Jimmy Graham (left) and Jo-Lonn Dunbar workout on their own during the lockout.

Click here to order Jimmy Graham’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Check out WQAM's interviews with proCanes This Week

Gaby Sanchez and recent College Football Hall of Fame Inductee Russell Maryland were guests on WQAM this week. Click here to listen to the interviews.

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Santana Moss Signing at All Canes!

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Jury believes Panthers' Beason: He didn't hit accuser

After a nine-day trial that offered a glimpse inside the life of a professional athlete, a Mecklenburg jury on Thursday found Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason did not assault a patron at a Charlotte strip club in November 2009.

Jurors in the civil lawsuit trial vindicated Beason, who testified that while he wanted - and tried - to punch Gregory Frye, he didn't hit him.

The jury of eight women and four men also found that Frye had slandered Beason when he told people that he'd seen Beason using cocaine at a lake party. The jury awarded the prominent NFL player $1 in damages - which is all Beason said he wanted.

Beason, 26, and Frye, 30, appeared stoic as the verdicts were announced.

After the jury was excused, Beason stood up and hugged his attorneys and his mother, Terry Beason, who wiped away tears as she left the courtroom.

"It was never about the money," Jon Beason told reporters after the verdict. "It was just about justice, and I'm glad I got that today."

The trial featured testimony from the strip club manager, pro football players, Beason's personal chef - and a snapshot of their lifestyles and partying.

Jurors, who deliberated for five hours, declined to discuss what evidence - or lack thereof - weighed heaviest in their decision.

But George Laughrun, one of Beason's attorneys, told the Observer: "This case was about credibility and believability. Who would the jury believe - Jon or Greg? They believed Jon.

"I really believed in Jon from the first time I met him. He was so sincere. He wasn't interested in settling... He said whatever it takes to clear his name, he wanted to do."

Beason told the Observer he thinks the verdict clears his name. "I can walk around with my head up and feel good about it."

Frye left the courthouse escorted by deputies and refused to talk to reporters. But he spoke to the Observer in an interview Thursday night.

"Unfortunately, the jurors never got to see the missing video surveillance footage from the Uptown Cabaret," Frye said. "If they had, obviously the verdict would have been different."

The Uptown Cabaret's general manager testified last week that surveillance cameras malfunctioned and there was no video of the confrontation between Beason and Frye.

Frye's attorney, Curtis Osborne, said he remains "absolutely" convinced Beason hit Frye: "And I think Mr. Beason knows that he did it. That's between him and God right now."

Frye, an unemployed insurance and fitness center worker, who acknowledged in court he carries a phony NFL player's card, sued Beason for what he called Beason's "crushing" blow to his face.

Frye told jurors Beason knocked him down with one punch at the Uptown Cabaret, then hit him again when he got up. One witness, an acquaintance of Frye's, testified that he had seen the attack. But Beason's friends told jurors they had stopped Beason's punch.

The confrontation came after Frye told another Panthers player that he had seen Beason using cocaine on a boat at a party on Lake Norman. He said he suffered a crushed nasal cavity, and a doctor testified that his injury was consistent with a blow from a fist.

But Beason told jurors he never hit Frye. He also said he never used cocaine, an allegation Beason described after the verdict as "the toughest part for me."

"When you die, that's all you leave is your name," he said. "And how you conduct yourself usually determines what follows after that name. For me, I would never want to be associated with something like that."

About the ordeal, Beason said: "I think I'm more mature because of it."

As for Frye, Beason said, "Hopefully, he'll learn a lesson here too. I wish him well. And that's probably all I'd want to say."

Asked if he thought Frye was after his money, Beason replied: "It was about a check."

Beason's mother said it was hard to hear about Frye's accusations. "I couldn't believe it," she said, crying. "He's the perfect son. I just couldn't believe it."

Terry Beason said she is proud of her son. "He stood up for what he believed in."

Asked if she thought he'd win the case, she said: "I believe in the justice system, and God always is true to his word. So right is right, and wrong is wrong."

Beason had been charged with assault after Frye persuaded a magistrate to issue an arrest warrant. But prosecutors quickly dismissed the charge. An investigator testified there weren't witnesses and that Frye lacked credibility.

A manager at the Uptown Cabaret also questioned Frye's integrity, testifying that he'd caused problems at the club in the past.

But attorney Osborne pointed out Thursday that Frye went to the strip club that night and ended up bloody with broken bones in his face. "So if Mr. Beason didn't do it, who did?"

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Michael Irvin To Work With Current Hurricane Receiver

Though the University of Miami would not allow Tommy Streeter to work with Mark Duper because of NCAA concerns, Streeter will accept Michael Irvin’s offer to work with him (and potentially Travis Benjamin), Streeter’s father said.

Click here to order Michael Irvin’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Appeals court says Sean Taylor trial won't be open

In the name of censorship (apparently), a Florida appellate court has denied an appeal from three media outlets to open the murder trial of former Redskins CB Sean Taylor.

A Miami-Dade circuit judge ruled last month that the trial would not be open to the media and the public because he worried that the four defendants accused of killing Taylor would not receive a fair trial otherwise.

The Miami Herald – along with the Washington Post and Miami’s WPLG Channel 10 – appealed that decision, but the three-judge appellate court denied it and didn’t issue a written opinion (see, the court is even censoring ITSELF!!!).

“I am shocked,” Karen Williams Kammer, the attorney representing the TV station, told the Washington Post. “In my 24 years practicing in this area in South Florida, aside from hearings involving children in child custody cases, I have never seen a judge close a hearing, especially when there has been no evidence presented by those wanting it closed to justify its being closed… For that reason, I find this very disappointing.”

As the Post points out, the media outlets could continue their appeal – either with the entire 10-member appellate court or with the Florida supreme court. Hopefully, they will, and hopefully, the district court’s decision will be overturned.

We, the public, have a right to know what is happening.

Click here to order Sean Taylor’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Steve Breaston Presents Calais Campbell Vs Hurdles

On Tuesday night, Arizona Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston questioned whether or not he should put up a video of Calais Campbell showing his jumping ability. Well, the video is now up and you can see it after the jump. As some of you may know, Breaston is also known as Stevie Phantom or S. Phantom. In addition to football, he writes poetry and is now delving into video producing. You can catch his YouTube channel (S.Phantom TV) for some of his other videos.

So here's the background. 

Campbell, who is quite tall at 6-8, has made the claim to his teammates that if he trained for a year he could play in the NBA and be dunking all over. He says that when he was 265 pounds he had a 38 inch vertical leap. He now weighs in at about 305. 
Breaston catches Campbell on video doing some of the training work he would need to do to make it to the NBA and adds some other interviews, including Adrian Wilson claiming that CC has "no game." Wilson is a bit of a YouTube sensation himself for this video when he jumped over a bar 66 inches high. 

Click here to order Calais Campbell’s proCane Rookie Card.

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John Beck Hostin Leonard Hankerson

“Have you guys had Leonard Hankerson on the show yet?” Beck asked Arrington at one point. “You know what, I like this guy. Here, I’ll let you guys talk to him.”

“Alright, that’s pretty interesting,” Arrington said. “How cool is that? Dude, what are you doin?”

“Uh, just out here working out in Cali,” the rookie wide receiver said upon catching the phone from Beck. ”Working out with John Beck, going over some of the plays, getting them down, so I can, whenever it’s time, go in and be ready and not be far behind with this lockout....It’s very exciting right now that I’m with John Beck and he’s going over the plays, teaching me and stuff like that. And it feels real good to be out here with him.”

Then Dukes asked if Beck seemed like an NFL starter.

