Jon Beason Carolina Panthers Linebacker Strength Training Program

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Data Points: Sharper, Reed lead safeties in INTs

The “Player 2K” debate moved to the safety position on Thursday, with Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu the center of the discussion.

Although Polamalu has been a game-changer for the Steelers on multiple levels, Reed’s game for the Ravens is more of the classic variety as the best centerfielder in football. Just take a look at the numbers: In nine NFL seasons, and despite nagging injuries, Reed has amassed a whopping 54 interceptions in 128 career games.

That’s a ton, but Reed still has a ways to go to catch free agent Darren Sharper (63), who says he plans to play (somewhere) in 2011. After Reed and Sharper, the drop off in career picks among active safeties is precipitous.


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Ray Lewis to present Tom Brady on NFLN

NFL Network's "Top 100 Players" series wraps up Sunday night, with the top 10 revealed over two hours (starting at 8 p.m. ET). Quarterback Tom Brady will fall somewhere in the top group, and the team revealed an interesting twist tonight -- Brady will be presented by veteran Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

Brady will be the fifth Patriot to be on the show, with the rankings a result of player votes.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo was 62nd. He was presented by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Receiver Wes Welker was 50th. Bills coach Chan Gailey did the honors.

Offensive lineman Logan Mankins was 39th. Belichick presented him.

Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was 35th. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a fellow University of Miami alum, did the honors.

And now Brady being presented by Lewis.

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Frank Gore skips 49ers workouts to rehab hip

Frank Gore stayed in Miami to continue rehab on his hip rather than join Alex Smith's players-only workouts this week.

We wouldn't make too much of this. Gore has always worked out like a madman in Miami, and this year is no different. He's doing all he can to ensure that the hip will not be an issue in 2011. The 28-year-old is expected to be fully healthy for the beginning of training camp.

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Kellen Winslow passes on offseason surgery

Kellen Winslow passed up a seventh surgery to clean out scar tissue and loose bodies in his knee this offseason.

The surgery would have been of the elective variety, so it's not a major concern. "Surgery is not going to help me anymore," Winslow said. "It's just maintenance from now on and keeping my knee strong. That's the reason for no surgery this past year. It just doesn't matter anymore." Onlookers have noticed a fresher Winslow in spring practices this year.

Click here to order Kellen Winslow’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Jeff Feagles Talks About The Reality Of Life After Football

HO-HO-KUS – Now, when Jeff Feagles describes his first adult experience as a fan at an NFL game, he can smile and laugh. But on that early autumn evening inside a brand new Meadowlands Stadium, the strains of the national anthem sent him into a tailspin for which he was not prepared.

At all.

The reality of life without football hit him with the emotional equivalent of a punch to the gut. Sitting in the stands for the 2010 season opener, head hidden inside the hood of a sweatshirt, the 22-year veteran punter felt as if he’d been blind-sided by a linebacker.

“That was a mistake,” Feagles said. “Just realizing it was over for me. I fell apart. I remember telling myself, ‘from now on, I’m staying in the parking lot until the intros are over.’ As the season went on, it got better.”

Feagles was overcome despite leaving the game on his own terms, which only underscores how difficult it can be for professional athletes to become ordinary citizens once again. For Feagles, smoothing out the transition has meant finding a new career, something he’s done with a Bergen County-based business venture that combines his community roots and athletic knowledge.

As a partner in F.O.R.C.E, a performance and training center located in Ho-Ho-Kus, Feagles has found an outlet for his next professional life. And if it has taught him anything, it is how important it is to be prepared for the inevitability of this step. The intersection of greed and stubbornness otherwise known as the NFL lockout is likely going to force the transition on to plenty of unsuspecting or unprepared players. The subset of players who lose their jobs due to lack of opportunity or lack of activity can easily get lost on their way into the real world.

“That’s where people run into problems,” Feagles said. “You lose your identity in a sense. You’re used to having guys do things for you and you wake up one morning and no one’s there. You have to do it for yourself. The hardest thing for me was not having a schedule or structure, getting out of that routine where you know every day where you’re supposed to be.

“I would encourage all of the players in the NFL in the off-season to think about something on the side. That will help the transition when they’re done playing. I was able to do it relatively easily because I was able to have experiences before I retired.”

In his seven-season tenure with the Giants, the last of his stints with five different teams, Feagles traded one dreaded identity (longest-tenured active player without a Super Bowl appearance) for another (2008 Super Bowl champ). He also found a new home, trading in his Arizona roots for a permanent home in Ridgewood.

Feagles actually staved off retirement at least once prior to hanging up his cleats for good following the 2009 season, when Giants coach Tom Coughlin allowed him to commute from Arizona in 2008. But the family – Feagles’ wife, Michelle, and their four sons, C.J., Blake, Trevor and Zach – realized they missed their friends in Ridgewood. They returned, buying a house on the  same block they’d lived before, and restarted their lives.

Now, Feagles is into his next career, keeping busy as a full-time fan for the various football and lacrosse exploits of his sons. C.J. is heading into his junior year at North Carolina, where he is a punter for the Tar Heels. Blake will be a senior at Ridgewood High, followed by Trevor, who will be a freshman, and Zach, heading into seventh grade. Dad is also busy at F.O.R.C.E.

“He is a fantastic asset,” said Frank Giannantonio, the gym’s founder and director of strength and conditioning. Giannantonio, an experienced athletic trainer with a master’s degree in sports medicine and exercise science, oversees the training programs, which can be tailored to any level of athlete. From pre-teens to adults, from individuals to teams, the staff at F.O.R.C.E. aims to adapt to specific needs.

“Nothing is generic,” Giannantonio said. “We evaluate everything before we begin, find out where people are physically.”
“It’s set up like the Giants, like a professional team,” Feagles said. “We have two platforms, speed and agility, and are very individualized and age specific. We work with a lot of youth sports and in the community.”

That is a part of the job Feagles both enjoys and excels at. He made so many local contacts through his own and his kids’ athletic exploits, and now he’s able to return the favor by passing on his knowledge. In 22 years in the hit-or-be-hit NFL world, Feagles never missed a game.

“I can share what I’ve done, what I learned to be able to stay on the field and help others try to incorporate that into their training,” he said.

Indeed, Feagles is busier than ever, his transition into retirement not simply moving him into his next chapter of life, but serving as an example for players in all walks of professional sports to follow.

