Photo of the Week: proCane on proCane

Broncos LB DJ Williams breaks up a pass intended for 49ers RB Frank Gore in Week 8 during the 49ers win over the Broncos in London. Gore wasn’t able to haul in the pass, but rushed for over 100 yards including a touchdown and got the last laugh as the 49ers won.




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Frank Gore Stops By Hurricane Practice

Former Hurricane Frank Gore reportedly stopped by Thursday's walkthrough practice in Coral Gables as UM prepared to face Maryland Saturday at Sun Life Stadium at noon. 

Gore, who ranks second in the NFL with 1,039 all-purpose yards this season, watched most of the practice and afterwards he spent time talking with Lamar Miller and running backs coach Mike Cassano. Gore's 49ers have a bye this week before playing host to St. Louis next weekend.

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(miamiherald.com)
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William Joseph Gets A Workout

The Washington Redskins also worked out Charles Grant, William Joseph, justin Miller, Ty Hill and others. Matt Jones declined invite, told team he'll retire According to a tweet from Jason LaConfora, former Bengal WR Matt Jones is planning on retiring from the NFL

Click here to order William Joseph’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(yardbarker.com)
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Ray Lewis' son 'Ray Ray' making a name for himself in Florida high school football

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LAKE MARY — Jacob Doss, the head football coach at Windermere Preparatory School, had heard all about the rising star over at rival Lake Mary Prep.

Still, Doss couldn't help but be just a little skeptical. Sure, "Little Ray" Lewis is the son of All-Pro Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But he's only 15 years old, a sophomore with minimal prep football experience.

It took about two hours in a pre-season game Sept. 10 to make a believer out of Doss.

Lewis, a running back, gained 504 yards to lead Lake Mary's 34-7 win - including 206 yards and two touchdowns on punt returns, 101 yards in kick-off returns, 104 yards rushing and 68 yards passing.

"He lit us up,' Doss said. "There's definitely something special about him. As soon as he steps on the field and as soon as he touches the ball, you can tell the special football gene is definitely in his body.'

"Ray-Ray," as his Lake Mary teammates know him, grew up around professional football, hanging out in the Ravens locker room with his dad, a nine-time All Pro linebacker who led Baltimore to the Super Bowl in 2000.

Now, as he embarks on his own football career, he's using his dad as motivation.

"My goal is to be better than my dad,' the 5-foot-9, 186-pounder said with a smile after practice earlier this week. "It's not an easy task, but I have an extra step because of who my dad is. He's a great football player so that's the extra step I have.'

For now, Ray-Ray is making his mark on the Florida prep level. Entering Friday, Lewis was among the leaders in Division 1B with 1,141 rushing yards, 96 points and 16 touchdowns.

Last Friday, his father took advantage of the Ravens' bye week. He flew down from Baltimore to help pack the stands at Lake Mary, which is just north of Orlando, and watched Little Ray score two touchdowns and rush for 272 yards in a 37-21 win over Mount Dora Bible.

"He just likes the ball in his hands,' Big Ray Lewis told a Baltimore radio station two years ago after his son was mentioned in Sports Illustrated item.

"For a father that's the greatest reward you can ever have - to teach your children something and then see it done. ... When I saw the Sports Illustrated, the tears for me were easy when you're blessed to have a child that's truly coming up in your footsteps.'

The Lake Mary Prep Griffins are 5-3, the best start so far in the private school's young football program history. Head coach Buck Gurley said Lewis' dad - "Big Ray,' as he is known around Lake Mary Prep - deserves credit.

Earlier this summer, Big Ray made it known that he planned to work out with his son's team during a day of voluntary pre-season drills.

"Big Ray, he's a motivator. We had 22 kids show up. That never happened before,' said Gurley, a defensive tackle on the Florida Gators' 2000 SEC title team and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2002 Super Bowl team.

"I remember watching him work out with them and I was like, "Man, this may be a team. We may have a pretty good team.'

"Big Ray" watches a DVD of his son's game every week so he can offer a personal critique, said Gurley.

Little Ray laughs about the perceptions outsiders may have about life at home with Ray Lewis, one of the most intimidating linebackers in the NFL.

"I've got to take the garbage out, keep my room clean, but he's not that super strict,' he said.

Ray-Ray, who looks like his dad, is a well-liked student who doesn't act like a budding star around school.

"What impresses me most is his leadership,' said Dr. Spencer Taintor, Lake Mary's headmaster, who attended the University of Miami the same time that Ray Lewis starred with the Hurricanes.

"With his dad being in the NFL and press he gets, it really has not gotten to him. He's still a humble kid and leader on the field and making sure it's team effort. He's not out there trying to be superstar.'

The younger Lewis isn't worried about lofty expectations that come with being the son of an NFL star.

"Me and my dad, we always talk about that. I don't let that get to me,' he said. "I just go out there and play my game and at the end of the day he's my dad.'

Before every game, Little Ray puts on his uniform then checks his cell phone for a pre-game text from his dad. It usually reads: "Let's go, son! Stay right back at it!'

After Friday's game, Little Ray and his family will fly to Baltimore to watch his dad's game Sunday against the Dolphins.

Little Ray isn't the only rising star in the Lewis family. Lake Mary athletics coaches have their eyes on his two younger brothers - Rayshad (12) and Rashaan (10).

For now, Little Ray is enough for opposing coaches to worry about.

"He doesn't look like a sophomore. He's a good football player and a very smart football player, too,' said Windermere Prep's Doss. "Unfortunately, we will have to play him for the next two years.'

Click here to order Ray Lewis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(palmbeachpost.com)
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Clinton Portis to play in Week 10?

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis took his first repetitions in practice Tuesday since missing four games because of a severe groin injury. Portis' return couldn't happen at a better time because his team finished last Sunday's game with only one healthy running back.

Portis' replacement, Ryan Torain, missed Tuesday's practice with the same hamstring injury that forced him out of the Detroit game. Portis ran well against the Eagles before injuring his groin in that game, and that just happens to be the team the Skins will face Nov. 15 on "Monday Night Football."

"I think where he's got to gauge himself is on certain types of cuts," Washington coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday. "He can go straight ahead and kind of get a good feel. ... I don't know where his groin is at [in terms of his recovery], but you've got to be really careful when ya cut.

"He made a few cuts [Wednesday], which was a good sign. He didn't have any repercussions by it, which is very positive. So this week, hopefully, he can just get some more endurance in, kind of test himself a little bit more and see where he's at on Monday."

I would expect Portis to play against the Eagles. That's the game he's been aiming for during the rehabilitation process. It would be interesting to hear Portis' take on the Donovan McNabb benching since he's never been shy about giving an opinion. Maybe he's waiting to return to the lineup before sounding off on the situation.

Click here to order Clinton Portis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(espn.com)
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Ray Lewis still striving for 'greatness'

FORT LAUDERDALE — — From the moment Ray Lewis set foot on the University of Miami campus, he openly pledged he'd become the greatest player ever to wear a Hurricanes jersey.

Outside of leaving Coral Gables without winning a national championship, his college resume clearly puts him in that debate.

When Lewis entered the NFL as the 26th overall pick in the 1996 draft, he felt slighted that 25 teams had passed on him. He pledged to become "the greatest linebacker to ever play the game."

There are plenty of contenders for that distinction, but again, it's impossible to argue against the body of work this first-ballot Hall of Famer has produced in his 15 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. It includes 11 Pro Bowl selections, two-time Defensive Player of the Year honors and a Super Bowl XXXV championship, which accompanied a Most Valuable Player award.

"I believed in a vision and I spoke it," said Lewis, who was ranked the 18th-greatest player in NFL history, according to the NFL Network. "Some called it cocky. Some said it was arrogant. I called it confident."

While every player from that Super Bowl team has moved on — most are retired — at 35, Ray Ray's still churning out tackles at a record-setting pace.

His Ravens defense is once again among the NFL's elite, and Lewis and his old bones are still considered among the toughest in the game. Just ask those who have absorbed one of his blows.

"Ray Lewis, who I was fortunate to coach, is not the most gifted physical athlete, although he's very gifted," said Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, whose team faces Lewis' Ravens on Sunday. "There are a lot of guys that look better, bigger, stronger, faster. But they can't play near as well as he plays."

It's as if this Lakeland product has found football's fountain of youth. But, Lewis said, "there's no secret."

He credits his longevity to "taking care of my machine," through disciplined eating (no fried foods, plenty of vegetables and fruits, tons of water), regimented workouts and faith in God.

"Discipline and hard work will take you everywhere in this world. You got to find a way to block out all the foolishness," said Lewis, who has produced 60 tackles, two sacks, forced a fumble and pulled in an interception this season. "I've never been that gifted. I just figured it out."

The same way Lewis has routinely figured out what play opposing offenses are running is the approach he's taking in the next phase of his life, which is figuring out what comes after football.

