Sports Outside the Beltway

Terrell Owens records his 1,000th career reception

He was two catches away from the milestone entering today’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons. From AP-

Terrell Owens is the sixth player in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes.

Owens reached the milestone with an 8-yard catch for Buffalo in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. He had a 10-yard catch from Brian Brohm, making his first start, earlier in the drive.

Owens entered the game needing two catches to reach 1,000 for his career, which began in 1996. He reached the milestone in 203 games. Only Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice reached 1,000 career receptions in fewer games.

As of the time I wrote this blog post, Falcon TE Tony Gonzalez has 996 career receptions.

I remember when the NFL career reception record was a little over 600. That is the basis for the following trivia question. Who is the NFL player who has the highest yards per catch for a receiver with over 600 career receptions? The answer is below the fold.


Los Angeles King Winger Justin Williams suffers a broken leg


Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams broke his right leg early in the first period in a loss to Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.Kings Coyotes Hockey

Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski was spinning off a check of Kings center Anze Kopitar to hit Williams behind the Phoenix net when both players fell onto Williams.

Williams fell backward with his right leg trapped underneath his torso, dropped onto his back and remained on the ice as play continued briefly in the Kings’ end. He was taken off by stretcher after a lengthy delay at 4:27 of the first period.

“It’s not good,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “We’ll take him back on the flight with us tonight, have the team doctors look at him and get the word out.”

Williams is the Kings 4th leading point scorer. His injury will most certainly an effect on how Los Angeles plays and whether they can make the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 NHL Lockout.


Florida Gator Coach Urban Meyer to step down due to health reasons

This news is simply shocking

Florida coach Urban Meyer, who was admitted to a hospital because of chest pains following the Southeastern Conference championship game, is stepping down because of health concerns.

Meyer resigned Saturday, calling it quits after five seasons in Gainesville and two national titles. He leaves Florida with a 56-10 record that includes a 32-8 mark in league play and a school-record 22-game winning streak snapped early this month against Alabama.

Meyer says he consulted with his family, his doctors, school president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley before deciding it is in his best interest to focus on his health and family.

While I’ve never been a Gator fan, I wish Meyer well and pray his health concerns aren’t too serious.

Meyer will coach the Gators one last time in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati. Who the U of F will hire to replace Meyer, I haven’t a clue. None of his assistants stand out IMHO, so I think the University will hire an outsider.


Former MLB player and scout Stan Benjamin dead at age 95

He played for the Phillies from 1939 to 1942 and for the Cleveland Indians in 1945. RIP.

Stan Benjamin, a former scout for the Houston Astros, passed away Thursday at the age of 95, as announced by the team.Stan Benjamin

Benjamin joined the Astros in 1965 and worked in the organization for nearly 40 years, evaluating talent as a scout at the amateur and professional levels. His duties included serving as a Major League scout covering the American League East clubs for several seasons. Benjamin also served as Houston’s amateur scouting supervisor for the Northeast section of the country.

“Stan was a vital cog in the Astros organization,” said Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith in the team’s release concerning Benjamin’s passing.

“He was a keen judge of talent and had great personal associations throughout the game as a result of his long career as a player, high school coach, college basketball official and scout,” Smith added. “All of us who knew Stan will have great memories of him.”


Not paying attention- Nevada Wolfpack LB Andre Davis arrested for shoplifting

The incident occurred a little over 24 hours before his team was supposed to play in the Hawaii Bowl. From AP-

A Nevada linebacker who did not play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl after he was dismissed by the team had been arrested days earlier on suspicion of shoplifting.

Honolulu police say Andre Davis was detained this week by security at a Waikiki store before he was turned over to authorities.

Nevada coach Chris Ault said Wednesday that Davis had been dismissed from the program for violating team and athletic department policy although he did not disclose the exact violation.

Davis apologized to his team and family in an interview with Hawaii’s KGMB-KHNL news station Wednesday after posting bail.

Whomever the AP hack writer who did this article, gives the distinct impression that the reason for Davis arrest wasn’t known at least to the wire service till Christmas day. That is when this article was originated.

Unless AP’s Honolulu office had no one working since December 23rd, I’m not buying they didn’t know of the arrest of Andre Davis. As the article above states, the player appeared on television on December 24th. During ESPN’s broadcast of the Hawaii Bowl, announcers made at least one mention of Davis’ arrest. That’s how I knew about it. Also the Honolulu Advertiser, one of Oahu’s two major newspapers, had the news no later than Wednesday afternoon.

I’ll also point out that AP regularly copies(or someone less critical would rewrites) the work of local reporters and then puts it out as the work of the wire service. Here’s just one example of AP doing just that, and getting the facts wrong in the process. Based on that Associated Press had to know the real reason for Davis’ dismissal by Nevada.


All Charged up- San Diego beats Tennessee 42-17

The AFC playoff picture is beginning to take shape as the league goes into its final two weekends of play. From AP-

The San Diego Chargers have their first-round bye, and Philip Rivers is still perfect in December.SD-Ten

Tennessee’s bid for NFL history? The Titans lost that right along with their postseason dream, looking like a throwback to the team that started the season 0-6.

Rivers threw two touchdowns passes, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two scores and the Chargers beat the Titans 42-17 on Friday night to grab the AFC’s No. 2 seed and that first-round bye in the playoffs.


The AFC West champs streaked to their 10th straight win and tied the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins for most consecutive wins in a month with their 18th in December dating to 2006. The Dolphins won 18 in a row in November.

Darren Sproles caught a TD pass and ran for two more scores to help San Diego (12-3) squash the Titans’ dreams of becoming the NFL’s first team to start 0-6 and rebound to make the playoffs. Tennessee (7-8) had hoped to top what the 1994 Chargers did in reaching the postseason after an 0-4 start.