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Tim George Jr. NNS advance at Daytona

Tim George Jr. has made three appearances at Daytona in ARCA Racing Series competition, with a career-best finish of eighth in the 2009 edition of the race after starting 34th.

In 2010, he finished 19th, also after starting 34th, and posted a 27th-place finish in February 2011 after starting ninth. In addition to stock car auto racing on the ARCA circuit, George is an experienced road course racer at the track. He finished 14th in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.-Richard Childress Racing

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John Salmons is surprised to be back with Kings

Veteran swingman John Salmons was just as surprised as many fans when the Kings reacquired him from Milwaukee in a three-way trade on draft day last Thursday.

Salmons, who was playing perhaps the best basketball of his career for the Kings when they dealt him to Chicago in 2009, said returning to Sacramento didn't cross his mind.

He said he was planning to work out in Milwaukee and didn't have "any inclination I was getting traded or anything like that."

"That's what made it even more shocking," said Salmons, 31. "I just never thought I'd be back to a team I'd played for."

After trading him during their rebuilding effort, the Kings believe bringing Salmons back moves them closer to being competitive.

Salmons will be asked to provide stability at small forward, a position that has been problematic much of the past two seasons. The Kings have tried using veterans, and they've tried waiting for young players to assert themselves and play consistently.

Now it will be Salmons' turn to prove he deserves the job after a deal that sent guard Beno Udrih to the Bucks.

Despite injuring his knee before last season and dealing with a hip injury, Salmons played in 73 games, starting 70, and averaged 14 points.
The 6-foot-6 Salmons is expected to be an upgrade on offense and defense for the Kings, who were exploited in matchups on both ends of the court the past two seasons.

The Kings were at their best last season when they started Francisco García at small forward. But that came after Garcia began the season as a backup shooting guard and Donte' Greene and Omri Casspi took turns at small forward.

Barring injury, the Kings appear to be done with the turnover at the position. Salmons has three seasons worth about $24 million left on his contract. The team holds an option for another year at $7 million.

The Kings believe Salmons' ability to post up, make three-pointers and create his own shot will give them more options.

"When they play a small guard, we like to post them up," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "After people figured that out, they stopped putting small guards on Tyreke (Evans). They started putting them on our (small forwards) or Beno if he was in there."

Salmons said he has improved as a player since he left the Kings. When he signed with the Kings as a free agent in 2006, he had not averaged more than 30 minutes a game in four seasons with Philadelphia.

The Kings gave Salmons his first chance to play extended minutes, and by his second season with them, 2007-08, he was averaging 31.1 minutes to go with double-digit scoring (12.5 points) for the first time as a pro.

When Salmons was traded, he was averaging 18.3 points for the Kings. With the Bulls in 2009, he also averaged 18.3 points in the regular season and 18.1 points in the playoffs.

"That was a big moment in my career," Salmons said of the playoff run with Chicago. "Just by being in the playoffs and just playing in that environment."

After being sent to Milwaukee in 2010, Salmons again provided a boost for the playoff stretch, averaging 19.9 points in 30 regular-season games. Salmons averaged 17 points in the playoffs.

The Kings have been looking for more players who can excel under pressure. They found one in guard Marcus Thornton, who they intend to re-sign. Salmons could be another player who fits that mold.

Sacramento still must find another post player, especially if free agent Samuel Dalembert leaves, and needs to make moves to clear up the glut of small forwards behind Salmons.

Part of Salmons' job will be serving as a veteran leader, a role he said he's embracing.

"I feel like we have a lot of young talent," Salmons said. "It's just a matter of piecing it together."

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James Jones opts out of Heat deal, might be staying

MIAMI— Saying he merely was looking to "find the best situation for me," Miami Heat forward James Jones confirmed Wednesday to the Sun Sentinel that he has decided to opt out of the 2011-12 season on his contract.

Jones, however, stressed that the decision was not in response to being benched for the final nine games of the playoffs, including all six games of the NBA Finals, which the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks.

"If anything," Jones said, "making it to the Finals is an enticement to stay."

Jones, 30, a University of Miami graduate and Southwest Ranches resident, said the decision was made merely to increase his options.

"I just decided to become a free agent," he said. "My goal is still to find the best situation for me, and that possibly could be Miami."

This is the second consecutive year Jones has hit the free-agent market, this time opting out of the $1.3 million on his contract for 2011-12.

Jones is coming off a career season from beyond the 3-point arc, with a career-best 123 3-pointers. He also won the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend.

Jones worked out a brief separation from the Heat last summer that aided the Heat in the free-agency machinations that allowed the team to sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. At the time, the Heat only could bring Jones back for a veteran-minimum salary.

Jones, however, actually cashed a pair of checks from the Heat this past season, one for the $1.1 million veteran's minimum and another for the $1.5 million buyout of his previous Heat contract.

In fact, even by opting out of his latest Heat contract, Jones still is due $1.7 million for next season and $1.8 million from the Heat in 2012-13 from the buyout of his previous deal. Any new Heat salary would be paid over and beyond that salary.

The NBA free-agency period begins Friday or at the conclusion of a lockout, which is expected to be imposed by the league later this week.

While Jones thrived at times during the regular season, he was reduced to afterthought in the playoffs, with Miller moving into a more prominent role in the rotation. The 6-foot-8 forward appeared in only 12 of the Heat's 21 playoff games, dropped completely from the rotation after the second game of the Eastern Conference finals against the Chicago Bulls.

Jones has been representing the Heat in the negotiations with the NBA over a new collective-bargaining agreement, in his role as secretary-treasurer of the National Basketball Players Association.

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Jason Michaels hits one out

Jason Michaels doubled in a run and plated two more with a home run in Thursday's win over the Rangers.

Michaels took advantage of a rare start by driving in three of the Astros' seven runs, giving him a total of eight on the year. The 35-year-old outfielder is batting .222 this season in his bench role with the 'Stros.

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Athletics Deal Mark Ellis, Commit to Jemile Weeks

Jemile Weeks has been as advertised for Oakland. Through his first 20 games, the younger Weeks has compiled a .303/.346/.461 line to go with six stolen bases in eight attempts, adding up to a .359 wOBA and a 131 wRC+. The second baseman of the future for the Athletics has quickly become the second baseman of the present.