While he has no intentions of retiring anytime soon, "I've got plenty of football left," Lewis is busy setting up Baltimore- and Florida-based businesses that he hopes will make him just as successful an entrepreneur as he was a professional athlete. He's using Magic Johnson's business formula, but is trying to go higher.

He started a clothing line a year ago, and already has a respectable amount of properties. His latest venture is a realty office and gallery he and his business, RL52 Group, opened up in Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas district just last week.

Lewis' focus has always been to build things and people from the ground up, and because of that formula he rarely struggled to find supporters.

"He never broke me down," said Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden, a fellow Hurricane Lewis has taken under his wing. "Some people will flat-out tell you, 'You sucked today,' for making a bad play. He's always told me [to] keep pushing. When I miss a tackle he tells me, 'Did you touch the football? If you touched the ball carrier that's a good start. Take it from there one step at a time. Keep it positive.'"

Mentoring players off the field is as important a job to Lewis as his role as Baltimore's signal caller on it. He's part of a firm called Allied Athlete Group, which helps players prepare for life after athletics. The goal is to connect athletes with business opportunities in their communities in a effort to strengthen the player's financial base and enhance his overall image.

According to Lewis, a unified coalition of athletes is an untapped resource, and Lewis believes he's the man with the right playbook.

"Opportunity is always knocking," said Lewis, who received UM's last scholarship because former Hurricanes coach Dennis Erickson attended his final high school game to scout an opposing receiver and left enamored with a hard-hitting defender he'd never heard of.

"The only question you have to ask yourself is how hard can you work to take advantage of that chance."

Omar Kelly can be reached at okelly@sunsentinel.com and read regularly on the Dolphins blog at sunsentinel.com/dolphins.

Click here to order Ray Lewis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(sun-sentine.com)
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Big plays missing in Jon Beason's stats

CHARLOTTE – He has no interceptions, no forced fumbles and no fumble recoveries.

He’s not even leading the Carolina Panthers in tackles.

For Jon Beason the unselfish voluntary transition from middle linebacker to weak side linebacker to help his team out has certainly been one that has tested his patience -- especially given the team’s 1-6 start -- even though Beason hasn’t complained at all.

“Moving from middle to outside linebacker has definitely been hard on me because I know I have the ability to dominate a game,” Beason wrote Wednesday in a blog on his website. “…Personally, I have yet to make the big play that I think so many people are accustomed to seeing from me.

“It’s not from lack of effort. I just have to find a way to ensure that when the opportunity comes, I find a way to take advantage of it and give my team a better opportunity to win the game.”

For the season, Beason has 70 tackles, which is second on the team behind James Anderson, but his only other stats are two pass breakups and one quarterback pressure.

By comparison, Beason finished last season with 169 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries while playing at middle linebacker. But he agreed to move positions earlier this offseason when Thomas Davis tore the ACL in his knee a second time, even though he knew at the time he would be miscast as a weak side linebacker.

However, Beason is still making his presence felt in other ways.

The Panthers rank fourth-best in the league in total yards allowed per game and third-best in total yards allowed per play.

"I think for the most part I've done a decent job of filling in," Beason said after Sunday’s loss to St. Louis. "And I think Dan Connor's done a great job of playing the Mike (middle linebacker), and James (Anderson) has played lights out.”

Still, it’s pretty clear Beason is anxious for Davis to return to the starting lineup so he can move back to his more comfortable spot in the middle, which allows him to use his instincts and run the field from side to side.

"The thing I do well -- and the thing that is my knock -- is I try to do more than is expected of me," Beason said. "I'll sacrifice what I think my instincts are versus just doing my job. Sometimes it gets me in trouble and sometimes it helps me make the big play. I think when you're at the Mike (middle linebacker), you have more leeway to do that. When you're outside you have to be very disciplined.”

Beason said it’s particularly discouraging when teams run away from his side because he’s often required to stay on his side of the field.

“I wouldn't say I’m tentative, but a lot of time they run away from you, the action's away from you and you have to stay backside,” Beason said. “I feel like I'm out of the game a little bit."

But Beason knew this when he was asked to switch positions.

He told everyone right up front that “I’m no Thomas Davis” when it comes to playing weak side linebacker.

And that statement has proven correct.

“There's no doubt he feels more comfortable at Mike position,” Fox said. “It's a position he's played and went to a Pro Bowl playing. But being a team guy he's made the move to Will, and I think he's continuing to improve there.”

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said if there’s any frustration from Beason, he hasn’t sensed it.

“I know I would be down on myself if I wasn’t making the plays, but Beason just keeps grinding,” Munnerlyn said.

Beason joked that there might be some “controversy” when Davis returns since Connor has done such a good job inside.

But in reality it might take Davis a few weeks to get into football shape when/if he’s activated from the PUP list. The Panthers must make a decision on Davis by next Wednesday.

If the team doesn’t activate him, Beason will likely remain at the weak side linebacker spot.

The move has basically killed any chances of Beason making a third straight Pro Bowl unless he does so on reputation.

That, say his teammates, is what they appreciate the most about Beason – that he was willing to forfeit individual goals for the good of the team.

“I praise him for that because there aren’t many guys willing to move from their Pro Bowl position to a totally different position,” Munnerlyn said. “But he was willing to do that for the good of the team and we totally appreciate that.”

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


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(gastongazzette.com)
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Bears' Greg Olsen missing in action

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It might be a wise idea for the Bears to rediscover Greg Olsen.

As pointed out by our friend Kevin Seifert on ESPN.com's NFC North blog , Olsen ranks No. 26 among NFL tight ends with 18 catches.

Olsen -- targeted 34 times this season -- only has three receptions in the Bears' past three games, all coming versus Washington. At this current rate, Olsen is on pace to finish with roughly 41 catches, 19 fewer than last season, and 13 less than in 2008.

"We've had our moments where we've been able to make some plays," Olsen said Thursday. "Our times will come again. As we've said all along, this thing is a growing process, a lot of new pieces and a lot of new things are going on. Everyone is going to have their chance. As long as when those chances come, you make those plays, you just have to control what's in your hands."

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz frequently discussed the importance of properly utilizing Olsen in the preseason. Up to this point, it really hasn't happened, although Olsen did make several big plays earlier in the season versus Dallas and Green Bay.

But Olsen's perceived lack of productivity could be a direct result of opponents scheming to take the tight end out of the equation. Jay Cutler mentioned Buffalo -- now a 3-4 defense under new coordinator George Edwards -- possibly shifting to a 4-3 front when Olsen is on the field Sunday, which implies opposing teams are paying extra close attention to the former first-round pick out of Miami.

"He came back our last game, had three receptions and was targeted a lot to get the ball," Bears tight end coach Mike DeBord. "There were times in those other two games [Carolina and Seattle], when he didn't have receptions because coverage dictates where you are going to go with the ball.

"But we had a lot of things for him last game, and have a lot of things for him this game [Buffalo]. It just varies throughout the game."

The Bears desire to spread the wealth on offense is understandable, however, Olsen remains one of the most talented skill position players on the roster, but through seven games, ranks behind fellow NFC North tight ends Brandon Pettigrew (35), Tony Scheffler (26), Jermichael Finley (21) and Visanthe Shiancoe (20) in receptions.

"He's a competitor and obviously wants to win and wants the ball," DeBord said. "But he's also a good person and he understands [the lack of catches], so he's been good that way."

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


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(espn.com)
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Tavares Gooden's mom starts group to help educate parents about dealing with agents

CORAL GABLES — The more Robin Gooden heard about the Reggie Bush saga at USC and NCAA scandals sprouting at North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama this summer, the more she felt compelled to act.

"You know something?" she told her husband, Byron. "I'm going to form this organization and I'm going to help universities, I'm going to help athletes and I'm going to, most of all, educate parents. If I can educate these parents, then parents can educate their kids."

Gooden remembers asking Miami's compliance department "a million questions" when her stepson, Tavares Gooden, started dealing with agents as a top pro prospect in 2007.

And after Tavares was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, she heard from other NFL moms about the difficult process many of them went through in finding an agent while trying to adhere to NCAA rules.

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So after talking to her husband, Robin Gooden holed up in her house for two weeks writing down her thoughts, drawing up plans and researching how to start a non-profit organization. At the end, she decided to form MOCA — Mothers of College Athletes — a grass-roots endeavor with a mission to "help college athletic programs adhere to NCAA standards by advising parents of student athletes."

MOCA was formed to provide information to parents so they can be better aware of NCAA rules and what constitutes a violation. It also provides a support system for parents whose children are starting to deal with agents, helping them answer key questions during the process.