“Oh yeah, he seems like it already,” Hankerson said. “Getting me out here, going over the plays, going over everything, getting to the field, working out together and doing all that type of stuff that a leader do. That’s what it feels like....That’s what leaders, that’s what quarterbacks do.”
Beck then came back on and explained that Hankerson was coming to California anyhow.

“I said hey as long as you’re making this big long trip and I’m out here, let’s just try to get together, sit down a little bit and I can introduce you to the plays,” the quarterback and media heartthrob said. “I really just tried to help him out and say, hey, let me introduce you to what it is we do offensively.”

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Santana Moss Signing at All Canes!

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Jason Fox eager to compete for starting job

BIRMINGHAM - Offensive tackle Jason Fox heard the draft rumors and tried to ignore them. Fox, a fourth-round draft pick last year out of the University of Miami, heard the rumblings that the Detroit Lions might select an offensive tackle in the first round.

"I try not to listen to that stuff, but you hear it,'' Fox said. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't hear that stuff. But they didn't draft a first-round tackle so I guess there's nothing worth talking about.''

One of the reasons there was talk about the Lions possibly taking a tackle is because of the possibly unsettled situation at that position. The Lions could either be set at that spot or have great upheaval - or anything in-between.

Left tackle Jeff Backus is coming off one of his best seasons, but he's on the final year of his contract and if he's allowed to hit free agency, he's going to get some offers. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus is coming off microfracture knee surgery which means there is a degree of uncertainty in his ability to fully recover. It's possible Backus will get re-signed and Cherilus will be just fine. It's also possible the Lions might need Fox to enter the picture.

"We've got a lot of great players on the offensive line and last year was a great learning experience for me. Guys like Jeff taught me a lot of things and now that I'm healthy, I expect to compete for a starting job,'' Fox said.

Fox wasn't competing for anything during his rookie season because a knee injury that had bothered him for his entire senior year continued to limit him. Fox didn't participate in Miami's bowl game because he had surgery on the knee, a move that he had hoped would ensure that he'd be healthy for his first NFL training camp.

"It lingered all last year. It never was 100 percent healthy,'' Fox said. "Now that I've crossed over that hump and I'm healthy again, it's a great feeling.''

Fox is taking part in the Lions' player-organized workouts at Birmingham Detroit Country Day. The Lions, who had 32 players participating today, will finish the four-day session Thursday. If the lockout continues into June, the Lions are expected to have another player-organized workout early that month.

Because he was missing development time during last year, Fox really wasn't a factor in possibly replacing the injurd Cherilus late in the season. That job went to Corey Hilliard.

"As an athlete, you always want to play. I'm a team guy and I'm going to root for whoever's out there, but at the same time, I never missed a game in college until the knee injury,'' Fox said. "I'm just a super competitive guy who wants to be out there helping his team. Last year's in the past and this is a brand new year.''

Fox said he's ready to do whatever is necessary to help the team, whether that's at left tackle, right tackle or even moving inside. The problem for Fox is that because of the current nine-week lockout, the Lions' coaching staff hasn't seen him in awhile.

"I think they're ready to see me 100 percent healthy, too,'' Fox said. "That's another reason I'm excited to get back. I want to prove what I can do and let them see me 100 percent healthy.''

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Jury deliberates Jon Beason civil case

A Mecklenburg jury deliberated about two hours Wednesday without reaching a verdict on whether Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason assaulted a patron at a Charlotte strip club in November 2009.

The jurors - eight women and four men - will resume their deliberations today. If the jurors decide that Beason assaulted Gregory Frye at the Uptown Cabaret, they must then decide if the victim is entitled to recover money for his injuries and if Beason also must pay punitive damages.
The jurors are also considering whether Frye slandered the NFL football player.

After deliberating an hour, the jurors sent a note to the judge asking to see the layout of the strip club and the x-ray of Frye's skull, the doctor's report and the medical records. Superior Court Judge Lane Williamson did not allow the jurors to see the evidence after one of Beason's attorneys objected.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Beason's attorney told the jurors that Frye had targeted the football player in an attempt to win money, but Frye's attorney told the jurors they should hold the celebrity athlete accountable.

Frye, in a civil lawsuit, accused Beason of knocking him down with a punch, then hitting him again when he got up. The confrontation came after Frye told another Panthers player that he had seen Beason using cocaine months earlier at a party on Lake Norman.

Beason has denied the attack and the drug use.

Carlos Watson, one of Frye's attorneys, told the jury that Beason struck Frye "in a fit of rage."

"He knocked a hole in his face," he said.

Curtis Osborne, another of Frye's attorneys, told jurors his client had done nothing to provoke the assault, which left Frye with a crushed nasal cavity.

Osborne called Beason's conduct "reprehensible."

"He's a walking weapon," Osborne said.

Osborne told the jurors they have the power to hold Beason accountable.

"This is Mr. Frye's last and only opportunity for justice...," he said. "You have to send a message, that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

Beason's attorney, George Laughrun, told jurors that Frye had targeted the Panthers linebacker for a payday.

"They don't want justice," Laughrun said. "They want money."

Laughrun said Frye obtained an arrest warrant charging Beason with assault. Prosecutors quickly dismissed the charge, saying there wasn't enough evidence.

"He did it to pressure Jon to write a check," Laughrun said.

Laughrun said Beason has been "tarnished by falsehoods" but isn't seeking monetary compensation.

As he rapped up his closing argument, Laughrun held up a $1 bill in front of the jurors.

"This is what he wants," Laughrun said. "He wants to try to rebuild his good name."

Beason told the jury Tuesday he wanted to hit Frye, but that he did not punch him. He said he was the angriest he's been in his life when he heard that Frye was telling people that he saw him snorting cocaine.

Beason admitted that he tried to punch Frye, but was stopped by friends.

"There's no way I hit him," he said.

Beason, 26, a three-time Pro Bowler in his first four seasons, testified that he has never used illegal drugs or failed a drug test in college or the NFL. "I never even smoked a cigarette," he told jurors.

Frye, 30, testified last week that Beason was "enraged" during their confrontation. "He pummeled me down...," he said. "It was real quick. I've never seen anyone move that fast."

Frye told the jurors that he's been threatened and harassed since the confrontation with Beason. He said even his friends have "steered clear" of him.

"I've been ostracized from the city of Charlotte," he said. "It's ruined my reputation."

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Jemile Weeks visits with Sacramento River Cats

Sounds fans who miss the days when current Brewers star Rickie Weeks was manning second base in Nashville have gotten the next best thing lately.

Jemile Weeks, Rickie's younger brother, also plays second base, bats leadoff and fashions his hair similarly with dreadlocks.

The prized Oakland Athletics prospect, making his Greer Stadium debut with the Sacramento River Rats this week, appears on his way to a promising career. He holds a .313 average even after going 0-for-5 in the River Cats' 3-2 win over the Sounds on Monday night.

Jemile said his brother's success at the same position seems only to boost his own confidence.

Rickie led all major league leadoff hitters with 29 home runs last season and started the 2005 season in Nashville as the Brewers' top prospect. He was promoted to Milwaukee in June.

"I think it's more of an inspiration for me. It's not weird at all," Jemile said. "It's showing if he can do it, I'm coming from the same type of atmosphere, being a first-round pick and playing second base, so it shows that those things are attainable for me, also."

Four years younger than Rickie and nearly 50 pounds lighter, Jemile said his approach at the plate is different from his brother's.

"I pretty much try to use all fields when I can. He's going to play his game, which is a power game. My game is a little mix of everything with some speed involved."

He gets regular baseball advice from Rickie, but equally important, Jemile said, he can take the credit for steering his brother to wearing the dreads he is now known for.