Just as quickly, Mark Ellis became the second baseman of the past for the Athletics. His ineffectiveness had those around the A’s discussing Weeks’s impending arrival; his early-June hamstring injury began the Weeks era. At his return, the A’s had a decision to make. The A’s decided quickly, moving the venerable second baseman to Colorado for pitcher Bruce Billings and a player to be named later. The trade sees the exit of a player who defines the Moneyball Athletics, as Ellis compiled $83.5 million worth of value for only $27.3 million in salary as an Athletic.

The return for Ellis is unsurprisingly slim, as the 34-year-old and his 54 wRC+ didn’t offer much encouragement to teams looking for an offensive boost, even if his defense can still play. Billings, the minor league pitcher involved, is nothing special. For the Rockies minor league teams, he’s posted FIPs in the low-to-mid 3.00s. He throws the standard righty reliever fare: a fastball-slider combo, but the fastball tends to stay in the low-90s. At age 25, his upside appears limited.

For the Athletics, though, this trade was never about the return. It was about the collapse of Ellis, a player who embodied so much of what made Billy Beane‘s Oakland A’s the Oakland A’s for the last decade, and the rise of Jemile Weeks. Ellis was a key part of the A’s division championships in 2002, 2003, and 2006. His current contract, however, was no insignificant part of the Athletics’ recent failures. This year, he has provided nothing in a weak AL West, and although he was productive in 2010, he was also weak in the initial year, 2009. Overall, with the Rockies taking on $1 million of his deal in the trade, the A’s ended up paying Ellis $15.5 million for 4.6 WAR. A respectable $3.4 million per win total for most franchises, but for the A’s, extending Mark Ellis was supposed to be a significant money-saving move, not a marginal victory for the pocketbook.

Now, with the shift to Jemile Weeks at second base, the A’s will have cheap production at second base once again. This time, it’s not coming from an unheralded, defense-first diamond in the rough. This time, it comes from a hot prospect, poised to deliver through speed, contact, and patience. Jemile Weeks only embodies the Moneyball philosophy with his high walk rates, a quality that hardly qualifies as a market inefficiency anymore. Players like Weeks who put the ball in play, run well and play an up-the-middle position are hot commodities everywhere.

That doesn’t mean Weeks can’t be a long-term star for the Athletics. For the A’s to truly succeed, they don’t need to change their philosophy. They simply need to put a product on the field bolstered by successful young players, with efficient veteran signings serving as the mortar. Billy Beane and the Athletics will be counting on Jemile Weeks to be a firm part of their organizational foundation for years to come.

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Ryan Braun runs hit streak to 20 games

NEW YORK -- Left fielder Ryan Braun wasted little time in making a bit of Brewers history against the Yankees on Thursday.

Braun's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest active streak in the Majors, the longest of Braun's career and the sixth in club history of at least 20 games.

Five players in franchise history have cobbled together hitting streaks of at least 20 games, a list topped by Paul Molitor's club-record 39-game run in 1987. Dave May had a 24-game streak in '83, Cecil Cooper went 22 games in '80 and current Brewers right fielder Corey Hart has two such streaks, a 22-gamer in 2007 and a 20-game streak last season.

Braun also had a 10-game hitting streak earlier this season.

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Blake Tekotte's Break Allows Him To Revisit Hometown

COLUMBIA - The major leagues don't take an all star break for a couple of weeks. But a break for the minor leagues is giving Columbia's Blake Tekotte a chance for some vacation in his hometown.

The 2005 Hickman grad received his first taste of the major leagues this season.

On May 23rd, The San Diego Padres promoted Tekotte from Double-A San Antonio.

In a couple of weeks, he had collected his first hit and RBI. But after 19 at-bats, the Padres sent Tekotte back to the minors. Tekotte says next time he plans to stay for good.

"You know I expect to be back up there you know for myself, you know I kind of expect a lot out of myself, and hopefully I'll be back up there again because you know they said see you soon whenever they expand the rosters," said Tekotte. "And in September hopefully I can get back up there, and you know try and help the team win a couple games. It's definitely a place I want to be and a place I expect to be. You know, for myself and hopefully I can get back up there and the next time I get up there I'll stay for the rest of my career hopefully."

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Ryan Braun has another nice night

Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with his 60th RBI and 19th stolen base in Milwaukee's loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.

The Brewers pitching has failed to show up at Yankee Stadium, but Braun hasn't, going 4-for-7 with two steals. Through 339 plate appearances, he is now the owner of an elite .314/.395/.557 triple slash.

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Gaby Sanchez ejected for first time in career on Tuesday

OAKLAND -- Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez's night ended early Tuesday in the first game of a three-game series against the A's when he was ejected for the first time in his Major League career.

With a runner on first and no outs in the seventh, Sanchez struck out swinging against A's left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Sanchez thought he had checked his swing on a pitch in the dirt, and as he walked away from the plate protesting the call, he flung his bat. Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi promptly tossed him out of the game.

"It was just one of those things," Sanchez said after the Marlins' 1-0 loss. "He made the call, and I didn't agree with it. He knew that."

Sanchez said he had been thrown out of games in the Minor Leagues "once or twice" but never in the big leagues.

"One time an umpire was just really bad," he said.

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Ken Dorsey likes what he sees at Miami

BRADENTON, Fla. – Ken Dorsey was excited to be out at the IMG campus on Sunday for the first-ever Madden Football Academy.

Part of the reason for the former Miami quarterback’s smile, he was still thinking about his visit to the Hurricanes campus the day before.

Dorsey likes what he sees at his alma mater from first-year coach Al Golden and the new regime. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and Maxwell Award winner has visited Coral Gables several times since Golden was hired, including the spring game.

“Just the access they give a lot of alumni, the fact they really reach out and try and make a consertive effort to get alumni back and be part of the program, I think it’s exciting to see,” Dorsey said. “Seeing the energy and enthusiasm they bring every day on the practice field, you see it during practice and you see it during the summer camps when they’re dealing with the kids. That type of energy and enthusiasm along with their knowledge of the game will take them a long way.”

Several other former players feel the same way. Dorsey keeps in touch with guys like Kellen Winslow, Joaquin Gonzalez, Brett Romberg and Kevin Beard.

“I think everyone is excited about the future for that program,” Dorsey said. “I think everyone is excited about Coach Golden and what he’s bringing. I think every time you go down there, he’s there and really energetic and you can tell he’s excited himself. To have a head coach that will return phone calls if you call him and no matter what the situation is, he’s there for you now as a current player, or he’s there if you’re a player from the past. That’s exciting to see as a former player.”