"I hadn't heard of a program doing that before," said MOCA member Nateal Campbell, whose son, former Hurricanes defensive lineman Calais Campbell, now plays for the Arizona Cardinals. "I thought, 'This is great! How come no one thought of this sooner?'"

After four months, MOCA has about 70 members, mostly parents of football players — including current Hurricanes defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke, linebacker Colin McCarthy and running back Damien Berry. The organization has a website (mocamoms.org) and is on Facebook and Twitter. Those forums have helped UM parents in MOCA stay in constant contact.

"I was interested in the things she had gone through with Tavares when he was getting ready to be drafted, being that Damien is probably going to be drafted," said Melissa Berry, Damien's mother.

"Different things that we as parents don't know about, have no clue about. I thought it would be in our best interest to join and have our eyes opened to what goes on behind closed doors."

Gooden was invited by UM compliance director David Reed to talk about agents with a group of current UM parents before the team's season opener against Florida A&M. Reed, who worked at Marshall when Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich were top pro prospects and at Pittsburgh when Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant were there, said the recent player-agent investigations at various schools have "really helped in scaring" UM players.

"The fact Reggie Bush had to give back his Heisman and USC forfeited those wins is sending a message to our kids of, 'Hey, it might not come out in the wash now, it may be five years from now, but when it comes out you will be affected by it and embarrassed by it,'" he said.

Gooden envisions having subcommittees of MOCA based in other states and moms of NFL players giving testimonials. She said she's contacted officials at USC, Alabama, South Carolina and other schools and sent them information on MOCA. A few have shown interest, she said.

"This is long term. This is not something I'm trying to do overnight, and I just want to do for a couple of years," Gooden said. "This is a forever project I'm working on."

Click here to order Tavares Gooden’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(orlandosentinel.com)
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Aubrey Huff wants to be back in 2011

Aubrey Huff and the Giants have mutual interest in working out a new contract, but neither he nor club officials expect a resolution before free agents hit the open market Sunday night.

"No, not yet, man," said Huff, who triumphantly raised his rally thong, the most famous underwear in San Francisco, during Wednesday's victory parade. "I'm just enjoying this time. I'm sure that's going to be there when it's there. Just soaking this whole day in, seriously."

In most years, the Giants would be far down the road in negotiations with their own free agents before their window of exclusivity closed. But they didn't sit back and watch the World Series on television this year, and under new rules, players now become free agents five days after the final out -- reduced from the customary 15 days.

Vice president Bobby Evans said the front office held meetings Tuesday, but they did not expect to announce any deals before 9:01 p.m. Sunday, when free agents may sign with any club.

Huff, 33, didn't receive any other offers this past winter before accepting $3 million to become a Giant. He led the club with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs, and his .385 on-base percentage ranked 10th among NL players. He became the first Giant to score 100 runs in a season since Barry Bonds in 2004.

Huff fired his agency, SFX, earlier this year. He either is shopping for a new agent or could represent himself in negotiations -- which usually points to a quicker resolution.

Huff wagered he'd be back because "you want to defend your title. You want to bring back as many people as you can. With our starting pitching, there's no reason we won't be in position to do it again."

He delivered a passionate message to fans on the steps of City Hall, recounting that nine years of his life were spent in fourth place or worse for hopeless teams in the AL East.

"This organization had the heart to bring me here, and here I am in front of all you beautiful people, and I've got a little present for you," he said, producing his lucky red rally thong and holding it over his head like a title belt. "Rally Thong is going to the Hall of Fame. Or maybe we'll just wear it next spring training. San Francisco, baby!"


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(mercurynews.com)
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Darnell Jenkins Placed on IR

The New England Patriots announced Wednesday that they have signed rookie quarterback Jonathan Crompton and defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington to the practice squad. Also, the team placed wide receiver Darnell Jenkins on the practice squad injured list with a knee injury.


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(projo.com)
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Sam Shields To Have His Toughest Matchup in Week 9

CB Sam Shields. There's a good chance Shields is going to get a heavy dose of rookie WR Dez Bryant. That's a size mismatch in favor of the Cowboys, and the Packers are probably going to offer help over the top. The speedy Shields has been playing well, but this might be his toughest matchup of the season.


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(sportingnews.com)
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Bears scaling back Devin Hester's WR snaps

The Bears have scaled back Devin Hester's receiver snaps recently because they "want to keep him fresh" for punt return duties.

Receivers coach Darryl Drake indicated that Hester's only real value as a wide receiver at this point is his ability to attract double teams. "People want to put two on 23 (Hester's number)," Drake said. "Defensive coordinators and secondary coaches, they have a fear of him. He's not getting a lot of balls, but he's opening it up for Johnny (Knox)." Knox is on pace for 55 catches and 1,093 receiving yards. Hester's pace is 416 yards and 42 receptions.

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


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(rotoworld.com)
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John Harbaugh Q&A: Ray Lewis will get old, but 'hopefully not before Sunday'

On how LB Ray Lewis has not lost a step and whether he will ever get old: "Yeah, he will eventually. (laughter) Hopefully not before Sunday, though. He's playing that way he is. I'm sure he's not the same linebacker he was 10 years ago, but he may be better than he was 10 years ago in a lot of ways. Just look at the tape and see how he plays. I think what you're saying is exactly right. He's one of the all-time great football players, without question. And he's still playing at that level."

On the difference that S Ed Reed makes to the defense: "I think that would probably be a better question for offensive coordinators playing against us what they have to take into account. But obviously, Ed's a playmaker. You never know exactly where he's going to show up. Obviously, the offense has to account for him at all times, and that's good for us. That's something that's going to help us. And we haven't had that up until last week. Obviously, we didn't play very well on defense last week. We were disappointed with the way we played. Ed was back there. That's something that we've got to do better."

Click here to order Ray Lewis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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Devin Hester excited to battle Roscoe Parrish on Sunday

Devin Hester and Roscoe Parrish are two of the NFL’s top punt returners, but that’s not all they have in common. The dynamic playmakers, who will square off Sunday when the Bears face the Buffalo Bills in Toronto, were teammates for two seasons at the University of Miami.

“He was there before me and kind of showed me what the coaches expect,” Hester said. “He told me, ‘You’re blessed with talent and you’ve got to go out and have fun and do what you feel comfortable with.’”

Hester leads the NFL in punt returns with a 16.7-yard average. With two touchdowns this season, he has tied Brian Mitchell’s all-time league record with 13 combined kick return TDs. Parrish, meanwhile, ranks sixth in the NFL in punt returns with an 11.4-yard average and a long return of 33 yards.

“We’re kind of similar,” Hester said. “We both make a lot of guys miss. We’re both quick and fast, electrifying, that type of thing. He’s real quick, like a cat. He can stop on a dime and make a lot of guys miss.”

Parrish couldn’t help taking a peek at his old friend on tape in advance of Sunday's game.

“It’s always good to watch a guy like Devin Hester and see what kind of things he’s going to do,” Parrish said Wednesday. “I even went in the coverage teams meeting this morning and watched him, even though I wasn’t supposed to be in there, just to keep tabs on him and see how he does what he does. He is one of the best guys in the league on punt returns, so you just take notes on him.”

Hester is determined to win the one-on-one battle with Parrish on Sunday.

“At the end of the day, you want to out-do your opponent,” Hester said. “That’s the mentality I’m going to have going into this game. I want to out-do my opponent. Whatever he does, I want to do better.”

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


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(chicagobears.com)
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Ex-Giant Dwayne Hendricks motivates Pinelands Pop Warner team

The Pinelands Pop Warner junior pee wee division team hadn't scored all season and had only one win via forfeiture.

But a visit from former Giants defensive tackle Dwayne Hendricks helped Pinelands get its offense going on Oct. 17.

Hendricks, who played for the Miami Hurricanes in college before he signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Giants in 2009, was released from the Giants in September.

But after speaking to some students at the Lakeside Middle School in his hometown of Millville, Hendricks made a visit to Pinelands' last home game against the Toms River Raiders on Oct. 17.

Hendricks spoke to the Pinelands players at halftime.

"Look at the person next to you. You have to protect them. You have to protect each other always," Hendricks said.

After Hendricks' halftime speech, Pinelands' offense came alive, although the Toms River Raiders won the game 32-17.


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(app.com)
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Jon Beason says it's tough to go to work when the team is losing

Mired in a 1-6 season with quarterback and coaching issues swirling around the team, Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason conceded it isn't fun showing up to work every day.

But this Sunday, when the New Orleans Saints come to Charlotte, the Panthers get another shot at redemption.

"Yeah, it's definitely tough," he said. "When you lose, it seems like the sun doesn't come up. You feel the vibe the whole week, throughout the facility and you just try to stay enthusiastic. You remember this league is based about what you're doing right now.

