Photo of the Week - Jon VIlma's Vegas Date

Nik, this chick is all over facebook bragging about how much fun she had with Jonathan Vilma all Memorial weekend long and what a gentleman he is and how she cant wait to see him again. 

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Bryant McKinnie working through lingering injury

Bryant McKinnie’s offseason started a little sooner than he wanted. First there was the overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game, which was followed by the Pro Bowl flap in which he was dismissed from the NFC team when he didn’t report to practice late in the week.

McKinnie, the eight-year veteran Vikings tackle, made his first Pro Bowl in February, but after missing practices on that Thursday and Friday, he was dismissed from the team. He said he talked to a trainer for the NFC Pro Bowl team on the phone and the two were attempting to meet that Friday evening, but that never happened.

McKinnie was criticized for missing the practices but also being able to send messages to his Twitter account about a party he was attending at a night club that lasted into the morning before his first skipped practice.

When all the dust had settled, McKinnie revealed that he was also dealing with plantar fasciitis, a painful condition in the feet. This week, McKinnie said that ailment is improving.

“I’m still working on it, but it’s nowhere near what it was coming out of the season. On Twitter I even said I had to get my feet up, take some medicine like that,” the 6-foot-8, 335-pound McKinnie said. “It’s a lot better. (The doctor) just told me, ‘Don’t walk around bare-footed’ or not really supposed to wear slides in there. I’m supposed to get orthodics for my shoes.”

McKinnie and guard Anthony Herrera were both at Winter Park on Wednesday to take part in some of the organized team activities (OTAs). Like most of the starting veterans, they joined their younger teammates for stretching and then returned to the building for rehab and weight training.

But, unlike a lot of the other starters who are recovering from injury, McKinnie and Herrera returned to the field later in practice. They participated in some of the team cross-work and blitz segments after the individual technique work was done.

“Individual is more showing technique and I guess they thought we’d been there long enough that we have an idea of how to get the technique part down. Just doing some extra running to get the cardio right,” McKinnie said.

McKinnie was asked if he’s bulked up or done anything different this year and he joked that a lot of people have asked him that. “I must look heavier because every day somebody else says that, ‘You look a little heavy,’ like the jersey is stretched out,” he said.

Truth is, he doesn’t look much different than he did one year ago, when he started on his journey to his first Pro Bowl season. But in order to get there, he had to battle through ankle and feet injuries. However, he wasn’t alone.

Every starter on the offensive line was dealing with varying degrees of injury that could have knocked them out of action – in addition to McKinnie’s ailments, Steve Hutchinson and Herrera were dealing with shoulder injuries, John Sullivan had an ankle problem and Phil Loadholt had shoulder and ankle injuries.

“I know a lot of people took care of the injuries with the offseason too. That’s why you see Hutch and Sully in there doing the rehab, the running and lifting stuff,” McKinnie said. “As long as everybody’s healthy, that’s my whole thing.”

McKinnie isn’t completely healthy yet, but he’s hoping to get there and regain the confidence of his teammates.

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One week after hospitalization, Saints expect Jeremy Shockey to participate in minicamp

New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey is expected to participate in the team's minicamp this weekend. GM Mickey Loomis told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Shockey was taken to a New Orleans hospital last Thursday after suffering a mild seizure while working out at the team facility. He pronounced himself 'OK' after being treated.

Last year, Shockey was also hospitalized for dehydration in March. He returned to play in 13 games for the Saints in the regular season and their three postseason games. He caught a touchdown for the Saints in their Super Bowl win.

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Reggie Wayne will skip Colts' mandatory minicamp, wants new contract

Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne will not participate in the Indianapolis Colts' mandatory three-day minicamp this weekend as he seeks a new contract, a source with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

Wayne, who later confirmed his intentions in an e-mail to ESPN, also has missed organized team activities this offseason, but that isn't unusual.

Wayne has two years remaining on his deal, and he's due to earn under $6 million each season. The Colts are trying to get a new deal done for quarterback Peyton Manning, then turn their attention to potential extensions for Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis, who also has skipped OTAs.

Wayne has talked to coaches about his decision not to attend minicamp, including a conversation with coach Jim Caldwell, according to the source. Wayne has a strong connection with Manning, is well versed in the Colts' offense and always has reported in great shape, which doesn't make his absence a huge factor, although the minicamp is considered mandatory.

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With Martz now in charge, TE Olsen has no worries

About the only person not making a big deal about tight end Greg Olsen's role in Mike Martz's offense is Olsen himself.

Olsen led the Bears last season with 60 receptions and 8 touchdowns, but Martz's offenses have rarely utilized the tight end to that extent.
In Martz's seven years with the Rams, the first as the offensive coordinator and the next six as head coach, no tight end ever caught more than 38 passes and all the tight ends combined never caught more than 50 passes in a season.

The Bears' new offensive coordinator has mainly used the tight end as an extra blocker in the run game or pass protector. So, when the Bears signed 6-foot-2, 295-pound blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna early in free agency, Olsen's demise was widely anticipated. Either he would be traded, or his role as a pass catcher would be drastically reduced, according to the doomsday predictors.

But there was Olsen Wednesday afternoon at Halas Hall in the first of 14 OTA (organized team activity) practices sprinting down the field catching lasers from Jay Cutler as a member of the first team, often in the same personnel package as fellow tight end Desmond Clark. Manumaleuna has been limited to individual running drills on the sideline since having minor arthroscopic knee surgery.

Olsen is not the least bit worried about his role.

"I've addressed this a million times," he said. "I feel good the way things have gone so far, and it's early in the process, but so far everything's been great."

But will it remain that way?

Olsen will be asked to block more often and more effectively than in the past, and he may never be an 80-catch guy, as had been predicted when he was drafted in the first round in 2007.

Olsen doesn't appear worried. It's still football, and Martz has said that the 6-foot-5, 255-pound former Miami Hurricane presents a receiving threat at tight end that Martz never had in St. Louis.

"Sometimes you focus your offense around what you've got," Olsen said. "In the past, (Martz) has had great wide receivers and great backs. It's the same here, but we feel like we have a couple tight ends who can do some stuff in the passing game along with those other guys. So we'll see how that works out.