Dorsey was part of one of the greatest runs in college football, leading Miami to a 38-2 record as the starting quarterback, including the 2001 National Championship. The school record holder for total offense, passing yards, passing completions and passing touchdowns, Dorsey doesn’t think it will be long until the current team sees the same kind of success.

“I’m really excited about where they’re going,” he said. “I think they have a great opportunity to do some really good things in the ACC, and play at the level of competing for multiple National Championships I think that’s always the expectation there, and with the level of talent they’re able to bring in, that’s always a possibility if they can pull it together on the field.”

Dorsey recently announced his retirement after playing six seasons in the NFL and one in the CFL. He’s now helping former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke with his program at IMG, and coaching at Riverview High in Sarasota. Coaching is where he’d like to end up.

“Hoping to get into college or pro one of these days, but right now I like what I’m doing,” Dorsey said. “Hopefully if the right opportunity arises in the future, we’ll definitely see where it goes. I started a little late for some of that stuff. We’ll see if something happens next year.”

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Winston Moss Ranked One of the Top Up-And-Coming Assistants

proCane Winston Moss who is a coach for the Green Bay packerts was ranked as one of the up-and-coming assistant coaches in the NFL.

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According To ESPN, Ray Lewis is the Best Leader in the NFL

6. Best leader: Ray Lewis -- Lewis wins this honor simply because he still impacts games without the benefit of the same athleticism that made him a future Hall of Famer in the first place. Just step inside the Baltimore Ravens' locker room and try to suggest that this 12-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker doesn't still set the tone for that franchise. Younger stars like Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and Haloti Ngata still defer to Lewis, and he's wise enough to carry himself more like a proud, protective big brother than a loud-mouth, past-his-prime know-it-all.

That combination of wisdom and love -- along with a tenacity that still drives him to overcome his age (he's 36) -- allows Lewis to keep his stature as a Pro Bowler. Most aging veterans have a hard time commanding respect from younger players as their careers wind down. Lewis is the rare breed who doesn't have to say a word to keep that generation in lockstep behind his lead.

See the other rankings.

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Willis McGahee won't take a pay cut

According to the Carroll County Times, Willis McGahee is "not inclined" to accept a pay cut to stay with the Ravens.
McGahee's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said so in a March interview. Unfortunately for Willis, there's no chance of him equaling his scheduled $6 million salary elsewhere, either. The Ravens still want him back at a reduced rate.

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

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ESPN Video Interview with Colts WR Reggie Wayne

Click here to order Reggie Wayne’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Q & A With Former Bears Linebacker Darrell McClover

Darrell McClover came into the NFL in 2004 as a seventh-round pick out of the University of Miami by the New York Jets.

McClover spent his first three seasons at the University of Miami playing as a reserve linebacker behind linebackers like Dan Morgan and Chris Campbell. He shined in his senior year playing alongside NFL stars Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams.

In McClover’s first season in the NFL he started all 16 games making 15 tackles. Unfortunately he didn’t see any playing time with the Jets  in the 05-06 season and was let go after the season was over.

The Bears signed him that off-season and McClover played in 35 games making 27 tackles as a special teams ace from 2006-2010. McClover never got a shot to start at linebacker for the Bears, but I’m sure the Bears would welcome him back with open arms if the opportunity was there.
Considering McClover is a free-agent, the Bears could add him because he fits into the system they run on defense and special teams.

I had the chance to catch up with Darrell last week and I asked him about everything from the NFL lockout, how Lovie Smith’s runs practices and what he plans on doing once he retires.

Here’s the exclusive interview with former Bears LB Darrell McClover. Exclusively on

Q: How tough has the lockout been on you? How often have you been training and conditioning?
A: The lock out has been pretty tough, but at the same time beneficial. Especially looking at the way my career has been going this past year. It has pushed me to spend more time into looking at life after football. I train and condition three to five times a week.

Q: Have you gotten together with any players this off-season to train? Who have you stayed in contact with?
A: I haven’t gotten together with any players to condition. My training consist of my own personal regiment. Players who I have stayed in contact with have been Rod Wilson, Nick Roach, Tim Shaw.

Q: Who was your favorite player growing up? Or did you just have a favorite team?
A: I didn’t have a favorite player. My favorite team growing up was the Indianapolis Colts.

Q: Do you stay informed on what’s going on or do you usually wait until something big happens?
A: I stay informed on issues and concerns during the NFL lockout because it not only affects active players but also retired players as well. So its good stay up to date.

Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite part of football?
A: My most favorite thing about football are the playing the games. My least favorite thing about football are the meetings.

Q: What is your most memorable moment in football? What level did it occur in?
A: My most memorable moment was in the NFL, coming out of the tunnel during the Super Bowl. There’s nothing like it.

Q:What’s a fact that maybe some people don’t know about you?
A: I can sing.

Q: What’s different about Chicago compared to the other teams you’ve played for?
A: The difference are the fans, they make Chicago a fun place to play.

Q: Who are your closest friends on the team or around the NFL?
A: Jonathon Vilma, Tim Shaw, and Rod Wilson.

Q: How does Lovie Smith run practices? Is he that quiet guy that the media claims he is?
A: Lovie says very few words on the field, but in the classroom he is very knowledgeable. He holds us accountable for our roles and jobs.

Q: If you weren’t a professional football player, what profession do you think you’d be in?
A: Human resources.

Q: How great was it to play with Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams at the University of Miami? Does it feel like a long time ago?
A: Playing with DJ and JV was great. I remember when we came in as freshman at UM. It definitely doesn’t seem like that long ago.

Q: Favorite movie?
A: New (Inception) great movie.

Q: Favorite food/meal?
A: Nice fish filet ( does not matter as long as its good).

Q: What do you plan on doing when your career is over? What do you hope to get out of the NFL?
A: When my career is over, I hope to live comfortable and take up a career in personal training. I’d like to manage my own gym. I hope to be able to have a nice life once it’s over.

Q: You’re pretty active on Twitter, do you enjoy social networks?
A: I just started getting into it. I felt like it was time to stop avoiding it. It seems like everything is gravitating to it. Also I was recommended to do it.

Q: Who do you thank for getting to this point?
I thank my dad for his support growing up, my wife and all my coaches.

Q: Thanks for your time, hope to see you in the blue and orange this season.
A: Thanks for having me.