"No one really care if you went out and scored 40 points last week and had an All-Pro performance. People want to see you win now, they want to know what's going on for the next week. That's the beauty of the game - there's always next week and you've just got to push through that funk of losing. It's definitely tough, but guys know we have the ability to play well when we want to, it's just a matter of being consistent."

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


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(nola.com)
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James Jones thriving in supporting role

After months and months of residual discomfort, it finally happened one morning this summer. James Jones opened his eyes, rolled out of bed and moved his wrist without pain.

Two years after surgery on his right wrist that threatened to derail his career, Jones is enjoying a personal comeback amid the hysteria surrounding the Heat. The 30-year-old shooter and graduate of the University of Miami has made 18 three-pointers through five games, the most in the NBA. He only had 37 all of last season.

``His confidence is growing daily,'' coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``This is who he used to be.''

This is the player Spoelstra and Heat president Pat Riley envisioned when the Heat signed Jones to a free agent contract in 2008. Shortly after returning to his native Miami, Jones ruptured a tendon in his shooting wrist that required surgery. He struggled through two seasons and the Heat waived him in June. A month later, the Heat re-signed him.

``This past summer is when I had that final breakthrough where there wasn't much inflammation,'' Jones said. ``This summer, basically two years later, is when I finally started feeling fine.''

Giving Jones another chance is proving to be a wise decision for the Heat.

With the loss of Mike Miller until January because of thumb surgery, Jones has made the most of the opportunity to reestablish his career. He is shooting 52.9 percent from three-point range and averaging 2.4 rebounds and 27.2 minutes per game.

GIVEN A GREEN LIGHT
``The way he's shooting now, I don't care if the ball goes in or not,'' Spoelstra said. ``It's the way he's taking his shots. There's no hesitation. It's catch and shoot.

``He's one of the very best shooters in this game. I do not want any hesitation with him at any point when he's out at the three-point line.''

Only LeBron James (34.4), Chris Bosh (31.8) and Dwyane Wade (31.6) have logged more minutes than Jones through five games.

These days, the only parts of his body that might feel a little soreness from overuse are Jones' legs. He welcomes that feeling.

``My legs are fine,'' Jones said. ``I've had three years to rest to build up some stamina to play some minutes but, when you're playing at the level we're playing, with the guys we're playing with, time gets lost.''

Jones' scoring production can partly be credited to the Heat's commitment to a balanced offense -- a team-first attitude. In other words, Jones is getting open and his teammates are finding him.

The Heat has set season highs in assists in each of its last three games. Against the Nets, the Heat had 29 assists in a 23-point victory. On Tuesday, the Heat had 31 assists against the Timberwolves.

James, the NBA's reigning two-time MVP, has averaged less than 18 points per game during the Heat's four-game winning streak while creating wide-open opportunities for Jones.

FINDING CHEMISTRY
Jones credits his teammates' maturity and court awareness for his resurgence. The team chemistry the Heat is enjoying is different this year, Jones said, than in previous seasons. He said he can hustle into position for a shot and know beforehand that the ball will find him.

``It's a different dynamic,'' Jones said. ``We have a chemistry of experience.

``Now I know two or three passes before I get the shot that the shot will be there because the guy in front of me will make the right play, so that makes it a lot easier because as far as my preparation, I can see a shot coming whereas the previous couple years you never knew if a guy was really going to make the right pass or just break it off and do his own thing.''


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(miamiherald.com)
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Danny Valencia wins the Bill Boni Award

Third Baseman Danny Valencia is the winner of the Bill Boni Award (Former St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press Executive Sports Editor) given to the Twins’ Most Outstanding Rookie.  Valencia, 26, batted .311 (93-for-299) with 18 doubles and 40 rbi, including two grand slams in 85 games.  In 65 games after the All-Star break, he ranked first among American League rookies in batting  (.311), rbi (37) and doubles (16), second in hits (75) and third in home runs (seven) .


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(kstp.com)
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Keeping Aubrey Huff in 2011 would help Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Soon after Wednesday's downtown parade has ended, the San Francisco Giants will have to address their most immediate offseason priorities. Here are three key questions for the World Series champions to ponder:

•What to do about the offense? The pitching staff, which led the majors in ERA and held the Texas Rangers to a .190 batting average in the World Series, could return intact. Long reliever Guillermo Mota is the only potential free agent, and he'd like to return.

The question is who will provide the run support. The team's top two home run hitters and RBI men, first baseman Aubrey Huff and infielder Juan Uribe, are free agents. The same goes for left fielder Pat Burrell, who gave the lineup a huge midseason boost. It's reasonable to expect they will want raises.

Team President Larry Baer said he expects the payroll to grow only marginally from last season, when the Giants ranked ninth in the majors at $98.6 million on opening day.

"We want to win, but if we win we're not going to blow things up crazy," Baer said before Monday's clinching victory. "And if we lose, we're not going to blow things up crazy either."

Cody Ross, MVP of the National League Championship Series, is eligible for arbitration after making $4.45 million last season. The Giants have fellow outfielder Aaron Rowand under contract for $12 million next year, so they'll have to decide whether to tender contracts to Ross and Burrell.

The Giants ranked ninth in the NL in runs last season. They will have catcher Buster Posey for a full year in 2011 but need more.


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(usatoday.com)
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'A roller coaster of a year' for Pat Burrell

ARLINGTON, Texas - Pat Burrell was soaked in champagne Monday night, but he had little to do with making the corks pop. Except for winning the World Series, really, he had a season to forget.

In fact, as Burrell waited his turn to touch the Commissioner's Trophy for the second time in 3 years, he had a hard time remembering the beginning of his climb from baseball's trash heap.

He beamed, exultant, a champion again, and he was asked to compare his feelings: June 1, digging in against Kevin Pucetas in Las Vegas, vs. his feeling exactly 5 months later, celebrating here on the field at Rangers Ballpark in Texas.

Burrell's eyes glassed a bit. He paused, and replied:

"I don't have the words to describe it," Burrell said. "At that point, I was doing anything I could do to get back to the major league level. I could have never anticipated being here."

On June 1, Burrell had just been signed off the street by the Giants. They assigned him to Triple A Fresno, where, the Giants hoped, he could find his stroke and, eventually, help their chronically poor offense.

The Grizzlies were on the road. Burrell faced Pucetas twice in his first at-bat, actually, since the first time he took his place in the batter's box a runner was thrown out to end the first inning. Burrell then led off the second with a single, the first of two hits in the inning.

Four days later, Burrell was a Giant. There, he doubled in his first at-bat.

His homer June 11 against Oakland put the Giants ahead for good in that game. It was the first of 18 he would hit for the Giants this season, a consistent, 4-month run at a .266 clip that ended in futility.

Burrell hit .143 with one homer and four RBI in 14 playoff games. He went 0-for-13 in the World Series with 11 strikeouts. He was benched in Game 4 on Sunday, returned as the designated hitter Monday in Game 5 . . . and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

It wasn't quite that bad.

Burrell ripped a ball to leftfield, the hardest hit ball off Cliff Lee until Buster Posey's drive ended the sixth inning.

"I thought I had something going," Burrell said. "Then, it went away."

Burrell looked bad in his next two at-bats against Lee, both strikeouts. So was his at-bat in the seventh, but it was better, and, maybe, it served a purpose. Edgar Renteria followed with a three-run homer.

With runners on second and third and one out - Aubrey Huff had bunted the runners over to set up Burrell - Burrell fought through a seven-pitch at-bat and saw all four of Lee's pitches, finally flailing at a nasty low cutter over the outside part of the plate.

"I had a pretty good at-bat there and didn't get it done. It's frustrating," Burrell said. "Edgar came in there and picked everybody up."

The purpose:

"He had a great at-bat in that at-bat, so I saw a lot of pitches," Renteria said. "I feel more comfortable when I see a lot of pitches, when he hit those foul balls."

So, there's solace in knowing the at-bat led to the win.

"You never know," Burrell said. "Hopefully, yeah. I'd like to think so."

In Burrell's mind, his job was not to get Renteria comfortable.

It was to win the game.

Well, that happened, anyway.

"I'll tell you what," Burrell said. "I've had a roller coaster of a year."

Somehow, at its end, he wound up on top . . . and on the bottom.


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(philly.com)
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NFL U Week 8 Photos

Check out photos from Week 8 of the 2010 NFL U season of all of our proCanes. Click here or above on the proCanes Gallery link.





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proCanes Stats From Week 8 of the 2010 NFL U Season

Andre Johnson (Texans): 7 catches 106 yards, 1 TD

Darryl Sharpton (Texans): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Vince Wilfork (Patriots): 5 tackles, 4 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss

Brandon Meriweather (Patriots): 7 tackles, 5 solo tackles

Jeremy Shockey (Saints): 3 catches 30 yards

Jonathan Vilma (Saints): 8 tackles, 6 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection

Santana Moss (Redskins): 6 catches, 56 yards

Clinton Portis (Redskins): DID NOT PLAY DUE TO INJURY

Rocky McIntosh (Redskins): 9 tackles, 7 solo tackles to lead the Redskins defense.