"I actually started this in college and then I cut my hair," he said. "Then he started his so I came back around and started mine after him again."

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Chris Perez Throws Ball Over Center Field Fence

What will Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez do the next time he blows a save if this is how he feels about giving up a run during a 7-3 victory?  Maybe we should just assume that Perez was embarrassed to give up a run Tuesday night to a team the Indians beat 19-1 on Monday.  Yeah, we’ll go with that.

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Chris Perez Showed Some Rust

Chris Perez pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation Tuesday because he needed some work. Because of rainouts Saturday and Sunday, Perez, like many Indians relievers, had a lengthy rest. Perez's appearance Tuesday was his first since May 10, and the rust showed. He needed 28 pitches to get three outs, giving up a run on one hit and two walks.

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Jon Jay is outfield's anchor

By the time the game was done Wednesday night, Jon Jay was the old hand in the Cardinals' outfield.

Allen Craig, the game's starting second baseman, had replaced Matt Holliday in left field, and Tyler Greene, better known as an infielder, had replaced Lance Berkman in right field. Which left the 26-year-old Jay, making just his fifth start of the season in center, as the most experienced guy out there.

"It was a little different, but everyone got the job done," he said. "Those guys are good athletes. They can make plays, too, but you're always conscious (about their experience) and I just tried to put them in a better position, making sure they're playing guys the right way. Craig's a good athlete and Greene's a great athlete; you've got those two guys who can hold their own out there."

Jay "was the anchor," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a good ballplayer. He really understands the game."

For an anchor, Jay also helped lift the Cardinals to a 5-1 win over the Astros at Busch Stadium. He went two for four, driving in two runs, and had the defensive play of the game in the seventh, racing to his right and making a diving catch on a shot by Houston's Clint Barmes that he turned into an inning-ending, 8-6-3 double play that held the Astros to one run in the inning.

"Who knows if that ball's not caught in left center what that inning becomes and what happens," La Russa said. "That's the key play defensively."
"It's a ball that could possibly get down for a run and he turns it into two (outs)," starting pitcher Kyle Lohse said. "He always seems like he's getting good jumps out there and does a great job no matter what position you put him in out there."

Jay has spent most of his outfield time in the corners, particularly right field, where he's been the fill-in when Berkman needs a day off. Wednesday was his fourth straight start in center while Colby Rasmus recovers from an abdominal strain. Rasmus appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, and La Russa said he might be able to be back in the starting lineup today or Friday in Kansas City, but that may not send Jay back to the bench. The injuries to Holliday and Berkman may keep one or both of them on the bench for today's series finale with Houston.
Rasmus' absence hasn't been serious, thanks to Jay, who has come through at the plate and in the field. He's got a team-high five-game hitting streak — he's had seven hits in his past 15 at-bats — and has hit safely in nine of the 11 games he's started this season. He's hitting .322 for the season.

"It definitely helps when you get to see pitches every day and know you can make adjustments," Jay said. "I'm just trying to roll with it and see what happens tomorrow."

Berkman's unexpected durability and the play of Holliday — who hasn't missed a game since his appendectomy — and Rasmus have limited Jay's chances at the plate. He's appeared in 42 of the Cardinals' 44 games but has come to the plate just 59 times. Wednesday's start was his 11th of the season.

"It's been fine," he said. "The days I don't start I try to go in the weight room, get some extra swings in the cage and stay ready every day so when my name's called I don't embarrass myself out there. ... I'm playing the mental games and not worrying about when my last start was or when my last at-bat was."

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Aubrey Huff willing to play 3rd

It's so crazy, it just might work. Why not move Aubrey Huff to third base and recall Brandon Belt to play first?

The idea supposedly came up as a way to ignite the offense, and might gain more traction following a serious reinjury of Mark DeRosa's wrist Wednesday night. The staff has not broached the subject with Huff, which means it cannot happen right away because Huff has not taken any grounders at third.

He has started 344 major-league games at third, most recently in 2008 with Baltimore. He is open to the idea and said he would need about a week of practice.

"The fielding part is easy," Huff said. "It's the throwing. I've got to get used to throwing again, because I don't throw at first base. I went to the outfield last year. I made a lot of throws and my arm was getting a little 'eeeech.' Once I get the arm going, that's the thing."

Huff said he has not been asked by the Giants to be ready to play third base.

Huff has played 361 games at third in the majors and came up through the minors primarily as a third baseman, but he hasn't played there since 2008. He said that, if needed, he could get ready to play there with a week's worth of work, with the throwing being the biggest obstacle. The Giants aren't pleased with their third base play since Pablo Sandoval got hurt, so we can't rule out them giving Huff a shot there at some point.

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Devin Hester likely would be a top pick in "re-draft"

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears spent second-round picks on Devin Hester and Matt Forte in 2006 and 2008, respectively. But both players would be chosen a lot higher if those drafts were conducted again today.

At least that’s the belief of ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly, who projects that Hester would be selected eighth overall in a “re-draft,” a leap of 49 spots from where he actually was picked at No. 57. Reilly thinks that Forte would go 13th, a jump of 31 slots from where he was chosen at No. 44.Hester owns the all-time NFL record with 14 kick return touchdowns. He set the single-season mark with five as a rookie, and then eclipsed it with six in his second year.

Last season Hester was named All-Pro for the third time after leading the NFL in punt returns with a career-high and Bears record 17.1-yard average and three TDs. He also topped the NFL in kickoff returns with a 35.6-yard average, but his 12 returns were too few to officially qualify.

While Reilly feels that Hester and Forte would be selected higher in a re-draft than they actually were, the ESPN writer thinks that tight end Greg Olsen and offensive lineman Chris Williams would be chosen lower.

Reilly projects that Olsen would be selected 45th, a drop of 14 spots from where he was picked in 2007 at No. 31; and Williams would be chosen 181st, a fall of 167 slots from where he was chosen in 2008 at No. 14.

Click here to order Devin Hester’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Nate Webster Was The Best Player Chad Ochocinco Played Against

Chad Ochocinco was asked on twitter who the best athlete he played against in high school was and he responded below:

Nate Webster= Northwestern BullsRT @LuDaGreat: @ochocinco Who was the best athlete you played against in high school at Miami Beach High.

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Graig Cooper A Top Undrafted Free Agent Prospect

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami: Playing through his recovery for a torn ACL, Cooper was a shadow of his former self last season. Cooper, who had led Miami in rushing the three previous seasons, dropped to only 165 yards and one touchdown in 2010. The elusiveness and burst that he had demonstrated previously was coming back, however, as evidenced by Cooper's strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game and the fact that he ran the fastest 3-cone time of all running backs tested at the Combine (6.66 seconds). Poor medical grades pushed Cooper out of the draft, but don't be surprised if a team willing to take a gamble is paid back handsomely for their investment.

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Russell Maryland voted to College Football Hall of fame

Add another Miami Hurricane to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Former Hurricanes defense tackle Russell Maryland undoubtedly had one of the thrills of his life Tuesday morning when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and then got to officially open the NASDAQ stock market in Times Square.

Maryland, 42, won national titles with UM in 1987 and 1989. He was the first UM player to win the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman in 1990. That year he had 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He was a consensus All-American and finished his career with 279 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. He was then drafted first overall by former UM coach Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys.

Johnson, who went to Arkansas, was one of nine coaches nominated this year for the College Football Hall of Fame. But Johnson was not elected to the Hall.

I talked to Maryland this morning, shortly after he helped open the stock market. It was pretty funny, actually, because they were about to interview Maryland before the stock-market opening, and some lady rushed up to the podium and told them they HAD to open the market on time. They were running way late, so nobody got interviewed live on the web, and Maryland, along with fellow new Hall members Lloyd Carr (former Michigan coach) and former Alabama DT Marty Lyons rang the bell (actually it was pushing a button) together.