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Antrel Rolle Version 2.0: 'I Have To Adapt'

Let's call this Antrel Rolle Version 2.0. The New York Giants Pro Bowl safety, whose January comments about coach Tom Coughlin landed him in a hailstorm of controversy, sounded like a player determined to avoid such missteps in 2011 during an appearance Monday on ESPN Radio New York with Ian O'Connor.

"The only thing I'm gonna focus on is being a better number 26," Rolle told O'Connor. "That's all I can do. If I work on being a better safety that's going to trickle down, that's going to help other players. It's going to help my team. I'm not doing it for my own selfish reasons, I'm doing it for the betterment of my team.

"That's going to be my only focus this year. There isn't going to be any problems, there aren't going to be any things said about Coach Coughlin."

O'Connor pressed Rolle on the Coughlin topic, as he should have, asking him directly "Do you like him as a head coach?"

"I like him ... Coach Coughlin knows how I feel about him. … I never said he was a bad guy, I never said anything remotely close to that," Rolle said. "I made one comment and everyone wants to take it like ‘oh my God, Antrel doesn’t like Coach Coughlin, he hates being with the Giants, which is not true at all. I love being with the Giants and Coach Coughlin and myself, we talk on a daily basis.

"I tell everyone all the time I like Coach Coughlin as a coach, and I’m sure he likes me as a player. You’re both men, men are not always going to agree. It was my fault to voice that, I should have just kept quiet about it which I will do from now on."

Rolle said coming to New York from Arizona was "a bit of a shocker," and that he needs to handle the change better.

"It was a bit of a shocker. I was unaware of how things are run with the Giants organization. I love the organization, it's definitely been great to me, but it was a bit of a shocker," Rolle said.

"That's part of being a man and that's part of being a professional. I have to adapt and take things as they come, not Coach Coughlin."

Rolle, of course, was a member of the Arizona Cardinals before coming to the Giants as a richly-rewarded free agent. He was part of a Cardinal team that went to the Super Bowl in 2008 and went 10-6 in 2009 before losing to New Orleans in the divisional round. He said, though, that this Giants team is the most talented he has ever been on despite having missed the playoffs last season.

"We need to come together and finish games. As far as talent-wise I've never seen anything like it. I've never been a part of such a dynamic group and such a special group with as much talent at each and every position," Rolle said. "We just need to learn how to close out games."

Click here to order Antrel Rolle’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Pat Burrell goes 3-for-5, homers

Making a rare start in the first game of San Francisco's doubleheader, Pat Burrell went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBI on Tuesday.

Burrell entered with just 21 at-bats this month. He might be able to force the Giants to play him if he can get hot, but manager Bruce Bochy pretty obviously likes his other options better.

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Danny Valencia Crushing Lefties

Danny Valencia is crushing lefties, hitting them to the tune of a .296/.351/.507 line. Unfortunately, he's hitting right-handed pitching at just .196/.245/.307. Much has been made of Valencia's poor luck of late, and it's supported in his splits: Valencia's .305 BABIP against left-handed pitching is right where you'd expect it to be, while he has an abysmally low .210 versus right-handers in spite of a strong 17.4% line drive ratio.

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Willis McGahee wants his 2002 ring

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Former Miami running back Willis McGahee said he would “like to have my ring” if it is found that Ohio State won the 2003 BCS title game while competing with ineligible players.

The validity of that championship has reached no higher than speculation stage, but has been a topic of conversation given Ohio State’s current NCAA problems. McGahee, a former Hurricane great, told that he still feels that Miami was “cheated” out of a win because of back judge Terry Porter’s controversial pass interference call.

Asked specifically if Miami should be declared national champions if Ohio State won with ineligible players, McGahee said: “I feel we were cheated anyway. We beat them. The pass interference with the eligible, ineligible players. It wouldn’t have made any difference. I can’t get my money back that I missed out on a second ring. If they did [cheat] I’d like to have my ring.”

Miami won the 2001 national championship and was beaten out for consecutive titles in 2002, losing to Ohio State 32-24 in double overtime. Porter’s call came on a play in which Miami’s Glenn Sharpe went up for a ball against Ohio State’s Chris Gamble came on a fourth-and-3 play from the Miami 5. That loss stopped a 35-game winning streak by the Hurricanes.

For Ohio State to be scrutinized, the NCAA would have to decide it is worth going back beyond the four-year statute of limitations to prosecute the Buckeyes. If players competed while ineligible at anytime, Ohio State would likely have to vacate victories. There is more of a chance that the program would have to vacate 2010 wins. There is no evidence that Ohio State played any ineligible players in 2002, only reports that players were receiving extra benefits for long periods of time. Nine years after that season, Al Golden is beginning his first with the Canes.

“He turned Temple around,” McGahee said recently following a workout on campus with several other NFL players. “The fact that he turned that program around says a lot about his character, his coaching staff. The good thing about it is, he came to the University of Miami.”

McGahee ran for 2,080 yards in two seasons at Miami. His college career ended after a devastating knee injury in the fourth quarter of that Ohio State game. McGahee came back, rehabbed his knee and become an effective NFL back over the past eight seasons.

McGahee’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is the same as just-departed Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It was Rosenhaus who marketed McGahee during his knee injury, allowing the back to be drafted 23rd overall only 3 ½ months after the injury.

Significant issues remain about Pryor’s talents heading into the supplemental draft.

“He’s [Rosenhaus] going to get in there and talk to the teams, tell them about his client [Pryor], get the word out,” McGahee said. “The knee, he did that. I did my part. I had to work.”

There is a Ohio State quarterback-Miami-McGahee connection. Former Heisman winner Troy Smith was a teammate with the Ravens.

“They said Troy Smith couldn’t play quarterback,” McGahee said. “I’ve known Troy for four years. He came out and won the Heisman Trophy. When he got his shot, he took advantage of it. If you have the ability to throw and read coverages, doesn’t matter how tall you are, as long as you have the heart.”

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

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How Complex is Houston Texans Wide Receiver Andre Johnson?

"There will be football this year. There will be football this year. There will be football this year." You know those self-help gurus who say that you can will stuff into existence? Yeah, we're not sure if they're all they're cracked up to be either, but just in case, repeat the aforementioned mantra a few times today to be sure.