Calais Campbell (Cardinals): 6 tackles, 3 solo tackles

Antrel Rolle (Giants): BYE WEEK

Kelly Jennings (Seahawks): DID NOT PLAY DUE TO INJURY

Frank Gore (49ers): 29 carries 118 yards, 1 TD and 1 catch 7 yards

Kellen Winslow (Buccanneers): 1 catch for 5 yards

Roscoe Parrish (Bills): 4 catches, 66 yards, 2 punt returns for 42 yards with a long return of 33 yards.

Greg Olsen (Bears): BYE WEEK

Devin Hester (Bears): BYE WEEK

Willis McGahee (Ravens): BYE WEEK

Ray Lewis (Ravens): BYE WEEK

Ed Reed (Ravens): BYE WEEK

Tavares Gooden (Ravens): BYE WEEK

DJ Williams (Broncos): 9 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection to lead the Bronco defense.

Sinorice Moss (Giants): DID NOT PLAY on IR Will miss the entire 2010 Season

Bruce Johnson (Giants): Underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, placed on IR

Kenny Phillips (Giants): BYE WEEK

Reggie Wayne (Colts): BYE WEEK

Jon Beason (Panthers): 4 solo tackles

Phillip Buchanon (Redskins): 3 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection.

Antonio Dixon (Eagles): BYE WEEK

Sam Shields (Packers): 2 solo tackles.

Jimmy Graham (Saints): Played but did not record any stats.

Leon Williams (Cowboys): Played but did not record any stats.

Spencer Adkins (Falcons): BYE WEEK

Javarris James (Colts): 3 carries for 4 yards, for his first NFL career carries.

Damione Lewis (Texans): 1 solo tackle

Jason Fox (Lions): DID NOT PLAY, INACTIVE

Eric Winston (Texans): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Rashad Butler (Texans): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Bryant McKinnie (Vikings): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Chris Myers (Texans): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.

Vernon Carey (Dolphins): Offensive Lineman, did not record any stats.


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Ankle not expected to sideline Andre Johnson

Receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out the last part of Monday's 30-17 loss at Indianapolis because he aggravated his ankle injury, should be able to play against San Diego on Sunday.

Johnson had seven catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. He aggravated the sprain of his right ankle on his 28-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. He continued to play until the last series when he was tackle and was forced to limp off.

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


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(chron.com)
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Clinton Portis practices for the first time since Oct. 3 injury

Veteran running back Clinton Portis participated in practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a severe groin injury.

"He took a few plays today, which is a good sign," Coach Mike Shanahan said. "I can't tell ya if he's 60 percent, 70 percent, but he's biting at the bit to get back, which is a good sign. Hopefully, he'll keep on improving over the bye week."

Portis has been sidelined the past four games after suffering the injury during the Week 4 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. The nine-year veteran was expected to be out at least four to six weeks.

After the bye week, the Redskins resume their schedule Nov. 15 against the Eagles at FedEx Field. Portis plans to continue to rehab during the Redskins' break.

"I think where he's got to gauge himself is on certain types of cuts," Shanahan said. "He can go straight ahead and kind of get a good feel. ... I don't know where his groin is at [in terms of his recovery], but you've got to be really careful when ya cut.

"He made a few cuts today, which was a good sign. He didn't have any repercussions by it, which is very positive. So this week, hopefully, he can just get some more endurance in, kind of test himself a little bit more and see where he's at on Monday."

Click here to order Clinton Portis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(washingtonpost.com)
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Ray Lewis is still a tackling machine for the Baltimore Ravens

35-year old linebackers don’t grow on trees, especially dominating ones like the Ravens’ Ray Lewis.  Lewis has played in 7 games for the Ravens so far this year and he has 60 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.  He has now played in 201 games in his 15 years with the Ravens and he has 1,819 tackles, 110 passes defensed, 38.5 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and he has 29 interceptions (2 returned for TDs).  Lewis is the best inside linebacker I have ever seen and he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.  I’m still amazed watching him play every week as he looks like a player in his middle 20’s not his middle 30’s.

Click here to order Ray Lewis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(yardbarker.com)
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Clinton Portis Is Going To Moscow Over The Redskins' Bye Week

The Washington Redskins' bye week gives all the players a chance to take a break, recharge their batteries and clear their heads. That's certainly going to be a good thing for Donovan McNabb, and if we're honest, it'll definitely be a good thing for Mike Shanahan. But what about some of the other players? What about Clinton Portis?

He's going to Russia. Specifically, Moscow, which, you might remember, is Alex Ovechkin's stomping ground. In his weekly appearance on "The Mike Wise Show, with Holden Kushner" on 106.7 The Fan, Portis said he wants to just go and chill in the cold of Moscow for a couple days.

"I think I'm going to go to Russia for a couple days," Portis said. "I don't know, I just think it'd be a pretty sweet getaway, to say I went to Russia for the bye week. Get a chance to relax in Moscow."

Kushner suggested he should go to Amsterdam instead, to which Portis said "I don't need no questions arising, no extra drug tests or anything. I want to go and chill out, have a good peace of mind. There's no one in Russia right now, so relaxing in the mountains will be great."

Oh-kay then. In actual Redskins-related items, Portis said this about the team potentially getting Randy Moss.

"I think Randy Moss is a good fit for any team," he said.  "I understand it didn't work out for the Vikings, but I think it's Randy Moss. If he wants to be the best player of the field, he is that. I think if you can get Randy Moss the opportunity here and let him go and expose corners like he's been doing his entire career, I don't know too many people you'd take in front of him."

Click here to order Clinton Portis’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(dc.sbnation.com)
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Tavares Gooden hoping to return Sunday against Dolphins

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Sidelined since dislocating his left shoulder against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second week of the season, Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Tavares Gooden returned to practice prior to the bye.

Now, Gooden is crossing his fingers that he could get back on the field Sunday against the Dolphins.

"It's all up to the coaching staff, coach Harbaugh," said Gooden, a Ft. Lauderdale native. "He kept asking me how I felt. He knows I'm a competitor, man. That's the toughest thing I think as a head coach, because he knows the type of people he drafted. And he's like, 'This dude's crazy. I know he'll go out there with a finger hanging off.'

"I've played with certain stuff since I've been in the league, with my groin and all that stuff. I'll leave it up to the staff. I think they'll make a great decision. I wouldn't mind playing against my hometown team."

Gooden has been strengthening his shoulder, concentrating on his rehabilitation regimen.

The former University of Miami player is hoping to prevent a setback.

"I was still doing my same exercises, because that's what you've got to do," Gooden said. "You've got to stay on top of the little injuries so that they don't grow and also get stronger so you don't get injured doing certain stuff coming back. I was just trying to get back in football shape."
Gooden practiced Monday. However, he has yet to test out his shoulder with a hit, though.

Until that happens, he won’t truly know if his shoulder is going to hold up.

"Contact is contact, that's just football," Gooden says. "My coaches can assess and see where I need to be as far as how I used to be. I can't tell.

"I gave it a shot.. I think all the general soreness is gone. I'm strapped up and there was no slipping and sliding, so [Monday] was productive."

Click here to order Tavares Gooden’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Five Fun Facts About Quarterback Vinny Testaverde

Vinny Testaverde had a long career in the National Football League and ended up playing for seven different teams. He suited up at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets (twice), New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and Carolina Panthers. By the time he retired, he had accumulated quite a bit of mileage. An interesting career like that had to have included some unique situations.

Here is a look at five interesting facts about Vinny Testaverde.

#1 - The first touchdown throw of Vinny Testaverde's career came in the third quarter of a 44-34 loss to the New Orleans Saints and went for 37 yards to Mark Carrier. Then, 274 TD passes later he threw the last touchdown pass of his career in the fourth quarter of a 31-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2007, while he was playing quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. That was a one yard touchdown pass to Jeff King.

#2 - In all of Vinny Testaverde's years in the league, when it comes to what team did he throw more TD passes for, it's a tie. He threw a total of 77 touchdown passes for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets.

#3 - No player caught more touchdown passes from Vinny Testaverde than Michael Jackson. Jackson was Testaverde's teammate on the Browns and then on the Ravens after the team relocated to Baltimore. During that time he and Vinny teamed up for 29 plays resulting in touchdowns.

#4 - Similar to number two, in all of Vinny's years in the league, when it comes to what team did he throw the most touchdown passes against, it is once again a tie. He threw 23 TD passes against both the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots.