"They open the stock market at 9:30,'' Maryland said. "They can't be listening to me talking about my old Miami days and then stand there waiting on the floor for me to stop talking to conduct business.''

Maryland said the whole experience has been very exciting. He wore a dark green (of course) suit and pumped his fist when he opened NASDAQ trading. He said he first learned the news recently when he was contacted by phone by National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame president and CEO Steve Hatchell.

"He said, 'You know, you have to keep this under wraps,''' Maryland said of Hatchell. "But when he first contacted me I thought it was [former UM DT great] Cortez Kennedy or somebody close playing a trick on me. I was like, 'Come on Now!' I didn't even know I was nominated until Cortez called me when the nominations came out in March.

He said, 'Go to the website.' And the website has hundred and hundreds of names of guys who are great players. And I'm like, 'I can't believe this.' I see my name in the midst of them and I'm like, 'OK, I probably won't go in this year but there's always hope.''' 

The National Football Foundation on March 7 announced the names of the 79 players (and the nine coaches) from the Football Bowl Subdivision who were nominated for induction.

Maryland played defensive tackle in the NFL with Dallas, the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers for 10 seasons.

The other UM players in the College Football Hall of Fame are quarterback Gino Torretta, running back Don Bosseler, defensive end Ted Hendricks and safety Bennie Blades. Former UM coaches Jack Harding and Andy Gustafson are also in the Hall.”
"When Steve Hatchell called me a couple days ago and said, 'We want you to come to New York,' I was like, 'Man, this is probably real -- actually surreal.' It's an honor and a blessing to be named among the cream of the crop of college football athletes."

For all you Canes fans who haven't kept up lately with Maryland's whereabouts, he now lives in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He was formerly a salesman for an electronics company in Dallas, but he's currently not working. His aspiration is to work in an official role with NFL or college athletes ("Maybe even high school athletes,'' he said) to help mentor athletes -- counsel them. Russell earned his degree in psychology from the University of Miami.

Russell, who grew up in Chicago, is married to Rose, a Miami Edison High alum, and has three children: 14-year-old daughter Kyra, 11-year-old daughter Iris, and 6-year-old son Russell Jr.

Click here to order Russell Maryland’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Santana Moss Signing at All Canes!

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Colin McCarthy Praised For His Motor

Colin McCarthy is an intense, instinctive overachiever with a nose for the ball. He lacks great size, has very short arms and has had some injury problems but when he is on the field he is always full throttle.

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Jon Beason testifies in court about his part in alleged bar attack

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The fifth day of the trial of a Carolina Panthers player accused of physically assaulting a man at a strip club in Charlotte two years ago got underway Tuesday with the accused taking the stand.

Gregory Frye is suing Jon Beason, a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. Frye alleges that Beason punched him at the Uptown Cabaret near center city in November 2009 and that the assault crushed Frye's nasal cavity.

Beason is counter-suing Frye for only $1. It is not clear how much money Frye is seeking.

Beason testified in court Tuesday morning. He said several people at the club told him Frye was spreading rumors at the club by saying Beason had used cocaine at a party. Beason says he's never done cocaine.

"I was so blown away by the accusations that I couldn't control myself and at that time I attempted to take a swing at Mr. Frye," said Beason.

Beason said he couldn't believe it and got angry. When he confronted Frye, Beason says he took a swing, but missed.

Beason later got a little choked up when he talked about his arrest, and when his mug shot was taken.

During cross examination, Frye's attorneys set out to prove the professional athlete could pack a powerful punch.

They presented a picture of Beason lifting a woman on each arm during a party.

"Though you're strong enough to hold a lady in each arm who are both arguably bigger than Joey Simmons, you're saying that Joey Simmons had the strength to stop your arm in mid swing?," asked Frye's attorney.

"Yes, that's what I'm saying," replied Beason.

An officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who filed the report after the alleged assault testified in court Monday morning. The cop said Frye claimed that Beason punched him.

The officer also said Beason's friend, Joseph Simmons, said Beason attempted to punch Frye, but missed. Simmons told the detective he then told Beason to leave the club.  

Also on Monday, Beason's former high school coach, Tim Lester, testified in court. Lester was at the Uptown Cabaret on November 15, 2009. If Beason punched Frye, Lester says he didn't know about it.

"That could've never happened, never been done by Jon," said Lester.

Lester says he was shocked when he heard Frye was spreading rumors.

Last week, Frye testified in court that he saw Beason using cocaine at a party during the summer of 2009 and that's what led him to confront Frye.

"That kind of upset me," said Lester, "I know Jon, and I know he would never do cocaine."

Lester says he left with Beason that night, but he says he and Beason never talked about the incident.

The defense called several witnesses to the stand on Monday in an effort to discredit Frye's claims.

Several CMPD officers who responded to the incident said that Frye smelled of alcohol and lied to them about being a Carolina Panthers player.
Last Thursday, Frye testified that Beason punched him in the face.

"I felt the reason he assaulted me was because in June 2009, I witnessed Jon Beason do cocaine through a straw with a female," Frye said.
On Friday, Frye's attorney showed pictures to the jurors of his client's bloody face following the attack.

Carolina Panthers player Dante Rosario testified on Friday. Rosario said he saw Frye on November 15, 2009, at the Strike City bowling alley at the Epicentre in uptown Charlotte and later saw Frye at a VIP room at the Uptown Cabaret.

Rosario said Frye approached him in the club and pointed to Beason, saying, "Hey, that guy over there, he's a teammate of yours, I saw him doing cocaine out at Lake Norman in the summer."

Rosario was surprised by the accusation and immediately told Beason what Frye said.

"It was unbelievable to him (Beason), that someone he didn't know was talking about him," Rosario told the court.

Rosario said Beason went to the front bar area and confronted Frye about the accusation.

Rosario said he wasn't sure wasn't sure what happened next. When he walked outside the club, he saw Frye holding a bloody napkin over his face.

"He (Beason) said that someone hit Mr. Frye," Rosario said on the stand.

Beason's friend and private chef Joseph Simmons, also testified Friday. He claims he saw Beason confront Frye and pulled him away, but he never saw him throw a punch.

Beason denied ever doing drugs. He's suing for malicious prosecution, slander and damages.

Frye is suing for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and damages.

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Jeremy Shockey, Team USA place fourth in Scottish adventure race

While some NFL players have gathered for workouts with their teammates during the lockout, Carolina Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey took his training to a different level.

Shockey and three endurance race veterans from Texas took fourth place in the 2011 Drambuie Pursuit, an outdoor adventure race across the wild terrain of the Scottish Highlands that concluded Sunday, The Miami Herald reported .

The two-time Super Bowl champion and teammates Steven Fonrigrnao, Jeff Odell and Shane Duffy comprised Team USA in the three-day, 100-mile event, which included rounds of archery, rock climbing, white water rafting, downhill mountain biking, kayaking and buggy racing.

"This was one of the most challenging, exciting and physically demanding experiences of my entire life, and coming from a professional football player, that says a lot," Shockey said. "I'm proud of the way Team USA competed, and while it would have been nice to come away with a victory, I'm glad I was able to participate in this historical tradition. It was also a great way to spend the offseason."

A team from the Netherlands won the event, in which teams race across the Scottish Highlands between Inverness and the Isle of Skye, in celebration of Bonnie Prince Charlie's legendary escape from the British government forces after a failed attempt to regain the throne. In gratitude for his loyalists' help in escaping, the prince passed on the top secret recipe for his personal elixir, which became Drambuie.