The lockout has to end soon, and when (not if!) it does, Andre Johnson will be ready. In eight seasons with the Houston Texans, the University of Miami product has solidified his spot as the top wide receiver in the game, including three straight All Pro selections. He's spent much of the lockout working out with fellow alums at The U, but he took a few minutes out of his schedule to talk to us about Halle Berry, the most famous person in his cell phone, and why Rick Ross's "I'm Not a Star" perfectly sums up his own life.

What’s your favorite song of the moment? Andre Johnson: The thing I listen to the most right now is Rick Ross - “I’m Not A Star.”

What about that song in particular? Andre Johnson: I think the title pretty much describes itself. I’m not a star. I just look at it just like I’m a normal person. That's the way I approach things. By being an elite athlete a lot of people think that you can go away or go places and get away with things. I’m more of the laid-back person. I don’t have to go and skip the line. I don’t have a problem waiting.

And obviously Rick Ross is a Miami dude, so that has some resonance, right? Andre Johnson: Yeah, definitely. You know, you always support guys from your hometown. And I had the chance to meet him out in L.A. during [NBA] All-Star Weekend. He’s a real good dude.

If you had to pick one pair of Jordans, which would it be? Andre Johnson: I like the 9’s, black and gray.

What’s the most money you ever spent on an item of a clothing? Andre Johnson: Probably like three grand on a leather jacket.

When did you pick that up? Andre Johnson: About four months ago.

And you mentioned not being the dude that has to get in the front of the line. Was there a time where you first came in to the league where that was something you wanted to do? Andre Johnson: I’ve never been that kind of person. I’ve always been the more laid-back more humble guy. I don’t have to be in the limelight, you know? If I’m in club I’m gonna be in the corner. I don’t have to have all the sparkles on the bottles and all that stuff.

What celebrity is in your Wifey Hall of Fame? Andre Johnson: Halle Berry.

Is there a particular era of Halle Berry that you’re fond of, or just her overall? Andre Johnson: Nah, just her period. Her and Paula Patton.

Favorite alcoholic drink? Andre Johnson: Ciroc, coconut on the rocks.

Current video game obsession? Andre Johnson: Two games – either Madden or NBA 2K11.

Whom do you play with in Madden? Andre Johnson: I play with anybody—I don’t play with myself. I always tell people I’m a fan of the game also. So, I play with anybody.

Dream ride? Andre Johnson: I’ve had a lot of cars. [Laughs.] Probably the Drophead Phantom, the convertible Rolls Royce. That’s probably the top of the line besides the Bugatti. I’m not spending a million dollars for a car. [Laughs.]

Coveted tech product? Andre Johnson: My laptop.

What do you use? Andre Johnson: A Mac.

So you just kind of carry that around with you all of the time? Andre Johnson: Majority of the time. I’m not on it a lot. I just make sure it’s with me.

What's your favorite city to visit? Andre Johnson: I spend most of my time in Miami, but I’m from there so… Other than that I don’t really have one to be honest.

Who’s the most famous person in your cellphone? Andre Johnson: Probably Michael Irvin.

You’ve known him from since when you first were in school at Miami right? Andre Johnson: I think I met him my freshman year and it’s been all love since then.

What have you been doing during the lockout? Andre Johnson: Just back in Miami training, working out down at The U. Trying to make sure I’m ready for when everything gets worked out.

That’s probably not that much different than your normal offseason routine, right? Andre Johnson: It was different this year because we didn’t have any offseason training and stuff with the team. But, I prefer to be in Miami training anyway. I feel that’s where I get what I need to get done. When I leave there I know that I’m ready.

Click here to order Andre Johnson’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Greg Olsen Believes Bears' Offense Ready To Breakout

Greg Olsen said the workouts have helped the offensive players with their timing as they prepare for Year 2 in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system.

"It's a little unfortunate because in normal years we would have gotten a lot of work between all the OTAs, all the minicamps, just the regular days out on the field," Olsen said. "We would have gotten a lot accomplished and learned a lot from last season, but we didn't so that's the hand we were dealt, and we have to play a little catchup as far as with the coaches once training camp opens. But as players there is a lot we can do to prepare for the season."

After an inconsistent first season in Martz's complicated system, Olsen believes the Bears are poised for a breakout season from the offense.

"For awhile here we've been the stepchild," Olsen said. "The offense has always played second fiddle, deservingly so because we've had some of the top defenses and top defensive players in league history. But we feel like we have a good core nucleus of young offensive players and Jay being right up there as the guy. With Matt [Forte] and our receivers, Earl [Bennett], Johnny [Knox] and Devin [Hester], I think we've got a lot of guys who are ready to have a little bit of consistency."

Click here to order Greg Olsen’s proCane Rookie Card.

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The Rock scores another high profile acting gig

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced that he will appear in the "G.I. Joe" sequel. "It's official," Johnson wrote. "Call the Pentagon, get me my big ass gun. Rock's a Joe." To view the image he posted, visit

Powell's POV: Rock is expected top play the character Roadblock, which former WWE star Shad Gaspard also auditioned for. Here's hoping the sequel is better than the original, which was a big disappointment.

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Ryan Braun, Fielder offer a combo punch rarely seen

On the radio the other day, the host asked me about the fairness of comparing the remarkable seasons Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are having to anything simultaneously put up by the legendary duo of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.

What? Why, that's outrageously unfair, I wanted to say.

Yount and Molitor are in the Hall of Fame. Yount won two most valuable players. They both helped get the Brewers to a World Series.
On second thought, here's the immediate answer:

Savor this season, Brewers fans, because if these guys stay healthy, you're probably never going to see another 1-2 hammer quite like this, ever.

Two games short of the 2011 halfway point, no National League duo has more than their combined 37 homers and 127 RBI. They're both hitting better than .300. They're both leading MVP candidates at this point. They're both going to be on the All-Star team. And they're both just 27 years old.

A better, and similarly unfair, comparison would be to Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. Together, they have a world championship, one MVP and two Cooperstown plaques to show for careers that included extended Milwaukee stays.

In 1959, Mathews had 46 home runs and 114 RBI. Aaron had 39 and 123. The next season, Aaron was 40 and 126; Mathews, 39 and 124.
Nevertheless, these are numbers of which Braun and Fielder are capable. They've certainly done it before.

In 2007, Fielder hit 50 home runs and drove in 119. Braun went 34, 97 and hit .324. In '08, Braun finished third in MVP voting with 37 homers and 106 RBI. The Brewers got to the playoffs with Fielder hitting 34 homers and driving in 102.