#5 - Testaverde played for a number of teams over the course of his long career and along the way compiled 275 touchdown passes, a very impressive number. He started out with the Buccaneers whom he threw 77 touchdowns passes for. He then went to Cleveland where he threw 47 before the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens for whom Vinny threw another 51 touchdown throws. He then went to the Jets for the first of two stints for whom he threw a total of 77 TDs. He also threw 17 touchdown passes for Dallas, one for the Patriots, and then five for the Panthers before hanging it up for good.

Click here to order Vinny Testaverde’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(ezinearticles.com)
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Aubrey Huff Followed Winding Road to World Series

ARLINGTON, Tex. — If there is symbolism in cartoon robots, Aubrey Huff has found it. Huff, the No. 3 hitter for the San Francisco Giants, has the logos for the Autobots and Decepticons — the good and the evil of the old “Transformers” television show — tattooed on his shoulder blades. Huff has seen plenty of both in his life and career.

The good was Huff’s two-run home run in the third inning Sunday in Game 4 of the World Series. His towering blast off Tommy Hunter stayed just inside the right-field foul pole and helped the Giants to a 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers, Huff’s childhood team. As a result, the Giants stood one victory from a championship.

“It’s in the back of your mind: you’d like to hit a big homer to put you ahead,” Huff said. “It’s pretty surreal right now.”

The bad, in the baseball sense, was playing almost 1,500 games before ever reaching the playoffs. But that could not compare with the tragedy Huff endured at age 6.

Huff’s father, Aubrey Jr., worked as an electrician at an apartment complex. In December 1983, he was killed as a bystander in a workplace domestic dispute. A man had shot his wife and then tried to shoot the apartment manager. Huff’s father pushed the manager out of the way but was killed when the gun went off in the struggle that followed.

Huff’s mother, Fonda, raised him and his sister in Mineral Wells, Tex., about 60 miles west of Arlington, while working in the meat department of a grocery store and taking classes to become a teacher.

“I told my mom one day I wanted to be a professional baseball player — probably, what, 8 years old, 9 years old — and she bought me a batting cage on a Winn-Dixie salary,” Huff said after Game 4. “Single mother raising two kids, to buy me a batting cage, I think she did it to keep me out of trouble more than anything. I don’t think she realized how much I worked hard in that thing every day.”

That work began Huff’s winding path back to Arlington for the World Series. He guessed that he had seen the Rangers play 100 times growing up, rooting for stars like Juan Gonzalez and less memorable names like Steve Buechele.

But mostly, Huff said, he rooted for Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame starter and now the Rangers’ president. Huff had tickets to Ryan’s last no-hitter, in 1991, but he said his mother was tired that night and did not take him.

“I grew up watching Nolan Ryan pitch,” Huff said. “He’s a childhood idol of mine. I wanted to be a pitcher because of him. Turns out I didn’t throw very hard.”

Huff’s mother has been to the World Series games, with other family members. High school friends have bought their own tickets, Huff said, and he has recognized random faces in the stands while stretching before the games.

But Huff is here on business, trying to help the Giants win their first title since 1954, four years before the franchise moved to San Francisco. He planned a lunch with old friends on Sunday, but his children and wife felt sick, so he canceled. Huff has received lots of phone calls and e-mails and has tried to tune out the distractions.

It has never been like this for him before. At the end of the regular season, only two players — Randy Winn of the St. Louis Cardinals and Michael Young of the Rangers — had played in more career games without appearing in the postseason. But Huff had his chances.

Huff played his first six seasons for losing teams in Tampa Bay. In 2006, the Rays dealt him to the Houston Astros, who were trying to defend their National League title. The deal helped the Rays, who got the future All-Star Ben Zobrist. But the Astros struggled to finish .500, and Huff hit .250.

The Baltimore Orioles rewarded Huff, anyway, with a three-year, $20 million contract. But by the end of the deal, in late 2009, he was playing for the Detroit Tigers, who fumbled their American League Central lead as Huff hit .189.

That showing, and a crowded market for first basemen, diminished Huff’s value in free agency. The Giants showed interest in Nick Johnson, who signed with the Yankees for $5.75 million. They made an offer to Adam LaRoche, but he signed with Arizona for $6 million.

Huff had doubts about playing at AT&T Park, with its cavernous right-center field. But he acknowledged that he had no offers, and when the Giants called, he jumped at their one-year, $3 million proposal.

“We needed a left-handed hitter,” General Manager Brian Sabean said. “We were too right-handed. He was a guy who had been around the block in terms of average and run production, and he had played enough first base that we were able to see that he’d be playable there.”

Signing Huff might have been the steal of the off-season. He ranked 10th in the league in on-base plus slugging, at .891, while leading the Giants in homers (26) and runs batted in (86).

He also helped the Giants fit their prize rookie, Buster Posey, into the lineup. When the Giants promoted Posey in May, Bengie Molina was still their catcher. Rather than unseat Molina immediately, the Giants shifted Huff to the outfield and used Posey at first base until they traded Molina to Texas in July.

Huff made 57 starts in the outfield, his most since 2005, proving his versatility at age 33.

“He claims to be the best athlete on the team, if you talk to him,” Manager Bruce Bochy said. “But he has done a great job wherever we put him and has stabilized our lineup. I knew he was a good player, but he’s even better than I thought.”

Young pitching, more than any factor, has carried the Giants this far. But they needed an anchor for their offense, too, and Huff has provided it. For a player so used to losing, it has been quite a transformation.


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(nytimes.com)
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proCanes Extend TD Streak to 130 Regular Season Weeks

Did you know that a former Miami Hurricane/current proCane has scored at least one touchdown in 130 consecutive regular season NFL weeks? Dating back to Week 15 of the 2002 season where Clinton Portis scored 4 TDs, at least one proCane has scored a TD in each regular season week since then. We have chronicled every touchdown since 2002. See below:

Week 8 2010:
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Andre Johnson - 1 TD - Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 7 2010:
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins

Week 6 2010:
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Andre Johnson - 1 TD - Houston Texans

Week 5 2010:
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens
Jeremy Shockey - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers

Week 4 2010:
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens

Week 3 2010:
Jeremy Shockey - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Week 2 2010:
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Clinton Portis - 2 TDs - Washingon Redskins
Andre Johnson - 1 TD - Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers

Week 1 2010:
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Roscoe Parrish - 1 TD - Buffalo Bills
Willis McGahee - 1 TD - Baltimore Ravens

Click below to see the rest of the list:


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Aubrey Huff & Pat Burrell Help SF Giants Win the World Series

First-year San Francisco Giants and former University of Miami teammates Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell helped the Giants win their first World Series since 1954. Huff had his first ever post-season HR in Game 4 series scoring 2 runs in the Giants’ 4-0 victory and also had a key sacrifice bunt in Game 5 to help put a runner on third base. Burrell had a rough series for the Giants going 0 for 13 with 11 strikeouts in the Series. This is Burrell’s second World Series ring as he won one with the Philadelphia Phillies 2 years ago. This was Huff’s first ever post-season appearance and ring. Congrats to both proCanes!


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Morgan, Moss, Wayne top UM Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Linebacker Dan Morgan and receivers Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne headline the eight former greats who will be inducted at the 42nd annual UM Sports Hall of Fame ceremony in the spring.

The others:
• Former UM infielder Bobby Hill.
• 1999 NCAA 100-meter hurdles champion Yolanda McCray.
• Four-time NCAA diving champion Tyce Routson.
• Three-time Olympic diver Daphne Jongejans-Bousquet.
• Former women's tennis coach Ian Duvenhage.

Morgan, Moss and Wayne played at UM from 1997 to 2000 during the Butch Davis era.

Morgan was the first person to win the Butkus Award, Nagurski Award and Bednarik Award in the same season. He set a Miami career record for tackles with 532, and was was a three-time first-team All-Big East selection. He was the 11th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft and played seven seasons in the NFL.

Moss is UM's career leader in all-purpose yards (4,402), receiving yards (2,546), punt return yards (1,196) and punt-return touchdowns (six). He holds the NCAA record with four punt returns for touchdowns in 2000.

Moss was the 16th overall pick by the New York Jets in the 2001 NFL Draft, and he currently is a member of the Washington Redskins.
Wayne led UM in receiving yards and touchdowns his senior season, catching 43 passes for 755 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was drafted 30th overall in 2001 by the Indianapolis Colts, and stills plays for them.

Click here to order Dan Morgan’s, Santana Moss’s or Reggie Wayne’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(miamiherald.com)
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Willis McGahee is playing at a high level for the Baltimore Ravens

29-year old RB Willis McGahee continues to play very well for the Ravens when given the chance to carry the football.  He has played in 6 games for the Ravens so far this year and he has 51 carries for 207 yards (4.1 ypc) with 4 TD runs.  McGahee has also caught 4 passes for 6 yards (1.5 avg) this year.  McGahee was thought to become a forgotten man this year because of Ray Rice’s breakout 2009 season, but that has not been the case as of late and I look for McGahee to continue to get the ball more than anyone thought he would this year.  McGahee has now played in 50 games in his four years with the Ravens and he has carried the ball 624 times for 2,629 yards (4.2 ypc) with 30 TD carries.  He has also caught 86 passes for 495 yards (5.8 avg) with 3 TD grabs in his time with the Ravens.