"We feel good that he can kind of make it work to whatever his players' strengths are, and that's something that they continue to hit on."
As for the blocking, that's something Olsen knows wasn't a strength coming out of college, but he continues to work to improve in that area.
"It's been part of the program every single off-season, and each year I've gotten better," he said. "This year is no different, regardless of all that's happened. Every off-season we work hard at it, and that's not going to change."

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Self-representation backfires on Andre Johnson

HOUSTON – An adage in the legal profession is that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Sadly, Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson(notes) is learning the NFL version of that saying the hard way. Even after he recently hired agent Kennard McGuire to represent him, the lesson will likely cost him around $20 million over the course of his career.

Until hiring McGuire, Johnson essentially represented himself, using uncle Andre Melton as an advisor. The result of that decision has been a costly mistake for a player who is perfect in so many other ways. Aside from being a great player, Johnson is extremely classy and is roundly praised as a helpful and generous teammate.

Those would be wonderful points to make in a contract negotiation … if Johnson didn’t have five years left on his current deal. He could even use those points to counter the negativity of a holdout if Johnson was playing serious hardball with the Texans by not showing up for offseason work at all. However, Johnson has been far from disruptive. Instead, he missed three days of workouts this offseason, showed up to tell management he wasn’t happy and then went back to work with his teammates.

He did that even after Melton hinted to the media that Johnson was going to play rough with the Texans.

“My uncle may have said some things about what he thought I should do, but that didn’t come from me,” said Johnson, who led the league with 1,569 receiving yards last season.

Johnson’s body language demonstrated that he was clearly uncomfortable with the idea of holding out. The idea goes against his very nature. But Johnson, 28, is also frustrated with his contract, a deal which likely will cover the rest of his most productive seasons. By the time it expires after the 2014 season, Johnson will likely be playing out the string of his career if he’s even able to do that.

“When I missed the first days [of offseason work], everybody has their own opinion like, ‘He’s greedy and this and that.’ They don’t know the whole story, they haven’t been here, so it’s something you just have to understand,” said Johnson, the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. “The crazy thing about it – and this is why I say people don’t know what was going on – when I signed the contract [extension in 2007], all you heard is, ‘He’s a great guy, he’s a team player, he restructured his deal to bring other people in.’

“But now, when I ask for a restructured contract, ‘He’s greedy, he’s a diva, he’s this.’ Everybody flips on me.”

For the Texans, this is clearly an uncomfortable subject. They have a great player who is dissatisfied. Criticizing Johnson in any way would come off as bad PR.

“I want to make something clear, this is not me against Andre Johnson,” Houston general manager Rick Smith said. “Andre is a great player and person in every way.”

But …

“We didn’t give Andre a new contract [in 2007] to create cap space so we could sign free agents. We did it because he wanted more money,” Smith said.

OK, the problem is that Johnson didn’t really get a lot more than if he had played out the old deal – certainly not enough to make up for the risk of playing out his first contract.

Here’s the breakdown: As a rookie, Johnson signed a six-year, $39 million deal, which was pretty much in line with the market at the time. Then again, most rookie contracts are essentially slotted deals and the Texans were aggressive about giving Johnson a deal to get him signed on time for camp.

Where things went wrong was after the first four years of that deal in the 2007 offseason. By that time, according to NFL Players Association figures, Johnson had earned $21.71 million and had two years left on his rookie deal. He would have made $8.35 million in 2007 and again in 2008 for a total of $38.41 million over the first six years of his contract.

That also would have made Johnson a free agent or franchise player in the 2009 offseason. By then, fellow wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald(notes) (four years, $40 million) and Roy Williams (six years, $54 million) had already signed lucrative extensions.

But instead of playing out the final two years and getting leverage that comes with being a free agent or franchise player, Johnson signed a new deal in March 2007, adding six years to his original contract.

The result was basically an eight-year deal worth $60 million. If all goes well, Johnson, who is the only other receiver under 30 who ranks with Fitzgerald, will earn a total of $81.71 million over 12 years, which is basically his whole career.

Now, there’s nothing terribly wrong with that sum, but here’s the problem: Based on what Fitzgerald and Williams signed for, it’s not absurd to believe that Johnson easily could have made more than $10 million per year if he had waited. A six-year, $66 million contract, including $32 million or so guaranteed, could easily have been had.

“Andre Johnson is the one guy who could have [gotten more per year] than Larry Fitzgerald at that point,” a prominent agent said, referring to what could have happened if Johnson had waited. “The funny part is we actually had his contract used against us in one negotiation. The team said, ‘Your guy isn’t as good as Andre Johnson and look at his contract.’ ”

The bottom line is this, if Johnson had been patient, he could have hauled in more than $104 million over the same 12 years where he stands to make $81.71 million. And that’s if he stays healthy all the way through. Under the more patient scenario, nearly $70 million of that would have been guaranteed.

Some people might argue that Johnson needed to take the new deal for more security. After all, the Texans gave him $16 million in March 2007 and he has made more than $23 million total over the past three years.

OK, but Johnson was going to get at least $8.35 million in 2007 no matter and he could have easily purchased an insurance policy to cover the other $15 million he made with that extension.

And don’t expect McGuire, a talented and experienced agent, to have much luck getting a lot out of the Texans unless Johnson is willing to really play tough and hold out. Although McGuire is friendly with Smith, the Texans likely won’t do much more than add some incentives to the contract.

In other words, it would have paid for Johnson to wait.

If only he had someone who could have explained that to him.