Two years ago, Fielder led the league in RBI with 141 while hitting 46 dingers. Braun batted .320 with 32 homers, 114 RBI and was 11th in MVP voting.

I know, the numbers get to the point where they tend to anesthetize even the most casual observer. After awhile, the numbers aren't even the point.

It's the timing that matters. Here in what could be Fielder's last season with the Brewers, they're putting it together when everything else is coming together.

On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon before another capacity crowd at Miller Park, the possibilities were again on full display. A 6-2 victory and a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins, and now the Brewers have a three-game lead in the division.

"Better than a no-game lead," Fielder said.

As usual, a lot of things conspired to make it happen. The fifth starter, Chris Narveson, pitched quite well, drove in a run and laid down a timely sacrifice bunt. Nyjer Morgan had another big hit. Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy were a big part of a bottom of the order that punished the beat-up Twins, who showed their Rochester Red Wings side.

And, as usual, Braun and Fielder had their fingerprints all over it. Extending his career-high hitting streak to 17 games in the fifth inning, Braun lasered a two-run shot over left-center field that pretty much established the day's texture. In the seventh, Fielder drove home Braun.

"Now it's on to New York to see if we can have a good series there," Fielder said.

On to Yankee Stadium, where the greatest 1-2 punch in the history of the game once played. In 1927, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig combined for 107 homers and 339 RBI. That was one of their standard years.

Good thing for the Brewers, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf will only see the monuments to Ruth and Gehrig should they so choose. The Yankees' staff, including old pal CC Sabathia on Thursday, cannot avoid Braun and Fielder.

Yankee Stadium, 15 road victories, whatever, you've got to like the Brewers' chances from here as long as those guys continue at the pace the likes of which this place has rarely seen.

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Kevin James hangs out with Willis McGahee star at ‘Zookeeper’ premiere

Kevin James, the star of the upcoming film Zookeeper, is a big sports fan — he was even an athlete himself, wrestling in high school back on Long Island.

So it’s no shock that he decided to pal around with Willis McGahee on the red carpet in Miami Beach. McGahee shattered records as a running back at the University of Miami before going pro and putting together three 1,000-yard seasons for the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.

James was taking part in the premiere of Zookeeper at the Regal South Beach Cinema. The film stars James as a lonely zookeeper trying to find love who gets the help of some unlikely advisers — his animals. The film opens nationwide on July 8.

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Two proCanes Ranked in the Top 10 Safeties in NFL

Friendly Disclaimer: The following list is influenced largely -– but not strictly -– by film study of all 32 teams from the 2010 season. Stats weren’t acknowledged, but players with poor numbers generally don’t make top 10 lists anyway. Vague enough for you? Criteria for top 10 lists tend to be. That’s why most of you will have no trouble finding some disagreement with what you’re about to read.
(Last year’s ranking of safeties in parentheses.)

10. O.J. Atogwe, Redskins (NR)
Solid role player, but not a big-time creator.

9. Roman Harper, Saints (7)
Stupendous in the box but not so much in space. Save for the wild-card disaster in Seattle, that’s been just fine in New Orleans’s scheme.

8. Jim Leonhard, Jets (NR)
A Swiss Army Knife in Rex Ryan’s pocket.

7. Malcolm Jenkins, Saints (NR)
Superb natural talent who can cover the slot man-to-man and make rangy plays from centerfield. If he can learn to harness his aggressive instincts, he’ll be elite.

6. Eric Berry, Chiefs (not in league)
Physical young whiz who eats up a lot of ground in a hurry. The writing on the wall is in all caps: FUTURE SUPERSTAR.

5. Nick Collins, Packers (5)
Classic rangy free safety. Understands angles and route combinations. 4. Antoine Bethea, Colts (6)
About as flashy as a Tuesday afternoon in Lubbock, Tex., but there’s something to be said for calendar-like consistency. Indy’s secondary has survived injuries over the years because its centerfielder does everything well.

3. Antrel Rolle, Giants (8)
Played the role of Charles Woodson for the Giants last season. All-around versatility is a huge asset.

2. Ed Reed, Ravens (2)
Nothing new to report here.

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers (1)
A future first ballot Hall of Famer. Great as he is, just for fun as an aside, let’s ponder this question: What would his reputation be if he didn’t have long hair?

On the cusp:
Kenny Phillips, Giants; Brian Dawkins, Broncos; Michael Griffin, Titans

Dropped from list:
Darren Sharper, Saints (3)
Brian Dawkins, Broncos (4)
Brandon Meriweather, Patriots (9)
Adrian Wilson, Cardinals (10)
Sharper and Dawkins are long in the tooth. Meriweather, for some reason, stopped listening to his coaches early last year (he rebounded down the stretch). Wilson’s severe limitations in coverage make him a de facto linebacker.

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The Rock Rides Spash Mountain in Disneyland

The Rock posted this photo of himself on Splash Mountain at Disneyland.


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Scott Maine sticks it out until end for victory

The eighth-largest crowd in triple-A Iowa franchise history witnessed a lot of everything Friday night at Principal Park — including a first for Cubs pitcher Scott Maine.

The lefty reliever recorded his longest stint in four-plus years as a professional while getting the save in the Cubs’ 5-3 win against Memphis before a crowd of 13,549.

He pitched the final three innings and struck out six, including three in the seventh.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gone three innings in pro ball,” Maine said. “I’ve gone 2 1/3 and 2 2/3, but I can’t ever remember finishing a third inning.”

How Friday’s victory happened was just as entertaining as the postgame fireworks, and it started by disproving the notion that pitchers can’t hit.

Manager Bill Dancy made a creative substitution in the fifth inning, summoning pitcher Jay Jackson from the bench to pinch hit for starting pitcher Alberto Cabrera with one out and runners at first and second, the Cubs trailing 3-0.

Jackson responded with a double that scored Jonathan Mota and Augie Ojeda, and then Jackson later scored the third run of the inning on a fly out to deep center by Tyler Colvin.

Using Jackson was a solid choice, given that he came into the game with six hits in 17 at-bats.

An inning later, the big and boisterous crowd saw that deadlock broken on consecutive homers by Bryan LaHair and Welington Castillo.

LaHair and Castillo enter Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Albuquerque with a combined 30 homers, including 20 by LaHair. He’s 18 shy of breaking the franchise record of 37, set by Joe Hicks in 1984, with 68 games remaining.