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


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(ravenslocker.com)
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ESPN Press Release: Andre Johnson on E:60 Series

ESPN’s E:60 Goes Deep with Texans’ Andre Johnson

ESPN’s award-winning primetime newsmagazine E:60 will feature an in-depth profile of Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans in the episode airing Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. ET.

Johnson is considered by many as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and definitely the best wide receiver in the NFL that most fans know nothing about. Johnson is a man of few words, but now, for E:60 reporter Michael Smith and cameras, Johnson is ready to make some noise.

Johnson lost three important men in his life in just three years, including his father who was found dead from gunshot wounds in August 2002. Another of those men was his best friend, Cyril Jones, who was shot to death in December 2001. Jones left behind a son – Cyril Jr – Johnson’s godson, who is now 10 years old. Johnson has taken Cyril Jr. under his wing – even been a father figure – providing for him and often visiting Cyril Jr in his hometown, Miami. This quiet, mentor-like, fatherly relationship Johnson has with Cyril Jr resembles his role on the Texans.

A five-time pro bowler, Johnson is unquestionably the Texans’ leader, according to his teammates. Unlike many at his position around the NFL, Johnson is not boisterous or flaunting. He does not perform celebratory dances after touchdowns. Like his relationship with his godson, he leads by example.

Launched in October 2007, ESPN’s E:60 combines investigative reporting, in-depth profiles of intriguing sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. These stories are presented in a fresh and innovative format that incorporates producer/correspondent meetings.

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


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(espn.com)
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Calais Campbell has best showing of year

Arizona DL Calais Campbell had his best outing of the season in Week 8 against Tampa Bay. He recorded a season-high six tackles, giving him 29 on the year. He also has two sacks to his credit half way through the season.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said earlier in the week that DE Calais Campbell has played better since some early season technique mistakes. 'The one thing you forget about Calais is he's a young player (24),' Whisenhunt said. 'He came out as a junior. I think he's got a great future.'

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


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(fantasysp.com)
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Jon Vilma leads Saints in win

Saints LB Jonathan Vilma was all over the field in the Week 8 win over the Steelers. He picked up his second sack of the season and led the defense with eight tackles -- six solo -- in the victory. He also got his hands on a pass and knocked it down.



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(sportshizle.com)
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Santana Moss hauls in six receptions

Santana Moss led the Redskins with six receptions for 56 yards against the Lions in Week 8.

Moss led the team in targets with 10, but his numbers were kept low with the Redskins going three-and-out for much of the afternoon. He did pick up 18 yards on the final play of the game, helping his fantasy owners. Moss has at least five receptions in 7-of-8 games heading into the Week 9 bye.

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(rotoworld.com)
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Tavares Gooden's status undecided

Tavares Gooden said he practiced in full pads Monday, but he acknowledged that his availability for Sunday's game is still up in the air.

Gooden pointed out that Jason Phillips has been playing well in his absence. More importantly, Gooden said his status will depend on the strength of his dislocated left shoulder.

"It all depends on if I can be strong and be myself," he said. "That's what we're looking at. Every practice, we're going to assess it and see whether I can be an impact player. That's basically what it boils down to."

Click here to order Tavares Gooden’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(baltimoresun.com)
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Frank Gore helps wear down Denver Broncos

LONDON -- For a crowd that needed some guidance, the public-address announcer was descriptive after every play. For example, he might say: "Frank Gore to the middle of the line."

He said that a lot.

Gore had a season-high 29 carries, many of them straight up the gut. New offensive coordinator Mike Johnson, like his predecessor Jimmy Raye, wants to hammer away at a defense until it breaks.

This time, it worked. Gore ran for 118 yards, and the 49ers' patient approach created some chances for quarterback Troy Smith. The 49ers scored three points through the first three quarters -- then 21 over the final 12 minutes.

Smith was making his first start since 2007, and the 49ers wanted to give him help.

"We tried to establish a running game and allow Troy, in his third start of his career, to develop some kind of rhythm, some kind of consistency, some type of confidence," coach Mike Singletary said. "If you have to throw, let's be smart about what we're doing and not too much on him too soon."

Gore now has three consecutive 100-yard games. At the season's halfway point, he has 691 of the 49ers' 789 rushing yards.

"I feel great. It's a blessing. I'm healthy," Gore said. "I'm just ready to keep going."

Gore rarely comes off the field, but, in an oddity, he sat out the 49ers' final series. When a sustained drive would have clinched the victory, the 49ers gave rookie Anthony Dixon three consecutive carries. Dixon ran for 4 yards, then 2 yards, then 3 yards -- before Andy Lee punted to the Broncos, who trailed only 24-16.

"We wanted fresh legs on the field," Singletary said. "So we put Dixon in and said, Let's go.' "

Gore said: "Coach Singletary is the coach. I was good, but he wanted to put the big back in and get fresh legs. He did a good job, and that's all there is to it."

Gore averaged 4.1 yards per carry. His longest rush was 21 yards. But it wasn't the torrent that beat the Broncos. It was the drip, drip, drip.

"I didn't think that he broke a lot of runs," Denver linebacker Mario Haggan said. "He hid well behind his linemen. He was patient. As time went on, those 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-yard gains started to add up."

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.


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(mercurynews.com)
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Bruce Johnson Placed on IR

New York Giants cornerback Bruce Johnson was placed on injured reserve late Monday afternoon following arthroscopic surgery on his knee, according to ESPNNewYork.com. Johnson was thrust into a starting role early last season and he played pretty well.

This season, he'd played mostly on special teams. He's a valuable reserve who will certainly be missed. The Giants were awarded defensive end Alex Hall off waivers. I don't think you'll see him in the rotation right away, but he could provide some depth now that Mathias Kiwanuka's out for the season with a neck injury.

Earlier in the day, coach Tom Coughlin told reporters that rookie defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will continue to see more time in the rotation. Coughlin admitted that Pierre-Paul had fallen off a bit on special teams, but he's not planning to back him off on his defensive participation.

Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger has the scoop on Hall, who spent time on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster prior to training camp. Hall was with the Giants in training camp, but I can't remember too much about him.


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(espn.com)
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Jason Fox Getting Reps At Guard

Fox playing some guard Rookie tackle Jason Fox has recently started playing some guard, too. The fourth-round pick out of Miami said the team approached him and asked if he'd try it.

"This is the first time I've ever played it," Fox said. "Honestly, they just asked me one day if I wanted to get some reps at guard and I say 'Yeah, absolutely, what ever it takes.' No matter if it's tackle or guard I want to be able to help and contribute to this team. I'm still learning (guard) but like I said, whatever they want me to play is what I'll do."

But according to Schwartz, Fox is still one of the team's tackles of the future.

"Just getting some versatility with guys, he's a tackle," Schwarts said when asked about it.

But Fox said if playing guard gets him on the field faster then he's all for it.

"They've worked me at both tackle and guard so I'm working to prove to them I deserve an opportunity to play," he said. "I would say that I'm more comfortable at tackle just because I've played that a lot longer, but like I said, if they want me to be a guard I'll be a guard. That doesn't bother me at all."

Fox said his surgically repaired right knee, which had done before the draft, is feeling the best it has all year following the bye.

"He's doing well," Schwartz said. "He missed a lot of time as far as his ability to weight train last year coming back from his knee. But he's on a good program now. He's gained a little bit of weight and he's gained a lot of strength. He's benefiting from going out there every day and playing against guys like Kyle Vanden Bosch and Suh and those guys."

Fox has not made the active 45-man game roster yet this season.

"To be honest with you, I think I'm real close," he said about playing in a game. "You just kind of have to wait and see. If that day comes, I'll be ready."


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(detnews.com)
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Brian Urlacher wasn't impressed with Rocky McIntosh

Brian Urlacher was one of the featured subjects on this week's episode of the NFL Network's Sound FX, and he did not disappoint, offering plenty of one-liners about both teams. His most pointed stuff, though, came on the play before Chicago's only offensive touchdown, when Jay Cutler threw a five-yard pass over the middle to Matt Forte. Rocky McIntosh stopped Forte at the 10-yard line, and then celebrated by waving his arms and banging them into his helmet.

"Oh wow, that guy is hyper, that guy is hyper, huh?" Urlacher observed from the sidelines. "What'd he do? What'd he do, did he tackle for a loss?"

"He made a tackle," Lance Briggs said.