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Jon Jay's ways have Cardinals chirping

ST. LOUIS - Jon Jay of the St. Louis Cardinals is eyeing big-league prosperity after minor-league success at Triple-A Memphis earlier this season.
The rookie's play earlier this week certainly drew the attention of St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. Jonathan Henry Jay has a way about him. "He had a heck of a game," La Russa said Tuesday after Jay went 3-for-5 and clouted his first big-league home run in a 9-8 loss to Cincinnati. "He can hit and he has speed."
However, Jay hit into a ninth-inning double play and that quieted the Cards in the middle game of the series. La Russa decided to have Jay hit away in what could have been a bunting situation. The Reds clung to a one-run lead at the time.
"I don't even think it's a tough call," La Russa said, disdaining a bunt. "Playing for a tie would be a really dumb idea. If you have a chance to win it, then you try it. And I thought we had a great chance with Jay because he's hard to double up."
Jay, hitting .302 likely won't start tonight when the Cardinals open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. He's a left-handed hitter and Milwaukee is going with left-hander Randy Wolf, owner of a 4-4 record.
The Cardinals will counter with 7-3 Adam Wainwright, then send rookie Adam Ottavino to the mound at 3 p.m. Saturday in a nationally televised game against the Brewers' 4-3 Chris Narveson. The Milwaukee left-handed was once regarded as Cards' prime prospect.
The series finale Sunday night pits 5-2 Jaime Garcia, owner of a microscopic 1.32 ERA, against Milwaukee's 1-5 Dave Bush. ESPN will be in the house for the first pitch at 7 p.m.
While the Brewers are trying to climb out of the lower half of the NL Central, the Cardinals started the weekend tied with Cincinnati for first place. They won two of three games from the Reds here this week and improved to 31-23. Cincy, which has the same record, opens a three-game series tonight in Washington.
"They're a good team but I feel like we're better," Cincinnati infielder Brandon Phillips said of the Cardinals.
Bench play has bolstered the Redbirds and Jay, a budding Bobby Tolan-type, has supplied five hits in his last 11 at-bats. He has started five games and hit safely in each one.
He savored stirring a hit parade in Memphis. Jay hit safely in 16 games, sported a .348 batting average and was the Cardinals' minor league player of the month for April. Jay, 25 and 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, is a Miami native and played collegiate ball for the Hurricanes. The Cardinals drafted him in the second round four years ago.

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Pat Burrell likely to join Giants on Friday

Pat Burrell is "likely" to join the Giants in Pittsburgh, according to CSN Bay Area's Mychael Urban.

Burrell, 33, was inked to a minor league contract last week and the Giants already believe that he can help their struggling offense. He's unlikely to start many games in the outfield, but could be a nice late-inning presence off the bench in possible RBI situations. John Bowker is likely to be demoted.

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Greg Olsen Learning Blocking Basics

While Bears TE Greg Olsen remains optimistic about his role in Mike Martz's offense this season, he also explained following an early-June OTA practice that he's learning better blocking technique. Olsen said that blocking is the opposite of route-running in that you need to slow down and keep your feet grounded. But will his route-running be grounded under Martz, who has not utilized receiving tight ends in the past? Olsen thinks Martz can work his position into the new offense. "I feel good the way things have gone so far and it's early in the process, but so far everything's been great," Olsen said.

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Wilfork excited that a new season has begun

FOXBORO -- An already established force on the Patriots, Vince Wilfork stressed that this year's team must put last season behind them, beginning right now.

"I'm very excited about getting back into the swing of things," said Wilfork after Wednesday's OTA. "I've got some new teammates, new guys, guys that have been around, so it's going to be very interesting.

"But we have to start from the bottom. We have to start from the bottom and work our way up. It's going to take day in and day out. So a lot of work. We're not even near where we need to be. We understand that. But we have to take it one day at a time.

"Last year was last year, and that's the way I'm going to keep it," said Wilfork. "It's a new year, a new year. We've got new faces here, different people, new draft picks, people coming here from other teams. So last year was last year."

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Clinton Portis is the starter heading into camp

Just in case there was any question, we can clear up this much: the Redskins' starting running back right now is Clinton Portis.

"Clinton has been the back here, and he's definitely the starting back going into training camp," said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. "We don't really talk about that stuff because we want three guys who all can do it. Whoever can do it, will do it. Clinton's running with the starters. We're planning on it being that way until the next guy steps up."

The team signed veterans Larry Johnson and Willie Parker this offseason. The coaching staff has been reluctant to name starters at any position while encouraging competition everywhere.

At the team's organized team activities (OTAs), Portis has been getting the majority of repetitions with the first team. He and quarterback Donovan McNabb have been taking part in more OTAs than in recent years, and the extra time together during the offseason apparently is paying off.

"With Clinton, it seems like we've been playing together for a while," McNabb said. "Obviously, with him being in this sort of offense in Denver and now coming here with [Joe] Gibbs' brand, he has that experience. But our chemistry has definitely been there. We've just been communicating and making sure that everybody is kind of thinking on the same wave length."

That isn't to say that the running back position is locked up. Coaches will continue to monitor all three veteran backs through training camp.

"I see three very good ones," Kyle Shanahan said. "Each one is a little different. I know I see three starting NFL backs, which is exciting."

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Reggie Wayne admits to giving alleged mistress access to home in court documents

Indianapolis - Court documents now not only reveal exactly what 26-year-old Natasha McKenzie allegedly did with the money, but also has Wayne admitting to having her in his home and buying her plane tickets.

In an exclusive interview with Fox 59 McKenzie says early into her affair with Wayne, she asked him for money.

"I texted him, 'hey I'm going to be out here without a phone. I need to pay my cell phone bill.' And that's when he was like, 'use that card that I gave you to take care of whatever you need to take care of ," she says. "He didn't say, spend $10 a month.' He didn't say, 'only pay your cell phone bill." 

An eight-page probable cause affidavit, reveals McKenzie rang up 333 charges on Wayne's debit card, totaling around $95,000. She not only bought furniture and electronics for her condo, but the affidavit states she was, "taking orders from friends and family... apparently charging them half price plus a small fee."

The affidavit goes on to state that McKenzie would often charge items on the card, only to turn around and sell those at half price too.

As for Wayne, his testimony seems contradictory.

At first, he tells detectives that "McKenzie has had access to the card in the past" and in an April 10th police report, he says "McKenzie ... had access to his home."

But Wayne then goes on to say he "never gave her permission to use the card" saying she "may have gotten the number when he made a flight reservation for her."

"I've never been in any trouble, never done anything wrong," says McKenzie, who continues to maintain her innocence, adding the only reason this has come to light is because Wayne got caught cheating on his wife.

"Maybe his wife found out his mistresses. Maybe it's not just me maybe there are some other girls also going through this that I don't know about."

The matter remains under investigation by IMPD.

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A closer look: Dedrick Epps

SAN DIEGO – One quarter and one nickel are the same as three dimes.