As part of his participation in the 2011 Pursuit, Shockey has pledged to make a donation to former New Orleans Saints teammate Heath Evans' foundation, which is dedicated to fostering hope and healing in the lives of children and families affected by sexual abuse.

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Pat Burrell knocks in two runs

Starting against a right-hander for the first time since May 1, Pat Burrell went 2-for-4 with a two-run double Tuesday against the Rockies.

Burrell drew the start against Ubaldo Jimenez and drove in two-thirds of the Giants' runs on the day to make his case for additional playing time. He had been limited to starting versus southpaws of late.

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Cubs Recall Left-Handed Pitcher Scott Maine

The Chicago Cubs today selected the contract of outfielder Tony Campana and recalled left-handed pitcher Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa. In corresponding roster moves, the club optioned outfielder Tyler Colvin and right-handed pitcher Marcos Mateo to Triple-A.

Campana joins the first major league roster of his career and will wear uniform number 41. Maine will wear uniform number 57. Both players will be available for tonight's game in Cincinnati.

Maine, 26, made his big league debut with the Cubs last season and posted no record and a 2.08 ERA (3 ER/13.0 IP) in 13 major league relief outings. He held the opponent scoreless in nine of his 13 outings, stranded all seven inherited runners and held the opponent hitless with runners in scoring position (0-for-9). Overall, Maine limited opponents to a .188 batting average (9-for-48).

The southpaw is 2-1 with seven saves and a 2.84 ERA (6 ER/19.0 IP) in 14 relief outings with Iowa this season. He has struck out 21 batters and walked only eight in 19.0 innings pitched, limiting foes to a .229 batting average. Maine was acquired by the Cubs on November 19, 2009 for right-handed pitcher Aaron Heilman.

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Eric Winston: No telling how long lockout will last

Reactions from players are pouring in after Monday’s ruling in favor of the owners from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and it’s no surprise that the players aren’t happy about it.

One player, Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston, says the fans shouldn’t be happy about it, either.

“It’s every player’s fear and should be the fans’ fear, too, because if the judges rule in favor of the owners, there’s no telling how long the lockout will last,” Winston told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m not surprised by this decision, but I hope it’s not a preview of what’s coming down the pike.”

What won’t be coming down the pike any time soon are organized team activities, and that has one of Winston’s teammates, tight end Joel Dreessen, disappointed.

“I’m one of those players who enjoys OTAs,” Dreessen said. “I think they’re kind of fun. You get to be with your teammates, and you start to build that competitiveness we need for the season.”

Clearly Dreessen hasn’t been talking to Stevie Johnson.

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Santana Moss Signing at All Canes!

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Jeremy Shockey seeks out his roots

Jeremy Shockey grunts and snarls a bit when he hears the first results.

"Third place?" he asks when he's told how his team fared in the first leg of the Drambuie Pursuit 2011 race through the Scottish Highlands, "that's not good. We have to come stronger tomorrow."

Shockey -- and if you know anything about the tight end, then you're aware that archery isn't exactly his sport -- is as competitive off the gridiron as he is on it. In the wake of the NFL lockout, the Super Bowl champ signed up to lead Team USA through the 100-mile race that retraces the journey of Bonnie Prince Charlie across Scotland as he escaped British government forces in 1745. The race included a number of competitions, like white-water rafting, kayaking (Shockey capsized a couple of times), mountain climbing (he sat that one out considering that he doesn't have health insurance right now) and dune buggy racing. In addition to leading the team, Shockey forked over $10,000 to benefit the the Heath Evans Foundation, as part of his participation.

Legend has it that as a present for hiding him, Bonnie Prince Charlie left the only thing he had to his name -- the secret recipe for Drambuie, which to this day is still kept under lock and key.

Shockey can relate. He's doing a bit of escaping himself. Now that his recreation of the Highland Games are over -- Team Shockey finished fourth out of 10 teams (a team of young guns from the Netherlands repeated and won it all) -- he and his trainer T.J. Prunty are exploring Ireland to discover a bit about Shockey's roots.

"I'm Scotch-Irish. A lot of my family members have been over to this country and to Ireland and I had never been," he says after finishing driving his dune buggy over a gritty terrain course. "I've been working hard in this offseason, so ... I wanted to come over here, see Ireland and Scotland and see where my bloodline comes from and see relatives. And see if I can get my EU card."

He laughs about that last bit, but gets serious when talking about the lockout. When he finished the entire race with his team (teammates Steven Fonrigrnao, Jeff Odell and Shane Duffy -- all distance runners from Texas) he was met by a group of American football fans. Their favorite team is the Philadephia Eagles, but they came armed with Shockey jerseys, hoping to get him to sign them.

The young guys hoped that the lockout didn't delay the start of the NFL season -- they all play American football and say they have to drive hours in Scotland to find a group of kids to play competitively with them.

"This football lockout, to be honest with you, it's not very good for the business of our game. But a lot of people like myself and a lot of other smart people don't have offseason workout bonuses. The owners knew what they did when the CBA expired, when they signed the TV deal, so as players we wanna go back to work," Shockey said. "That's the whole point. We understand the fans are probably ... aggravated by hearing it all the time. I just want the fans to know that there will be a football season, but as far as the players taking an 18 percent pay cut and adding two games and the health insurance is not as what it should be in the most dangerous sport there is in the world? That's not gonna happen.

"We're just not doing this for us right now, we're doing this for older players that's played before us, we're doing this for players that play ahead of us. Right now it's the attorneys that's making all the money and that's a shame. We need to really get the players in one room, as Mike Vrabel said, and the owners in one room and get it solved, because the longer it waits, the worse it looks for free agency."

Shockey acknowledges that he lucked out, considering that he got released from the New Orleans Saints and signed to play this upcoming season with the Carolina Panthers right before the lockout.

"I'm ready to work with my new teammates. I got my playbook -- I studied it here in Scotland. I'm fortunate enough in that aspect, but a lot of guys aren't," he said. "It's a sad situation about the NFL and the lockout, but it is business and I'm sure both sides will be coming to an agreement. If not, I will have to stay here in Scotland and keep doing cool events like this all around my Scottish-Irish ancestors."

And as far as the Panthers go?

"I'm feeling great. I called it intriguing for a reason and I didn't really elaborate on that, because my tight end coach and my offensive coordinator in college, Rob Chudzinski, is there and he's the offensive coordinator. Cam Newton is gonna be a great addition. I'm very familiar with some of the guys on the team on defense -- University of Miami guys. So it's going to be fun," he says. "It's gonna be a challenge for me -- I've really never been in a place for more than a couple of years, besides New York, and I knew it was about time for me to leave New Orleans. I had done everything I wanted, to go back to the Super Bowl and did more by winning it and made some great friendships and gave the city a lot of hope. I'm going to bring experience to Carolina. The experience of winning. Everywhere I've went, it's proven fact. In college, high school, any team I've played for I've won a championship. So that's my next desire."

And while he's not counting on adding archery or white-water rafting to any of his training, he did pick something up in the Scottish Highlands that he wants to incorporate in his game.

"I did a favor for a person just not too long ago and he goes, 'I love you like a dog,'" Shockey says laughing. "So I'll be using that one. As we're leaving the field back home, I'll go: 'I love you ... like a dog.'"

Kelley L. Carter is a Los Angeles-based entertainment freelancer.

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Jon Beason's attorneys begin building case against Frye

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason is now on the offensive, starting his case against Greg Frye.

Frye claims Beason sucker punched him and damaged his face. Beason is countersuing and Monday, his attorneys put Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers on the stand.

Police testified Frye told them he played for the Panthers, which isn't true.