“I can’t tell you anything about that,” LaHair said of the record. “If I hit the ball hard — some go out of the park and some don’t.”

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Danny Valencia hits three-run jack on Friday

Danny Valencia belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning of Friday's loss to the Brewers.

Valencia's three-run blast off Randy Wolf gave the Twins a temporary 3-2 lead before Prince Fielder put the Brew Crew back up for good. Three of Valencia's eight longballs this season have come in the last week, though he's still batting just .215 on the season after batting .311 in his rookie year.

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Rickie's younger brother Jemile making impact with A's

In the eighth round of the 2005 draft, the Brewers selected high school second baseman Jemile Weeks, younger brother of Rickie Weeks, who was within days of being called up to begin his career as Milwaukee's second baseman.

The Brewers knew the younger Weeks had a scholarship offer from the University of Miami and would be difficult to sign but they took a shot anyway. Instead, Jemile went to college and emerged three years later as a first-round draft pick of the Oakland A's.

Imagine what might have happened had Jemile signed with the Brewers. Would he have taken his brother's job? Would the Brewers have committed long-term to Rickie as they did this spring?

We'll never know, but suffice to say Jemile has made an immediate impact in Oakland. In fact, he was playing so well after being summoned from the minors June 7 that veteran Mark Ellis did not reclaim the second-base job after coming off the disabled list last week.

Entering Saturday, the 24-year-old Jemile had established himself atop Oakland's batting order with a .305 batting average. Ellis, now considered trade bait, said he understood why Weeks did not relinquish the job.

"Jemile is playing too well to take him out," Ellis said. "He's provided a spark. You can't take him out. I hope he does well and plays 10 years in Oakland."

Jemile, a 5-foot-9 switch-hitter, is making a similar impact with the A's that catcher Buster Posey made across the bay in San Francisco when summoned in the first half of the 2010 season. Beyond that, their backgrounds are similar.

Both were first-round picks in '08, with Posey going fifth and Weeks 12th. Both were college stars in Florida, with Posey coming out of Florida State. Both were seen as possible difference-makers, offensively and defensively.

Obviously, Weeks can only dream of having the same first-year impact of Posey, who went on to claim rookie of the year honors and help the Giants win the World Series.

"I have nerves," said Weeks, who was batting .321 with a .417 on-base percentage at Class AAA Sacramento when summoned. "At the same time, they're exciting nerves, like readiness."

Weeks was fortunate to receive counsel and advice along the way from his big brother as well as former A's standout Rickey Henderson. There also has been the leadership and magnanimity of Ellis, who holds no grudges.

"My loyalty is obviously to Oakland, but I realize the situation," Ellis said. "Jemile is the future, and we play the same position. It's something I have zero control over, anyway."

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Ryan Braun Helps The Brewers Take Down The Twins

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers insist it's way too early to start watching the scoreboard. That said, they're enjoying their three-game lead in the NL Central.

Braun extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a tiebreaking home run and the Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 Sunday.

"It means we're in a position we wanted to be in," Braun said of the lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. "But ultimately it matters where we're at on Sept. 26, not June 26."

The Brewers have not won a division title since taking the AL East in 1982. They moved to the National League in 1998 and won the wild card in 2008. With St. Louis star Albert Pujols expected to be on the disabled list with a broken left wrist for at least six, the Brewers hope to widen their lead.

The Brewers were the only team in the division to win on Sunday.

"It's definitely better than a no-game lead," slugger Prince Fielder said with a big smile.

The Brewers had dropped seven of 10 before trouncing the Twins in the three-game interleague series.

"I don't think we ever lost confidence in any way," Braun said. "You just continue to go out there and continue to compete. Sometime you play against good teams and they are going to beat you, but if we continue to go out there and play the same way we're going to win a lot of games."

Braun connected for a two-run shot in the fifth inning. Chris Narveson (5-5) helped himself with an RBI double.

The punchless Twins, using a watered-down lineup decimated by injuries, have scored only eight runs in losing five consecutive games.

"I don't really care," Fielder said. "That's the team that's out there, so we have to try and beat them. Fortunately, we had a good series."

Jonathan Lucroy had a triple, a double, a walk, scored two runs and had an RBI for Milwaukee, which swept the three-game series and has won four of five.

"It's so far to go," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "Maybe with a month left or something I'll start.

"I know how fast things can change in one month," he said.

Carl Pavano (5-6) blanked the Brewers the first four innings, but allowed five runs with two outs over the next two innings to lose for the first time in five June starts.

"I gave up those runs with two outs," he said. "That's tough to swallow."

Narveson allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings against a Twins starting lineup that had combined for only 22 homers this season, one more than Fielder.

Narveson scattered five hits and two walks while striking out seven to win for the third time in four starts.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second when Danny Valencia singled and scored on Jason Repko's single.

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs against Pavano in the third, but Braun flied out to end the inning.

In the fifth, Braun came through.

Lucroy opened the inning with a triple down the left-field line. Two outs later, Nyjer Morgan singled to tie it at 1. Pavano threw to first in an effort to keep Morgan close to the bag, but the ball went off Luke Hughes' glove for an error, allowing Morgan to advance to second. Braun hit the next pitch over the center-field wall for his 16th homer.

In the sixth, Milwaukee scored twice more off Pavano with two outs. Yuniesky Betancourt singled and scored on Lucroy's double. Narveson doubled down the left-field line for his second extra-base hit in 105 major-league plate appearances, scoring Lucroy for a 5-1 lead.

"Ugly ball game for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Make mistakes and they end up killing you all the time. We made too many of them today."

Minnesota scored its second run off Narveson in the seventh. Hughes walked and scored on pinch-hitter Jim Thome's RBI single, moving the 40-year-old past Ernie Banks into 28th on the all-time RBI list with 1,637.

Twins reliever Jose Mijares allowed another hit to Fielder in the seventh that gave the Brewers a 6-2 lead, two nights after getting into a dispute with catcher Joe Mauer over pitch selection. Mijares complained after Friday night's game that he wanted to throw a slider to Fielder, but Mauer called several fastballs and the big first baseman hit one for a game-winning double.

With Braun on second Sunday, Fielder came to the plate and Mauer called for the slider. Fielder promptly sent it into center field for an RBI single to make it 6-2.

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