A half-court swish counts for the same three points as an accidental bank shot from two inches behind the line.

Whether you chug three bottles of water at lunch or sip them throughout the day, you consume 60 ounces.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and a bunch of parts can add up.

Seventh-round draft pick Dedrick Epps counts on those principles as he seeks to prove his worth as an NFL tight end.

The versatile rookie got a reputation at the University of Miami for being good, not great, at a lot of things. Not overwhelmingly powerful, the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder showed a willingness to block and handled defensive ends effectively. Epps won’t challenge Chris Johnson in a foot race but raced up the seam past linebackers if they were not careful. He didn’t make every catch, but he made some remarkable ones in traffic.

He lined up in the backfield, outside the tackle and split out wide.

“I just try to bring a lot to the table and whatever they want me to do I try to do it to the best of my ability,” Epps said. “I give 100 percent effort on every play. If I make a mistake I’m going to go 110 percent.”

San Diego asks its tight ends to handle multiple responsibilities, and Epps is fine with that.

“The offense is more complex here. In college, I did a lot, but they want more at this level,” he said. “I’m willing to endure that. It’s nothing. You just have to make the adjustment and roll with it.

“It’s a load, but you just want to take it in. Try to learn as much as you can on the fly, then when you go out there, just try to remember it all. It’s a lot to learn, but once I get it done it’ll be alright.”

Epps wouldn’t be the first Miami tight end to succeed in the NFL. The list of Hurricanes that currently populate the league includes Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Greg Olsen. Jimmy Graham, drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round, was Epps’ college
teammate. Even Chargers tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski played the position for Miami.

He envisions himself as another part of the dangerous arsenal that Philip Rivers deploys.

“I just want to line up anywhere and be a threat, you know?” he said when asked to imagine the player he wants to become.

“The defense is always focusing on where I am. Then they have to worry about the other threats that are on the team also. The more of a threat I can bring to the table for the opponent, that helps our offense. With the other threats that we have, we come together as a whole unit and then we’re unstoppable.”

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McNabb unconcerned about Santana Moss's link to Galea

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb said Wednesday he's not concerned about Santana Moss's connection to Anthony Galea, the Toronto-based physician charged with unlawful distribution of human growth hormone.

McNabb tried to diffuse the situation with levity.

"I don't think he took anything to get taller, "McNabb said of his 5-foot-10-inch wide receiver, "because that didn't work."

McNabb has spoken with Moss about the allegations. McNabb said he does not view the situation as a "controversy" because "knowing him, and knowing that situation, there was nothing involved with him. His name was on the list, but there were a bunch of names on the list."

McNabb sounded excited about Moss getting healthy and joining a receivers
corps with few proven players. Moss continues to recover from a knee injury.

"The guy's got a knack for big-play ability," McNabb said. "I've seen it first hand. When he's back here healthy and ready to go, it's going to be another piece of our puzzle."

While the Redskins settle their wide receivers, they will rely on depth at running back and tight end. McNabb sounded especially encouraged by the tight ends. Both Chris Cooley and Fred Davis have been productive and the Redskins' offense has flexibility that allows the tight ends to be utilized in different ways, including playing at the same time.

"When you have a tandem like these two that you can split and try to create mismatches with, it helps your offense go a little bit easier," McNabb said. "I think I can say with confidence that this is the best the NFC East, definitely."

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Wilfork on the Celtics bandwagon

FOXBORO - Vince Wilfork may not get to see the games, but that won't stop the big nose tackle of the Patriots from rooting for the Boston Celtics as they begin their NBA Finals series with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.

"I'm a huge Celtics fan and I'm rooting for those guys," Wilfork told a crowd of reporters after the morning practice at the Patriots' organized team activity at Gillette Stadium. ""I think they have a shot. They're in the Big Dance, and good luck to them. I'm sure Doc (Rivers, the Celtics' coach) will have those guys ready to roll.

Wilfork has been a regular at Celtics' games during his own offseason, but the increasing pace of team activities leading up to the full-squad minicamp in two weeks may prevent him from making it to the most important playoff games of the year.

"I have to take care of priorities first, and that's my job," he said. "But if I feel comfortable enough to leave, I'll go."

A Floridian by birth, Wilfork said he's always been a fan of the Green Team. "I grew up a Celtics' fan, watching Larry Bird, and those guys Kevin McHale, (Robert) Parish I watched it, and I just loved the Green," he said.

Wilfork said he liked the chances of the C's against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

"Bench and defense," he said. "That's going to be the key. That's the key to any championship."

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Pat Burrell doing well at Triple-A Fresno

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's been getting solid reports about the progress of recently signed outfielder Pat Burrell, currently at Triple-A Fresno.

In three games with the Grizzlies, Burrell is 5-for-12 (.417) with one home run and four RBIs.

"From the first game he's looked good at the plate and has been playing some outfield," Bochy said of what he's heard of Burrell, who signed with the Giants on Saturday. "He kept himself in great shape and he showed up with great attitude and he's been playing well."

Burrell was slated to bat cleanup and play left field Wednesday night.

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Cardinals' manager pins hopes of victory on Jon Jay

Even with his first major-league homer and best major-league start already in the box score Tuesday, Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay approached the batter's box with an eye cocked for the sacrifice bunt sign that never came.

In a game the Cincinnati Reds would win 9-8, the Cardinals had the tying run at first base and no outs with the lefthanded-hitting rookie coming up against Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero. It seemed like the ideal time to bunt the runner over to second base and let one of the bigger bats, such as Ryan Ludwick, take a crack at tying the game.

Hardly, said manager Tony La Russa.

"How can you play for a tie in that situation?" La Russa said, scoffing at the notion. "That's firing material right there. I thought we had a great chance (to win)."

At the end of a seesaw evening featuring the NL Central's top two clubs, a lot went into a ninth-inning decision that led to a rally-ending double play. To bunt or not to bunt was not a simple question; it hinged on a bullpen La Russa wanted to protect, a victory perhaps there for the taking, and a right fielder who already had three hits in the game and speed on the bases.