Sgt. Ricky Robbins has worked Panthers security part-time since the team's inception. Robbins testified Monday that he got a call to go to the Uptown Cabaret in November 2009 to investigate a potential assault involving two Panthers players.

Robbins testified that Frye insisted he was on the team.

"I asked him if he played. He said he did. And I told him then that I worked with the Carolinas Panthers and I wasn't familiar with his face or his name," Robbins said. "And he said that he didn't play then, that he had been on the practice squad. And I told him that I still wasn't familiar with him and he said, 'Maybe you don't know all the players.' I asked him how long ago he played. He said the last two or three years. I told him again that the name didn't sound familiar nor his face. And he said that he did, in fact, play for the Carolina Panthers."

Another officer who took Frye's statement after the punch says Frye was uncooperative and was more interested in talking to the media than telling police what happened.

"He continued to go across the street to there about five times. The statement took approximately 20 minutes to take. I'd get about a sentence or two and then he would walk across the street again," said Officer Justin Spindler.

Under cross-examination, police testified Frye's wounds were fresh, as if he'd just been hit.

We're still waiting to see if Frye's ex-girlfriend testifies. In investigative notes read by a police officer Monday, the ex-girlfriend claimed Frye wanted to get into an altercation with former Charlotte Bobcats player Raymond Felton so he could sue him.

Detective William Guild read the statement without the jury present.

"When she confronted him about this he would just say it was something to do. She met Raymond Felton in January or February of 2009 and they went out a few times. Frye called and harassed Felton on the phone. Frye told Ramirez that he was going to get Felton to hit him so he could sue him," Guild read.

Beason's attorneys say they're not sure if the judge will allow the jury to hear that statement.

Before wrapping their case, Frye's attorneys pointed out what they believe are inconsistencies in what Beason told police compared to his answers on his videotaped deposition. An officer also testified Frye never threatened Felton.

The trial will continue Tuesday. The judge in the case said the jury will likely get the case Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.

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Ex-detective: Jon Beason case not prosecutable

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detective who investigated the alleged November 2009 altercation between Carolina Panthers' player Jon Beason and another man at a strip club testified Monday that he found no reason to prosecute the case.

"The probable cause had evaporated," William Guild, now retired from CMPD, told jurors hearing a lawsuit filed by Gregory Frye against Beason.

Guild said a lack of witnesses and Frye's lack of credibility prevented the case from being pursued.

Frye is suing Beason, saying the Panthers player punched him in the head at the Uptown Cabaret, after Frye told another Panthers player that he had seen Beason snorting cocaine several months earlier at Lake Norman. Beason denies that he punched Frye or used drugs and is countersuing, saying his reputation was hurt by the charge.

Beason was arrested and charged with assault initially, but prosecutors dismissed the case less than two weeks later.

Guild's comments about the case were made Monday in front of the jury. Later, with the jury outside the courtroom, the former detective discussed an interview he conducted with Natalie Ramirez, a woman who at one time had dated Frye and later dated Raymond Felton, then a member of the Charlotte Bobcats' NBA team.

Guild said Monday that Ramirez told him Frye planned to find a way to get Felton, since traded to the New York Knicks, to hit him. Frye's plan was to sue Felton, Guild said Ramirez told him.

During testimony last week, Frye admitted making the comment about Beason's alleged drug use and said the Panthers' player was furious with him. He told jurors Beason knocked him down with a punch, then hit him again when he got up.

Dante Rosario, the Panthers player to whom Frye had made the remark about Beason, testified late last week that he never saw Beason take a swing at Frye. Rosario said Beason told him that he and Frye bumped chests after Beason confronted him about the cocaine allegation.

In a videotaped deposition played for jurors earlier in the civil trial, Beason said he tried to throw a punch at Frye, but a friend grabbed his arm.

Joe Simmons, a part-time Panthers equipment manager who also is Beason's personal chef, testified that he hooked Beason's arm and "told him to get the (expletive) out of here."

Beason is expected to testify later this week in the trial.

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Tim George Jr.: "Good On The Track and On Paper"

(TOLEDO, Ohio - May 16, 2011) - In finishing fourth in Sunday's Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway, Tim George Jr. achieved something he had not done since last July.

George's finish was his first top-five result since another fourth place at Mansfield Motorsports Park last summer; the two results are his best short track finishes. With a race at New Jersey Motorsports Park on the way for the New York, N.Y. native who has significant road course experience, momentum is trending upward for George (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet).

"I haven't had a top-five in a while," George said. "We've really been running strong, and to actually have the results is good. Now we look good on the track and on paper, so I'm happy.

"We'll go to a road course where it's my home track and hopefully we'll get a W in Jersey."

Next Sunday's ModSpace 150 comes three months earlier than it did in the 2010 season, when George led 19 of 67 laps and finished 11th after being bumped out of the lead by eventual winner Casey Roderick.

Following yesterday's race at Toledo, though, George had a different driver on his mind.

"I went to the Toledo Speedway Bar & Grille (Saturday) and ran into Hessert and told him I want to race nice and clean and put Salem behind us," George said. "Apparently, someone didn't have that idea. I was trying to keep off of him, but we got together, of course. We're like magnets. In every series, there are rivals, and I guess Hessert and I will take it to the road course."

Hessert is from Cherry Hill, N.J. and has improved over each of his three starts at New Jersey, finishing 19th in 2008, eighth in 2009, and fifth in 2010.

"What happened at Salem was over and done with," Hessert said. "I put it behind me. Yesterday at Toledo, what happened was that the leader (Kenzie Ruston) had an incident in front of us and the entire field stacked up. It just happened to be that I was behind Tim because that's where I started.

"There was no bad feeling or hard intentions. Tim recovered to have a good day and we got torn up and rode around the rest of the day. It wasn't like I ran into Tim. It just happened."

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In need of offense, A’s could turn to Jemile Weeks

Three years after being taken in the first round by the A’s out of the University of Miami, second baseman Jemile Weeks seems to be nearing the majors.  Rickie’s little brother is hitting a cool .327/.427/.482 with two homers, 14 RBI and six steals in 110 at-bats for Triple-A Sacramento.   A switch-hitter, he’s batting .324 against lefties and .329 versus righties.

The A’s weren’t expecting to need a replacement at second base this year after spending more than they likely needed to in picking up Mark Ellis‘ $6 million option for 2011.  Ellis, always a rock-solid performer when healthy, was coming off a fine .291/.358/.381 season in 2010.

Second basemen, though, do have a history of losing it early, and Ellis is a 33-year-old with a lengthy injury history (he’s played in 130 games just twice as a major leaguer).  His ugly .194/.221/.269 start in 134 at-bats this season might be more than just an extended slump.  And it’s not only the batting average: with no homers, six RBI and a measly four walks on the season, he’s done nothing at all to help the A’s offensively.

Ellis is still a fine defender and the A’s would be downgrading there if they went to Weeks, but it might be worth it to make the switch anyway.  Weeks doesn’t have his brother’s power, but he’s not punchless either and that he walks almost as much as he strikes out should give him a nice on-base percentage.

Considering that the A’s have actually slipped behind the Mariners in runs per game, leaving them only ahead of the Twins in the AL, they don’t have much to lose by giving Weeks a try.

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Ryan Braun's focus on strength paying off

Los Angeles - After his home-run production slipped a bit in 2010, Ryan Braun decided to focus specifically on that aspect of his game during intense off-season workouts.

To this point, it has been mission accomplished.

When play began Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers' all-star leftfielder sat atop the National League leader board with 12 home runs and ranked second to St. Louis' Lance Berkman with a .597 slugging percentage. Only a quarter into the season, Braun already was nearly halfway to his 2010 total of 25 home runs.