The Titans had an incredible turnaround this year. You have to give them credit for that, the team didn’t give up which could have been so easy to do.

Last night’s game didn’t clear up the AFC picture much. San Diego and Indianapolis are guaranteed byes and Tennessee is out of the picture. Things that did remain the same Cincinnati and New England can lock up division titles with just a win. Denver and Baltimore have the inside track for wild card spots. The New York Jets, Jacksonville, Miami, Pittsburgh and Houston all need help. I predict Denver and Baltimore will hold on to the spots they have now.


NBA Coach Stan Van Gundy wishes there were no NBA games on Christmas

Of the five games on television today, I’ve spent less than two minutes watching any of them. From AP-

“I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game,” the Orlando Magic coach said.

While I don’t feel sorry for them, I do think there are better ways of using one’s time.

The Magic were playing Boston on Friday, one of five NBA games on Christmas.

The Celtics won that game 86-77.

Van Gundy said he understands the high-priced TV contracts generate money for the league and it would be difficult to stop such games. He said he wishes the league at the very least had fewer games on the holidays.

The people who could put a stop to these games or at least limit them, are the NBA players themselves. They could make it a request when negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement comes up. During Wednesday night’s Florida Panthers game, the topic of why the NHL doesn’t play on Christmas came up. Announcer Billy Lindsay said it was due to the CBA between hockey owners and players.

The Magic play games on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day this season.

I can understand why Van Gundy is grumbling then.

“I think we get a little carried away with ourselves with sports thinking we’re more important than everything else,” Van Gundy said before the game. “But that’s the way it is. There’s nothing more important than the NBA on Christmas Day.”

That’s certainly untrue. There is time with family, going to church, writing blog posts, and paying a visit to the cemetery where your son and parents are buried that are all much more important priorities in life.

Van Gundy’s outspokeness may well earn him a fine. Bostion Coach Doc Rivers didn’t agree with the Orlando Magic coach.

Rivers said it’s tough for players to be away from family, but he realizes the league is not going to stop playing on the holidays. Rivers lives in the Orlando area and was able to wake up Christmas morning in his own bed.

He said he always watched Christmas Day games growing up because the league features the marquee teams.

“As a kid, you wanted to be on [Christmas],” Rivers said. “Then when you get to the league, you don’t want to be on any more. You’re like, ‘No, I changed my mind.’ But it’s going to happen, so why try to fight it? I tend to look at it as a reward.”

As we grow up things that we once longed to do, have instead looked upon as a hassle. It’s part of life.

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Washington signs reliever Matt Capps

Because the one thing a team that lost over 100 games the season before needs is a ace reliever to turn things around. From ESPN-

The Washington Nationals have signed Matt Capps to a one-year contract to be their closer for 2010, his agent said late Wednesday.

The deal is for $3.5 million for 2010, with a chance to make another $425,000 in performance bonuses. The performance incentives kick in at 40-65 games finished.

The deal went down to the end between the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and Washington, Capps’ agent, Paul Kinzer, said. The Mets were a late entry into the Capps pursuit, offering a similar contract to what Capps signed for with Washington.

The only previous MLB team Capps has played for is Pittsburgh. He has plenty of experience pitching for a bad baseball team.

Capps who saved 66 games and been a good reliever from 2006-08, had a sore arm for much of 2009. A one year contract is a small gamble. I just don’t see the Nationals turning around any time soon.


Stampeded- SMU beats Nevada in Hawaii Bowl 45-10

If I were a college football player, if I couldn’t play in the BCS Championship game, I’d be happy with a bowl game in Hawaii. From the Honolulu Advertiser-

Twenty-five years after its last bowl appearance, Southern Methodist made sure that it would be ready for the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl.Hawaii Bowl

Led by an 18-year-old quarterback and a stout defense, the Mustangs cruised to a 45-10 trouncing of Nevada before a crowd of 20,217 at Aloha Stadium yesterday, leaving little doubt that SMU has returned from the dead.


After receiving the “death penalty” from the NCAA in 1986, SMU football — a program that had produced the likes of Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson — disappeared for the next two seasons. The Mustangs’ fall from grace continued with one losing season after another, until this year.

SMU (8-5), which saw the best turnaround in the NCAA this year from a 1-11 2008, put the cap on a record season with a decisive victory over the Wolf Pack (8-5). The Mustangs’ last bowl prior to last night was the 1984 Aloha Bowl, when they beat Notre Dame, 27-20.

This game was but over very early on. My wife, mother-in-law, and I left for midnight mass(10 p.m. at our parish) at 8:30. As we left the house, SMU was up 14-0 already and they were lining up for a field goal.

Part of the reason for Nevada’s poor performance may be attributable to their defense being without two starters. One player had been arrested in the days leading up to the game.

The comeback of SMU is one of the least noticed college football stories of 2009. We’ll have to see if June Jones can sustain this success.

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Portland Center Joel Przybilla out for the season

The Trailblazers should open their own hospital ward. From AP-

Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla had surgery Thursday to repair his ruptured right patella tendon.

Przybilla is expected to miss the rest of the season after hurting his leg during Portland’s 85-81 victory at Dallas on Tuesday night. He went up for a rebound and came down awkwardly with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

Przybilla averaged 4.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 30 games.

The Blazers have been beset by so many injuries this season that the NBA granted the team an exemption to carry 16 players on its roster.

Portland also is without center Greg Oden (left knee), forwards Nicolas Batum (shoulder), Travis Outlaw (left foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back), and rookies Patrick Mills (right foot) and Jeff Pendergraph (hip).

Another starter, Brandon Roy, has a strained shoulder.


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