Jay, a rookie making his sixth start in the majors, was three for four before his ninth-inning at-bat. In the fourth inning, he drilled a pitch from Reds starter Johnny Cueto for a solo home run. Jay's first major-league homer traveled an estimated 412 feet out to right field, and it chewed into the Reds' 7-3 lead. In the sixth inning, Jay aided a four-run rally for the Cardinals' first lead of the game with a single to score Colby Rasmus. Jay's RBI single brought the Cardinals within one, and Jay later scored on Brendan Ryan's double to put the Cardinals ahead by one.

"I was able to put a barrel on a couple balls and they fell in for me," said Jay after his first two-hit game in the big leagues. "I'm still trying to prove myself. I've only been here a month. I'm just trying to survive."

Survival was also on La Russa's mind when electing not to go with a sacrifice bunt in the ninth. One of the manager's goals Tuesday, win or lose, was to get closer Ryan Franklin in the game. He did, for two innings of work. La Russa explained after the game that the didn't want to use either righthanded relievers Kyle McClellan or Jason Motte unless in "an emergency," which to him was extra innings.

Trailing by a run in the ninth, the Cardinals got leadoff hitter David Freese on with a single to left field. That brought up Jay.

Jay said he was ready for the bunt sign.

He wasn't fazed when it didn't come.

He'd been hitting well.

"We don't have the deepest situation (on the roster). I don't think it's a tough call," La Russa said. "Playing for the tie would be a dumb idea. Who are you going to pitch in the 10th? I think you've got to play for the win."

Also factoring into the decision was closer Cordero's numbers this season. The righthander, who earned his 16th save with Tuesday's win, has held righthanded hitters to a .228 average. Lefties such as Jay have hit .325 against him. In his previous at-bat, Jay broke a potential double play by beating the throw to first base. La Russa stacked up the factors — the lefties' stats against Cordero, Jay's effective hitting, the outfielder's running ability, and the need to protect the bullpen — and didn't put a play on for the rookie.

He hit the ball squarely, but at second baseman Brandon Phillips. The Reds spun a double play to get Freese and Jay. Cordero then got pinch-hitter Ludwick to pop up for the final out.

"We took a great shot to win it," La Russa said. "We just didn't win it."

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Ryan Braun continues to lead All-Star voting

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Ryan Braun continues to lead National League outfielders as the leading vote-getter at his position in the second round of the early results for the 2010 All-Star Team announced by Major League Baseball today. He ranks third overall in National League voting results with 693,460 votes, trailing only Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley (1,103,430) and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols (1,006,149).

Rickie Weeks (261,591) remains second among National League second baseman, trailing only Utley. Prince Fielder (315,936) and Casey McGehee (329,675) maintained their third place standings at first base and third base, respectively. Alcides Escobar (232,449) ranks fifth among N.L. shortstops while outfielders Jim Edmonds (13th, 244,125) and Carlos Gomez (14th, 219,408) round out the Brewers leaders.
This year marks the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will be held on Tuesday, July 13 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, Calif.

The 2010 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 4th. Both the National League and American League teams will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers.

Fans can vote for the Major League All-Stars online at through Thursday, July 1 at 10:59 CT.

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Jon Jay knows nothing's guaranteed with Cardinals

Rookie Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay knows the drill. He exists in the big leagues as a day-to-day player.

When manager Tony La Russa gives him a chance to do something, he needs to do it. If Jay can’t get the job done, he knows the club will give somebody else an opportunity to succeed.

“I’m just trying to survive,” Jay said after the Cards’ 9-8 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night. “I’m trying to make it each week.”

During spring training, Allen Craig outperformed him and earned a spot on the big league roster to open the season. Then Craig struggled, so Jay got his first crack at the bigs.

Craig recently got another shot. It lasted one at-bat. Craig didn’t get a hit, and back to the minors he went -– making room for veteran Aaron Miles.

Watching the young Cards develop (or not, in some cases) has been one of the most interesting subplots to this season. This franchise has leaned on home-grown players more in the last two seasons than ever before during the La Russa Regime.

Many rookies are getting a chance. Some, like David Freese and Jaime Garcia, are starring. Others, like Jay and Nick Stavinoha, have developed some staying power in part-time roles.

Still others, like Craig and Joe Mather, didn’t hit well enough to stick this season.

The good news for La Russa: He doesn’t have to manufacture a sense of urgency among his extra players. They know that a ticket to Memphis awaits those who can’t keep up.

Rookie P.J. Walters did fine in his first appearance this season, an inning-eating relief assignment. Then he won his first start, beating the light-hitting Padres in spacious Petco Park.

Then the Reds racked him, taking him deep three times Tuesday night. Now Walters is back on the clock. General manager John Mozeliak would have many veteran options should he look outside the organization for help.

Rookie Adam Ottavino did OK in his big league debut, lasting long enough at Wrigley Field to earn another start. But he, too, is in the majors on a game-to-game basis.

The Cards brought up reliever Fernando Salas for one game, got a good effort from him, then sent him back. The team added Evan MacLane to the 40-man roster, brought him up for a day and returned him to Memphis unused.

Catcher Bryan Anderson got his first big league taste earlier this season. Shortstop Tyler Greene got another couple of weeks in The Show while Felipe Lopez was hurt.

In time, many of these players could become regulars in St. Louis. But they will all have to earn their opportunities through repeated performance.

In that context, Jay’s recent breakout is notable. He has looked like a big leaguer from Day One, playing smooth defense in the outfield, running well on the bases and offering a quick lefthanded option at the plate.

This is what the Cards expected when they drafted him out of the University of Miami as a semi-finished product. The front office figured he would rise quickly through the minor leagues and offer support sooner than later. He did.

But there is a difference between looking like a big leaguer and delivering major league production. Jay finally drove in his first two big league runs with a double on Memorial Day, then he smacked his first homer Tuesday night during his 3-for-5 performance.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, he came up with a runner on first base and nobody out. The Cards trailed 9-8 and were out of pitching. Ryan Franklin had just worked two innings and weary relievers Kyle McClellan and Jason Motte were to be used only in an emergency.

So rather than order Jay to bunt the runner over, La Russa had him swing away. Jay worked to a 3-1 count against Reds closer Francisco Cordero. He swung through a fastball for strike two, then crushed the ball up the middle.

If the ball were hit another two feet to the left, it probably reaches center field for another hit. As it was, it turned into a 4-6-3 double play.