That total was down from 32 homers in 2009 and 37 in 2008, so Braun worked on improving his strength and power during sessions with workout partner Gabe Kapler, a former Brewers teammate.

"You always want to think that you're eventually rewarded for the work you put in," said Braun. "I feel like I worked harder than I ever had. And to this point of the season I feel like I'm reaping the benefits of that. So, it's a good thing."

Braun could tell in spring training that the ball was jumping off his bat more and carrying farther, and he was eager to see if that would continue during the regular season. Thus far, it has.

"I felt great but you never know how it's going to necessarily apply in terms of baseball," he said. "Taking BP, I felt great. But you never know how it's going to apply to the game itself until you begin competing.

"It's definitely nice to see that it is applying, but it's still early in the season. The goal is to be successful over the long haul. But there's a definite difference."

Braun has been ultrasuccessful offensively as a major-leaguer but felt he could be even better if he focused on one specific area of his game over the winter.

"Every off-season, the goal is to get better," said Braun, who also ranked among the league leaders with 33 runs batted in. "I think one of the hardest things to do is honestly assess what you need to get better at when you've had success. I definitely feel like I have been successful. At times I've been too hard on myself.

"At the same time, I try to honestly assess where I'm at. I definitely was not satisfied. I felt like for me to get better, I needed to get bigger, I needed to get stronger, I needed to get more explosive.

"Those are the things I focused on this off-season, specifically with my body, and then hoping it would translate into baseball stuff. To this point, I feel it definitely has."

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Willis McGahee Can Dance!

Click here to order Willis McGahee’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Santana Moss Signing at All Canes!

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Demarcus Van Dyke Had Hunch Raiders Would Draft Him

DeMarcus Van Dyke had an inclination he may be drafted by the Oakland Raiders. After all, he blazed past the competition at the NFL Scouting Combine with his 40 time.

Knowing that the Raiders and Al Davis have an affinity speed, even Van Dyke’s friends ribbed him before the draft about where he was headed.
“Yeah, I did get a lot of jokes about that,” Van Dyke said, per Silver and Black Pride, “but I knew after I ran that 40 that I was going to open up a bunch of eyes. I wasn’t thinking that me running the fastest was going to give me a shot with the Raiders. You know if your the fastest guy and 6’1″ I figured that would give me a shot to get on a NFL roster.”

The fact he had a pre-draft workout with Rod Woodson didn’t hurt his chances of landing in the Bay Area either.

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Matt Bosher Was High on Many Coaches Draft Boards

There are a lot of special teams coaches who felt Matt Bosher was the best punter in the draft. He is a combo kicker who can punt, kick off and kick field goals.

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Demarcus VanDyke HIGHLIGHTS

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Roscoe Parrish Entering Make-Or-Break Year

Before several young, undrafted Buffalo Bills wide receivers showed glimpses of playmaking potential in the second half of the 2010 regular season, one of the more intriguing stories was the resurrection of slot receiver Roscoe Parrish. Playing under head coach Chan Gailey for the first time, Parrish was quickly re-inserted into Buffalo's offensive lineup - even earning a few starts over Stevie Johnson early in the season - and after eight games, he'd already set a career high in receiving yards (400) and tied a career high in touchdowns (two).

During his best game of the season - a seven-catch, 60-yard performance with a touchdown in a loss to Chicago - Parrish suffered a broken wrist that cut his promising season short.

It's going to be an interesting year for Parrish. Younger talent like David Nelson, Donald Jones and perhaps even Marcus Easley could push him for playing time. That could severely hamper his ability to land a new contract, as he's entering the final year of his current deal. Parrish will turn 29 this fall, and is the eldest receiver on the team not named Lee Evans. As has always been the case, he'll need to fight tooth and nail not just to keep his role as the team's third receiver, but to land that coveted new deal, as well.

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DeMarcus Van Dyke Talks Being Drafted, Rod Woodson and More

Were you watching the draft when you were selected?
DVD: Actually I was with my family members watching the draft at my house. I was on edge for the first few hours until I got that phone. Then it was like that monkey was off my back and I was relieved.

After you felt that relief and it sunk in that you were going to be a Raider what was your initial thought about being a Raider?
DVD: It's blessing to get the opportunity to play in the NFL. That's the first thing that crossed my mind. And to play in a great organization like the Raiders where they've had great corners back in the day and now with big corners like Nnamdi Asomugha, Stanford Routt and safeties like Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff. I am really excited to play in the secondary with those guys.

I saw in another interview that prior to the draft you had actually worked out with Tyvon Branch. Is that true?
DVD: Tyvon had trained out here at Miami Performance. He's a great guy. He works hard all the time. So I just try to mimic everything he do so when I get to the NFL I'll be okay.

Have you been in contact with any of your other new teammates?
DVD: I talked to the fullback, Marcel Reece. He welcomed me to the nation, and I've talked to Michael Huff on Twitter, but that's about it.

Have you talked with Marcell or Tyvon about joining in any of the player workouts?
DVD: Yeah, I talked to Marcel about it yesterday, and they are going to get up to Atlanta and workout. So I gotta sit down with my agent to see if we have enough money to go up there.

Right. It's kind of a strange time to be a rookie. Not only the money, but in the back of your mind you have to also be worried about a possible injury before you have a chance to sign your new contract. 
DVD: Exactly. That's one of the reason we have to sit down and think about it.

Speaking of the lockout, have you been following it closely or do you try to stay away from it and let things happen as they will.
DVD: The lockout is something I can't control. So, I just keep working hard and do my thing and get my work.

Well, not only the work, as I am sure you are anxious to get your career started, but you have to also be a little excited about signing that contract.
DVD: Yeah, that is a dream come true. To sign a contract—a NFL contract—that's probably one of the things I've been dreaming about my whole life, and now I am going to get a chance to actually do it this year with the Oakland Raiders.

I actually looked this up. You were selected 81st overall. Did you know, or have you heard, who went 81st last year?
DVD: Uh, not at all [laughing]

Well, it was Earl Mitchell of the Texans. Have you seen what kind of contract he was able to sign?
DVD: Not really. All I know about Earl Mitchell was came out to the combine, and that's about all I know about him.

Not to get you too excited for something you don't have yet, but he signed a contract worth $1.6 million in guaranteed money. Have you given any thought about what the first thing you are going to buy might be?
DVD: I thought about buying house, and getting a house for my mom and that's about it.

Now, in another interview I saw you mentioned that you had a son.
DVD: Yeah, I have a son, DeMarcus Jr.

How old is he?
DVD: He's six months.

Oh okay; he's just a little guy. Have you bought any Raiders gear yet?
DVD: I was just looking online yesterday at some Raiders onesies. So, we are getting him some.

I actuallly have a year and a half old son, and that was the first thing I got him was a Raider onesies.
DVD: Oh man, we definitely need something like that.

You gotta get 'em going for the right team while they're young.
DVD: Exactly [chuckling].

You ran the fastest 40 at the combine in a blazing time, and us as Raider fans thought there was a good possibly you'd become a Raider as it is almost a tradition. Did that thought ever cross your mind or did any of your family or friends joke with you that you just ran your way onto the Raiders?
DVD: Yeah, I did get a lot of jokes about that, but I knew after I ran that 40 that I was going to open up a bunch of eyes. I wasn't thinking that me running the fastest was going to give me a shot with the Raiders. You know if your the fastest guy and 6'1" I figured that would give me a shot to get on a NFL roster.