"Sack?" Urlacher asked.

"No, tackle for a gain," Briggs said.

"Oh," Urlacher replied. "I thought he sacked him or something the way he was celebrating. Or maybe he got a pick. He must have caused a fumble."

"No, 2nd and 5," Briggs observed.

"Let's see," Urlacher said, watching the replay on the big screen. "Sack-fumble, sack-fumble, right here."

There was no sack-fumble.

"What'd he do?" Urlacher asked again.

"Just a play," Briggs said. "That's a big play for him, though."

"That was a nice play," Urlacher concluded. "I could tell by the way he celebrated."

Ouch. Scoreboard, fellas. And I wonder what they'd say about some of LaRon Landry's celebrations.

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(washingtonpost.com)
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Quadtrine Hill scores UD win

Former University of Miami star running back Quadrine Hill got back in the win column with a unanimous four round decision over game Javier Diaz Thursday night, before another standing room only sold out crowd at Roy Englebrecht Promotions Battle In The Ballroom show at the Irvine Marriott. Hill was in control from the start flooring Diaz in the first round with a short right to the head. Hill hurt Diaz several more times, but the Riverside fighter managed to stay on his feet for the rest of the fight.

The exciting evening of six pro fights, got off to a rousing start for the capacity crowd of 1,412 fans, as two pro debut fighters mixed it up for four rounds in the opening bout. Non Bognjmong, an Olympian on the Thailand boxing team, won a hard earned split decision over Carlsbad’s Lawrence Letuli. Both fighters were rocked in each round but kept on battling, and had fans on their feet at the bell, who then showered the ring with money in appreciation for a great effort. Only six hours before the fight Bognjmong had learned that his brother was killed in an auto accident in Thailand, but decided to go on with the bout.


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(fightnews.com)
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Bucks' John Salmons slowly improves after injury

St. Francis — John Salmons stayed on the court long after practice finished Monday, carefully going over his footwork and taking some extra shots with the help of assistant coach Bill Peterson.

Step by step, the Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard is shaking off the rust and regaining his form.

It wasn't an easy first week for Salmons, who jumped into the starting lineup despite missing the entire exhibition season with a sprained right knee.

Following lackluster performances in losses against New Orleans and Minnesota, Salmons responded with 14 points and some critical plays late in the game as the Bucks beat the Charlotte Bobcats, 98-88, in their home opener Saturday night.

"We definitely needed that," Salmons said. "We felt like we let two get away, so we definitely wanted to come home and get that win.

"We'll try again on the road. Hopefully we can grow from that and get off to a good start."

Now Salmons wants to be ready for a tough schedule this week, with the Bucks (1-2) playing four games in five nights, starting with a home game against Portland Tuesday night.

They play in a nationally televised game at Boston on Wednesday and at Indiana on Friday before returning home for a rematch against New Orleans on Saturday.

"Once the schedule gets going, that's how it is," Salmons said. "Every night you've got to do your best, execute the game plan and see what happens."

Salmons made a key steal, taking the ball from Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson and firing an outlet pass to Carlos Delfino late in the game, helping to seal the Bucks' victory over Charlotte.

"We're always a team that makes a lot of plays down the stretch on the defensive end," Salmons said. "That's how we won a lot of close games last year. Shots might not always go, but you can always play tough defense."

Salmons, who averaged 19.9 points and shot 46.7% in 30 games with the Bucks last season, is shooting just 33% from the field and averaging 8.7 points over the first three games.

He has attempted only six free throws, going 4 for 4 at the line vs. the Bobcats.

"It's everything, just catching the ball cleanly," Salmons said. "It's getting in a rhythm with my whole offensive game, trying to get to the bucket. I haven't even really been driving; I've been shooting a lot of jump shots.

"I'm trying to read everything. When I'm making moves (in the paint), then you'll know I'm back."

Salmons has committed 10 turnovers over the first three games, a sign of his tentativeness.

But Bucks coach Scott Skiles wasn't too concerned about Salmons' play because of all the time the 6-foot-6 guard missed during training camp.
"Just moving around the floor, he's getting there," Skiles said. "He's playing a little longer stretches. Slowly but surely he's getting back to normal. He missed a long time.

"He's always in a tough position every night because he's guarding 2 (shooting) guards that are running off screens all over the place. That's also wearing him down."

He played 34 minutes against Charlotte and was on the floor at the end of the game.

Salmons did his best to chase Jackson, who loves to spot up for corner threes. Now it will be a back-to-back punch of Portland's Brandon Roy on Tuesday and Boston's Ray Allen on Wednesday.

"It's a good guy every night," Skiles said. "He made a couple good defensive plays (against Charlotte), a couple that were noticeable and a couple that weren't. I'm comfortable that he's almost 100%."

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings said he could see the improvement in Salmons' game last week as the veteran got more time on the court.

"He missed the whole preseason," Jennings said. "Hopefully that home opener got him going a little bit and he's ready for Tuesday. And of course going into Boston, we need him for that one, too."


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(jsonline.com)
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Rays Potential Off-Season Trade Target: Yonder Alonso

Last week, I laid out the groundwork of the Rays' off-season playbook: acquire a first baseman, rebuild the bullpen, and shop Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and BJ Upton. It looks to be a busy off-season and one that will see a lot of turnover on the Rays, but also one that should be exciting to follow. Here on DRB, we've already discussed a couple of the Rays' options, like pursuing Magglio Ordonez or keeping Carlos Pena. I'd like to throw out one more name for consideration: Yonder Alonso.

For those of you unfamiliar with him, Alonso is a first base prospect that was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds with the seventh pick of the 2008 draft. He's 23 years old and has been consistently ranked as one of the Reds' top prospects over the last couple of years. He's been ranked as one of the 50 best hitting prospects in baseball, clocking in at number 30 in John Sickels' 2010 list, and he made his major league debut this September. He's a talented prospect that has seen his star diminish in recent seasons due to a lack of power; for example, he only hit 12 homeruns in 445 plate appearances in Triple-A this season.

Alonso is a player that fits the mold the Rays like. He has a good eye, walking in over 11% of his plate appearances in every stop in the minors except Triple-A (where we walked 8% of the time), and he doesn't strike out too outrageously (15-18% strikeout rate in the minors). Despite having below-average speed, he stole a handful of bases at a high success rate this season (nine steals, one caught stealing). He hits for a high average - around .300 normally - and can provide some decent gap power, hitting 31 doubles in Triple-A this season. Reliable defensive reports on him are tough to find, but he seems to rate as an average defender at first with a below average arm. All in all, he's a valuable player and could increase his stock even more if his homerun power continues developing.

But how would the Rays acquire Alonso? Trades can be tricky to navigate, but I'd suggest floating Matt Garza.

A couple weeks ago, PGP looked at Matt Garza's trade value and determined that he was worth $21M in value - or in other words, one of the 11-50 top hitting prospects in baseball. Alonso fits into that category, and the Reds also have a good reason to trade him. At the moment, Joey Votto is the Reds' first baseman and he isn't likely to go anywhere soon: he's still under team control for three more seasons and just had an incredible, MVP-caliber season. There's nowhere else for Alonso to play on the Reds, meaning his talent would be wasted as a bench player that can pinch-hit on occasion. The Reds would be much better off trying to trade Alonso and get some value back for him, improving their major-league team's weak spots.

Luckily for the Rays, the Reds have a definite hole to fill for next season in their pitching staff. Both Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are free agents this off-season and considering both of them had a 4.60 xFIP, the Reds would do well not to re-sign them. That leaves the Reds with three definite starters in their rotation next season: Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Travis Wood. Edison Volquez is also likely to make their rotation, although he's an injury risk, leaving one final spot open. Aroldis Chapman could always be moved back to the rotation to fill the final spot, but that depends what the Reds want to do with him; he's obviously more valuable as a starter, but he was very inconsistent when starting in the minors and had control issues.

Even if the Reds want Chapman to start, that's a very young rotation and lacks depth behind it in case of injury or ineffectiveness. The Reds will want to make another run towards the playoffs, and I feel like it would make sense for them to add a perceived ace to their rotation if possible. Matt Garza is much cheaper than both Harang and Arroyo, is under team control for two more seasons, and would likely improve by moving out of the AL East and into the NL Central. He'd allow the Reds to keep one of their weaker starters in the bullpen, either as a long man on reserve in case of an injury or as a bullpen ace like Chapman.

An Alonso-Garza trade would be a good match from a trade value perspective, and I also believe the needs line up on both sides of the equation. Acquiring Garza would provide a nice boost to the Reds' rotation, and Yonder would be a major-league ready prospect that could fill in immediately at first base for the Rays. Trades can be tough to complete and there are many variables in play that we don't know about, but I think that Yonder Alonso is one of the players the Rays should inquire about.


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(yardbarker.com)
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