“I put a good swing on it,” Jay said. “Hit it right at him and they turn the double play.”

So his breakthrough game ended on a bummer note.

“I’m just trying to put good swings on the ball and have it carry over,” Jay said. “This is the big leagues. They don’t just hand out jobs. I have to continue to work.”

This player development process brings a lot of trial and error, but it also brings extra energy to a team trying to win the 162-game marathon. A little desperation can go a long way in this game.

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Calais Campbell To Have Breakout Season

Pat Kirwain of picks Calais Campbell to have a 2010 Breakout Season:

Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals, DE:  He is a rare athlete and a guy that went from zero sacks to seven last season, four of which were half sacks. He also had five passes defensed at 6-foot-8. In talking with him about this article, he's so humble and focused on being great that he might be my lock to make it.

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

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Police look into use of Wayne's credit

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service Asset Forfeiture Unit last week searched the home of a woman suspected of fraudulently using a bank card account belonging to Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne.

"We have found that over approximately one year of time that $60,000 of cash and $35,000 of merchandise had been misappropriated by the use of a debit card or credit card number," IMPD sergeant Paul Thompson said Tuesday.

Furniture, three television sets and other electronics were seized.

Wayne filed a theft report in April stating that an ex-girlfriend had possibly used his credit card to make transactions totaling more than $93,000.

Wayne said in the police report he was notified by a department store that someone had attempted to make a purchase with his bank card. A check with Huntington Bank, Wayne said, revealed 333 transactions dating to September 2009.

Wayne told police he was uncertain how Natasha McKenzie, 26, Indianapolis, obtained his credit card information.

She recently told WXIN-59 that Wayne gave her the information.

"Reggie knew what was going on. I sent Reggie plenty of thank you messages," McKenzie told the station. "He knew everything that was going on. There was nothing fraud about it. . . . Reggie gave me all of his credit card information. I still have record of everything he gave me."
Thompson said she has told police another story.

"The suspect has been interviewed by our detective and has made admissions to using the card numbers without authorization," the IMPD spokesman said. "There is the potential for charges being filed."

Wayne's agent, Joby Branion, did not respond to a message seeking comment from him or Wayne.

Wayne, 31, has played nine seasons and was voted to the Pro Bowl after each of the past four.

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

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Spencer Adkins Playing Fast

Caught up with Falcons linebacker coach Glenn Pires recently.

Most of the offseason attention has been on the secondary and defensive line, but the Falcons drafted a linebacker in the first round in Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon.

ON SPENCER ADKINS: “Being in the system and knowing, talking and communicating, then they play faster. Those are two guys (James and Adkins) who I think are starting to play fast.”

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Portis Still Atop Redskins' Muddled RB Race

Washington will eventually have to make some decisions at the running back position -- especially if free agent Brian Westbrook is added to a cavalry of Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Ryan Torain, Willie Parker and Keiland Williams.

But for now, it appears that Portis, the incumbent starter, has the inside track on Washington's No. 1 RB spot. Matt Terl of the Redskins' team blog tweeted from Tuesday's OTA that Johnson received first-team reps early, but Portis took over those snaps for the majority of practice -- "For whatever that's worth," Terl wrote, and it's probably safe to hedge on the situation for now, at least until Westbrook makes up his mind.

Either way, the Redskins will face the probability of needing to trim down one or two backs.

Click here to order Clinton Portis' proCane Rookie Card.

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Reggie Wayne skipping Colts voluntary workouts

Three Indianapolis Colts -- all Pro Bowlers last season -- are skipping another round of voluntary workouts.

Receiver Reggie Wayne does not traditionally show up until the mandatory offseason workouts. Indianapolis police are investigating credit card charges after Wayne told them an ex-girlfriend may have used his credit card number to make more than $93,000 in online purchases.

Coach Jim Caldwell says he isn't sure if any of the players will attend this weekend's mandatory three-day mini-camp but that he hopes they'll participate.

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

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Andre Johnson Not Letting Negotiations Interfere With Play

The official team website for the Texans reports Monday that WR Andre Johnson isn't going to let his potential negotiations for a contract extension interfere with his play. "When the time comes for it, it'll come," said Johnson, who sat out the first three days of OTA workouts in an apparent contract dispute. "I'm not pressing anything or anything like that. Hopefully, it'll all work out." Johnson hired Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire on Friday, prompting speculation that he might be ready to play hardball with the Texans. But Johnson, who has five years left on an eight-year extension signed in 2007, said he does not have a timetable set for working out a new deal with the team. "I'm not really worried about it," he said. "I'm out here just trying to work and doing what I need to do to help win a Super Bowl around here. That's what I'm going to continue to do, and like I said before, if that happens, it'll happen and it will take care of itself."

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

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Rocky McIntosh To Sign His Tender Soon?

It's a busy month for the Redskins, with four final OTA dates scheduled for next week and then their final minicamp spread over three days the following week, June 16-18. There could also be some action away from the field. While first-round draft pick Trent Williams probably won't sign until closer to training camp and Donovan McNabb isn't expected to negotiate an extension until summer at the earliest, there should be some movement soon regarding cornerback Carlos Rogers and linebacker Rocky McIntosh. Rogers and McIntosh are two of 37 restricted free agents who have yet to sign their tenders. Each has had to sign waivers to participate in the team's offseason activities.

Click here to order Rocky McIntosh's proCane Rookie Card.

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Don't be surprised to see Pat Burrell by Friday

Manager Bruce Bochy took a long time to come into the interview room after tonight's loss. My first thought was a move might be made. Sometimes those decisions are made immediately after a game. But I was told Bochy was just commiserating with his coaches over another brutal loss caused by offensive impotence.

My thought was that maybe the brass would pull the trigger on Pat Burrell right now. Bochy told us the other day that Burrell might get 10 or so games in Fresno, but the former Phillie is hitting the ball well down there. He is 5-for-12 with a homer and four RBIs in three games and even had two hits in one inning at Las Vegas tonight.

The Giants need someone like Burrell, not necessarily to start, but to come off the bench, and that became clear in the seventh inning tonight after Aaron Rowand reached on a two-out error by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Bochy sent John Bowker to pinch-hit, and Rockies manager Jim Tracy countered with slithery left-hander Joe Beimel. This is where Bochy needed to re-counter with that big right-handed bat, someone who could crush a mistake for two runs. But who were Bochy's right-handed choices?

