Sports Outside the Beltway

Former NFL OT Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown dead at 40

Very sad and RIP.

BALTIMORE — Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando “Zeus” Brown was found dead Friday at his Baltimore home. He was 40.

The cause of death wasn’t known.


Born Dec. 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., Brown played 10 NFL seasons, including four with the Cleveland Browns (1993-95 and 1999) and six with the Ravens (1996-98 and 2003-05). He started 119 of his 129 games.

Ravens director of player development Harry Swayne, Brown’s former teammate and fellow tackle, called Brown “a big old puppy dog with a little bit of a bark.

“He had a lot of friends around the league. He was one of the best guys. It’s a tough loss.”

Brown always will be remembered for shoving official Jeff Triplette in a 1999 game between Cleveland and Jacksonville.

Brown was suspended for knocking down Triplette after the official threw a weighted penalty flag that accidentally struck the massive tackle in the right eye. The 6-foot-7, 350-pounder stormed onto the field and pushed Triplette.

Brown, whose father was blind from glaucoma, said concern for his eyesight caused him to confront Triplette. Brown was hospitalized for six days with bleeding behind the eye. He sued the NFL for $200 million, settling the lawsuit for $25 million.

He missed the next three seasons because of the injury, returning to football and the Ravens for the 2003 season.

Browns tackle Tony Pashos played three seasons in Baltimore with Brown, known as “Zeus” around the league.

“He was a really good teammate,” Pashos said. “I came in under him as a backup. Even when Zeus wasn’t on the team he came around and supported us. He loved us. He loved football. He could never walk away. Man, I can’t believe it. I remember the attitude he brought to the building to the room. He tried hard. He told the young guys throughout practice to try hard and work on technique but then when it comes to games, it’s about taking the other guy’s will. And he was the apex of that. He did do that.”

Former Ravens coach Brian Billick said Brown will always be one of his favorites.

“He brought such passion and physicality to practices and games,” Billick said in a statement released by the Ravens. “There is no way to quantify his heart, his actual love to play football. The game was so important to him.”

Brown was a frequent visitor to the Ravens’ practices, tutoring young linemen Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood.

“He took time out of his busy schedule over the last couple of months to work with me to help me grow as a player,” Harewood said. “To have a player and man of his stature do that for a young player like myself says all you need to know about him.”

Brown was divorced and is survived by three sons.


Florida Marlins put Pitcher Leo Nunez on restricted list

Who is this man? From AP-

Florida Marlins closer Leo Nunez has been playing under an assumed name, and the issue prompted him to return Thursday to his native Dominican Republic, two people familiar with his immigration status said.

Both people said the Marlins have been aware of the issue for several months. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Dominican and team officials haven’t made any public comment on the case.

One of the people said Nunez’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s 29, a year older than listed in the team media guide. The Marlins placed Nunez on Major League Baseball’s restricted list, and he isn’t expected to pitch in the final week of the season.

His agent, Andy Mota, declined to comment. The Marlins traveled Thursday to Milwaukee for their final road series of the season.

Nunez has 36 saves and a 4.06 ERA in 68 games this year. His ERA was 2.59 in late May but is 6.00 since then.

The age of a baseball prospect does matter though one year would seem to be slight. What appears to be the bigger is why Nunez did this deception. Most people will believe he has something to hide, and at this moment in time I have to agree.

Update- Baseball players lying about their age is hardly anything new and something I had totally forgotten about. Other players have weathered this ‘crisis’. Nunez will probably do the same.


Jet carrying Russian professional hockey team crashes

The KHL team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl , was on board. This team had quite a few former NHL players on its roster. Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasicek are three. Their head coach was Brad McCrimmon. Closer to home, former Florida Panthers(my favorite team) Ruslan Salei, Alexander Karpovtsev, and Karlis Skrastins played for Lokomotiv but early reports say Salei was not on board. The other players are all dead or believed to be. God bless the friends and family members of those who died.

Someone feel free to correct me, but I don’t remember incident like this involving a pro or college hockey team in either the United States or Canada. There have been aviation incidents where most or all of a sports team were wiped out. In most cases in the Americas or involving Americans, the teams were amatuers(The U.S. Figure Skating team aka Sabena Flight 548 disaster in 1961 or college teams like Marshall, University of Evansville, Wichita State) to name a few, involved college athletes.

Overseas is another story. In 1958 members of the Manchester United football were killed in a crash in Germany, the famous ‘Alive’ story involved uruguayan rugby team players. A Zambian soccer team was wiped out in a crash about 10 years ago. I recall a crash involving Italian athletes about 40-50 years ago but I forget the details. There have been other crashes.

Pro sports teams have to travel and with plane travel there is a risk. RIP to those who died today.

Hat tip- Donny at Litter Box Cats


Derek Jeter Joins 3,000 Hit Club With Home Run


You probably couldn’t have written a better script for Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit than what happened this afternoon in the Bronx:

Derek Jeter became the 28th player in baseball history to reach 3,000 hits on Saturday, with a home run in the third inning at Yankee Stadium off the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price. In doing so, Jeter became the first player in the Yankees’ storied history to reach the hallowed number.

Jeter is the active leader in hits and the first player to collect his 3,000th since Craig Biggio of Houston in 2007. He is also the first to achieve the milestone at Yankee Stadium, old or new, and the fourth youngest player to do it. Only Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount joined the club at a younger age than Jeter, who turned 37 on June 26.

Jeter accomplished it all without playing anywhere but shortstop, the most physically demanding position on the field besides catcher. Only three other players, Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken Jr. and Yount, have recorded 3,000 hits while playing most of their careers at shortstop.