It was not only the Combine, but you also had a very impressive Senior Bowl and Shrine Game, and earned strong reviews from there. As I was looking back one of the only knocks I saw on you from there was your ball skills as people were saying that you were in position, but weren't able to get your hand on the ball. Do you think that was a fair criticism?
DVD: I can't complain that that was the only thing, but I am going to say that it wasn't really fair, because I had a couple of interceptions at the practices for the Senior Bowl and one in the Shrine Game. So, I'm not sure what exactly I had to do.

Well, an interception is a pretty decent sign of ball skills.
DVD: Exactly.

So, Rod Woodson had a private workout with you in Miami, right?
DVD: Yes, sir.

What was that workout like?  What kind of stuff did he seem to focus on with you?
DVD: He wanted to see how I was coming out of my breaks. He wanted me to open up my hips and turn to see how fluid my hips were. He wanted to see how I was in my back pedal; see if I was low or high and stuff like that. Just all of the skills it takes to be a cornerback.

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Witnesses Testify In Lawsuit Involving Jon Beason

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A courtroom heard from two people Friday who had front-row seats to the altercation between Carolina Panthers player Jon Beason and Greg Frye, the man who said Beason punched him.

Fellow Panthers player Dante Rosario told jurors that while he and Beason and Frye were all in the Uptown Cabaret strip club, Frye claimed he'd seen Beason using cocaine during a party at Lake Norman.

Rosario said he told Beason and Beason went to confront Frye.

“The two, like, bumped chests, I guess,” Rosario said. “Someone grabbed him and he said somebody hit Mr. Frye.”

Jurors were shown pictures of a bloodied Frye outside the club with police.

Beason's personal chef, Joe Simmons, testified he was the one who held Beason back, showing Frye's attorney how he hooked Beason's arm.

“Commotion started. I grabbed Jon's arm -- hooked him right there and told him to get out of there,” Simmons said.

Both Simmons and Rosario said they don’t know who hit Frye, but said it wasn't Beason.

But earlier, when Frye was still on the witness stand, he told jurors repeatedly that the cuts and broken bones in his face came from Beason.

Two witnesses testified Friday that as Frye stood bleeding outside the Uptown Cabaret, he was yelling he'd been hit by “Jon Beasley,” not Beason.

Testimony resumes on Monday.

Click here to order Jon Beason’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Ray Lewis & Mason To Hold Team Workout

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason and linebacker Ray Lewis have organized a player's only workout from May 24-26 at Towson University. The team will meet to lift weights then head on over to Unitas Stadium to run through drills and practice together. Of course, no coaches or team personnel will be there and the practice is closed to the public. I have not heard if media will be permitted to be present and if so, Baltimore Beatdown will be there to cover the practice.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has also been in contact with rookie wide receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss, according to a story on BaltimoreRavens.com. It is expected that most rookies will have received copies of the team's playbook from the veterans who are sharing them with their respective position players. At the same time, there is a risk to these practices, as they are not sanctioned by the NFL and therefore the players are not covered by the league's health insurance if there is an unfortunate injury at these "unofficial" practices.

In a story from the National Football Post, certain front office personnel are just waiting for word about an injury that could end a player's season long before it starts. Some people, such as former Ravens head coach Brian Billick, think these practices will not help prepare the players for the season as there is no comparison to the OTA's and mini-camps run by the coaches. I say anything that begins to get the players, especially the rookies, up to speed on the nuances of the Ravens' playbook could only help them once this labor issue gets settled and the season underway.

Click here to order Ray Lewis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Ryan Braun homers, triples in win over Bucs

Ryan Braun homered and tripled on Sunday, driving in four runs in Milwaukee's win over the Pirates.

The triple was Braun's second of the season, while the home run, his 12th, brings him nearly halfway to his "disappointing" 2010 total of 25. Batting .309 with 33 RBI through his first 149 at-bats, Braun should get serious MVP consideration if he keeps up at this rate.

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Jason Michaels looking forward to fresh start

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Jason Michaels stepped onto the field for pre-game activities Friday night with a strong sense of rejuvenation and a redefined hunger for the 2011 regular season after being activated from the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxation of his left shoulder, which occurred while diving for a triple off the bat of Brewers slugger Prince Fielder on April 24.

The 35-year-old Michaels told Examiner.com that he's 100 percent healthy and doesn't expect his left shoulder to be a lingering issue.

He was pleased with the results of his five-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City, especially recording 22 plate appearances while hitting .300 (6-for-20) with two RBI and two doubles.

"I got a chance to go down there for five games and get 22 plate appearances," Michaels said. "I feel great. I had several good at-bats. I wanted to go down there, see the ball and have good at-bats. I was able to put some consistent at-bats together.

"Plus, my body feels great."

Manager Brad Mills, who has a tremendous amount of respect for Michaels, couldn't ask for more regarding the mentality and approach to the entire situation demonstrated by the veteran outfielder upon being placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"As soon as we put him on the DL, he showed his veteran approach," Mills said. "He came to me right away and said, 'I want to make sure I go on a rehab assignment. I want to get some at-bats, so when I come back, I am ready.' We were all in on that.

"We want him ready and to perform the best he can in his role."

Michaels will be called upon for an occasional spot start over the course of the season as the club's No. 4 outfielder, but it's his job to be a productive right-handed hitting option off the bench, as well as a solid defensive replacement in the late innings.

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Yonder Alonso Hitting it Yonder

Yonder is on an eight game hitting streak and is absolutely shredding the ball. In those eight games Alonso is 14-37 (.378) with a HR, 1 triple, 6 doubles, and 7 RBI. He was a single short of the cycle on Monday. As of April 23rd, Alonso had yet to hit a HR or get an RBI. He now has 4 HR and 17 RBI (in 19 days) and boasts a .322 AVG and .378 OBP for the season. The only problem for Alonso has been defensively. He seems to lack a quick first step in left field and can rarely cut a ball off that’s going in the alley. I feel as if this will come around, though—much like his bat has come around.

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Jon Jay hits three-run homer for St. Louis

Jon Jay hit a three-run homer in his lone at-bat off the bench to give the Cardinals all of their runs Saturday.

Too bad he can't play third base. Jay is hitting .289 with three homers in 45 at-bats, but there's only so much of a role for him on the Cardinals while the entire outfield is healthy. He's driven in six runs the last three days, but he had no fantasy value while collecting two RBI over the course of the first six weeks.

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Gaby Sanchez to the All Star Game

Logan Morrison, the Marlins’ undisputed Sultant of Tweet, was on his way to the batting cages at Nationals Park this morning when he called out to two reporters:

“I’m starting a new twitter campaign today — get Gaby Sanchez to the All Star game,” he said.

If @LoMoMarlins has any tweeting pull — and anyone who follows him on Twitter knows that he does — @GabySanchez15 will have a good shot at making the All Star team.

Sanchez’s numbers certainly warrant it.

He went into today second among National League first basemen in batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.420), slugging percentage (.553) and OPS (.973), trailing only Joey Votto in all four categories.

Sanchez is third among NL first basemen in doubles (9), while he leads all NL first basemen in hits (48) and total bases (78). He is tied for second in go-ahead RBI (6).

Told about LoMo’s campaign, Sanchez gave an awkward smile.

“I’m going to have to talk to him and tell him to don’t worry about me,” he said.

“It’s very nice thing for him to try to do but we’re more worried about getting to the playoffs than about getting me to the all star game.”…

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Pat Burrell not happy in understudy role

Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated Friday that Pat Burrell isn't happy with his bench role.

Burrell hasn't started since Monday and has often been relegated to a bench role since Cody Ross and Andres Torres were activated from the DL. It's not surprising, as the Giants have a glut out outfielders and not everyone can play. Winners of six straight, they're unlikely to switch things up now. Burrell will draw the start in left field Saturday against the Cubs' Doug Davis.

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