Matt Downs

Eli Whiteside

Bochy stuck with Bowker, who has more pop than either of the two men listed here, and the results were not pretty. Bowker waved at an offspeed pitch for strike three.

I don't know if Burrell can be a difference-maker off the bench, but right now his presence couldn't hurt. With Mark DeRosa's comeback more uncertain than ever -- and certainly not coming in the next week -- I bet we'll see Burrell in a Giants uniform sooner rather than later, perhaps even this weekend in Pittsburgh.

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Jon Jay’s first RISP hit sparks five-run sixth

The Cardinals, continuing to pummel Cincinnati pitching with multi-run innings, scored five runs in the sixth inning today, with two being driven in by rookie Jon Jay, who got his first hit with a runner in scoring position (RISP) after 10 unsuccessful attempts. The score was 12-3 after six innings.

Jay, batting for pitcher Jaime Garcia, doubled with the bases loaded to score two runs. Colby Rasmus knocked in one with a single, Ryan Ludwick another with a sacrifice fly and Albert Pujols had a run-scoring single as the Cardinals put themselves in position, with a victory, to move into a first-place tie with the Reds in the National League Central Division.

Trailing 3-1, the Cardinals scored three in the fourth, three in the fifth and then the five-spot in the sixth to steamroll the Reds, who were playing for the 18th consecutive day.

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Yonder Alonso has nice Memorial Day

Reds first-base prospect Yonder Alonso had a nice game on Memorial Day Monday at Colorado Springs for Triple-A Louisville. Alonso went 2 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI. He added a walk and a run scored and is batting .256 on the season at Triple-A.

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Ken Dorsey eyeing starter’s job

Ken Dorsey isn’t going to drive to Toronto from his home in Florida this weekend to hold a clipboard.

“I don’t think any one of the quarterbacks (signed by the Argonauts) are coming in to be backups,” Dorsey said on Wednesday from Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

“It’s about competing for a starting job.”

Dorsey, 29, most recently was with the Cleveland Browns in 2008 and also played for the San Francisco 49ers.

But he made his name in college, going 38-2 at the University of Miami and winning the national championship in 2001.

‘Lots to learn’

He probably could have landed a college coaching job this season, and though he acknowledged he has “lots to learn” about the CFL, Dorsey is ready to put his nose to the grindstone.

“Every quarterback wants to play in an aggressive offence, attacking the defence, and I feel that’s what coach (Jim) Barker wants to play,” Dorsey said.

“I’m going to be excited to get in the drills with 24 guys out there.”

Dorsey is not the quickest quarterback around. But if he shows the ability to find receivers and be accurate, it will go a long toward determining his future in Toronto.

Dorsey represented one of three potentially significant Argos signings on Wednesday.

Mike Hagen has been hired as the director of player personnel and brings with him 27 years of experience in the NFL in numerous front office and scouting roles.

And Barker went with a player he knows well, signing defensive back Dwaine Carpenter, who spent the past three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders before he was released this month.

Barker had been in the Stamps’ front office before he was hired by the Argos in February.

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Reggie Wayne makes $93,000 theft report

Indianapolis police are investigating after Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne told them that an ex-girlfriend may have used his credit card number to make more than $93,000 in online purchases.

A police report filed in April said Wayne was contacted by a department store about an attempted transaction and he learned that up to 333 charges had been made on the account since September.

The report said Wayne didn't know how the woman got the number.

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

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Packers Undrafted Rookie CB Sam Shields Impressing At Camp

We hear one undrafted Packers rookie who figures to have a good shot at making the final roster is CB Sam Shields, a University of Miami (Fla.) product with more speed than anybody currently on the roster. Shields, who ran two 40-yard dashes in 4.30 and 4.33 seconds on grass surfaces at his pro day in Coral Gables, Fla., excelled in kick-return coverage at "the U," an area in which the Packers could use a major boost.

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Saints' Jeremy Shockey out of hospital

New Orleans Saints tight end and Ada native Jeremy Shockey was released from the hospital on Friday, according to, which attributed a source with knowledge of the situation.

Shockey was hospitalized Thursday after suffering a seizure during a weightlifting session. He told Saints officials that he was released from the hospital on Friday and intends to rejoin the team for scheduled offseason work next week.

Shockey told teammates that he feels great, and he tweeted Thursday that "I will be fine.” Coach Sean Payton also said Thursday that Shockey was OK.

The cause of the episode hasn't been revealed.

Click here to order Jeremy Shockey's proCane Rookie Card.

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Roscoe Parrish pumped about possibilities

On day two of Bills OTAs, following a one-on-one passing drill between receivers and cornerbacks, Roscoe Parrish was jokingly jawing with the defensive backs along the sideline waiting for their turn to step in. As the brief exchange finished Parrish was laughing on his way back to the line of scrimmage. It’s a scene even the sixth-year receiver could not have envisioned happening for him in Buffalo again after the way his 2009 season unfolded.

Parrish not only had his already limited opportunities on offense scaled back last season, but he was taken off punt return duty despite being the league leader in punt return average the previous two seasons. The situation weighed heavily on Parrish making it difficult for him to enjoy the game he loves.

“I talked to a couple of guys during the season and they just told me to continue to work hard because you never know what tomorrow might bring,” said Parrish.

In the end Parrish could not have asked for a better offseason. Blessed with a new coaching staff and a clean slate just seven months later without having to change his uniform, football is fun again for the elusive wideout.

“You look at it now and it’s crazy,” Parrish told “I’m on the same field and I’m here, but the coaching staff is gone. In this profession you never know what’s going to happen. Last year I just prayed and hoped the best would come. This offseason with Chan Gailey and a new coaching staff, it just made everything better. So much better.”

The lesson Parrish took away from the setbacks of last season was not to feel sorry for himself and maintain a professional approach to the game. For the most part he did that save for perhaps one day when being inactive and unable to contribute on Sundays for a team that was struggling to find wins was too much for him to bear silently.