Jeter is only the second member of the 3,000 hit club to hit a home run for hit # 3,000. The other player was Wade Boggs, who hit his mark on August 7th, 1999 while playing for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.


NBC’s idiotic golf coverage or where in the world is YE Yang?

Rory McIlroy has a 10-shot lead at the moment in the 2011 U.S. Open. South Korean YE Yang is tied for second. NBC, who is televising this year’s U.S. Open, acts like Yang isn’t even playing in the tournament.

On the 3rd hole we see Yang’s tee shot but nothing else. When he was putting for birdie, NBC showed a short piece on former Open winners.

On the 5th hole, none of Yang’s putts are shown.

The 6th hole after McIlroy tees off, you’d think NBC would show Yang’s tee. Nope, they don’t. Instead we get a fluff piece on McIlroy.

There was an earlier lapse in NBC’s coverage of Yang on either the 1st or 2nd hole but I didn’t take notes.

Hardcore LPGA followers have been noting for a long time the way Korean golfers are covered on television. Or call it lack of coverage. Just a month ago NBC had no problem telling us David Toms had a very poor record at The Players Championship while he dueled KJ Choi. NBC didn’t mention that Choi’s record at the TPC of Sawgrass is even worse.

Yang just made birdie at the 6th hole to pull to nine shots behind. NBC also issued an apology for editing out part of the pledge of allallegiance in a opening segment of today’s broadcasts.


Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Resigns

Jim Tressel has resigned as head coach of the Ohio State football team.

Columbus Dispatch (“Coach Jim Tressel out at Ohio State“):

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has resigned, university sources told The Dispatch today.

Less than three months after President E. Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith said they fully supported their embattled coach, mounting pressure, a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing and new revelations about the culture of the program forced the university to act on their once-revered coach, sources said.

Neither Gee, Smith nor Tressel could be reached immediately for comment.

Sources said assistant coach Luke Fickell, who had been named to coach the first five games of the season while Tressel served his suspension for withholding information from the university compliance office and the NCAA, will serve as interim coach of the Buckeyes all of next season.

The Dispatch has obtained a memo Gee sent to OSU trustees this morning:

“I write to let you know that later this morning we will be announcing the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of the University’s football program. As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the University and the senior leadership of the Board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted Coach Tressel’s resignation.

“My public statement will include our common understanding that throughout all we do, we are One University with one set of standards and one overarching mission. The University’s enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions,” Gee wrote.

Ohio State’s football program came under fire in December when six players were suspended by the NCAA for selling or trading uniforms and other memorabilia to a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner. The NCAA also drew criticism for allowing the players to participate in the Sugar Bowl instead of serving their suspensions immediately.


He leaves Ohio State with an impressive coaching resume, having led the school to its fifth national title as well as directing impressive runs of Big Ten championships and victories over archrival Michigan.

The coach who came to Ohio State from Division I-AA Youngtown State University leaves OSU as one of the most recognizable figures in college football and all sports with a record of 106-22 at OSU. His winning percentage of .828 was better than the legendary Woody Hayes (.761).

It’s been drip . . . drip . . . drip since this scandal first broke a few months ago. Tressel’s eventual ouster had become inevitable, so his resignation now saves both himself and his program additional agony. It’s a little late in the day to switch coaches but Ohio State is one of the five or six best jobs in the country; they’ll have little trouble finding a good coach.


NFL Draft 2011 Round 2 #35 Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton

Dalton is four-year starter and proven winner, but he might have a difficult transition to the NFL. He is undersized and will not be able to take off and run at the next level. He is generally an accurate passer, and he’s grown on scouts and coaches since the NFL Scouting Combine. He played in a very user friendly scheme where he threw to a lot of wide open receivers and it is unclear if he can fit the ball into tight windows. Still, his stock his risen, and he looks to go as early as the beginning of the second round.


NFL Draft 2011 Round 2 #34 Buffalo Bills CB Aaron Williams says-

Williams is a confident corner that should be able to contribute immediately as a nickel back. He lacks the hip fluidity to play on an island at the next level, but he has experience lining up over the slot and maintains proper position to take away the easy crossing routes. When the ball is in the air, he has a great closing burst and the superb hands to make plays even on errant throws. He is aggressive in run support, but lacks the fundamentals to make tackles in the open field. Williams is good football player and should be an early second day pick.


NFL Draft 2011 Round 2 #33 New England Patriots DB Ras-I Dowling says-

Dowling entered the 2010 season as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks, but after playing in only five games due to injury, his draft stock may have taken a hit. He is a monster of a cornerback who seeks out contact in run support and is a sound tackler. He really excels in zone coverage with terrific instincts and has the ball skills to make plays on underneath routes. He does not have the recovery speed to play in a man-heavy scheme at the next level, but he should be a good fit in a Tampa 2 system. A potential first-round pick before the season, Dowling still likely will be a second-round pick.


NFL Draft 2011 Round 1 #32 Green Bay Packers OT Derek Sherrod says-

Sherrod currently looks more like a backup but could be a future starting tackle if he can add quite a bit of bulk and strength. A nice blend of length and good feet, he can slide laterally with pass rushers and push them by the launch point but struggles to anchor against the bull rush. Could benefit from improving awareness against pressure looks. Uses positioning and instincts as a run blocker to create running lanes but isn’t an effective drive blocker and won’t push defenders backwards. Has a solid makeup but doesn’t possess a non-stop motor or great aggressiveness. Early Day 3 grade.

One more reach.

That’s it. Good night everyone. 12 Defensive lineman were taken in the first round.


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