“You know what kind of guy I am when I’m out there,” he said last October after a late fumble on a punt return in a home loss to Cleveland got him benched.”I know I can help this team when my opportunity is given. I made a bad decision in the Cleveland game, but every guy makes mistakes. And the ones that make mistakes are the ones that try. That’s part of the game and I only control what I can control. I just keep on working. Hopefully in the future if it’s not here I’ll get my opportunity.”

Parrish genuinely thought he would be moved in a trade as rumors swirled for half the season that his days in Buffalo were numbered. Now seven months later he arguably has the best opportunity to contribute offensively than he ever has during his time with the Bills. It’s served to re-energize Parrish in his desire to help make a difference for a team that has struggled offensively for several years.

“(I’m) real hungry, real hungry,” he said. “I get up every morning and there’s a smile on my face being that I get an opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to do ever since I’ve been in the NFL and that’s make plays and get more snaps on offense along with special teams and being a returner.”

What encourages Parrish the most about what could lie in store for him this fall in terms of a role offensively is the track record of his head coach. Chan Gailey is known for maximizing the talent of the players he has at his disposal and tailoring plays those strengths. Parrish has unique skills and most observers around One Bills Drive are of the belief that Gailey will make use of them offensively.

“You know that he’s going to give you the opportunity to make plays,” said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of Gailey. “You take a guy like Roscoe, a guy that last year was a little bit down in terms of playing time. All of a sudden you see his attitude and work ethic all offseason. He’s a guy that knows he’s going to get an opportunity just like everybody else.”

“That’s a blessing right there,” said Parrish of Gailey’s expertise. “I just have to continue to work hard myself. He’s the kind of coach that gets the ball in playmakers hands. I have to do what I need to do, and that’s get better each day and take advantage of all my opportunities.”

With Josh Reed no longer ahead of him on the depth chart, Parrish has been the primary slot receiver in the early going of OTA workouts. At this point his spot on the depth chart means little to him. Having been disappointed before the shifty wideout is taking nothing for granted.

“A new coaching staff also means you have to prove yourself all over again and no one’s spot is guaranteed,” he said. “We’ve had guys that worked hard in the offseason. They’ve bettered themselves and they might bring more to the table than maybe they did last year. It’s all competing, but it’s fun at the same time.”

Football and fun weren’t synonyms for Parrish in 2009, but his football career has a new lease under Gailey and his offensive staff. Parrish just hopes that the slot receiver role is something he owns instead of rents come September.

“I have a brighter future and now I have to take advantage of everything,” he said. “I still have to work and come out here and do what Roscoe knows how to do and that’s make plays every time the ball is in my hands.”

Click here to order Roscoe Parrish's proCane Rookie Card.

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Dan Morgan at center of odd "key to the city" controversy

Former NFL linebacker Dan Morgan is in the middle of a strange controversy in Coral Springs, Florida, where the mayor wants to honor Morgan with the key to the city, while others city officials are opposed.

Mayor Scott Brook notes that Morgan was a high school football star in Coral Springs, an All-American with the Miami Hurricanes and a Pro Bowler with the Carolina Panthers, and he wants the city to give Morgan the honor in recognition of all he achieved.

"He has made most of his connections in Coral Springs," Brook said. "His accomplishments are outstanding. Presenting someone with the key to the city shines the light on Coral Springs."

But City Commissioner Ted Mena is one of several city officials who think the key to the city is something truly special, and giving it to Morgan might dilute the honor.

"Maybe we can give him a special plaque," Mena said. "I don't want to give the key to [just] any person."

Unless Mena is under the impression that the key to the city actually opens every door in every city building or something, I fail to see what the fuss is all about. Morgan had a successful football career, and playing high school ball in Coral Springs paved the way for that. What's the harm in giving him the key to the city?

Click here to order Dan Morgan's proCane Rookie Card.

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Blackhawks players 'unwind' at Greg Olsen's benefit concert at Joe's Bar

Adam Burish wanted to wear cowboy boots and a hat to Greg Olsen’s country-themed “Shake the Lake” benefit concert on Thursday – after all, that’s what he usually wears when attending country shows -- but the Blackhawks winger decided it would be best if he left the cowboy gear at home.

“I have cowboy hats and boots,” said Burish on the red carpet in front of Joe’s Bar (940 W. Weed St.). “But we just came from a team dinner.”
Burish shouldn’t feel too bad. He was wearing a red cowboy shirt, which was a lot more festive than the white v-neck teammate Patrick Kane wore. And secondly, the Blackhawks begin their Stanley Cup series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, so guests and event organizers were just happy Chicago’s new “It” team showed up.

“Every day has been crazier and crazier, so it’s a nice way to unwind,” Burish said about Thursday's event, later adding that he has been getting ticket requests from "old girlfriends, old buddies from college, girls I haven't talked to in forever.

"A lot of people think there is a box of tickets in the locker room, but there's not."

The second annual fundraiser, which benefited Olsen’s breast cancer-focused Receptions for Research, included appearances by Olsen’s teammate, Jay Cutler, the Cubs’ Randy Wells (when is he not at Joe’s?) and performances by singers Darius Rucker and Matt Kennon.
Although Rucker hadn’t met Olsen personally before Thursday and is a die-hard Miami Dolphins fan, he was there to support a good cause – and because he had the day off from his tour with Brad Paisley. As for his next album, Rucker said fans can expect a follow up to 2008’s “Learn to Live” before Christmas.

“I just got the CD today and listened to the tracks on the bus,” Rucker said. “The single will be out in a few weeks.”

Olsen, who was sans-cowboy hat (“I got my boots on, that’s about the extent I go,” he said), chose to give the benefit a country theme because, well, he’s a big fan.

“It’s something a lot of people (in Chicago) don’t get to experience,” said the Bears tight end. “I’m a big fan of country and live music, and I come to Joe’s a lot, so we figured it was the perfect marriage.”

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

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Burrell deal is done; he's a Giant (or at least a Grizzlie)

Well, the Fresno Grizzlies have filled that hole left by Buster Posey's promotion to San Francisco. Outfielder Pat Burrell has passed his physical and finalized his minor-league deal with the Giants.

Burrell is on his way to Salt Lake City to join the Giants' top farm club, though I'm told he won't play tonight. I hope to have more details later, namely, by what date do the Giants have to promote Burrell before he can opt out of the deal.

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